Showing posts with label Show all posts
Showing posts with label Show all posts

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

RJPN lawmaker arrested for airport vandalism

File: Lawmaker Pramod Sah

Kathmandu, October 15

Police in Kathmandu have arrested House of Representatives member Pramod Sah for his alleged involvement in a vandalism case at Janakpur Airport on Monday.

A team deployed from the Metropolitan Crime Division arrested the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal leader from the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. Sah was preparing to board a flight to Okhaldhunga when police nabbed him.

The lawmaker had reportedly vandalised the Buddha Air counter at Janakpur Airport yesterday after his flight was delayed. He had also vandalised the VIP lounge of the airport.

Following the incident, the airline company had refused to take him on board, but later the company had submitted to the pressure from the local administration.

He was elected to the Lower House from Sarlahi-1 in the 2017 elections.

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Monday, October 14, 2019

Paras Khadka steps down as Nepal cricket team captain

File: Paras Khadka

Kathmandu, October 15

Cricketer Paras Khadka says he will no longer play as the captain of Nepal’s national cricket team.

In a surprising move, Khadka issued a press statement on Tuesday and said he had resigned from the position. His announcement comes one day after the International Cricket Council ended the suspension of the Cricket Association of Nepal.

Khadka has written on his Twitter account, “Great to know that the suspension of Nepal cricket has been lifted and would like to wish the new committee to work for the betterment of Nepal cricket, players and its stakeholders.”

Khadka was the captain of the team for the past 10 years. In his leadership, Nepal obtained the one-day international status and played the T20 World Cup.

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Rautahat court remands suspended MP Alam in custody for seven days

Suspended lawmaker Mohammad Aftab Alam being taken to the Rautahat District Court on Tuesday, October 15, 2019.

Rautahat, October 15

The Rautahat District Court has remanded suspended lawmaker Mohammad Aftab Alam in custody for seven days on Tuesday. A bench of the district judge Chitra Bahadur Gurung allowed police to continue the investigation till next Sunday while keeping the former minister in custody.

Police had arrested the Nepali Congress leader on Sunday for his alleged involvement in a blast in Rajpur of the district in April 2008.

Meanwhile, Alam told journalists that he was shocked over his arrest as it was decided to withdraw the case back in 2009. He, however, maintained that he would respect the court, hoping that the truth would come out soon.

With the judge’s approval, police took Alam back to the District Police Office.

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Police prepare for Mahara’s DNA test to confirm charge

Krishna Bahadur Mahara being taken to the Kathmandu District Court from Norvic Hospital, on Tuesday, October 15, 2019.

Kathmandu, October 15

Police are preparing to conduct a DNA test on Krishna Bahadur Mahara, the then House of Representatives Speaker, to check if he attempted to rape a staffer of the Federal Parliament Secretariat.

Mahara was arrested last week after the staffer accused him of an attempt to rape. He had already resigned from his position then after media reported the incident with the woman’s quote.

Police sources say Mahara will undergo the test as the investigators need to confirm if the broken glasses and insole of shoes collected from the incident site belonged to him. Police had collected these materials days before Mahara was arrested.

An investigator says two things are primarily important to prove a rape case: the presence of the suspect in the incident site and evidence that prove the suspect’s attack on the victim.

Police have already confirmed Mahara’s presence in the victim’s rented room from the CCTV footage. Now, the investigators will try to find out evidence of the attack with the DNA test.

Meanwhile, police presented Mahara at the Kathmandu District Court on Tuesday seeking an extension of the remand. He was taken to the court from Norvic International Hospital. He had been taken to the hospital from the custody of Metropolitan Police Circe, Singhadarbar after he reported high blood pressure.

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Officials bar journalists from attending President’s address

File: President Bidya Devi Bhandari

Kathmandu, October 15

Officials have barred many journalists from attending the inaugural session of the ninth general assembly of the Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA), where President Bidya Devi Bhandari addressed, citing the journos did not possess a ‘special pass’. The officials have said the press pass issued by the Department of Information and Broadcasting would not be sufficient to attend the event.

The reporters said the security personnel sought the special pass issued by the organiser in order to access the president’s speech.

Of late, the journalists have been barred from attending various events hosted at the President’s Office, Shital Niwas, citing similar reasons. During the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping last weekend also, journalists from private media houses were barred from attending certain events and broadcasting them live.

Meanwhile, experts have objected to the practice citing it violated the basic rights of a journalist. “Tomorrow, the army chief or the chief justice may adopt similar practices. But we don’t need different passes for the president, the NRNA, the army chief or the court,” says Shiva Gaunle, former president of the Federation of Nepali Journalists.

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Nepal to face Jordan in World Cup Qualifiers tonight

Nepal national football team

Kathmandu, October 15

Nepali are facing Jordan in their last ‘away’ game of the second round of the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers on Tuesday night. The game will begin at 9:45 PM Nepal standard time at Amman International Stadium in Jordan.

Nepal have hoped to stop Jordan from the victory on their home ground.

In other matches of this round, Nepal lost to Australia 5-0 and to Kuwait 7-0. They, however, defeated Chinese Taipei 2-0. In total, Nepal have earned just three points from two matches.

In Nepal’s Group B, Australia are at the top of the table, followed by Kuwait and Jordan respectively. Nepal are in fourth place and Chinese Taipei is at the bottom.

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NRNA’s 9th general convention beginning in Kathmandu

Kathmandu, October 15

The ninth general convention of the Non-Resident Nepali Association, an organisation of Nepalis living abroad, is beginning in Kathmandu on Tuesday. President Bidya Devi Bhandari will inaugurate the event at Hyatt Regency Kathmandu this morning.

The convention will also elect the new leadership for the NRNA Global Committee for the next two years. The election is scheduled to be held on Wednesday and the convention will conclude on Thursday. So far, two persons–Kul Acharya and Kumar Panta–have announced their candidacy for the organisation’s president.

Both Acharya and Panta are vice-presidents in the outgoing Bhaban Bhatta-led committee. Acharya represents the democratic alliance whereas Panta belongs to the leftist side.

The election will elect 42 officials for 12 positions. Around 2,500 representatives have already gathered in Kathmandu to attend the gala event.


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Morning Starter: Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Good morning!

Here’s a quick summary of important, ignored and interesting reports from Monday to kick-start your day:


ICC lifts CAN suspension, but full funding will not be given

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has lifted the suspension of the Cricket Association of Nepal on a conditional basis in its meeting held in Dubai on Monday. The ICC had suspended CAN in 2016.

“Nepal has been reinstated on a conditional basis following its 2016 suspension for breach of the ICC regulations which prohibit government interference and require free and fair elections. Election of a 17-member Central Working Committee for the Cricket Association (CAN) of Nepal was completed earlier this month and paved the way for the re-admittance of the CAN,” the international cricket governing body said in a statement.

However, the ICC has said that it will not be giving full funding to Nepal as it wants to see if earlier problems arise within the CAN.

President to go to Myanmar

President Bidya Devi Bhandari leaves for a four-day visit to Qatar, on Monday, October 29, 2018.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari will be paying a state visit to Myanmar from October 16 to 20, 2019 upon invitation from the President of Myanmar, U Win Myint. The two presidents will also be holding bilateral talks.

The members in the delegation include Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi, Secretary at the Office of the President and other high-ranking officials from the Office of the President and Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as media persons.


File: Chinese tourists in Nepal

Tourists’ number increase in Gandaki province

The number of tourists visiting Gandaki province has increased this year. In September alone, over 18,000 tourists visited major tourist destinations in the province. The data has been collected from Pokhara Airport, Abu Khaireni and Galyang. As compared to August, tourists have increased by nearly 2,500.

RJPN lawmaker vandalises Janakpur Airport

Rashtriya Janata Party Nepal lawmaker Pramod Sah has vandalised Janakpur Airport because his flight was late. According to a source at the airport, Sah has vandalised Buddha Air’s counter and the VIP area of the airport. He was also rude to the staff, added another airport staff. A complaint has been filed at CAAN regarding the incident. The flight was delayed due to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s departure from Kathmandu.

Sah, on the other hand, says that he had to do so as an old passenger, who was sick, had needed to be taken to Kathmandu as soon as possible.


File: Mohammad Aftab Alam

NC cadres stage protest to release Alam

Nepali Congress cadres staged a protest in Rautahat demanding the release of murder accused former lawmaker Mohammad Aftab Alam. Police on Sunday had arrested Alam on the charge of his involvement in committing several murders in Rautahat district in April 2008.

He has been accused of killing dozens of persons in a massive blast in Rautahat. The blast, which occurred at the cowshed of Alam’s relative when the victims were making bombs, had allegedly left 14 dead and eight injured. Alam has been accused of taking the blast-injured and the dead to a nearby brick kiln and throwing them in the furnace to destroy any evidence.

Following the arrest of Alam, the opposition cadres staged protests in front of the District Police Office, Gaur. The cadres also obstructed vehicular movement along the Gaur-Chandrapur road section, and burnt tyres in the district headquarters Gaur.

Chairperson Rautahat chapter of Nepali Congress, Krishna Prasad Yadav, said that the arrest of Alam was unconstitutional and threatened to intensify the protest if Alam was not released at the earliest. Following Alam’s arrest, security in Rautahat has been tightened.


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Why Banerjee, Duflo and Kremer won Economics Nobel 2019

The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2019 (commonly known as the Nobel Prize for Economics) has been awarded to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”. Through the award, the Nobel committee recognised both the significance of development economics in the world today and the innovative approaches developed by these three economists.

Global poverty continues to be a massive challenge. The award follows Angus Deaton, who received it in 2015 for his contributions to development economics – the field that studies the causes of global poverty and how best to combat it – particularly, his emphasis on people’s consumption choices and the measurement of well-being, especially the well-being of the poor.

Well-developed theory can highlight what causes poverty and, based on this, suggest policies to combat it. But it cannot tell us exactly how powerful specific policy measures will be in practice. This is precisely where the contributions of Banerjee, Duflo and Kremer lie. The Nobel citation gives several examples of their impact, including how their research has helped education, health and access to credit for many in the developing world, most famously in India and Kenya.

Consider, for example, child mortality and health – issues of immense significance in the developing world. Theory can tell us that women’s empowerment is important for child health and mortality outcomes, but cannot tell us which policy will be most effective in combating this. It could be a focus on educating mothers, or access to healthcare, or electoral representation, or marital age legislation.

Perhaps, more importantly, theory cannot tell us how large and significant the impact will be of these various policies. And this is where the significance of the Nobel Prize this year comes in.

A new, experimental approach

The fundamental contribution of Banerjee, Duflo and Kremer was to develop an experimental approach to development economics. They built a scientific framework and used hard data to identify causes of poverty, estimate the effects of different policies and then evaluate their cost effectiveness. Specifically, they developed randomised control trials (RCTs) to do this. They used these to study different policies in action and to promote those that were most effective.

Starting in the mid-1990s, Kremer and co-authors started a series of RCTs on schooling in Kenya, designing field experiments to evaluate the impact of specific policies on improving outcomes. This approach was revolutionary. The experiments showed that neither more textbooks nor free school meals made any real difference to learning outcomes. Instead, it was the way that teaching was carried out that was the biggest factor.

Studies by Banerjee and Duflo, often together with Kremer and others, followed. They initially focused on education, and then expanded into other areas, including health, credit and agriculture.

Banerjee and Duflo were able to use these studies to explain why some businesses and people in less developed countries do not take advantage of the best available technologies. They highlighted the significance of market imperfections and government failures. By devising policies to specifically address the root of problems, they have helped make possible real contributions to alleviating poverty in these countries.

Banerjee, Duflo and Kremer also took significant steps towards applying specific findings to different contexts. This brought economic theories of incentives closer to direct application, fundamentally transforming the practice of development economics, by using practical, verifiable and quantitative knowledge to isolate causes of poverty and to devise adequate policy based on behavioural responses.

The impact of these developments upon real world development outcomes are immensely significant. Their work, and substantial amounts of research that followed it, established evidence on fighting poverty in many developing countries. And they are continuously expanding their horizon of contributions, which now also includes climate and environmental policy, social networks and cognitive science.

Diversity issues

The 2019 Nobel Prize for Economics is also significant for reasons of inclusivity. The impact generated by Banerjee, Duflo and Kremer’s approach has come about very quickly – actually, in less than two decades. This explains why, at the age of 47, Duflo is the youngest-ever recipient of the economics Nobel. She is also only the second woman to be awarded the prize (after Elinor Ostrom in 2009). Banerjee, who is also her husband, is the third ever non-white recipient (after Arthur Lewis in 1979 and Amartya Sen in 1998).

In a recent issue of the journal Nature, Göran Hansson, head of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences that awards the Nobel, highlighted measures to address the imbalance in gender and ethnicity among winners. He said “we are making sure to elect women to the academy” from which the prize-awarding committees for the chemistry, physics and economics Nobels are drawn.

The pipeline to this achievement is important. The first woman to win the John Bates Clark Medal for top economists under 40, an important indicator of who will be awarded the economics Nobel in the future, Susan Athey, only did so in 2007. Esther Duflo was the second winner in 2010. Since then, women winners of the Clark medal have been more frequent. Of course, award decisions are made strictly on significance of contributions. But, based on this evidence, perhaps Athey, Amy Finkelstein (who won the medal in 2012) and Emi Nakamura (who won it in 2019) will not be far behind.The Conversation

Arnab Bhattacharjee, Professor of Economics, Heriot-Watt University and Mark Schaffer, Professor of Economics, Heriot-Watt University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Makawanpur police arrest five for ward office arson

The ward 2 office of Thaha municipality after it was set on fire, in Makawanpur, on Sunday, October 13, 2019.

Hetaunda, October 14

Police in Makawanpur district on Monday arrested five persons for their alleged involvement in an arson at the ward office of Thaha municipality-5 on the northern part of the district. The office in local Aarandanda was set on fire last night.

Following the incident, the Palung Area Police Office arrested five persons. But, their names are not revealed yet.

As an electricity metre banged during the fire, the locals had learned around the incident last night and informed the police. On Monday morning, the police had found bottles of petrol and kerosene at the incident site.

Most documents, stationery and furniture at the office were destroyed in the attack, according to police inspector Lok Bahadur Gurung.

Meanwhile, Chief District Officer Prem Raj Joshi, District Police Office chief Mukesh Singh, Armed Police Force SP Bikas Ghimire went to the incident site this morning.

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Nepalgunj city launches campaign to make the city plastic bag-free

Newly elected Mayor of Nepalgunj Sub-Metropolitan City, Dhawal Shamsher Rana

Nepalgunj, October 14

The Nepalgunj Sub-metropolitan City has launched a campaign to make the city free of plastic bags. Political parties active in the city have expressed a commitment to the campaign.

The municipal government has prepared various outreach programmes and educational materials including posters and messages on the negative impact of plastic bags and hung them at the main thoroughfares of the city. It has also organised the ‘Mirror Photo Exhibition’ depicting the harmful effects of plastic waste. Linen and paper bags will be produced and distributed in collaboration with nongovernment organisations as an alternative to polythene bags.

Although the sub-metropolitan city is preparing to reduce and ultimately ban the use of plastic bags, the Waste Management Act that has been implemented since last year has not been able to incorporate the plastic waste. Therefore, there is a need of updating the act.

Similarly, the sub-metropolis’ programme and budget for this year have not been able to include the topic of making a long-term plan on the management of waste. But Mayor Dhwal Shamsher Rana says, “We would fix the shortcomings on the Act and policies. All things like making laws, amending them and appropriating the budget would be covered in the campaign.”


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NRNA feels cheated in Baluwatar land purchase

Kathmandu, October 14

The Non-Resident Nepali Association, an organisation of Nepalis living abroad, has said it has felt cheated after the news about the Baluwatar land scam came out. The association also owns a piece of land in the area and it is constructing an office building there.

Months after the new came to the limelight, the organisation’s general secretary Badri KC says they got into the trouble as they believed the state mechanism.

“As the state cheats common people, we also got cheated,” KC told journalists during a press conference in Kathmandu on Monday, adding the organisation had paid a proper amount to purchase the land and it still had the land registration certificate.

The NRNA clarified that it did not have any ill intention in buying the land, adding it was not aware of the controversial ownership of the land.

“The case is pending, but we have the land registration certificate,” KC said, “It means the land belongs to us till now.”

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Police don’t believe Victory Lounge’s estimate of charred property

Kathmandu, October 14

The owners of Victory Lounge, which was gutted in a fire on Sunday night, say that property worth Rs 80 million was destroyed in the fire. Police, however, have not believed them.

The owners submitted their report to the police on Monday morning, which the security officials did not believe. According to a source at Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range, the owners have been told to submit the actual report with bills of the items and equipment destroyed and damaged in the fire.

“We think that their estimation is a bit over the top. We’ve asked them to give us bills of the equipment damaged in the fire. After we get that, we will then estimate the actual loss,” says an official investigating the case.

Preliminary reports state that the fire occurred due to an electric short circuit. It took Nepal Police, Nepal Army, KMC’s fire department and Armed Police Force three hours to control the fire.

The lounge has been completely damaged due to the fire. There were, however, no human casualties.

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Home Minister praises security agencies for their role during Xi Jinping trip

Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa and Home Secretary Prem Kumar Rai during a meeting with security officials, in Kathmandu, on Monday, October 14, 2019.

Kathmandu, October 14

Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa has appreciated Nepal Police, Nepal Army, Armed Police Force and National Investigation Department claiming their effective security arrangement during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Kathmandu on Saturday and Sunday.

Thapa says high-ranking officials involved in policy formation and personnel deployed in the field contributed to the success of Xi’s trip.

Speaking with officials of the agencies during a meeting at the Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday, the minister said the agencies had delivered a message that the security arrangement of Nepal was also of the world standard. He claimed that the Chinese side also appreciated Nepal for tight security.

Meanwhile, Thapa directed the officials to make sure that no anti-China activities take place in the country.

Speaking at the meeting, Home Secretary Prem Kumar Rai said the security experience during Xi’s visit would be helpful in the future.


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Parliament suspends Alam after arrest

File: Mohammad Aftab Alam

Kathmandu, October 14

The Federal Parliament Secretariat has informed that lawmaker Mohammad Aftab Alam has been suspended from his position following his arrest.

Police in Rautahat district of southern Nepal had arrested the lawmaker for his alleged involvement in a fatal explosion in Rajpur of the district in April 2008. At least five persons were killed in the incident.

The Nepali Congress Central Working Committee member was elected the House of Representatives member from Rautahat-2 in the 2017 elections.


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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Dr KC warns if another hunger strike from Oct 30

Dr Govinda KC speaks with journalists in Kathmandu, on Monday, October 14, 2019.

Kathmandu, October 14

Medical education reform activist Dr Govinda KC has warned of another round of hunger strike from October 30 if his six demands are not met by October 25.

In recent years, the senior orthopaedic surgeon has staged 16 rounds of fast-unto-death putting forth various demands against political interference in medical education institutions and universities of the country.

This time, Dr KC has demanded that the government put on hold current preparations to appoint officials of the Tribhuvan University and other universities and start the process afresh as per a committee led by Parashar Koirala. Dr KC has argued that the process should be impartial and transparent.

Likewise, he has demanded that the Medical Education Act be amended as per an agreement signed with him earlier.

Interestingly, Dr KC has also put the demand for the appointment of officials at transitional justice bodies in a way that it wins the victims’ trust on his list.

Meanwhile, the veteran activist has clarified that he would continue his efforts for reforms in the sector though he recently retired from the Tribhuvan University Institute of Medicine.


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Austrian climber who visited Nepal 100 times in 50 yrs: Mountains teach coming down is as important as going up

Wolfgang Nairz is a renowned mountaineer and the leader of Austria’s 1978 Everest expedition, in which Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler reached the top of Everest without bottled oxygen.

Nairz first came to Nepal in 1970 and since then has been coming to Nepal on a regular basis. Last week, Nairz arrived in Nepal for the 100th time, becoming probably the first foreigner to do so. Upon arrival, his hosts and fans gave him a ‘hero’s welcome’ at the Kathmandu airport and took him to Thamel on a traditional carriage (baggi). Later, Nairz spoke to Onlinekhabar about his impression of Nepal, how things have changed here and about his projects in the country. Excerpts: 

How does it feel to come to Nepal for the 100th time?

It doesn’t feel any different actually. It feels like coming back home. It has nearly been 50 years since I came to Nepal for the first time, but the joy I get coming to this country is the same. Initially, I was interested in the mountains, but now I also come for the culture and the people. We have a lot of projects here.

What brings you back every time?

Well, it has to be people. Over the past 50 years, I’ve met a lot of good people. Along with the people, I’d also say the landscape and the culture and religion. I’d say a harmony between the three.

You came to Thamel riding on a carriage all the way from the airport. How was that feeling?

Incredible. I have some great friends here who have given me a terrific reception on my 100th visit to Nepal. They had told me they were not there, but then everyone was at the airport. It was a great surprise, the one I will never forget. The streets were clean, flowers everywhere. It’s like they had done it not for the Chinese President, but for me.

Nairz riding towards Marsyandi Hotel in Thamel on a carriage arranged for him by his friends.

How have things changed since you first came to now?

A lot has changed. I don’t think you can even imagine how things were during those times. There were only three or four big hotels; others were only small guest houses. We rode only bicycles as there were hardly any cars on the roads. We used to go to Bouddha, Patan and other areas on our bicycles. It was really a different time.

Kathmandu has changed the most. It was much calmer. Now it’s a bit wild. I remember we had to carry our own bags off the plane before going to the immigration office. I’d say the change in Kathmandu is negative. However, the changes in the remote areas have been positive. I think that is all thanks to tourism. It’s helped develop areas like Namche into something better.

How would you describe your Everest expedition in 1978?

I’d say it was difficult. Things are a lot easy now. Back then we had to do a lot of work. When I reached the top of Everest, only 60 climbers had reached the top so you could imagine how tough it was. But we had a good team which had Reinhold Messner among others and I think we did a fairly good job. We had no icefall doctors so we had to fix ropes and also prepare camps. It was not as easy as people have it now. We also did not have communication with the outside world. Any source of communication had to come through Kathmandu first, then fly to Lukla and then to base camp.

Was there pressure to summit Everest?

There wasn’t actually. We were quite calm. Yes, we did have our fair share of luck thanks to the good weather, but we were good climbers. We knew we had it in us to get to the top of the world’s highest peak. Our Sherpas were quite good too.

What other mountains have you climbed here?

I’ve been to seven 8,000-metre peaks here in Nepal and led the expedition in all of them. I’ve climbed Manaslu South Face in 1972, which was my first, then Makalu South Face in 1974, Everest in 1978, Ama Dablam in 1979 where we rescued Sir Edmund Hillary’s son. I also summited Dhaulagiri, Cho Oyu South Face.

What have these mountains taught you?

Well the one lesson that the mountains have given me is that there’s always the next time. It’s taught me that coming back down is as important as going up. I lost a friend during the Dhaulagiri expedition which still hurts me. It’s taught me that every mountain is different and each should be respected individually.

What do you do when you come to Nepal every year?

The first thing I do is meeting my friends. After that, I go to monitor various projects which I’m funding. We’ve been doing a lot of charity work here, especially after the 2015 earthquake. We’re working on the Hillary Hospital to which my and Messner’s foundation has donated around $400,000. We’re working with Tashi Tenzing and Green Tara Foundation building schools. I also have a Sherpa Project where I take 25 Nepalis from remote areas to Austria and give them lodge management training.

This is a win-win situation for both the lodge owner in Austria who gets human resources and to Nepalis here who can learn a lot by spending three to four months in Austria. They also get a good salary there.

We’re also building schools here. One in Sindupalchok for around 200 children with Tashi Tenzing. In Chilaune of the district, we’ve built another school. We’re also working on a reforestation project in the Khumbu region. We’ve also help build a few cultural monuments in the region so people can go practice their faith there.

Wolfgang with his wife Edith

How do you raise money for these projects?

Well, my organisation has over 150 members and we do various fundraising activities. We give lectures, attend various programmes which help us get money. If you look at the things post-earthquake, we’ve nearly spent $700,000 rebuilding schools and hospitals in the remotest parts of Nepal.

So your charity only involves Nepal?

Yes. Just here.

What about your partners here?

They have been important to me. Sonam Sherpa, Tsering Lama, Tashi Tenzing, Ang Rita all have been great. I can trust these people wholeheartedly. They know where help is required and through them I can send funds there. I know that the money we’re raising is going to good hands. Corruption is quite high here in Nepal, which is why we need people like them.

How often do you travel around here?

I travel a lot. How do you think I reach 100? I love to trek around. I’ve been to some really good places. Upper Dolpo, Mustang, Nar Phu… these places aren’t visited by many. I bring friends with me most of the time and we go trekking. This year, we’re going to Langtang.

Do you think tourism has gotten better here?

I think it has, but there is a lot more we need to do to make sure that Visit Nepal 2020 is a success. They have increased visa fees. They take so much money for permits, but where is the money? People need to ask the government what they’re doing with the money coming in from tourists. It needs to be addressed. The private sector is doing well when it comes to tourism. However, I don’t see the government is doing enough.

Photos: Shreedhar Poudel

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Nepal Police chief off to Chile to attend Interpol general assembly

Nepal Police chief IGP Sarbendra Khanal leaves for Chile, at the Kathmandu airport, on Sunday, October 13, 2019.

Kathmandu, October 14

Nepal Police chief, Inspector General Sarbendra Khanal, has left Kathmandu to attend the 88th general assembly of International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol). The assembly is beginning on Tuesday.

Senior police officials saw off Khanal at the Tribhuvan International Airport last night. Khanal’s delegation includes Central Investigation Bureau chief, DIG Niraj Bahadur Shahi, and Interpol section chief SSP Umesh Raj Joshi.

In Khanal’s absence, AIG Pushkar Karki will take charge of the office of the police chief, according to Nepal Police.

The assembly will conclude on Friday.

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Nepal to urge India to finalise transmission line, energy bank models in joint meeting

Kathmandu, October 14

Nepal and India are scheduled to open a secretary-level meeting of energy officials of the two countries in India on Monday.

Nepal is planning to propose finalising the modality for a cross-border transmission line and establishing an energy bank during the meeting. Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, the Secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, will lead the Nepali delegation whereas his counterpart SC Garg will lead the Indian team.

Nepali officials involved in preparations of the meeting say the meeting will try to find agreements on various energy issues between the countries. In particular, efforts will be made to finalise the modality of the New Butwal-New Gorakhpur 400 KV transmission line, according to the ministry’s spokesperson Praveen Raj Aryal. The project is a must to implement the US government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation assistance to Nepal, according to him.

Initially, Nepal had proposed that India construct the project as grant support to Nepal, which the New Delhi government denied. Following that Nepal has proposed that it book the energy transmitted through the line for seven years and the energy exporters pay a certain fee to Nepal after that. India is yet to accept that.

During the last meeting held in January this year, the two countries had discussed opening a joint company to implement the project and India release interest-free loan to fund the construction works. The meeting, however, did not make any agreement.

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Nepal, China say Xi visit to Kathmandu is ‘the beginning of a new era’

Presidents of Nepal and China, Bidya Devi Bhandari and Xi Jinping respectively (R-L), meet, in Kathmandu, on Saturday, October 12, 2019.

Kathmandu, October 13

Nepal and China have commented that the two-day state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Nepal on Saturday and Sunday is the beginning of a new era in terms of their bilateral relations.

A couple of hours after president Xi left Kathmandu airport for his journey back to Beijing, the two countries issued a joint statement from Kathmandu and said the visit was made on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the founding of China.

The statement reads that the visit “served as an important milestone in the history of friendly cooperation between the two countries.”

The communique also describes major points of 20 agreements that concerned officials of two countries signed and exchanged each other amidst a special function attended by Xi and Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.

“The Chinese side would like to extend its sincere gratitude to the Government of Nepal and its people for their warm and friendly reception,” the statement concludes, “President Xi Jinping sincerely invited Nepali leaders to visit China again at the convenience of both sides. The two sides will stay in touch via diplomatic channels.”

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