CENTRALIA, Pa. Fifty years ago on Sunday, a fire at the town dump ignited an exposed coal seam, setting off a chain of events that eventually led to the demolition of nearly every building in Centralia a whole community of 1,400 simply gone.
All these decades later, the Centralia fire still burns. It also maintains its grip on the popular imagination, drawing visitors from around the world who come to gawk at twisted, buckled Route 61, at the sulfurous steam rising intermittently from ground that's warm to the touch, at the empty, lonely streets where nature has reclaimed what coal-industry money once built.
It's a macabre story that has long provided fodder for books, movies and plays the latest one debuting in March at a theater in New York.
Yet to the handful of residents who still occupy Centralia, who keep their houses tidy and their lawns mowed, this borough in the mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania is no sideshow attraction. It's home, and they'd like to keep it that way.
FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2010, file photo, a painted, wooden heart with the words "To Centralia with Love from Kingston N.Y." stands in an open lot in Centralia, Pa. Fifty years ago on Sunday, May 27, 2012, a fire at the town dump spread to a network of coal mines underneath hundreds of homes and business in the northeastern Pennsylvania borough of Centralia, eventually forcing the demolition of nearly every building. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
(CNN) -- At the NATO summit in Chicago, President Obama and leaders of America's NATO allies agreed on an "irreversible" plan to withdraw from Afghanistan. But challenges remain.
Despite the deliberately unambiguous word choice used to describe the withdrawal, uncertainty about how the West will confront the obstacles ahead remains. Issues specifically related to Afghanistan are yet to be resolved, and plenty of others are tied to the volatile politics of the area.
The Afghan National Army is already taking the lead in regions with roughly 75% of the population, with U.S. and other NATO troops acting as support. However, this does not include the most contested areas in the south and east, where Afghan forces are slated to assume responsibility by next summer. Serious doubts persist about their readiness to do so.
Despite significant training efforts, the army's level of competence remains in question. It lacks many of the support functions needed for war fighting. The army will remain dependent on international forces for these capabilities and on the international community for financial assistance, expected to cost at least $4 billion a year.
An Afghanistan National Army soldier searches a car's passenger in Kandahar, a largely Pashtun city.
This month, Japan shut down the last of its 54 nuclear reactors. When and if any of those reactors are to be restarted is uncertain. One thing is for sure, though: as long as it is without nuclear power, Japan will be almost completely dependent on imported fossil fuels.
Japan has the third most nuclear generating capacity in the world, behind the U.S. and France. Just before the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, nuclear power was the source of just under 30 percent of the country's electricity. Hydropower and other renewable power sources accounted for less than 10 percent. The rest came from fossil fuelsthe vast majority of which came from foreign nations, since Japan has few fossil-fuel resources of its own.
Japan's heavy dependence on foreign oil was exposed as a major vulnerability in 1973, after oil-producing countries in the Middle East imposed an oil embargo. In order to help protect itself from future shocks, the country accelerated its nuclear program, which had begun in the 1950s. Still, half of the nation's primary energy supply in 2010 came from oil, around 85 percent of which was imported from the Middle East.
Kathmandu, Nepal (CNN) -- Four people died while coming down the southern slope of the mountain during the weekend after reaching Mount Everest's 8848-meter (29,028 foot) summit, officials said.
The victims have been identified as Ebehard Schaaf, 61, a German medical doctor; Sriya Shah, 33, a Nepali-born Canadian woman; Song Wondin, a 44-year-old man from South Korea; and Wen Ryi Ha, 55, of China, according to officials with the tourism and civil aviation ministry and at the base of the mountain.
"Climbers climbing down the mountain have said that they have seen the body of the Korean," said Tilakram Pandey, of the tourism and civil aviation ministry, by phone from the base of the mountain.
The Korean had earlier been reported missing. There were reports of a Nepali missing as well, but those reports could not be verified, Pandey said.
Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/21/world/asia/everest-deaths/index.html?eref=igoogledmn_topstories
Everest weekend death toll reaches 4
KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) Climbers have reported seeing another body on Mount Everest, raising the death toll to four for one of the worst days ever on the world's highest mountain.
Nepali mountaineering official Gyanendra Shrestha said Tuesday that the body of Chinese climber Ha Wenyi was spotted not far from where three other climbers died. They were part of what was a "traffic jam" by Everest standards an estimated 150 climbers who rushed to use a brief window of good weather to try to reach the top Friday and Saturday.
Wenyi and the other victims German doctor Eberhard Schaaf, Nepal-born Canadian Shriya Shah and South Korean mountaineer Song Won-bin died Saturday on their way down from the 8,850-meter (35,035-foot) summit. They are believed to have suffered exhaustion and altitude sickness, Shrestha said.
Shrestha says a Nepalese Sherpa guide who had been reported missing is safe and has reached the base camp. Shrestha says the guide was separated from his group and did not have communications equipment.
(CBS News) Alzheimer's disease cannot be cured but it can be prevented. The government announced Tuesday a $100 million study to test an Alzheimer's prevention drug in just one family. It's potentially a breakthrough because it's hard to test Alzheimer's prevention.
Scientists can never know which healthy people will develop the disease, but now they've found one family in which nearly everyone develops Alzheimer's.
CBS News correspondent Wyatt Andrews reports more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's or another forms of dementia. That's expected to triple over the next 40 years as the population ages.
The annual cost of care - now $200 billion - could hit $1 trillion. The Obama administration announced a strategy Tuesday to find a treatment by 2025.
I lost my mother six months ago and I had no idea this would hit me so hard. My mother wasn't sick, she fell down the stairs in the dark when the lights went out during Hurricane Irene and broke her neck. The only other injury was a cut on her knee.
She was in ICU at the best medical center in the area and I went to see her every day. Once she came around and the bruises faded, I had so much hope, but she couldn't breathe on her own. My brother was medical proxy and he was convinced to remove the ventilator by the long-time family GP and I still feel guilty that I didn't fight harder. We were told that she'd require care in another state and that her life would be hell. And she had a Living Will.
I've done everything that's been expected of me, planned everything and I'm the executor. I've tried to make her (and my late father) proud of me, but it still hits me in the solar plexus everytime I think of it. I should have thought of something like this thread, myself, but I've been wallowing in my own sadness today. Thank you so much for thinking of this and giving me a chance to say what's in my heart.
Your mother is beautiful and she must have been very special to have raised such a thoughtful and caring person like you.
This is the pic that my brother and I chose for the newspaper. It's recent.
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