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Belgium arrests Paris attacks suspect Mohamed Abrini

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BRUSSELS — Belgian authorities have confirmed the arrests of key Paris attacks suspect Mohamed Abrini alongside four other persons, including a man they accept may have helped the Brussels bombers.

At a press conference, an official from the government prosecutor’s office announced police had made five arrests in connection with the deadly Islamic State group attacks on Brussels’ airport and metro last month, and the Paris attacks in November.

“We are investigating if Abrini can be identified as the third person at the Brussels national airport, the so-called man with the hat,” said prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt.

Interior Minister Jan Jambon, who offered to resign over the failure to arrest one of the suicide bombers months ago, tweeted congratulations to those involved in the arrests.

Abrini, a 31-year-old Belgian, has been on Europe’s most wanted list since the November 13 Paris attacks, in which 130 people were killed.

He was last seen two days before the attacks in a motorway service station CCTV video driving with another Paris attacks suspect – Salah Abdeslam, who was arrested last month – towards the French capital from Belgium.

Agencies

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Tourist arrivals jumped 73.5 percent in July

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KATHMANDU — Tourist arrivals to Nepal jumped 73.5 percent in the month of July, according to statistics released by Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).

The NTB said that this increment is because of a sharp increase in the number of travellers from countries like India, China, the US and the UK. The growth in the numbers has also been attributed to Indian pilgrims visiting Mount Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet, via Nepal.

The statistics show that Nepal received a whopping 73,285 international tourists in July—a time of the year that is considered to be an off-season for tourists due to the monsoons. With July’s figures, the number of foreign tourists visiting Nepal in the first seven months (January–July) of 2018 reached 593,299, which is an increase of 18 percent as compared to the same period last year.

Total 18,385 Indian tourists visited Nepal via air transport, which is up 80.4 percent compared to the same period last year.

After India, Nepal received the highest number of visitors from China. The Chinese tourist numbers have more than doubled to 13,123 in the month of July. This is a 125.4 percent growth in comparison to the arrivals in the same month last year.

Overall arrivals from SAARC countries registered a growth of 66 percent, in comparison to the same month last year. However, arrivals from Bangladesh declined by nine percent. Arrivals from rest of the Asian countries have also recorded a robust growth of 86.2 percent.

Visitors from Japan and South Korea to Nepal also increased by 36 percent and 21.9 percent respectively.

Likewise, an overall increase of 54.1 percent in July has been recorded from European source markets. However, arrivals from Austria declined by 72.6 percent.

The number of visitors from the US and Canada have also grown by 79.6 percent and 73.3 percent respectively.

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