Midday Roundup: Sherpa strike halts Everest expeditions
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 4/25/14, 12:05 pm
Breaking camp. The Sherpa guides who lead wealthy adventurers up Mount Everest are effectively canceling Nepal’s 2014 climbing season for some mountaineers. Many of the Sherpas walked off the job after an avalanche killed 16 of their fellow guides last week. They say their pay is too low and the risks they take are disproportionate to those of the climbers they lead. Immediately after the avalanche, the government said it would pay the families of each Sherpa who died 40,000 rupees, or about $415. But the Sherpas said they deserved far more. At least six expedition companies have canceled their climbs for 2014, so far.
Ruble woes. The Standard & Poor’s credit agency on Friday cut Russia’s credit rating, citing the flight of investment dollars out of the country in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine. Credit ratings determine the cost for a country or company to borrow on international markets. Russia’s economic growth slowed to 0.8 percent in the first quarter, sharply worse than earlier forecast, while spooked investors pulled about $70 billion out of the country. Russia’s rating fell from BBB to BBB-, just a step above junk grade. In response, Russia’s central bank raised domestic interest rates to 7.5 percent to try to contain inflation.
Gun show. Several potential Republican contenders for president are courting gun-rights supporters at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention today. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum are set to speak at the convention’s leadership forum. Each possible 2016 candidate is expected to highlight his own role in pushing back gun-control measures. More than 70,000 people are expected to attend the three-day convention in Indianapolis.
Diverse views. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas this week has been the target of racially charged attacks on social media. David Almasi of the black conservative leadership group Project 21 says many are upset with the court’s recent decision against affirmative action. Thomas didn’t write the main opinion, but he has been singled out for racist online attacks. The Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson of the Christian non-profit group Bond said, “These types of comments, ‘Uncle Tom’ and the names that they’re calling him, are coming from the race hustlers.” Almasi agreed that some seem to suggest African Americans should only think one way.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.