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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 February, 2005, 16:14 GMT
Communications restored in Nepal
Tourists use the internet in Kathmandu
The internet is finally working in Nepal
Phone lines have been restored in Nepal a week after being cut when the king declared a state of emergency.

Internet connections are also working although mobile phone services are still down.

King Gyanendra sacked his former government last week, saying it had failed to tackle a bloody uprising by Maoist rebels or hold elections.

The king's actions have been strongly opposed both within and outside Nepal, with rights groups planning protests.

In a separate development, the Reuters news agency reports that Nepalese troops backed by helicopters have launched attacks on Maoist camps in the west of the country.

'Relief'

Both national and international phone lines are working again, and many Nepalis rushed to contact friends and families living abroad who had been out of touch since the crisis unfolded.

NEPAL IN CRISIS
June 2001 - Gyanendra is crowned king following royal massacre
July 2001 - Sher Bahadur Deuba becomes prime minister following Maoist violence
Oct 2002 - King Gyanendra sacks Deuba and assumes executive power
June 2004 - Deuba reappointed prime minister in place of Surya Bahadur Thapa
Feb 2005 - Deuba sacked, king assumes direct power

"It was a relief to talk to my son in America," the Associated Press quoted Shanta Tuladhar, a housewife who made a call from a Kathmandu internet cafe, as saying.

"He was so worried hearing about the news from Nepal and not being able find out how we were doing."

Soldiers are still on the streets of Kathmandu and other towns, but troops have left a number of newsrooms where they had been vetting reports and broadcasts.

The new government said the move against phones was made for security reasons, but many, including diplomats, protested.

The BBC's Charles Haviland in Kathmandu says there is a general sense of relief after a period in which businesses and banking transactions were virtually grounded and sectors like Nepal's lifeline - tourism - were crippled.

Newspaper reports said the go-ahead to restore phone and internet links came from a hitherto unheard of body, the subcommittee on state affairs, comprising the chiefs of the three sections of the security forces and secretaries from three ministries.

Our correspondent says this suggests the army, the regular police and the armed police are taking on an enhanced role in public life.

Detentions disputed

Officials have implied that mobile phone lines will remain cut off for a long time.

Nepalese people read newspapers at a roadside in Kathmandu
Some newspapers have pressed the government to lift curbs

The army has been enforcing strict new rules on media censorship.

The federation of Nepalese journalists says four weekly papers were raided on Monday night to prevent their publication.

There is continuing disagreement at the number of people arrested since the royal takeover.

One political party is putting the number at 1,000. The army says it is more like 100.

Reports say some schools are reopening and domestic and international flights are running on schedule.

The army has warned Nepalis against hoarding goods in response to a call from the rebels for a general strike.

It says that detentions and the suspension of liberties are necessary to let the security forces concentrate on fighting the Maoist rebels.

On Monday the new royalist government said it was planning to offer the Maoists unconditional talks.

The Maoists have not yet responded but they have already condemned the king's takeover.

Some 11,000 people have died since the Maoists began their insurgency in 1996.


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