Nepal Becomes a Republic, Ending Monarchy

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A special assembly in Nepal holds its first meeting Wednesday to declare the Himalayan nation a republic. It is abolishing its centuries-old Hindu monarchy.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And in Nepal, political leaders today take an historic step. The country's specially elected assembly is to declare Nepal a republic. In doing so, it ends a monarchy that dates back to the 1700s. The unpopular king, the monarch Gyanendra, has been given 15 days to vacate the pink palace in Katmandu he calls home.

Tight security surrounds the declaration of this new republic. A string of bombs exploded this week in Katmandu, all apparently aimed at supporters of the republic. And those supporters are out protesting the king.

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