A Failing State

Though the economy has stalled and high-end tourists have stayed away during the eight years that Nepal has been racked by a Maoist insurgency, the impoverished Himalayan kingdom could always count on two sources of foreign revenue: aid groups and backpackers. Now they are under threat, too. Earlier this month, Maoist guerrillas fighting to overthrow the monarchy and the country's feudal system called for a protracted national transport blockade to starve the capital, Kathmandu, and so to "pressure" the government to call a cease-fire, according to a statement from Maoist spokesman Jhhakku Prasad Subedi.

The rebel blockade achieved...

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