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Koirala defeated, Nepal gets new PM

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Kathmandu: After defeating Nepali Congress leader Sushil Koirala in a keenly contested vote in parliament, Communist leader Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli was on Sunday elected the prime minister of Nepal. He became the first premier of the Himalayan nation after the September 20 promulgation of a federal constitution.

Notably, support from the main opposition Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist helped the CPN (Unified Marxist-Leninist) chairman to bag support of 338 lawmakers out of 587 voting in the 599-seat house.

63-year-old Oli, a chronic patient of kidney-related ailments, is known to be a hawkish politician, whose sharp-worded statements have made headlines in the media.

An earlier sharp critic of the Maoists, Oli joined hands with UCPN-Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ to become the 38th prime minister of Nepal.

The key challenge for Oli now is addressing the demands of agitating Madhesh-based political parties and other groups over concerns related to the newly-promulgated constitution.

He also needs to carry out on war footing reconstruction and rehabilitation necessitated by the April 25 earthquake, restoring peace and tranquillity in the Nepal-India border area and working towards political stability.

Oli started his political career some 45 years back from Jhapa district in eastern Nepal. He represents Jhapa-7 constituency in the parliament.

He served many years in jail during the party-less Panchayat era in Nepal before 1990 when the king was head of state.

He has served as home and foreign minister in the past.

Oli is married but has no children. He has no formal education from a college or a university but speaks several languages.

The 63-year-old leader was elected chief of the CPN-UML in July 2014, defeating Madhav Kumar Nepal, another former prime minister.

He was chief of the UML’s international department before being elected to the top post in the party.

Oli had served as the deputy prime minister and minister for foreign affairs in the Girija Prasad Koirala-led interim government formed immediately after the 2006 People’s Movement.

In 1994, he was minister for home affairs in the cabinet led by then UML chairman Man Mohan Adhikari. He was elected a member of parliament thrice in 1991, 1994 and 1999 from various constituencies in Jhapa district.

(Anil Giri, IANS)

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9 Climbers Pulled From Snow After A Sudden Storm On Mount Gurja, Nepal

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

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Mount Gurja
Tourists take pictures at Sarangkot in Pokhara, with the view of the Mount Annapurna range in the background, some 200 km (124 miles) west of Kathmandu, Nov. 30, 2008. Annapurna, at 8,091 meters high, is the 10th highest mountain in the world.. VOA

A rescue team Sunday began retrieving the bodies of nine climbers killed in a violent storm on Nepal’s Mount Gurja, a freak accident that has left the mountaineering community reeling.

A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp where the South Korean climbing expedition was staying when powerful winds and snow swept through, killing the entire team and scattering their bodies as far as 500 meters (yards) away.

“All nine bodies have been found and the team are in the process of bringing them down,” said Siddartha Gurung, a chopper pilot who is coordinating the retrieval mission.

Mount Gurja
A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp.

A second helicopter along with a team of rescue specialists and villagers were also involved in the mission, which has been hampered by strong winds as well as the camp’s remoteness in the Dhaulagiri mountain range of Nepal’s Annapurna region.

The bodies of the climbers, five South Koreans and four Nepalis, will be flown to Pokhara, a tourist hub that serves as a gateway to the Annapurna region, and then to Kathmandu, said Yogesh Sapkota of Simrik Air, a helicopter company involved in the effort.

‘Like a bomb went off’

The expedition’s camp was destroyed by the powerful storm, which hit the area late Thursday or Friday, flattening all the tents and leaving a tangled mess of tarpaulin and broken polls.

“Base camp looks like a bomb went off,” said Dan Richards of Global Rescue, a U.S.-based emergency assistance group that will be helping with the retrieval effort.

Mount Gurja
Wangchu Sherpa of Trekking Camp Nepal, organised the expedition

The expedition was led by experienced South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho, who has climbed the world’s 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen.

Experts puzzled

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

Also Read: Nepal Saves Its Tiger Population, Doubles It

“At this point we don’t understand how this happened. You don’t usually get those sorts of extreme winds at that altitude and base camps are normally chosen because they are safe places,” Richards said.

The team had been on 7,193-meter (23,599-foot) Mount Gurja since early October, hoping to scale the rarely climbed mountain via a new route. (VOA)