KATHMANDU (Reuters) – A 13-year-old American boy on Saturday became the youngest ever climber to conquer Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain, a climbing website said.
Jordan Romero from Big Bear, California, scaled the 8,850 metre (29,035 feet) summit from the Tibetan side, on the same day a Nepali man broke his own world record for the most number of successful Everest attempts.
KATHMANDU (Reuters) – Nepal will miss a deadline to prepare a new constitution, officials said on Wednesday, raising fears of fresh political tension in a country yet to fully emerge from years of a civil war that killed thousands.
Responding to the political situation, the U.N. Security Council agreed on Wednesday to a request from Kathmandu to keep its peace-monitoring mission in place there for four more months.
KATHMANDU (Reuters) – Nepal’s former Maoist rebels have suspended a general strike that had choked daily life in the impoverished Himalayan nation for the past week, but are maintaining pressure on the prime minister to resign.
The Maoists were under enormous public pressure to call off the strike that hit ordinary Nepalis badly and halted the supply of essential goods, including fuel and medicines, for six days without breaking the deadlock with the government.
KATHMANDU (Reuters) – Maoist protesters shut down Nepal for a fifth straight day Thursday in a showdown with the government that is threatening a fragile peace deal, even as authorities seek an extension of a U.N. peace mission.
Experts say the Maoists, who control 40 percent of seats in the 601-seat parliament, are applying pressure tactics to return to power, a year after quitting in a conflict with the president.
KATHMANDU, May 4 (Reuters) – Nepal started evacuating on Tuesday scores of tourists stranded by a general strike called by Maoist former rebels in a political standoff with the government that could imperil a peace deal.
Thousands of Maoist supporters began enforcing the indefinite shutdown across the Himalayan nation at the weekend, demanding the government make way for a national unity coalition headed by the Maoists.
Many Nepalis were forced to walk because there were not enough government-run buses to carry them. The country’s only international airport remained open.
The Maoists have not threatened tourists but their supporters have blocked roads and stopped vehicles, stranding many visitors in the western resort town of Pokhara.
Local government official Shankar Koirala said 218 tourists, mostly Indians, were moved in 10 buses escorted by armed police.
Authorities were also making arrangements to evacuate some trekkers stranded at Birethanti, the gateway to the scenic Annapurna trekking trail frequented by thousands of Western hikers every year.
Tourism accounts for four percent of gross domestic product in impoverished Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains including Mount Everest.
The strike may be beginning to take a toll. On Tuesday, the third day of the shutdown, Kathmandu’s tourist district of Thamel was almost deserted.
"I had to stay in my hotel for two days because I had no way to go out," said Jenny McGrath, an Australian woman from Canberra.
The Maoists headed a coalition in 2008 after a surprise election victory but walked out after the country’s president refused to endorse the dismissal of Nepal’s army chief.
Since then the Maoists have demanded they be allowed to form a new government, plunging the nation into turmoil and endangering a peace deal that ended a decade-long civil war in which more than 13,000 people were killed. (Editing by Bappa Majumdar and Krittivas Mukherjee)
KATHMANDU (Reuters) – South Korean climber Oh Eun-sun Monday defended her claim to be the first woman to scale all 14 of the world’s peaks over 8,000 meters after doubts were raised over one of her climbs last year.
Oh, 44, reached the summit of Annapurna, the world’s 10th-highest peak at 8,091 meter (26,545 feet), on April 27, the last of her 14 ascents.
KATHMANDU, May 2 (Reuters) – Thousands of Maoist activists roamed Kathmandu’s streets on Sunday, enforcing an indefinite general strike in support of their demand for a new Nepalese government.
Shops were shuttered and schools closed on Sunday, a working day, and public transport and taxis stayed off the roads.
Tens of thousands of the ex-rebels’ supporters poured into the capital from the countryside for a rally on Saturday to demand the dissolution of a cabinet propped up by an alliance of 22 parties.
Many protesters, housed in schools, stayed behind to ensure observance of the strike, which analysts say could worsen a political crisis and endanger a 2006 peace deal which ended a decade-long civil war.
Activists moved through the city centre preventing shops from opening and hindering the movement of vehicles. Many shouted: "Dissolve this government. Form a national government."
"Historic political changes in Nepal have come through the streets," Maoist leader Prachanda, who like many Nepalese uses only one name, told a rally in a city park.
"It is no pleasure to call this strike. It is compulsion for peace and a new constitution."
The Maoists headed a coalition in 2008 after a surprise win in the election for a constituent assembly, a body tasked to prepare a new constitution. This was part of a peace deal to do away with the monarchy and end a decade-long civil war which killed more than 13,000 people.
But they walked out after the president refused to endorse their dismissal of Nepal’s army chief, plunging the nation into turmoil and delaying attempts to draft a new constitution.
"This strike is to ensure peace and to ensure that the constitution is written on time," Krishna, a Maoist sympathiser from western Nepal, told reporters.
Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has refused to quit, calling on the Maoists instead to launch a dialogue.
"One should not resign from the government in the midst of confusion … Government changes can be made through constitutional and parliamentary procedures and not from the streets," he said.
The special assembly is unlikely to meet its deadline of drafting a new constitution by May 28, analysts say. And the deadline cannot be extended without the support of the Maoists, who hold about 40 percent of the assembly’s 601 seats. (Editing by Mayank Bhardwaj and Ron Popeski)
KATHMANDU, May 1 (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of supporters of Nepal’s Maoist former rebels, demanding their comrades be readmitted to government, marched to Kathmandu on Saturday in a protest that could imperil a deal that ended a long civil war.
Demonstrators, waving hammer and sickle flags and sporting red head bands, poured into the capital from the countryside and were housed in hundreds of schools. They gathered at a city centre park to demand a return to power a year after they quit in a row with the president.
Landlocked Nepal is strategically perched between Asian giants China and India, with the two countries vying for influence over the Himalayan nation.
The former guerrillas headed a coalition government in 2008 after a surprise win in the election for a constituent assembly, a body tasked to prepare a new constitution, part of a peace deal to end a decade-long civil war and do away with the monarchy.
But they walked out after the president refused to endorse their dismissal of Nepal’s army chief, a move that set back attempts at constitutional change.
Rally speakers demanded the Maoists be put at the head of a new cabinet and demanded the dismissal of the current government on grounds that it had failed to draft the constitution.
"If our demands are not met by the end of Saturday, then we’ll launch an indefinite strike from Sunday," senior Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai said.
The ruling coalition, a loose alliance of 22 political parties, says it is ready to take the Maoists on board, but has refused to let the former guerrillas take responsibility for forming a new cabinet.
The Maoists staged a three-day strike in December which enjoyed limited success and sparked clashes between protesters and Nepali police.
The United States called for restraint ahead of Saturday’s rally.
"Nepal has come a long way since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2006 and these gains should not be lost," ambassador Scott H. DeLisi said in a statement.
Karin Landgren, the chief of the U.N. political mission in Nepal, described the situation as "unpredictable and may seriously endanger the peace process". (Editing by Mayank Bhardwaj and Ron Popeski)
KATHMANDU, April 29 (Reuters) – Thousands of supporters of Nepal’s former Maoist rebels began gathering in Kathmandu on Thursday for a May Day protest rally to press for a return to power in what may herald a showdown with a fragile government.
The Maoists say it will be the biggest demonstration since they quit the government last year. Supporters, many dressed in red, are housed in hundreds of schools and are being provided training on how to use sticks as well as martial arts.
The former guerrillas headed a coalition government after a surprise win in the election for a special constituent assembly in 2008, a body tasked to prepare a new constitution that was part of a peace deal to end a decade-long Maoist civil war.
But they quit after the president refused to approve their decision to sack Nepal’s army chief in a crisis that has stalled the peace process and delayed the drafting of a new constitution.
Nepal is strategically located between India and China and both Asian powers are vying for influence in the nascent Himalayan republic that is rich in potential hydroelectric power.
"The protests are to press for a new government based on the national consensus," Narayan Kaji Shrestha, a top Maoist leader, told Reuters. "Since our party is the biggest in the constituent assembly we must be allowed to lead the new government."
The ruling coalition, a loose alliance of 22 political parties, says it is ready to take the Maoists on board but has so far has refused to let the former guerrillas head a new cabinet.
Shrestha insisted that the rally as well as the closure of transport, industries, businesses and schools would be "peaceful" but there are fears about violence as the authorities have put security forces on "high alert".
"I am afraid that there may be violence during the protests. There must be peace so that we can earn our bread by working without any worries," said Karna Bahadur Lama, a labourer.
The deadlock showed that the consensus seen during the peace process and to end the monarchy was turning into confrontation which could jeopardize moves to bring stability to one of the world’s poorest countries.
"Political parties and their leaders including the Maoists will be seen as collectively failing to lead the peace process," said Yubaraj Ghimire, editor of the daily, Rajdhani.
"Altogether political system will lose its credibility."
Diplomats urged parties to avoid confrontation and engage in dialogue.
"This is a very critical moment for all political parties to work together … try to find a consensus and avoid a constitutional crisis," U.S. Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake told reporters in Kathmandu during a visit this week.
The constituent assembly has until May 28 to ready the new constitution but the government may miss the deadline leaving a political vacuum.
Some analysts say the sticking point behind the stalemate was how to settle the future of more than 19,000 Maoist former fighters — Maoists want them to join the security forces while the government refuses. (Editing by Alistair Scrutton and Sugita Katyal)
KATHMANDU (Reuters) – South Korean climber Oh Eun-sun claimed the record as the first woman to summit all 14 of the world’s peaks over 8,000 meters when she scaled Mount Annapurna in Nepal on Tuesday.
Oh, 44, reached the Annapurna summit, the world’s 10th highest at 8,091 meter (26,545 feet), at 0918 GMT with three sherpa climbers and two members of Korea’s KBS Television, said Song Hea-kyoung, an official of the Korean Trek and Expedition, which provided the logistics for her record attempt.