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Nepal's legendary warriors face uncertain future

Young men prepare for the British Army Gurkha test, which includes a 5km run up a steep hill carrying a 25kg load. (Photo by Denis Gray)

POKHARA, Nepal -- As dawn's rays illuminate the snowy Himalayan peaks above them, hundreds of young men strain and sweat through the morning's drills in hopes of passing a test of grueling physical and mental exertion. Their chances are slim. Only 240 out of more than 8,000 aspirants will be selected this year to serve in one of the world's elite military forces: The British Army Gurkhas.

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