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For the last 6 years, communist Maoists have been fighting in Nepal to overthrow the constitutional monarchy. Last June, several members of the royal family, as well as the King, were killed. More than 3,000 people have died in skirmishes so far, but tourists have been safe -- until this week. Three teams of mountaineers were robbed by Maoist rebel guerillas, who demanded their cash and equipment. However, the climbers negotiated to keep their gear and give $128 per person, and surprisingly, the rebels agreed -- and even wrote receipts for the cash. Quite civil of them. Tourists are crucial to the economy of Nepal, and there have been efforts on both sides to leave them out of it.

This week, the State Department updated the travel advisory to Nepal, due to increased violence when the rebels shut down Kathmandu, leaving tourists stuck with most shops closing, and transportation becoming difficult.

Liz Ohlee lives in Newfoundland, Canada, but she's been on a trekking vacation in the Himalayas for a few months. We got her on a telephone line from her Nepal hotel to give us an update on the safety situation for tourists over there.

Interview: Trouble in Nepal?


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