BAGHDAD, May 20:  A rocket was fired into the Iraqi capital Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses government buildings and diplomatic missions, on Sunday night, falling near the U.S. Embassy but causing no casualties, the Iraqi military said.

Gloria Steinem, Cecile Richards, Michelle Obama. Barbie? The Council of Fashion Designers of America will follow up those prestigious honorees of its Board of Directors’ Tribute Award with the ever-evolving doll. The council said in a statement Thursday the idea is to celebrate Barbie as a fashion icon, coinciding with her 60th anniversary.

China announced 25 percent tariffs on U.S. goods worth $60 billion, effective June 1st.

KATHMANDU, May 15: While trying to allay concerns raised from various quarters that Nepal was pushed into its Indo-Pacific strategy—a move widely seen as an attempt to counter China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)--, a senior US State Department official has said that his country is not asking Nepal to be “for” the US or “against” any other country.

SEOUL, May 14: North Korea said on Tuesday the seizure of one of its cargo ships by the United States was an illegal act that violated the spirit of a summit pact between the two countries’ leaders, and demanded the return of the vessel without delay.

Confrontation from hell

May 14, 2019 01:00 am

Any major military assault in Iran could result in an uncontrollable regional inferno. Both Iran and the US have good reason not to start a war

LONDON/DUBAI, May 11: Iran could target U.S. commercial ships including oil tankers, the U.S. Maritime Administration said on Friday, as a senior Iranian cleric said a U.S. Navy fleet could be “destroyed with one missile.”

WASHINGTON, May 10: The U.S. said Thursday that it has seized a North Korean cargo ship that was used to violate international sanctions, a first-of-its-kind enforcement action that comes amid a tense moment in relations between the two countries.

NAIROBI, May 10: A U.S. air strike killed 13 Islamic State fighters in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region on Wednesday, the U.S. military said, days after another strike killed three.

BEIJING, May 10: President Donald Trump’s latest tariff hike on Chinese goods took effect Friday and Beijing said it would retaliate, escalating a battle over China’s technology ambitions and other trade strains.

KATHMANDU, May 10: The government has extended the term of Nepali ambassador to the US, Arjun Kumar Karki. His four-year term expired earlier this week.

CARACAS, May 9: Venezuelan intelligence agents detained opposition leader Juan Guaido’s congressional deputy on Wednesday, using a tow truck to drag his vehicle away with him inside, prompting the U.S. government to warn of “consequences” if he was not released.

Pregnancy-related deaths are rising in the United States and the main risk factor is being black, according to new reports that highlight racial disparities in care during and after childbirth.

WASHINGTON, April 17: Satellite images from last week show movement at North Korea’s main nuclear site that could be associated with the reprocessing of radioactive material into bomb fuel, a U.S. think tank said on Tuesday.

NEW YORK, April 16: Reuters won two Pulitzer Prizes on Monday, one for revealing the massacre of 10 Muslim Rohingya men by Buddhist villagers and Myanmar security forces, and another for photographs of Central American migrants seeking refuge in the United States.

Balance in a turbulent world

April 16, 2019 01:25 am

The Trump administration in the US has come up with the Indo-Pacific doctrine which in many ways is a restatement of Barak Obama’s pivot to Asia, known as the rebalance doctrine. Both doctrines are of the same origin and carry a shadow of the famous Thucydides trap that was popularized by Harvard Professor Graham Allison in the 1990s.

BOGOTA, April 15: The United States will use all economic and political tools at its disposal to hold Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accountable for his country’s crisis and will make clear to Cuba and Russia they will pay a price for supporting him, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday.

Powerful storms swept across the South on Sunday after unleashing suspected tornadoes and flooding that killed at least eight people, injured dozens and flattened much of a Texas town. Three children were among the dead.

WASHINGTON, April 12: Greg Craig, who served as former President Barack Obama’s top White House lawyer, was charged on Thursday with lying about work he performed in 2012 for Ukraine in a case that grew out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

EL PASO, April 12: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will send about 100 agents to the Mexico border to speed up crossing times, a U.S. congresswoman said on Thursday, as businesses grapple with trade delays after officers were redeployed to immigration duties.

WASHINGTON, April 9: President Donald Trump took a victory lap after special counsel Robert Mueller concluded his Russia investigation. It may have been premature.

Countries Never Visited by a Sitting U.S. President.

CARACAS, April 7: Rival political factions took to the streets across Venezuela on Saturday in a mounting struggle for control of the crisis-wracked nation, where U.S.- backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó is attempting to oust socialist President Nicólas Maduro.

WASHINGTON, April 6: White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says “significant work remains” in trade talks with China, and officials from both nations will be in continuous contact to resolve outstanding issues.

KATHMANDU, April 6: The US Embassy in Kathmandu and Nepal Communitere jointly launched the American Arts Incubator (AAI)—Nepal program on April 5, 2019 with an “artist talk” where American artist Jennifer Berry will talk about her previous work and creative practice, and share with the audience her approach to the incubator.

PARIS, April 5: Two key American officials — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen — are skipping meetings in France this week as the Group of Seven countries gather to try to find solutions to world security challenges.

WASHINGTON, April 3: U.S. President Donald Trump warned Tuesday he was "100 percent" ready to close the southern border if no deal is reached with Congress on immigration reform.

WASHINGTON, April 2: The top U.S. auto safety regulator said on Monday it will open an investigation into 3 million Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp vehicles after reviewing reports of more than 3,000 fires that injured over 100 people.

KATHMANDU, April 1: Chairman of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Pushpa Kamal Dahal has expressed bitterness over the attempt of the Nepali community in the US to vilify him during his recent visit to Washington DC for the treatment of his ailing spouse.

DAMASCUS, March 29: At least 50 Islamic State (IS) militants were killed Thursday by U.S.-led airstrikes on a caves area in eastern Syria, a war monitor reported.

GRAND RAPIDS, March 29: Presenting himself as both vindicated and vindictive, a fired-up President Donald Trump on Thursday turned the findings of the Russia investigation into a political weapon at a Michigan rally that was part victory lap, part 2020 campaign push.

WASHINGTON, March 28: U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry has approved six secret authorizations by companies to sell nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia, according to a copy of a document seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

KATHMANDU, March 27: A team of American scientists has flown to the Mount Everest region to study how pollution has impacted the Himalayan mountains and glaciers which are melting due to global warming.

DPM Pokharel leaves for US

March 26, 2019 20:00 pm

KATHMANDU, March 26: Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Ishwor Pokharel, left here today for the US, leading a Nepali delegation to participate in a ministerial-level conference on capacity building of peacekeeping armies and security under the UN peacekeeping mission.

WASHINGTON, March 25: Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of collusion between U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia in the 2016 election, but left unresolved the issue of whether Trump obstructed justice by undermining the investigations that have dogged his presidency.

Fed’s dovish turn

March 24, 2019 00:25 am

NEW YORK – The US Federal Reserve surprised markets recently with a large and unexpected policy change. When the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met in December 2018, it hiked the Fed’s policy rate to 2.25-2.5 percent, and signaled that it would raise the benchmark rate another three times, to three to 3.25 percent, before stopping. It also signaled that it would continue to unwind its balance sheet of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities indefinitely, by up to $50 billion per month.

For Sean Hannity, the ‘witch hunt’ was finally over. Rachel Maddow considered it the start of something.

WASHINGTON, March 23: The top U.S. law enforcement official could release as early as Saturday the main findings in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s confidential report on his 22-month-long inquiry into Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election and any potential wrongdoing by President Donald Trump.

CARACAS, March 22: Venezuelan authorities detained opposition leader Juan Guaido’s chief of staff on Thursday in a pre-dawn raid, an escalating crackdown by President Nicolas Maduro against his opponents that the White House said would “not go unanswered.”

KATHMANDU, March 21: Nepali manufacturers have become upbeat with the response that they have received from importers in the United States for Nepali readymade garments.

KATHMANDU, March 20: Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal will face ‘no trouble’ in the US even as a complaint has been filed with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) against him as a ‘terrorist’,  diplomatic sources said.

WASHINGTON, March 19: As the United States makes its biggest diplomatic push in Latin America in years to try to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the U.S. military is zeroing in on a byproduct of the crisis: a strengthening of Colombian rebels on both sides of Venezuela’s border.

TORONTO, March 18: A fire at Toronto Pearson International Airport has caused officials to cancel all U.S.-bound flights from Terminal 1.

DOHA, March 13: U.S. and Taliban negotiators wrapped up their longest round of peace talks on Tuesday with progress made but no agreement on when foreign troops might withdraw, officials from both sides said.

The United States is to withdraw all remaining diplomatic personnel from Venezuela this week, the U.S. State Department announced late on Thursday.

GARA-BOKKA, March 12: The United States told airlines it was safe to fly 737 MAX 8 planes on Monday as investigators found two black box recorders that will help piece together the final moments of an Ethiopian Airlines jet before it plunged to the ground on Sunday.

March 9: The U.S. women’s national soccer team sued the U.S. Soccer Federation on Friday with allegations of gender discrimination just three months before they open their World Cup title defence in France.

WASHINGTON, March 8: U.S. job growth likely slowed to a five-month low in February as the weather-related boost in the prior two months faded, workers became more scarce and tighter financial conditions began to weigh on the labor market.

BEIJING, March 8: China’s foreign minister has endorsed tech giant Huawei’s legal fights with the U.S. government, saying Chinese companies shouldn’t be “silent lambs.”

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