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KATHMANDU, NEPAL, July 15, 2001: Four-year-old Preeti Shakya has been chosen as the new living goddess of Nepal, to spend her childhood revered as the source of prosperity for the mountain kingdom -- a status she will hold until she reaches puberty. This BBC report is more detailed than earlier reports. The Kumari is revered by both Hindus and Buddhists who believe that she has blessed the king and the 22 million people of Nepal with peace and prosperity. Shortlisted candidates must pass tough tests, including spending a night among the heads of ritually slaughtered goats and buffaloes. Past Kumaris have complained of being returned unprepared into the harsh realities of life when they reach puberty. In December, the government announced a monthly pension of $40 for serving and retired Kumaris.