The World’s Most Powerful Passports [Infographic]

Some passports afford their bearers more freedom than others and if you’re a U.S. holder, you’ll be able to enjoy an impressive level of visa-free travel. According to the latest edition of the Henley Passport Index, the U.S. passport is one of the world’s most powerful, granting its holders visa-free access or visa-on-arrival access to 186 countries. That’s a level of freedom shared with Austria, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

After its citizens gained visa-free access to Myanmar earlier this month, Japan has been named the country with the most powerful passport. Japanese travelers are now able to cross an impressive 190 borders without restrictions. Singapore, another Asian island nation, is in second place with 189 destinations. France, Germany and South Korea follow close behind with visa-free travel to 188 countries. At the other end of the scale, Afghanistan and Iraq have the least powerful passports worldwide with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to a mere 30 jurisdictions…MORE

Nepal buys Rs 700m mansion for its ambassador in Washington

Nepal buys Rs 700m mansion for its ambassador in Washington

At a time when state agencies have been prescribed austerity to reduce burden on the public coffers, the government has purchased a lavish mansion as the residence of the Nepali ambassador to the United States of America at a cost of $6.8 million—approximately Rs700 million.

The cost, which does not include the additional three percent commission to the middleman, totals the entire rent Nepal pays for all its missions aboard annually, including the embassy buildings, and residences of the embassy staff and the ambassadors.

…more

Nepal — the latest specialty coffee grower


Himalayan climate is ideal for coffee growing but farmers face numerous hurdles

Nikkei Asian Review

KATHMANDU — As the aroma of freshly brewed coffee fills the air, Nima Tenjing Sherpa bends and perches his nose above a cup at a table inside a tiny roaster in a posh Kathmandu neighborhood. He inhales the fragrance, an act reminiscent of wine-tasting, then sips at the coffee. “It’s sweet with traces of fruit,” he says.

…MORE