News Digest – National Security & Climate Change (September 2 – 8, 2021)

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As of September 7, Nepal’s Covid-19 tally stands at 857,895 and the death tally has reached 10,568. There are 30,303 active cases of infection in the country while 731,000 people have made a recovery. The country recorded 1,677 new cases and 21 deaths. According to reports, the overall daily positivity rate stands at 11.54 per cent.

Reports show a decline in the daily number of Covid-19 infections recorded in Nepal. However, public health experts point towards the concerning average of 18 deaths recorded every day. They have long maintained that authorities must continue to ramp up testing and contact tracing while the public self regulates, as number of daily fatalities demonstrate that Nepal cannot let its guard down just yet. It is also important to note that, the Ministry of Health includes only include deaths which have been reported, and patients might die before the infection has been identified.

According to the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons, dozens of people who were registered to have disappeared during the Maoist insurgency have been found alive. According to the commission, they 2,494 cases fall under their jurisdiction out of the 3,223 complaints they have received. A member of the commission has also disclosed that had the authorities made adequate efforts to find the missing people, their status would have been determined years earlier.

A cabinet meeting on September 1 decided to form a committee to investigate the border issue with China in the Namkha Municipality of Humla district. In September 2020, A Nepali Congress leader Jeevan Bahadur Shahi had launched an investigation into the matter and concluded that Nepali territory had been encroached upon. However, Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi had denied the claim. The Chinese embassy in Kathmandu has maintained that China does not have a border dispute with Nepal after the issue was recently raised.

The language commission submitted a report to the office of the Prime Minister recognizing various languages spoken in each province of the country as official languages of the country. The list of languages include Maithili and Limbu (Province 1), Maithili, Bhojpuri and Bajjika (Province 2), Tamang and Nepal Bhasa/Newa (Bagmati), Magar, Gurung and Bhojpuri (Gandaki), Tharu and Awadhi (Lumbini), Magar (Karnali), Dotyali and Tharu (Sudurpaschim). Furthermore, local governments have the jurisdiction to acknowledge other popular languages as official languages.

The advent of monsoon in Nepal saw various parts of the country being affected by floods and landslides. According to a resident and school principal, in districts like Sindupalchowk, the threat of such natural disasters have become more life threatening than Covid-19. According to her, constant rainfall in the area has caused the land around her school to cave in, putting the lives of students at risk and has deprived them of their right to education.

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