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Pokhrel and Yadav appointed as deputy prime ministers

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KATHMANDU — President Bidya Devi Bhandari has appointed Ishwor Pokhrel (Minister for Defense) and Upendra Yadav, who was inducted as Minister for Health and Population earlier, as deputy prime ministers on the recommendation of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Friday.

Likewise, State Minister for Communication and Information, Gokul Baskota was promoted from state minister to Minister for Communication and Information after inclusion of Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN)in the government.

With the inclusion of the FSFN into the cabinet on Friday, the KP Sharma Oli government now commands a two-thirds majority in parliament that allows the government to take any decision, including amending the constitution.

With this expansion of the cabinet, the number of ministers in the Oli governemnt has reached 24, including two deputy prime ministers and three state ministers.

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It has been learned that Prime Minister Oli was forced to break his earlier decision not to have any deputy prime minister in his cabinet after FSFN Chairman Yadav insisted on the post of deputy prime minister along with the health ministry portfolio.

The prime minister has also given Deputy Prime Ministers duo Pokharel and Yadav first and second places in the cabinet hierarchy respectively.

Leaders said the ruling NCP, formed after the unification of the erstwhile CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center), has agreed to give two full ministers and one state minister to FSFN in the federal cabinet.

The NCP has a total of 174 members in the 275-member House of Representatives. Altogether 16 legislators have been added to the ruling combination after the inclusion of FSFN in the cabinet.

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US to provide 4 Sky Trucks to Nepal Army

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KATHMANDU — The government of the United States is providing four Sky Trucks, light cargo and passenger aircraft, to the Nepal Army for rescue and disaster response efforts.

Two of the four Sky Trucks that will arrive in Kathmandu by 2020. Those two aircrafts will be newly manufactured while the rest will be refurbished aircraft.

The Army is running short of aircraft, with just around a dozen of heavy, medium, and light transport helicopters comprising its fleet.

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According to the US Embassy in Nepal, the value of the four aircraft is $35.5 million.

The US government had pledged the aid during an outgoing Chief of Army Staff Rajendra Chhetri’s visit to the United States in April 2016. The US government, during Chhetri’s visit to the US, had pledged to provide Nepal Army with four aircraft within two years.

During his farewell speech on August 8, Chhetri highlighted the US support as one of the significant achievements of his tenure.

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