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Nepal observing 34th World Children’s Day today

Kathmandu : The 34th World Children’s Day is being celebrated with various programmes today. 

The state parties to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child are marking the day as World Children’s Day recalling the passage of the Convention on 20 November 1989 by the United Nations General Assembly.     

The Day has been observed around the world to ensure children’s rights by implementing policies and programmes on issues such as the protection, development and participation of children. All 42 articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 are implemented in Nepal.     

The articles have provisions on the best interest of children, the implementation of rights, the protection of life, protection and development, and identity of children, the respect of children’s thoughts and feelings, the responsibilities of parents, social security, prevention of child labour, trafficking, transportation and abduction, and promotion of child-friendly justice.     

It has been 33 years since Nepal ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989. On 14 September 1990, Nepal ratified the Convention unconditionally and made a commitment according to its principles. Nepal has made constitutional, legal, policy, structural and programmatic arrangements for the implementation of the provisions of the Convention.     

After ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Nepal has been gradually improving the rights and interests of children in its constitution, laws, policies, periodic plans, institutional structures, annual policies and programmes.     

Nepal had announced to celebrate the Children’s Day with the reference to the day of its ratification of the Convention on 14 September 1990. Nepal has been celebrating the Day every year accordingly. (RSS)

Air Pollution Crisis Grips South Asia, Governments Urgently Seek Solutions

New Delhi — Air pollution levels in South Asia have reached hazardous levels, impacting millions of lives and prompting drastic measures such as school closures and warnings for citizens to stay indoors. The region, already notorious for its annual struggle with worsening air quality during winter, faces severe challenges as governments grapple to address the root causes.

Why is Pollution in South Asia Worse?
Rapid industrialization, economic growth, and a surge in population over the past two decades have intensified the demand for energy and fossil fuels in South Asian countries. Unique contributors to the region’s pollution include solid fuel combustion for cooking, human cremation, and the burning of agricultural waste. Stubble burning, particularly in states like Punjab and Haryana, accounts for 38% of pollution in New Delhi.

Rising Vehicle Numbers Add to Woes
The surge in vehicular traffic, with a four-fold increase in India and Pakistan since the early 2000s, exacerbates the pollution crisis. New Delhi, ranked the world’s most polluted capital for four consecutive years, grapples with 472 vehicles per thousand population, contributing to the smog that engulfs the city.

Efforts to Curb Pollution Falling Short
Despite attempts to tackle pollution through air quality management plans, increased monitoring, and a push for cleaner fuels, South Asian countries face challenges in coordinating their efforts. The transboundary nature of dust particles, traveling across borders and impacting neighboring nations, highlights the need for collaborative, region-wide solutions.

The Need for Coordinated Solutions
Experts emphasize that effective pollution control requires coordinated efforts across South Asian countries. While region-wide initiatives are crucial, local conditions must also be considered. Sectors such as agriculture and waste management, which have received limited attention, need to be incorporated into comprehensive strategies.

Balancing Global and Local Solutions
Governments must balance regional collaboration with tailored local solutions. Addressing stubble burning, for instance, could involve providing subsidies for better harvesting machines. While initiatives are underway in countries like India, challenges such as high purchase costs and waiting times for machine rentals hinder widespread adoption.

As South Asia grapples with a worsening air quality crisis, a unified, multi-pronged approach appears essential to mitigate the immediate impact and secure a healthier future for the region’s inhabitants.

Nepal-UK business prospects discussed in Plymouth 

Plymouth, England – The Britain-Nepal Chamber of Commerce (BNCC) brought together business leaders and entrepreneurs in the region at the “South West England-Nepal Business Growth Summit”, fostering a dynamic environment for dialogue and collaboration to promote trade relations between the two nations.

Biraj Bhatta, Vice Chairman of the BNCC, outlined the chamber’s strategic priorities and provided a retrospective view of past events to promote the UK-Nepal trade relations. He invited the attendees to explore new membership opportunities aimed at strengthening the network within the business community in the South West England. “The BNCC is a growing platform for professionals to gain insights from seasoned industry leaders who have successfully navigated the complexities of business. It’s a unique opportunity to absorb knowledge, strategies, and firsthand experiences that can be transformative for your business journey,” stressed Mr Bhatta.

Anjani Phuyal, a BNCC Executive Member and the CEO of Genese Solution, a UK-based value IT company, opened the summit with a presentation on the current investment climate in the UK and Nepal. Sharing his membership journey with the BNCC, he highlighted several benefits his engagement with the Chamber has generated so far in the form of knowledge-sharing and networking with fellow entrepreneurs, resulting in sustainable business relationships. “This summit is a prime opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals to explore and initiate collaborations that can drive promising growth for your business,” he said. His discourse also included valuable information on the trade and investment facts between the UK and Nepal.

Dipak Dhakal, President of the South-West Nepalese Society, shared his entrepreneurial journey in the real estate industry in the UK that he started three decades ago. “Forging valuable partnerships is the key to propel your business to new heights”, he remarked. His personal narrative added a human touch to the event, inspiring and resonating with aspiring entrepreneurs in the audience. 

Contributing to the broader discourse on business growth and sustainability, Kamal Paudel, Managing Director of IME London, and Prabhu Neupane, Director of Varang Recruitment Solutions, offered diverse perspectives on how their respective businesses have leveraged from the networking opportunities since their involvement in the Britain-Nepal Chamber of Commerce.

The interactive panel discussion, moderated by Anjani Phuyal, was the main highlight of the summit, as it explored crucial aspects of various lines of business. Dipak Dhakal shared insights into opportunities and challenges in the property management and housing industry, while Biraj Bhatta’s visionary perspective shed light on the future of travel and tourism businesses between the UK and Nepal. Similarly, BNCC President Dr. Kapil Rijal’s experiences from the dentistry industry’s current scenario and outlook in the UK and Nepal captivated the audience’s attention. Rajaram Dallakoti discussed the prevailing market dynamics in retail businesses and his strategies to stay competitive in the industry. The thought-provoking panel discussion provided a deep dive into the core of business landscapes, providing attendees with diverse perspectives to navigate the complexities of entrepreneurial challenges, identify growth opportunities, and envision future trends in several industries.

Dr. Kapil Rijal, Chairman of BNCC, concluded the summit, expressing gratitude to the participants and emphasising the importance of collaborative platforms like these in shaping the future of business interactions. “The BNCC remains steadfast in its dedication to creating opportunities for growth, collaboration, and knowledge exchange within the business community. It serves as a catalyst for businesses to connect, collaborate, and thrive on a global stage. Today, the South West England-Nepal Business Growth Summit achieved its goals by fostering meaningful discussions and connections to that end,” said Dr. Rijal. “The event’s success was made possible by the generous sponsorship of Genese Solution, Travel Console, IME London, and Hotel Moorland,” he added.

The BNCC (bncc.org.uk) is a non-profit membership organisation providing information and assistance on matters relating to bilateral trade between Britain and Nepal. BNCC works in liaison with government and non-government organisations based in the UK and Nepal and is committed to connecting its members and partners with people, ideas and resources to boost their organisational, professional and personal success.

Nepal government Imposes Ban on TikTok Citing Negative Social Impact and Rise in Cyber Crimes

Kathmabdu — In a recent Cabinet meeting held on Monday, the government has decided to impose a ban on the popular Chinese-owned app, TikTok. The decision stems from concerns over the app’s negative effects on social harmony, with a particular emphasis on its role in promoting hate speech. While the exact date of the ban’s enforcement remains uncertain, it follows a surge in reported cyber crimes, numbering 1,647 over the past four years.

Freedom of expression, a fundamental right, has been a point of contention in this decision. The government, however, highlights the widespread criticism of TikTok for fostering a climate of hate speech within a significant portion of society. The decision was reached after discussions between the Cyber Bureau of the Nepal Police, Ministry of Home Affairs, and representatives of TikTok.

This development closely follows the introduction of the ‘Directives on the Operation of Social Networking 2023.’ Among the notable directives is the requirement for social media platforms operating in Nepal to establish offices in the country. A previous Cabinet meeting mandated platforms like Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), TikTok, and YouTube to open liaison offices in Nepal.

Companies are given a three-month window to either set up an office or appoint a focal person in Nepal. Additionally, they must register their platforms with the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology. The ministry reserves the right to shut down platforms that fail to comply with registration requirements.

The directives also include a comprehensive 19-point not-to-do list for users of major social media platforms, including Facebook, X, TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. This move comes as a response to an increasing number of complaints regarding the absence of company representatives in Nepal, hindering authorities from addressing user concerns and removing objectionable content from these platforms.

South Asia Face Unprecedented Water Scarcity Crisis Amidst Climate Change Impact, UNICEF Reports

Kathmandu — In a startling revelation, the United Nations Children’s Agency (UNICEF) disclosed that South Asia is witnessing a dire water scarcity crisis, exacerbated by the far-reaching effects of climate change. The region, encompassing Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, hosts a staggering 347 million children under 18 exposed to high or extremely high water scarcity – the highest globally.

The UNICEF report underscores that climate change is disrupting weather patterns and rainfall, resulting in unpredictable water availability. The eight-nation area, home to over a quarter of the world’s children, faces challenges such as poor water quality, insufficient water supply, and mismanagement, including the over-pumping of aquifers. Climate change further diminishes the replenishment of these water sources.

“When village wells go dry, homes, health centers, and schools are all affected,” warns UNICEF, highlighting the widespread consequences of water scarcity on basic necessities. The report emphasizes the increasing severity of water scarcity for children in South Asia due to the unpredictable climate.

At the upcoming UN COP28 climate conference in Dubai, UNICEF intends to call upon world leaders to “secure a livable planet.” Sanjay Wijesekera, UNICEF Chief for South Asia, stressed the urgency, stating, “Safe water is a basic human right. Yet millions of children in South Asia don’t have enough to drink in a region plagued by floods, droughts, and other extreme weather events, triggered increasingly by climate change.”

Last year, South Asia recorded 45 million children lacking access to basic drinking water services, surpassing any other region. However, UNICEF reports a rapid expansion of services, aiming to halve this number by 2030.

Behind South Asia in water scarcity risk is Eastern and Southern Africa, where 130 million children face severe water scarcity, as outlined in the UNICEF report. The findings underscore the urgent need for global attention and coordinated efforts to address the escalating water crisis affecting millions of children in vulnerable regions.

Gai Tihar being observed today

Kathmandu : Gai or Cow Puja is being observed throughout the country today on the third day of the five-day-long Tihar festival celebrated by the Hindus in the country. The cow is worshipped as per the religious belief that we get love from her like a mother. The day today is also locally called Gai Tihar. The cow is garlanded and fed various delicacies.

Worshiping cows as sacred is a tradition since ancient Vedic times. Cows are revered as cow mothers because the milk given by cows is as nutritious as the milk given by human mothers.

In some parts of Nepal and some communities, there is a tradition of worshiping cow on the day of Kartik Krishna Aunsi, but there is a classical belief that cows should be worshiped at the end of Aunsi and at the beginning of Pratipada, said Nepal Calendar Determination Committee Member Prof Dr Ram Chandra Gautam. 

There is also a religious belief that if the Rakshabandhan tied on the right hand is tied to the cow’s tail after cow worship, the cow will help cross the river Vaitarani to go to heaven after death. (RSS)

Tihar Festival Unfolds with Varied Celebrations in Nepal

In Nepal, the vibrant festival of Tihar has commenced with diverse celebrations marking each day. The first day, known as Kaag Tihar or Crow Festival, saw the worship of crows as messengers of Yama Raj, the god of Death, on November 11.

Following this, Kukur Tihar, dedicated to honoring dogs, is being celebrated on November 12. Dogs, revered as symbols of loyalty and messengers of Yama Raj, are worshipped with food, red vermillion powder, and garlands.

This year, a unique convergence occurs as Laxmi Puja coincides with Kukur Tihar on November 13. Laxmi Puja holds special significance as homes are adorned with flowers, lights, and oil lamps, symbolizing prosperity sought from the goddess Laxmi.

During Laxmi Puja, the traditional practices of Deusi and Bhailo are observed, with participants receiving money and selroti in return. Additionally, the Newar community engages in Mha puja, a ritual focused on self-worship, acknowledging the spirit within oneself.

The festival culminates on Bhai Tika, the final day of Yamapanchak, bringing brothers and sisters together. Sisters put Sapatriangi Tika on their brothers’ foreheads, expressing wishes for progress, prosperity, and longevity.

Tihar, with its rich tapestry of rituals, not only honors deities but also strengthens the familial bonds between brothers and sisters, underscoring its special significance in the lives of Hindus in Nepal.

Northolt 10K by Nepal Run UK: A Step Towards a Healthier Community

London – Nepal Run UK held the ‘Northolt 10K’ run competition on Sunday at Northala Park near London, coinciding with ‘Remembrance Day’. A total of 320 participants took on the 10 km race, with impressive performances on both the men’s and women’s sides.

In the men’s division, Elias Ahmed dominated the race, finishing the 10K in an astounding 32 minutes and 15 seconds, securing first place. Simon Saha and Jonath Hora followed closely, finishing in 34.17 and 34.58 minutes, respectively.

On the women’s side, Nicola Penty Alviraj was the standout performer, completing the race in 44 minutes and 42 seconds to claim the top spot. Manda Gurung took second place with a time of 44.42, and Clare Morris finished third in 46.31.

In the super veteran men’s category for participants over 60 years, Stefan Plummer and Lorraine Lakenby displayed their endurance, crossing the finish line in 39.40 and 60.58 minutes, respectively.

Among the participants aged 40 to 60, Simon Osea and Salina Raj Bhandari both finished in 34.17 minutes, securing first place in their respective categories.

Nepal Run Club celebrated its success as Prakash Gurung and Tejmaya Sigdel were crowned champions in their divisions, with times of 35.19 and 47.25 minutes, respectively. Amrit Shrestha received the award for the best race improvement.

The event was not only about competition but also about community support and promotion of Nepal, coordinator Pandav mahato said. The top male and female winners were rewarded with an entry to the Annapurna Marathon in Nepal.

The event was graced by internationally renowned ultra runner Meera Rai, Milan Rai of the White Butter Initiative, Vikram Pandey, founder of the Everest Marathon, and many others.

Jagan Karki , secretary of Nepal Run, emphasized the positive activities of the Nepalese and Gorkha communities and their contribution to promoting Nepal through such events.

Meera Rai expressed her admiration for the Nepali community’s interest in running in London and pledged to initiate similar competitions in Nepal.

Min Darlami, Managing Director of A Star Financial Solutions UK, the main sponsor of the Northolt 10K, expressed pride in supporting an event that promotes health awareness and fitness in the Nepali community.

The race was meticulously organized by Santosh Rai, and Rabindra Adhikari coordinated the volunteers. Rai extended gratitude to all the sponsors and promised improvements for next year’s events.

Furthermore, the ‘Fund Raise’ component of the event supported the Meera Rai Initiative, adding a charitable aspect to this exciting day of competition.

Tragedy Strikes Nepal: Midnight Earthquake Claims 50 Lives in Jajarkot and Rukum West

Kathmandu — In a devastating turn of events, a powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the region around Jajarkot, Nepal in the dead of night, claiming the lives of approximately 50 people. The disaster, which occurred in the midnight hours, has sent shockwaves through the affected areas.

Reports gathered from district by local media correspondent, quoting local police officers and people’s representatives, have confirmed the heartbreaking loss of life. Preliminary information from Rukum West District reveals that at least 28 individuals have lost their lives in this area alone.

Jajarkot, the epicenter of the earthquake, has borne the brunt of the devastation. As of the latest update, 20 people have tragically perished in this district, including Deputy Mayor Sarita Singh of Nalgad Municipality. DSP Santosh Roka of the District Police Office has noted that additional details regarding the death toll of the 20 victims are still being compiled.

As of 3:30 pm on Saturday night, it is evident that the most significant impact has been in Jajarkot and Rukum West, both of which are connected to the border. The earthquake’s aftermath has left communities in these regions grappling with loss and destruction, as emergency response efforts are underway to provide assistance to those affected.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and communities affected by this tragic event, and we will continue to provide updates on this developing situation.

Nepal underesells itself, British investors say

London – British investors have said that Nepal is underselling itself while trying to attract foreign direct investment.

Addressing a conference entitled “Emerging Nepal: Opportunities for impact investment and trade” at the Mansion House in London on Tuesday, Tim Gocher, founder and CEO of Dolma Impact Fund, said that Nepal is underselling itself.

“Nepal does what it says and has a rules-based system. We have USD 200 million worth of projects, two of them listed on Nepal Stock Exchange. Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) pays  quarterly bills to private power producers absolutely on time. It’s a very open political economy. We had great experience of working with government agencies,” said Gocher.

President of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), Chandra P Dhakal, said that Nepal offered a lot of opportunities fo investment and trade. “Nepali products enjoy duty free market access to India, China, UK and EU, among others. International investors can produce in Nepal and export to the world. We invite British investors for collaboration in energy sector in Nepal, said Dhakal adding, “Nepal a popular destination for British tourists. Nepal is beocming a popular destination for wedding, MICE tourism, digital economy and ecommerce. The FDI help desk at FNCCI will facilitate you.”

Ambassador of Nepal to the UK, Gyan Chandra Acharya, said that this was high time to look at Nepal as an emrging investment destination. “There is a willingness and desirability – really to go to the next stage – to attract investment in Nepal,” he added.

Invest in Nepal

Finance Minister Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat, too, urged the British investors to invest in Nepal.  “Examples from India, China, Korea and other economies show that FDI can serves as a catalyst for the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs),” said Dr Mahat adding, “Nepal offers 100 percent foreign ownership in almost all sectors and 100 percent repatriation of profits for investors. There is huge investment opportunity in energy, transport, agri business, ICT, health, mines and minerals, education, health, construction, banking and finance, among others.”

Chair of All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Nepal, Virendra Sharma, said that Nepal was located at the crossroads of Asia. “There is a need for both the development assistance as well as the private capital. Investment in the future we all want. Sustainable business has to be part of the sustainable development . Businesses want to work together, politicians should help that,” he added.

Joint Secretary at the Investment Board of Nepal, Amrit Lamsal , said that Nepal was not landlocked but a landlinked country between two emerging economies. “Thanks to its strategic location, Nepal has access to two of the largest markets in the world – India and China. We are members of regional groupings and interantional organisations including SAFTA, BIMSTEC and WTO.”

Deputy Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank, Bam Bahadur Mishra, said that Nepal welcomes investors. “No permission is required to bring funds to Nepal.  For investments over Rs 6 billion you have to go to Nepal Investment Board and repatriation is very easy.”

Colin Buckley, Managing Director at the British International Investment (BII), UK’s development finance institution- said that Nepal is a perfect example of where development finance works. Nepal is a country with enormous resources. “The BII has invested over USD 100 million in the ICT and banking sectors,” said Mr Buckley adding, “We provided capital to the WorldLink and NMB Bank to help sustain Nepal’s economic growth. Nepal deserves a prosperous future. In partnership with the Nepal government we will work towards that.”

Tim Reid, CEO of UK Export Finance, said that his Department has up to 1.5 billion Pounds available to support Nepal in trade finance. He urged British companies to go and invest in Nepal in areas including clean energy. 

President of Independent Power Producers’ Association of Nepal, Ganesh Karki (IPPAN), said that there was huge potential for hydropower development in Nepal. Some 3,000 MW of hydropower is already connected to the grid while nearly 5,000 MW of power is under construction. Out of that, 70 percnet of the projects are being developed by the private sector,” said Karki adding, “The main issue is the capacity of Nepali banks to finance projects bigger than 100 MW. We need finance either in terms of loan or equity and we need funds to build bigger projects.”

Chief Executive Officer of Invest for Impact Nepal, Bibek Shrestha, said that his company was trying to facilitate Development Financial Institutions (DFIs) in Nepal market. “We provide financial advislory to compankies so that they should be ready for investment from DFIs and impact investors,” said Shrestha adding, “Information gap is huge in Nepal. We collect information and share with investors.”

Former Swiss Ambassador to Nepal, Jorg Frieden, said that invsetment has to be socially responsible and environmentally positive. “Nepal will not grow unless it develops hydropower. But Nepal also needs SMEs to create jobs – from services to processing industries. Too much money is going into land, we need more productive investment,” he said.

Managing Director of The Kandel Group, Rajen Kandel, said that his group runs eight educational institutions in Nepal where nearly 4,000 students are studying at the moment. “There is huge opportunity in Nepal in higher and vocational educatkional sector.  Nepali students are spending approximately USD 600 million in overseas education per year. Higher education can offer a 19 million pound opportunity for UK service providers,” he added.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also signed between six DFIs – BII (UK), FMO (The Netherlands), Bio (Belgium), Finfund (Finland), Proparco (France) and Saifem (Switzerland- and the Ministry of Finace, Nepal with a view to faciliate invesetment in Nepal.

The conference was attended by representatives of leading British businesses, banks, insurance sector as well as officials, entrepreneurs and private sector leaders from Nepal.

(Photos credit: Embassy of Nepal, London)

Nepal and UK Commemorate 100 Years of Friendship Treaty with Pledge for Investment and Collaboration

London – Marking the centenary of the Treaty of Friendship between Nepal and the United Kingdom, the Ambassador hosted a prestigious high-level conference at the City of London Mansion House. Distinguished guests gathered to celebrate this historic milestone and discuss a range of collaborative ventures.

Nepal’s Finance Minister, Prakashsharan Mahat, underscored the pressing need for significant financial resources to drive prosperity and economic transformation in Nepal. He highlighted the government’s efforts to create a welcoming investment climate through legal and institutional adjustments, as well as reforms in the latest budget, aimed at enhancing investor comfort. Minister Mahat expressed his confidence that the necessary legal infrastructure would soon be in place to mobilize capital in the international financial market.

Ambassador of Nepal to the United Kingdom, Gyan Chandra Acharya, expressed Nepal’s aspirations to invest in the long-term financial resources of London’s financial hub. He emphasized the sectors of renewable energy, information technology, education, and tourism as areas of mutual interest. Additionally, Acharya mentioned Nepal’s commitment to electricity trade with India, with future plans to export electricity to Bangladesh, highlighting the dual benefit of Nepal’s hydroelectricity in reducing climate change impacts and contributing to South Asian sustainability goals.

Speaking at the conference, City of London Alderman and Sheriff Broneck lauded London’s substantial financial resources and risk-bearing insurance companies. He pledged the City of London’s cooperation in Nepal’s sustainable development and enhancing the investment environment, striving to support Nepal’s transition from the least developed country to a developing one.

In the British Parliament, Virendra Sharma, Chairman of the UK Nepal All-Party Parliamentary Group, elaborated on the historical ties between Nepal and Great Britain and identified various investment opportunities within Nepal. Tim Ridley, Chief Executive Officer of UK Export Finance, expressed the readiness of UK Export Finance to invest £1.5 billion in Nepal.

The conference, with a focus on renewable energy, information technology, and education, held specialized panel discussions on renewable energy and information technology. Rajan Kandel, President of the British College, presented insights on educational opportunities in Nepal. Deputy Governor of Nepal’s Central Bank, Bam Bahadur Mishra, assured investors that the process of foreign investment approval and profit repatriation would be simplified, underlining the Investment Board of Nepal’s role in facilitating foreign investment.

Sandeep Devle, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources, and Irrigation, delved into Nepal’s energy sector, highlighting ongoing hydroelectric projects, agreements with India and China for electricity development and purchase, and Nepal’s upcoming hydropower development plans.

Chandra Prasad Dhakal, President of the Nepal Chamber of Commerce, encouraged foreign investors to invest with confidence, given Nepal’s favorable investment environment. Ganesh Karki, President of the Association of Independent Energy Producers of Nepal, elucidated investment opportunities in hydropower and renewable energy in Nepal, inviting foreign investors to partake in Nepal’s progress.

Colin Buckley, Managing Director of British International Investments and Founder and CEO of Dolma Impact Fund, alongside Tim Gochar, voiced their commitments to investment in Nepal. Vivek Shrestha, CEO of Invest for Impact Nepal, outlined the development of financial institutions investing in Nepal during his presentation.

The Ministry of Finance of the Government of Nepal, in partnership with six development financial institutions investing in Nepal – British International Investment, Britain, FMO, Netherlands, BIO, Belgium, Finnfund, Finland, Proparco, France, and Cyphem, Switzerland, successfully formalized agreements to facilitate the development of financial institutions in Nepal on this auspicious occasion.

In a subsequent meeting, FM of Nepal Mr. Prakashsharan Mahat engaged with Anne Marie Trevelyan, the UK Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. During this visit, he sought the cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on various aspects of Nepal-UK bilateral relations, especially on encouraging foreign investments in Nepal. Minister Mahat emphasized Nepal’s need for foreign investment to address financial challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and he urged the UK to consider investment opportunities in information technology, education, and tourism. Despite Nepal’s minimal role in climate change, he called for more cooperation from the British government in addressing its impacts, a request supported by Foreign Minister Trevelyan, who reiterated Britain’s commitment as a development partner to Nepal.

The meeting witnessed the presence of British bankers, private investors, insurance companies, representatives from British and European development financial institutions, officials from the Ministry of Trade and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, members of the Nepalese diaspora, and British companies already investing in Nepal.

UN Chief Drops Climate Truth Bomb at Nepal’s Annapurna Base Camp: “Developed Nations to Blame for Climate Crisis

Kathmandu — United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, during a visit to the Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) in Nepal, emphasized that while Nepal bears the brunt of climate change impacts, it is the developed countries that are primarily responsible for causing climate change. Guterres, who arrived at ABC, situated at an elevation of 4,130 meters above sea level, via a Nepalese army helicopter, underscored the urgent need for global action.

Speaking to the local residents, Guterres acknowledged Nepal’s minimal role in contributing to climate change, stating, “The main factor of climate change is developed and industrialized countries; Nepal has no hand in this. Climate change is happening because of rich countries, but Nepal has to suffer the consequences.”

Chairman of Annapurna Rural Municipality in Kaski, Bishnu Bahadur KC, informed Guterres about the growing challenges linked to climate change. Meanwhile, Him Bahadur Gurung, Ward President of Ward No. 11 of ABC Parne, shared his childhood experiences of herding sheep in the Himalayas, shedding light on the drastic environmental changes he had witnessed over time.

Addressing the locals, Guterres noted that the rapidly melting snow in the mountains has triggered problems such as floods and landslides, severely affecting communities. He underscored the purpose of his visit to ABC, stating that he came to convey the message about the dire consequences of climate change.

Upon returning from the Annapurna base camp, Guterres spoke to journalists in Pokhara, where he expressed his commitment to raising awareness on the critical issue of climate change. He pledged to appeal to the global community to take action to protect the mountains and glaciers.

Guterres also mentioned the Climate Adaptation Fund, emphasizing its significance in aiding communities impacted by the climate crisis. He called for the fund to be effectively utilized in mitigating the consequences of climate change, recognizing the pressing need for international collaboration to address this shared global challenge.

Nepal’s Finance Minister Urges British Investment in Renewable Energy Sector During London Meeting

London, United Kingdom – In a significant diplomatic move, Nepal’s Finance Minister, Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat, held a crucial meeting with the British Treasury Lords Minister, Baroness Penn, at the Treasury Office in London on Monday. During this meeting, Finance Minister Mahat emphasized the need for British investment in Nepal’s renewable energy sector, underlining the United Kingdom’s pivotal role as a major development partner of Nepal.

Dr. Mahat urged for long-term financing in the green energy sector, recognizing the growing significance of renewable energy in Nepal’s economic development. In addition to this, he also sought increased British investment to combat the adverse effects of climate change in Nepal.

Baroness Penn assured continued support from the British government for Nepal’s economic development, expressing a commitment to promoting ‘green finance.’ She stated that the British private sector would be encouraged to boost investments in Nepal’s green energy sector.

The meeting was attended by Ambassador of Nepal to the UK, Gyan Chandra Acharya, and Deputy Chief of Mission Roshan Khanal, highlighting the bilateral nature of the discussions.

Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat’s visit to London was in connection with a high-level conference on investment in Nepal organized by the Embassy of Nepal. During the conference, he participated in an interaction focused on sustainable finance alternatives for the development of renewable energy in Nepal, organized by the Embassy of Nepal under the Dolma Foundation’s auspices.

The Finance Minister underscored Nepal’s commitment to ensuring the security of foreign investments and simplifying the repatriation process for profits from such investments. He also revealed that the government had initiated the process of country credit rating to enhance the investment climate in Nepal, further demonstrating Nepal’s determination to attract foreign investments and promote sustainable development.

This meeting and the ensuing commitments signal a positive step toward enhancing cooperation between Nepal and the United Kingdom in the crucial fields of renewable energy and climate change mitigation. Nepal is eager to harness international support and investment to advance its sustainable energy goals and reduce the impacts of climate change.

India Resumes Visa Services for Canadians Following Diplomatic Row

New Delhi — In a significant diplomatic development, India has announced the resumption of visa services for Canadian citizens, marking the end of a suspension that was initiated in September. The temporary halt in visa services had stirred tension between the two nations, and while it was initially attributed to “security threats,” it was closely linked to a grave dispute concerning a Sikh separatist’s murder on Canadian soil.

At the heart of the discord was the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a prominent Sikh separatist leader who was fatally shot in Surrey, British Columbia, in June. Canadian authorities had launched an investigation into the incident, probing allegations of India’s involvement in the murder. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s stance on the matter had further strained relations between the two nations.

India vehemently denied any involvement in the killing, dismissing the allegations as “absurd.” The ensuing diplomatic clash led to the suspension of visa services, leaving many Canadians, including those of Indian origin and immediate family members, in limbo.

However, in a statement issued on Wednesday, Indian officials announced their decision to recommence visa services, citing a reassessment of the security situation at their missions in Canada. They also alluded to unspecified “recent Canadian measures” that factored into their decision.

The resumption of services, set to commence on Thursday, will encompass a range of visa categories, including entry visas, business visas, medical visas, and conference visas. Entry visas are specific to “persons of Indian origin” and their family members, while business, medical, and conference visas serve varying purposes, promoting people-to-people and business exchanges between the two nations.

The statement from the Indian authorities emphasized that “further decisions, as appropriate, would be intimated based on continuing evaluation of the situation,” signaling an ongoing effort to improve diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The dispute had reached a point where Canada withdrew dozens of its diplomats from India, responding to India’s threats to revoke diplomatic immunity. India had long demanded parity in the number of diplomats between the two nations.

Diwali Festival Returns to Trafalgar Square: A Vibrant Celebration of Lights and Culture

LONDON, October 29, 2023

The heart of London came alive in a splendid display of color, culture, and community as the Diwali on the Square festival, organized by the Mayor of London, made a triumphant return to Trafalgar Square. Diwali, also known as the ‘festival of lights,’ was celebrated with fervor on Sunday, October 29, 2023, as people from across London’s Hindu, Jain, Sikh communities, and beyond gathered to mark this joyous occasion.

The festivities kicked off at lunchtime with a mesmerizing opening ceremony featuring 200 vibrantly-clothed dancers who dazzled the main stage. Diwali, celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs, is a festival that warmly invites everyone to partake in its radiant celebrations. The vibrant dancers set the tone for an afternoon and evening filled with free entertainment and activities that captivated attendees of all ages.

Throughout the event, the main stage played host to an array of performances, including energetic Bollywood dances and melodious Punjabi singing medleys, where enthusiastic participation from the audience was actively encouraged. The Diwali spirit was palpable as music, dance, and laughter filled the iconic square.

Beyond the stage, Trafalgar Square transformed into a hub of cultural experiences. Attendees had the opportunity to engage in meditation and yoga, explore bead workshops, enjoy puppet shows, and learn the art of tying saris and turbans. The comedy from Soho Theatre added a touch of humor to the festivities, while the presence of henna artists allowed visitors to adorn themselves with beautiful designs.

Families with young children found ample entertainment with dedicated activities to keep the little ones engaged. Meanwhile, food enthusiasts savored the delicious vegan and vegetarian options available, a true delight for the taste buds.

One of the highlights of this year’s Diwali celebration was the presence of the Diwali Queen, who is part of Kalasetu, a collaborative project between Subrang Arts and Kinetika, commissioned on behalf of This is Croydon, the London Borough of Culture 2023. Her radiant presence added to the charm of the event.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who has been an advocate for multicultural celebrations in the city, expressed his delight at the successful return of Diwali on the Square. He emphasized that the event showcased the diversity and unity of London’s residents, making it a day to remember for everyone.

The Diwali on the Square festival is a magnificent celebration of tradition, art, and the harmonious coexistence of cultures. It’s a day that encapsulates the spirit of Diwali, and everyone who attended left with a heart full of joy and cherished memories. As the sun set over Trafalgar Square, the colorful lights of Diwali shone bright, bringing the vibrant festival to a spectacular close.

The organizers look forward to continuing this tradition in the years to come, spreading the light and joy of Diwali to all corners of London and beyond. Wishing you all a very happy Diwali!!

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Embarks on Four-Day Visit to Nepal

Kathmandu— United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has touched down in Nepal for a significant four-day official visit, receiving a warm welcome from the nation’s dignitaries and officials.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Prakash Saud extended a cordial greeting to the UN Secretary-General at the VVIP lounge of the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu, marking the commencement of his visit.

Accompanying Minister Saud were high-ranking officials from the Government of Nepal and representatives of the UN Office in Nepal, among other notable figures. A distinguished moment occurred as the Nepal Army proudly rendered a guard of honor to Secretary-General Guterres.

This noteworthy visit to Nepal transpired following an invitation from Prime Minister of Nepal Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda.’ Guterres’ itinerary for the first day of his visit includes a courtesy call on President Ramchandra Paudel at the Office of the President, followed by a meeting with Prime Minister Dahal at the Prime Minister’s office, as confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Secretary-General Guterres is also scheduled to engage in separate meetings with Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba and CPN-UML Chairperson KP Sharma Oli at the New Baneshwor-based Federal Parliament Building. In addition, he will hold distinct meetings with Deputy Prime Ministers Purna Bahadur Khadka and Narayankaji Shrestha.

After these productive discussions, he will take the time to explore the historical and archaeological marvels of Patan Durbar Square, a heritage site of significant importance.

The day will conclude with Prime Minister Dahal hosting a banquet reception in honor of Secretary-General Guterres, bringing together a diverse gathering of individuals.

As the visit unfolds, Secretary-General Guterres is set to embark on a journey to Namche, Pokhara, Annapurna Base Camp, and Lumbini on the following day. His schedule culminates with a highly anticipated address to the joint session of the federal parliament at 4:00 pm on Tuesday, as confirmed by the Parliament Secretariat.

During this momentous visit, the Secretary-General will engage in discussions touching on crucial matters, including the peace process, sustainable development, and climate change, as revealed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This high-profile visit of the UN Secretary-General, occurring after a hiatus of approximately 15 years, is regarded with the utmost significance, underscoring the importance of international cooperation and diplomatic relations in today’s complex global landscape.