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Blanket-ban on Indian news channels lifted

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The Multi-System Operators that had recently stopped broadcasting all Indian news channels in Nepal, have now decided to undo the blanket-ban. Some news channels, however, will continue to face the ban that includes ZEE News, ABP, India TV, Aaj Tak.

The Nepali cable operators came to the decision on Sunday evening. The MSOs on June 9 had decided to stop the broadcast of Indian news channels in Nepal, restricting viewers’ access to any Indian news channels, except for the Indian state owned Doordarshan news.

The move came in the wake of unfounded reports on Nepal carried by some of the Indian news channels, including their defamatory ‘shows’ on the Nepali Prime Minister along with the Chinese envoy.

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Writ filed at Supreme Court demanding ‘Enough is Enough’ campaigners not be detained

The writ has been filed by law students and campaigners of Enough is Enough — Arun Satyal, Sasmit Pokharel and Krishna Pal.

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 A writ of mandamus has been filed in Supreme Court today demanding an order not to detain the protesters of ‘Enough is Enough’ campaign and passers-by.

First date of hearing for the interim order, which seeks that people protesting peacefully not be detained, is set for tomorrow.

The government has been detaining protestors, ‘Enough is Enough’ campaigners, and passers-by from various places including Baluwatar for the past few weeks. The protesters of the campaign and passers-by are claiming that they are being ill-treated by Nepal Police. The writ application has addressed the issue of ill-treatment as well.

Source: THT

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International News

Beirut explosion explained

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In one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions, 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, used in fertilisers and bombs, destroyed part of the Lebanese capital Beirut on Tuesday. The massive blast at Beirut port killed at least 100 people and injured nearly 4,000. 

What triggered the explosion?

The ammonium nitrate had reportedly been in a warehouse in Beirut port for six years after it was unloaded from a ship impounded in 2013.

The head of Beirut port and the head of the customs authority both told local media that they had written to the judiciary several times asking that the chemical be exported or sold on to ensure port safety.

Port General Manager Hassan Koraytem told OTV that they had been aware that the material was dangerous when a court first ordered it stored in the warehouse, “but not to this degree”.

What is ammonium nitrate

  1. Common industrial chemical used mainly as fertiliser in agriculture
  2. Also one of the main components in explosives used in mining
  3. Not explosive on its own, ignites only under the right circumstances
  4. When it explodes, it can release toxic gases including nitrogen oxides and ammonia gas
  5. Strict rules on how to store it safely: site has to be fire-proofed, and not have any drains, pipes or other channels in which ammonium nitrate could build up.

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International News

The Australian government has announced it will recommence granting international student visas

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Australia will recommence granting international student visas and allow current students to count online study while overseas in a push to restart international education.

The changes, announced by acting immigration minister Alan Tudge on Monday, respond to demands from the university sector to help it attract international students and revive what was Australia’s third-largest export before the Covid-19 recession.

International students contribute AUD$40 billion annually and support 250,000 jobs. However, as a result of border closures due to the coronavirus crisis,  around 87,000 (or 22%) of university students remain outside Australia.

The latest announcement by acting immigration minister, Alan Tudge, comes as part of five measures aimed at keeping international students in Australia amid concerns some won’t return once the pandemic subsides.

The changes include:

  • * The government will recommence granting student visas in all locations lodged outside Australia. This means when borders re-open, students will already have visas and be able to make arrangements to travel.
  • * International students, currently studying in Australia, will be able to lodge a further student visa application free of charge, if they are unable to complete their studies within their original visa validity due to Covid-19.
  • * Current student visa holders studying online outside Australia due to Covid-19 will be able to use that study to count towards the Australian study requirement for a post-study work visa.
  • * Graduates who held a student visa will be eligible to apply for a post-study work visa outside Australia if they are unable to return due to Covid-19.
  • * Additional time will be given for applicants to provide English language results where Covid-19 has disrupted access to these services.

“In making these changes, we have been guided by the principles that the health of Australians is key, but international students should not be further disadvantaged by Covid-19. “Students want to study here and we want to welcome them back in a safe and measured way when it is safe to do so.”

Minister for Education, Dan Tehan, said the changes would give international students confidence in their visa arrangements so they can make plans to study in Australia when it is safe to do so.

According to the Guardian, Australian universities face an estimated $16bn black hole due to a massive drop-off in international student numbers, compounded by warnings from China against its citizens coming to Australia to study.

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