BINAJ GURUBACHARYA, Associated PressAssociated Press
May 23, 2013 | 0 views | 0 | 0 | |
In this photo distributed by MIURA DOLPHINS CO., LTD., 80-year-old Japanese extreme skier Yuichiro Miura, right, who has had four heart operations in recent years, stands atop the summit of Mount Everest as he becomes the oldest person to climb the world's tallest mountain Thursday, May 23, 2013. Miura, who also conquered the 29,035-foot (8,850-meter) peak when he was 70 and 75, reached the summit at 9:05 a.m. local time, according to a Nepalese mountaineering official and Miura's Tokyo-based support team. (AP Photo/MIURA DOLPHINS CO., LTD.)
KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — An 80-year-old Japanese man who began the year with his fourth heart operation became the oldest conqueror of Mount Everest on Thursday, a feat he called "the world's best feeling" even with an 81-year-old Nepalese climber not far behind him.
Yuichiro Miura, a former extreme skier who also climbed the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak when he was 70 and 75, reached the summit at 9:05 a.m. local time, according to a Nepalese mountaineering official and Miura's Tokyo-based support team.
It was a moment Japanese news agency Kyodo captured on video from 10 kilometers (6 miles) away, using a camera crew at 5,500 meters (18,000 feet) elevation on another mountain.
"We have arrived at the summit," Miura said in a radio transmission to Kyodo from the world's highest point. "80 years and 7 months. ... The world's most incredible mountaineering team had helped me all the way up here."
Miura and his son Gota made a phone call from the summit, prompting his daughter Emili to smile broadly and clap her hands in footage shown by Japanese public broadcaster NHK.
"I made it!" Miura said over the phone. "I never imagined I could make it to the top of Mount Everest at age 80. This is the world's best feeling, although I'm totally exhausted. Even at 80, I can still do quite well."
Nepalese mountaineering official Gyanendra Shrestha, at the Everest base camp, confirmed that Miura had reached the summit and was the oldest person to do so.
The previous oldest was Nepal's Min Bahadur Sherchan, the 81-year-old on Miura's heels.
Sherchan is preparing to scale the peak next week despite digestive problems he suffered several days ago. On Wednesday, Sherchan said by telephone from the base camp that he was in good health and "ready to take up the challenge."
The two elderly mountaineers have crossed paths before.
Miura, who had become the oldest Everest climber with his ascent at age 70, would have reclaimed the title in 2008 as a 75-year-old, but Sherchan, then 76, reached the summit just a day before he did.
Emili Miura said Wednesday that his father he "doesn't really care" about the rivalry. "He's doing it for his own challenge."
Sherchan's team leader, Temba, who uses one name, said Sherchan will congratulate the new record holder when he returns to the base camp, and that he won't turn back until he completes his mission.
Sherchan got good news Thursday when Nepal's government approved financial aid for his climb. The Cabinet approved 1 million rupees ($11,200) for Sherchan's expedition and waived $70,000 in permit fees, said Bimal Gautam, the press adviser to the Chairman of the Council of Ministers.
Miura conquered the mountain despite undergoing heart surgery in January for an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, his fourth heart operation since 2007, according to his daughter. He also broke his pelvis and left thigh bone in a 2009 skiing accident.
On his expedition's website, he explained his attempt to scale Everest at an advanced age: "It is to challenge (my) own ultimate limit. It is to honor the great Mother Nature."
He said a successful climb would raise the bar for what is possible, a point echoed after his success by Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
"This will be deeply touching to all the people of Japan. And, especially, in an aging society, it will also give much courage and hope to all elderly people," Suga said at a news conference.
Miura became famous when he was a young man as a daredevil speed skier.
He skied down Everest's South Col in 1970, using a parachute to brake his descent. The feat was captured in the Oscar-winning 1975 documentary, "The Man Who Skied Down Everest." He has also skied down Mount Fuji.
It wasn't until Miura was 70, however, that he first climbed to the top of Everest. When he summited again at 75, he claimed to be the only man to accomplish the feat twice in his 70s. After that, he said he was determined to climb again at age 80.
Associated Press writers Malcolm Foster and Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report from Tokyo.
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A federal judge has scheduled a hearing to formally settle lawsuits challenging the $650 million deepening of the Savannah River shipping channel.
A tentative settlement was reached last month and U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel is slated to hold a hearing next Wednesday in Charleston.
Environmental groups and a South Carolina agency sued last year, contending deepening the 32-mile shipping channel will dredge up toxic cadmium.
Under the settlement, the Army Corps of Engineers would have to perform more mitigation, the Georgia Ports Authority would provide more than $25 million in conservation efforts and transfer 2,000 acres of salt marsh to South Carolina.
The plaintiffs could go back to court if tests of equipment designed to replenish oxygen in the water do not work.
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says a $652 million plan to deepen the shipping channel to Savannah's seaport remains very much on President Barack Obama's radar.
Reed urged Savannah business and political leaders at a luncheon Thursday to be patient after the president's 2014 budget request last month contained far less money for the harbor expansion than the Georgia Ports Authority hoped to see.
Reed, a Democrat, has helped push the port project with the White House and noted he spent several hours with Obama when he visited Atlanta last weekend. The mayor says the president brought up the Savannah port on his own at a private gathering.
Georgia Ports Authority chief Curtis Foltz says he hopes initial construction can start this year using $231 million the state has already appropriated.
SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science WriterAssociated Press
May 23, 2013 | 195 views | 0 | 3 | |
In this Aug. 30, 2012 file photo, residents evacuate their flooded neighborhood in LaPlace, La. as Hurricane Isaac staggered toward central Louisiana, its weakening winds driving storm surge into portions of the coast and the River Parishes between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Federal forecasters are predicting yet another busy hurricane season. The outlook on Thursday, May 23, 2013 calls for 13 to 20 named storms, 7 to 11 that strengthen into hurricanes and 3 to 6 that become major hurricanes. The prediction by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is more than what’s considered an average Atlantic season. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Get ready for another busy hurricane season, maybe unusually wild, federal forecasters say.
Their prediction Thursday calls for 13 to 20 named Atlantic storms, 7 to 11 that strengthen into hurricanes and 3 to 6 that become major hurricanes.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there is a 70 percent chance that this year will be more active than an average hurricane season.
If you live in hurricane prone areas along the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico coasts, "This is your warning," acting NOAA administrator Kathryn Sullivan said.
A normal year has 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major storms with winds over 110 mph.
Last year was the third-busiest on record with 19 named storms. Ten became hurricanes and were two major storms. That included Sandy, which caused $50 billion in damage even though it lost hurricane status when it made landfall in New Jersey.
All the factors that go into hurricane forecasts are pointing to an active season, or extremely active one, said lead forecaster Gerry Bell of the Climate Prediction Center.
Those factors include: warmer than average ocean waters that provide fuel for storms, a multi-decade pattern of increased hurricane activity, the lack of an El Nino warming of the central Pacific Ocean, and an active pattern of storm systems coming off west Africa.
The Atlantic hurricane season goes through about 25 to 40 year cycles of high activity and low activity. The high activity period started around 1995, Sullivan said.
The forecasts don't include where storms might land, if any place. Despite the formation of more hurricanes recently, the last time a major hurricane made landfall in the United States was Wilma in 2005. That seven-year stretch is the longest on record.
The six-month season starts June 1. Forecasters name tropical storms when their top winds reach 39 mph; hurricanes have maximum winds of at least 74 mph.
This year's names: Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van and Wendy.