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Nepalese search team members rescue a survivor of an avalanche on Mount Everest Friday. At least 13 Nepalese guides preparing routes for commercial climbers were killed by an avalanche in the most deadly mountaineering accident ever on the world's highest peak. (AFP/Getty Images)

Mount Everest: Avalanche Death Toll Rises To 13

Apr 19, 2014

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Search teams have recovered the body of the 13th victim of a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest. Crews are digging through a mass of ice and snow in an unstable ice field on the world's tallest mountain in hopes of finding Sherpa guides who are still missing.

"Three guides remain missing, according to the head of the Nepalese government's mountaineering department," NPR's Julie McCarthy reports from New Delhi. "The recovery effort requires a painstaking climb over a treacherous pass, called Popcorn for its bulging chunks of ice, and a new snowfall could slow the search for the missing Sherpa."

The guides had been working to set up a route for climbers to follow on expeditions this season, fixing ropes and carrying equipment for their companies' foreign clients. But they were overwhelmed at the Kumbu Icefall by a wall of snow.

The disaster is being called the worst in the mountain's history. One of those who survived, Wangdi Sherpa, 26, tells CNN that as the avalanche sped toward him, he and his assistant sheltered behind a large chunk of ice.

"A big piece of ice suddenly came off the mountain. I did not think I would survive," Sherpa says.

The pair stayed in place as the falling ice created a dust cloud that reduced visibility to nothing, he says.

"We knew it was an avalanche but we couldn't run away or do anything," another survivor, Ang Kami Sherpa, 25, tells Britain's The Telegraph. "There was a big chunk of snow that fell over us and swept us away. It looked like clouds, all white."

The newspaper adds that some of the climbers who had already arrived at Base Camp to prepare for their planned ascent were shaken up by the tragedy and have canceled their plans.

This season was due to be a busy one, according to the Himalayan Times:

"According to the Tourism Ministry's records, a total of 334 mountaineers representing 31 teams are headed for Mt Everest this season. More than 500 support staff have already arrived in the Khumbu region to prepare for the summit."

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Health officials are making an extra push for vaccination against mumps in Columbus, Ohio, in the wake of an outbreak that started at Ohio State University. (iStockphoto)

Extra Vaccination Push Underway In Ohio As Mumps Outbreak Spreads

by Steve Brown
Apr 19, 2014 (Weekend Edition Saturday / WOSU Public Media)

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Health officials in Columbus, Ohio, are calling the city's mumps outbreak the biggest since the development of the mumps vaccine in the 1940s.

Columbus generally gets an average of one case of mumps a year, but since February, there have been 244 cases reported in an outbreak that began on the Ohio State University campus. Most had already been vaccinated.

The outbreak even pushed officials to open a new clinic, where public health nurses have vaccinated about 150 people, including Sean Hubert, who works in the health care industry.

"You know, if I ended up getting the disease and then passing it to my staff, not only does that feel bad on my part, but then they could certainly pass it to the clients that they serve," Hubert says.

The majority of those infected so far are students or staff at Ohio State. Administrators say they're trying to educate students on ways to limit spreading infection, like frequent hand washing. Still, university officials say there's only so much the school can do.

Graduate student John Vaughn is considering revaccination. "I haven't been back for a booster, but I'm considering it now that I realize that this can pop up even if you've been vaccinated," he says.

As Vaughn notes, vaccinations are not 100 percent effective. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say one dose is about 78 percent effective. That increases to 88 percent with a second dose.

Columbus Public Health Commissioner Teresa Long is urging more vaccinations.

"We're in a community outbreak situation," Long says. "That would not have been the recommendation if we did not have that going on here."

Mumps usually brings flu-like symptoms and swollen salivary glands. Most people recover completely after a few weeks, but in rare cases it can have serious, long-term effects, including possible deafness or damage to reproductive organs.

Health officials say it could be several months before this outbreak subsides.

Commissioner Long and the health commissioner of neighboring Franklin County, Susan Tilgner, have sent letters to school leaders asking them to warn parents that children who haven't had the vaccine could have to stay home for 25 days or more if mumps cases cluster in a building, the Columbus Dispatch reported this week.

Jose Rodriguez, a spokesman for Columbus Public Health, told ABC News that 17 cases have turned up in schools, but none of the schools has had more than two cases yet.

"That's when we ... get really concerned," Rodriguez says, "because then it becomes a cluster."

Copyright 2014 WOSU Public Media. To see more, visit http://wosu.org.

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A Pakistani policeman points to the damaged car that was carrying Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir when he was attacked in Karachi Saturday. Mir is reportedly out of immediate danger. (AFP/Getty Images)

Pakiastani TV Journalist Hamid Mir Wounded In Attack

Apr 19, 2014 (WOSU Public Media)

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Prominent TV anchor Hamid Mir is in a Karachi hospital after gunmen opened fire on his car Saturday afternoon. Mir's car was ambushed by attackers, at least some of whom were riding motorcycles, according to local media reports.

Details about the attack are still emerging. Citing police, Mir's broadcast network, Geo TV, says he arrived at a hospital in critical condition after being shot three times in the leg and torso. Mir's driver reportedly escaped injury; the gunmen remain at large.

"Mir is now reported to have regained consciousness and hospital administration say his condition is out of danger," Pakistan's Dawn news service says.

Mir's brother, Amir, tells Geo TV that before the attack, Mir told him that an attempt on his life could come from within part of Pakistan's government — specifically from within its intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence.

Amir Mir added that his brother "had recorded a video message and dispatched it to the Committee to Protect Journalists."

The ISI has denied any involvement, and Pakistan's leaders have condemned the attack, the country's Express Tribune says:

"Both the President and the Prime Minister condemned the attack.

"Later, the army condemned the attack prayed for his well being and quick recovery.

"According to a statement of Inter-Services Public Relations spokesperson, an independent inquiry must immediately be carried out to ascertain facts. The spokesperson added that allegations against ISI or head of ISI without any basis is highly regrettable and misleading."

The incident has given new fuel to an outcry in Pakistan over attacks on journalists. From Islamabad, NPR's Philip Reeves filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"Hamid Mir is one of Pakistan's best-known — and controversial — journalists, and one of the few to interview Osama bin Laden.

"His employer, Geo TV, says four men on motorcycles opened fire on Mir's car as he was going from Karachi airport to the office.

"Attacks and intimidation against Pakistan's journalists are alarmingly common. Three weeks ago, gunmen pumped bullets into another TV anchor's car in Lahore, killing the driver.

"In January, three media workers in Karachi were shot dead. Pakistan's government has promised better security for the media: It'll now face added pressure to carry these through."

A colleague says he briefly spoke to Mir by phone, as the attack was going on.

"Geo News Islamabad bureau chief, Rana Jawad said Hamid Mir spoke to him after being attacked and said that the gunmen were following him and continued to fire on the car," Geo TV reports.

The broadcaster adds that an attempt was made on Mir's life in 2012, when explosives were found to have been placed under his car.

Update at 1:08 p.m. ET. Reaction From Committee To Protect Journalists:

Saying that it is "alarmed by the continuing violence against journalists in Pakistan," the Committee To Protect Journalists issued a statement about the attack.

"The attack on Hamid Mir is an indicator that the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has not been able to reverse the country's appalling record of violence against journalists, despite pledges to do so," said Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia program coordinator. "Full prosecution of the perpetrators of such crimes is the only answer to reversing this history."

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A new study suggests the Greenland Ice Sheet did not fully melt during previous periods of global warming — and that it preserved a tundra beneath it. ( University of Vermont)

Ancient Landscape Is Found Under 2 Miles Of Ice In Greenland

Apr 19, 2014 (WOSU Public Media)

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In a surprising discovery, scientists have found evidence of a tundra landscape in Greenland that's millions of years old. The revelation goes against widely held ideas about how some glaciers work, and it suggests that at least parts of Greenland's ice sheet had survived periods of global warming intact.

"Glaciers are commonly thought to work like a belt sander," a news release from the University of Vermont says. "As they move over the land they scrape off everything — vegetation, soil, and even the top layer of bedrock."

That's why researchers from several universities and NASA say they were "greatly surprised" to find signs that an ancient tundra had been preserved beneath 2 miles of ice in Greenland, in a study that was published this week in the journal Science.

"We found organic soil that has been frozen to the bottom of the ice sheet for 2.7 million years," says University of Vermont geologist and lead author Paul Bierman.

The researchers studied 17 "dirty ice" samples from the bottom of an ice core taken in the area of Summit, Greenland, looking for the presence of the isotope beryllium-10, which would signal an exposure to the atmosphere in the 10,019-foot "GISP2" sample that was taken in 1993.

The ice core has been involved in many other studies — but few of those were focused on its very bottom.

"I was asking a really different question than people who look at ice cores," Bierman tells the site LiveScience. "I was looking for a history of landscapes in ancient Greenland, and that mindset wasn't there 20 years ago. It's the evolution of science — you're always coming up with new hypotheses to test," he said.

The scientists believed they would find only trace amounts of beryllium-10. Instead, they found millions of the atoms, LiveScience says.

Bierman says that "we thought we were going looking for a needle in haystack." But, "It turned out that we found an elephant in a haystack."

To put their findings in context, the researchers compared their results with data from a sample they took in the tundra that exists today, in Alaska's Brooks Range. The results were similar to those from the ice core, leading at least one scientists to say they'd found a new rationale for Greenland's name.

"Greenland really was green! However, it was millions of years ago," says co-author Dylan Rood of the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Center and the University of California, Santa Barbara. "Greenland looked like the green Alaskan tundra, before it was covered by the second largest body of ice on Earth."

The study gives a sense of the findings' potential wider impact:

"The preservation of this soil implies that the ice has been non-erosive and frozen to the bed for much of that time, that there was no substantial exposure of central Greenland once the ice sheet became fully established, and that preglacial landscapes can remain preserved for long periods under continental ice sheets."

In the University of Vermont release, Bierman warns that the ice sheet's survival of earlier periods of global warming doesn't necessarily mean it can survive the current warming trend in global temperatures.

Of Greenland's ice that predates the human species, he said, "If we keep on our current trajectory, the ice sheet will not survive. And once you clear it off, it's really hard to put it back on."

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A new study suggests the Greenland Ice Sheet did not fully melt during previous periods of global warming — and that it preserved a tundra beneath it. ( University of Vermont)

Not My Job: Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake Gets Quizzed On Winter Sports

Apr 19, 2014 (Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! / WOSU Public Media) — We've asked Flake to play a game called "Dude, that skijoring was sick!" Three questions about non-Olympic winter sports. Originally broadcast Feb. 15, 2014.

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