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Chinese Prez, Indian PM among different dignitaries invited to Int’l Buddhist meet

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KATHMANDU — The government has invited Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, among different dignitaries, to the International Buddhist Conference to be held here on May 19 and 20.

The Conference is being held in the Capital while the Buddha Jayanti commemorations would be held in Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, on the occasion of the 2560th Buddha Jayanti or the birth commemoration of Lord Buddha, which falls on May 21 this year.

Other invited dignitaries include Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and Chief Minister of Indian state of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Begal, Tripura and Sikkim: Nitish Kumar, Akhilesh Yadav, Mamata Banerjee, Manik Sircar and Pawan Chamling respectively.

Ministers for culture and religious affairs from 13 countries – Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, India, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, Bhutan, South Korea, Laos, Mongolia and Israel – have also been invited.

Representatives and delegates of Buddhist organisations from 23 countries are attending the event. They include Buddhist organisations from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, India, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, Bhutan, South Korea, Laos, Mongolia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Russia, Germany, France, Austria and Canada.

As many as 92 delegations at the governmental level and others from 21 countries have confirmed their participation so far, Bachchu Narayan Shrestha, Member Secretary of the Conference Organising Main Committee, said.

Meanwhile, preparations for the International Buddhist Conference being held for the first time on the occasion of the Buddha Jayanti have reached the final stage.

Although various conferences were held in the past coinciding with the Buddha Jayanti celebrations, this is the first time that a historic conference is being held under the chairmanship of executive chief of the country by inviting international representatives and renowned persons.

The government had begun preparations for the Conference from last year. Altogether 24 international working papers on Buddha and Buddhism including 18 by scholars and researchers from Nepal are to be presented in the Conference.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli heads the 501-member International Buddhist Conference Organising and the 2560th Buddha Jayanti Celebration Main Committee.

The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation is the main organiser of the event.

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Health

Deadly Nipah virus claims 12 in Indian state of Kerala

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NEW DELHI — At least 12 people in India have died from a rare deadly and contagious virus known as Nipah virus, according to news reports.

Four deaths were reported on Monday, including of a nurse who treated the three initial infections at the EMS Cooperative Hospital in Perambra. The death of the nurse triggered panic among hospital staff who have had their leaves cancelled to treat the sick, Hindustan Times reported

Two deaths were reported from Kozhikode and four from Malappuram district. At least six persons are in critical condition and another 20 are under observation, state health officials said.

It was recorded in Siliguri district in West Bengal in 2001 and is being suspected in Kerala now, according to media reports

Humans get infected by consuming fruit or date-palm sap contaminated by infected bats but while human-to-human transmission through body fluids is rare.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Nipah virus infection is an emerging disease that was first identified in 1999 during an outbreak among pig farmers in Malaysia and Singapore.

The virus is thought to naturally infect fruit bats (of the genus Pteropus), but it can also infect pigs and other domesticated animals, as well as humans, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The virus can also spread from person to person.

CDC says Nipah virus can cause an inflammation of the brain known as encephalitis. Symptoms can include fever and headache, followed by drowsiness, disorientation and confusion. People who are infected with the virus may fall into a coma within 48 hours of showing symptoms, the CDC says.

The virus can be highly lethal, with an average fatality rate of around 75 percent, according to the WHO.

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