ICYMI: Here are our top stories from Tuesday, April 30

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Apr 30, 2019-

Here are some of the top stories from The Kathmandu Post (April 30, 2019).


Nepal signs deal with China to access seven Chinese sea and land ports

Nepal and China on Monday signed the Protocol on Implementing Agreement on Transit and Transport and six other agreements in Beijing after delegation level talks between President Bidya Devi Bhandari and her Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People.

The signing of the protocol makes it possible for Nepal to use four Chinese sea ports--in Tianjin, Shenzhen, Lianyungang and Zhanjiang--and three land ports--in Lanzhou, Lhasa and Shigatse--for third-country import. It will also allow Nepal to carry out exports through six dedicated transit points between Nepal and China.

Experts and officials have argued that access to China’s sea and land ports will help end Nepal’s complete dependence on India for the third-country trade.

However, Rabi Shankar Sainju, who held a series of negotiations with the Chinese side, said that Chinese ports are not a replacement for Indian ports. “They are additional ports which we can use,” Sainju told the Post.

A viral video sparks a social media conversation about misinformation, and identity

On April 24, Namrata Wagle, a Birgunj native, went live on Facebook from outside the District Administration’s Office to show viewers what she described as a “shocking scene.”

In the six-and-a-half-minute video, Wagle points her camera at the people waiting in line outside the DAO, and claims that they are all Indian nationals, trying to illegally obtain Nepali citizenship.

Wagle does not speak to a single person in the queue, nor does she interview the Chief District Officer, whose office she has accused of handing out citizenship to Indian citizens. The only person she talks to is a shop owner who confirms her assumptions.

“On what basis did you determine that all the people standing in line are Indians,” commented one Facebook user. “You need to change your mentality which assumes non-fair skinned people are non-Nepalis. It’s easy to spread falsehoods without any proof, but difficult to tell the truth.”

Nepal’s gasoline consumption almost doubles in five years

Nepal’s gasoline consumption almost doubled in the last five years, leading to a yawning trade deficit besides causing environmental consequences.

Data obtained from Nepal Oil Corporation showed that annual petrol consumption soared 92 percent in the past five years. 

Electric vehicle buyers have to pay 10 percent of the purchase price as tax while gasoline-powered car owners pay more than 250 percent in import duty. 

Erstwhile dacoits from the Dusadh community turn over a new leaf

The people of Dusadh community in Dhanusa district of southern Nepal, just 15 years ago, were known for their infamous profession of thievery and robbery. This “profession” enabled them to feed their families.

But now, the Dusadhs from Akauda and Jhijha in the district have turned away from their earlier ways and have opted to receive an education and work white collar jobs to sustain their livelihoods.

Most of the thievery that the Dusadh community carried out was at the homes of wealthy people; they respected women and were loyal to the then Panchayat regime.

The profession of the community came to light following the first and second national censuses when some of the Dusadhs from the Paswan community of Jhijha and Akauda declared thievery and robbery as their profession, a fact which was confirmed by former minister for science, technology and environment Bishwendra Paswan.

Can the internet be policed?

According to the IT Bill, all international social media sites need to register with the Nepali government if they are to provide services to Nepali citizens. While international social media companies might be willing to work with larger economies such as India, they might not see the benefit of registering in Nepal, given how small the country is. If these social media companies refuse to work with the Nepal government, they could very easily be banned.

But the question remains: will these bans actually work? Ever since internet censorship has existed, so have internet freedom advocates who’ve found ways to bypass enforcement technologies. While there are many ways to censor certain portions of the internet, such as Internet Protocol (IP) address blocking, Domain Name System (DNS) filtering and Uniform Resource Locator (URL) filtering, all of these methods can be easily circumvented through the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

In the past, censorship has helped budding economies thrive under a digital landscape largely dominated by western companies. Heavy censorship in China helped budding Chinese startups like Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent grow into massive companies. China’s prolific WeChat would perhaps not have turned into the digital behemoth it is today if it wasn’t operating within a heavily censored cyberspace.

Published: 30-04-2019 18:29

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