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Former Royal Palace in Nepal Reopens as Museum


The Narayanhiti royal palace in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, was opened to the public as a national museum Sunday.

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala hoisted the country's new national flag, while an army band played the new national anthem. Also present were the former Maoist leaders, who led a violent campaign against the monarchy and are now expected to lead Nepal's next government.

The key tourist attractions at the museum likely will be the royal crown and scepter, as well as a Mercedes-Benz given to former King Gyanendra's grandfather by Adolf Hitler.

The deposed king left the main palace in Katmandu on Wednesday and moved to Nagarjun palace, just north of the Nepalese capital. In his address to the nation, the former monarch promised to stay in Nepal to work for the good of the people.

The former rebels agreed to a peace deal with Nepal's government in 2006, after a decade-long civil war that claimed at least 13,000 lives. They won the most seats in April's election of a new constituent assembly that will re-write the nation's constitution.

Last month, the assembly voted overwhelmingly to end the 239-year-old monarchy and make Nepal a republic.

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