News Digest: National Security & Climate Change (September 30 – October 6, 2021)

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Center for Investigative Journalism Nepal (CIJ) through the documents provided by ICIJ has revealed that sixteen Nepalis have illegally invested in offshore companies and tax havens to avoid paying taxes. Some of the prominent names include Chaudhary Group and Golchha Organization.

A meeting of the Council of Ministers on October 5 has endorsed security features to be included in the e-passport. The e-passport will be equipped with an electronic microprocessor chip to enhance the security features.

On October 4, Transport entrepreneurs organized a strike on Kathmandu Valley demanding for an increase in the transportation fares for public vehicles on local routes creating a traffic gridlock on major parts of the valley. However, the Ministry of Physical Infrastructures Development has requested the public to not oblige to the fare hike demanded by the entrepreneurs.

Disaster Management Committee of the Nepali Congress, constituency no.2 has distributed cash relief and rehabilitation to the affected communities in Melamchi and Helambu. The relief was distributed to the flood survivors, landslide survivors, and people whose house, land and businesses have been swept away by floods and landslides.

The one-time cash grant scheme initiated by the Finance Ministry is likely to get delayed. The grant which was initiated through the replacement bill is awaiting approval from the Cabinet. Through this scheme, the government plans to distribute Rs 5 billion to around 50,000 families who lost their livelihoods to Covid-19.

According to the Department of Roads, various roads linking different parts of the country have been damaged by the recent floods and landslides. The travelers who are leaving for their hometowns for Dashain are facing hardships due to the damaged roads.

The haphazard extraction of riverbed materials in Jayprithvi Municipality, Bajhang has threatened the ecosystem in the area and put the human settlements at risk. Although it is illegal to extract materials from the riverbeds without conducting a proper EIA, the extraction is taking place unchecked which increases the risks of erosion and landslide.

The ‘Ensuring American Global Leadership and Engagement (EAGLE) Act’ has passed the mark to be introduced in the House of Representatives for a vote to be held at a later stage. The proposed act includes ASEAN within section 205 and outlines the importance of South East Asia to the United States and American support for ASEAN.

Nepal has opened the Indo-Nepal border for foreign visitors and vehicles following cabinet decision on September 21 to allow cross border movement. The border reopened after one and a half years of restricted movement since the Covid-19 pandemic unleashed chaos in March 2020, with the exception of trucks and other cargo carrying essential supplies.

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