News Digest: National Security, Climate Change & Covid-19 (November 25 – December 2, 2021)

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Dolpa District Court has sentenced a man to two years imprisonment and fined Rs 20,000 for forceful conversion to Christianity.

Hundreds of part time teachers of Tribhuwan University have started another round of strikes on the university premises demanding equal pay as compared to the permanent teachers. Around 2200 part time teachers have been working in TU as assistant professors.

The government has continued issuing machine readable passports citing technical issues after it had announced that it would start issuing e-passports from November 17.

Nepal Army distributed educational and sports materials to orphans in Mahakali municipality of Darchula district. The essential items were distributed at Mahendra Namuna Secondary School.

Covid-19 Issues

Nepali officials have alerted all the concerning bodies regarding the possible threats and associated risks of the new Covid-19 variant, Omicron.

Amidst the rising risk of new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, the Department of Immigration has been directed not to issue visas for people coming from African countries by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Amidst the growing concerns over the variant, Kathmandu city has stopped vaccination campaigns after reaching a ‘demand saturation’.

Global Affairs

American President Joe Biden invited Taiwan to be one of the 110 delegations at a virtual democracy summit to be held on December 9 and 10. Countries such as China and Russia were excluded, prompting a joint article from ambassadors Anatoly Antonov of Russia and Qin Gang of China in which they said that the event was a “product of Washington’s Cold War mentality, to stoke up ideological confrontation and a rift in the world, creating new ‘dividing lines”.

Chinese President Xi Jingping pledged another one billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines to African countries, in addition to the nearly 200 million that has already been supplied across the continent. The announcement came amidst the news of a new Covid-19 variant, called Omicron, first identified in South Africa. 

A research report published by the Human Rights Watch on November 30, alleges that “Taliban forces executed and disappeared over 100 former police and intelligence officers since taking over Kabul on August 15, 2021”. The information was gathered from a total of 67 interviews with witnesses, relatives, and friends of the victims from Ghazni, Helmand, Kandahar, and Kunduz provinces.

India has expressed support for China to host the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in a joint communique during the 18th Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of China, Russia. The statement comes after American President Joe Biden said that the United States was considering a “diplomatic boycott” of the Beijing Winter Olympics Games citing China’s human rights abuses as a reason.

The Ugandan Government has refuted the claims that Uganda’s Entebbe International airport would be taken over by Chinese lenders in exchange for money in a statement. It read, “The government cannot give away a national asset like an airport. This has not happened and it will not happen”. The statement was followed by a separate statement denying the reports by the Chinese Embassy in Kampala.

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