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Introduction - Nepal:
BackgroundIn 1951, the Nepalese monarch ended the century-old system of rule by hereditary premiers and instituted a cabinet system of government. Reforms in 1990 established a multiparty democracy within the framework of a constitutional monarchy. A Maoist insurgency, launched in 1996, gained traction and threatened to bring down the regime, especially after a negotiated cease-fire between the Maoists and government forces broke down in August 2003. In 2001, the crown prince massacred ten members of the royal family, including the king and queen, and then took his own life. In October 2002, the new king dismissed the prime minister and his cabinet for incompetence after they dissolved the parliament and were subsequently unable to hold elections because of the ongoing insurgency. While stopping short of reestablishing parliament, the king in June 2004 reinstated the most recently elected prime minister who formed a four-party coalition government. Citing dissatisfaction with the governments lack of progress in addressing the Maoist insurgency and corruption, the king in February 2005 dissolved the government, declared a state of emergency, imprisoned party leaders, and assumed power. The kings government subsequently released party leaders and officially ended the state of emergency in May 2005, but the monarch retained absolute power until April 2006. After nearly three weeks of mass protests organized by the seven-party opposition and the Maoists, the king allowed parliament to reconvene on 28 April 2006. Following the November 2006 peace accord between the government and the Maoists, an interim constitution was promulgated and the Maoists were allowed to enter parliament in mid-January 2007. Constituent elections are planned for June 2007.
Location - Nepal:
LocationSouthern Asia, between China and India
Geographic coordinates28 00 N, 84 00 E
Map referencesAsia
Areatotal: 147,181 sq km
land: 143,181 sq km
water: 4,000 sq km
Area comparativeslightly larger than Arkansas
Land boundariestotal: 2,926 km
border countries: China 1,236 km, India 1,690 km
Coastline0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claimsnone (landlocked)
Climatevaries from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south
TerrainTarai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in north
Elevation extremeslowest point: Kanchan Kalan 70 m
highest point: Mount Everest 8,850 m
Natural resourcesquartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore
Land usearable land: 16.07%
permanent crops: 0.85%
other: 83.08% (2005)
Irrigated land11,700 sq km (2003)
Natural hazardssevere thunderstorms, flooding, landslides, drought, and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons
Environment current issuesdeforestation (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
Environment international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Geography notelandlocked; strategic location between China and India; contains eight of worlds 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga - the worlds tallest and third tallest - on the borders with China and India respectively
People - Nepal:
Population28,901,790 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 38.3% (male 5,721,720/female 5,360,391)
15-64 years: 57.9% (male 8,597,037/female 8,134,115)
65 years and over: 3.8% (male 528,113/female 560,414) (2007 est.)
Median agetotal: 20.5 years
male: 20.3 years
female: 20.6 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate2.132% (2007 est.)
Birth rate30.46 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate9.14 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.067 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.057 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.942 male(s)/female
total population: 1.056 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 63.66 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 61.87 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 65.54 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 60.56 years
male: 60.78 years
female: 60.33 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate4.01 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Hiv aids adult prevalence rate0.5% (2001 est.)
Hiv aids people living with hiv aids61,000 (2001 est.)
Hiv aids deaths3,100 (2003 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Nepalese (singular and plural)
adjective: Nepalese
Ethnic groupsChhettri 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)
ReligionsHindu 80.6%, Buddhist 10.7%, Muslim 4.2%, Kirant 3.6%, other 0.9% (2001 census)
note: only official Hindu state in the world
LanguagesNepali 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.)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 48.6%
male: 62.7%
female: 34.9% (2001 census)
Government - Nepal:
Country nameconventional long and short form: Nepal
local long and short form: Nepal
Government typeparliamentary democracy
Capitalname: Kathmandu
geographic coordinates: 27 43 N, 85 19 E
time difference: UTC+5.75 (10.75 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions14 zones (anchal, singular and plural); Bagmati, Bheri, Dhawalagiri, Gandaki, Janakpur, Karnali, Kosi, Lumbini, Mahakali, Mechi, Narayani, Rapti, Sagarmatha, Seti
Independence1768 (unified by Prithvi Narayan SHAH)
National holidayin 2006, Parliament abolished the birthday of King GYANENDRA (7 July) and Constitution Day (9 November) as national holidays
Constitution9 November 1990; the government began working on an interim constitution in May 2006
Legal systembased on Hindu legal concepts and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: Girija Prasad KOIRALA (since 30 April 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Girija Prasad KOIRALA (since 30 April 2006); Deputy Prime Ministers Khadga Prasad OLI (since 2 May 2006) and Amik SHERCHAN since June 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet historically appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; note - the prime minister selected the Cabinet in May 2006 in consultation with the political parties
elections: following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition historically has been appointed prime minister by the monarch
Legislative brancha 330 seat Interim Parliament was formed on 15 January 2007 following the promulgation of an interim constitution
elections: elections are planned for June 2007
election results: Interim Parliament seats by party - NC 85, CPN/M 83, CPN/UML 83, NC/D 48, RPP 9, NSP/AD 5, NWPP 4, Peoples Front Nepal (Amik Sherchan Group) 4, Peoples Front Nepal (Chitra Bahadur K.C. Group) 3, UFL 3, Peoples Front Nepal (Chitra Bahadur Ale Group) 2, NSP 1
Judicial branchSupreme Court or Sarbochha Adalat (chief justice is appointed by the monarch on recommendation of the Constitutional Council; the other judges are appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the Judicial Council)
Political parties and leadersCommunist Party of Nepal/United Marxist-Leninist or CPN/UML [Madhav Kumar NEPAL]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Pashupati Shumsher RANA] (also called Rastriya Prajantra Party or RPP); Nepal Sadbhavana (Goodwill) Party or NSP - Mandal [Bhadri Prasad MANDAL]; Nepal Sadbhavana Party - Ananda Devi [Ananda DEVI]; Nepal Workers and Peasants Party or NWPP [Narayan Man BIJUKCHHE]; Nepali Congress-Democratic [Sher Bahadur DEUBA]; Nepali Congress or NC [Girija Prasad KOIRALA]; Peoples Front Nepal (Amik Sherchan Group); Peoples Front Nepal (Chitra Bahadur Ale Group); Peoples Front Nepal (Chitra Bahadur K.C. Group); Rastriya Janashakti Party or RJP [Surya Bahadur THAPA] (split from RPP in March 2005); Samyukta Janmorcha Nepal (merged with Peoples Front Nepal or PFN in 2002); United Leftist Front or UFL [C.P. MAINALI]
Political pressure groups and leadersMaoist guerrilla-based insurgency [Pushpa Kamal DAHAL, also known as PRACHANDA, chairman; Dr. Baburam BHATTARAI]; numerous small, left-leaning student groups in the capital; several small, radical Nepalese antimonarchist groups
Diplomatic representation in the uschief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); note - Charge dAffaires Kali Prasad POKHREL
chancery: 2131 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 667-4550
FAX: [1] (202) 667-5534
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the uschief of mission: Ambassador James F. MORIARTY
embassy: Panipokhari, Kathmandu
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [977] (1) 411-1179
FAX: [977] (1) 441-9963
Flag descriptionred 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 bears a white 12-pointed sun
Economy - Nepal:
Economy overviewNepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world with almost one-third of its population living below the poverty line. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, providing a livelihood for three-fourths of the population and accounting for 38% of GDP. Industrial activity mainly involves the processing of agricultural produce including jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and grain. Security concerns relating to the Maoist conflict have led to a decrease in tourism, a key source of foreign exchange. Nepal has considerable scope for exploiting its potential in hydropower and tourism, areas of recent foreign investment interest. Prospects for foreign trade or investment in other sectors will remain poor, however, because of the small size of the economy, its technological backwardness, its remoteness, its landlocked geographic location, its civil strife, and its susceptibility to natural disaster.
Gdp purchasing power parity $41.18 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp official exchange rate $6.948 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp real growth rate1.9% (2006 est.)
Gdp per capita ppp $1,500 (2006 est.)
Gdp composition by sectoragriculture: 38%
industry: 20%
services: 42% (FY05/06 est.)
Labor force11.11 million
note: severe lack of skilled labor (2006 est.)
Labor force by occupationagriculture: 76%
industry: 6%
services: 18% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate42% (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line31% (FY03/04)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 39.1% (2003-2004)
Distribution of family income gini index37.7 (FY04/05)
Inflation rate consumer prices 8.6% (November 2006 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $1.153 billion
expenditures: $1.927 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (FY06/07)
Agriculture productsrice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, jute, root crops; milk, water buffalo meat
Industriestourism, carpet, textile; small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; cigarettes, cement and brick production
Industrial production growth rate2.2% (FY05/06)
Electricity production2.511 billion kWh (2006)
Electricity consumption1.96 billion kWh (2006)
Electricity exports101 million kWh (2006)
Electricity imports266 million kWh (2006)
Oil production0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil consumption11,550 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil exportsNA bbl/day
Oil imports11,530 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil proved reserves0 bbl
Natural gas production0 cu m (2006 est.)
Natural gas consumption0 cu m (2006 est.)
Exports$822 million f.o.b.; note - does not include unrecorded border trade with India (2005 est.)
Exports commoditiescarpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods, grain
Exports partnersIndia 59.3%, US 14%, Germany 5.9% (2006)
Imports$2 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Imports commoditiesgold, machinery and equipment, petroleum products, fertilizer
Imports partnersIndia 49%, China 12.4%, UAE 11.7%, Saudi Arabia 5.2%, Kuwait 4.4% (2006)
Debt external$3.07 billion (March 2006)
Economic aid recipient$533 million (FY04/05)
Currency code Nepalese rupee (NPR)
Exchange ratesNepalese rupees per US dollar - 72.446 (2006), 72.16 (2005), 73.674 (2004), 76.141 (2003), 77.877 (2002)
Communications - Nepal:
Fiscal year16 July - 15 July
Telephones main lines in use595,800 (2006)
Telephones mobile cellular1.042 million (2006)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: poor telephone and telegraph service; fair radiotelephone communication service and mobile cellular telephone network
domestic: NA
international: country code - 977; radiotelephone communications; microwave landline to India; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)
Radio broadcast stationsAM 6, FM 5, shortwave 1 (2000)
Television broadcast stations1 (plus 9 repeaters) (1998)
Internet country
Internet hosts17,789 (2006)
Internet users249,400 (2006)
Transportation - Nepal:
Airports48 (2006)
Airports with paved runwaystotal: 10
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 2 (2006)
Airports with unpaved runwaystotal: 38
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 29 (2006)
Railwaystotal: 59 km
narrow gauge: 59 km 0.762-m gauge (2006)
Roadwaystotal: 17,380 km
paved: 9,886 km
unpaved: 7,494 km (2004)
Military - Nepal:
Military branchesRoyal Nepalese Army (includes Royal Nepalese Army Air Service); Nepalese Police Force
Military service age and obligation18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 18-49: 6,107,091
females age 18-49: 5,744,989 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 18-49: 4.193 million
females age 18-49: 3,853,102 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annuallymales age 18-49: 308,031
females age 18-49: 286,604 (2005 est.)
Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 106,248 (Bhutan), 20,153 (Tibet/China)
IDPs: 100,000-200,000 (ongoing conflict between government forces and Maoist rebels; displacement spread across the country) (2006)
Military expenditures percent of gdp1.6% (2006)
Disputes internationaljoint 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
This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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