Two men attempt solo Antarctica crossing


Two men from unique backgrounds are forging ahead, in a battle against each other and nature, to be the first to journey across Antarctica unsupported.

American adventure-athlete Colin Brady, 33, and British Army Captain Louis Rudd, 49, embarked on the perilous, 921-mile trek on Oct. 31 — both carrying sleeping bags, freeze-dried food, cross-country skis, hand-held satellite phones and modems, a GPS tracker and portable solar panels.

In order for the journey to be considered unsupported, the competitors cannot accept any help from the few people they might encounter, not even a cup of hot tea. They have, however, raised north of $200,000 each from corporate sponsors and private donors in an effort to help with their trip.

According to the New York Times, the last person to attempt a solo unsupported crossing was Ben Saunders, who gave in after covering 805 miles in 2017; prior to that, British explorer Henry Worsley covered 900 miles before dying from an infection only days after being rescued and a mere 30 miles from the finish line.

MYSTERIOUS INTERSTELLAR OBJECT IS NOT AN ALIEN PROBE, SAYS ASTRONOMER WHO DISCOVERED IT

“The way I’ll console myself on this expedition is to remind myself that nobody’s shooting at me,” Rudd, who was introduced to polar exploration by another British soldier, told the Times. “Obviously, Antarctica is dangerous in its own way, but I look at it as I’m extremely fortunate. I’ve had friends lose their limbs, eyes, real life-changing stuff.”

O’Brady, who grew up in Portland, Ore., was in a freak accident on a trip to Thailand in 2008 that changed the course of his life, reports the Times.

Blocks of ice drift on the water off the coast of Collins glacier on King George Island, Antarctica on February 1, 2018. 

Blocks of ice drift on the water off the coast of Collins glacier on King George Island, Antarctica on February 1, 2018. 
(MATHILDE BELLENGER/AFP/Getty Images)

His legs were burned so badly that doctors said he would never walk normally again, but 18 months after the accident, he signed up for an Olympic distance triathlon.

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Both men trained and prepared intensely for the journey. Rudd put in hours of powerlifting and O’Brady gained 15 pounds of muscle, the newspaper reports.

The weather in Antarctica, which according to the Times is considered relatively “balmy” at minus 25 Fahrenheit, could also see temperatures drop to minus 50, with high winds and storms possible. Each man has five days’ of reserve food in case the weather keeps them inside their tents.

That’s not even considering the chance of hypothermia, frostbite and a chafing condition known as “polar thigh.”

“People have been trying to do this for 100 years, and nobody has successfully done it yet,” O’Brady said. “And here are two guys both pushing each other to hopefully conquer an impossible feat.”



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Donald Trump Signs Immigration Order To Ban Migrants Crossing US-Mexico Border


The plan invokes the same authority Donald Trump used to justify his travel ban (File Photo)

Washington: 

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he has signed an immigration proclamation, an order that would help effectively ban migrants who cross the U.S. border with Mexico illegally from qualifying for asylum.

The Trump administration unveiled new rules on Thursday to sharply limit migrant asylum claims by barring individuals who cross the U.S. southern border illegally from seeking asylum. People have to come into the United States at points of entry, Trump said before leaving for Paris.

The plan, which invokes the same authority Trump used to justify his travel ban on citizens of several Muslim-majority nations, is likely to be quickly challenged in court.

The Trump administration lost a court bid on Thursday, when a federal appeals court in California ruled that it must continue a program begun under former President Barack Obama that protects hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who were brought into the country as children, known as Dreamers.

Trump said the ruling on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was good news because now the administration can appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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US To Deny Asylum To Immigrants Crossing Border Illegally


There is a backlog of more than 700,000 cases of migrants seeking legal asylum in the US

Washington: 

The United States will no longer allow people who enter the country illegally to claim asylum, officials said Thursday, unveiling a controversial new crackdown on immigration.

The restriction on asylum claims will seek to address what a senior administration official called the “historically unparalleled abuse of our immigration system” along the border with Mexico.

The new rule was published by the Department of Homeland Security and is expected to get President Donald Trump’s signature shortly — as well as face court challenges.

The American Civil Liberties Union said that the right to request asylum must be granted to anyone entering the country, regardless of where they were.

“US law specifically allows individuals to apply for asylum whether or not they are at a port of entry. It is illegal to circumvent that by agency or presidential decree,” the ACLU said.

But according to the new rule, Trump has authority to restrict illegal immigration “if he determines it to be in the national interest.”

Trump’s administration argues that he has the executive power to curb immigration in the name of national security, a power he invoked right after taking office with a controversial ban on travelers from several mostly-Muslim countries — whose final version was upheld by the US Supreme Court on June 26 after a protracted legal battle.

“Today’s rule applies this important principle to aliens who violate such a suspension or restriction regarding the southern border,” Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker said.

Those seeking political or other kinds of asylum — nearly all of them coming from impoverished and violent crime-plagued countries of Central America — will be heard exclusively at the border crossings, administration officials told journalists.

This is expected to put a dent in those streaming into an already overburdened system, officials said, noting that there is a backlog of more than 700,000 cases in the immigration courts.

Campaign controversy

Many politicians on both sides of the aisle agree that the US immigration system is hugely inefficient and unable to cope with demand. However, Trump’s focus on the issue during campaigning for Tuesday’s hotly contested midterm congressional elections was criticized as veering into immigrant-bashing and even racism.

In speeches and on Twitter, Trump hammered away nearly daily at “caravans” of a few thousand impoverished Central Americans that periodically attempt to walk up through Mexico and then gain entry to the United States.

He called a current caravan, which is still hundreds of miles from the US border and dwindling in numbers, an “invasion” and said it would bring hardened criminals to US streets.

Administration officials say that aside from the rhetoric the border really does have a problem, given that anyone who manages to get across can request asylum and subsequently often vanish while their case sits in the court system.

“The vast majority of these applications eventually turn out to be non-meritorious,” a senior administration official said, asking not to be identified.

Less than 10 percent of cases result in asylum being granted, the government says.

Human rights campaigners and other critics of the Trump crackdown say that by restricting asylum seekers to the narrow border crossing points — which are already under enormous pressure — the government is effectively shutting the door on people who may truly be fleeing for their lives.

But the administration official argued that “what we’re attempting to do is trying to funnel credible fear claims, or asylum claims, through the ports of entry where we are better resourced.”

That way, he said, courts will “handle those claims in an expeditious and efficient manner, so that those who do actually require an asylum protection get those protections.”

In 2018, border patrols have registered more than 400,000 illegal border crossers, homeland security said. And in the last five years, the number of those requesting asylum has increased by 2,000 percent, it said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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Oregon woman, 94, stung 74 times after crossing underground wasp nest


A 94-year-old woman in Oregon was doing yard work when she was stung by dozens of wasps. Bernice Arline Patterson was even hospitalized after the attacks.

Patterson told Fox 12 she was stung 74 times and credits one of her sons with saving her.

According to Patterson, she was out doing some upkeep on a trail near her Oregon City home, when she stumbled across an underground wasp nest.

Within seconds she was swarmed by yellow jackets.

COLOR CONTACTS LEAVE GIRL TEMPORARILY BLIND

“It was terrible. I was just going like this [swatting] trying to get them off my face,” she said.

While trying to run away, Patterson fell and the wasps attacked her.

“It hurt like heck,” she told Fox 12.

Click for more from Fox 12 Oregon.



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Couple spots rare white ‘ghost’ moose crossing highway


In a rare sighting, a couple from northern Ontario, in Canada, spotted two white moose crossing a highway.

Nicole Leblanc, who posted a now-viral video of the exciting encounter on Facebook, told Canadian news station CTV-News she and her husband saw the moose while driving to a camp near Foleyet.

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“People are amazed. It’s not every day that you get to see it and I was able to tape it … it’s a beauty to see,” the Timmins resident said.

Though their striking color may have caused some to think these creatures were albino, the news station reported they were not. Rather, these white moose — sometimes called “ghost” or “spirit” moose — are a snowy white due to the Armstrong White Gene Strain, a recessive gene which causes the color, according to Tourism Northern Ontario.

Non-albino white moose can sometimes be called piebald, meaning they have specks of brown on their white coat, National Geographic reported.

The 1997 Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act prohibits the hunting of these unique creatures if they are more than 50 percent white, according to the tourism site.

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Northern Ontario residents or tourists can typically spot white moose along highway 101 — the same highway where Leblanc captured the video — between Foleyet and Timmins, according to Tourism Northern Ontario.

As of Wednesday morning, Leblanc’s video had more 3 million views and 80,000 shares.



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