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Quick Takes


Prakash Mathema/AFP via Getty Images

Quick Takes
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King of the Mountain

On May 7, a Sherpa guide named Kami Rita became the first person to summit Mount Everest 25 times. Rita, 51, made his 25th successful summit during an expedition of Sherpas to fix ropes along the route up the 29,032-foot peak in preparation for climbing season. Native to the mountainous regions of Nepal, Sherpas are a Tibetan people group known for their endurance at high elevations and often serving as guides for foreign mountain climbers. Rita, whose father also served as a mountain guide, first reached the top of Mount Everest in 1994 and has worked every year since helping other climbers summit the dangerous peak. He resisted family pressure to quit the job even after a 2015 avalanche on Everest killed 19 people. Rita has also climbed other peaks, including K2, Cho Oyu, Manaslu, and Lhotse. During the brief May climbing season this year, 43 teams led by roughly 400 Nepalese guides were expected to make an attempt to summit the mountain.

Borderline crime

A Belgian farmer accidentally altered the border of Belgium and France after moving a boundary stone to make way for his tractor. A history enthusiast walking the national border between France and Belgium was the first to notice that one of the stones marking the boundary between the countries since 1819 had been displaced by more than 7 feet—making France smaller and Belgium larger. Officials with the Belgian government said they’ve asked the farmer to return the stone to its proper place. Failing that, the long-dormant Franco-Belgian border commission will have to resolve the dispute. “We should be able to avoid a new border war,” neighboring French Mayor Aurélie Welonek told La Voix du Nord.

Great canal caper

Police in Leicester, U.K., arrested a narrowboat pilot after he led officers on a slow 8-mile chase down a canal. According to police, officers learned the pilot of the boat was wanted for an assault in a different part of the city days before. An officer spotted the boat as it left a lock on the Grand Union Canal on April 28 and gave chase. With the canal boat reaching speeds of 4 mph, the unnamed officer pursued on his bicycle until the wanted pilot stepped out of the craft at the next lock. “For 15 years I’ve been trying to tick off a water-based pursuit in landlocked Leicester and today I’ve ticked it off,” the officer said on the Leicester City Police’s Twitter account.

Confronting reality

Vladislav Ivanov can finally leave the Chinese reality television show on which he’s been cloistered for three months. The Russian national who speaks fluent Mandarin joined the crew of a Beijing-based reality show originally as a Chinese teacher. But before filming began, show producers made him a contestant. The show featured musicians competing against others to get a place in a Chinese boy band. Ivanov said he changed his mind early in the process but his contract forced him to stay. On the show, the 27-year-old pleaded with TV viewers to vote him off and allow him to leave, but instead Chinese viewers pushed him to the final round. Ivanov was finally allowed to depart the show on April 24.

Trusting his instinct

Jesse Larios walked from Los Angeles to San Francisco wearing a bear costume. The 33-year-old set out from LA on April 12 with a teddy bear costume but without a plan. “It was an impulsive decision for sure. I didn’t plan it out,” Larios told Reuters during his 400-mile walk. Larios’ costume consisted of an oversized teddy bear head, a bear body costume to match, and sneakers. Once local media discovered his story and began publicizing it, Larios began a GoFundMe page to solicit donations for charity. By May 5, he had raised over $17,000. Larios said he would allow contributors to decide what charity he’d donate to.

Checked Child

A 9-year-old boy who took a ride on a baggage handling conveyor belt at a Minnesota airport survived the trip without injury. Authorities at the Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport say the boy was part of a 20-person group checking their bags in ahead of a flight. “There was a lot of confusion because there were so many people in the group,” airport spokesman Pat Hogan said. Members of the group alerted airport police, who were able to track the boy down on the conveyor belt five minutes later.

Melt to order

After getting access to his mother’s Amazon.com account, a 4-year-old in New York City managed to purchase 51 cases of frozen SpongeBob Popsicles. The order cost Noah Bryant’s mother Jennifer $2,618.85—a sum the NYU social work student and mother of three could not afford. When Amazon refused to accept a return on the 918 SpongeBob Popsicles, one of Bryant’s fellow students created a GoFundMe fundraiser to help the family. By May 7, internet users had contributed nearly $13,000. Bryant says she’ll set aside the excess money for Noah’s education.

Multiples of “No”

A bride in Uttar Pradesh, India, was prepared to marry her groom in an arranged marriage—that is, until she realized the man couldn’t answer basic math questions. Before the marriage ceremony scheduled for May 1, the unnamed woman grew suspicious of the groom’s educational background. So when the two met at the wedding venue, the bride-to-be asked the would-be groom to multiply a series of numbers by 2. After he couldn’t perform the basic mathematical function, she left. “The groom’s family had kept us in the dark about his education. He may not have even gone to school. The groom’s family had cheated us. But my brave sister walked out without fearing social taboo,” the bride’s relative told Indian media.

Stick to the menu

Employees at a McDonald’s in the United Kingdom were happy enough to accommodate a thief by opening the till. But the employees drew a line at making something from their lunch or dinner menu during breakfast hours. Police in the British town of Yate outside of Bristol say Rudi Batten entered the store on Feb. 8 demanding both cash and chicken nuggets. An employee gave him cash from the register, and police say Batten then used an airsoft gun to fool the manager into opening the store safe in the belief he was armed with a real gun. Police say when Batten asked for McNuggets, the McDonald’s crew told him they only had breakfast items. Batten chose a double-sausage McMuffin instead. In April, a British judge sentenced Batten to six years in jail for the robbery.

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