Nepal assembly abolishes monarchy, gives king 15 days to vacate palace

The world's last Hindu kingdom became its newest secular republic as Nepal's lawmakers, led by former communist insurgents, abolished the monarchy that had reigned over this Himalayan land for 239 years. Ahead of the vote Wednesday, thousands of people marched, danced and sang in the streets of Katmandu in anticipation of the result, waving red hammer-and-sickle flags as dour King Gyanendra awaited his fate in the pink concrete palace that dominates the city's center. He finally found out the fate of his throne late in the day when, as expected, the newly elected Constituent Assembly declared the country a republic and abolished the monarchy by a vote of 560-4. The assembly's 37 other members were not present.