News Digest – National Security, Climate Change, and COVID-19 (September 16 – 22, 2021)

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National Security and Climate Change

SAARC meet which was proposed to be held on September 25, has been cancelled on September 21 after it failed to receive concurrence from all member states. Two government officials confirmed that the meeting was cancelled after at least one SAARC nation raised the issue regarding the participation, or lack of it, from Afghanistan.

Bheri Babai Diversion Multipurpose Project, a national pride project located in Surkhet has been pushed back by three years after a flood swept away newly built dam at Chiple on Bheri River. The project has already run into several setbacks including the shortage of construction materials last year due to the pandemic.

Raute settlement in Ghatgaon of Kupinde Municipality-1, Salyan. This nomadic community moved here a week ago from the sand dunes on the Bheri coast. Photo: RSS

Youths of Kathmandu valley organized a protest at Maitighar on September 20 lobbying for the legalization of Marijuana. They also demanded the release of Rajiv Kafle, a cannabis activist who was arrested on charge of possession, consumption, and distribution of Marijuana.

Ministry of Forest and Environment has released a directive to make development activities wildlife friendly. The directive has been sent to Ministry of Law for further suggestions and will be implemented after it is approved by the council of ministers. This directive will be applicable to all the infrastructure projects in any forest areas.

Around 208 households in Bagarphant of Beni Municipality are compelled to drink contaminated water from streams and wells after the supply of drinking water was destroyed by landslide and floods. Around 120 individuals have been directly impacted by the unsafe drinking water conditions.

Covid-19

Ministry of Health and Population has decided to vaccinate all students above 18 years old after it received 4.4 million doses of Vero Cell from China. The ministry has also decided to vaccinate everyone above 18 years old in 10 mountain districts of Darchula, Bajura, Dolpa, Humla, Mugu, Jumla, Rasuwa, Solukhumbu, Sankhuwasabha and Taplejung.

Six weeks after the launch of Nepal Mask Campaign by the Ministry of Health and Population, the authorities are unsure if the campaign is still ongoing. Despite warnings from health experts, authorities have allowed to reopen everything, while the risk of pandemic still looms large in the country.

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