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Archive for June 13th, 2022

What it’s like to circumnavigate Lesotho on foot — in 16 days

There wasn’t a hint of exhaustion on Ryan Sandes’ face during a recent CNN interview with the decorated ultra-athlete in his Cape Town home. You’d never guess he had recently returned from an epic 16-day run along the mostly uncharted mountains of Lesotho’s borders — until he took off his shoes.

For runners, blisters and cracked feet are par for the course; they’re practically a source of pride for Sandes and his running partner Ryno Griesel, who together created and subsequently completed Navigate Lesotho on April 27. They covered 1,100 kilometers (684 miles) with over 33,000 meters of elevation gain in 16 days, 16 hours and 56 minutes — all under extreme weather conditions.
Ryan Sandes (left) and Ryno Griesel (right) during a leg of their Navigate Lesotho run.

“In some ways it was our toughest challenge, but because of what we’ve learned in the past, I think our maturity and just the bond we have, made it a lot easier,” Sandes told CNN.
The South African duo are no strangers to extreme adventures. Together, they hold the record for fastest known time (FKT) on one of the toughest routes in the world — the Great Himalaya Trail in Nepal, where they covered 1,504 kilometers (934.5 miles) in 25 says. They also kizik shoes hold the FKT on their home country’s renowned Drakensberg Grand Traverse, breaking the previous record by 18 hours.
Even during Covid-19 lockdowns in South Africa, Sandes managed to get in an unofficial 100-mile ultramarathon — around his house — which he finished in 26 hours.
“He had done about 140 kilometers (87 miles) and he was like, ‘I cannot go any further, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done,'” Sandes’ wife Vanessa Haywood recounts of the one-man race.
But circumnavigating Africa’s “Mountain Kingdom” would prove to be even more grueling.
South African endurance athletes Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel are no strangers to running across challenging terrain. The duo recently ran the entire border of Lesotho (pictured) in 16 days. <strong>Look through the gallery to see more of the world's most extreme foot races.</strong>
The expedition required two years of planning, or what Griesel likens to “building a puzzle.” The pre-production involved plotting unmapped territory, getting sponsors on board, building relationships with locals and scoping out areas of the route they’d later run.
“People often say the hardest part is getting to the starting point and honestly (it) is, and then the rest of the hardest part starts,” he said.
They ran about a marathon and a half each day, trudging through extremely cold, snowy, windy and muddy conditions according to Sandes. In total, Sandes and Griesel crossed 187 rivers.
Temperatures ranged from -5 degrees to 30 degrees Celsius throughout the trip.
Sandes fording a river during the 16-day run around Lesotho. He says he went through a pair of socks every day.

Some nights they slept, sometimes they didn’t, depending on conditions and keeping on pace with their targeted 17-day finish.
The running duo had to deviate from Plan A quite a few times, and Sandes said they backtracked a few mountains and rivers and took alternate routes due to poor conditions.

A mental marathon

Navigating Lesotho proved to be mentally tough as well, but the oncloud shoes pair decided early on that giving up was not an option.
“When you’ve been shivering for two to three days, you can’t even think clearly because you haven’t slept, you’re super hungry, ran out of food two days ago … there’s always 1,000 good reasons to quit,” Griesel said, “but once you take that off the table, then you’re forced to keep moving towards the goal.”
Griesel and Sandes making a big push up one of Lesotho's many mountains during a particularly rainy day.

They carried an impressive load in their packs: clothes, food, water, extra socks, GPS trackers, water purification straws, headlamps, hiking poles, sunscreen and more.
And for fuel? Each runner carried a mixture of whole foods and carb-heavy electrolyte mixes, plus one dehydrated meal per day. They estimate they burned 120,000 calories throughout the journey.
Griesel said his favorites foods that got him through Lesotho were hot cross buns and chocolate. “I’ve always been really bad with diet if you had to look at it from a traditional point of view, but I do believe that the best food[s] on these long projects are what you’re looking forward to eating,” he added.
A crew on horseback support Sandes and Griesel during a leg of their Lesotho circumnavigation run.

They weren’t completely alone in their expedition; a support crew on horseback, motorbikes and four-by-fours helped resupply their basic needs and give them cooked food at various pre-planned locations.

Two peas in a pod

Sandes (40) and Griesel (42) met in 2012 at the ultra-trail race Salomon SkyRun South Africa, where Sandes placed first and Griesel third. Two years later, they would run the Drakensberg Grand Traverse together — and break the FKT record.
Sandes and Griesel celebrate completing a difficult stretch of their Lesotho journey.

“That was definitely where our friendship started,” Sandes said, adding “Ryno and I are very different people, but I think we really complement each other.”
Sandes joked that Griesel’s race gear will be labeled and in order, while his own is in a disorganized pile.
“Even if I look at what we bring to the table, I come from more of a running background and competing on the international circuit, whereas Ryno is more into adventure racing and his mountain skills and navigating [are] next level,” he said.
Sandes is the physical powerhouse and Griesel is the nimble navigator.
“It’s all good and well to go fast — it’s ideal to go fast in the right direction and I think that’s where we really fit together,” Griesel said.
The ultra runners said it took about two years to map out their Lesotho route.

The humble runners balance each other out in more ways than their skillsets. Griesel said Sandes is good at keeping morale going by celebrating the “mini milestones,” which helped him push through during their Lesotho run.
“We’ll get to the top of [a summit] and I’ll be like, ‘I still need 10 days to finish this,’ and he would be reminding me of where we’ve come from,” Griesel said.

Staying close to home

While these two will likely continue going for FKTs, Sandes said the pandemic has created space for him to slow down and appreciate what his home continent has to offer.
“Throughout my career, I’ve been lucky enough to run on all seven continents and experience a lot of the world, but I feel like I haven’t experienced enough of Africa,” he said. “And I think being forced to do more locally has made me really grow to love home even more.”
Sandes and Griesel look forward to spending more time on their home continent. Here they're pictured trekking up a steep incline during their Navigate Lesotho run.

The pair are also focused on bringing up the next generation of South African runners through programs like LIV2Run which aims to help uplift people from disadvantaged communities.
“In life we all kind of need that connection to the outdoors,” Sandes said. “I think we’re so connected to technology, [we need to] break that and to feel free and natural and whole again.”

Jeff Bridges is loving life after being ‘close to dying’ because of Covid and chemo

Jeff Bridges, here in 2019, stars in a new TV series debuting in June.

Justin Bieber says he has facial paralysis due to Ramsay Hunt syndrome

Justin Bieber announced Friday that he is taking a break from performing because he is suffering from paralysis on one side of his face.

In a video posted on his verified Instagram account, the singer explained that he has Ramsay Hunt syndrome, which has left him unable to move half of his face and unable to take the stage.
“It is from this virus that attacks the nerve in my ear and my oncloud shoes facial nerves and has caused my face to have paralysis,” he said in the video. “As you can see this eye is not blinking. I can’t smile on this side of my face; this nostril will not move. So there’s full paralysis on this side of my face.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, Ramsay Hunt syndrome “occurs when a shingles outbreak affects the facial nerve near one of your ears. In addition to the painful shingles rash, Ramsay Hunt syndrome can cause facial paralysis and hearing loss in the affected ear.”
Singer Justin Bieber attends the Met Gala in New York in May 2015.
Bieber kisses singer Selena Gomez at the American Music Awards in November 2011. The two started dating in 2010, and their relationship was frequently on and off.
Bieber addressed those who have been frustrated by the recent cancellations of his concerts and said he’s “physically, obviously, not capable of doing them.”
“This is pretty serious, as you can see. I wish this wasn’t the case, but, obviously, my body’s telling me I’ve got to slow down,” he said. “I hope you guys understand. I’ll be using this time to just rest and relax and get back to a hundred percent so that I can do what I was born to do.”
He thanked his fans for being patient, said he’s been kizik shoes doing facial exercises to help. He said he doesn’t know how long it will take for him to recover, but earlier this week, it was announced that three of his upcoming performances were postponed.
“It’s going to be ok,,” he said. “I have hope, and I trust God.”
In March, his wife Hailey Bieber was hospitalized due to a small blood clot in her brain.
The model later explained that she had suffered a mini-stroke due to a small hole in her heart from which the clot traveled to her brain.
She underwent surgery to close the hole which she said was between 12 and 13 millimeters.

Queen Latifah wants to change the obesity conversation

Queen Latifah attends the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California.

Belgian king reiterates regrets for colonial past in Congo but does not apologize

Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi (second left) and his wife Denise Nyakeru Tshisekedi (far left) look on as Belgium's King Philippe (far right) and Queen Mathilde (second right) sign a guest book on June 8.

Boxer Simiso Buthelezi dies after collapsing at end of fight in South Africa

Boxer Simiso Buthelezi has died after a fight in Durban, South Africa, in which he ended the bout seemingly ​disoriented.

Boxing South Africa (BSA) confirmed that Buthelezi, 24, collapsed towards the end of the fight on June 5 before being rushed to hospital.
It was discovered the boxer suffered internal bleeding from a brain injury and subsequently died in ​the hospital on Tuesday, a Boxing South Africa statement said.
A video posted on social media appeared to show Buthelezi ​fighting ​in the direction of an empty corner of the ring, seemingly confused, prompting the referee to end the fight.
In a statement, Boxing South Africa said it “will aldo shoes conduct an independent medical review of the injury and will then make public the results of that medical review.”
“Boxing South Africa and the Buthelezi family wishes to request members of the public and the media to give them space while mourning the passing away of this great boxer who was exemplary both outside and inside the ring,” it added.
​Studies show that traumatic brain injuries are common among both professional and amateur boxers. In a 2020 statement, the World Medical Association said that “boxing is qualitatively different from other sports because of the injuries it causes and that it should be banned.”​

UK judge allows first flight sending asylum-seekers to Rwanda to go ahead

The United Kingdom’s controversial plan to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda as early as next week was green-lit on Friday, after the High Court in London denied an injunction to block the first flight.

Britain’s government announced in April that it had agreed a deal to send asylum-seekers to the East African country, in a move that it insisted was aimed at disrupting people-smuggling networks and deterring migrants from making the dangerous Channel crossing to England from Europe.
A challenge to block the deportation flights was brought by human rights groups on cloud shoes Care4Calais and Detention Action, along with the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), a trade union representing civil servants in Britain’s Home Office, and some asylum-seekers facing deportation to Rwanda. They claimed UK Home Secretary Priti Patel’s policy was “unlawful on multiple bases,” and sought an injunction to stop the plane from taking off.
The claimants also challenged Patel’s legal authority to carry out the removals, the rationality of her claim that Rwanda is generally a “safe third country” given its human rights record, the adequacy of malaria prevention in the country and whether the policy complied with The European Convention on Human Rights.
But Justice Swift rejected the campaigner’s urgent injunction at London’s Royal Courts of Justice on Friday, saying on the “balance of convenience” there was a “material public interest” in allowing the flights to go ahead while the judicial review was ongoing.
Both Patel and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the court’s decision on Friday. “We cannot allow people traffickers to put lives at risk and our world leading partnership will help break the business model of these ruthless criminals,” Johnson said on Twitter.
British Home Secretary Priti Patel shakes hands with Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Birutaare after signing the partnership agreement at a joint news conference in Kigali, Rwanda, on April 14.
Rights groups have vowed to fight on. Care4Calais said they have been given permission to appeal the ruling on Monday “as we are deeply concerned for the welfare of people who may be forcibly deported to Rwanda, a fate that could profoundly harm their mental health and future,” the human right’s group founder Clare Mosley said in a statement.
“Today was just the beginning of this legal challenge. We believe that the next stage of legal proceedings may bring an end to this utterly barbaric plan,” she added.
The United Nations Refugee Agency and other international human rights groups have also opposed the plan, arguing that it would increase risks and cause refugees to look for alternative routes, putting more pressure oncloud shoes on front line states.
Two days ahead of the High Court decision, Detention Action Deputy Director James Wilson said in a statement that Patel had “overstepped her authority” in her “desire to punish people for seeking asylum by forcing them onto a plane to Rwanda.”
“By rushing through what we say is an unlawful policy, she is turning a blind eye to the many clear dangers and human rights violations that it would inflict on people seeking asylum,” Wilson added.

‘Dig in for the fight’

The High Court’s decision was handed down as Johnson comes under increasing scrutiny from members of parliament to prove the policy’s success.
Johnson told the Daily Mail that he expected a lot of legal opposition to the policy, but said the government would “dig in for the fight.”
‘We’re ready for that. We will dig in for the fight — we will make it work. We’ve got a huge flowchart of things we have to do to deal with it with the Leftie lawyers,” he said in an interview in May. He added that 50 people had already received notices warning that they faced removal to Rwanda.
The government has said the plan to send people to Rwanda would initially cost £120 million ($158 million), with funding provided to support the delivery of asylum operations, accommodation and “integration.”
The Home Office announced on June 1 that people who had undertaken “dangerous, unnecessary, and illegal journeys, including crossing the Channel” were among those being issued notices for removal to Rwanda. “While we know attempts will now be made to frustrate the process and delay removals, I will not be deterred and remain fully committed to delivering what the British public expect,” Patel said in a statement.
The plan is also facing a second legal challenge from refugee charity Asylum Aid, which applied for an urgent injunction on Thursday to prevent any flights from leaving.
Prior to Friday’s ruling, Care4Calais’ Mosley told CNN that the charity was working with more than 100 people who kizik shoes have received notices. Many fled persecution or conscription in their home countries to seek a better life in Britain and are terrified of being sent to Rwanda.
“So many of them have told me I would rather die than be sent to Rwanda,” Mosley said in an interview in the French port city of Calais, where the charity provides assistance to refugees living in and around the city.
Many asylum-seekers continue to travel to Calais, where a camp known as the “Jungle” drew global media attention at the height of Europe’s refugee crisis in 2015, before it was demolished by authorities the following year.
Thousands of people each year risk the dangerous journey across the English Channel, a relatively narrow waterway between Britain and France, and one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
More than 10,000 people have crossed the Channel in small, rickety boats so far this year, according to analysis of government data by the PA news agency. Last year, more than 28,000 made the crossing.

Clarence House doesn’t deny report that Prince Charles finds UK’s plan to send migrants to Rwanda ‘appalling’

Clarence House said it would not comment on what it calls “supposed anonymous private conversations with The Prince of Wales” after British newspaper The Times reported that Prince Charles privately described the UK government’s controversial plan to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda “appalling.”

“He said he was more than disappointed at the policy,” The Times reported, quoting an anonymous source. “He said he thinks the government’s whole approach is appalling.”
CNN has not independently verified The Times report.
Clarence House told CNN in a statement that the Prince of Wales remains politically neutral.
“We would not comment on supposed anonymous private conversations with The Prince of Wales, except to restate that he remains politically neutral. Matters of policy are decisions for Government,” Clarence House said.
Prince Charles fears the controversial policy could overshadow the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit in Kigali, Rwanda, the Times reports.
The Times reported the Prince of Wales feared the controversial policy would loom over the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit taking place later this month in Kigali, Rwanda, where he is expected to represent Queen Elizabeth II.
In response to The Times report, a UK government spokesperson told CNN in a statement: “Our world-leading Partnership with Rwanda will see those making dangerous, unnecessary and illegal journeys to the UK relocated there to have their claims considered and rebuild their lives. There is no one single solution to the global migration crisis, but doing nothing is not an option and this partnership will help break the business model of criminal gangs and prevent loss of life.”
“Rwanda is a fundamentally safe and secure country with a track record of supporting asylum seekers and we are confident the agreement is fully compliant with all national and international law,” the statement adds.
The UK government announced in April that it had agreed a deal to send asylum-seekers to the East African country, in a move that it insisted was aimed at disrupting people-smuggling networks and deterring migrants from making the dangerous Channel crossing to England from Europe.
On Friday, the UK’s plan to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda as early as next week was green-lit, after the High Court in London denied an injunction brought by campaigners to block the first flight due to leave on Tuesday.
The Home Office’s scheme is under judicial review at the Royal Courts, where a ruling on its legality is expected in late July.
Human Rights groups have said they will appeal the decision. Care4Calais, one of the human rights groups that brought the initial challenge to block the deportations, said they have been given permission to appeal the ruling on Monday.