ICYMI: Here are our top stories from Friday, April 19

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Apr 19, 2019-

Here are some of the top stories from The Kathmandu Post (April 19, 2019).

For this season’s Everest climbers, it’s all systems go—except the weather

Heavy footfalls are expected on Mount Everest this spring, as a record 374 fee-paying climbers—12 of them Nepalis—have been cleared to scale the world’s highest peak. And given the erratic weather pattern this season, many climbers are concerned that they could be left with a small window to make it to the top, and face a traffic jam during the final days of ascent.

Ang Tshiring Sherpa, former president of Nepal Mountaineering Association, said considering a large number of Everest aspirants waiting for a chance to mount a bid for the summit, a “traffic jam” on the slopes cannot be ruled out this year.

“It will depend on weather. If the weather does not behave well, all climbers could scramble to climb the peak during a short weather window causing a traffic jam,” he said.

An official at the Meteorological Forecasting Division told the Post that they don’t forecast multi-day weather event and are not able to predict the changes in weather pattern in May.

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Alipay and WeChat Pay are illegal, officials say, but they have no idea how to control it

Under Nepali law, any outbound transaction from the country must be first approved by Nepal Rastra Bank, the country’s central bank. When people use these platforms, the transaction is made from one Chinese account to another which means the money technically doesn’t enter Nepal.

“It’s just a matter of convenience,” said one store owner in Thamel who refused to be named fearing backlash from his customers who are primarily Chinese. “In China, people rarely use cash these days so they find it cumbersome to carry cash while travelling.”

The store owner, who deals in antiques, said he doesn’t have an account on either of the two platforms as one needs to have a Chinese bank account to avail of their services. So he relies on assistance from his Chinese friends and businessmen in the area whenever a customer wants to pay using the mobile platforms.

“The customer will transfer money to my friend’s WeChat Pay account who will then pay me in Nepali rupees here,” said the store owner. “I don’t know if it’s legal or illegal. I do it because if I don’t accept such payments, then I lose business.”

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Surreal landscapes and abundant wildlife await visitors at Shuklaphanta National Park

Shuklaphanta National Park lies close to the Indian border and thus is located strategically close to popular Indian national parks like the Dudhwa and Jim Corbett national parks. India’s Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary, an specially designated tiger reserve, lies contiguous to the south of Shuklaphanta, together making up 439 square kilometres of a protected tiger conservation unit. Shuklaphanta is also part of the Tarai Arc Landscape, 5 million hectares of protected land from both India and Nepal.

Despite this proximity to the Indian border and its teeming wildlife, the park hosts comparatively fewer visitors.

“Of course, you have national parks that may offer more but Shuklaphanta offers you one thing that others don’t—a personal space you can share with nature,” said Ravi Kc, a Kathmandu-based entrepreneur who was visiting Shuklaphanta this March. “It makes you feel as if you’re the only one who is given the privilege to enjoy nature in its full glory. And there is just so much to do here. ”

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Kathmandu metropolis unveils master plan and mobile app for 2.2 km heritage trail

Marking the World Heritage Day on Thursday, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City unveiled a master plan to link two world heritage sites—Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square and Swayambhunath Stupa which lies in 2.2km walking distance.

The city also unveiled a new mobile app “World Heritage to World Heritage Trail” where a visitors can get the information about historical monuments that fall along the trail without the need for a human guide.

Addressing the master plan unveiling ceremony, Kathmandu Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya said opening of the trail will help connect the locals with tourists and improve their socio-economic status.

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UN letter on transitional justice process puts government in a bind

A letter from the United Nations addressed to Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali in relation to Nepal’s transitional justice process has put the government in a bind, as officials said the agency should have waited for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to acknowledge the receipt of the missive before it was put into the public domain.

Five special rapporteurs under Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner on April 12 wrote to the Nepal government, seeking transparency in the selection of leadership of two transitional justice bodies and asking to amend the existing Transitional Justice Act at par with international standards. The letter was sent through the Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations Office in Geneva.

Senior officials at the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have also objected to the content of the letter, which came to public notice on Wednesday.

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Published: 19-04-2019 18:35

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