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Annapurna region safe for trekking

The world famous Annapurna Circuit trekking route is safe and open for business, said an assessment report prepared by Miyamoto International, a global structural and earthquake engineering firm. However, there are some areas that have been identified as having a particularly high hazard level due to their existing features or geometry. The Annapurna region receives more than 110,000 foreign trekkers annually. The assessment of the region's main trekking routes for structural and geotechnical earthquake-related damage was funded by SAMARTH-NMDP, a program me supported by UKAID, and conducted on behalf of the Tourism Ministry. The assessment covered 30 bridges and 30 villages with 250 accommodations in the Annapurna region.


Nepal sees 1,635 trekkers after the earthquake

In total 1,635 foreign tourists enjoyed trekking trips in Nepal after the earthquake till August, statistics of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal (TAAN) shows. According to the statistics, 296 free individual trekkers (FITs) have enjoyed trekking trips in Nepal after the earthquake. "Nepal has not closed any trekking area after the earthquake. We have been providing TIMS cards to interested trekker"," Ramesh Adhikari, chief administrator of NTB, said" "After the earthquake, Annapurna Region has become the most preferred destination of trekker". "It is good to note that adventure lovers are still trekking in Nepal in the post-quake situation that too in monsoon," Adhikari said, add in", "We are working to normalize the life of the people in major trekking areas."


First climber to attempt Everest ascent since Nepal earthquakes

A Japanese climber will be the first to attempt to scale Mount Everest since a massive earthquake. Nobukazu Kuriki, 33, of Tokyo will make a solo attempt on the 8,850-metre (29,035 feet) Everest summit along the normal Southeast Ridge route pioneered by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953, the Nepal government said. "I have chosen to come now to help Nepal, which is in troubles because of the earthquake," Kuriki told reporters. This will be an example for other visitors to come to Nepal which is safe for mountain climbing."


UK diplomats trek to promote Nepal's tourism

British Ambassador promote Nepal's tourism, which is staggering in the wake of the April 25 earthquake. Top British diplomats stationed in Nepal embarked on a trekking in the Annapurna region. British Ambassador to Nepal John Rankin and Head of DFID Nepal Dr Gail Marzetti started their trekking from Dhampus, near Pokhara, of Kaski district. They recorded video messages encouraging people to visit Nepal and support the Himalayan nation's tourism. Ambassador Rankin said in his video message "This morning I am trekking in Nepal, in the southern Annapurna region. It's been a beautiful trail and I enjoyed the walk". He further suggested the visitors from the UK to follow the FCO travel advice. "Some areas after the 25th April earthquake are of course still unsafe," he added," But most of the country is now open for people to come and visit. It is very important for the economic recovery of this country that tourism should revive. So stay safe and come and enjoy Nepal." Likewise, Dr Marzetti said, "Do come to Nepal for two reasons– one is to have the holiday of a lifetime. And the second, is to support the Nepali recovery after the earthquake," she is heard saying in the video message, "We in UKaid have been supporting the people with their home stays, their businesses and their jobs out in the remote areas. And if you come as tourist that would really help Nepal."


New species of Bird discovered

Three months after Bhutan added a new bird species, two new species – the Beautiful Sibia (Heterophasia pulchella) and Brown Accentor (Prunella fulvescens) were recorded into Bhutan's ornithology list, taking the total count of species to 695.

Brown Accentor was to date recorded in India, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. The black-billed brown eye bird measures around 15 cm and weighs over 20 grams. The Brown Accentor has brown dorsal with grey-brownish neck and mantle. It has dark chocolate brown tail, flight feathers and coverts. The tips of the median and greater wing coverts have little white spots. Brown Accentor is insectivorous (feeds on insects) in summer while from late autumn, it turns herbivorous and feeds on fir nut lets.

Beautiful Sibia was discovered from Martshala in Samdrup Jongkhar.



Yonphula domestic airport on schedule for 2016 reopening

Yonphula domestic airport is on schedule to be completed by October, next year, according to the Department of Air Transport (DAT). Work on the airport that was closed in 2013 began recently. The airport is being renovated to improve safety features and compliance with international standards. One of the major changes being carried out is a realignment of one half of the runway. The half located towards the mountain peak will be realigned slightly so that aircraft on approach have the option of aborting a landing and turning away from the mountain. Currently, the runway runs smack into a dead end created by the side of the mountain.



Sixth edition of Mountain Echoes held: 20 – 22nd Aug

The sixth edition of the literary festival, Mountain Echoes, concluded with Her Majesty Gyalyum Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck speaking about her book, Dochula: A Spiritual Abode, which was launched at the festival, and His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo, to whom this year's festival was dedicated. In the festival's last session, moderated by the historian, Patrick French, Her Majesty explained that the 108 stupas were constructed at Dochula to safeguard His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo and his men during the 2003 operations to remove militants encamped in Bhutan.

"It was a very difficult time for the whole country, for the family personally," Her Majesty said. "It was, in a way, to bribe the goodness spirits to safeguard our King, so that he would return to us victorious, and of course, all the men he was leading."