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EPG agrees to review Nepal-India treaties

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KATHMANDU — The first meeting of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) has agreed to review a scope of bilateral issues including the treaties and agreements since the 1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship.

The EPG, comprising diplomats from both Nepal and India, has also chosen to hold its second meeting in New Delhi after three months and meet regularly every three months.

The meeting that kicked off in the capital on Monday concluded Tuesday.

Emerging out of the meeting, Nepali EPG Coordinator and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Bheikh Bahadur Thapa said, “All the bilateral issues and concerns raised between Nepal and India in different times entered the meeting. No issues have been left out”.

“After the formation the EPG, we have asked the Government of Nepal and all the ministries to provide us all the documents of bilateral treaties, agreements and arrangements with India. We have a huge pile of documents. Starting with the grand old treaty of 1950, we will go through all the agreements and arrangements,” said Thapa.

But he declined to note as what bilateral issues were raised in the meeting.

The EPG was formed to take stock the overall aspects of Nepal-India relations and to recommend for further improvement in the bilateral relations.

The EPG was mandated to study the bilateral treaties and agreements along with various sectors including trade and transportation, information technology and development and recommend for further improvements.

Likewise, Coordinator of the Eminent Persons Group, India, and former Chief Minister of Uttaranchal Province, India, Bhagat Singh Koshyari said that the Nepal-India relations was reviewed in the meeting. “The meeting of our Group will find out discontents between the two countries and will recommend both governments to resolve it.”

Koshyari said that India and people of India have always wanted to see a prosperous and happy Nepal. He said, “Our Group has some limitations. We have no right to cross it. We will carry out work in line with course of action given to the Group.”

The former Chief Minister responded by saying that India has always taken Nepal as a good neighbor and has always wanted political stability and progress in the country.

Responding to a query about India not welcoming the new constitution of Nepal, Coordinator Koshyari said that he is a politician but the issue was out of group’s jurisdiction.

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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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