Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world and the poorest in Asia with wide discrepancies among the Nepalese people depending on geographic location, ethnicity, caste and gender. More than 25 pct. of its 30 million people live under the international poverty line of less than US$1.25 a day.
The decade-long civil war between Government forces and the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) claimed more than 16,000 lives and displaced thousands more. The war was finally brought to a halt when seven political parties and the Maoists signed the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) in November 2006. In 2008 elections were held and a Constituent Assembly was formed to draw up an inclusive and democratic Constitution. The country is still recovering from the civil war and progress on the implementation of the CPA has been slow. A lasting political agreement on a Constitution and other elements of the CPA is still pending.
The national flag of Nepal (Nepali: नेपालको झण्डा) is the world’s only non-rectangular national flag. The flag is a simplified combination of two single pennons. Until 1962, the flag’s emblems, the sun and the crescent moon, had human faces. They were removed to modernize the flag.
Economic growth is adversely affected by the conflict and political challenges and is still low. Some of the reasons for the low productivity and investment are political instability, corruption, poor infrastructure, and lack of political attention to long term strategic planning for a stronger domestic economy.
- Capital: Kathmandu. Approximately 2.5 million people live in Kathmandu Valley
- Area: 147,200 km2, 56834 square miles (about the same area as Illinois)
- Population: 30 million
- Population growth per year: 1.7% (2011)
- Language: Nepali is the official language, many other languages are spoken.
- Time: GMT +5.45 hrs (local time in Kathmandu was 12:45 hours ahead of US Pacific Daylight Time)
- Terrain: Terai – the flat river plain of the Ganges in the south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in the north.
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