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Sushma Swaraj calls for a faster constitution making process in Nepal

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Kathmandu: Visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held talks with top leaders of major political parties here on Thursday and urged them to hasten the constitution making process.

The talks were held on the sidelines of the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction, according to External Affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

India has been supporting Nepal’s efforts at drafting the constitution since its constituent assembly was elected in 2013 and assured it all support.

Nepal has so far elected two Constituent Assemblies — in 2008 and 2013 — to prepare the so-far elusive document. The first constituent assembly folded up without any progress on the much-awaited statute, and now the second house is engaged in the task.

An interim constitution is guiding the lawmakers at present.

The logjam was cleared on June 8 when the four major political parties of Nepal inked a 16-point agreement to federate the country into eight federal provinces, thus paving the way for the promulgation of the new constitution.

Sushma Swaraj at the conference pledged $1 billion for Nepal’s reconstruction.

She met President Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and other political leaders of Nepal during her two-day visit to Nepal.

(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)

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