The Kathmandu Post - 05 Jun, 2024 (2024)

The Kathmandu Post - 05 Jun, 2024 (1)


Narendra Modi’s win is only the second time an Indian leader has retained power for a third term after Jawaharlal Nehru.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared victory on Tuesday for his alliance in India’s general election, claiming a mandate to push forward with his agenda, even though his party lost seats to a stronger than expected opposition, which pushed back against his mixed economic record and polarizing politics.
“Today’s victory is the victory of the world’s largest democracy,” Modi told the crowd at his party’s headquarters, saying Indian voters had “shown immense faith” both in his party and his National Democratic Alliance coalition.
Official results from India’s Election Commission showed the NDA won 286 seats, more than the 272 seats needed to secure a majority but far fewer than had been expected.
Modi’s win was only the second time an Indian leader has retained power for a third term after Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first prime minister. But also, for the first time since his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party swept to power in 2014, it did not secure a majority on its own, winning 240 seats—far fewer than the record 303 it won in the 2019 election.
That means Modi will need the support of other parties in his coalition — a stunning blow for the 73-year-old, who had hoped for a landslide victory.
The party may now be “heavily dependent on the goodwill of its allies, which makes them critical players who we can expect will extract their pound of flesh, both in terms of policymaking as well as government formation,” said Milan Vaishnav, director of the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
More than 640 million votes were cast in the marathon election held over a span of six weeks in the world’s largest democratic exercise.
In the face of the surprising drop in the BJP’s support, challengers claimed they had also won a victory of sorts, with the main opposition Congress party saying the election had been a “moral and political loss” for Modi.
“This is public’s victory and a win for democracy,” Congress party President Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters.
Despite the setback, Modi pledged to make good on his election promise to turn India’s economy into the world’s third biggest, from its current fifth place, and not shirk with pushing forward with his agenda.
He said he would advance India’s defense production, boost jobs for youth, raise exports and help farmers, among other things.
“This country will see a new chapter of big decisions. This is Modi’s guarantee,” he said, speaking in the third person.
Many of the Hindu nationalist policies he’s instituted over the last 10 years will also remain locked in place.
Before Modi came to power, India had coalition governments for 30 years.
The opposition INDIA coalition won 225 seats and was leading in five others yet to be called early Wednesday morning. Congratulations for Modi from leaders of regional countries including neighbouring Nepal and Bhutan flowed in, while the White House commended India for its “vibrant democratic process.”
In his 10 years in power, Modi has transformed India’s political landscape, bringing Hindu nationalism, once a fringe ideology in India, into the mainstream while leaving the country deeply divided.

His supporters see him as a self-made, strong leader who has improved India’s standing in the world. His critics and opponents say his Hindu-first politics have bred intolerance while the economy, one of the world’s fastest-growing, has become more unequal.
For Payal, a resident of the northern city of Lucknow who uses only one name, the election was about the economy and India’s vast number of people living in poverty.
“People are suffering, there are no jobs, people are in such a state that their kids are compelled to make and sell tea on the roadside,” Payal said. “This is a big deal for us. If we don’t wake up now, when will we?”
Rahul Gandhi, the main face of the opposition Congress party, said he saw the election numbers as a message from the people.
“The poorest of this country have defended the constitution of India,” he told a news conference.
Modi’s popularity has outstripped that of his party’s during his first two terms in office, and he turned the parliamentary election into one that more resembled a presidential-style campaign, with the BJP relying on the leader’s brand.
“Modi was not just the prime campaigner, but the sole campaigner of this election,” said Yamini Aiyar, a public policy scholar.
Under Modi’s government, critics say India’s democracy has come under increasing strain with strong-arm tactics used to subdue political opponents, squeeze independent media and quash dissent. The government has rejected such accusations and says democracy is flourishing.
Economic discontent has also simmered under Modi. While stock markets have reached record-highs, youth unemployment has soared, with only a small portion of Indians benefitting from the boom.
As polls opened in mid-April, a confident BJP initially focused its campaign on “Modi’s guarantees,” highlighting the economic and welfare achievements that his party says have reduced poverty. With Modi at the helm, “India will become a developed nation by 2047,” he repeated in rally after rally.
But the campaign turned increasingly shrill, as Modi ramped up polarizing rhetoric that targeted Muslims, who make up 14 percent of the population, a tactic seen to energize his core Hindu majority voters.
The opposition INDIA alliance attacked Modi over his Hindu nationalist politics, and campaigned on issues of joblessness, inflation and inequality.
“These issues have resonated and made a dent,” added Aiyar, the public policy scholar.



Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi, mocked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his supporters for a decade as an entitled dynast, marked a stunning comeback on Tuesday, emerging at the centre of an alliance that made deep inroads into ruling party strongholds.
The scion of India’s fabled Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, he embarked on two cross-country marches against what he called Modi’s politics of hate and fear, giving a jolt of enthusiasm to his Congress party and rehabilitating his own image.
Reduced by a Modi landslide to just 52 seats in the 543-member lower house of parliament in 2019, Congress looked well set to nearly double that tally this year, according to the vote count from the general election.
That total put Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) well below the 272 seats needed to win a majority on its own, and it will have to rely on allies to form the government.
Though it might have to sit another term out of power, Congress will have the loudest voice in a much stronger opposition, with Gandhi at its centre.
As the opposition’s most prominent face, Gandhi has been a target of attacks from Modi and other BJP leaders, who often call him “the prince”.
Gandhi’s father, grandmother and great-grandfather have all been prime ministers.
During the campaign, Gandhi, with close-cropped black hair and a scruffy salt-and-pepper stubble, criss-crossed the country as his party’s main face, even though Congress is led by family loyalist Mallikarjun Kharge.
“I think Rahul Gandhi will get credit, not just for mobilisation, for his marches, but also for continuously clarifying the Congress’s ideological pitch against the BJP,” said Rahul Verma, political analyst at the Centre for Policy Research think tank in New Delhi.
“If there was a moment when Gandhi really emerged, it is now,” he said.

Battle against hate
At a news conference on Tuesday, Gandhi pulled out a red-jacketed, pocket-sized version of the country’s constitution that he has referred to continuously during the campaign, and said his alliance’s performance was the “first step” in preventing Modi from attempting to change it.
Changing the constitution requires a two-thirds in parliament.
Cambridge-educated Gandhi has often said that he is battling Modi’s BJP not just to wrest power, but to defeat the party’s and its parent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s Hindu-first character, which goes against India’s secular roots enshrined in the constitution.
“My fight is with the ideology of RSS and BJP which is a threat to our country. The hatred these people spread, they spread violence, I fight against it... This is the battle of my life for me,” he said at a party event two years ago.
BJP rejects these charges.
Single at 53, a trained pilot like his father, and a certified scuba diver, Gandhi is known to be a fitness and martial arts enthusiast and has been seen cycling on New Delhi’s leafy avenues, accompanied by security men.
Though he guards his private life tightly, Gandhi allowed a small peek during the peak of the campaign, sharing a video of him playing with and giving belly rubs to his dog named Yassa, who he said was quite sick, leaving Gandhi “very upset and low”.
A member of parliament since 2004, Gandhi’s attendance has been far below average. His frequent absences from the chamber, and the country, have been the focus of the media and drawn BJP accusations that he does not take politics

Linked to Kennedys
Gandhi has never been a minister in a federal or state government, and has not led his Congress party to a general election victory.
Congress was the largest national political party with a footprint across the country of 1.4 billion people until it was overtaken by the BJP in 2014. Outside parliament, Gandhi has often reminded his supporters of his family’s commitment and sacrifices, talking about assassinations of his grandmother, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and his father and ex-prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
The Gandhi family still dominates Congress and commands fierce loyalty. The political lineage, likened to the Kennedys in the United States both for the power it has enjoyed and the tragedies that have befallen it, started with Motilal Nehru, who practised law in the early 20th century and gave up a Western lifestyle to become president of the Congress party. His son, Jawaharlal, was independence hero Mahatma Gandhi’s closest confidant and prime minister from 1947 until 1964. Jawaharlal’s daughter, Indira, married a Gandhi who was no relation to the Mahatma, but the name was certainly no handicap in politics. Indira Gandhi became prime minister in 1966, but was voted out in 1977 after imposing a harsh internal emergency on the country, becoming the first of her family to lose a national election.
But the mystique of the dynasty brought her back to power within three years and her son Rajiv took over after she was shot dead by two bodyguards in 1984. Rajiv Gandhi served one term as prime minister and when he was campaigning for a comeback in 1991, he was assassinated by a suicide bomber.


He will induct ministers from Janamat and Nagarik Unmukti, and try to placate Unified Socialist too.


Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is gearing up for a Cabinet reshuffle, but the big question is whether he will replace the entire set of ministers from each coalition partner or just add a few new faces.
To reorganise his Cabinet, the prime minister has already started consulting his alliance partners, specifically the CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli, the CPN (Unified Socialist) Chairman Madhav Kumar Nepal, and others.
According to Maoist Centre leaders, as soon as the process of forming a new government in Madhesh province concludes, the prime minister will start the process of Cabinet reshuffle.
Over the last couple of days, Dahal, Oli and Nepal have held several rounds of talks in order to give full shape to the provincial government in Sudurpaschim, to form a new government in Madhesh, and bring new parties like the Nagarik Unmukti and Janamat Party into the federal government.
Once a new government is formed in Madhesh, the prime minister is likely to add some ministers from the Nagarik Unmukti Party and Janamat Party, said Mahesh Bartaula, chief whip of the UML. This has been the topic of discussion among the top leaders in the past few days, he said.
“I don’t think the entire Cabinet will change,” he said.
However, according to one Maoist Centre leader, the prime minister is in a difficult situation after the chairman of the CPN (Unified Socialist) Nepal sought a package deal on power-sharing.
Jagannath Khatiwada, spokesperson of the Unified Socialist said his party has communicated its demands clearly to both Dahal and Oli.
“During recent meetings with the prime minister and the UML chief, our chairman made it clear that we need an additional minister in the federal government, a fair share in Koshi, Madhesh and Karnali governments, and participation of the UML and Maoist Centre in the Sudurpaschim government before the formation of the government in Koshi,” he said.
Dirgha Bahadur Sodari of the Unified Socialist is the chief minister in Sudurpaschim, but the delay by the UML and Maoist Centre in joining the government has caused frustration within the Unified Socialist.
In order to extend support for forming a new government in the Madhesh province, which will probably be led by the Janamat Party, the Unified Socialist party has withdrawn its two ministers from the current Saroj Kumar Yadav government. Yadav is the chief minister of the Madhesh province and represents the Janata Samajbadi Party Nepal.
A section of the Maoist Centre has been calling for the replacement of the entire set of ministers in the Dahal Cabinet. But the UML, the Rastriya Swatantra Party and the Unified Socialist are against doing so.
“Some of our ministers have been serving since December 2022, so some leaders in the party want to replace them with new faces,” a central committee member of the Maoist Centre said. With the exception of Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun, there is a call within the party to replace all the ministers, the leader said, adding that “this agenda will likely be discussed during the upcoming meeting of the party.” Besides the prime minister, the CPN (Maoist Centre) has one deputy prime minister, and four ministers in the Cabinet.
“There are several issues, but nothing has been discussed,” said Govinda Acharya, press adviser to the Prime Minister Dahal. “First, ministers from the Janamat Party and the Nagarik Unmukti Party are likely to join the Cabinet as per the understanding among party leaders.”
“Our position is clear,” said Khatiwada, the Unified Socialist spokesperson. “We want a package deal, which we have clearly communicated both to prime minister Dahal and UML chair Oli.”
“From the centre to the provincial level as well as in other major political appointments, we need a fair share,” said Khatiwada.
He complained that the prime minister and the UML chief assured several times in the past to address the grievances of the Unified Socialist, but the promise has not been kept.
To show his frustration, party chief Nepal participated in a meeting of the opposition parties a few days ago.
“We have decided to help the federal coalition install a new government in the Madhesh province. So we need a fair share in provincial governments in Madhesh, Koshi, Karnali and Sudurpaschim. Cabinet reshuffle is solely the prime minister’s prerogative and he might be feeling pressure from within his own party. He may replace his party’s ministers, but this has not been discussed in the meetings of alliance members,” Khatiwada told the Post.


The Rhinos lose their opening match to the Netherlands by six wickets on their return to the World Cup after a decade.

- Binod Pandey

DALLAS (Texas),
Nepal made a disastrous start to their 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World campaign on their return to the cricket’s biggest stage after a decade as they lost their opening match of the Group D to the Netherlands by six wickets in Dallas, Texas on Tuesday.
Nepal, who were invited to bat first after losing the toss, posted a paltry 106 all out from 19.2 overs at the Grand Prairie Stadium after the batters struggled against a disciplined Dutch bowling.
The Rhinos repeated the same mistakes with the bat as openers Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh failed to give their team a good start again after the play was slightly delayed due to wet outfield.
Netherlands spinner Tim Pringle (3-20) and pacer Logan van Beek (3-18) were the biggest thorns in Nepal’s flesh as their three-wicket hauls put Nepal inside the pressure cooker in an overcast condition throughout the innings.
In between, Paul van Meekeren and Bas de Leede also bowled excellently in the bowling-friendly surface, finishing 2-19 and 2-22, respectively.
Nepal found themselves in big trouble early on at 15-2 in 3.1 overs when they lost Shiekh to Pringle for four in the second over and Bhurtel to van Beek for seven.
Anil Sah departed next for 11 after Pringle had him caught by van Beek, leaving Nepal at 40-3.
Skipper Rohit Paudel was the only batter who looked comfortable against the Dutch bowling attack that struck regularly.
Paudel played a brisk 35 runs off 37 balls to revive Nepal innings, but he never found support in the middle order as Kushal Malla (9), Dipendra Singh Airee (1) and Sompal Kami (0) all fell in quick succession.
Paudel’s resistance also ended in the 16th over when Pringle had him caught by Max O’Dowd for his third wicket.
Karan KC scored 12-ball 17 and Gulsan Jha played 15-ball 14 to take Nepal to 106 from 84-7, but the final three wickets tumbled swiftly and without adding a run after van Beek struck twice in successive balls in the 20th over.
Paudel conceded they could have stretched their total a little further.
“The conditions while batting were really challenging,” the Nepal skipper said.
“Netherlands bowled really well. We could have stretched it a little more and had more partnerships through the middle.”
The Netherlands captain Scott Edwards credited the bowlers for their match-winning show.
“Our bowlers were awesome,” he said. “We got two or three wickets in the powerplay. All five of our bowlers were brilliant.”
In response, Nepal bowled tightly, but could not stop O’Dowd to take the Dutch past the 107-run target with eight balls to spare.
The Netherlands lost their opener Michael Levitt for a cheap one after Sompal Kami had him caught by Airee in 1.2 overs.
But O’Dowd scored an unbeaten half-century to guide his side to 109-4 in 18.4 overs.
O’Dowd smashed a patient knock of 48-ball 54 that featured four boundaries and one six.
Despite a tenacious bowling attack, Nepal gave the Dutch the edge in the game after Sheikh, Kami and Paudel all dropped catches, which otherwise would have put their opponents under extra pressure.
“We did very well as a bowling unit,” Paudel said after the loss.
“The last catch that I dropped was not well…and we didn’t catch well.”
Levitt and Singh, who played 22 runs off 28 balls, added 40 runs for the second wicket to steady the ship, before Sybrand Engelbrecht played 16-ball 14 to take the Dutch closer to the target.
O’Dowd then smacked Abinash Bohara with two fours and six off the 19th over to wrap things up for the Dutch.
“Ideally, we would have got the runs a little quicker, but it was great the way Max batted, and Bassie finished it off well,” Edwards said.
Nepal next play against Sri Lanka on June 11.

The Kathmandu Post - 05 Jun, 2024 (2)


Past rain shadow regions of Manang and Mustang are seeing heavy rains, falling crop yields, and destruction of homes in recent years.


Nisha Tulachan, an 18-year-old woman from Mustang’s Naurikot, died in her sleep. Her house made up of mud collapsed on her on the night of July 26, 2020 and she died on the spot. Her 70-year-old grandfather was seriously injured. Tulachan’s uncle Shukra Gauchan said that it had been raining for two days before the night of the incident, and their traditional house made of wood, hay, stones, and mud gave in.
“There are 28 houses in Naurikot, all built in the traditional style as ours. Rains are unusual in the mountains, so the whole village was shocked,” said Gauchan. Residents of Naurikot who were living in houses with traditional mud roofs, started demolishing and building concrete houses after the incident. Naurikot village lies at an altitude of 2,740 metres in ward 2 of Thasang Rural Municipality, in Mustang.
“In the mountain region, traditional mud houses are the best for staying warm, but when rains started becoming more frequent, everybody got scared. People from several other wards of the rural municipality also started building new houses by demolishing the old ones,” Gauchan added.
Lo Manthang, which lies at an altitude of 3,840 meters above sea level, is the northernmost settlement in Mustang. The residents of Lo Manthang are also building concrete houses by demolishing traditional mud houses.
Prem Hinjing Gurung, a 66-year-old man from Lo Manthang in ward 5 of Lo Manthang Rural Municipality, said that more than 25 houses in the village have been built with concrete now. “Those who could afford, built new concrete houses, and a few families migrated elsewhere,” said Gurung.
The statistics of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority (NDRRMA) also show that heavy rains in Mustang district have started causing extensive damage.
According to the NDRRMA website, two houses were completely destroyed due to the heavy rains in the fiscal year 2017-2018, and property worth Rs15.6 million was lost.
In 2005, climate change and environment expert Ngamindra Dahal wrote in the Tiempo magazine of the University of East Anglia in the UK that the livelihoods of the locals were being affected when abnormal rains started in the high Himalayan regions like Mustang.
Later in 2011, Dahal started further research on climate change in the mountain region. The residents of Mustang and Manang districts told him that their areas were seeing abnormal climate patterns—unexpected rains in summer and less snow in winter.
Some locals told Dahal that losing traditional houses also meant losing culture and tradition.
Dahal said that due to climate change, monsoon rain, which is generally limited from 2,500-3,000 meters above sea level, is now affecting Mustang and Manang, which are above 3,500 meters.
“South Asian monsoons do not go higher than 2,500 to 3,000 meters, but the monsoon has moved up to 4,000 meters in just the last two or three decades,” said Dahal.
The geography of Mustang and Manang are very different and sensitive. In the mountain region, where there would be no rainfall, people grew crops using the melted snow. The mountain districts across the Himalayas, which had different seasonal cycles, have now become a monsoon region, Dahal further added.
According to a journal article published by Dahal in 2022, the average annual temperature in lower Mustang has increased by 0.021 degrees Celsius per year, and the average annual rainfall has increased by 1.83 millimeters per year in the last 45 years.
The data provided in the journal was similar to the temperature and rainfall data recorded at meteorological stations in the lower Mustang region from 1973 to 2018.
According to the NDRRMA, there have been five instances of heavy rains and avalanches in Mustang and Manang since the fiscal year 2014-2015. Similarly, the two districts saw 32 landslides and 19 incidents of flooding since then.
In Mustang alone, 31 houses were completely destroyed by floods in four places in the last monsoon season. Similarly, 16 houses were partially damaged, and more than 35 families were affected.
The floods on May 28, 2021, and June 15, 2021, damaged property worth Rs3 billion, destroying houses, bridges, schools, and roads, among other infrastructures, in Nason, Chame, and Manang Nesyang rural municipalities of Manang district.
According to the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, the rainfall measurement station at Humde in Manang recorded 82.2 mm of rain on June 15, 2021.
In Humde, the average rainfall in June 2015 was 42 mm, but in June 2021, the area saw 197 mm of rainfall in a period of 15 days. This was 469 percent more than that of June 2015 average. In May 2021, the area recorded 693 percent more rain compared to the same period in 2015.
The change in the timing of seasonal rainfall has also impacted agriculture in mountain districts.
Farmers in high altitude areas are facing challenges in protecting their crops—they grow mainly potato, wheat, barley and buckwheat—as the temperature increases and the pattern of rain changes.
Aaita Bahadur Thakali, a local farmer from ward 5 of Gharapjhong Rural Municipality, Mustang, reported a decline in crop yields.
According to Karma Gurung from Dhumba in Gharpajhong Rural Municipality, Mustang, who has been involved in commercial cultivation of apples for decades, the district produced 5,464 metric tons of apples on 520 hectares in the fiscal year 2021-2022. Although the apple growing area has expanded to 1,400 hectares, the total production was only 6,250 metric tons in the fiscal year 2023-24.
Madan Regmi, head of the Agriculture Knowledge Centre in Manang, said that on April 26, it snowed in upper Manang damaging the apple flowers. Also, the activity of helpful insects in pollination (bees and bumblebees) was subdued as the temperature was below the freezing point.
“Unexpected weather events, which have become more frequent, during the main season, have hit crop yields badly,” said Regmi.
“Not just apples, but vegetable production has also been affected—by the cold. The lower areas of Manang that used to receive monsoon rains, have been seeing dry monsoons for the past few years. The earlier rain shadow region in the highlands, have been seeing heavy rainfall during the monsoon for the past few years. These unexpected shifts in rain patterns have hit farmers the most,” Regmi added.
Locals say a pine species locally called Sang tree found in the upper Mustang region and used for worship and other rituals, are also disappearing due to climate change.
According to a report published by the National Statistics Office, 47.1 percent of the families in the Himalayan region of Gandaki Province participating in the survey said that they have felt the effects of climate change in the last 25 years.
In the Gandaki province, 39.5 percent of families said that new diseases and insects have appeared in crops over the past 25 years.
Similarly, 97.4 percent families in Gandaki are not aware of the early warning of climate disasters, according to the office’s survey.
The chief district officer of Mustang, Janakraj Panta, who is also the chairman of the District Disaster Management Committee, said that the local governments are working on climate adaptation and risk reduction to the best of their abilities, but these efforts are not enough.
“The situation has gone beyond the control of the local government and the district authorities. The provincial and federal governments are also aware of the climate-induced disasters, but have not been taking mitigation measures,” said Pant. “The more the delay in implementing long-term programmes, the more the likelihood of further damage,” Pant added.
Environment expert Dahal said the federal and provincial governments should take the initiative to implement long-term climate adaptation and disaster mitigation measures.


District Digest

NAWALPARASI/HETAUDA: Two people died after being struck by fallen trees in Nawalparasi East and Makawanpur districts on Tuesday. An elderly man died in ward 12 of Madhyabindu Municipality of Nawalparasi East district. According to Deputy Superintendent of Police Bed Bahadur Paudel of Nawalparasi East District Police Office, the man, a 69-year-old, died when a tree fell on him while he was grazing goats in the Thulopokhara Community Forest. The body was recovered by security personnel and sent to the district hospital for postmortem, said Paudel. Similarly, another man, aged 22, was killed in Makawanpur in a similar fashion. According to Deputy Superintendent of Police Laxmi Bhandari, spokesperson for the Makawanpur District Police Office, the man was cutting grass near his residence when he was hit by a falling tree.


District Digest

BAJHANG: Five members of the same family were killed in an incident triggered by cooking gas leakage in the Indian metropolis of Bengaluru. On May 29, Bajhang resident Madan Bohara, 32, his 30-year-old wife Premjala, and their three children had sustained burn injuries in the tragic accident that occurred in Yelankha at around 11 pm. Bohara’s four-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter died in the course of treatment at the Victoria Hospital on May 30 and in the morning of May 31 respectively. Premjala, who had suffered 72 percent burns to her body, breathed her last on Saturday evening. Likewise, Bohara and his eldest daughter, aged 11, also succumbed to injuries at the same hospital on Sunday night and Monday morning respectively. The incident occurred due to a gas leak in a closed room, the victims had said. Bohara had migrated to India with his family some six years ago in pursuit of a better life. The 32-year-old had been working as a security guard at an apartment while his wife worked as domestic help.

JANAKPUR: The CPN (Unified Socialist) quit the Madhesh government on Tuesday, a day before Chief Minister Saroj Kumar Yadav faces a floor test in the provincial assembly. The party’s two ministers in the Janata Samajbadi Party-led government, Govinda Neupane and Bechi Lungeli, are preparing to submit their resignations to the chief minister. “I am waiting for the chief minister to submit my resignation,” Lungeli told the Post. “We will also withdraw our support to the government.” The chief minister is preparing to undergo a floor test on Wednesday.

The Kathmandu Post - 05 Jun, 2024 (3)
The Kathmandu Post - 05 Jun, 2024 (4)


Some populists can do good, but a rabble-rouser inevitably causes unmitigated disaster.


Among the three most populist parliamentarians of these times, Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli is the sharpest as well as the seniormost. He was born in the interregnum between the fall of the Ranarchy in 1951 and the rise of the absolutist Shah regime in 1960, when the Gramscian prognosis of “a great variety of morbid symptoms” was apparent throughout the country.
Sharma Oli perhaps realised early on that the criteria for fitness for survival in the politics of Nepal differed from those of other newly decolonised countries. Freedom fighters of independence movements had to paint the picture of a brighter future to persuade the masses. Here, King Mahendra had convinced his loyal subjects that they should long for the greatness of the “unifier”, the creations of the “versifier”, and the valour of “mercenaries” instead.
Even though he is the unchallenged supremo of a supposedly Marxist-Leninist party, Sharma Oli prefers to talk about culture, religion and language rather than the plight of the poor and the downtrodden. A rhetorician par excellence, he can make his audience consume irrelevant claims about Ayodhya being in Thori and Yoga having originated in Nepal.
A relic of the print and audio era, Sharma Oli refuses to accept that historical fabrications and jingoistic stories look somewhat dubious on small screens of handheld devices. The sell-by date of Sharma Oli’s alt-right populism seems to be losing its mass appeal. It must be in desperation that he had to aim cheap and chauvinistic barbs at the fellow parliamentarian Sumana Shrestha.
Born in 1974, Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Rabi Lamichhane belongs to the Mahendramala Generation that grew up in the ideological hegemony of ethnonational chauvinism in the 1980s and 1990s. Setting a world record of sorts in 2013 with his single-themed and longest-running talk show, he is the political manipulator of the television age. Lamichhane succeeded in fanning popular discontent against established parties through his Sidha Kura Janata Sanga and then decided to electorally encash the adulation before the audience could know much about his dual passport, possible involvement in cooperative frauds or the vacuity of his political antics. He is no longer the poster boy for alternative politics.

Performative agitator
The chief whip of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), Gyanendra Bahadur Shahi, is the new kid on the jingoistic block. He is wrestling to create a space for himself in the post-2015 order where the ruling ideology is that there is no distinct ideology in the political economy. Born in 1992 and a child of restored constitutional monarchy, Shahi came of age in yet another Gramscian interregnum between 2006 and 2016 when ethnonational majoritarianism triumphed over the inclusionary dreams of participatory democracy.
Experiences of electoral democracies in Pakistan or Sri Lanka have shown that ethnonational majoritarianism inevitably brings authoritarian politics, nepotism, favouritism, crony capitalism and brazen corruption. In such polities, the risk of a rabble-rouser spouting rage against the ‘rotten elite’ is extremely high. Imran Khan rode the anti-establishment beast to get to the top, where the creature ate his political career raw. He is presently cooling his heels in jail.
The movement of India Against Corruption (IAC) catapulted Arvind Kejriwal to the chair of Chief Minister of New Delhi, where, ironically, he is in custody on corruption charges. Shahi tried to ride a similar escalator of anti-corruption vigilantism through his combative politics captured live on camera and beamed through social media. He became viral through his Hamro Nepal Hami Nepali Abhiyan (Our Nepal, We Nepalis Campaign) by participating in protests against the Nepal Compact of Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC).
It seems the adroit agitator has realised that his jingoistic image needs periodic polishing for him to thrive in the emotionally distressed republic. He recently joined the campaign for the social rehabilitation of Sandeepp Lamichhane, a celebrity cricketer first convicted of raping a minor, sentenced to jail and then acquitted by a higher court.
The Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) had included the former captain in its T20 World Cup team. Once the USA denied him a visa, the CAN could have let the prospective player hone his spin-bowling skills at home. But it decided to solicit the help of the government to make the consular services of the US Embassy rethink. They did some serious rethinking and once again denied Lamichhane a visa. The unfortunate story should have ended there, but the anti-MCC campaigner made a grand entry, heading a procession against the US Embassy!
Shahi didn’t stop there: He later claimed in Parliament that the denial of a visa to Lamichhane was an affront to the entire country. Perhaps Shahi perceives that an anti-USA constituency still exists in the country that he can mobilise for his regressive politics. He may have been too young back then, but more prominent personalities of Nepal have been refused a visa in the past. No matter how high you are within the geography of one of the 50 poorest countries of the world with one of its lowest-ranking passports, resident diplomats of wealthier nations remain unimpressed with the “Buddha was born in Nepal” rhetoric.

Herd mentality
In his long public life, Abhi Subedi has worn many hats of different hues—discarding one for the other or donning one atop another depending upon his mood—with the ease of a bohemian. He is a professor, poet, playwright, critic, academic, commentator, researcher, creator, wanderer, writer, translator, bilingual columnist and voracious reader: An intellectual in one word.
Back in 2006, Subedi was brusquely denied a visa to visit New York at the invitation of American writers. He was reportedly told: “You seem to have visited so many places. How come? Are you retired? Will you return?” And then dismissed with a gratuitous advice: “Try again.” When Subedi wrote about the incident with a touch of sadness in his column “Visa and empire of indifference”, the then US Ambassador to Nepal James Francis Moriarty expressed regret at the treatment meted out to “long a cultural contact of our American Center” but refused to publicly apologise.
Khagendra Sangraula—a writer and translator so popular that he needs no introduction—with the British Embassy in 2005 had a no less disturbing experience. He was given a written note explaining that the visa denial was based on the possibility that he may not leave Britain after entering. Once again, Sangraula wrote about it in the form of a letter in one of his columns, but nothing was heard from the then British Ambassador Keith G Bloomfield.
Subedi and Sangraula were wise enough to realise that denial of visa is the prerogative of the issuing country. Shahi wants to capitalise on this to strengthen his capability of benefiting from the herd mentality of cynical and discontented youths who consume incendiary social media posts and are looking for an easy outlet to vent their rage.
Some populists can do good for their political benefit, but a rabble-rouser inevitably causes unmitigated disaster. Shahi isn’t just a person but a political model that can prove to be much more damaging than Sharma Oli’s ethnonational populism or Lamichhane’s downright demagoguery.


The past six months are evidence that new technologies arereplacing them.

- Peter Newman

Fossil fuels are being rapidly displaced by decarbonised sources of energy but not everyone is yet onboard. The resolution adopted at the end of COP28 last December was described as the “beginning of the end” for the fossil fuel era. While such an announcement was met with much cynicism, maybe it was indeed the turning point.
The past six months have provided even more evidence that fossil fuels are being rapidly overcome by the new technologies of decarbonisation: Wind, solar, batteries and electric vehicles. These are now growing at super exponential rates showing that businesses, governments and communities are learning how to implement them in cities and regions.
All fossil fuels are either plateauing or showing negative growth. The peaks for coal, oil and gas show how rapid their decline will be. The responses from the fossil fuel lobby have been largely of derision and instead of showing that they are in decline and must diversify into these new technologies, they have opted for even bigger growth targets.
Many oil and gas projects are showing growth targets beyond 2050 into 2070, in a bid to find finance from a world that is more and more backing the net zero-only finance option as demand for fossil fuels declines.
Fossil fuel lobby sows confusionThis is causing political chaos as governments are caught between supporting climate action and supporting big fossil fuel companies promising massive investment. This confuses the public. Australia is an example.
In the two years since its election, the federal Labor government has created many innovative programs and funds to enable the energy transition. But at the same time it is backing oil and gas project expansion that is seven times more climate-damaging than the gains in climate mitigation from the other programs.
Chevron’s carbon capture and storage project at the Gorgon gas field—the biggest demonstration of the technology in the world—has failed to meet its targets, casting doubt on the continued use of gas.
Overviews of the technology are increasingly casting doubts on its commercial viability. Due to their impact on the global climate it is hard to see more than a small fraction of the fossil fuel projects ever getting their finance. It’s thus likely the fossil fuel lobby strategy to push ahead—as though COP28 never happened—will begin to collapse. It’s expected that COP29 will confirm the support for a rapid decline in fossil fuels.

Risk of COP29 backfiring
Like COP28 it will be convened by an oil and gas-based nation. But the data are beginning to make the campaigns for more fossil fuels look like childish tantrums. And the natural world has been fighting back with the climate causing severe storms like the huge floods that hit Dubai in the months after COP28. No place is safe from global warming.
Finance will have the major stake as they must invest in returns that last into the 2050s and these are increasingly threatened by the data trends and the climate itself.
The Australian oil and gas company Woodside had 58 percent of its shareholders vote down the company’s climate strategy, including its dependence on carbon capture and storage. COP29 will backfire unless more is agreed to accelerate the phase out of fossil fuels.
Fossil fuel companies will increasingly find that unless they seriously join the diversification of their investments, they will disappear.
The examples of Orsted in Denmark and Neste in Finland have demonstrated diversification to renewable-based fuels is commercially feasible by companies that previously worked on fossil fuels. Much more is needed and can be expected at COP29.
UN climate chief Simon Stielle has put the world on notice: “We’ve got two years left to save the planet. As we inch towards the point of no return, each year takes on more importance than the last.” But the first steps were taken at COP28 by recognising that the era of fossil fuels is over.

Newman is a John Curtin Distinguished Professor of Sustainability at the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute.
— 360info


Farmers haven’t been paid their dues as domestic daily products go unsold in light of cheaper imports.

Nepal’s dairy farmers are facing renewed hardships with the government repeatedly failing to heed them. These farmers have asked for nothing more than the amount (around Rs5 billion) owed to them by private dairy companies since last August. For the same reason, the dairy farmers were compelled to spill milk in a March protest before reaching an agreement with three private dairy companies, the state-owned Dairy Development Cooperation (DDC) and the Ministry of Agriculture, to clear the payments by April 3. But all their effort went in vain, prompting them to plan yet another protest if their dues were not settled in the next two weeks.
The plight of dairy farmers suggests utter neglect of this vital sector. Be it vegetable producers, sugarcane growers or dairy farmers, inadequate plans and policies to address their demands have left the farmers struggling. Reduced income has hit all aspects of the economy, and consumers are unable to buy dairy products. Even the sweltering heat, which would usually boost the demand for dairy products, has failed to do so. The government’s failure to address the core problem of the economy has had a significant impact on consumers and has spilled over to farmers.
Market insiders have noted that the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government, without conducting proper market study, hiked the price of milk in March last year: Rs9.1 per litre in the minimum purchase price of raw milk paid to farmers, bringing the price up to Rs65.5. Following that, in the same month, DDC also set the price of half-litre milk at Rs48.50, by raising Rs5.50. However, this price is still high in Nepali market, leading many to import from the southern neighbour India. As a result, while Nepal produces over six million litres of milk a day with roughly 300,000 homes contributing, between 500,000 and 600,000 million litres go unsold due to the lack of market, as per the government’s economic survey (2023-24). The dairy farmers thus got no benefit from the price hike.
The dairy companies, citing the economic crisis, don’t appear to have taken significant steps to solve this problem. They claim that their capacity to store butter is already exhausted, and they haven’t been able to buy milk and pay the farmers. During vital periods like these, the companies should have adequate storage systems to retain dairy products for high-demand times like Dashain and Tihar, explore international markets, and find new ways to attract consumers at home through quality dairy products. Additionally, the Central Dairy Cooperative Association—a key player in knocking the doors of the government to pay the rightful amount to the farmers—is yet to finalise measures to clear outstanding dues. It is not known why the government and private dairy companies haven’t settled the issue.
Farmers who end up throwing milk on roads but fail to understand the demand-supply fluctuation are also to blame. Cooperatives and government authorities should work together to educate and encourage farmers to adopt agricultural insurance schemes, which cover 80 percent of the government subsidy. As an immediate measure, it is the state’s prime duty to pay attention to the farmers’ woes. Clearing the outstanding dues of Rs5 billion shouldn’t be much of a hassle considering that the sector contributes around five percent to the country’s gross domestic product.


Its alarming rise across Pakistan signals a burgeoning public health crisis.

Latest reports show the disease wreaking havoc in cities in Punjab. With around 3,400 cases since January this year, the situation in the province is dire. Several fatalities have already been reported, with some pending confirmation. This trend is echoed nationwide, including in Sindh and KP, though the more significant outbreaks have been reported from south Punjab.
Measles, a highly contagious viral disease, poses severe risks to children, especially those who are malnourished or unvaccinated. Complications include pneumonia, encephalitis, severe diarrhoea, dehydration, and blindness. The recent spike in cases among infants younger than nine months is particularly of concern, as the standard vaccination schedule starts after this age.
So what has led to such a spike? A key driver is low vaccination rates, which the WHO has consistently warned the world about. The Covid pandemic disrupted routine immunisation services worldwide, leading to a significant drop in vaccination coverage. Misinformation and the global ‘anti-vax’ movement added fuel to the fire. The result is a backlog of children around the world who are at high risk. In Pakistan, malnutrition has exacerbated the severity of measles and its complications.
To address this escalating emergency, the government must intensify vaccination campaigns. It is encouraging that during the upcoming anti-polio campaign, the government plans to simultaneously check for measles cases and administer measles shots to children in some areas. This must be extended to all cities. Alongside, public health education campaigns are crucial to raise awareness about the importance of the jab and early intervention. Improving access to healthcare services in underserved areas and addressing the nutritional needs of children is equally vital. Of particular importance is accountability among health officials to prevent negligence. The government must act swiftly.

—Dawn (Pakistan)/ANN

The Kathmandu Post - 05 Jun, 2024 (5)


Children born between April 2016 and October 2018 are being administered inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) during a nationwide immunisation drive from May 26.

- Post Report

Severe heat in the Tarai region has affected ongoing polio vaccination programmes.
Officials at the Immunisation Section at the Family Welfare Division under the Department of Health Services say the immunisation campaign has been affected by school closures due to scorching heat.
“The immunisation campaign will resume once schools resume their regular classes,” said Dr Abhiyan Gautam, chief of the Immunisation Section. “It will take more time for the campaign to complete due to the severe heat in Tarai districts.”
Several districts’ maximum temperatures have either reached close to or crossed 40 degrees Celsius in the last few days. On Tuesday, Dhangadhi recorded 40.4 degrees Celsius, Nepalgunj 40.2 degrees Celsius and Birendranagar 37.3 degrees Celsius, the Met office’s data shows.
Met officials anticipate monsoon will start at the end of next week and bring respite from scorching heat.
Over 1.46 million children born between April 2016 and October 2018 are being inoculated with inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) in a nationwide immunisation drive started on May 26.
Officials said that children who missed the IPV vaccine during the routine immunisation programme will be administered the vaccine, as they are at risk of getting infected with Type-2 polio.
Gautam said that vaccination programmes are being carried out smoothly in the rest of the places. The vaccine is being administered in schools, booths and health posts.
Nepal has been polio-free since 2010, but the World Health Organisation officially declared it polio-free on March 27, 2014 after maintaining zero polio cases for three consecutive years.
After introducing the IPV vaccine in September 2014, the country switched to the bivalent oral poliovirus vaccine (bOPV0) from the trivalent oral poliovirus vaccine (tOPV).
The trivalent oral poliovirus vaccine contains all three types of poliovirus: Type-1, Type-2, and Type-3. The current oral poliovirus vaccine is made up of live, attenuated poliovirus.
The trivalent poliovirus vaccine was effective against all three types of poliovirus.
However, the Type -2 component of this vaccine can lead to the circulation of vaccine-derived viruses. Its use was linked to a vaccine associated with paralytic polio, a condition in which children develop paralysis.
Nepal became the first country in the South Asia region to incorporate the IPV vaccine in its routine immunisation programme in line with the UN Health body’s endgame strategic plan to eliminate the risk of vaccine-derived poliovirus and phase out all oral polio vaccines in the routine immunisation programme.
IPV consists of inactivated poliovirus strains of all three poliovirus types.
Gautam said that due to global shortages of the IPV vaccine, children born between April 13, 2016, and October 18, 2018 were inoculated only with the bivalent oral poliovirus vaccine.
“Children who missed the IPV vaccine will be at high risk of poliovirus infection,” Gautam said. “So we are launching a campaign to inoculate them.”
Health officials say that children should continuously receive the bivalent poliovirus vaccine, even if they are administered the IPV vaccine, as the bivalent poliovirus vaccine is also necessary for intestinal immunity, while IPV provides mucosal immunity.
Childhood immunisation is the number one priority of the government, under which 13 types of vaccines are given against a range of diseases, including measles-rubella, pneumonia, tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis B, rotavirus, Japanese encephalitis and typhoid under the regular immunisation programme, free of cost.
Regular immunisation is one of the most successful programmes in Nepal, with a high coverage rate. The country has demonstrated remarkable progress in reducing the under-five mortality rate and the regular immunisation programme is credited with that.
The Nepal Demographic and Health Survey-2022, carried out by the Ministry of Health and Population, however, showed that at least four percent of the children aged between 12 and 23 months received no vaccine at all.
This figure was one percent in 2016.
The Ministry of Health and Population said that the vaccine coverage rate for polio is 95 throughout the country.


Agenda gains traction especially after political changes in Kathmandu shook provincial governments to their roots.

- Post Report

After the change in coalition at the centre began to affect provincial governments, voices for reforming the electoral system through constitutional amendment are growing louder.
The subnational governments are still feeling the effects of the change in coalition partners in Kathmandu on March 4. During the readjustment in the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led coalition, the second-largest party in the House of Representatives, CPN-UML, joined the government while the largest force, the Nepali Congress, was ousted from power.
Meanwhile, after the Janata Samajbadi Party Nepal, led by Upendra Yadav, withdrew its support for the Dahal government, ruling partners UML and the CPN (Maoist Centre) also withdrew their support for the Madhesh provincial government, led by Yadav’s party. Following that, Saroj Kumar Yadav, the chief minister of Madhesh, is set to take a vote of confidence on Wednesday.
Speaking at the House of Representatives during ‘special hour’ on Tuesday, Nepali Congress lawmaker Sanjay Kumar Gautam called for the formation of a national consensus government and constitutional amendments, stating that political instability and inefficient governance have frustrated the people.
Gautam has made a fervent appeal to all political parties, urging them to put aside their partisan agendas and unite under a common national goal.
Over the past eight years since the promulgation of the constitution and 16 years after the establishment of the republican order in the country, Nepalis have become disillusioned with politicians’ actions. Gautam observed that they are deeply dissatisfied with the political parties, perceiving a lack of accountability and the failure to address key issues.
Questioning the current form of governance, lawmaker Gautam predicted that the present political system would not last long. “We are wasting time while the country is on a downward trajectory,” Gautam added. “To give the people hope, let us envision a broader democratic alliance and let us form a national consensus government to amend the constitution.”
With a fractured election mandate resulting in political instability from the federal to provincial governments, there is growing sentiment in favour of amending the constitution to change the electoral system.
The electoral system is the reason behind political instability, as some political leaders argue. They also point to the need for a constitutional amendment to address the issue. For instance, the mixed electoral system is often blamed for unstable governments, says Gautam.
“The electoral system we are practising has been giving us fractured mandates, resulting in no single party winning a majority in Parliament,” Gautam told the Post.
“Therefore, public sentiment is building in favour of amending the constitution to reform the electoral system. I tried to give voice to that sentiment in Parliament.”
Gautam warned that if the present form of governance continues, the country will inevitably plunge into a crisis. “These are my personal opinions and have nothing to do with the party I am affiliated with,” he clarified.
Parliamentarians discuss constitutional amendments for electoral reform, but no party owns the agenda, says UML lawmaker Raghuji Pant.
“Informally, many parliamentarians agree on the issue, but the topic is yet to gain momentum,” Pant told the Post.
However, leaders of the prime minister’s Maoist Centre party claim that a consensus government and constitutional amendment are not possible without the Congress participating.
“Amending the constitution is not possible immediately as it needs a two-thirds majority,” Devendra Paudel, a Maoist lawmaker, told the Post. At least 182 lawmakers are needed in the 275-strong House to effect a constitutional amendment. For that, the Nepali Congress, with 88 seats, and the CPN-UML, the second largest with 78 seats, must come together. Even then, the support of 16 more lawmakers is necessary to amend the charter.
CK Lal, a political analyst, sees a slim chance for constitutional amendments amid deep polarisation in Nepali society.
“Nonetheless, a national consensus government can be formed to cover up the wrongdoings of the political parties while they were in government,” Lal told the Post.

The Kathmandu Post - 05 Jun, 2024 (6)


The $1.4 billion Arun III hydro project, which is 900MW and being constructed by SJVN, is expected to start generation by next year.


Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Tuesday triggered the last blast to mark the breakthrough of the 11.8 km-long headrace tunnel of the 900 MW Arun III Hydroelectric Project in Sankhuwasabha.
The largest hydroelectric plant to date is being constructed by India and is Nepal’s first export-oriented project.
Construction of the $1.4 billion run-of-the-river type project on the Arun River began in May 2018.
The government awarded this project to SJVN, an Indian government-owned entity, through international competitive bidding in March 2008.
The Investment Board Nepal and SJVN signed an agreement for the development of the Arun III project in November 2014.
Speaking at the breakthrough event on Tuesday, Dahal said that the budget for the next fiscal year has announced many measures to attract private sector investment.
He said that the government would allow the private sector to participate in building and operating transmission lines and that necessary laws would be formulated. Nepal plans to add 900 MW of electricity to the national grid in the upcoming fiscal year, bringing the total energy to 4,500MW.
The prime minister also said that the government would facilitate the export of electricity to Bangladesh in the next fiscal year beginning mid-July.
He said the construction of the Dudh Koshi and Nalsingad reservoir project and the Naumure multipurpose project would be completed to meet the dry season’s energy demand.
The construction of the Ghunsha and Simbuwaj hydropower projects would also move forward, which is being done by mobilising investment from migrant workers, Dahal said.
Dahal said that this breakthrough brings Nepal and India closer to their goal of providing clean, renewable energy and contributing to the sustainable development of the region. He expressed his appreciation for the ongoing efforts and reaffirmed the government’s commitment to facilitating the timely completion of the Arun III project.
Indian ambassador to Nepal Naveen Srivastava recalled in his address that the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, and his Nepali counterpart, Dahal had agreed to a long-term power trade agreement for the import of electricity from Nepal last year, for which completion of the export-oriented 900 MW Arun III would be a major milestone.
Sushil Sharma, chairman and managing director of SJVN, said that the breakthrough of the headrace tunnel marks a crucial step in the progress of Arun III.
Sharma said more than 74 percent of the project work has already been completed, and the remaining work is progressing in full swing. He said work on the 217 km-long associated transmission line is also in progress.
“The successful completion of the headrace tunnel is a monumental achievement in our journey to harness the hydropower potential of the Arun River,” said Sharma.
Sharma further added that the Arun III project will start generation by next year and has the potential to generate 3,924 million units of electricity every year.
“This project symbolises the strong partnership between India and Nepal in the energy sector and our collective efforts to achieve energy security and environmental sustainability.”
Currently, SJVN is executing 2,200 MW of three hydroelectric projects in the Arun River basin, including a 679MW Lower Arun Hydropower Project.
In July 2021, Nepal signed a $1.3 billion deal with SJVN to develop the 679MW Lower Arun, the second mega project undertaken by the southern neighbour after the $1.04 billion 900MW Arun III.
The Lower Arun project will not have a reservoir or dam and will be a tailrace development of the Arun III project, which means water will re-enter the river for the Lower Arun project.
The Arun III was slated to start producing energy by 2020, but it didn’t happen as the financial closure deadline was pushed back by a year and a half.
According to the agreement, SJVN will provide 21.9 percent of the monthly generated energy free of cost, which is expected to be equivalent to Rs155 billion, and pay another Rs107 billion in royalties over the next 25 years of its commercial operation.
The project is expected to provide direct economic benefits amounting to Rs348 billion in the form of dividends, income tax, VAT, and customs including the 21.9 energy and royalty over the 25 years of commercial operation after which the project’s ownership will be handed over to the Nepal government.
Arun III was conceptualised in the mid-1980s and redesigned in the nineties as a two-stage project of 201 MW each, planned for funding by a consortium of international donors led by the IDA of the World Bank. However, severe criticism of multiple aspects of the project—its project design, implementation plan, and negative environmental impacts—led to the demise of the project after the World Bank withdrew from the project.
More than a decade later, the project was revived with its installed capacity more than doubled from 402 MW to 900 MW.



US chip titan Intel on Tuesday struck a defiant tone in the face of strong challenges from rivals Nvidia, AMD and Qualcomm, unveiling technologies it said would lead the artificial intelligence revolution.
For decades, Intel has dominated the market for the chips that run everything from laptops to data centres. But in recent years, its competitors, especially Nvidia, have soared ahead on specialised AI processors.
During a keynote speech at Taiwan’s Computex expo, CEO Pat Gelsinger introduced Intel’s latest Xeon 6 processors for servers, and shared more details about its next-gen Lunar Lake chips for AI PCs.
“AI is driving one of the most consequential eras of innovation the industry has ever seen,” Gelsinger said.
“The magic of silicon is once again enabling exponential advancements in computing that will push the boundaries of human potential and power the global economy for years to come.”
Gelsinger said Intel’s latest equipment provides the best available mix of performance, energy efficiency and affordability.
Intel’s Gaudi systems — used for advanced AI work such as training models — come at a third of the cost of what competitors offer, he claimed.
Gelsinger’s presentation followed earlier keynote speeches by Nvidia boss Jensen Huang, AMD CEO Lisa Su and Qualcomm’s Cristiano Amon — and they were replete with claims and counterclaims about which firm’s products were best for AI.
Su and Amon gave detailed presentations on the chips their companies have developed for AI-enhanced personal computers.
Microsoft this month unveiled its Copilot+ AI PCs, which will have artificial intelligence features built into its Windows operating system.
Along with Microsoft, these will be offered by some of the world’s biggest manufacturers, including Dell, HP, Samsung and Lenovo, and will have AI features on the device and not just through the internet.
Gelsinger in particular rejected Qualcomm’s claim that its AI PC chips were better than Intel’s.
“I just want to put that to bed right now,” he said. “Ain’t true!”
AI computers are expected to be 80 percent of the PC market by 2028, Intel said, citing the Boston Consulting Group.
Computex is the top annual tech showcase in Taiwan, whose semiconductor industry is crucial to the production of everything from iPhones to the servers that run ChatGPT.
With the world’s leading tech firms betting big on AI, Taiwanese manufacturers have emerged as central players in those plans.
The island produces the bulk of the world’s most advanced semiconductors, including those needed for the most powerful AI applications and research.
Taiwan’s government wants to use these capabilities to accelerate the widespread use of AI.
“We have a lot to do to build Taiwan into an AI smart island,” President Lai Ching-te, who took office last month, said during a visit to Computex on Tuesday.
However, Taiwan’s central position in the supply chain for semiconductors — the lifeblood of the modern economy — has become a source of concern in capitals and boardrooms around the world. Taiwan is self-ruled, but China claims the island as its territory and has said it would never renounce the use of force to bring it under its control.
In recent years, the relationship between Beijing and Taipei has deteriorated and the Chinese military has staged multiple large-scale exercises around the island.



The dollar bounced on Tuesday after falling to its lowest against the euro, sterling and Swiss franc since mid-March overnight as signs of a softening US economy boosted the case for earlier Federal Reserve interest rate cuts.
Yet the yen powered 0.6 percent higher for a second day of solid gains as Bank of Japan officials warned they are keeping a close eye on the currency, and a report said the BOJ could soon discuss reducing bond purchases.
The euro was last down 0.4 percent at $1.0863 on Tuesday after rising as high as $1.0916 for the first time since March 21 in the Asian trading session. It climbed 0.5 percent as the dollar dropped on Monday.
As the US currency found a footing, the dollar index was up 0.27 percent at 104.32, having fallen to its lowest since mid-April overnight at 103.99.
Data on Monday showed a second straight month of slowdown in manufacturing activity and an unexpected decline in construction spending, causing the dollar index to fall around 0.6 percent.
“Today’s US JOLTS job openings data could determine whether recent dollar losses are... the start of an important new trend,” said Chris Turner, global head of markets at lender ING.
The US job openings and labour turnover survey (JOLTS) is due out at 1400 GMT, or 10 a.m. ET, and will show the number of vacancies in May. It will also report on the number of people voluntarily quitting their job.
Japan’s yen bucked the trend on Tuesday and continued to rise against the dollar after climbing on Monday, with the US currency down 0.6 percent at 155.105, around its weakest in two weeks.
Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Ryozo Himino said on Tuesday the central bank must be “very vigilant” to the impact the yen’s fluctuations could have on inflation in guiding monetary policy.
Bloomberg reported that the BOJ will discuss slowing its bond purchases at its two-day policy meeting next week. That could push up yields in the coming weeks and may come before an interest-rate hike in July, something analysts at TD Securities said they now expect on Tuesday.
“We are inclined to see these stories as a test of the market’s reaction rather than anything more concrete, not least given the BOJ’s revealed preference for slow... adjustment,” said Nicholas Rees, FX market analyst at Monex Europe.



Back-slapping over record passenger figures is tinged with frustration at the airline trade body’s annual meeting as carriers lament years-long delays to deliveries of new Boeing aircraft.
Headline projections of nearly five billion passengers and close to $1 trillion in revenues this year, both records, were reasons for celebration at the IATA annual general meeting in Dubai.
But the figures would have been stronger without the problems facing Boeing, one of the two major aircraft suppliers along with Airbus, whose safety and manufacturing standards are under the spotlight.
“It is suppressing growth at the moment, without question,” said International Air Transport Association director general Willie Walsh, explaining that delivery delays had been “factored in” to the annual estimates. Last week, Boeing, at the centre of a number of safety incidents, announced more inspectors and improved benchmarks under a “roadmap” demanded by US regulators.
The US aeronautics giant has faced intense scrutiny following manufacturing problems and damning testimony from whistleblowers.
On January 5, a Boeing 737 MAX 9 operated by Alaska Airlines made an emergency landing after a fuselage panel blew out mid-flight. The jet was only delivered in October.
The same model had been grounded after two accidents linked to design defects in 2018 and 2019 which left a total of 346 people dead.
Boeing also suffered production problems last year on the 737 and the long-haul 787 Dreamliner, while deliveries of the 777X are expected in 2025 — six years behind schedule.
Dubai’s state-owned Emirates airline, which placed a massive order of 205 777Xs for tens of billions of dollars, has been particularly hard-hit by the delays. “For me, this will be a five-year hiatus (for Boeing) starting from now... to get the production levels back,” Emirates president Tim Clark told Bloomberg.
Walsh said delivery delays were also being seen from Airbus, Boeing’s European rival, at a time when many carriers are eager to renew or expand their fleets as the industry roars back post-pandemic.
“I think it’s the cause of quite a lot of frustration,” he said. “Many airlines see opportunities to expand their network, want to provide services to new destinations that can’t, because they can’t get the new aircraft.”
Boeing is at a crossroads after the departure of CEO Dave Calhoun was announced in March. His successor has not been announced.
“Whoever runs Boeing needs to restabilise the pride of engineering which Boeing is known for,” said Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr.
“The industry needs Boeing... nobody wants less competition,” he added.
Scott Kirby, who heads United Airlines, agreed that Boeing needs to get back to its strengths.
“They are one of the best technology, engineering, quality companies in the world,” he said. “But they, I think, let the short-term financials take primacy.”
Vik Krishnan, an aeronautics specialist with consultancy McKinsey, testified to “exasperation” among airlines.
It “ultimately shows that there is an unmet demand (for travel) and that there is no easy solution,” he told AFP.
As Airbus shares many suppliers with Boeing, and some of their problems, it’s a major bottleneck for an industry during a period of major expansion.
“It’s not good news that Boeing is in the situation it is in, including for Airbus,” said Jerome Bouchard, partner at management consultancy Oliver Wyman.



KATHMANDU: Vidushi Rana has been appointed the new Honorary Consul of the Republic of Iceland in Nepal. The event also marked the inauguration of the new Consulate premises in Kathmandu. Dignitaries from various sectors graced the welcome event, reflecting the importance of this diplomatic milestone. Gudni Bragason, ambassador of the Republic of Iceland, as a special guest underscored the need to strengthen bilateral relations between Nepal and Iceland. Rana expressed her gratitude and commitment to fostering stronger relations between Nepal and Iceland. She highlighted the mutual benefits of enhanced diplomatic and economic ties and looked forward to her role in promoting cultural and commercial exchanges between the two nations.



NEW YORK: US stock ticked lower in early trading Tuesday, as investors reacted to underwhelming recent economic data and prepared for the release of key payroll data later this week. Monday’s US manufacturing data for April came in below expectations and indicated that a recent contraction is deepening, albeit slightly. These figures follow other data that suggests the world’s largest economy is slowing down in the face of the Federal Reserve’s ongoing campaign of high interest rates as it battles to bring down elevated inflation. (AFP)



VIENNA: A privacy campaign group in Austria filed two complaints Tuesday against Microsoft, saying its education software that is widely used in schools violates data protection rights for children. Youths across Europe are exposed to the alleged violations, according to Vienna-based European Center for Digital Rights, also known as Noyb (“None of Your Business”), which said they were increasing in step with the greater use of online learning. (AFP)



JOHANNESBURG: The South African economy shrank by 0.1 percent in the first quarter, figures showed Tuesday, days after the ruling ANC lost its parliamentary majority in a landmark election. The January-to-March contraction follows a revised 0.3 percent expansion in the last three months of 2023, which, coming after another period of negative growth, narrowly avoided a recession, the national statistics agency StatsSA said. (AFP)

The Kathmandu Post - 05 Jun, 2024 (7)


The signing of France captain could revive Madrid’s ‘galatico’ squads, when they had some of the world’s top players including Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Brazil’s Ronaldo, David Beckham, Luis Figo and Karim Benzema, among others.


Kylian Mbappe is finally a Real Madrid player.
Madrid said on Monday they reached a deal with the France star for the next five seasons, bringing together one of football’s top talents and the most successful club.
Madrid did not release any financial details. They also didn’t immediately say when they will officially introduce Mbappe, who is with France preparing for the European Championship.
The announcement came after years of flirtation by Madrid with
the player who inherited the status of the best in the game from Lionel Messi.
“A dream come true,” Mbappe said on X. “So happy and proud to join the club of my dream. Nobody can understand how excited I am right now. Can’t wait to see you, Madridistas (Madrid fans), and thanks for your unbelievable support. ¡Hala Madrid!”
The post, with the message written in English, Spanish and French, was accompanied by photos of a young Mbappe wearing a Madrid jacket while visiting the club. One photo was with Madrid great Cristiano Ronaldo.
The club also posted a video on their website showing Mbappe highlights. At the beginning, a voiceover says, “Are you watching closely?”
The 25-year-old World Cup winner joins a Madrid team who are already loaded with talent and still celebrating their latest European triumph—and sixth in 10 seasons.
Just two days ago, Madrid won a record-extending 15th European Cup title when they beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in the Champions League final in London.
Mbappe joins a team that already features young stars in Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo and Jude Bellingham.
His signing could revive Madrid’s “galatico” squads, when they had some of the world’s top players including Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Brazil’s Ronaldo, David Beckham, Luis Figo and Karim Benzema, among others.
The current Madrid players were quick to welcome their newest teammate.
“Welcome to the best club in the world,” forward Brahim Diaz said.
“I don’t know if we won the Champion League on Saturday or if we won it today with Mbappe’s signing,” former Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas said.
Until now, Mbappe has played club football only for French teams—first at Monaco and for the past seven seasons at Paris Saint-Germain, who he left as a free agent after they failed to persuade him to renew his contract. Mbappe didn’t take the option for an extra year on the deal he signed two years ago.
Monaco wished Mbappe success and posted a photo of the player as a youngster holding Monaco’s jersey in front of several posters of Madrid players, including Ronaldo.
The Spanish league said “a new star in the universe of Real Madrid.”
In 2021, Madrid were rejected after offering PSG a bid of 180 million euros, the same amount PSG paid Monaco for a teenage Mbappe years earlier.
Madrid president Florentino Perez made signing Mbappe a strategic club priority since the powerhouse failed to lock him up when Mbappe visited the club’s facilities at age 14.
He, instead, opted to join Monaco’s youth academy, and became a teenage sensation when he helped lead the Principality club to the Champions League semi-finals in 2017.
The Qatar-backed PSG turned down Madrid’s 2021 bid, but with Mbappe’s contract expiring the next year, Madrid took it for granted that Mbappe, who had never hid his desire to one day play for the Spanish club, would come south of the Pyrenees in 2022.
But French President Emmanuel Macron encouraged him to stay, and Mbappe stunned Perez and most of the football world by signing a contract extension to “continue his adventure” in Paris.
Madrid won the 2022 Champions League after beating Mbappe’s PSG in the knockout rounds.
Perez said after Mbappe turned down his club two years ago that perhaps it was best he didn’t come after all, but there were no bridges burned and Madrid are getting a once-in-a-generation player as a free agent.
Mbappe studied Spanish while he was with Monaco and speaks it well, which should help him blend well into a team that also features French players Eduardo Camavinga, Aurelien Tchouameni and Ferland Mendy.
Mbappe’s resume features winning the World Cup at 19, a World Cup final hat-trick at 23, seven French leagues, four French Cups, and a proven prowess for dominating games with his scoring ability.
Mbappe captains France. When they won the World Cup in 2018, he was the second teenager after Pele to score in a World Cup final. Four years later, he was one of only two players in history to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final when France fell to Messi’s Argentina.
Mbappe was unable to lead PSG to the ultimate goal of a Champions League crown, losing the only final he played in 2020. He also failed to score in both semi-final legs against Dortmund this season.
Mbappe left PSG as their all-time leading scorer with 256 goals, including a club record 175 in the French league. His highest scoring season with PSG was 44, and he was the top scorer of the French league for the sixth consecutive season (27).


The Serbian’s withdrawal from means Sinner will become Italy’s first world number one next week.


Novak Djokovic pulled out of the French Open on Tuesday ahead of his quarter-final against Casper Ruud because of a knee injury suffered in the previous round.
“I am really sad to announce that I have to withdraw from Roland Garros,” Djokovic wrote on social media. “I played with my heart and gave my all in yesterday’s match and unfortunately, due to a medial meniscus tear in my right knee, my team and I had to make a tough decision after careful consideration and consultation.”
Tournament organisers had initially announced his withdrawal, saying an MRI scan earlier on Tuesday had revealed the full extent of the injury.
World number one and 24-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic was due to play Ruud on Wednesday for a place in the last four. Djokovic defeated Ruud in straight sets in last year’s final at Roland Garros.
As a result Ruud will go on to face fourth seed Alexander Zverev or 11th seed Alex de Minaur in the semi-finals on Friday.
The 37-year-old Djokovic had cast doubt over his fitness following Monday’s five-set win over Francisco Cerundolo, admitting he needed anti-inflammatory drugs to get through the match.
Djokovic blamed the “slippery” Philippe Chatrier court for the injury he sustained early in the second set of his 6-1, 5-7, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory over Cerundolo.
“I don’t know what will happen tomorrow or after tomorrow if I’ll be able to step out on the court and play. You know, I hope so. Let’s see what happens,” Djokovic said after his record 370th win at a Grand Slam.
Djokovic had already been tested to the limit physically by a gruelling four-hour, 29-minute slog against Lorenzo Musetti in the third round that concluded at 3:07 am Sunday morning, the latest finish in French Open history.
His withdrawal from the French Open means that Jannik Sinner will become Italy’s first world number one next week. “It’s every player’s dream to become number one in the world. On the other hand, seeing Novak retiring (from the tournament) is disappointing, so I wish him a speedy recovery,” said Sinner.
Sinner advanced to his first Roland Garros semi-final shortly after Djokovic’s exit from the competition, defeating Bulgarian 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov in three sets.
The Australian Open champion eased to a 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) victory.
Sinner’s achievement of becoming Italy’s first number one in the sport was confirmed during his match, as the injury-enforced withdrawal of Djokovic was announced.
“What can I say?” said the 22-year-old. “It’s every player’s dream to become number one in the world. On the other hand, seeing Novak retiring (from the tournament) is disappointing, so I wish him a speedy recovery.”
Sinner already knew that he could take the number-one berth by reaching the final at Roland Garros.
He has enjoyed a fine season, also winning the Rotterdam and Miami Opens in addition to his maiden Grand Slam title in Melbourne.


ARIES (March 21-April 19)
Realistic dreams could uncover new layers of the psyche. You’ll awaken to a sharpened mind and desire to connect. This is the ideal time to spread positive messages. Don’t hesitate to ask questions chasing curiosity and creative whims.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
Make the most of this day by taking a few moments to quietly ground before starting the day, feeling yourself in the world around you. Your financial or professional goals could shift, bringing a transformative energy to the table.

GEMINI (May 21-June 21)
You’ll feel clear-headed and ready to be seen once you’ve awakened. So be sure to honour the magic that exists within and around you. Expansive energy propels you toward new heights. Bring an intellectual element to personal goals.

CANCER (June 22-July 22)
You’ll feel quietly content when you awaken. You may require more alone time throughout the coming days, so keep a light schedule. Opportunities to shed your skin come into play, helping you find empowerment by breaking unhealthy cycles.

LEO (July 23-August 22)
You’ll focus heavily on maintaining a healthy and active social life throughout the next two days. Opportunities to strengthen bonds, both romantic and platonic, come into play You’ll have much luck branching out socially.

VIRGO (August 23-September 22)
A supportive, lucky, and harmonious energy blesses your slumber. Take note of any significant dreams you had last night, being mindful to focus on your responsibilities for the day. You’ll fly through tasks amplifying your efficiency today.

LIBRA (September 23-October 22)
Set intentions at the start of your day and take a moment to honour your heart, mind, and spirit. You’ll feel most empowered when you’re authentic. Share your philosophies with loved ones encouraging them to do the same.

SCORPIO (October 23-November 21)
You should feel restored and ready to make important moves. Rely on your wits when it comes to initiating change and new commitments. Honour your emotions as you work toward self-improvement. Keep a positive mindset throughout the day.

SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21)
You should wake up feeling restored and balanced. Your connections strengthen throughout the next two days, and you’ll find it’s easy to tackle intimate conversations. Ask questions before drawing conclusions, promoting perspective shifts.

CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19)
Take a grounded approach toward creative ideas. Find empowerment by working with what you have, and consider releasing burdens you no longer wish to carry. Your energy levels increase, helping you take on more work than you usually would.

AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18)
You’ll feel empowered when you seek change, promoting new cycles and personal transformation. Now is also a good time to demonstrate creative gifts. This day brings growth to your social sphere. Share ideas allowing your artistic mind to flourish.

PISCES (February 19-March 20)
Messages from beyond could seep into your dream world. Take a few moments to honour your heart once you’ve awakened, and self-reflect. Allow your heart to guide you. Plan on a low-key evening at home to recharge after a busy workday.

The Kathmandu Post - 05 Jun, 2024 (8)


Samal Kumar Bajracharya’s ‘Hawaman’, which was recently screened at KIMFF, captures the essence of a child’s everyday life.

- Risheka Joshi

It’s rare to find a film that captures the essence of a child’s everyday life so effectively that it resonates deeply with the audience, making them feel as if they are watching their own story. However, a short movie, ‘Hawaman’, made by Samal Kumar Bajracharya as a school project, took over the screen of the 21st Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (KIMFF) to do just that.
Director Bajracharya addresses a subtle topic without delving into complex issues. He depicts an innocent boy facing significant turmoil as he seeks ways to fly like his hero, Superman.
The film explores the innocent desire of a child to be heroic, a longing that often fades as we grow older. This desire takes Yug—portrayed by Evan Dhakwa—to the extreme. Yug, an eight-year-old boy growing up in a bustling urban home where his parents have limited time for their children, is often labelled as “mischievous”. His love for watching cartoons and “trying to take flight” conflicts with the time he is expected to study by his mother, played by Sakshi Singh Bhandari. The boy is mainly seen spending his days with Ajji—Yug’s grandmother, embodied by Laxmi Shakya—who is blamed for Yug’s misbehaviour.
The film’s cinematography allows the audience to understand Yug’s emotions at the moment. In one scene, where he leaves his Superman toy on the study table and tries to jump off his bed, the toy in the foreground is in focus, while Yug, attempting to fly again in the background, is blurred.
This scene might help the viewer to depict Yug’s outright desire to be as majestic as the cartoon. The settings involving his mother are shot in a way that portrays Yug’s feeling of distance and anxiousness around her. The camera shots zoom in only on the mother’s lips or eyes, symbolising the boy’s avoidance and need to escape from the constant heart-wrenching comparison with his little sister.
Nevertheless, the camerawork in the scenes involving Ajji portrays a sense of comfort. Yug runs to his grandmother whenever he misses his flight and bumps his head. When tending to his wounds, Ajji’s scoldings are gentle, and the audience gets to see her dedication to treating Yug. The boy, too, seems playful around her, as if her warmth gleams and calms his anxiousness.
Could this be a critique of city life, where parents, both mother and father, are deeply engaged in their professional pursuits and leave their children’s responsibility to the grandparents?
During the 11-minute runtime of the movie, Yug makes countless attempts to accomplish his desire to fly. He steals Ajji’s red shawl, skips school, and DIYs the Superman-like cape from it. Despite many scoldings and moments of shaming, his perseverance in achieving his goal highlights the complexity of a child’s psychology.
Children are often labelled as spoiled or mischievous when they don’t conform to their parent’s expectations. However, the better qualities of almost every other child are often ignored, just as Yug’s dedication was overlooked by his mother. This raises the question of whether a child’s behaviour is innate or if their good qualities are moulded into something disfigured by the way they are treated during childhood. This transformation turns Yug into Hawaman—a man of the air, or the ridiculed man—instead of resembling his hero.
During the post-screening Q&A session, director and writer Bajracharya mentioned that he sees himself in Yug. However, anyone who watches the film might see a reflection of their own childhood. Taking such a minor issue and creating such a profound mirror out of it is remarkable for a filmmaker who is just starting out in the industry.

Director and Writer: Samal Kumar Bajracharya
Cast: Evan Dhakwa, Sakshi Singh Bhandari, Laxmi Shakya Sayana Tamang
Duration: 11 minutes 13 seconds
Language: Nepal Bhasa and Nepali


‘Avashesh’, screened at KIMFF, is a hauntingly intimate portrayal of grief and a relentless pursuit of the self.

- Anusha Dhakal

A Sylvia Plath quote comes to mind, recalling the premise of ‘Avashesh’. “I need a father. I need a mother. I need some older, wiser being to cry to. I talk to God, but the sky is empty.” In this deeply personal film, Dhanraj Barkote shares the poignant story of his life as an orphan, his quest for identity, and the persistent void within him, born out of the profound loss of both parents that renders him adrift.
Raised in an orphanage in Kathmandu, Barkote later moved to Spain to study film. His memories of the past frequently resurface, each one deepening the void left by his parent’s death. This compels him to journey to his remote mountain village in Humla—a place he had never visited as a child—to seek his roots and gain a deeper understanding of who his parents were.
Villagers welcome him with music, a peculiar gesture to him. It baffles him how these people, whom he does not recognise, remember him. He meets the village elders and inquires about his parents, yearning to grasp the fragments of their final memories.
A particularly tender moment in the film is when he discovers his mother’s potey (a traditional necklace) in a relative’s house. It’s deeply moving to see him listen to stories about his mother, whom he never met due to her untimely death. This journey not only reveals who his parents were but also deepens his understanding of himself.
Grief is a void that pulls you in and consumes you completely. Barkote fearlessly exposes all aspects of grief, tenderly illustrating that one doesn’t simply “move on” from losses just because they happened long ago. The film beautifully captures both the painful and tender moments of grief, offering a genuine and heartfelt portrayal of enduring sorrow.
A particular moment in the film will forever be etched in my heart and mind. Barkote kneels by the river, his head shaved, per the Hindu death rite. In this long, intensely emotional scene, he finally finds closure—20 years after losing his parents.
As I watched, a question echoed in my mind: Is grief like drowning? Yet, I realised grief is worse than drowning. Drowning is swift, but grief is slow and persistent, a constant presence. In many ways, grief is like a shadow, always lingering until you find the strength to face it.
Discovering his history and recalling his memories solidifies his self-identity; he feels more complete in his homeland, among his people. He now understands that people are shaped by their circ*mstances, and despite the misfortunes he faced, they have moulded him into the person he is today.
We grow, but it hurts at first. Through his story, Barkote shows that confronting what hurts you is the path to self-understanding. It is within the courage of this confrontation that one finds the strength to heal.

Director: Dhanraj Barkote
Cast: Dhanraj Barkote
Duration: 30 minutes
Language: Nepali


Dermatologist Dr Prakriti Gyawali explains niacinamide serum, its benefits and possible side effects.

Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, has been known for its remarkable skincare benefits. The niacinamide serum’s easily absorbable formula is formulated to deliver concentrated doses of niacinamide directly to the skin, unlocking a multitude of skin-loving benefits.
The serum is also celebrated for its capacity to enhance skin barrier function, resulting in a smoother, more supple complexion. Dr Prakriti Gyawali, a consultant Dermatologist and Aesthetic expert at Swasti Laser & Skin Care provides further insights about the product.

What is niacinamide and how does it benefit the skin?
Niacinamide is a type of vitamin B3 that dissolves in water and is found in many skincare products. It was first studied in the 1970s, and since then, its use in cosmetics has been widely explored. It is a low-molecular-weight vitamin and a precursor to important coenzymes called NADH and NADPH, which are involved in over 40 biochemical reactions.
If used daily in skincare routines, niacinamide can help skin look healthy, hydrated, smooth, and even-toned. Since it is well tolerated and safe, it is now present in many skincare products, such as cleansers, moisturisers, serums, eye creams, and sunscreens.

Are there specific skin concerns or conditions that niacinamide serum is particularly effective for?
It can tackle various skin issues. Firstly, it’s been found to alleviate dry, itchy skin, providing much-needed relief and
hydration. Moreover, niacinamide is known for its anti-ageing properties, aiding in reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, red blotchy patches, hyperpigmented spots and sallowness, promoting a more youthful complexion.
Additionally, niacinamide exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on the skin, which help in calming irritation and protecting against environmental damage. Its bioavailability ensures that it can penetrate the skin effectively, offering benefits such as relieving itchiness, combating microbial activity, providing photoprotection against harmful UV rays, regulating sebum production, and lightening dark spots or hyperpigmentation.

How does niacinamide serum help with issues like acne, hyperpigmentation, or ageing?
It helps in reducing fine lines and wrinkles by boosting collagen synthesis and keratinocyte proliferation, which makes the skin look younger. Additionally, niacinamide increases ceramide production, lipids, and cholesterol in the skin, strengthening the skin barrier and improving hydration, leading to a more hydrated and youthful appearance.
Studies have shown that applying 4-5% niacinamide to the face significantly improves skin quality, including the reduction of lines, wrinkles, redness, hyperpigmentation, and sallowness. It also enhances skin elasticity.
Moreover, niacinamide possesses anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it can reduce acne redness and excess oil production, thus minimising enlarged pores. It achieves this by inhibiting histamine release and cytokine-mediated induction of nitric oxide synthase, which decreases inflammation and acne severity.
Furthermore, niacinamide is effective in reducing hyperpigmentation and increasing skin lightness by inhibiting the transfer of melanosomes from melanocytes to keratinocytes, an important pathway in hyperpigmentation and melasma. Its mechanism of action includes reducing melanosome transfer, providing photoprotection, anti-inflammatory properties, and anti-ageing effects, such as diminishing sun damage.

Are there any potential side effects or risks associated with using niacinamide serum?
Most people don’t have any issues using niacinamide in their skincare routine. They apply it without experiencing any problems. However, a small number of individuals with susceptible skin may notice some mild discomfort when they first start using niacinamide. This discomfort can manifest as a slight burning sensation, redness, or irritation after applying a product containing niacinamide.
The good news is that these side effects tend to be temporary and often diminish over time as the skin adjusts to the ingredients. The skin needs a little time to get used to the niacinamide, but once it does, the discomfort usually fades away.
Overall, niacinamide is considered safe for topical use on the skin, and the likelihood of experiencing any significant side effects is low. However, if you do have concerns or experience persistent irritation, it’s always a good idea to consult with a dermatologist or skincare professional for personalised advice.

Which brand of this serum would you prefer for Nepali customers?
Two popular niacinamide skincare products suitable for Nepali skin are Kleida and Medfe. These brands offer niacinamide-based skincare solutions. Both products are designed to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and acne while being suitable for Nepali skin’s unique characteristics.

The Kathmandu Post - 05 Jun, 2024 (2024)


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