3rd LD Writethru: Death toll rises to eight in landslide in Nepal

  KATHMANDU, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) — Security personnel involved in the rescue efforts at the landslide-hit zone in Nepal have so far recovered eight dead bodies from the mud, locals and police said on Saturday.

     “It has been confirmed that the death toll from the landslide has reached eight,” Ram Nagarkoti, a villager who is offering assistance to the rescue operation, told Xinhua over phone.

     He also said 16 other people that had been trapped under the mud were rescued alive.

     “Of the rescued injured, the condition of five is critical and we are trying to send them to Kathmandu for urgent treatment,” a police personnel said by phone.

     A massive landslide caused by continual rain hit Sindupalchowk district in Nepal’s eastern hilly region at around 2 a.m. early Saturday morning, affecting more than eight villages nearby.

     Nepal’s local media said that as much as 100 houses were swept away after the water level of Sunkoshi River increased rapidly following the blockage created by the landslide, while local administration offices in the region said earlier that the Araniko Highway, one of the shortest and busiest routes that connects Nepal with China’s Tibet, has also been buried.

     Local authorities has announced high alert while locals are being evacuated to safer places.

     Meanwhile, Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala has directed the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) to take measures to release the blocked water from the Sunkoshi River and to ensure safety among the villagers and nearby residents.

     Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, a spokesperson at MoHA, told Xinhua that the blocked river has already caused a huge storage of water of around 3 km long, 300 meters width and 90 meters depth.

     He said though the government’s first priority is to release water from the blocked river, it has been difficult due to the tremendous amount of mud and difficult location.

     As many as 300 rescuers from the country’s Army, Armed Police Force and police, as well as locals and people from nearby areas are carrying out the rescue efforts, sources from the crash site told Xinhua.  Enditem

0 notes

2nd Ld-Writethru: Massive landslide kills six in Nepal

KATHMANDU, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) — At least six people are confirmed dead after a massive landslide hit Nepal’s remote village early Saturday morning, locals said.

     Caused by continual rain in the last two days, the landslide that hit Mankha VDC in Sindupalchowk district in Nepal’s eastern hilly region has also blocked Sunkoshi River.

     Terrified residents living around 20 kilometers of the incident site, including Barabishe, Lamosanghu, Khadichaur, Sukute and others, have been running to safer places.

     “The death toll might rise as many others have gone missing under the mud,” Ram Nagarkoti, a villager told Xinhua over phone.

     He said the landslide, which occurred at around 3 a.m., has blocked the Sunkoshi River and created a large pond in the area, posting new threat for the villagers and locals.

     Dozens injured have been airlifted to Kathmandu for treatment.

     Local administration offices in the region said as many as two dozen houses have been swept away while the Araniko Highway, one of the shortest and busiest routes that connects Nepal with China’ s Tibet has also been buried.

     “The administration has been planning different measures to open the river blockade and release the water from blocked river,” Chief District Officer Gopal Prasad Parajuli said, “We are also discussing on dropping a bomb from a NA chopper and start the water flow.”

     An emergency meeting of the Central Disaster Rescue Committee at the Nepal’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) suggested the state to declare crisis zone to the landslide hit area and its periphery.

     “The downstream areas inside the Nepali territory which might be affected by blockage of the Sunkoshi River have been recommended to be declared crisis zone,” Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, spokesperson at MoHA told Xinhua.

     He said the river blocked due to the landslide has already caused a huge storage of water with around 3 km long, 300 meter width and 90 meter depth.

     He said though the government’s first priority is to release water from the blocked river, it has been difficult due to the tremendous amount of mud and difficult location.

     Other MoHA officials said the meeting has also directed the District Disaster Management Committee of Sindhupalchowk to begin evacuating the people from the area downstream of the blocked river.

     Locals from the incident told Xinhua that the stoppage of the river has caused risk of flooding around 20 km nearby area of the incident site.  Enditem

0 notes

1st Ld-Writethru: Massive landslide kills six in Nepal

KATHMANDU, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) — At least six people are confirmed dead after a massive landslide hit Nepal’s remote village early Saturday morning, locals said.

     Caused by continual rain in the last two days, the landslide that hit Mankha VDC in Sindupalchowk district in Nepal’s eastern hilly region has also blocked Sunkoshi River.

     Locals are rushing for safe space with family members, according to sources.

     “The death toll might rise as many others have gone missing under the mud,” Ram Nagarkoti, a villager told Xinhua over phone.

     He said the landslide, which occurred at around 3 a.m., has blocked the Sunkoshi River and created a large pond in the area, posting new threat for the villagers and locals.

     Local administration offices in the region said as many as two dozen houses have been swept away while the Araniko Highway, one of the shortest and busiest routes that connects Nepal with China’ s Tibet has also been buried.

     “The administration has been planning different measures to open the river blockade and release the water from blocked river,” Chief District Officer Gopal Prasad Parajuli said, “We are also discussing on dropping a bomb from a NA chopper and start the water flow.”  Enditem

0 notes

Former Nepal minister calls for greater trans-Himalayan connectivity

KATHMANDU, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) — With the upcoming visit of Indian Prime Minister Modi Narendra to Nepal, the need to boost land connectivity between China, India and Nepal to enhance regional cooperation has been raised to a new height, said a former minister of Nepal.

     “Regional cooperation presupposes land connectivity in order to benefit from the economics of geography,” former Finance Minister, Dr. Madhukar SJB Rana said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

     According to data, the share of regional trade by and between South Asian nations hovers around only five percent of their total trade.

     “This is a sad reality, which can only be improved upon with land connectivity supplemented by trade facilitation measures boosting beyond border actions for the carriage and storage of exports and imports,” Dr. Rana said.

     The last decade has seen a number of policy initiatives and resultant infrastructure projects targeted towards increasing land connectivity at bilateral, trilateral and sub-regional levels.

     In June, the South Asian Institute of Management (SAIM), hosted an interaction program, drawing attention to the revival of the South-Western Silk Road and the potential for trilateral cooperation between China, India and Nepal.  

     Although sea transport is expected to be the dominant form of connectivity for the foreseeable future, land connectivity is also escalating in importance for several security and political reasons, argued Dr. Rana.

     In a perception survey of Asian opinion leaders, consisting of a sample of 390 respondents, 72 percent of the total respondents agreed that the region should revive the old South-Western Silk Road and 71 percent thought that trilateral cooperation between India-Nepal-China should be promoted.

     The idea, stated by Dr. Rana, is not to just simply establish ” transport” corridors but “economic corridors”. Economic corridors are broader in scope and entail physical planning of not just the corridor but the surrounding areas as well to attract businesses, special economic and industrial zones.

     “The purpose of economic corridors is to integrate the economies subregionally by creating growth triangles, quadrangles and so forth between two or more nations,” Dr. Rana explained.

     In terms of challenges, experts believe that economic and security concerns require deliberation as trans-border forces can play a significant role in damaging political unity and in threatening the peace and stability within the state.

     Finally, power equations and deficit of trust among shareholders remain significant factors acting as impediments to greater trans-Himalayan connectivity.

     The Indian prime minister is scheduled to arrive in Nepal on Sunday for a two-day official visit to the Himalayan country.  Enditem

0 notes

Massive landslide kills six in Nepal

KATHMANDU, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) — At least six people are confirmed dead after a massive landslide hit Nepal’s remote village early Saturday morning, according to local sources.  Enditem

0 notes

China not to compromise on territory and sovereignty:defense attache

KATHMANDU, Aug 1 (Xinhua) — Defense Attache for the Chinese Embassy to Nepal Cheng Xizhong said Thursday that under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC), the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has the determination and capabilities of safeguarding the core interest of China.

     Addressing a reception here to mark the 87th anniversary of the founding of the PLA, Cheng Xizhong, senior colonel of the PLA said that as a successor of the Red Army, the PLA has always retained the character, principle and true qualities of a people’s army.

     “China will not compromise on, concede of trade on territory and sovereignty, nor will tolerate them being infringed on even a little bit,”said Cheng Xizhong in his speech.

     “China maintains commitment to the New Security Concepts of mutual trust, benefit, equality and coordination and strives to build a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity,” he also said.

     The reception was attended by high ranking officials including Nepal Army Chief General Gaurav Shumsher JBR, Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Wu Chuntai. Defense Attach for Embassy of other countries like India and the US, Nepal’s government officials along with some 200 guests also attended the function.

     “Strong armed forces for the consolidation of the national defense is an integral part of the Chinese dream and will serve the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation and its people,” said Cheng Xizhong.

     He also said that both the PLA and Nepal Army are great contributors to regional stability and world peace, and the exchanges between the PLA and Nepal Army have helped the two countries laying a solid foundation for a traditional good- neighborly relationship of mutual trust and understanding.  Enditem

0 notes

Nepal’s PM to receive Modi personally at airport causes controversy in the country

KATHMANDU, July 31 (Xinhua) — Probably for the first time in Nepal’s foreign relations history, the country’s prime minister himself is to receive a foreign guest at the airport, sources said on Thursday.

     It has been confirmed that Prime Minister of the Himalayan country Sushil Koirala will receive his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi personally at the Kathmandu based airport where Modi is scheduled to land on Sunday morning for a two-day official visit.

     Nepali and foreign media outlets as well as foreign relation experts here have created a controversy out of the issue, saying that the prime minister himself receiving a foreign guest is a ” breach of diplomatic protocol.”

     Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs however denies the accusation.

     “It is true the prime minister himself receiving the guest is a unique phenomenon for Nepal,” Deepak Dhital, spokesperson of the ministry told Xinhua by phone.

     “We should not forget the fact that our then Prime Minister Girija Prashad Koirala had also been received by then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when Koirala was on an official visit to India,” he said.

     According to Dhital, who is receiving Modi is not important; what is important is  how the government values India, its government and Modi’s visit.

     “This is a historic moment as it is only after 17 years any Indian head of the government is visiting Nepal,” he said.

     The spokesperson added that this is the time to re-strengthen relationship between the two countries and seek India’s support and cooperation.

     While other officials at the ministry said that due to the long- standing relationship between the two countries, their cultural and religious harmony and bondage of brotherhood, Koirala himself has been interested in receiving and welcoming the Indian prime minister.

     They also said that there is nothing as such under Nepal’s diplomatic norms that  prime minister cannot receive any foreign guests.

     “Who receives whom depends upon the intimacy and importance of the country the guest represents,” said a high level source at the ministry.

     The source said, “the relevance and context of the visit and the person visiting also determine it.”

     According to other government agencies, a special welcome session will be organized at the Tribhuvan International Airport while receiving Modi.

     Modi will be accompanied by a 101-member delegation including seven Indian ministers, senior government officials and businessmen, apart from journalists.  Enditem

0 notes

Nepal’s state-owned news agency, China’s Xinhua to enhance ties

KATHMANDU, July 28 (Xinhua) — Nepal’s government-funded national news agency, Rastriya Samachar Samiti (RSS) and China’s Xinhua News Agency have pledged to promote cooperations.

     Zhou Shengping, Xinhua’s Kathmandu bureau chief, and Kul Chandra Wagle, newly appointed Chairman of RSS, hold a meeting here on Sunday during which, Wagle expressed gratitude to Xinhua for its continued support in sectors of visual service and technical support.

     “We are sure that we can increase our client base in Nepal with Xinhua’s assistance also by enhancing our service quality,” Wagle said.

     RSS has a total of 200 subscribers across Nepal including newspapers, radio and TV stations and online news portals.  Enditem

0 notes

Bangladeshi aircraft caught fire at Nepal’s airport, passengers safe

KATHMANDU, July 28 (Xinhua) — A Bangladeshi aircraft was caught a minor fire while landing at Kathmandu-based Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) Monday afternoon, officials said.

     Airport police said the wheels of Biman Bangladesh Airlines BG702 flight was caught a fire when it started landing at around 2 p.m. local time.

     Fire fighters at TIA soon took the fire under control and the passengers on board were rescued safe.

     “The aircraft has now been parked at the airport’s hanger and it’s schedule to return to Dhaka at 3:10 has been cancelled,” a high level source at the TIA told Xinhua, requesting for anonymity.

     A team of technicians are coming from Bangladesh on Tuesday to determine if the aircraft can resume its operation.  Enditem

0 notes

Nepal’s parliamentary committee calls on gov’t to sign power deal with India

KATHMANDU, July 27 (Xinhua) — The Agriculture, Energy and Water Resources Committee (AEWRC) of Nepal’s Parliament on Sunday urged the government to sign the power trading agreement (PTA) with India at the earliest, lawmakers said.

     The AEWRC members, during a meeting this afternoon, also expressed a serious concern over the postponement of the PTA issue during the Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) that was held on Saturday between the two countries and asked the Nepal government to sign the deal to guarantee the national interest.

     “Abiding by the international norms and practices, the PTA should be signed at the earliest with India and other countries by ensuring the benefit for Nepal and Nepalis by ensuring the national interest,” reads the minute of the CEWRC meeting.

     The minute paper also said without signing the PTA, the investment in the energy sector would be uncertain, therefore, in a bid to develop Nepal’s energy market, it would be crucial to sign the pact with India.

     AEWRC member, lawmaker Kashinath Adhikary sought clarification for the delay in pact signing, adding, “Even though Nepal had sent the PTA draft to India four years ago, it is so unfortunate that the agreement has not been signed still today.”

     Lawmaker Amrit Kumar Bohora, chairman of AEWRC, said given the necessity to sign PTA with India to enhance country’s power development, the government should proceed ahead with proper planning and coordination among the government agencies.

     Even though the Nepal government has decided to sign the agreement with India during the visit of Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to the country in the first week of August, Minister Gyanwali said forging deal with India this time is also slim due to non-cooperation of the political parties.  Enditem

0 notes