Nepal celebrates birth of a prince

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NEPAL’S Crown Princess Himani gave birth to a 7lb baby boy yesterday, providing Nepal with a second in line to the throne and giving the Himalayan kingdom a reason to celebrate after one of the most turbulent periods in its history.

The government urged Nepalis to light candles to mark the birth of a grandson for King Gyanendra, crowned last year after his brother, King Birendra, died in a massacre of the royal household.

The birth resolved the question of a successor for Crown Prince Paras, first in line to the throne in a kingdom whose royal line passes through male heirs of the Shah dynasty.

"By the grace of God a first son ... has been born to His Royal Highness Crown Prince Paras and Crown Princess Himani," state radio in the world’s only Hindu kingdom announced.

The baby was born at the royal palace by Caesarean section. Mother and baby "are both doing well", state radio said.

Under Hindu tradition, babies are normally named on the 11th day after their birth, so no name was announced.