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Nepal

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Geography

  • Area:  56,827 sq mi, slightly larger than Arkansas
  • Capital: Kathmandu
  • Climate: Varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south
  • Terrain: Flat river plain of the Ganges in south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in north.
  • Features: Tarai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in north. Landlocked; strategic location between China and India; contains eight of world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga - the world's tallest and third tallest - on the borders with China and India respectively

Current Environmental Issues

Deforestation (overuse of wood for fuel and lack of alternatives); contaminated water (with human and animal wastes, agricultural runoff, and industrial effluents); wildlife conservation; vehicular emissions 

People

  • Nationality:Nepalese (singular and plural)
  • Population: 30,430,267 (July 2013 est.) 
  • Urban Population: 19% of total population (2010)     
  • Primary ethnic groups: Chhettri 15.5%, Brahman-Hill 12.5%, Magar 7%, Tharu 6.6%, Tamang 5.5%, Newar 5.4%, Muslim 4.2%, Kami 3.9%, Yadav 3.9%, other 32.7%, unspecified 2.8% (2001 census)
  • Religions: Hindu 80.6%, Buddhist 10.7%, Muslim 4.2%, Kirant 3.6%, other 0.9%
  • Languages: Nepali (official) 47.8%, Maithali 12.1%, Bhojpuri 7.4%, Tharu (Dagaura/Rana) 5.8%, Tamang 5.1%, Newar 3.6%, Magar 3.3%, Awadhi 2.4%, other 10%, unspecified 2.5% (2001 census) note: many in government and business also speak English (2001 est.)
  • Literacy rate: (age 15 and over): 60.3% (Male: 73%/Female: 48%) (2010 census)
  • School Life: 9 years   
  • Infant mortality rate:  41.76 deaths/1,000 live births
  • Life expectancy:  66.86 years (Male: 66 years/Female: 68 years) (2011 est.)
  • Median Age: 22.4 years
  • HIV/AIDS (adults and children): 64,000 (2009 est.) people living with HIV/AIDS; ranking 51st in the world (U.S.A is #9 with 1.2 million) (2009 est.)                                                          

Government & Economy

  • Independence: 1768 (unified by Prithvi Narayan SHAH)
  • Political Parties: Over 30 political parties
  • Flag Description: red with a blue border around the unique shape of two overlapping right triangles; the smaller, upper triangle bears a white stylized moon and the larger, lower triangle displays a white 12-pointed sun; the color red represents the rhododendron (Nepal's national flower) and is a sign of victory and bravery, the blue border signifies peace and harmony; the two right triangles are a combination of two single pennons (pennants) that originally symbolized the Himalaya Mountains while their charges represented the families of the king (upper) and the prime minister, but today they are understood to denote Hinduism and Buddhism, the country's two main religions; the moon represents the serenity of the Nepalese people and the shade and cool weather in the Himalayas, while the sun depicts the heat and higher temperatures of the lower parts of Nepal; the moon and the sun are also said to express the hope that the nation will endure as long as these heavenly bodies Note:Nepal is the only country in the world whose flag is not rectangular or square
  • Natural resources: quartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore
  • Average annual income per person: $1,300 (2012 est.)
  • Unemployment Rate: 46% (2008 est.)
  • Population Below Poverty Line:  25.2% (2011 est.)

Transnational Issues

Joint border commission continues to work on contested sections of boundary with India, including the 400 square kilometer dispute over the source of the Kalapani River; India has instituted a stricter border regime to restrict transit of Maoist insurgents and illegal cross-border activities; approximately 106,000 Bhutanese Lhotshampas (Hindus) have been confined in refugee camps in southeastern Nepal since 1990.

Refugees (country of origin): 150,000-200,000 (Tibet/China); 43,000 (Bhutan)

Culture

Food: A typical Nepalese meal is dal-bhat-tarkariDal is a spicy lentil soup, served over bhat (boiled rice), served with tarkari (curried vegetables) together with achar (pickles) or chutni (spicy condiment made from fresh ingredients). The Newar community, however, has its own unique cuisine. It consists of non-vegetarian as well as vegetarian items served with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Mustard oil is the cooking medium and a host of spices, such as cumin, coriander, black peppers, sesame seeds, turmeric, garlic, ginger, methi (fenugreek), bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, chillies, mustard seeds, etc., are used in the cooking. The cuisine served on festivals is generally the best.The rich cultural heritage of Nepal, has evolved over centuries. This multi-dimensional cultural heritage encompasses within itself the cultural diversities of various ethnictribal, and social groups inhabiting different altitudes.

Music: see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Nepal