Sunday, 27 May 2007

Brief introduction of Nepal

Nepal, (Nepali: नेपाल) is a landlocked Himalayan country in South Asia that overlaps with East Asia, bordered by Tibet of China to the north and by India to the south, east and west.

For a small territory, the Nepali landscape is uncommonly diverse, ranging from the humid Terai in the south to the lofty Himalayas in the north. Nepal boasts eight of the world's top ten highest mountains, including Mount Everest. The country has been famous for its tourism, trekking, hiking, camping, mountain biking, national wildlife parks, jungle safaris, river rafting, sport fishing, and its many beautiful temples and places of worship.

Kathmandu is the capital and largest city. Other main cities include Pokhara, Biratnagar, Lalitpur , Bhaktapur, Birganj , Butwal, and Janakpur. Pokhara is the rich in natural beauty. It is described as the one of the most beautiful city in the world.
  • Full name: Kingdom of Nepal
  • Population: 26.3 million (UN, 2005)
  • Capital: Kathmandu
  • Area: 147,181 sq km (56,827 sq miles)
  • Major language: Nepali
  • Major religions: Hinduism, Buddhism
  • Life expectancy: 61 years (men), 62 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 Nepalese rupee = 100 paisa
  • Main exports: Carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods, grain
  • GNI per capita: US $270 (World Bank, 2006)
  • Internet domain: .np
  • International dialling code: +977
Geography :
Nepal is of roughly trapezoidal shape, 800 kilometres long and 200 kilometres wide, with an area of 147,181 square kilometres . Nepal is commonly divided into three physiographic areas: the Mountain, Hill, and Terai Regions. These ecological belts run east-west and are bisected by Nepal's major river systems. Nepal is roughly the same size as the US state of Arkansas.

Nepal has five climatic zones, broadly corresponding to altitude.

Economy of Nepal:
Agriculture sustains 76% of the population and accounts for about 39% of the GDP; services comprise 41%, and industry 22%. Hilly and mountainous terrain in the northern two-thirds of the country has made the building of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive.

There were around 175,000 Internet connections in 2005.

The government's budget is about US$1.153 billion, with expenditures of $1.789bn (FY05/06). The inflation rate has dropped to 2.9%.

The highest 10% of households control 39.1% of the national wealth and the lowest 10% control only 2.6%.

Nepal's GDP for the year 2005 is estimated at just over US$39 billion (adjusted to Purchasing Power Parity), making it the 83rd-largest economy in the world. Per-capita income is around US$1,402, ranked 163rd. Nepal's exports of mainly carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods and grain total $822 million.
Military of Nepal and Foreign relations of Nepal:

Nepal's military consists of the Nepalese Army which includes the Nepalese Army Air Service, (the air force unit under it), and the Nepalese Police Force. Service is voluntary and the minimum age for enlistment is 18 years. The Nepali Army has 90,000 soldiers.

Nepal has close ties with both of its neighbours, India and China.
China mainly seeks cooperation with Nepal on the issue of Tibetan independence, including the degree of freedom that Nepal gives the thousands of Tibetan refugees living in its territory and the approximately 2,000-3,000 Tibetans that seek to escape Tibet through Nepal each year.

Outside Asia, Nepal has especially friendly relations with Germany, and has historical military links with the United Kingdom through the Brigade of Gurkhas, an elite British Army unit composed exlusively of Nepalese soldiers.

Zones, districts, and regions:
Nepal is divided into 14 zones and 75 districts, grouped into 5 development regions. Each district is headed by a fixed chief district officer responsible for maintaining law and order and coordinating the work of field agencies of the various government ministries.
Demographics of Nepal
Nepal has a total population of 27 million as of July 2005, with a growth rate of 2.2%. The median age is 20.07 (19.91 for males and 20.24 for females).
Total literacy rate is 53.74% (68.51% for males and 42.49% for females).

According to the 2001 census, Hindus constitute 75.6% of the population. Buddhists make up 20%, Muslims 4.2%, rests are others.

A majority of the population live in the central highlands despite the migration of a significant section of the population to the fertile Terrai belt in recent years. Kathmandu, with a population of 2,000,000, is the largest city in the country.

Culture of Nepal:
Nepali culture is very similar to the cultures of neighbouring Tibet and India. There are similarities in clothing, language and food.

Football is the most popular sport, followed by cricket and kabaddi.

Television was only introduced to Nepal in the 1980s. Currently there are six television broadcasting channels: Nepal Television - the national television channel. Also many other networks, particularly those that originate in India, are available via satellite dishes.

Radio is listened to throughout the kingdom; as of 2007, there are more than 55. Among them most are local FM radio stations, heard in limited range of this hilly nation. However few FMs like Kantipur FM, Image FM are heard over wide range by the help of repeater stations.

Saturday is the official weekly day of rest.

Most marriages are arranged, and divorce is rare.
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Nepal's reclusive Maoist leader

-BBC news

Until now, Prachanda has rarely been seen in publicThe leader of Nepal's Maoist rebels, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, 52, is better known under his nom-de-guerre of Prachanda (Fierce One).
The former agriculture student, born in the Annapurna region of Nepal, is the undisputed leader of the Maoists, and supreme commander of their army. He has led a bloody 10-year war against the monarchy in the impoverished Himalayan nation in which more than 13,000 people have been killed. Until recently, very little was known about him. Nepalis knew Prachanda from only a couple of photographs. The rebel leader told the BBC he has three daughters and a son, who all support the Maoist movement. His wife, whom he met through the party, is also a Maoist official.


'School-teacher'
In the past, Nepali journalists would from time to time interview Prachanda's widowed father, who himself had not seen his son for years. The rebel leader was rarely seen in public and is believed to have frequently slipped between India and Nepal, over the long, porous border.

The Maoists derive their inspiration from Peru's Shining Path rebelsBut when he gave his first ever television interview, to the BBC in January, Prachanda looked more like the school teacher he once was - moustached, bespectacled and with a slight paunch. The BBC's Charles Haviland, who conducted the interview, said he came across as surprisingly mild-mannered and shy - more humorous than intimidating and without the charisma of some revolutionary leaders. All this stands in sharp contrast to the perception of him as a ruthless leader responsible for executions and terrorising swathes of Nepal's population.

His number two, Baburam Bhattarai, with a cloth cap and eagle eyes, and often seen flanking Prachanda, fits much more easily with the traditional view of what revolutionaries should look like. But in a sign that his mild-manner could well conceal a tough interior, a year ago Prachanda expelled Dr Bhattarai and his wife from the party for accusing him of being power-hungry.
It took months for him to be reinstated.

Puritanical
The Maoists participated in the country's first parliamentary elections in 1991 but their disenchantment with political squabbling and anger at the plight of the rural poor prompted them to take up arms.
Prachanda derived his inspiration from Peru's Shining Path rebels and dreamt of setting up a communist republic. He envisaged the erosion of class, caste and gender barriers.
But he has also been described as puritanical, outlawing alcohol, gambling and "vulgar literature" from India and the United States. But as talks with the government are under way there are signs that he may be willing to compromise - even perhaps on the contentious issue of accepting a role for the king of Nepal if that is the will of the people.
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Nature, human endeavours and Poverty: Mixed Dilemma

Rupse Spring From Myagdi, Nepal: it is one of the tallest springs in the world. The camera couldnot capture all the spring because of its size.

Silkworm from China: China had started the rearing of Silk at the beginning.

Extreme poverty: Men from Lahour (Pakistan) showing the wounds after selling their Kidney. Poverty forces people to destroy himself too.



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Biodiversity and climate change

By Deependra Joshi

Biodiversity is the foundation of life on earth and one of the pillars of sustainable development. There is little argument over the fact that the world's biodiversity is being degraded. There is more or less a consensus on the fact that the number of species of birds, animals and plants is on the decline. Debate, in the conservation world, generally rages on what should be done to tackle the problem of biodiversity depletion.

Biodiversity contributes directly (through provisioning, regulating, and cultural ecosystem services) and indirectly (through supporting ecosystem services) to many constituents of human well-being, including security, basic material for a good life, health, good social relations, and freedom of choice and action. Many people have benefited over the last century from the conversion of natural ecosystems to human-dominated ecosystems and the exploitation of biodiversity. At the same time, however, these losses in biodiversity and changes in ecosystem services have caused some people to experience declining well-being, with poverty in some social groups being exacerbated.

Human activities such as fossil fuel combustion and deforestation are changing the earth's climate by releasing greenhouse gases. To mitigate the anticipated increase in extreme weather events and the rise in sea level, we need to invest in cost-effective and environmentally-sustainable energy, promoting and engaging climate-friendly carbon and technology markets, and taking adaptation measures.

Despite this critical relationship, the full benefits available from the world's biological resources have not yet been realized, at the same time that future possibilities of their use are being foreclosed as they disappear. Fundamental problems include determining which resources are most critical to conserve in a time of limited finances and personnel, and what activities area needed to ensure that the biota sustain their productivity. Other critical issues linking biodiversity with sustainability include the impact of alien invasive species on the productivity of ecosystems, both aquatic and terrestrial; and the restoration of ecosystems whose productivity has been significantly reduced through past over-exploitation. Both of these require improved management systems.

As the world is focusing its attention on climate change, the links between climate change and biodiversity are also being articulated. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment - a state-of-art appraisal of the world's ecosystems and the services they provide - has identified climate change as one of the biggest causes of our planet's loss of biodiversity, along with changing land use patterns.

It is, therefore, timely that the theme of this year's observance of the International Day for Biological Diversity is "Biodiversity and Climate Change". Indeed, the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity is an essential element of any strategy to adapt to climate change. Through the Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the international community is committed to conserving biodiversity and combating climate change. The global response to these challenges needs to move much more rapidly, and with more determination at all levels - global, national and local. For the sake of current and future generations, we must achieve the goals of these landmark instruments.

The conservation camp is split between the species protectionists and the sustainable users. The former generally believe that humans have shown a large degree of irresponsibility in managing their environment and the more natural resources that are out of reach of greedy hands, the better. The sustainable users, on the other hand, believe that biodiversity depletion and the abuse of natural resources cannot be divorced from the socio-economic reality within which they exist. Natural resources should be used for the benefit of people, but in a way that does not endanger the existence of these resources.

Biodiversity conservation and sustainable development is at the core of IUCN's mission and mandate. IUCN has been working to demonstrate that biodiversity conservation and sustainable use contribute not only to securing ecosystem integrity but also to sustainable livelihoods, effective governance, financing for sustainable development, greater social, economic and environmental security - and ultimately to a reduction of human suffering.

IUCN has been focusing on the causes and effects of climate change where it relates to biodiversity, ecosystems and poverty. It aims at ensuring ecosystems and communities play their full part in responding to climate change, and helps understand climate change by providing knowledge and the most accurate and up-to-date information about the effect of climate change on species, ecosystems and communities.

Although biodiversity conservation is an integrated process that brings many benefits, substantial resources are required to set up and support effective management regimes. Nepal needs to mainstream responses by integrating issues of climate change and variability into national economic and sector planning. As an agrarian country, we need to invest in adaptation strategies, such as helping farmers adopt alternative cropping and water management strategies in response to changing temperatures and precipitation patterns.

While environmental challenges and biodiversity loss act at local, national, regional, and global scales, it is time for Nepal to devise national level implementation plans to combat biodiversity loss and climate change and lay the foundation for sustainable development that eventually helps in making a rapid headway in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. After all, individual actions we all take make a difference when it comes to conserving Nepal's biodiversity.

Each of us make choices that will affect generations to come. The future of our biodiversity depends on those choices.

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Friday, 25 May 2007

Sustainable Forest Management in Lower Saxony

- Rajendra K.C.,
Tropical & International Forestry (Student)

Germany is the first country who practiced the sustainable forest management. They propounded the principles and practiced it here since mid of 17 the century. The mine industries are considered as the pioneer of the SFM. Since the Mine industry wanted to be sustainable, they needed the fuel like the forest as the sustainable manner hence the dwindling scenario of forest availability made them to work towards sustainable management.

The constitution of German does not allow to use ones property to hamper others (society's benefit). No private forest owner can bar people to enjoy and enter the forest. All the forests including private, has free access to all by law. Can we compare this situation to any of our countries in developing worlds? certainly not.

Normally, the 30% of their annual cut comes from the unplanned activities such as abiotic reasons such as Storms. The storms in the beginning of this year damaged lots of tree here. All together more than 15 million cubic meter of trees were destroyed by strong wind in just a day (18 January). Alone, the Lower Saxony bore the premature uprooting and damage around 1.5 million cubic meter of Beech, Douglas Fir, Oak etc. They deducted this loss for their Allowable Annual cut of 2 million.

To get the inventory information, they have started before 250 yrs. They have quite a good data of each and every part of forest since last 250 years. What a promising and appreciative data and information do they have. The modern history of Nepal is younger than their scientific forest management and Forest Inventory system. What a big gap! Before to start the inventory, they use to do the soil survey too. They are doing soil survey (inventory) at the interval of 50-60yrs. For this, they are spending around 60 Euro per hectare of soil survey. At the moment, they are earning 90 Euro net profit from one hectare of forest land. As per them, it is quite encouraging.

The annual diameter increment on Oak varies from 0.3-0.6 cm and the Beech >0.6 cm. It is quite low in comparison to tropical countries. The Basal area here is estimated around 30-35 square meter per hectare.

They have been focusing on Quality of products. Since the Germany is highly populated and medium sized country, it cannot compete with Russia, USA, Canada and other Scandinavians countries with quantities production, it can only compete with them on quality basis. Therefore, they are giving more priority to quality rather than quantitiy sothat they could earn lots of money and could survive on competition.

Interestingly, the British had exploited 50% of their forest after the World War II. They harvested the forest and took all to their country (UK). It reverted my concepts that the big fish eats only the small fish. It is not always true. The big and strong try to crush the looser and weaker.

This forest has been certified by PEPFC for sustainable management. They do regularly checkup or monitor the management systems.
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Senior Academicians: motivational to all

Prof. Dr. Cristoph Klein (second from Left) and other senior academicians participating
the excursions with students. We didnot see any sign of proudness and superiority complex
on them. They were very friendly and frank who always become happy to share their knowledge.

All international students, from all continents, were very curious to learn the technology.
Explanations of their forest activities. They have pride upon their senior who
established such a scientific systems of Forest management.

We are thankful to all of them for their kind copperation in departing knowledge to us. Read more...

The Inventory excursion

The bigger tree is 150 yrs old Oak and the thin tree is 100 yrs old Beech tree.

Can you guess the age of this BEECH tree? No......? This 100 years old. The poor growth in temperate.
Can you recognise this species? This is Sisno (Urtioca dioca), very proteinous and nutritious plants.
If you feed the newly delivered women, it provides lots of milk for breast feeding to her newly borne child (this is the common practice to the poor women of Nepal). Very important but hatred plant for its burning and itching property. Thanks to Cristoph Fishcher correcting the botanical name of it.

Dr. Meg (in the middle) the higher authority of Lowr Saxony, discussing about the management option to students.
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250 yrs old the sytematic inventory data

The Reinhaussen Forest District has the 250 years old forest data and information,
this is older than the modern history of nepal.

Kopper (Madagaskar) studying the 250 yrs old forest inventory data.
They have the forestry data for 250 yrs.

This is the previous book where they have put the inventory data.
This is handwritten on Nepalese paper (hand made paper!) and preserved.
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Taxus baccata

The 20 years Taxus baccata tree, the leaf is used to extract taxol which is needed to make the medicines for breat cancer.
They told that the leaves are toxic and cannot be eaten neither by animals.
But it has the taxol which can be sold at more than US $ 10000 per Kg.
It is being exported from Nepal, but I do not know why they are not thinking towards this.
The Taxus leaves here at Gottingen forest, also we have the same spp in Nepal which is being exploited for the extraction of Taxol. Dabur Nepal has exploited it heavily. The royalty for one kg of taxus leaves is around 25 cent, but people use to sell it at around 2.5 Euro per kg. After extraction company is getting more than 10 thousand US $.
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university and surroundings

The numbering in logs.
Number in log
The gate at Geology institute
Geology departments gate showing the chronological development of geography
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Thursday, 24 May 2007

Some remarks about German and us.

Aasha Khattri
Goettingen, Germany

Today I want to share my experiences staying here in Germany for six months. It does not mean that I know all about here and also I am trying to show my win over nepalipan, but I just want to share and compare living philosophy of their and ours sothat we could make some progress in future.

Actually I don't know much about German and Germany people, but in between 5 or 6 months , I got chance to see the people of Germany (especially Gottingen people) from near distance. People who had been once to Europe, they use to say Europe is like this. Everything here is well managed and so on. But when I came here I got more than that. When I started to observe the behaviors of the German, I realised the way that they are following is really a way towards civilisation and development. And their dutifulness and devotions towards work is incomparable. They are so devoted to their profession that is beyond our imagination.

Before 5, 6 days I met a doctor for our families' eye treatment. And I saw her so simple, so dutiful that we never have seen in Nepal. Her behaviour towards patient was very lovely. She behaved us very nicely. There were no boundary of doctor and patient, only the humanity and professionalism was there. Not with the doctor and patients relation but as the mothers, we shared a lot about our children and we returned happily ,with lots of sweet memory our house in the evening. Thank to her generosity and politeness, indebtedness for her honesty and kindness who didnot ask to buy unnecessary medicines and glass even after my request. Is this possible in Nepal? Never, doctor (most of) thinks them as the second god and superior to rest of the society, and never talk to their patients with respectful words. They are so artificial in behaving that really make the patient more ill rather than early recovery. And, also imagine the tests, medicines, X-rays, Ultrasounds that prescribed unnecessary for the illicit desires of money making. What a pity to say but it is the reality, and these reality will not going to be improved in future too. Do not blame me for partiality and pessimist.

While returning from the Clinic, one fact was roaming in my mind. The day, when I went to the hospital for my sister's treatment. Actually, in our country patients get fear with doctor because there are many cases we hear about bad treatment and so on. I was with her. I entered to the doctor's cabin with my sister. The doctor was the ladies one. She asked the patient to sleep. And she started to ask about her. I was there and tried to say something about her. I sat down in front of her chair. But the doctor scold me saying not to sit. And you know the patient was crying all the time but at that time she was busy to set the pictures of her son in her mobile set, perhaps it was newly purchased. And while I said something about patient's case, at that time she became so fired as if I have done a great mistake. I got much anger with her behavior too, but you know we patients think that if we said something negative to them they may kill us or do bad to us . So I did not dared to say anything to her. Silently, i came out of the room. And after 5,6 minutes the male doctor came there and for few time they became busy to share their personal matters. And after that she checked her and admitted to the hospital. It's the situation of our country and you know if the patient thinks doctors as wild animal, than when would be there a friendly relationship between a doctor and patient. How a patient will dare to say his/her problems in front of the doctor who behaves him/ her like a wild animal?A person becomes frustrated when he/she becomes a patient. And you know when the doctors whom we say the 2nd god, behave like this how one can tolerate? How the poor patient can win the disease?

Not only in health sector, we see such mis deeds in every field. It is not that there are no good persons in my country but within the whole population the majority of the people is with this corrupted and selfish people. From governmental school to administrative offices, no one is without it's touch. And if any one tries to lead properly, majority of people speak against him. And he doesn't knows where he got new appointment perhaps in remote part of the country where there is no facility of electricity,vehicles and so on. Also, he/she could be fired, loss life or ill behaved by colleagues.

Such is the condition of my poor country. I wrote this only to recall the present situation which perhaps we had forgot while staying at Germany. Until and unless the behavour is not changed from leaders to professionals, it is impossible to expect any change for the nation. No new Nepal would be borne thorough this mentality and behaviour. Let's reverse the situation. But who will dare to be stupid rather than being the part and parcel of this well adopted, no risk system !

Here we see, people have great value of time. We easily make delay and say it's our'Nepali time' but the German people respect the time and use it wisely. From housewife to professional ladies, all are busy in doing something. Here is no boundry for working as in my country. Everyone is working, reading and doing something new. But we staying full day in house, get nothing new.You know we get frustration because we never get any newness in our whole life. The compromise between a husband and wife is really unforgettable in this place. Both go for work and duty but they both are equally attentive for their kids. If anyone does this in our place than everyone start to laugh at him. Because there is a good (!) philosophy in our country that man should not do any household works and he is expected to show is bossism even in house and with family. Then only his moustache get value ! What a rubbish idea ! what a lagging behind culture!

Here is a well adopted and practical system for everything. Everyone follows the system. And doing something systematically, always produces good results. When we visit any shops, like PENNY, LIDL, we can see the honesty, politeness and discipline of the workers. How the business fails if there is the strong chain of devotion and faith between one another? If there was also the same in my country, if the manager does not make corrupt and ill-force the workers, workers doesn't neglect their work. This will not be impossible thing to bring change. But while we think, we think. We never get such behaviour even from the well educated ones who knows better than they do.

Writing these bitter trues, I just want to show the differences between us and Germans. If everyone became obedient and dutiful, responsible and accountable for his /her work, if all people love their nation and nationality and if there is no discrimination between work, male, female and so on, then it would not be difficult for reformation. And one day we will be the examples for others as the Germans are today.

While concluding my opinions, I like to say all our Nepalese people not to fight for themselves. If we are fighting always we will not get time to go forward and time will never be back neither it will wait for we all. We just make stop for our own watch but we cannot stop time. So I would like to request all to realise this and don't waste even a single minute doing nothings.

The writer could be assessed at: aasha_rkc@yahoo.com
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Photos from all around

The caretaker giving water to Tiger (Panthera tigris) in the Zoo
The korean preparing for the celebration of the Birthday of Gautam Budhha
Out going prime minister posing with the armymen at Iraq: what a trust & inspiration to their army.
Israel invading on Palestine: let's join hand to oppose the invasion and cruelty of Israel to them.
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Telecommunication strike at Germany

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Wednesday, 23 May 2007