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2 stolen ancient idols returned to Nepal

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KATHMANDU — Two ancient idols, which were stolen from Nepal during the 1980s and were kept on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, were finally returned to Nepal after 30 years, the Department of Archeology (DoA) said on Wednesday.

Madhu Marasini, Nepal’s consul general in New York, handed over the stolen idols of Uma Maheshwor and Buddha to the official of DoA in Kathmandu amid a function.

“We are thankful to the museum board for deciding to send us back our valuable idols,” he said.

Chief archeologist of the DoA Shyam Sundar Rajbansi informed that the idols arrived in Kathmandu on Wednesday morning and were subsequently handed over to the department.

After the idols were handed over to the department, the authorities sent those idols to the National Museum in Chauni for display.

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The idols of Lord Buddha of Yatkatol Temple and Uma Maheshwar of Tangalhiti, Patan are presumed to be of 11th and 12th centuries respectively.

Earlier on March 5, the government had signed an agreement with the museum for the handover of the idols that rightfully belong to Nepal. The museum authority was supportive throughout the handover process, Marasini said.

According to the US museum, the Uma Maheshwar statue was gifted by a donor in 1986 and since then it has been exhibited at the museum whereas the statue of Buddha was gifted in 2015.

The museum not only removed the idols from display but also agreed to return them to Nepal, after the Nepali authorities informed the museum administration that both the statues were stolen, giving reference to the book ‘Stolen Images of Nepal’ written by Lain Singh Bangdel in 1989 AD.

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At least 5 killed in California wildfires

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LOS ANGELES — At least five people have been found dead in their burned-out vehicles when an explosive wildfire swept through the Northern California town of Paradise, sheriff’s officials said Friday.

The Butte County Sheriff’s Office said officials located five bodies inside a vehicle overcome by the Camp Fire.

The fire also injured three firefighters but the total casualty was not yet clear.

Evacuation orders included the entire city of Malibu, which is home to 13,000, among them some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

The fire, which sparked Thursday, burnt 70,000 acres with 5 percent containment as of 10:30 am Friday local time, according to media reports.

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Only a day after it began, the fire near the town of Paradise had almost quadrupled in size to nearly 285 square kilometres.

Celebrity website TMZ reported the Malibu Ridge home of Caitlyn Jenner, America’s best-known transgender person, was destroyed by the flames on Friday.

Kim Kardashian, Alyssa Milano and Melissa Etheridge were among thousands fleeing from their homes in and around Malibu from a separate fire burning north of Los Angeles.

TMZ also reported the blaze had reached the grounds of the mansion in nearby Calabasas owned by Kardashian and husband rapper Kanye West.

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