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President, VP and PM extend Fagu Purnima wishes

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KATHMANDU — President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Sunday extended their best wishes to all the Nepalis, both in and outside of the country, on the occasion of Fagu Purnima (Holi).

In a press statement released by the Office of the President today, President Bhandari wished that the festival of colors may inspire all the Nepalis to exchange happiness amongst them as well as strengthen the social ties.

Stating that such festival helps forge national unity, foster fraternity, mutual harmony and communal amity, the President underscored the need for preserving such cultural festivities in the country like ours with religious and cultural diversity.

“It is our responsibility to make headway for prosperity by preserving and promoting such cultural festivities,” the message noted.

Similarly, in a message of best wishes today, Vice President Pun extended Holi greetings to all the people, stating that the festival of colors symbolizes the spirit of tolerance, harmony and fraternity.

Stating that the festival had contributed to foster brotherhood and mutual goodwill among the Nepalis, VP Pun wished that may the festival strengthen the fraternal bonds amongst the Nepalis and encourage one and all to sort out differences through mutual talks, consensus and collaboration.

He also wished that may the festival inspire to bring into effect the new constitution by holding all three levels of elections by mid-January, 2018.

Likewise, Prime Minister Dahal in his message on the same occasion also extended his best wishes to all the Nepalis at home and abroad.

Stating that Nepal is a beautiful country of multi-languages, multi-cultures, multi-religion, Dahal pressed for the preservation and promotion of common  cultural heritages like Holi festival.

Wishing may the festival bring new joy, enthusiasm and encouragement to all the Nepalis, the PM’s message notes, “May this festival foster brotherhood, communal harmony and amity among the citizens.”

The PM, in the message, acknowledged that the each ethnic communities in the country have their own traditions, cultures and festivals, and wished that our festivals would foster communal harmony.

The message noted,” May the festival that marks the victory of good over evil inspire one and all to make life colorful and joyous.”

Holi is being celebrated across the country with fanfare, including the capital city.

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Putin orders withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria

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MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria on Monday morning, saying that after a two year military campaign, Moscow and Damascus had achieved their mission of destroying Islamic State.

Putin made the announcement during a surprise visit to Russia’s Hmeymim air base in Syria’s Latakia Province where he held talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and addressed Russian military servicemen.

“I order the defense minister and chief of the general staff to start the withdrawal of Russian troops to the site of their permanent deployment,” Putin stated, speaking in front of Russian military personnel at Khmeimim.

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Mr Putin said that in the space of two years the Russian and Syrian militaries have “defeated the most battle-hardened grouping of international terrorists,” adding that he had made the decision that a significant number of the Russian military contingent in Syria should return to Russia.

Russia first launched air strikes in Syria in September 2015 in its biggest Middle East intervention in decades, turning the tide of the conflict in Assad’s favor while dramatically increasing Moscow’s own influence in the Middle East.

After a short visit to Syria, the Russian president headed for Cairo, where he is scheduled to hold talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Reuters/RT

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