Indonesia Earthquake deaths

Nepal: Death toll due to earthquake rises to six

The death toll from house collapse incident in Nepal followed by subsequent tremors rose to nine on Wednesday, local police informed.

Chief District Officer of Doti, Kalpana Shrestha informed ANI over the phone that five injured are being taken to the hospital.
“Five injured are being taken to the hospital. Dozens of house has been damaged with landslides at various locations across the district,” she said.

As per the officials, among the deceased are one female and two children. However, the identities of casualties are yet to be ascertained

The Nepal Army has been mobilised in the affected areas to carry out the search and rescue operations, the officials said.

Earlier local officials had informed that at least three people were confirmed dead after a house collapsed in the Doti district of Nepal, which underwent two earthquakes and an aftershock within a duration of 24 hours.

Chairman of Purbichauki Village Council, Ram Prasad Upadhyay confirmed to ANI on Wednesday that three people died in the incident.

Earlier during the early hours on Wednesday, an earthquake of 6.3 magnitudes rocked Nepal, the National Centre for Seismology (NCS) reported.

According to NCS, the earthquake occurred at around 2:12 am (local time) in Nepal at a depth of 10 kilometres.

The tremors were also felt in India’s capital New Delhi and its surrounding areas.

“Earthquake of Magnitude:6.3, Occurred on 09-11-2022, 01:57:24 IST, Lat: 29.24 & Long: 81.06, Depth: 10 Km, Location: Nepal,” NCS reported.

This is the second earthquake in Nepal within 24 hours.

Nepal also underwent an earthquake of 4.5 magnitudes on the early morning, of Tuesday, the National Centre for Seismology (NCS) reported.

According to NCS, the earthquake occurred 155km NE of Kathmandu, Nepal at a depth of 100 kilometres.

“Earthquake of Magnitude:4.5, Occurred on 08-11-2022, 04:37:27 IST, Lat: 28.57 & Long: 86.58, Depth: 100 Km, Location: 155km NE of Kathmandu, Nepal,” tweeted NCS.

Earlier on October 19, an earthquake of magnitude 5.1 shook Kathmandu. As per NCS, the earthquake occurred 53 kilometres east of Kathmandu at around 2:52 pm. The depth of the earthquake was 10 km below the ground.

On July 31, an earthquake of magnitude 6.0 took place 147 km ESE of Kathmandu, Nepal at 8.13 am IST around Martim Birta of Khotang district, according to the National Earthquake Monitoring and Research Centre (NEMRC).

The depth of the epicentre was monitored at 10 km in eastern Nepal, determined to be at 27.14 degrees North latitude and 86.67 degrees east longitude.

Earlier in 2015, a high-intensity earthquake of magnitude 7.8 on the Richter scale struck central Nepal between its capital Kathmandu and city of Pokhara. It is estimated to have killed 8,964 people and injured close to 22,000 people.

The earthquake, known as the Gorkha earthquake, also shook several cities across north India; tremors were also felt in Lahore, Pakistan, Lhasa in Tibet, and Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The recent earthquakes in Nepal have caused unprecedented damage to lives and property and have necessitated the demand for well-framed policy measures to manage such disasters.

Nepal suffered its worst recorded earthquake in 1934. It was measured at 8.0 and destroyed the cities of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan.

It has been established that the Indian plate is getting subducted under the Eurasian plate at 5 cm a year. This is responsible for the formation and increasing height of young fold mountains of the Himalayas and also makes the region prone to earthquakes. Disasters like quakes can wreak havoc if preparedness is not ample. (ANI)

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Nepal Festival Worships Canines

A Day Of The Dogs- Nepal Festival Worships Canines

Considered man’s best friend, dogs have a special place in Nepal where every dog has his, or you could say her, day. Literally!

On the second day of the five-day festival of Tihar that began earlier this week, people in the Himalayan country gathered to worship their four-legged friends.

During Kukur Tihar, people offer prayers and honor dogs, not just pets but also strays. The canines are garlanded, tikkas applied on their foreheads, and plentiful food is offered to them.

Everywhere in Nepal, the Kukur Tihar festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm, with small children pampering the dogs and feeding them plenty of food items like milk, eggs, etc.

This year, Kukur Tihar was on October 24, and just like every year, people in Nepal celebrated the festival with zeal.

Not only locals, but tourists from around the globe also participated in the festivities.

For Hindus, the celebration of Kukur Tihar is tied to a belief that dogs are the messengers of Yamaraj, the god of death and during these days people worship man’s most loyal friend to appease Yamaraj.

Dogs are even treated as family members in many households and the bond between humans and dogs can’t be described in words but can only be felt if you have them as companions.

Honoring the role played by the dogs in Nepal on the Second day of Yama Panchak or Tihar the pet and the stray dogs are worshipped early in the morning for the devotion and sincerity they have shown.

Tihar is also known as Deepavali, the festival of light in other parts of the world. During this people observe rituals, decorate their homes with diyas, rangoli, ornaments, and lights, enjoy delectable sweets and meals, dress in new traditional attire, and offer prayers to Goddess Lakshmi the goddess of wealth and Lord Ganesha to guide them towards the right path and to give the courage to conquer all fears. (ANI)

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Stolen Antiquities To India

US Returns 307 Stolen Antiquities To India

After the 15-years of investigation, the US authorities returned 307 antiquities that were stolen by multiple smaller trafficking networks to India, valued at nearly 4 million Dollars, according to a press statement released on Monday.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L Bragg Jr on Monday announced that they are returning 307 antiquities valued at nearly USD 4 million to the people of India and the majority of them were seized from disgraced art dealer Subhash Kapoor.
Subhas Kapoor is a looter, who had helped to traffic the items from Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and other countries.

According to the statement, “Five of the antiquities were seized according to the Office’s investigation into Nancy Wiener, and one according to an investigation into Nayef Homsi.”

All the antiquities were returned during a repatriation ceremony at the Indian Consulate in New York attended by India’s Consul General Randhir Jaiswal, and US Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) Acting Deputy Special Agent-in-Charge, Tom Lau.

“We are proud to return hundreds of stunning pieces to the people of India,” the press statement quoted District Attorney Bragg as saying.

“These antiquities were stolen by multiple complex and sophisticated trafficking rings – the leaders of which showed no regard for the cultural or historical significance of these objects. Tracking down these antiquities would not be possible without the collaboration of our law enforcement partners at HSI and the outstanding work of our world-class investigators,” he added.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Alfonso said, “Today we are proud to join our partners from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to return an incredible 307 stolen works of art and antiquities to their rightful home in India. This repatriation is the result of a globe-spanning, fifteen-year investigation whereas the investigative team chased leads, followed the money, and ultimately seized these pieces, ensuring their return to the people of India,”

He further added that HSI will continue to investigate artifacts with little or no provenance, or of questionable origin, and work with domestic and international partners to return these priceless pieces of history to their rightful homes, the statement reads.

The District Attorney’s Antiquities Trafficking Unit, along with law enforcement partners at Homeland Security Investigations, have investigated Kapoor and his co-conspirators for the illegal looting, exportation, and sale of artifacts from numerous countries all over the world, for over a decade.

Among the pieces being returned is the Arch Parikara, crafted from marble and valued at approximately USD 85,000.

The Arch Parikara first surfaced in photographs depicting antiquity in a dirty, pre-restoration condition. These photographs, along with dozens of others depicting antiquities lying in the grass or on the ground, were sent to Kapoor by a supplier of illicit in India. The piece was smuggled out of India and into New York in May 2002, the statement reads.

Thereafter, Kapoor laundered the Arch Parikara to the Nathan Rubin – Ida Ladd Family Foundation, who donated the piece to the Yale University Art Gallery in 2007, the statement added.

In 2022 alone, the Office has returned 682 antiquities, valued at over USD 84 million to 13 countries. Since its founding, the Antiquities Trafficking Unit has returned nearly 2,200 antiquities, valued at over USD 160 million, to 22 countries. (ANI)

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World Bank Lower India’s 2022-23 Growth Rate To 6.5%

World bank, in its latest report, has lowered India’s 2022-23 growth rate from its June forecast, by 1 percentage point to 6.5 percent. In the previous report, the international organization had projected India’s growth rate to be at 7.5 percent for the period.

In the latest South Asia Economic Focus, Coping with Shocks: Migration and the Road to Resilience, released today, the World Bank has revised India’s growth rate down from its June forecast. It further expects India to grow at 7 percent and 6.1 percent in 2023 and 2024 respectively.

The twice-a-year update has also revised the regional growth rate of South Asia by 1 percentage point from the June forecast to 5.8 percent, as it expects a “dampening” growth rate in the region.

The main reasons highlighted for the revision have been Sri Lanka’s economic crisis, Pakistan’s catastrophic floods, a global slowdown, and the impacts of the war in Ukraine on top of the lingering scars of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Pandemics, sudden swings in global liquidity and commodity prices, and extreme weather disasters were once tail-end risks. But all three have arrived in rapid succession over the past two years and are testing South Asia’s economies,” said Martin Raiser, the World Bank Vice President for South Asia.

“In the face of these shocks, countries need to build stronger fiscal and monetary buffers, and reorient scarce resources towards strengthening resilience to protect their people,” Raiser added.

However, the release has also highlighted the fact that India, which happens to be the region’s largest economy, recovered more strongly than the world average riding on the exports and service sector. It considers India’s “ample” foreign reserves to be serving as a buffer to external shocks.

While talking about Sri Lanka, the Report expects the country’s real GDP to fall by 9.2 percent this year and further by 4.2 percent in 2023. It considers the impact of COVID-19 and rising commodity prices due to the war in Ukraine to have worsened the situation and exacerbated its woes in debt and depleting foreign reserves.

While talking about Pakistan, the Report considers the high-commodity prices to have worsened Pakistan’s external imbalances and brought down its reserves. It finds Pakistan’s outlook subject to significant uncertainty after the devastating climate-change-fuelled floods submerged one-third of the country this year.

The release also considers that tourism’s return is helping drive growth in the Maldives and Nepal to a lesser extent.

The report expects the inflation in the region to rise to 9.2 percent this year before gradually subsiding. It highlights the main causes behind this as the elevated global food and energy prices and trade restrictions that have worsened food insecurity in the region. It calls them to have severely impacted the poor by squeezing their real income.

The report also talks about the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the migrant workers of South Asia, who were disproportionately affected.

However, the report also considers migration as a crucial factor in facilitating recovery. It expects the migration flow to move from the areas hit hard by the pandemic to those that were not. It will supposedly equilibrate the demand and supply of labor.

“Labor mobility across and within countries enables economic development by allowing people to move to locations where they are more productive. It also helps adjust to shocks such as climate events to which South Asia’s rural poor are particularly vulnerable,” said Hans Trimmer, the World Bank Chief Economist for South Asia.

“Removing restrictions to labor mobility is vital to the region’s resilience and its long-term development,” Timmer added.

The report also offers two recommendations in its report. Firstly, it recommends cutting costs faced by migrants. Secondly, it suggests that policymakers de-risk migration including more flexible visa policies and social protection programs. (ANI)

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Rape-Accused Nepali Cricketer

Rape-Accused Nepali Cricketer Undergoes Medical Check-Up

Nepal’s rape-accused cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane underwent a medical check-up after being detained upon his arrival at Tribhuwan International Airport in the capital Kathmandu and will now be presented before the court on Sunday.

The plane carrying Sandeep who was on the run for a month after the registration of a case of raping a minor landed about 45 minutes later than the estimated time of arrival due to bad weather.
Lamichhane flew to Kathmandu via Qatar Airways flight and was detained at the Immigration desk as he already was on a black list subjecting him to immediate arrest.

Donned in white joggers, a black mask, and a cap with Jordan sign on it, the former Nepali national cricket team captain walked out of the airport surrounded by Police personnel and handcuffed.

“He has been arrested from the airport upon his arrival. Medical tests were done and he would be interrogated today itself. He currently is kept at Gaushala Police Station but has chances of transfer to other places depending on the situation,” Dinesh Raj Mainali, Superintendent of District Police Range Kathmandu told ANI.

Lamichhane will remain in custody till Sunday as the courts across Nepal are closed till Saturday as the festive season is still on in the Himalayan nation.

A girl, 17, filed a case alleging that Lamichhane took her to various places in Kathmandu and Bhaktapur all day on August 21 and brought her to a hotel in Sinamangal of Kathmandu where she was raped the same night.

A diffusion notice was issued from INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization) as he was on large with his location unknown since the registration of a case against him.

The Kathmandu District Court also has issued an arrest warrant against him over the case of raping a 17-year-old minor along with the Immigration Department of the Himalayan Nation blacklisting him.

Within 25 days of his formal arrest, the case is required to be registered with the court via the District attorney’s Office. Police would further conduct the investigation and then submit its report to the attorney’s office and then a formal case would be registered at the court once the report states the events mentioned in the complaint and the police investigation match.

Hearing over the case would decide whether to leave Lamichhane on bail or remand him in custody. It could take weeks for him to get the first hearing from the judicial body.

Last year, leg spinner Lamichhane was appointed as the captain of the Nepal cricket team. Lamichhane formerly captained the Nepal Under-19 side first in 2016 during the Asia Cup and then in 2017 for the Asian Cricket Council World Cup Qualifier. He has also played in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The Police, on the other hand, have initiated an investigation under the National Penal (Code) Act, 2017’s Section 219.

The National Penal (Code) Act, 2017 has criminalized the offense of rape under Chapter- 18, Section 219. Section 219 (2) defines rape as “where any person has sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent or with a girl child below eighteen years of age even with her consent, the person shall be considered to commit rape on the such woman or girl child.”

Section 219 (2) (a) states that consent obtained by way of coercion, undue influence, intimidation, threat, misinterpretation, or kidnapping or taking of hostage shall not be considered consent. Furthermore, section 219 (2) (b) ensures that consent obtained at the time of being of unsoundness of mind shall not be considered consent. If proven guilty, Lamichhane would be facing imprisonment of 10 to 12 years. (ANI)

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Queen's Funeral

Nepal FM To Attend Queen’s Funeral

Nepalese Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka will be travelling to the United Kingdom to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.

The state funeral for the long-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom will be taking place on September 19.
“Dr Khadka is confirmed to represent Nepal in the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth,” Arun Subedi, Foreign Affairs Advisor for Nepali Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba confirmed to ANI over the phone.

The British Queen breathed her last at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8. Nepal had announced three-day mourning over the passing away of the 96-year-old queen.

The death of the 96-year-old Queen ended a generation-spanning, seven-decade reign that made her a beacon of stability in a tumultuous world. The UK has entered a period of official mourning, with tributes pouring in worldwide.

King Charles III was proclaimed as the new monarch of England on Saturday after his mother Queen Elizabeth II passed away on September 8. Moreover, the national anthem of Britain will now again shift back to “God Save the King” after the Queen’s demise.

UK authorities had devised Operation London Bridge to manage events during the first 10 days between the Queen’s death and the funeral. They had thought of Operation Unicorn in case the queen died in Scotland.

The funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey on September 19 and there will be a committal service in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. After that, Queen Elizabeth II will be buried in the castle’s King George VI Memorial Chapel. (ANI)

‘I'll Be A Top Chef, Leave Behind My Past’

And then I got a new job – a domestic help in a well-to-do family in South Delhi. My job entailed walking the dog and taking care of daily errands. My life was pretty comfortable, much to the envy of my friends. In 2011, when I was about 16, I took leave for Diwali and went to visit two friends from my village, who lived in North Delhi. I told them about my new job and the luxuries that came with it.

They prodded me and bombarded me with a series of questions, seeking details about the household. Their behavior was odd. But I was gullible. Without thinking about the consequences, I brushed aside my inhibitions and answered all their queries. I told them that the family members of the household had gone abroad and the only person left was my frail, old 80-year-old employer. It did not take long for me to know what their real motive was.

They told me if I helped them rob the house, I would not have to live in poverty any more. Their plan was enticing and I admit that I got greedy. My friends hatched a conspiracy to rob the house. The robbery was to be carried out the day I rejoined work. My job, according to the plan, was to leave the main door open and keep the dog engaged in the evening, while the others looted the house. For two days I kept waiting, but my friends did not turn up. On the third day, when I took the dog out for a walk, I found the two sitting on the park bench.

I realized, they were keeping a watch on the house. They had done a recce of the area and had plotted the execution of the plan. But that evening I got cold feet. I tried resisting their plan, but finally succumbed to greed. I left the main door open and got busy with engaging the dog, while my friends tied up my 80-year-old employer. They did it in such a way that she died on the spot.

It was shocking! Things took an unexpected turn, but we had to carry out the rest of the plan. Several valuables were stolen. We fled outside Delhi and later parted ways. I felt alone and stuck. My photo had already been published in the paper and cops were on my trail. I went back to Nepal, but I realized I could be easily traced. Left with no other option, I came back and surrendered. I was confined in Tihar for about six to seven months initially. But this confinement presented me with a life-changing opportunity.

I was lucky to not be troubled or bullied. Within a week of my arrival, I was placed in the canteen. And my culinary skills gained popularity in Tihar. People said that my parathas and momos we ‘mouthwatering’. I often experimented with recipes and received very good feedback. And it was my interest in food and cooking that kept me away from falling on the wrong track.

Meanwhile, people in Tihar suggested I take an ossification test (a test of bones to determine age) to prove that I am a minor and that Tihar Jail was not for me. I was declared a juvenile and sent to a juvenile home. Since, I was from Tihar, the inmates at the home were scared of me and kept a safe distance. But during my stay at the juvenile home, I once again ended up choosing the wrong path. We came to know that a police man had beaten up an inmate, who had tried to run away and we decided to teach him a lesson.

We ended up hurting the policeman. So as a punishment, I was sent back to Tihar since I had also turned 18 by then. There I resumed my culinary experiments in the jail kitchen once again. And that brought me recognition once again, but this time with a special team looking for vocational rehabilitating the prison inmates. I was soon placed as an apprentice at a three-star hotel, where I was was tested to prepare gourmet cuisine.

When I did well, more opportunities opened up for me. As a chef, I have worked and been a part of the launch-team of several elite hotels. Currently, I am working for a five-star hotel in the Capital as the first commis chef and look after the gourmet and Chinese food. I wish I could disclose my identity to inspire others but the law prohibits it.

I am glad that I am far away from the life of crime and bloody conflicts. There are no short-cuts to a cushy life, I realised it the hard way. My goal now is to become a top-notch chef and be known for my work in culinary skills.

Nepal votes for first time under new Constitution

People in Nepal queued up early on Sunday to vote in the first phase of a general election under a new Constitution that was adopted in 2015, to end almost two decades of an interim government and elect representatives to the lower house of parliament and seven provincial assemblies. The polls opened amid tight security at 7 a.m. (local time) in 4,465 polling stations across 32 districts and according to the Election Commission by 10 a.m. they had recorded a 25 per cent turnout, Efe news agency reported. The government deployed 238,000 security personnel in the 32 districts (of a total of 77) of northern Nepal, where the first round of elections is being held, an Internal Affairs Ministry Spokesperson told Efe. More than three million Nepalese are voting in this phase of the polls. While most of the voting took place peacefully, there were some stray incidents of violence recorded in some areas. In Bitado district, 800 km (497 miles) west of Kathmandu, an improvised explosive device was found and deactivated by the Army, Election Commission Spokesperson Nabaraj Dhakal told Efe. Dhakal added that voting was disrupted in Dolakha province, around 150 km east of Kathmandu, owing to a clash between supporters of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist and the Nepali Congress party. Nepalese voters will directly elect 165 national lawmakers while another 110 members of the lower house will be elected through the party-list proportional representation system, which takes into account the total number of votes obtained by the parties. Similarly, 330 members of the seven provincial assemblies will be elected directly while another 220 members will be elected through the same party-list proportional representation system. The second phase of the elections will be held on December 7, in the more populated southern part of the country, and the results are expected to be announced within a week after that.

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