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From The Asian Reporter, V30, #11 (October 5, 2020), page 2.

Veteran Sherpa guide who set Everest record dies at 72

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A veteran Nepalese Sherpa guide who was the first person to climb Mount Everest 10 times has died at age 72 after a long illness, family members said. Ang Rita, among the first Sherpa guides to receive international fame for his accomplishments, had suffered from health problems for many years and had not climbed any mountains since setting the Everest record in 1996. His daughter, Dolma Lhamo, said he died in his sleep at their home on the outskirts of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu. Ang Rita was a national hero known as the "snow leopard" but struggled financially and with his health, including liver illness and swelling of the brain. He was in bad health at his home in his mountain village in 1999 when his close friend, former Nepal Mountaineering Association President Ang Tshering, hired a helicopter and flew him to a hospital in Kathmandu for treatment. He was hospitalized again for months in 2017 due to continued swelling of the brain. The cause of death was not disclosed. Sherpa are an ethnic group from the Himalayan region, many of whom work as guides or support staff for foreign climbers. They carry equipment and supplies and dig paths in the snow and ice to help their clients get to the summit, usually with little recognition. Since Ang Rita set his record on the world’s highest peak, several mountaineers have surpassed it. Kami Rita, who is not related, has scaled the 29,035-foot peak 24 times. Ang Rita is survived by a daughter and two sons.

Police to investigate condom recycling factory

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnamese police say they will investigate a factory that was found recycling about 320,000 used condoms for resale, local media reported. Following a tip from a local resident, Binh Duong provincial market inspectors raided a factory near Ho Chi Minh City where they found used condoms being repacked for sale at the market, the state-owned Tuoi Tre newspaper reported. A market inspector said the owner of the factory, a 34-year-old woman, confessed that they bought the used condoms from a man in the province. The condoms were washed, reshaped, and packed into plastic packages, the newspaper said. It said police announced they will investigate and track down others involved in the operation. A call to police for comment was not answered. The newspaper quoted a health official as saying the recycled condoms posed an extreme health risk to users.

Owner of fire-stricken ship to pay $1.8M for Sri Lankan help

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — The owner of a large oil tanker that caught fire off Sri Lanka’s coast has agreed to pay $1.8 million to the island nation for its help in extinguishing the blaze, an official said. The MT New Diamond, which was carrying nearly 2 million barrels of crude oil, was damaged by two fires in early September. Attorney General Dappula de Livera submitted an interim claim of $1.8 million for services provided by the Sri Lankan navy, air force, ports authority, and Marine Environment Protection Authority since the ship caught fire on September 3. Greece-based Porto Emporios Shipping Inc. is the registered owner of the 20-year-old vessel. Nishara Jayaratne, the coordinating officer in the Attorney General’s Department, said the owner agreed to pay the claim in full. She said the attorney general is expected to present another claim of about half a million dollars for additional services rendered to the ship. She said an interim report on environmental damage has also been submitted to the ship’s owner, and that a separate claim for that will be presented after the final report is complete. The owner’s agreement to pay came nearly a week after a Sri Lankan court ordered the ship’s Greek captain to appear in court, after the attorney general directed police to name him a suspect in the fire. Experts have been working to salvage the ship, which remains in Sri Lankan waters. The tanker was transporting crude oil from the port of Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait to the Indian port of Paradip, where the state-owned Indian Oil Corp. has a refinery. The initial fire killed one Filipino crew member and injured another, while 21 other crew members escaped uninjured. The 21 crew members, including the captain, are staying in a coronavirus isolation center for seafarers.

Man arrested with nearly 300 centuries-old jars

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — A man on Cambodia’s southern coast has been arrested for possessing nearly 300 centuries-old earthenware jars that he is believed to have salvaged from a shipwreck, according to an official. Khieng Phearum, a spokesman for Preah Sihanouk province, said the 42-year-old man was arrested after authorities determined he was illegally keeping at his home 281 small and big jars presumed to be legally protected antiquities. The man is an expert diver and was spotted in the area of an underwater shipwreck in the Gulf of Thailand off the coastal city of Sihanoukville from which the pottery is believed to have been retrieved, Khieng Phearum said. He did not know how the man retrieved the jars or how long they’d been in his possession, but the authorities became aware of his collection, and after observation, arrested him at his home. It was not known if he intended to sell the jars, but he is expected to be charged under a law protecting Cambodia’s cultural heritage. Long Punna Serivath, a spokesman for the Culture and Fine Arts Ministry, said that judging from photos of the jars, they were likely made some time during the 15th to 17th centuries, officially making them antiquities. Buth Bupha, a director of the Culture and Fine Arts Department of Preah Sihanouk province, said the origin of the jars and the ship from which they were presumably taken have not yet been established, and experts will study the collection for answers. He said that in 2015, several hundred pieces of similar pottery were collected from a sunken Chinese ship off nearby Koh Kong province.