India’s elephants in peril

December 18, 2008

Sankar Roy at Asia Sentinel:

india-elephantAlthough the world’s concern has risen over the fate of India’s tigers, the descending numbers of India’s elephants have not caused alarm. They are not listed as endangered species. The Federal Ministry of Environment and Forests estimated the population of wild elephants at 26,413 in 2002, the last figure available. Although officials say the population has risen, the World Wildlife Fund believes that India’s elephant population has fallen by 50 percent over the last two decades. Statistical estimation on either tigers or elephants is not sound.

Obviously, as man encroaches, the elephant population faces problems, not least because they love to break into human settlements and poach not only crops but vats of homemade liquor. An Indian elephant needs some 500 square miles to roam, consumes 250 kilograms of leaves and wild fruits and drinks as much as 180 liters of water a day. Indiscriminate felling of trees and development projects cuts their habitat. Although the federal government has written and passed laws, implementation is in the hands of state governments, which often look the other way when poachers strike.

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Dear John

December 12, 2008

Sara Blask on the myriad benefits of toilets, and why the world needs more of them. From the Smart Set:

toiletWe spend about three years of our lives sitting on a toilet. Though we in the Western world may not realize it, that white piece of flushable porcelain is one of man’s best friends. We sit on its haunches morning, noon, and night, usually between six and eight times a day. It’s there for us after six-packs of beer, dried prunes, and bad Mexican food; through late nights and parties, bouts of nervousness and morning sickness; in sickness and in health. A good American Standard rarely lets us down and when it does, we just yank its chain and it dutifully begins to work again. These bad boys put up with our shit and rarely complain.

But some 2.6 billion people, including 980 million children, do not have this luxury, which is one of the reasons why the United Nations declared 2008 the International Year of Sanitation. Almost 40 percent of the Earth’s population does not have access to adequate sanitation, neither basic toilets nor hygiene facilities, according to the latest U.N. Development Program statistics. And what does this all mean? A lot of death, a lot of sickness, a lot of lost dignity, and millions of tourist dollars unearned. One child dies every 15 seconds from water-born disease. More than 400 million schooldays are lost worldwide every year because of diarrheal diseases. Mothers die in childbirth, menstruating girls skip school because of poor facilities, and the threat of rape increases as women look for places to relieve themselves in dignity at night. It’s these facts – along with a picture of Joe the Plumber – that got me listening to what a petite man with glasses and slightly graying hair had to say on the day Americans were lining up at the voting booths.

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A billion-rupee racket

November 2, 2008

A Nepali Times investigation reveals that Nepal has become the main conduit for the smuggling of counterfeit Indian currency:

Our investigation shows that every day, some Rs 30 million is being taken across from Birganj to Raxaul in bicycles, rickshas and tangas. Couriers are paid IRs 500 (in real money) for every bundle of fake Rs 100,000 that they take across. Dealers in India buy every fake IRs 1,000 note for IRs 700 and they pass them on to retailers across the country.

Fake cash is now appearing in ATMs as far afield as Bangalore and Chennai. Indian sources say that at this rate, there will be IRs 100 billion fake currency in circulation in the next two years. Nepal is also affected because the Indian rupee is used widely in the Tarai. The political instability in Nepal and the criminalisation of politics in the Tarai have abetted the smuggling. The porous Indo-Nepal border, always a haven for smugglers, just has another contraband to push fake cash. More:

“Politicians and police are involved”

As the sun rose above the misty Tarai last week, policemen at Nepal’s border with India at Birganj stirred awake to guard a checkpoint through which 80 per cent of Nepal’s trade with the outside world passes. By the end of the day, Rs 30 million in fake Indian currency will have traveled from Nepal to India concealed in sacks on bicycles, rickshas, tangas and even on the knapsacks of pedestrians. More


The idea of cities

October 7, 2008

In a cover story on urban areas around Southasia, Himal looks “at the idea of cities as an active collective impulse that is ever evolving.” Below, a sample:

Lahore: By Raza Rumi

I spent my early years in a Model Town colonial bungalow, which was originally the creation of a Hindu doctor who had to leave the city at Partition. This was an age when birds were an integral feature of Lahori skies, and the seasons played out their glory. As the name suggests, Model Town was an ‘ideal’ suburb, created during the Raj by the advanced citizenry on the idea of ‘cooperative urban life’. Established in 1922, Model Town was the fruition of advocate Diwan Khem Chand’s unshakeable belief in the values of self help, self responsibility and democracy, loosely the principles of cooperative societies. This was the reason why Model Town was established as, and still is, a ‘cooperative society’. What fewer people know is that these values of cooperation were first popularised by George Jacob Holyoake, a 19th-century English social reformer responsible for the cooperative movement. Incidentally, Holyoake was also infamous for the distinction of having invented the phrase ‘secularism’, for which he was the last citizen to be convicted for blasphemy in England.

Kabul: By Anne Feenstra

Kabul is a city of dramatic contrasts. In the streets, shiny black-windowed limousines drive immediately alongside scruffy pushcarts with wobbly wheels. On the sidewalks, one-legged beggars hold out hands to well-dressed business men in sharp, knitted suits and gleaming shoes. Perhaps little of this is particularly exceptional in urban areas around the world, including in Southasia. Perhaps more to the point in the Afghan context would be the contrast in the inner city between Western female diplomats being driven around in armoured vehicles, and the local ladies who are fully covered in azure burqas.

Galle: By Richard Boyle

Galle’s location at the southwestern tip of Sri Lanka, with only the Antarctic across more than 5000 miles of ocean, ensured the prominence of the port during the early history of navigation. Not surprisingly, it became the natural focal point at the southernmost part of the Silk Routes that connected Asia with the Mediterranean. Galle also provided a relatively equidistant location for Arab and Chinese ships to converge and trade, thus avoiding much longer voyages. It had a fine natural harbour protected to the southeast by an elevated headland and to the northwest by a flat peninsula, although there were submerged rocks and the harbour was not protected from the southwest monsoon.

Dhaka: By Zafar Sobhan

Dhaka today is utterly unrecognisable as the sleepy, charming, tranquil town it was even half a century ago. There is something thoroughly startling about this transmutation from a genteel and sedate town of tree-lined avenues, ponds, canals and spacious bungalows set amidst overgrown gardens – to this present incarnation as a dizzying metropolis of 12 million people, blaring automobiles and block after block of unpainted concrete apartments, as far as the eye can see. But the difference is more than merely in the physical transformation; it is also one of tone and feel. Dhaka today is a high-octane megacity, where life is fast and furious (except for the traffic, which remains slow and torpid), where anger and violence simmer beneath the surface.

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Death or glory: The truth about K2

August 28, 2008

Swept away by avalanches, left dangling at the ends of their ropes and crushed by falling ice – these were the fates of 11 mountaineers who perished on K2 earlier this month. In Pakistan, Andrew Buncombe talks to the survivors, and pieces together a horrifying chain of events that led to one of the worst climbing accidents in history. From The Independent:

Gerard McDonnell died in an avalanche on the Himalayan peak while attempting, fellow climbers believe, to free a trapped member of the expedition. PA / The Independent

Gerard McDonnell died in an avalanche on the Himalayan peak while attempting, fellow climbers believe, to free a trapped member of the expedition. PA / The Independent

Somewhere above 8,000m things are going very badly wrong for Wilco van Rooijen. All but blinded by altitude sickness, his brain and body slowed by lack of oxygen, he staggers and stumbles helplessly down the precipitous slope of the mountain. The searing elation that the 40-year-old had experienced just hours before on reaching the peak of K2, perhaps the world’s most dangerous mountain, is long extinguished. He has already seen two other climbers fall to their deaths and he knows that all around him others are battling for their lives, struggling to get off the slope.

Stranded in the so-called Dead Zone, he forces himself to block out all other thoughts from his numbed mind – his wife and nine-month child at home in the Netherlands, the safety of base camp – and focus simply on surviving. Somehow he has to get off the mountain. “All you are thinking is that you have to survive,” he recalls later, sitting with bandaged, frostbitten feet in a hotel in Pakistan. “You have to get out.”

Van Rooijen was lucky: 11 other climbers were not.

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Digitizing the Himalayas

August 19, 2008

A California professor recreates Asia’s most magnificent mountains via computer. From Asia Sentinel:

Seemingly real enough for digital Tomb Raider Lara Croft to scamper around in, this is the Himalaya Atlas of Aerial Panoramas, a unique digital collection of more than 700 images, depicting the world’s most spectacular mountain range, from Arunachal Pradesh in the east to Uttar Pradesh in the west .
Dr William Bowen, a California State University, Northridge geographer and the project’s creator, said he initially began making digital photo maps to give his students a visual of the material they covered in class.

More here and here:


Questions from Southasia

August 7, 2008

Himal looks at the region and asks whether the concept of Southasia is even useful.

Image by Adam J West in Himal

Image by Adam J West in Himal

Has it been overtaken by ‘globalised’ time, or can it be an additional identity-marker that helps us to achieve political stability and progress? Is there any use for nostalgia about the pre-1947 ‘India’, and how would we have evolved differently in the aftermath of Partition and nation-statism? Can regionalism be a tool for economic growth and social justice in the poorest, most populated and adjacent parts of Pakistan, North India, Bangladesh and Nepal? Some say that the real divide is not that between India-Pakistan-Bangladesh, but rather between North Southasia and South Southasia.

Click here to read the views of 75 eminent Southasian thinkers in the latest issue of Himal:


Serial killer ‘the Serpent’ to marry translator

July 7, 2008

Charles Sobhraj, 64, is a serial killer (a.k.a “the Serpent” and “the Bikini killer”) serving a life-imprisonment sentence in a jail in Nepal. His interpretor Nihita Biswas, 20, is smitten by him and says it was love at first sight. They are engaged to marry. From The Independent, UK:

Charles Sobhraj and Nihita Biswas

Charles Sobhraj and Nihita Biswas

Invitations have yet to be sent, the wedding band has not been booked. But inside a Nepalese prison cell measuring less than 10ft across, what must qualify as one of the more unlikely of marriages is actively being planned.

The groom-to-be is Charles Sobhraj, a 64-year-old French citizen nicknamed “The Serpent”. This convicted, self-confessed killer has been blamed for perhaps as many as 20 deaths, is the subject of several books and a full-length movie, is a veteran of South Asia’s jails and is a twice-married womaniser. Now, as he appeals against his conviction by a Kathmandu court, he is planning to marry a Nepalese woman 44 years his junior.

Sobhraj has become engaged to Nihita Biswas, who was hired by his lawyer to work as a translator.

More here, and here:


Foreign Policy: The Failed States Index 2008

July 1, 2008

While the bulk of Failed States are located in Africa, South Asia doesn’t fare much better with Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma, at #7, 9 and 12 (Bangladesh and Burma tied at #12) respectively, making the grade. Sri Lanka weighs in the annual list at #20, while Nepal figures at #23 and Bhutan, which just embarked on its road to democracy registering at 51 of the List’s 60 Failed States.

Both Pakistan and Bangladesh registered a fall from last year’s status, with Bangladesh featuring the worst fall of all Failed States, set off by postponed elections, deadlocked government and the continuance of emergency rule that has dragged on for 18 months (not to mention November’s devastating cyclone which left 1.5 million people homeless). Nearby Pakistan didn’t do much better with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

For the complete list and the whole story in Foreign Policy click here.


Mountain baby

June 28, 2008

When doctors told Jane Wilson-Howarth her baby needed major surgery, she feared his life would not be worth living. So she left behind the consultants, the needles, the tests and took him far away to live among the ‘sane, baby-loving’ people of Nepal. From The Guardian:

At the next river – the biggest so far – we drove down the bank and plunged in. Clear water surged on to the bonnet and over the windscreen of the Land Cruiser. Three-and-a-half-year-old Alexander whooped with delight and his excitement made little David chuckle. With water churning up to the windows, the river was intimidatingly wide, but it was exciting and exquisite too. At the far bank, we drove up on to a pristine beach. Panicking chickens scattered between thatched huts as we passed under an arch of sprightly bougainvillaea, and pulled up in the courtyard of an imposing two-storey house.

Within minutes of arriving at our new home on Rajapur island, Simon, my husband, was whisked away to meet local farmers. As the incoming water expert, he was expected to offer wise solutions to problems that rival landowners had been squabbling over for generations. He stayed frenetically busy, but the boys and I had the luxury of time: time to explore. Alexander took rides with his special friend the Tractor Man and learned how to feed a new calf. Meanwhile, I could sit with David, soaking up the reviving winter sunshine. He was more peaceful than I had ever known. He was content, and for now, at least, away from life-support machines and probes and drips.

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The healing waters of Nepal

June 20, 2008

In Geographic Expeditions, Catherine Watson, the former travel editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the author of two collections of travel essays, ”Roads Less Traveled” and ”Home on the Road,” describes a journey to Nepal with a friend who was “coming back from the brink of death”:

In the physical and mental calm that follows whitewater, a friend and I, still dripping from the icy river, were relaxing on the front tubes of the raft, letting Nepal’s hot sunshine dry us off as the noise of the day’s first rapids faded behind.

”I never thought I would hear that sound again,” my friend said quietly. His tone was a blend of relief, gratitude and joy. I knew what he meant. I felt the same way, though my reasons weren’t as good.

My friend was coming back from the brink of death; I, from mere idleness. But getting through that rapids – a modest one, really, only a 3+ in anybody’s book – had made me feel reborn too. The whole trip had, for that matter.

Eight months earlier, my friend’s doctors had handed him a death sentence.

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It’s quite an expedition to the top of Mera Peak

June 18, 2008

Nepal’s complex fee structure calls climbing this mountain a ‘trek’. Don’t be fooled by the terminology, says Stephen Goodwin in The Independent:

Frostbitten toes, swollen and purple, are a sobering sight when you’re bound for the same cold, high place where the damage was done. The young man was sitting in a hut doorway in the hamlet of Tangnag in Nepal’s lovely Hinku valley, massaging his deep frozen digits. He’d reached the summit of Mera Peak a few days earlier, but at a cost. Now his group was heading down valley while our group was hiking up, a little chastened.

As it turned out, the lad was fortunate and got away with just “frost nip”. Feeling would return, though probably with a painful phase, and there would be no amputations. Others in the Hinku during October were less fortunate. Almost every morning during our 10-day trek up the valley we saw helicopters heading for the base of Mera to chopper out frostbitten and/or exhausted trekkers. It certainly made us think. “Are my boots warm enough? Am I really up to this?”

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A new torch controversy: the battle for Everest

May 2, 2008

As the Olympic flame makes its way to the top of the world’s highest mountain, China’s repressive tactics have sparked fresh criticism. Andrew Buncombe in The Independent, UK:

William Holland was only thinking of the photograph. When he got to the top of Everest he planned to take the rolled-up flag saying “Free Tibet” from his rucksack, pose for posterity with the banner as a backdrop and then roll it away again before starting back down. He was not looking to make a scene.

But that is exactly what transpired. Someone in the group he was climbing with informed the Nepalese authorities of Mr Holland’s flag. When he reached Everest Base Camp he was ordered from the mountain and told to go straight to Kathmandu. From there he was deported from Nepal with an order not to return for two years.

The 26-year-old US climber’s treatment at the hands of the Nepalese authorities is just one indication of how the world’s highest mountain has in recent days become engulfed by the politics and controversy surrounding China and its relationship with Tibet.

More:

Everest Olympic torch diary – 5

BBC’s Jonah Fisher joins the Olympic torch for the high point of its trip – on Mount Everest. In the fifth of his diary instalments, he takes a tour of Everest base camp.

On Wednesday we had a treat. After lengthy negotiations with the border police our minders secured us permission to visit Everest base camp 5km from our media village.

With strict instructions not to film the numerous military trucks on the way, we were driven to the tented camp that forms the command centre for both the climbing team as well as the official Chinese media.

Click here for more and for his previous instalments:


Bush aide thinks Nepal and Tibet are the same

April 15, 2008

From The Huffington Post:

President Bush’s National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley appeared on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos and repeatedly confused Nepal and Tibet.

Discussing how Bush has “no reason not to go” to this summer’s Olympic games in Beijing and how boycotting them would be wrong, Hadley discussed the outcry over Tibet and the US response, only he kept saying Nepal.

“If countries are really concerned about Nepal, we shouldn’t have this sort of non-issue of opening ceremonies or not. They should do the hard work of quiet diplomacy to urge the Chinese government — in their interest — to take advantage of this opportunity to do something,” Hadley said.

[via sajaforum.org]

More here… and also watch the video of the gaffe:


Rare one-horned rhino bouncing back in Nepal

March 28, 2008

From National Geographic News:

nepal-rhinoceros1.jpg

Recently, field observers counted 408 rhinos over two weeks in Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal, one of the last remaining strongholds for the endangered animals. Preliminary numbers from the census suggest an increase from 2005, when observers reported seeing only 372 rhinos in the park.

The Indian rhino, also known as the great one-horned rhinoceros, once roamed through large parts of South Asia. Its horn is reputed to have aphrodisiac properties and can be worth thousands of dollars in China’s traditional-medicine market.

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Putting faces on 5 victims of Tibetan riots

March 27, 2008

From The New York Times:

Shanghai: In life, the five young women who burned to death in a Chinese clothing store during rioting in Tibet on March 14 were not the types who would make headlines.

One received permission from her family to follow her fiancé to Lhasa; another sent home most of her wages to support 13 relatives; several sent text messages in the minutes before they died warning loved ones to stay indoors as violence erupted.

In death, though, the women are being treated as martyrs. The Chinese government has been using their deaths to support its version of what happened on “3/14,” when Tibet saw its worst day of violence in 20 years. In that version, broadcast by state-controlled media, ethnic Tibetans took to Lhasa’s streets, unprovoked, burning and looting shops that were owned by Han Chinese.

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Human Rights Watch speaks up for Tibet

Human Rights Watch has asked the government of Nepal to stop its arbitrary detention and ‘intimidation tactics’ against peaceful Tibetan protestors, including threats to deport them to China. Read that report here.

Meanwhile, a note circulated by ‘some Chinese intellectuals’, including dissidents and writers, has called for an independent United Nations investigation into Tibet. The note supports the Dalai Lama’s appeal for peace and includes 11 other suggestions for solving the Tibet situation.

Finally, HRW has called upon China to investigate its crackdown before the Olympic torch passes through Tibet. It has asked the government to account for those dead or missing and it wants Lhasa to be reopened to media and to monitors.

china.jpg

The Olympic torch, which was lit today in Olympia, Greece, should not go through Tibet unless the Chinese government agrees to an independent investigation into the recent unrest in Tibetan areas, Human Rights Watch said today.

The Olympic torch is set to pass through the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, on June 20-21. Chinese government officials have confirmed their plans to continue despite the ongoing protests and crackdown across ethnic Tibetan areas.

more

For a backgrounder and a complete HRW list of Tibet reports, go here.

[PIC: Monks and protestors rally on a street in Labrang, Gansu province, March 14. Reuters]


As Tibet erupted, China wavered

March 24, 2008

Witnesses say Chinese security forces melted away as unrest boiled over in the Tibetan capital on March 14. Jim Yardley from Beijing in The New York Times:

In the chaotic hours after Lhasa erupted March 14, Tibetans rampaged through the city’s old quarter, waving steel scabbards and burning or looting Chinese shops. Clothes, souvenirs and other tourist trinkets were dumped outside and set afire as thick gray smoke darkened the midday sky. Tibetan fury, uncorked, boiled over.

Foreigners and Lhasa residents who witnessed the violence were stunned by what they saw, and by what they did not see: the police. Riot police officers fled after an initial skirmish and then were often nowhere to be found. Some Chinese shopkeepers begged for protection.

“The whole day I didn’t see a single police officer or soldier,” said an American woman who spent hours navigating the riot scene. “The Tibetans were just running free.”

More:

And in Nepal…

From Nepali Times:

monk.jpgIn scenes not witnessed since April 2006, police brutally put down rallies and candlelit vigils by monks in Kathmandu. This young monk (above) was hit on his head with a bamboo stick wielded by riot police outside the United Nations office in Pulchok on Monday.

The UN’s human rights office in Kathmandu condemned what it said was the “excessive use of force” by Nepal’s police to disperse the demonstrations.

The protests have been part of an international campaign by Tibetans in exile and their supporters to highlight Chinese crackdowns in Lhasa and elsewhere. The rallies came in the run-up to the Olympics in Beijing in August. The unrest in Tibet has already hurt Nepal’s tourism industry since Kathmandu is the jump off point for Lhasa. Hundreds of Sherpas are also employed by expeditions climbing the Himalaya from the north.

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Rhino man

March 2, 2008

Wildlife biologist Hemanta Mishra’s efforts to save the endangered Indian rhinoceros. Sarah Zielinksi in The Smithsonian Magazine:

hemantamishra.jpg

For decades, wildlife biologist Hemanta Mishra-now a senior advisor for the American Himalayan Foundation-struggled to save the endangered Indian rhinoceros in his homeland of Nepal. He established the first Nepalese national parks-including Royal Chitwan National Park, the rhinos’ home in Nepal-and created a second population of the animals by transplanting dozens to the Royal Bardia National Park. His efforts led to the beginning of a recovery for the rhino, which he documents in his new book, The Soul of the Rhino.

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A Nepal village that’s a kidney bank

February 10, 2008

In Hindustan Times, Anirban Roy visits a village in Nepal where at least one member from each family has sold their kidneys in India.

Madhav Parajuli, a 33-year-old farmer, said he was taken to Gurgaon near New Delhi to donate his kidney and was cheated on the payment promised to him. He wants the government to compensate him now that the key accused in India’s illegal kidney transplant scam has been arrested.

Dipak Nepal, 23, had a narrow escape. “They took me to Delhi with the promise to pay 1.5 lakhs (Nepali rupees). But when they started bargaining with me saying they will only pay 45,000 rupees, I ran away.”

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High-altitude flood warning

February 6, 2008

Global warming could cause catastrophic emptying of lakes in Nepal and Bhutan, writes Tod Crowell on Asia Sentinel.

glaciallakes.jpg

The upper Himalaya lakes in Nepal and Bhutan that were formed by retreating glaciers are getting bigger as global warming causes glaciers to recede, with possibly ruinous consequences, a development that Japanese scientists have been monitoring with concern.

It is not a new phenomenon, but it is a growing and dangerous one. The International Center for Integrated Mountain Development in Katmandu estimates that 15 glacial lakes have burst in recent years, an average of one every two to five years. The center figures another 20 or so are candidates for Glacial Lake Outburst Flooding, or Glof.

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Books: Notes from the Red Corridor

January 26, 2008

book1.jpgIn Mint Lounge, Chandrahas Choudhury reviews Sudeep Chakravarti’s fascinating work of reportage Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country (Penguin/Viking).

Mao is alive and kicking in India, and how. Jailbreaks, frequent guerrilla attacks on security forces, the emergence of parallel governments in so-called “liberated zones”, and the victory of Maoists in neighbouring Nepal have woken Indians up to realities that for decades they could afford to ignore. Not only have the persistent failures and the eventual retreat of the state been clearly exposed, the dismaying possibility of a “Red Corridor” stretching, like a gash on the Indian subcontinent, from Nepal all the way down to Andhra Pradesh has also been raised.

Who are these Indian citizens who want nothing less than the total destruction of the Indian state, of the Constitution, of democracy? What does their rise reveal about the apathy of the Indian state towards some of its poorest and most marginalized subjects, particularly the tribals? To what extent has the state’s response only exacerbated the problem, and what is the condition of the innocent people trapped between two ferociously warring forces?

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When Nepal’s PM manufactured fake Indian currency

January 17, 2008

Yubaraj Ghimire in The Indian Express

Nepal’s Prime Minister G P Koirala was involved in manufacturing counterfeit Indian currency notes when he was in political exile in India in the early 1970s. This startling disclosure has been made by Koirala himself in a weekly TV interview series on his past political activities.

Appearing on Kantipur Television, Koirala, in another interview, claimed that R N Kao, then chief of India’s external intelligence agency RAW, had given him the green signal to hijack a Nepal Airlines plane with the promise that nothing would be done to him. Koirala led a team of Nepali Congress leaders who hijacked a Nepal Airlines flight from Biratnagar to Kathmandu in June 1973 and took away four million rupees meant for the Rashtra Bank.

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RIP, Sir Edmund Hillary: 1919-2008

January 11, 2008

Sir Edmund Hillary 1919-2008

 1919-2008

Sir Edmund Hillary, who has died at the age of 88, made it to the summit of Everest in 1953, and became the first man on the planet to reach its highest point.

As a boy in New Zealand, Edmund Hillary’s fragile appearance belied his ground-breaking potential.

At school, he was in a gym group for those lacking co-ordination and admitted to feeling a “deep sense of inferiority”.

But the 40-mile journey to school in Auckland each day gave young Edmund many hours to pore over adventure stories and travel ever further in his mind.

Read the rest of this entry »


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