News Digest: International Relations, National Security, Environment & Hot Button Issues (November 10 – 17, 2021)

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An avalanche that fell from either Tukuche or Manapati Mountain has injured eleven people while escaping. Locals from Kowang, Larjung, and Naurkikot were forced to flee after the avalanche continued to fall for about 30 minutes. According to esports, residents of the area have been evacuated as the risk of avalanche is still high. 

Nepal began its 12th national census on November 11 to be concluded on November 25. Enumerators have been collecting relevant data from households across the country. However, they are yet to reach Tinkar and Chhangru in Darchula. The villages border India and the lack of road links with Nepali territory would require permits issued by Indian authorities to travel via India. According to reports, “The Indian side is yet to issue entry permits.

The Department of Passport has announced that it will begin issuing biometric passports from November 17. The government aims to phase out and replace the existing machine-readable passports (MRPs) over the next few years “marking a significant development in Nepal’s passport regime”.  

Nepal’s National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), the Indian Embassy, the UNDP and UNOPS on November 15 jointly organized an event “marking the end of the $150 million India-funded reconstruction of 50,000 houses in the Gorkha and Nuwakot districts affected by the 2015 earthquake”.

President of the United States Joe Biden and President of China XI Jinping sat for a virtual meeting on the evening of November 15. As a result, both sides have agreed to relax restrictions on journalists visiting each other’s countries. According to reports, although serious concerns such as trade issues and Taiwan were also raised, there were no major breakthroughs.

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