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More than 100 writers send letter to Turkish Prime Minister about journalists on espionage trial

The editors have been charged with revealing state secrets in a report that alleged the government tried to ship arms to Islamic militants in Syria.

More than 100 leading writers from across the world sent a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Wednesday asking the government to drop espionage charges against two Turkish journalists, reported The Guardian. This comes a day before the trial of Cumhuriyet editors Can Dündar and Erdem Gül who have been charged with revealing state secrets over a report alleging that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government tried to ship arms to Islamists in Syria. They might be jailed for life if proven guilty in court.

The letter was signed by Monica Ali, Margaret Atwood, JM Coetzee, Yann Martel, Elif Şhafak, Colm Tóibín and Mario Vargas Llosa, among others, as part of a campaign organised by free speech charity PEN International. “In recent years, the Turkish authorities have made extraordinary efforts to silence critics and dissent. This has had an impact on all areas of Turkish society. Current legislation and surveillance practices not only diminish freedom of speech for the country’s writers and journalists, but seriously threaten the fundamental rights and freedoms of tens of millions of individuals,” the letter states.

PEN International president Jennifer Clement said, “The fact that Can Dündar and Erdem Gül are facing life in prison simply for fulfilling their responsibilities as journalists demonstrates the sorry state of freedom of expression in Turkey.” She said there are 20 other writers languishing behind bars in the country, and scores of others who are under investigation or on trial "simply for peacefully exercising their right to free expression".

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Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

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Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.

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Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.