Handicraft fair to take place in Thamel

Kathmandu: A food and handicraft fair is to be organized in Thamel to promote tourism. The Thamel Tourism Development Council is organizing the fair in Thamel on May 18. Council's general secretary Rajib Pandey said that the fair will begin at 10:00 am on Saturday and will continue till 10:00 in the night and will offer varieties of cuisines and handicraft items to lure domestic and international tourists there. Pandey shared that as many as 30 stalls will be kept in the fair. There will also be cultural shows at the fair. Source: National News Agency RSS

Heavy equipment reach Tiptala border point from Nepali side

Nepal has finally taken heavy equipment to Tiptala border point for the first time. Tiptala is the shortest checkpoint linking Nepal to China and India from its eastern most mountainous border. Chheten Sherpa, ward chair of Phaktanglung rural municipality-7, informed that an excavator and a tractor reached the border crossing on Friday. The checkpoint is located at the height of 5,100 meter. It borders Tibet, China. Opening of track from the Rani Customs Office of Biratnagar to Tiptala had already been completed. The Elite JV Construction Service had completed track opening up to Olangchunggola some days back. Although the track to Tiptala has completed, the border point has not been opened since COVID-19 crisis. Source: National News Agency RSS

Call for increasing use of electric vehicles

Stakeholders have stressed the need to increase the use of electrical vehicles for prosperous tourism in the country. At an interaction programme 'Green Mobility for tourism Prosperity' organized here today by the Spark Car in collaboration with the Nepal Tourism Board, the participants underlined the need to maximize the use of electric vehicles for sustainable and tourism-friendly environment. On the occasion, Minister for Energy, Water Resource and Irrigation Shakti Bahadur Basnet highlighted the urgency of robust commitment from stakeholders and stressed the need to amplify the use of electric vehicles for increasing supply of energy produced in the country. 'The government has chalked out a road map and action plan for the expansion of energy sector, including boosting energy production, building necessary infrastructure related to distribution system and increasing energy supply', he shared. Also speaking on the occasion, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Hit Bahadur Tamang commented that there is deficit investment in infrastructure required to boost the use of electric vehicles. Nepal Rastra Bank Governor Maha Prasad Adhikari stressed the need of effective execution of the promises made so far by the government agencies in tourism sector. He informed that the NRB has placed priority on the use of electric vehicles in the environmental and social risk management guideline and recently-prepared green taxonomy draft. Environmentalist Bhushan Tuladhar shed light on the importance of the use of electric vehicles to reduce environment pollution propping up across the country. Chairperson of the Spark Car, Roshan Ghimire urged the government to be enterprises and business environment friendly advocating for the increased use of electric vehicles. 'There is an increasing trend of inflow of quality tourists to Nepal. But the use of tourist-friendly, quality vehicle has not been increased. It should be taken into consideration', he mentioned. Source: National News Agency RSS

CM Karki expands Koshi govt with induction of seven ministers

Chief Minister of Koshi Province, Hikmat Kumar Karki, has inducted seven ministers: five full and two ministers of state in his Cabinet. The new ministers are Rajendra Karki (health), Panchkarna Rai (social development), Ekraj Karki (water supplies, irrigation, and energy), Narayan Magar (tourism, forest and environment) and Leela Bhallab Adhikari (internal affairs and law). Similarly, Sirjana Rai (minister of state at the Office of the Chief Minister and Council of Ministers) and Bandana Jhangar (minister of state for tourism, forest, and environment) were appointed by Province Chief Parashuram Khapung on May 17 on the recommendation of the Chief Minister. The appointments were made in accordance with Article 168 (9) of the Constitution. The ministers took an oath of office and secrecy before Province Chief Khapung amidst a ceremony at the Office of the Province Chief, Biratnagar this evening. Likewise, ministers of state Rai and Jhangar were sworn in by the Chief Minister who formed the government on M ay 9. Similarly, Ram Bahadur Magar and Ganesh Prasad Upreti who were appointed the ministers without portfolios earlier were given the responsibilities of the ministry of economic affairs and planning and the ministry of physical infrastructure, respectively. Speaker Ambar Bahadur Bista, Province Assembly (PA) secretary Gopal Prasad Parajuli, secretaries of various ministries, chiefs of security agencies, and political leaders among others were present at the oath-taking ceremony. Source: National News Agency RSS

Himalayan Literature Festival to kick off on May 23

Kathmandu: The New York Writers Workshop and Himalayan Literature Festival (HLF) will be taking place from May 23 to 28. The first edition to be hosted in collaboration with the White Lotus Book Shop is expected to be an immersive experience for book lovers, writers, and literary enthusiasts alike. According to the White Lotus Book Shop, the festival will have the participation of renowned authors, poets, and speakers from around the world. Yuyutsu RD Sharma, the curator of the festival said the event aims to create a platform that not only celebrates literature but also fosters a sense of community and inspires creativity. Source: National News Agency RSS

Yawning gap in ICT regulation among LLDCs, assessment says

Kathmandu: An assessment paper on digital connectivity and ICT data among the landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) has showed a yawning gap in ICT regulatory initiatives among LLDCs. The assessment report brought forth recently by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) mentioned it, showing the digital challenges and growth in LLDCs with comparative data analyses. The document named 'Measuring Digital Development' stated that the disparity of level of ICT regulatory maturity is prominent among LLDCs where the gap goes to 83-point between the two countries- the one with the most and the one with least advanced level of ICT regulation. "The majority of LLDCs, 53 per cent, remain in the less advanced stages of ICT regulation (G1 and G2)," it said, underlining the need for creating an enabling environment for universal and meaningful connectivity. "While some LLDCs have fast-tracked ICT regulatory reform over the past decade, most have been moving at a slower pace," it added. It is worth noting th at when internet is regarded as the 'infrastructure of infrastructure', the percentage of people in online in LLDCs is only 39 percent. The publication mentioned, "In 2023, about 226 million people in LLDCs were using internet. This accounts for 39 percent of the population of these countries, compared with 69 percent of the world's population using the internet." With this, 351 million in LLDCs are still deprived of essential connectivity. Another worrying trend the publication has revealed is- gender gap in internet use witnessed 'no sign of narrowing in LLDCs'. The young (15-24 age group) are dominating the internet use. More than half, 54 percent young one, were online in 2023. To a positive note, the document has stated that LLDCs were nearing the global averages in term of readiness of national frameworks for digital transformation. The assessment dwells on the issues like ICT regulation and digital policy frameworks, internet use, broadband subscriptions, e-commerce and digital economy, mobile netw ork coverage, affordability, mobile phone ownership and subscriptions, internet traffic and international bandwidth, disparity among LLDCs (landlocked developing countries). The publication has pointed out the need for LLDCs to increase data volume and quality for thriving e-commerce and digital economy. "As digitalization progresses, LLDCs will also need to know the extent businesses are using the Internet and adopting e-commerce, the value of e-commerce transactions, and the barriers to adoption that policy could address," the document stressed. The assessment document has categorized LLDCs in four groups, where Nepal falls in the third group. The third group is featured with 'slightly lower average shares of internet use, mobile phone ownership and broadband subscriptions than the second group'. Director of ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, Cosmas Lukcyson Zavazava, observed, "Our data indicates that LLDCs are at various stages in their journey toward universal and meaningful connectivity, yet t hey share common obstacles and can benefit from mutual learning. Infrastructure development is part of the solution, but robust policy frameworks that promote investment, adoption, and innovation in ICTs are equally vital." Meanwhile, the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is being observed today (May 17) across the globe under the slogan: 'Digital Innovation for Sustainable Development. Source: National News Agency RSS

Oli calls for ending parliament obstruction

CPN UML Chair and former Prime Minister, KP Sharma Oli, has insisted on the need to end the parliament impasse to meet the constitutional deadline of budget presentation by Jestha 15 (May 28). In his address to the party programme in Parsa on Friday, the leader said the parliament has a short time to complete the process before the budget announcement and in this situation, parliament obstructions is uncalled for. He accused the major opposition Nepali Congress (NC) of spreading rumors that he was at work to dissolve the parliament. Such claims are fake, he argued. It may be noted that the major opposition continues to obstruct the parliament proceedings for days demanding the formation of a parliamentary committee to probe into the alleged role of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affaris, Rabi Lamichhane, in the embezzlement of cooperative funds. At the progrmame, Oli stressed that the accused one in the funds' misappropriation should be allowed to put his views before the House. Source: Na tional News Agency RSS

Government to accept 13 million Euro grant assistance

Kathmandu: The government has accepted 13 million Euro grant assistance to be received from Finland government for the implementation of local climate change related programme. Minister for Communications and Information Technology and government spokesperson Rekha Sharma said this at a press conference organized today to share the decisions of the Council of Ministers held on Thursday. Likewise, the government has decided to withdraw the bill prepared to amend the Political Party related Act, 2073 under consideration in the House of Representatives of the federal parliament and endorse the Criminal Offense (sentence waiver) (3rd amendment) Regulation, 2081 BS. Minister Sharma informed that the government decided to appoint honorary consuls, including Helen Campos with jurisdiction in Singapore, Nadav Ben Yahuda in Rehobot City of Israel, Prahlad Bahadur KC in Massachusetts State of the United States and YV Gusev in St. Petersburg city of the Russian Federation. The cabinet has permitted the use of 1.65 h ectares of national forest at Sirisingha rural municipality of Taplejung, for the construction of kabeli-3 hydropower project; 5.941 hectares of national forest at Nason rural municipality of Manang under Annapurna Conservation Area for the construction of Chinokhola hydropower project and 11.8 hectares of national forest area at Benighat and Rorang rural municipalities of Dhading district to the HuaXin Cement Narayani Pvt Ltd for excavation and mine operations. Similarly, the meeting also decided to appoint Prof Lekhnath Sharma as executive chair of Policy Research Institute Development Committee, Sangeeta Khadka (Kathmandu) as chair of minimum wage fixation committee and promote Loknath Poudel and Rajendra Prasad Mishra to the post of gazetted special category. Minister Sharma said that the government decided to approve Nepal's participation in the Mechanism of the International Labour Organization. International labour conference to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, and the World Health Organizattion assem bly to be held in Geneva, Switzerland. The cabinet meeting on Thursday also decided to approve the Standard Measurement and Weight (Sixth Amendment) Rules, 2080 and make public the property details submitted by the members of the current Council of Ministers to the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers. Source: National News Agency RSS

Trishuli 3B Hub Station comes into operation

Kathmandu: The Trishuli 3B Hub Station built under the Chilime-Trishuli 220 kV transmission line project at Pahirebensi of Kispang rural municipality of Nuwakot has been inaugurated. The capacity of the substation is 220/132/33 kV. Similarly, the 33/11 kV power distribution substation constructed at Bhalche of Kispang rural municipality was also inaugurated on Friday. The substation was developed under an electrification programme towards the corporate social responsibility of the project. Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Shakti Bahadur Basnet, European Commission's Deputy Director-General for International Partnerships, Myriam Ferran, European Union's Ambassador to Nepal, Veronique Lorenzo, German Ambassador to Nepal, Thomas Prinz, and EU Investment Bank Director, Thouraya Triki, jointly inaugurated the substations. The Trishuli 3Hub Stations spanning over 104 ropanis of land (one ropani is equivalent to 5476 sq feet) cost Rs one billion 970 million while the total cost of the Bhalche substation is Rs 429 million. The electrification programme, including the Balache substation, is 33 kV transmission line, amounts to NPR 429.3 million. Over 2,000 households in Nuwakot and Rasuwa are benefitted from the substations, it is said. Source: National News Agency RSS

Four districts of Madhes Province to close up border for three days

Four districts of Madhes Province adjoining India will have their borders closed up for three days from this (Friday) midnight. The southern borders of Siraha, Dhanusha, Saptari and Mahottari districts linked to Madhuwani district of Bihar State, India will be sealed as Madhuwani district is holding election, according to the concerned district administrations. The Loksabha election is being held in Madhuwani coming Monday. Madhuwani district administration of Bihar, India had sent letters to four chief district officers in Nepal, requesting for the closure of border for 72 hours reasoning the election security. Meanwhile, the cross-border railway (Bhangaha-Janakpurdham-Jaynagar) service will also be halted for the same period, according to Niranjan Jha, General Manager, Railway Company. Source: National News Agency RSS

IPPAN for establishing itself as a think tank

Kathmandu: The Independent Power Producers' Association Nepal (IPPAN) has decided to establish itself as a think tank. For it, it will conduct policy research and initiate process to purchase a land where it will have its own office building. The organization has also established a fund to intensify the planned activities. IPPAN's treasurer, Narendra Ballav Pant, informed that with the formal decision made in the 22nd general assembly of IPPAN, two funds were established. "As per general assembly decisions, the funds will organize members, lobby for favourable policies and programmes, and conduct research works," he informed, adding that the funds will have a long term impact, thereby establishing a national standard on power production sector. Among two funds, the monetary fund is expected to collect Rs 30 million. The money for the fund will be collected from power promoters' companies, various national and international bodies and generous people. The money would be utilized for the academic study and r esearch on energy sector in Nepal. Meanwhile, former energy secretary, Suman Sharma, who was feted in the assembly function, announced that he would provide Rs 100 thousand to the fund. Source: National News Agency RSS

Contribution of historian Gyanmani memorable: President Paudel

Kathmandu: President Ramchandra Paudel has said contributions of historian Gyanmani Nepal in the fields of Nepali history, literature and education would always be remembered. A condolence message sent today by President Paudel to the family of historian Nepal states that President Paudel was saddened by the news of demise of historian Nepal. "Historian Nepal, who devoted his life in writing history of Nepal's politics and literature, was skilled in writing history incorporating inscriptions, the Sanskrit literature and historical documents," reads the message. Wishing for the eternal peace of the departed soul of Gyanmani, President Paudel extended heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family members. President Paudel's daughter Abagya Paudel and press advisor Kiran Pokharel today handed over the condolence message to the late Nepal's family members. Source: National News Agency RSS