The Socceroos’ March 30 World Cup qualifier against Nepal in Kathmandu has been postponed.
Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on travel, the game – as well as Australia’s other three remaining matches in the current round of qualifiers against Kuwait, Chinese Taipei and Jordan – will now be played between May 31 and June 15 as part of a centralised format.
Australia had been due to host Kuwait, Chinese Taipei and Jordan.
Where the centralised format for the remaining Group B matches will be held is yet to be determined.
“With FIFA having expanded the June window to allow for international matches from 31 May to 15 June, we will need to utilise that period to complete our remaining Group B fixtures prior to the June 15 deadline,” Football Australia CEO James Johnson said.
“We remain committed to the restart of national team football in a COVID-safe manner as soon as possible, and will work with AFC and FIFA, as well as the football associations of Nepal, Jordan, Kuwait, and Chinese Taipei, to play out our remaining qualifiers in a suitable location.”
The Socceroos – who lead Group B by two points and have a perfect record from four matches – last week withdrew from this year’s Copa America due to the backlog of World Cup qualifiers in June.
Thank you for spending time with us on My Local Pages. We hope you enjoyed checking out this post involving Aussie sports news titled “Socceroos trip to Nepal off”. This news update was brought to you by MyLocalPages as part of our local and national news services.
Coach Graham Arnold and his players have been desperate to reassemble but the pandemic and its impact on international travel has consistently skittled plans, forcing the last-minute cancellation of a mooted friendly against England at Wembley late last year.
Australia is two points clear on top of Group B with four wins from four games and only one goal conceded, having played one fewer match than the other four teams in the pool.
Three of their four games to come in the second round of World Cup qualifying were due to be played in Australia – but even if they had to play them on neutral territory, the Socceroos would still be heavily favoured to win all of them because of the low calibre of their opponents.
Despite the Asian Football Confederation’s recent announcement that the match against Nepal would go ahead, Football Australia is still yet to confirm it on their end, because the governing body working through the various international border and quarantine implications for players to ensure it was actually achievable.
Ultimately it was deemed too difficult for players from around the world – and particularly those based in Australia, most Asian countries and the United Kingdom – to get together.
FIFA’s current rules dictate that clubs don’t have to release players for international duty if they have to travel to a country imposing mandatory quarantine or self-isolation for at least five days upon arrival or their return.
An official announcement on the postponement is expected to be imminent from the AFC.
Last week, the Socceroos were forced to pull out of this year’s Copa America because it would have clashed with the backlog of World Cup qualifiers that have been postponed since the pandemic.
Football Australia remains in discussions with the federal government and the other nations from Group B about the prospect of staging the rest of the second-round fixtures in Australia – but that would require a change to the current blanket rule of 14 days in hotel quarantine for all arrivals into the country to enable teams to train and play matches during that time.
It appears more likely that Football Australia will instead push for home fixtures in the third round of qualifying across the September, October and November, when they will come up against the likes of Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Iran.
By that stage of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, FA’s expectation is that the government will be more inclined to loosen quarantine requirements and enable the matches to go ahead.
The Socceroos have not lost a qualifier in Australia across the last two World Cup cycles, with home nation advantage historically pivotal to the country’s ambitions of reaching the finals.
Sports, results and expert commentary delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up to the Herald‘s weekday newsletter here and The Age‘s weekly newsletter here.
Vince is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Most Viewed in Sport
Thank you for dropping in to My Local Pages and checking out this news article regarding National and NSW news and updates called “Socceroos to be sidelined until June with Nepal clash set to be called off”. This story was brought to you by MyLocalPages as part of our local news services.
Nepal also introduced an extensive lockdown, but that has since been eased in recent months, with the country finally opening up to international tourists last month.
It started on a strict pre-approval basis for mountaineers and trekkers and more recently it has been expanded to visa on arrival for all tourists.
There are even ongoing discussions about easing quarantine restrictions for overseas arrivals.
But so far only a trickle of tourists have returned.
“In the beginning, we were hoping that lockdown would end, and we’d be open by today or tomorrow,” trekking guide Pasang Lahmu Sherpa told the ABC.
“But infection is more prevalent in Nepal now. I don’t know when it will open.
Nepal welcomed almost 2.5 million people on tourist visas, and a further 26,353 on trekking visas, last year.
But only a fraction of that number has visited in the past eight months, with Department of Immigration records putting the number of tourists at 6,208 and fewer than 200 trekkers.
Many have lost their main source of income
Nepal’s tourism season falls into two distinct seasons.
March to May is the peak time for mountain climbing, including Mount Everest, while the final months of the year are popular for trekking.
It has meant tourism, which is worth more than $2 billion a year and is linked to over a million jobs, has become one of only two major revenue streams for Nepal. The other is remittances.
With so many reliant on the industry, the shortening of this year’s climbing season has been a huge blow. Many have been devoid of a decent income for about a year.
Among those to have been significantly impacted is Ms Sherpa, who has run a trekking guide business since 2013.
With a lot fewer customers coming in this year, she has been forced to eat into her savings to support herself and her two teenage daughters.
The 40-year-old, single mother says others in the industry are suffering in silence.
“They are hiding their problems,” she said.
“The Government has not provided relief to those involved in the trekking profession
“Also, we haven’t heard how the Government is planning to support this profession.”
Many bars and hotels in Kathmandu remain shut, while Sherpas and trekking guides often based in Kathmandu have returned to their home villages to work the fields.
Sarita Lama, the general secretary of the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal, said those who rely on the sector were now just focusing on survival.
“Most of the parents work hard for their children to send them to a good school or give them good food and a comfortable home,” she said.
“A lot of children are missing that.
“We are … surviving, rather than living a life.”
Long queues routinely form outside Kathmandu hospitals
It is a drastic turnaround from what the Government had been predicting for this year.
Despite witnessing a record number of tourists last year, the Nepalese Government had planned to boost the sector even more with a “Visit Nepal 2020” campaign.
Now, however, Nepal is facing a worsening pandemic.
The country’s coronavirus tally peaked at almost 4,000 daily cases in October.
Since then, the country of 29 million people has continued to record more than 1,300 cases a day, which per capita is higher than neighbouring India, according to Our World in Data.
Long queues routinely form outside Kathmandu’s main public hospitals as the number of testing kits fails to keep pace with infections.
Public health expert Sameer Dixit, from the Centre for Molecular Dynamics Nepal, said authorities did not utilise the lockdown period to bolster the country’s healthcare response.
“The Government, with its limited capacity, started off well with its lockdown during March,” Dr Dixit said.
“But then it did extend the lockdown, and the extended lockdown wasn’t done very good.
“They did not increase the testing. They did not increase the hospital capacity. They did not make the quarantine facilities better.”
While Dr Dixit said the country had a low virus mortality rate of only 0.6 per cent — and the COVID-19 situation is “moderately” under control — he also pointed out the pandemic was absorbing so much of Nepal’s fragile healthcare system that people suffering other diseases were being neglected.
“We focus so much on COVID-19 that we forgot we are a developing country,” he said.
“We have three, four times the number of people dying from other diseases. Like simple diseases, like diarrheal diseases.”
For now, domestic tourism, which is seeing a revival, may be the only lifeline for people like Ms Sherpa.
Mount Everest is officially higher than previously thought, Nepal and China have confirmed.
The joint announcement settles a long-running conflict over the height of the world’s tallest peak that straddles the countries’ shared border.
Kathmandu and Beijing each sent surveyors to the summit and agreed that the official height is 8,848.86 metres (29,031.69ft), slightly higher than previous calculations.
Nepal had never before measured the mountain, but used a 1953 calculation by the Survey of India, which includes the snow cap, to put its height at 8,848 metres (29,028ft).
Meanwhile, China counted snow in its 2005 calculation of the rock summit, which was 8,844.43 metres (29,017ft) – that’s about 3.7 meters (11 feet) less than Nepal’s previous estimate.
Nepali Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi announced the findings on a video call.
Climber Ashish Gurung, who was also on the call, said the news was a big deal.
“We have to respect anything that becomes ‘plus’,” he said.
“The increase in height is a source of huge pride for Nepal and Nepalese people.”
Mountaineers had suggested a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in 2015 that killed nearly 9,000 people in Nepal may have affected Everest’s height.
The country, which is home to another seven of the world’s 14 highest peaks, sent its first team of surveyors to the peak in May last year.
A Chinese expedition then climbed the peak this spring, when the mountain was closed by both countries for other climbers due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Santa Bir Lama, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, said: “This is a milestone in mountaineering history which will finally end the debate over the height and now the world will have one number.”
Everest’s revised height follows the death of one of the UK’s first climbers to reach the top.
Doug Scott, who has been described as one of the greatest mountaineers of his generation, climbed the world’s tallest peak in 1975.
The 79-year-old died from cancer on Monday, a charity he founded to help people in the Himalayas confirmed.
In a statement released today, the Community Action Nepal said he died peacefully at his home in the Lake District.
Scott was the first to climb, along with his Scottish partner Dougal Haston, Everest’s southwest face in 1975.
The southwest face is widely regarded as one of the greatest challenges in mountaineering due to its length and exposure to high winds.
At the time, Queen Elizabeth congratulated the team on a “magnificent achievement”.
Mr Haston died in an avalanche while skiing in Switzerland at the age of 36 in 1977.
Mr Scott also came close to death that year, when he broke both legs while abseiling from the peak of The Ogre, a relatively uncharted peak in the Himalayas.
He effectively crawled to base camp supported by two teammates, Mo Anthoine and Clive Rowland.
There had been debate over the actual height of the peak and concern that it might have shrunk after a major earthquake in 2015. The quake killed 9000 people, damaged about 1 million structures in Nepal and triggered an avalanche on Everest that killed 19 people at the base camp.
There was no doubt that Everest would remain the highest peak because the second highest, Mount K2, is only 8611 metres tall.
Everest’s height was first determined by a British team about 1856 as 8842 metres.
But the most accepted height has been 8848 metres, which was determined by the Survey of India in 1954.
In 1999, a National Geographic Society team using GPS technology came up with a height of 8850. A Chinese team in 2005 said it was 8844.43 meters because it did not include the snow cap.
A Nepal government team of climbers and surveyors scaled Everest in May 2019 and installed GPS and satellite equipment to measure the peak and snow depth on the summit.
Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Nepal later that year and the leaders of the two countries decided that they should agree on a height.
A survey team from China then conducted measurements in the spring of 2020 while all other expeditions were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Nepal’s climbing community welcomed the end of confusion over the mountain’s height.
“This is a milestone in mountaineering history which will finally end the debate over the height and now the world will have one number,” said Santa Bir Lama, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.
China’s official Xinhua New Agency quoted Xi as saying the two sides are committed to jointly protecting the environment around Everest and co-operating in scientific research.
For China, the announcement appeared to be as much about politics as geography. China has drawn Nepal ever closer into its orbit with investments in its economy and the building of highways, dams, airports and other infrastructure in the impoverished nation.
That appears to serve China’s interests in reducing the influence of rival India, with which it shares a disputed border, and Nepal’s role as a destination for refugee Tibetans.
The Xinhua report said nothing about the technical aspects, but heavily emphasised the joint announcement’s geopolitical weight.
China and Nepal will establish an “even closer community of a shared future to enrich the countries and their peoples”, Xinhua quoted Xi as saying.
Catch all the day’s headlines
At the end of each day, we’ll send you the most important breaking news headlines, evening entertainment ideas and a long read to enjoy. Sign up to The Sydney Morning Herald’s newsletter here, The Age’s here, Brisbane Times’ here, and WAtoday’s here.
Three months after passing an amendment to sanction a new political map that identifies Indian territory in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh as its own, Nepal has inscribed the changes in its academic curriculum and currency. The office of Nepal education minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel confirmed to TOI the book, ‘Nepalko Bhubhaag Ra Seemasambandhi Swadhyay Samagri (Nepal’s geography and territorial boundary)’ has been introduced for higher secondary school students. The preface has been written by Pokharel. The book includes the disputed area of Kalapani in Uttarakhand as Nepal’s territory. A source said it mentions Nepal has a geographical area of 1,47,641.28 sq km, of which 460 sq km is the Kalapani area. The same day, the Nepal cabinet, headed by PM K P Oli, also gave permission to the country’s central bank, Nepal Rastra Bank, to mint new coins of one-rupee and two-rupee denominations with the new political map. Sources said this was announced by the Nepal government spokesperson and foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali. In all likelihood, sources added, the new coins will be in circulation by Dussehra (Dashain, as it’s called there), celebrated as a major festival in the neighbouring country. In November last year, Nepal had protested against the inauguration of a key Lipulekh road in Pithoragarh by Union defence minister Rajnath Singh, alleging that a part of the stretch passed through Nepal’s territory. After a renewed dispute over three areas — Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani — Nepal’s parliament unanimously voted to amend the Constitution to update the country’s map to include them as part of its land. The government had then announced that all documents will start using the new map. So now, a source said, introduction of the map in school books and coins is “fully legal” because it follows what is a regular course of action. “The government has started the process of issuing the new maps to Nepal embassies and is introducing it in government gazettes as well,” the source added. Many in Nepal, meanwhile, said the need for a resolution is getting more important by the day. “There have been misunderstandings between the two nations over the past few months. However, introducing a new Nepal map is a sovereign decision by the country,” Khadga KC, head of the department of international relations and diplomacy at Tribhuvan University, told TOI. “But I do believe that the issues should be resolved through dialogue and a solution must be found.”
The surveying and mapping department has reported that China has occupied villages in Gorkha and Darchula dist…Read More
KATHMANDU: China’s expansionist designs are going unchecked in Nepal as it is slowly and gradually encroaching Nepali land at multiple locations with the tacit support of the present dispensation headed by Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli. According to a report by the Survey Department of Agriculture Ministry of Nepal, China has illegally occupied Nepali land at several places spread over seven border districts. The report stated Beijing is fast moving forward and further pushing Nepali boundaries by encroaching more and more landmass. It is important to note that the data is being under-reported and the actual scenario could be worse as the Nepali Communist Party (NCP) is trying to shield the expansionist agenda of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). It is believed that China has made inroads into several other areas of Nepal, occupied land, and slowly progressing within the country. Prime Minister KP Oli government has preferred to keep mum over the ‘illegal occupation’ of the village by China under fears of displeasing the CCP. The Nepali districts which are victims of China’s land-grabbing plan including Dolakha, Gorkha, Darchula, Humla, Sindhupalchowk, Sankhuwasabha and Rasuwa. According to the surveying and mapping department of Nepal, China has pushed the international boundary 1,500 meters towards Nepal in Dolakha. It has pushed the boundary pillar Number 57 in the Korlang area in Dolakha, which was previously located at top of Korlang. The pillar has been an issue of confrontation between the two countries and China pressurised the Nepali government not to sign the fourth protocol on resolving and managing border disputes between the two countries as China wanted to maintain the status quo and further transgress the boundary arrangements. The surveying and mapping department has also reported that China has occupied Nepali villages in Gorkha and Darchula districts. Similar to Dolakha, China has relocated Boundary Pillar Numbers 35, 37 and 38 in Gorkha district and Boundary Pillar Number 62 in Nampa Bhanjyang in Solukhumbu. The first three pillars were located in Gorkha’s Rui village and areas of Tom River. Though Nepal’s official map shows the village as a part of Nepali territory and citizens of the village have been paying taxes to Nepal government, China had occupied the region and merged it with the Tibet Autonomous Region of China in 2017. Similarly, the Human Rights Commission has reported that a portion of the Jiujiu Village of Darchula has also been occupied by China. Numerous houses that used to be a part of Nepal have been now taken over by China and assimilated into the Chinese territory. Besides the reports of land grabbing by the two Nepali agencies, the Ministry of Agriculture also recently came up with a report highlighting multiple cases of land grabbing by China. The ministry reported about China’s occupation of Nepali land in at least 11 places falling under four Nepali districts. Most of the areas occupied in these districts are catchment areas of rivers, including areas of Bhagdare river in Humla, Karnali river, Sanjen river, and Lemde river in Rasuwa; Bhurjug river, Kharane river, and Jambu river in Sindhupalchowk, Bhotekoshi river and Samjug river in Sankhuwasabha; Kamkhola river and Arun river. Nepal has refrained itself from going ahead with the border talks with China since 2005 as the Nepali government does not want to offend China by reclaiming Nepali land and at the same time dodge criticism at the domestic front for losing territory to China. The Nepali government has also suspended the 2012 border talks to save itself from getting into an indecisive situation. In June, members of the opposition Nepali Congress moved a resolution in the House of Representatives, the lower house of the Nepalese Parliament, asking the Oli government to restore the country’s territory, which had been encroached upon by China. The Nepali Congress lawmakers alleged that China had encroached 64 hectares of land in Dolakha, Humla, Sindhupalchowk, Sankhuwasabha, Gorkha and Rasuwa districts of the country. They alleged that few of the total 98 boundary pillars along the 1414.88 km long border between Nepal and China had gone missing while several others had been shifted inside the territory of Nepal. Recent reports have suggested that the Chinese Communist Party has been dominating the decision-making processes in Nepal. The Chinese ambassador to Nepal recently played mediator to sort out differences between the Oli and Prachanda factions of the NCP.
KATHMANDU: Senior diplomats of India and Nepal on Monday held a virtual meeting during which they comprehensively reviewed the progress made on various India-aided developmental projects in the Himalayan nation and decided to expedite their implementation. The meeting came days after Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli telephoned his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to greet him on India’s 74th Independence Day, in the first high-level contact after bilateral ties came under severe strain following issuance of a new political map by Nepal in May. Nepalese foreign secretary Shanker Das Bairagi and Indian Ambassador to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra led the delegations representing their respective countries during the 8th meeting of Oversight Mechanism. The meeting, held virtually due to the coronavirus outbreak, carried out a comprehensive review of bilateral economic and development cooperation projects since its 7th meeting held on July 8, 2019. During the meeting, both sides deliberated on the issues and agreed to expedite their implementation, according to a press release issued by the Indian Embassy here. The two sides noted “the progress made in the development projects in the last one year, including reconstruction of 46,301 earthquake damaged houses in Gorkha and Nuwakot districts the operationalization of Motihari-Amlekhgunj, cross border petroleum products pipeline, the Integrated Check Post at Biratnagar and the High Impact Community Development Projects.” Nepal also noted with appreciation Covid–19 related assistance, including the supply of medical equipment by India, the release said. The meeting mainly discussed the status of implementation of the on-going projects under Nepal-India bilateral cooperation covering Terai roads, cross-border railways, Arun-III hydropower project and petroleum products pipelines, according to the Nepalese Foreign Ministry. “The meeting also discussed issues related with Pancheshwar multipurpose project, post-earthquake reconstruction, irrigation, power and transmission lines, construction of Nepal Police Academy, integrated check posts, Ramayana circuit, HICDPs, motorable bridges over Mahakali River, agriculture and cultural heritage, among others,” it said. “Both sides underlined the need for expediting implementation of the bilateral projects. In that connection, they agreed to undertake necessary measures to timely address problems and obstacles in the course of implementation,” it said. The Nepal-India Oversight Mechanism was set up after Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Nepal in September 2016 to oversee the implementation of bilateral projects and take necessary steps for their completion in time. “India and Nepal have agreed to hold the next meeting of the mechanism on a mutually convenient date to review the progress made in the implementation of the India assisted economic and development cooperation projects,” it added. The ties between India and Nepal came under strain after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated an 80-km-long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8. Nepal protested the inauguration of the road claiming that it passed through its territory. Days later, Nepal came out with the new map showing Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as its territories. In June, Nepal’s Parliament approved the new political map of the country featuring areas which India maintains belong to it. In its reaction, after Nepal’s lower house of parliament approved the bill, India termed as untenable the “artificial enlargement” of territorial claims by the neighbouring country. India said Nepal’s action violates an understanding reached between the two countries to resolve the boundary issues through talks. Prime Minister Oli has been asserting that Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura belong to Nepal and vowed to “reclaim” them from India.
Kathmandu: Five people including three children were killed in two landslides in Nepal, raising to 175 the toll of dead since the monsoon season began in May, a home ministry official said on Saturday.
A 30-year-old woman and her three children, aged between 10 months and nine years, were killed when a landslide triggered by heavy rains swept their house away in Gulmi district in the west of the Himalayan nation on Friday, Murari Wasti said.
One person was killed in another landslide in Sunsari district in east Nepal.
Wasti said at least 108 people were missing and 52 others injured in landslides and floods since the monsoon began in May.
In India, floods caused by heavy monsoon rains have wreaked havoc. About 8 million people have been displaced and more than 110 have died since May in India’s eastern Bihar and northeastern Assam, two of the nation’s poorest states.
In neighbouring Bangladesh, heavy floods have submerged nearly 50,000 hectares of paddy fields, according to officials from the Agriculture Ministry.
Practically four million people today in India’s northeastern state of Assam and neighbouring Nepal have been displaced by significant flooding from monsoon rains, with dozens missing as fatalities rose to at least 189.
The overflowing Brahmaputra River, which flows via China’s Tibet, India and Bangladesh, has damaged crops and activated mudslides, displacing thousands and thousands of people today, officers mentioned on Sunday.
More than 2.75 million folks in Assam have been displaced by three waves of floods considering that late Could that has claimed 79 life following two extra fatalities were being documented right away, a state federal government formal reported.
Flooding hits northwestern India on Sunday.
“The flood problem remains important with most of the rivers flowing menacingly above the danger mark,” Assam drinking water assets Minister Keshab Mahanta explained to Reuters.
Assam is struggling with the twin problem of combating floods and the coronavirus pandemic. Out of 33 districts, 25 remained afflicted immediately after the present wave of flooding, starting a fortnight in the past.
India is grappling with the novel coronavirus, which has infected almost 1.1 million men and women and 26,816 have died from the disease.
In neighbouring Nepal, the government asked citizens along its southern plains on Sunday to stay warn as heavy monsoon rains ended up anticipated to pound the Himalayan country in which more than 100 have died in floods and landslides because June, officers stated.
Some 110 folks had been killed and one more 100 wounded as landslides and flash floods washed or swept absent houses, upended roads and bridges and displaced hundreds of other people in 26 of the country’s 77 districts, law enforcement claimed.
The loss of life toll was envisioned to rise as 48 persons were nonetheless missing.
Large rains have been anticipated to pound considerably of the mostly mountainous nation of Kathmandu in the up coming four times.