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DPM Thapa meets Sushma Swaraj

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NEW DELHI — Deputy Prime Minister, who is currently in New Delhi to attend the convocation ceremony of the South Asian University, an international university sponsored by the eight member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, meets his counterpart Indian External Minister Sushma Swaraj in Delhi on Friday.

The duo held discourses in New Delhi, flagging resumption of bilateral engagement between the two countries.

Both the ministers discussed for more than half-an-hour about Nepal-India relations and both sides stressed on improving the bilateral relation, it has been learnt.

The two foreign ministers are also learnt to have agreed to activate all bilateral mechanisms, including the Foreign Ministerial Level Joint Commission, while keeping differences aside.

“Meeting with EAM of India Sushma Swaraj today in Delhi has been very useful and constructive,” Thapa tweeted right after the meeting.

Domestic political situation of Nepal including talks with the agitating Federal Alliance also figured during the meeting.

Relations between the two neighbours had soured after Nepal promulgated a new constitution in October and subsequent border blockade for up to five months, which created a humanitarian crisis in Nepal.

It was the first top political meeting between the two neighbors after Nepal abruptly recalled ambassador Deep Kumar Upadhyay from New Delhi and cancelled President Bidhya Devi Bhandari’s scheduled visit in early May.

After reaching India, DPM Thapa attended an interaction organized by Press Club of India and claimed that no misunderstanding exists between Nepal and India and the bilateral relations have come back on track.

This is Thapa’s fifth visit to India since the formation of the CPN-UML led government in October.

Thapa will attend the maiden convocation ceremony of South Asian University in New Delhi today.

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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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