Gunmen stormed a Himalayan base camp in northern Pakistan on Sunday, killing 11 people, among them nine foreign climbers. The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The tourists were of Ukrainian, Russian and Chinese origin, according to Reuters. They were attacked at the base camp of Nanga Parbat, the ninth-highest mountain in the world. The mountain is located in the Gilgit-Baltistan province of Pakistan, an area where the Himalayas, the Hindu-Kush and the Karakoram mountain ranges collide in spectacular fashion. The area has heretofore been one of the more secure regions for tourists in the violence-plagued country.
Officials say that the attackers wore police uniforms and kidnapped two guides to lead them to the base camp, which is inaccessible by road. They then opened fire on the camp, killing the climbers and guides. One Chinese climber is alleged to have survived.
Dozens of other climbers were evacuated from the mountain by helicopter following the assault. The mountain is a popular challenge for experienced mountaineers from around the world. Nanga Parbat is known as the “Killer Mountain” for its notoriously lethal difficulty level.
Workers installing a new subway line in Guangzhou, China’s third largest city, destroyed an ancient group of protected tombs by mistake during construction on the weekend. Some of the five tombs date back to the Shang Dynasty around 3,000 years ago.
The area, which had been set aside for further excavation and study, was intact on Friday night. When archaeologists returned to work on Saturday, the tombs had been obliterated.
The South China Morning Post reports that the group of tombs had been clearly marked and sealed off, and were of significant historical value. One of the metro project managers admitted that his workers had destroyed the group of tombs, but claimed the accidental destruction was due to a misunderstanding.
Representatives from the Guangzhou Archaeology Research Center contend it was impossible the construction workers could have missed the signs and plastic coverings marking the protected area.
This isn’t the first time ancient sites have been bulldozed in Guangzhou in recent times. Around 10 tombs have been destroyed during the construction of a new metro line. Numerous other historical buildings have been razed as well, usually without permission from authorities, as the city undergoes hurried expansion and development.
In part because of Guangzhou’s rapid development, more and more ancient sites have been discovered in recent years during surveying and excavation of new construction projects.
During the day, Marrakesh’s famous Djemaa El Fna square is filled with monkey trainers, snake charmers and stands selling the most delicious orange juice you’ve ever tried. At night, it hosts the best Berber storytellers in Morocco, magicians and countless steaming food stalls.
Flickr user Sylvia Wrigley took this emblematic photo of the historic market place. It captures restaurateurs selling “delicacies from a sheep’s head” and “cake” to locals and “couscous and skewered lamb” to tourists. You can practically smell the grilling through your screen.
A 1,200-year-old city has been uncovered by archaeologists in a thick, mountainous jungle in Cambodia, Australia’s Fairfax Media has reported. An international team of researchers using helicopter-mounted laser-imaging technology discovered dozens of temples connected by networks of roads, canals and dykes some 25 miles north of the famous Angkor Wat complex.
The city, Mahendraparvarta, predates Angkor Wat by 350 years. Archaeologists have been studying the area for some time, but only realized the extent of the city after mapping the area using lidar technology. Lidar is similar to radar, but uses laser pulses in lieu of sound waves to map terrain.
The researchers had to trek through dangerous landmine-ridden jungle to get to the city. Much of the medieval infrastructure is invisible behind a shroud of dense foliage. Promisingly, due to the difficulty of access, it appears some of the temples may have avoided being looted.
With further study, the team hopes to discover why the city was abandoned. According to Damian Evans, a co-leader of the expedition, deforestation and overpopulation may have resulted in the exodus.
Today, the Nicaraguan National Assembly is expected to rubber-stamp a $40 billion proposal by a Chinese consortium to build a canal across the country. The new canal will be over 150 miles long, dwarfing the famous Panama Canal.
The idea of a canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through Nicaragua has been around since colonial times, and up until 1970, the United States held rights to build it. However, the current proposal will see a newly formed Hong Kong-registered company, HKDN, build the waterway.
Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Central America. The construction of the new canal will see the country’s GDP double and employment triple in only five years, according to The Guardian.
Of the more than half-dozen proposed routes for the canal, at least five will run through the freshwater Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central America. Any land-only route would have to make a considerable detour to get around the lake.
Though the proposal has met with little resistance in parliament because of the large ruling party majority, no studies on the environmental or social impact of the project have been completed as yet.