Nepal Today

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gurkhas hail victory in British court

Kathmandu, 1 Oct: Nepal’s Gurkhas who won the right of residence at a British court Tuesday hailed the victory.
“We were treated as slaves by the British government. The high court has upheld the Gurkhas as true fighters,” said Krishna Rai, vice-president of Gurkha Army Ex-Servicemen’s Organization.
Nearly 2,000 Gurkhas who retired before 1997 can now reside in the UK where only soldiers from Nepal who served in the British army after 1997 were eligible to settle even though all foreign soldiers serving four years in the British army have a right of abode.
A two-year legal battle has been resolved.
‘I’m absolutely delighted that the Gurkhas are finally going to get the rights that they so richly deserve,” said Nick Clegg, leader of Liberal Democratic party.
Gurkhas have been recruited in the British army since 1815.

PM Prachanda defends son

Kathmandu, 1 Oct: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, under heavy criticism for taking his entire family to the US on government expense, defended his son Tuesday on return home.
“Prakash Dahal is my son. He is a computer staffer at the Prime Minister’s Office and I took him for operating computer. It is great injustice if you say that he is a family member and an abuse of state resources,” Prachanda told reporters.
Prachanda said he found curiosity and attraction for a new Nepal.
“One aspect was that someone who came from an armed rebellion has become prime minister. This seems to have hit home everywhere,” he said.

Rebels declare dasain truce

Kathmandu, 1 Oct: Three rebel groups in the terai have declared a dasain cease-fire.
Madesh Virus Killers, Madeshi Mukti Tigers and Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha declared cessation of hostilities till tihar.
More than one dozen rebel groups are active in the south.
Fourteen groups met in Bihar last week to intensify the war after dasain.
Three persons were injured in an explosion at Malangwa Tuesday.

Maoist killed

Kathmandu, 1 Oct: A Maoist leader was shot dead in Solokhumbu Sunday.
Lok Bahadur BK, district member of Dalit Mukti Morcha was shot and killed by an unidentified gang.

Girija rejects Maoist invite to join govt,

Kathmandu, 1 Oct: Girija Prasad Koirala Tuesday rejected a claim of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda Nepali Congress will join the Maoist-led government.
‘What will be your situation when you are first demoralized and then made an offer. That’s the Congress,” Koirala said in the capital hours after the prime minister returned home from New York.
“Prachanda now is following the Shining Path. He has forgot Shining Path was a dark path.
The prime minister claimed Nepali Congress will join government.
“Congress will also join government,” Prachanda told reporters who said relations between political parties had deteriorated.

Prachanda’s nepotism

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 1 Oct: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda has intensified a drive to provide government jobs to relatives, Budhabar reports.
Prachanda clarified Tuesday he took son Prakash to the USA as a computer staff. He gave priority to family members while appointing family members personal secretary and joint secretary.
Shamir Dahal has been appointed joint personal secretary; Samir is son of Narayan Dahal, the prime minister’s brother and a CA member.
Gadanga Dahal, younger daughter of the prime minister, has been appointed a section chief while another daughter, Renu, has been nominated to the assembly.
Wife Sita tags along the prime minister at home and abroad.
Like Prachanda, Communication Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara and Defence Minister RaamBahadur Thapa Badal took their sons to North Korea and China respectively, Janaastha reports.
While returning from the USA Tuesday, the prime minister’s son, Prakash, rode a covered flagged car.
Agriculture Minister Jaya Prakash Gupta said Jaya Hind at a programme organaized by the foreign ministry in India in the presence of other Nepali ministers.
A scheduled meeting of CPN (Maoist) scheduled for Wednesday is not being conducted, Ghatana ra BIchar reports, Ghatana ra Bichar
Prachanda took along his wife, son, daughter-in-law and daughter to the USA; Prachanda is likely to encounter opposition in the party; he didn’t take a person handling foreign affairs in the party.

Madhav Kumar Nepal leaves for Qatar

Kathmandu, 1 Oct: Former CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal left for Qatar Tuesday, Janaastha reports.
He just returned from India.
A Norwegian team is in town to probe assistance the Scandinavian country could give for the peace process.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Previous govt. licensed stolen cars for Maoists; Pun opposes parliamentary system

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 30 Sept: Maoist military leader Barsha Man Pun ‘Ananta’ said Tuesday previous government licensed stolen cars for Maoists.
“Government numbers have been by the previous government through a cabinet decision,” he said in an interview with party mouthpiece Janadesh.
“The previous government of Girija Prasad Koirala sanctioned arms and security for 35 central leaders , including Chairman Prachanda. This continues. Why do former home ministers, generals, ministers and some Congress and CPN-UML leaders who aren’t even ministers get security?” Ananta asked in reply to a question why Maoists entered the CA premises with weapons.
“This is not a simple issue. It [charges] comes at a time when the old system is about end through the budget. This propaganda is directed,” he said.
‘There are forces, foreign and local, to reintroduce the old system by putting obstacles in integration of two armies,” Pun said which will be completed in six months.
After Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and top leader Mohan Baidya Kiran. Ananta also opposed a parliamentary system of government.
‘We don’t have a parliamentary system now; there’s a competitive multi-party system. We’ll accept democracy, press independence, individual freedom; that’s not a parliamentary system.
“All multi-party systems in the world aren’t parliamentary. We want a unique Nepali multi-party system by discarding the limits weaknesses of a parliamentary system,” Pun said.
Main opposition Nepali Congress leaders have charged Maoists are trying to impose a totalitarian system on Nepal; but Congress helped to bring Maoists in government by toppling the Shah dynasty through foreign connivance.
Koirala played a lead role.

Prachanda and family didn’t Washington

Kathmandu, 30 Sept: USA rejected a request of Nepal’s Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal to tour Washington with his family, Punatjagaran reports.
According to diplomatic sources in New York, an invitation was sought to tour Washington DC.
A reply came the family could the American capital as tourists without giving the visit official or unofficial status.

Nepal seeks details on Chinese milk products

Kathmandu, 30 Sept: Stirred by the worldwide hue and cry over China’s contaminated milk scandal, the government has written to Chinese authorities asking them about melamine tainted Chinese products, The Kathmandu Post reports.
Details have been requested with Enquiry Point of Food Quality Control Department of China.
“We will conduct an investigation [of import of Chinese contaminated milk products] once we get complete information about the products,” Utam Kumar Bhattarai, director general of the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control said.
The department has started work on importing test kits from Singapore to conduct tests on Chinese formula milk being sold in Nepal.
Government has no data on Chinese milk products imports.

CA recesses for dasain; other details

Kathmandu, 30 Sept: The CA session has been recessed until 19 October for the dasain.
Laxmi puja will be observed nine days later 28 October.
Nearly six months after the 10 April assembly election, the CA hasn’t even started preliminary work on drafting a constitution.
An interim constitution is in force after an unelected parliament threw away the 1990 constitution in Nepal’s first constitutional coup by parliament.
The CA is still discussing regulations for a constitution drafting committee which will be empowered to write a constitution.
The only agreement so far is to include all 25 parties in the assembly in the drafting committee.
Small parties oppose a recommendation of major ruling and the main opposition Nepali Congress to impose party recommendations through whips; smaller parties are demanding conscience voting.
There won’t be popular participation in drafting the country’s basic law; CA has to assembly a constitution in another 18 months.
Nepal has had four constitutions in 48 years.
Before the CA was adjourned Monday, Finance Minister Dr Babauram Bhattarai, under pressure and demand of the Tarai Madesh Loktantric Party, withdrew a budgetary provision for entry fees for Indian-registered vehicles for 24 hours.
The party obstructed the assembly session.

Agreement on Nepal, India water resources talks

Kathmandu, 30 Sept: Top Nepali and India water resources officials have agreed to extend by one year the time to prepare reports on the construction for the Kosi high dam and a diversion for the Sunkosi and Kamala.
Talks began in the capital Monday after a four-year break.
Officials also agreed to prepare detailed feasibility report of the 245 MW Naumure hydro power project to be constructed by India on Rapti river.
Officials of the two countries are inspecting the damage caused by the flooded Kosi river Tuesday.
Talks resume Wednesday.

Goit rejects talks with govt.

Kathmandu, 30 Sept: Chief of Akhil Tarai Mukti Morcha (ATMM) Jaya Krishna Goit on Monday said all the armed groups operating in the tarai are going to unite under his leadership shortly, The Kathmandu Post reports.
Talking to the Post on Monday, Goit said rumours about 14 armed groups mulling a plan to select a new leader for a ‘united front’ after removing him and another leader, Jwala Singh, were false.
He did not elaborate when the Tarai groups are going to unite.
Goit also ruled out the possibility of his holding talks with the government.
Fourteen armed groups are meeting in Bihar.

Dasain starts

Kathmandu, 30 Sept: Dasain started Tuesday.
Auspicious time for ghatastapana was at 9.25 in the morning.
Bijaya dashami is on 9 October.
Auspicious time for tika is from 11.11 to 11.57 in the morning, according to astrologers.
New Road was packed with shoppers Monday which experienced the biggest traffic jam in the capital in two years.

PM Prachanda returns from New York Tuesday; nothing unique about Bush

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 30 Sept: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda returns home Tuesday after addressing the UN general assembly in New York where he had a brief encounter with US President George W. Bush during a week-long stay.
Prachanda addressed the UN after visits of China and India.
‘Some important steps have been taken to relations with USA,” Prachanda said in an interview with Dinesh Jung Shah of Kantipur in New York adding,” Our wish is to is to improve the bitter relations of the past with the world’s most powerful nation.”
He said the his three visits to China, India and USA are ‘historic’.
“Like the USA, I didn’t find anything unique in Bush,” the prime minister said in reply to a question.
‘But with the USA, the visit is the beginning of relations”
‘He added,” I felt American compulsion to pay attention to Nepal’s Maoist movement, Maoist party and its leadership even without liking them,” Prachanda said in reply to a question: How do you look at the meeting with Bush?
He said takes the meeting with Bush at the US President’s invitation ‘positively’. He continued: “I take the meeting very positively.”
Prachanda said a meeting with US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Richard Boucher was the ‘first official talks’ with USA.
‘I told him why US policy towards hasn’t changed.” he added. “USA still puts on its terrorist list. The USA isstill where it is.”
Prachanda quoted Baucher as saying the Prachanda, Bush encounter was ‘proof of improvement of relations’.
Asked if elations has improved with USA, Prachanda told Shah,” I don’t feel this language can be used right now.”
He added: ”For us, most importantly the assembly meeting as an opportunity for us to extend our reach to donors and the international community.”

One passenger killed, four injured in rebel firing

Kathmandu, 30 Sept: One passenger was killed and four were injured Monday when rebels of Madesh Mukti Tigers fired on a bus in Nawalparasi for defying a transport strike.
The bus was proceeding to the capital from Nepalgunj.
Daily violence continues in the tarai.
Fourteen rebel groups are meeting across the border tounite and intensify the revel movement after dasain.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Nepali ambassadors Washington and New York sending distorted news

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 29 Sept: Nepali ambassadors in Washington and the UN Suresh Chalise and Madhu Raman Acharya and are sending back home distorted news on the meeting between Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and US President George W. Bush, Jana Bhavana reports.
News based in reports from the missions claim the visit of the prime minister to the USA is extremely successful.
But they are sending different reports to Nepali Congress leaders, including Sujata , daughter of former prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala.
One source said Acharya telephoned Sujata to tell her thePrachanda, Bush meeting was only a get to know affair.
Before Prachanda could complete his introductory remarks, the encounter ended with a terse Bush comment,” I know everything.”
Girija Prasad Koirala and Sher Bahadur Deuba didn’t meet the US president when they addressed the UN general assembly session but Manmohan Adhikari did meet Bill Clinton.

Former king greets 22,000 Nepalis, foreigners in dasain

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 29 Sept: Girija Prasad Koirala has received dasain greetings from former King Gyanendra, Jana Bhawana reports.
Besides Koirala, leaders who pushed a republic have also received greeting cards.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Madhav Nepal, Jhalanath Khanal of CPN-UML, Mashal’s Mohan Bikram and Maoist Mohan Baidya have also received greeting cards.
In the past, 15,000 cards were printed; sources said 22,000 cards have been printed this time.
More foreigners have received cards this year, according to the same source.
Jamara will be kept this time at Nirmal Niwas, according to information received.
Where to keep jamara and whether to visit temples during dasain will be decided at a meeting Monday; the meeting with secretaries scheduled for Sunday couldn’t take place at Nirmal Niwas because of a strike called by Rashriya Janamorcha.
The card is sent in the name of Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Deb.

Govt. sanctions money for animal sacrifice

Kathmandu, 29 Sept: Government has sanctioned money for animal sacrifice during dasain, Rajdhani reports.
Money has been sanctioned for the sacrifice of 54 buffaloes and 54goats at Hanumandhoka and Taleju Bhawani.
Government decided to give continuity to animal sacrifice following protests of the Newar community after money wasn’t sanctioned for sacrifice during the Indra jatra festival.
Fulpati will not be brought to Hanumandhoka this year from Gorkha.
The tradition was started by Shah kings.

Nagarjung for former king

Kathmandu, 29 Sept: Government is preparing to let former King Gyanendra to stay for life in Nagarjung, Tarun reports.
Former anchaladish Surya Bahadur Sen Oli has been given responsibility to make arrangements.
The former king was preparing to move to Chauni.

India recalling Sood

Kathmandu, 29 Sept: Ego war between officials in the Indian intelligence agency Raw and foreign ministry has peaked, Tarun reports.
Following the ego war, Indian Ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood could be recalled.
Government was also considering replacing RAW Chief Alok Joshi.
Alok charges Sood is leaking RAW plans; Sood complains Alok is not sharing information.

Divergent views on integration

Kathmandu, 29 Sept: There seems to be clearly divergent views on the integration of the Maoist combatants in the Nepal army with Department of Foreign Investment (DFID) and government of Britain advocating, and even willing to assist in the process, and India opposing it, Newsfront reports.
In fact, former PM GP Koirala had shut down a DFID sponsored workshop aimed at exploring integration a few months ago.
According to information available, while the government of India is keen to give vocational training for Maoist combatants, it is opposed to their being integrated in the army. India, with its long association with Nepal’s military, is also believed to have told PM Prachanda during his recent visit there that integration of ‘politically indoctrinated’ combatants in the army may politicize the institution.
So far, only some European countries, mainly United Kingdom and its development agency DFID and UNMIN have shown their interest in the security sector reform in Nepal.

Nepal, India water resources talks

Kathmandu, 29 Sept: Nepal, India joint committee on water resources is meeting in the Nepalese capital for the first time in four years. Nepalese side is led by Water Resources Secretary Shanker Koirala while the Indian side in led by Secretary of Water resources Umesh Narayan Panjiar.
The talks are being held after Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s India visit.
Flooding in east mid and far-West will figure prominently in the talks.

Maoist office bombed

Kathmandu, 29 Sept: The Maoist office was bombed Sunday night in Janakpur by Madesh Liberation Tigers.
Damage was slight.

Nepal Army has no information on Chinese military assistance

Kathmandu, 29 Sept: The government of People’s Republic of China has become the first country to come forward with a financial assistance package for Nepal Army (NA); but its actual purposes are unspecified and the NA seems to be in dark about the whole deal, Newsfront reports.
The government of the People’s Republic of China has pledged a 100 million rupee package for the army.
The assistance from China was announced by Chinese Minister for Defense Liang Guanglie on September 26 during his meeting with visiting Defense Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa in Beijing.
‘We have no knowledge about and we are not in a position to state what this amount will be spent on,” AHQ source said.
The entire aid offer routed through Badal has sent a chill across the country.
Defense analysts say China’s promised aid package gives a different twist to the whole issue [integration of PLA and NA] because it comes at a time when Minister Badal also approached the Chinese government to provide specialized courses like ‘war college’ etc to the Maoist combatant leaders, so that they acquire the necessary qualification to be absorbed in the ‘general rank’ when integration takes place.
The fact that the minister has not yet informed the army about the aid-package is also being differently.

Differences surface at rebel meet in Bihar; other details

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 29 Sept: Most central leaders of 14 rebel groups in the tarai are searching for alternatives to All Tarai Liberation Chairman Jaya Krishna Goit and and Janatantrik Liberation Front Chairman Nagendra Paswan Jwala Singh, Naya Patrika reports.
Nine groups are opposed to them.
There can’t be unity in the groups under Goit and Singh.
The meeting started at Katihar, Bihar, Friday
According to participants, name of Janatantrik Tarai Morcha Spokesman Bibas Bidrohi has been proposed instead.
A violent nation-wide general strike called by Rashtriya Janamorcha Sunday against a federal structure paralyzed life.
Major parties have adopted federalism as the main agenda while restructuring the state.

Former king, queen extend dasain greetings

Kathmandu, 29 Sept: Former King Gyanendra and Queen Komal have offered dasain greetings to the people.
The card bears the royal insignia.

CA to meet Monday

Kathmandu, 29 Sept: The CA meets again Monday after Finance Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai Sunday presented a revised document of the annual budget 2008/09.
The assembly meeting resumed Sunday after Congress lawmakers disrupted proceedings for three consecutive days demanding incorporation of pledges made in finance minister’s budget speech.

YCL to be bifurcated

Kathmandu, 29 Sept: The CPN-Maoist plans to mobilize its YCL under two separate units—production force and construction force—to help bring about prosperity and sustainable peace in the country, The Kathmandu Post reports quoting YCL Kathmandu Valley in-charge Chandra Bahadur Thapa Sagar.
Sagar said it was important to keep the youth employed, for the unemployed youth bulge is more than likely to drive the country into conflict again.
CPN-Maoist currently has 500,000 organized members.
Thapa said the production force would be mobilized for industrial work such as running factories and in herb processing, while the construction force would engage in infrastructure development such as building roads and bridges.

CPN-UML also against integration of PLA in Nepal Army

Kathmandu, 29 Sept: CPN-UML General Secretary Jhalanath Khanal has also come out against integration of the PLA in Nepal Army demanded and being by Maoists who are leading the government.
Khanal told reporters Sunday,” Group induction of a politically and indoctrinated army in the Nepal Army is not possible.”
Khanal said only combatants who quit the party and meet army standards can join the state army which is also opposed to integration.
Maoists say integration is part of the peace process incorporated in negotiated peace agreements.
MJF, another coalition partner, is also opposed to integration.
Main opposition Nepali Congress has also rejected incorporation.

Bhaktapur has a Kumari

Kathmandu, 29SeptL Shreeya Bajracharya has been selected Kumari of Bhaktapur ahead of the festival season.
Bhaktapur was without a Kumari since June 2007.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

PM doesn’t take president into confidence [Excerpts]

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 28 Sept: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda didn’t ‘share confidence’
with president on the results of his China and India visits but only told Dr Ram Baran Yadav he was going and had returned before and after the visits, Santosh Acharya reports in Nepal newsmagazine.
Government chief Prachanda briefed the president on his China visit over telephone.
The prime minister didn’t ‘brief’ the president on the outcome of his China visit; Prachanda didn’t give thepresident details of outcome of his India visit.
Before leaving for the UN general assembly session in New York, the prime minister only told the president he was leaving.
Maoists consider Dr Yadav a ‘Congress president’.
Dr Yadav is searching for a role for the president under the interim constitution while complaining with confidantes the Maoist-led government hasn’t created an environment.
Maoists are ‘minimizing’ the president’s role; this could be problematic in the future.
President Yadav, only in the confines of his room, criticized Prime Minister’s criticism of the parliamentary system;the president is also unhappy with the mention of ‘people’s war’ and People’s Liberation Army in his policy and programme address to the CA.
But the president can’t openly come out against his sidelining by Maoists.
Even two months after his election, the president’s office hasn’t been properly established.
Only Lalit BahadurBasnet, 36, has been appointed the president’s chief personal secretary; there’s been a delay in nominating advisors.

Strike against federalism paralyzes live nation-wide

Kathmandu, 28 Sept: A nation-wide strike called by Rashtriya Janamorcha opposing federalism paralyzed life nation-wide Sunday.
A bus and a taxi were torched in the Valley.
Movement of vehicles on national highways have been disrupted with the burning of tires.
Janamorcha says federalism is costly and will disintegrate the country.

Two dead, 57 injured in bus plunge

Kathmandu, 28 Sept: Two women died and 57 passengers were injured when a bus plunged off a highway at fell off a road at Chandi Bhangjyang Sunday morning.
The bus was heading for Sindhuli from the capital.

UN secretary-general arrives 30 Oct.

Kathmandu, 28 Sept: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrives in Nepal on a two-day visit 30 October.
Dates were finalized at a meeting between the UN chief and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal in New York Saturday.
The prime minister invited Ban to visit Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha.

Flood death toll reaches 64

Kathmandu, 28 Sept: The death toll in the mid and far-West floods has reached 64. Home Minister Bamdeb Gautam told the CA Saturday.
Government will release an additional Rs77.3 million through the central natural calamity rescue committee for the victims, he said.

Another shooting death in tarai

Kathmandu, 28 Sept: Another shooting death occurred Saturday in the tarai where violence continues.
Kamal Adhikari was shot dead in Morang.
It wasn’t known if the shooting was politically motivated.

Miss Nepal 2008 contest postponed

Kathmandu, 28 Sept: Miss Nepal 2008 contest has been postponed for the fourth time on government intervention
, organizer Hidden Treasure said.
The pageant was scheduled to be held at the well-protected Tribhuvan Army Officers’ Club.
Local authorities said they couldn’t provide security.
Maoists oppose the contest.

14 rebel groups meet across border in Bihar to launch offensive

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 28 Sept: More than a dozen rebel groups in the tarai are preparing to escalate criminal activities in the region by uniting after dasain at a time when Home Minister Bamdeb Gautam has made a public commitment to improve law and order, Naya Patrika reports.
Fourteen groups mat Friday in Katihar, Bihar, to discuss working unity.
According to Bibas Bidrohi, General Secretary of Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha, Jwala Singh group, all groups active in the tarai attended the meeting; he said efforts for unity were also made.
Bodrohi said Jaya Krishna Goit will be chosen as supreme leader following unity before a new rebellion is planned.
Coordinator of unity committee Chandra Shekhar said plans are afoot to unite within five days.

Nordic company takes over Spice Nepal Pvt Ltd

Kathmandu, 28 Sept: TeliaSonera AB, a Nordic company, has acquired a majority stake in Spice Nepal Pvt Ltd, the second biggest mobile operator in Nepal, a official announcement said.
Eighty percent in direct inter4ewst of Spice Nepal Pvt Ltd have been acquired by TeliaSonera Asia Holding BV, a partnership between TeliaSonera AB and Visor Group, a Kazak company.,
“One of priorities is to expand our business in Eurasia, where we have successfully grown and created value over the past ten years. Nepal ad Cambodia have a combined population of 43 million, low mobile penetration and growing economies. I am excited at this opportunity,” said Lars Nyberg, President and CEO of TeliaSonera AB.
TeliaSonera will acquire 51 percent shares and votes in TeliaSonera Asia Holding from Visor Group which will have remaining 49 percent shares.
Spice Nepal began Nepal operations in 2005; net sale in 2007 and the first six months in 2008 was $ 41.1 million and 34.1 million respectively.
The takeover will be complete by 1 October.

Maoist weapons to be discussed with UNMIN

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 28 Sept: Acting Prime Minister Bamdeb Gautam told the CA Saturday government will discuss UN sanctioned weapons carried by Maoist with UNMIN.
“We will discuss the issue after the prime minister returns home,” Gautam said.
“This [CA] is an arms free zone,” Gautam said.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dalal Prachanda is currently in New York attending the annual UN general assembly session.
The weapons carried by Maoists with UN tags became controversial when an armed security guard of Maoist leader Barsha Man Pun Ananta entered the CA last week.
Gautam told the CA weapons won’t be allowed henceforth in the assembly premises where Nepal Police provides security.
Assembly proceedings have been disrupted for two continues days over the issue of weapons being by carried by Maoists.
Even coalition partners of Maoists in government have opposed the presence of Maoist weapons in the assembly.
“The home minister is under the prime minister. He does not have the authority to take an independent decision on the matter,” Maoist leader Top Bahadur Rayamajhi said.
“This is a non-issue,” Rayamajhi said recalling the weapons for security of Maoistcentral leaders were approved by the previous government of Girija Prasad Koirala.
Chairman Subash Nemwang also said weapons aren’t allowed inside CA premises.

Kimathanka on Nepal-Tibet border opened

Kathmandu, 27 Sept: Kimathanka- on the Nepal-Tibet border along Sankhhuwasabha, was opened Saturday by Chinese authorities after a three-month closure, Radio Nepal said.
The border was sealed inconveniencing during the Beijing Olympics.

CA session adjourned

Kathmandu, 27 Sept: Nepali Congress assembly members forded the adjournment of the CA session for the second consecutive day until Sunday.
The CA met to discuss appropriations bill.
The members demanded written presentation of finance minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai’s commitments while presenting the annual budget last week.
Congress assembly members said they will disrupt proceedings until their demand is met.
Home Minister Bamdeb Gautam, responding to an order of Chairman SubashNemwang, said nobody is permitted inside the CA with weapons.

Tourists asked to plant threes

Kathmandu, 27 Sept: Visiting tourists have been asked either to plan a tree or sponsor one.
The announcement was made on the eve of World Tourism Day being celebrated Saturday with the slogan: Tourism Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change.

German assistance

Kathmandu, 27Sept: Germany is providing 50,300 euros for Nepal’s flood victims through Nepal Red Cross Society.
The German embassy announced the contribution.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Rs 100m Chinese military assistance

Kathmandu, 27 Sept: China will provide Nepal Rs 100 million in economic assistance, RSS reports
Nepali embassy in Beijing stated that Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie made the announcement in a meeting with Nepali Defence Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa
The assistance will be spent in military purpose.
The minister also met Vice Chairman of the Central MilitaryCommission Guo Boxiong, the Chinese armed folrces highest body.
Minister Thapa is in China to observe the ‘Warrior 2008’ military exercise at the Chinese Defense Ministry’s invitation.

Jhakri to lead CPN-UML body

Kathmandu, 27 Sept: Ram Kumari Jhakri has been elected president of the ANNFSU becoming the first woman to lead the student body affiliated with the CPN-UML.
Jhakri defeated her only rival Gokul Gharti by 527 votes in elections held in Pokhara Friday.

Tarai rebel killed

Kathmandu, 27 Sept: Khaheru Dewan, area in-charge of JTMM Jwala Singh was shot dead in Rautahat Friday.
Police said he was killed in a security operation carried out by state forces.

PM Prachanda sells Nepal change at UN

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 27 Sept: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda Thursday sold political transformation in Nepal in April 2006 while addressing the UN general assembly in New York.
“I intend to lead them [Nepalis] with conviction and sincerity towards a new journey of sustainable peace and equitable progress in a modern Nepal,” he said.
The peace process, he said, “can also serve as a reference model for peace elsewhere’.
He espoused the case of the LDCs. We want full implementation of the respective global compacts, the Brussels Programme of Action and the Almaty Programme of Action for the Landlocked Developing countries,” he said.
He said LDCs should have duty-free and quota-free access for all goods in world trade.
Prachanda invited foreign investment in hydro power sector and added,” I strongly appeal to the international community to extend all necessary support and cooperation to protect and promote its [Nepal’s pristine environment,” saying climate change was threatening life support systems in Nepal.
The address was routine.
Dahal said UN should ‘reform and democratize itself to take on the numerous challenges in international peace and security effectively’.

Koirala warning to Maoists

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 27Sept: Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala warned Thursday he won’t tolerate what he called a Maoist conspiracy to scuttle democracy.
“I am serious at Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda’s statement several days ago<’Koirala told a public meeting in the capital referring to Dahal’s criticism of the parliamentary system.
“Maoists are attempting to scuttle democracy. I’ll stop them. I challenge them,” Koirala said.
Koirala challenged Prachanda to act against parliamentary system.
“What do they mean when they say parliamentary system is unpopular in the world?” Koirala said and askedCongres loyalists to rise up against Maoists.
The former prime minister also opposed integration between Nepal Army and PLA being pushed by Maoists.poke
“How did the prime minister buy a bed worth Rs 200,000 when he calls himself a representative of the proletariate?” Koirala asked.

CA chairman directs home minister to give statement

Kathmandu, 27 Sept: CA Chairman Subash Nemwang Friday directed Home Minister Bamdeb Gautam to give a statement on entry of armed Maoists as security guards in the assembly.
He said CA is a “weapons free area”.
Members of ruling parties and Nepali Congress Friday disturbed CA proceedings objecting to the entryof armed Maoists in the assembly.
Former Minister Girija Prasad Koirala Friday asked UNMIN to investigate the entry of Maoists with weapons in the assembly.
“They (Maoists) have entered the assembly with weapons to weaken democracy. The weapons have UN tags. UN should monitor them,” Koirala said.
Maoist leader Barsha Man Pun ‘ Ananta’ admitted the entry of Maoists with weapons in the assembly.
“I entered the assembly with PLA after the previous government sanctioned armed guards for 35 central leaders, including Prachanda,” Pun said.

Wild elephants kill three members of family

Kathmandu, 26 Sept: Wild elephants trampled on and killed three members of a family , , , including a mother and daughter, at a village in Sarlahi overnight, Radio Nepal said.
Seven wild elephants entered the village and destroyed seven hutments.

A ruling party constituent against integration of PLA, Nepal Army; other details

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 26 Sept: A top leader of MJF, a member of the ruling coalition, has said his party opposes the integration of the PLA and Nepal Army even as Maoists said the two armies will be integrated within six months.
The MJF is also the fourth largest partying the CA.
‘If indoctrinated fighters are integrated into Nepal Army (NA), it will lose its identity inviting disaster,” Sharad Singh Bhandari warned Thursday.
Army Spokesman Brig Gen Ranindra Chetri said NA was not aware of integration between the forces, according to Rajdhani.
“We don’t know anything about it [integration]; no official word has also been received,” Rajdhani quoted Chetri as saying.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

PM Prachanda meets world leaders; other details

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 26 Sept: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda Thursday held discussions with Turkish President Abudullah Gul in New York.
Prachanda also held discussions with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Bhutanese counterpart Jigmi Y Thinley.
Dahal held discussions with Norwegian International Development Minister Eric Solheim—a frequent visitor to Nepal.
Prachanda also held a telephonic conversation with former US President Jimmy Carter.
He addressed the UN Millennium Development Goals summit.
Many has observed President George W Bush comment during a brief encounter with Prachanda as a diplomatic snub, Samya reports.
“ I am closely watching developments in Nepal closely; I know what is happening there,” Bush said.
During a meeting with US Assistant secretary of State for South Asia Richard Boucher, Prachanda gave a clear signal he had no faith in Nepal Army when two officers were told to go out of the room.
Ministers in the Maoist-led government are also on a tour of world capitals.
Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav Thursday discussed bilateral Nepal-Denmark relations and expansion of cooperation in Copenhagen with Foreign Affairs Co-chair of parliament Karsten Lauritzen.
Law Minister Deb Gurung is in India and Defence Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’ is visiting China; Communication Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara is in North Korea and Youth Minister Gopal Sakya is in Azerbaijan while Culture Minister Gopal Kirate is in Hong Kong.
Tourism Minister Hishila Yami returned from UK Thursday while her husband and Finance Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai flies for Washington in several days to attend a conference of the World Bank.

Cuba opening embassy in capital

Kathmandu, 26 Sept: Cuba is opening an embassy in the capital shortly, Samya reports.
The embassy will be headed by an ambassador.
Diplomatic relations are being established between the two countries.

NSP establishing a defence brigade

Kathmandu, 26 Sept: Nepal Sadbhavana Party (NSP) is establishing a 40,000 strong Madesh defence brigade in the next six months quoting NSP Minister for Commerce Rajendra Mahoto, RSS reports.
Mahoto said the entry of Madeshis in Nepal Army en block would have more chances as per the understanding signed between the government and the United Madeshi Front.

Congress to disrupt CA session Friday

Kathmandu, 26 Sept: Nepali Congress is disrupting the CA session Friday, Annapurna Post reports.
Congress will disrupt proceedings until Maoists explain the presence of armed Maoists security guards in the assembly.
An informal party meeting Thursday decided to disrupt proceedings.

Widespread govt. transfers

Kathmandu, 26 Sept: Government administrative committee Wednesday decided on widespread transfers on senior government officials while Prime Minister Prachanda is in USA.
The committee meeting was chaired by Home Minister Bamdeb Gautam.
Fifteen joint secretaries have been transferred and 30 joint secretaries have been reinstated.

250 Nepalis stranded in Kabul

Kathmandu, 26 Sept: Around 250 Nepali youth who had landed in Kabul a few weeks ago through foreign employment agents are reportedly stranded after agents fled, The Kathmandu Post reports from Damak.
According to Indra Prasain, his brother Bishnu Prasad called him Thursday to inform that he had been left high and dry after the agent disappeared without providing them promised employment.
Prasain also quoted his brother assaying that many had become ill due to lack of food.

Rebel held in Parsa

Kathmandu, 26 Sept: Sinod Mahato Parsa district in-charge of Tarai Mukti Tigers was arreste neat Raxaul Thursday.
A petrol pump was bombed in Biratnagar Thursday.

14 committees in CA

Kathmandu, 26 Sept: An agreement was reached Thursday to have 14 committees in the CA—three administrative, one constitutional and 10 issue related.
A constitution drafting committee will have 61 members; all 25 political parties in the assembly will be represented.
Nepali Congress wants former chief justice Bishwanath Adhikari to head the committee while other parties are pushing the candidacy of the CA chairman.

Former king’s dasain ghar in Narayanhiti

Kathmandu, 26 Sept: Chief Priest Shekhar Pandit, who was reinstated recently by government, has made available a room in his office in Narayanhiti as dasain ghar for former King Gyanendra and his family, Nepal Samacharpatra reports.
He also collected materials for ghatastaphana Thursday.
The room is also the prayer room of the former king.

Production resumes in Dabar Nepal

Kathmandu, 26 Sept: Production resumed at the Dabar Nepal plant near Birgunj Thursday after a 27-day clpsure by management.
Workers were demanding perks, including bonus.
Management agreed to hold talks with union leaders.

China opens Tibet for climbing

Kathmandu, 26 Sept: China opened up Tibet for climbing again two weeks ago, a travel agent said.
Climbing was banned in March after violence against Chinese rule broke out in Tibet in March.
Nepal has been the biggest beneficiary with 20 expeditions receiving permission to climb the 8163 meters high Manaslu.
The 8848 meters high Mount Everest and the 8201 Cho Oyu attracts climbers in Tibet.
Cho Oyu, a common peak between Nepal and Tibet, is difficult to climb from Nepal.

AANFSU election underway in Pokhara

Kathmandu, 26 Sept: Election for office bearers, including president of All-Nepal National Free Students’ Union—a student wing of CPN-UML- got underway in Pokhara at five in the morning Friday.
Ram Kumar Jhakri and Gokul Gharti was contesting the presidency.
There are 2,300 eligible voters.

36 dead in mid and far-West floods

Kathmandu, 26 Sept: Altogether 36 persons have die din floods and landslides triggered by heavy rain in the mid and far-West while 18,000 families have been displaced in the region, the home ministry said.
Government is setting Rs five billion for relief and rehabilitation.
Acting Prime Minister Bamdev Gautam inspected seven flood-hit districts Thursday.
Six passengers are missing and seven swam to safety on the flooded Kosi Thursday.
Meanwhile, UN has appealed for $15.5 million from the international community for the flood victims of Nepal.

Free Tibet activities on increase in east Nepal

Kathmandu, 26 Sept: Supporters of the Free Tibet Movement have been using the border in Sankuwasabha and Taplejung districts for their cross-border movements, The Kathmandu Post reports Sankuwasabha.
Local people said they come to and from India through the border between Olangchunggola of Taplejung and Ridak of Sankuwasabha.
According to a local preferring anonymity, about three dozen Tibetans recently entered Nepali territory. He added that he did no know where they went.
Chandra Lal Giri of Mulyankan monthly, who visited the area, said the campaigners of Free Tibet Movement have increased their activities there.
Sources said that Free Tibet supporters intensified their activities in the area to recruit youths into the army of the Dalai Lama in Dharmashala, India.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Defence minister Badal meets Chinese counterpart

Kathmandu, 25 Sept: Defence Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa Badal met his Chinese counterpart Liang Guanglie in Beijing Wednesday, RSS reports.
He arrived in the Chinese capital Tuesday to attend a military exercise of the People’s Liberation Army in Outer Mongolia.

Prachanda calls for change in US policy

Kathmandu, 25 Sept: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda has expressed his dissatisfaction over the US government’s unchanged viewpoint towards Nepal’s Maoists, The Kathmandu Post reports.
Speaking at a talk programme organized by Asia Society in New York, Dahal informed that he has conveyed his dissatisfaction to US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Richard Boucher during a meeting with the latter.
He asked Boucher why the US government is still reluctant to change its view of the Maoists even after they have come a long way in the peace process and came into power through democratic election.

Monsoon ends Thursday

Kathmandu, 25 Sept: Monsoon is retreating from Nepal Thursday, Department of Hydrology and Meteorology said.
Kathmandu experienced probably its last rain of the monsoon this year Wednesday.

Chinese milk products banned

Kathmandu, 25 Sept: Government has banned the import and sale of Chinese milk products, Kantipur reports.
Government has also decided to warn people of consuming tainted Chinese milk products.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bush assures Prachanda of continued US support

Kathmandu, 24 Sept: Prime Minister Prachanda had a brief meeting with US President George Bush on Monday evening during a reception hosted by Bush at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Nepali Ambassador to the UN Madhu Raman Acharya told the The Himalayan Times over phone, The Himalayan Times reports.
President Bush said he was aware of the political transformation underway in Nepal.
“We have come a long way in political transformation. Now we need your support in Nepal’s economic transformation,” Prime Minister Dahal told President Bush.
The ambassador told BBC that Bush assured him of support to Nepal as far as possible.
The meeting lasted 10 minutes, Nepal Samacharpatra reports.

[Note: The meeting is important because Maoists are still on Washington’s terrorist list.]

Govt releases Rs 15.5m for flood victims

Kathmandu, 24 Sept: Acting Prime Minister Bamdeb Gautam Tuesday told CA government has released Rs 15.5 million for flood victims of the mid and far-West.
Gautam said floods there killed 26 persons displacing 18,029 families and damaging 5,000 houses.nnnn

Armed PLA combatants enter CA premises

Kathmandu, 24 Sept: Maoist central leaders attend CA meetings accompanied by armed security guards despite reminder by the assembly secretariat, Khagendra Pant reports in Naya Patrika.
Police don’t intervene; even if they do, police are challenged.
One to five armed guards accompany the leaders
Maoist guards are armed with AK-47s and pistols.

Indian embassy opens camp in Biratnagar

Kathmandu, 24 Sept: Foreign Minister Upendra yadav Tuesday opened a camp of the Indian embassy in Biratnagar.
The camp will facilitate movement of goods and vehicles to India and from the eastern region to cntran and western regions through Bihar.
Kosi floods damaged the road network in Nepal.

Nepal to purchase additional 60 MW electricity from India

Kathmandu, 24 Sept: Nepal is to purchase additional 60 MW electricity from India to meet shortage, Nepal Samacharpatra reports.
An agreement is being signed Wednesday between Nepal Electricity Authority and India’s Power Trading Corporation Ltd.

Koirala talking of toppling Maoists using Nepal Army

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 24 Sept: Indian Ambassador Rakesh Sood said the present strategy is only to neutralize Maoists in a meeting with former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala Thursday, Janaastha reports.
Sood returned from New Delhi one day earlier.
Koirala later told relatives India also weakening Maoists; Sood told Koirala India won’t support Maoist agenda.
‘A situation has emerged when Maoists must be weakened. They have been brought this far to neutralize Maoists,” Sood told Koirala who has concluded relations of Maoists with foreigners is deteriorating and India is also working to weaken them.
Foreign assistance mentioned in the budget won’t be forthcoming.
‘Foreigners won’t finance a programme to popularize Maoists,’ Koirala told relatives.
Koirala has started talking of toppling Maoists by using Nepal Army; he has sought suggestions from relatives.
Koirala claims Chief of Army Staff Gen Rukmangud Katawal and other generals are against integration.

Madhav Kumar Nepal in India

Kathmandu, 24 Sept: Former CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal is currently in India, Budhabar reports.
He will attend a two-day conference on Nepal organized by the Indian government in Varanasi from Friday.
Law Minister Deb Gurung is leaving Thursday as head of a 23-member team to attend the conference.
The team includes representatives of political parties, diplomats and journalists.

Chinese ambassador transferred to Japan

Kathmandu, 24 Sept: Chinese Ambassador Zhang Xianglin, who has been in Nepal only for 18 months has been transferred to Japan from where he was posted to Nepal, Janaastha reports.
He is fluent in Japanese.

Bush, Prachanda meet, hold discussions

Kathmandu, 23 Sept: US President George W. Bush met and held discussions with Maoist Prime Minister Puhpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda overnight in New York overnight even though Maoists are on Washington’s terrorist list.
Nepali ambassadors to USA and UN were present at the meeting.
Radio Nepal reported the meeting and talks without further details.

Ban on Mainali lifted

Kathmandu, 23 Sept: Supreme court Tuesday lifted a six-month ban on pleading it slapped on Nepal Bar Association ( NBA) president Bishwakant Mainali.
Mainali charged of rampant corruption n the judiciary.
NBA protested the ban on pleading.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Security guard shot dead in Dhanusha

Kathmandu, 23 Sept: A security guard was shot dead by rebels in Mahendranagar, Dhanusha, Sunday in continuing violence in the terai.
Kumar Khadka was shot dead.

UN Global fund suspends aid for HIV/AIDS programme

Kathmandu, 23 Sept: Global Fund has suspended $30.6 million in aid set aside for the seventh round to fight HIV/AIDS alleging official corruption, Naya Patrika reports.
The Fund has demanded government return Rs 10.6 million already sanctioned.
An email has been sent to the health secretary this month.
The health ministry has formed a committee to investigate the charge.

Govt offices close down in Bara, Parsa, Rautahat

Kathmandu, 23 Sept: Government offices closed down in Bara, Parsa and Rautahat Sunday inconveniencing people in the three districts for the third consecutive day.
Officials closed down offices protesting the murder of a government official in Parsa last week.

NRB approves sale, purchase of five more currencies

Kathmandu, 23 Sept: Nepal Rashtra Bank (NRB) has approved, purchase, sale of five more foreign currencies from Tuesday.
The state bank approved transactions of the Saudi riyal, Qatar riyal, Thai bhat, UAE dinar and Malaysian ringet.
These currencies could earlier be bought only.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Malaysia are popular destinations for Nepali labourers.

New Maoist outfit emerges in central region

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 23: Sept” A new Maoist party named :Nepal People’s Army Party has surfaced in the Chuire Bhavar region of the central tarai districts of Bara, Rautahat and Sarlahi districts, Gokul Gjorsaine reports in Dhristi from Bara.
Pamphelets have been widely circulated in the name of the new Maoist outfit.
Pamphlets say Marxism, Leninism and Maoist should be pushed in the 21st century in a planned manner.
Pamphlets say rule of the proletariat should be enforced by fighting cession and contradictions in tarai.
Extortion money has been demanded through letters to professionals.
Besides former Maoists, activists of parties from which they have been expelled are also associated in the new outfit.

Talks for integration of Nepal Army, PLA

Kathmandu, 23 Sept: Talks are ongoing for the integration of the Nepal Army and PLA, Janmadeb Jaisi reports in Rajdhani.
Maoists have proposed the united armies should be named National Army Nepal.
Alternative names like New National Army and National Liberation Army have also been suggested.
“The talks are extremely friendly,” PLA brigade assistant commander Anjan Timilshina said,” But final decision will be taken at a political level.”
Nanda Kishore Pun Pasang said talks are being held with serving and retired army officers.

Kumari festival dispute continues

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 22 Sept: The dispute over the Kumari and Indra jatra festivals continued even with a 10-point agreement with the Newar community and government overnight.
The Manandhar community protested they were not included in the agreement with the Maoist-led and communist dominated government,.
The linga was brought down during the night Monday to signal the end of the Indra jatra festival which should have concluded Friday following what was considered an amicable settlement,
But one section of the Newar community said the agreement wasn’t acceptable.
Officially, the Kumari and Indra jatra festivals haven’t ended for the first time in living memory by downing the linga a Basantapur.
President Dr Ram Baran Yadav couldn’t receive tika again from the Living Goddess as planned Monday.
Protests continued in the New Road and inner city core even after an overnight agreement between government and one section of the Newar community.
Kumai hails from the Sakya community.

Indian army coming with 23 aircraft

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 22: Sept; Indian army has carried out a probe mission of Biratnagar airport immediately after a ‘successful’ India visit of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Sanhghu reports.
A senior source said Indian army is entering Nepal with 20 MI-17 helicopters and three fixed wing aircraft for the repair of Kosi barrage.
This will be the biggest intrusion on Nepal’s sovereignty by India so far.

Maoist minister on announced suspicious visit of North Korea, China

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 22 Sept: Maoist Communication Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara left for an announced visit of North Korea through Beijing Thursday, Janabhavana reports.
Mahara cut short his India visit to fly to North Korea; Mahara accompanied .
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda on his India visit but returned Wednesday before the return of the government chief.
Mahara held discussions with senior Chinese officials while transiting for hours at Beijing,
Details of the discussions weren’t known.
Mahara is accompanied by ‘hardliner’ youth leader Netra Bikram Chand.

Daughter-in-law also accompanies PM Prachanda

Kathmandu, 22 Sept: Daughter-in-law of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda is also accompanying him on his US visit to start a new tradition, Janabhavana reports.
His wife and son are also accompanying Prachanda on a visit of capitalist USA.

Former king penning memoir

Kathmandu, 22 Sept: Former King Gyanendra is penning his memoir at Nagarjung, Nepal Samacharpatra reports.
The memoir is almost complete.
The former king spends most of his time, almost five hours every day, in research.
He updates himself with the country’s developments everyday with secretary Sagar Timalshina.
He meets with personal staff every Thursday.

Defence minister boycotts passing out parade

Kathmandu, 22 Sept: Defence Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’ boycotted a passing out parade of junior officers at Kharipati Thursday, Sanghu reports.
A ‘silent war’ has brewed between Bahal and army chief Gen Rukmangud Katawal.
The situation has worsened with the direct challenge of the government by the army chief.
Former CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal landed in deep trouble when his wife tagged along on foreign visits when he was deputy prime minister in the first communist government of Prime Minister Manmohan Adhikari.

Former US ambassador was go-between Deuba and Dr Arjoo marriage

Kathmandu, 22 Sept: US ambassadors also act as go-betweens in political marriages in countries where they are assigned.
Mother-in-law Prathiva Rana of former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba said US Ambassador Julia Chang was the go-between in the marriage between Deuba and his daughter Dr Arjoo.
Deuba was home minister when the marriage was consummated.
“A foreigner was the go-between. Julia Chang brought the marriage proposal,’ Prathiba Rana told Tarun.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Govt., Newars reach agreement on festivals

Kathmandu, 22 Sept: Maoist-led and communist dominated government and the Newar community signed a 10-point agreement to end a three-day protest following a government decision to discontinue government dole for animal sacrifice during Kumari and Indra jatra festival.
The assistance will continue even during the coming Dasain festival.
Government was accused on interfering in religion and culture.
The agreement makes way to conclude Indra jatra festival by bringing down the linga in Basantapur.
The festival should have concluded Friday.

Defence minister leaves for China Monday

Kathmandu, 22 Sept: Defence Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’ leaves for China later Tuesday on a visit at the invitation of the government.
Maj Gen Chatraman Gurung, in line to be the next army chief, is accompanying Badal.

Death toll in far-West floods amounts

Kathmandu, 22 Sept; The death toll in floods and landslides in the mid and far-West has rises to .45 with 35 others still missing.
Rains that began Friday night eased Monday in the worst flood this monsoon.

No army, PLA integration: Army chief

Kathmandu, 22 Sept: Army Chief Gen Rukmangud Katawal on Sunday ruled out the possibility of the army inducting anyone from outside without meeting its required standard, The Kathmandu Post reports.
Addressing a passing out parade of 347 officer cadets in the capital, the army chief said meeting the standard criteria was essential for recruitment in the army because of is long distinct existence.
[Note: The statement is important and significant because Maoists are committed to integration. There’s a clear difference in perception between Maoists who are leading government and the army—a potential point of future conflict.]

No end to Indra jatra with continuing protests

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 21 Sept: For the first time in nearly two centuries, there still was no end to the Kumari and Indra jarta festivals Sunday which should have concluded two days ago Friday evening with the ride of Living Goddess Kumari on the chariot through the thoroughfares of the capital.
Police and members of the Newar community for the second consecutive day Sunday fought pitched battles in the inner core of the capital, including New Road, demanding a public apology from government for discontinuance of government dole of the observance of Kumari and Indra jatra festivals.
Joint appeal of Maoist minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai and CPN-UML Home Minister Bandeb Gautam didn’t impress protestors who closed down the inner city, including New Road.
Government was trying to negotiate a solution with the Newar community demanding an apology for suspension of government dole for observance of traditional rituals.
Businesses suffered for the second day with the forced closure.
An appeal of Dr Bhattarai government hadn’t stopped government didn’t convince protestors.
Communist Brahmin Bhattarai is married to a Newarni Hishila Yamani, a government minister.
The Kumari festival has Newar origins. But is accepted by Hindus and Buddhists.
The inner city was completely closed because if the protest that could take a religious and communal turn if not handled properly by the Maoist-led and communist dominated government.
Protestors are demanding an apology from government.

29 dead, 40 missing

Kathmandu, 21 Sept: At least 29 persons are confirmed dead and 40 are missing in floods and landslides in the mid and far-West since Friday, Radio Nepal said.
Bad weather Sunday hampered search and mainly rescue effort.
The floods have affected Kailali, Kanchanpur and Bardaiya mainly.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Govt. makes a hasty retreat

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 21 Sept: Amid protests from Kathmanduites, the Maoist led and communist dominated government made a hasty retreat Saturday and overturned a cabinet decision not to finance traditional practices, including animal sacrifice, during the Kumari and Indra janta festival which should have concluded Friday.
Finance Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai Sunday charged reactionary forces were spreading incite violence.
Representative of the finance ministry personally delivered government dole Saturday amid protests to trust managers to continue with traditional practices, Dr Bhattarai told Radio Nepal Sunday.
The minister claimed the government never took a decision to end government subsidy for animal sacrifice for the traditional festival and explained the newly created ministry of culture instead of the finance ministry would channel the funds.
“There was a delay in relaying this decision creating confusion,” the finance minister claimed.
Dr Bhattarai assured over state radio the Maoist-led government won’t interfere with traditional religious practices which won’t be discouraged.
But Nepal Bhasa Mankha Khala Secretary Naresh Sakya said government representative Friday didn’t come on time and a decision to suspend government financial assistance for festival celebration was conveyed.
“Government representative didn’t appear on time and a decision to suspend government assistance was conveyed at the last moment,” Sakya told Nepal Samacharpatra.
This triggered immediate protest and nearly two dozen protesters, including police, were injured in violent clashes in New Road and the inner city Saturday.
Police fought pitched battles, lobbing teargas shells to disperse protestors who smashed four tourist information booths at Basantapur where the Kumari Ghar is located.
The chariots with Goddess Kumari, Ganesh and Bhairab weren’t pulled through the streets Friday to protest the government decision not to finance animal sacrifices on the last day of Indra Jatra.
President Dr Ram Baran Yadav didn’t receive tika from Kumari as scheduled amid protests Friday.
Tourists flock to Basantapur every day to have a glimpse of Living Goddess.
Home Minister Bamdeb Gautam first issued a conciliatory statement Saturday assuring government will respect and encourage observance of festivals.
Will government also interfere with animal sacrifices during dasain when hundreds of animals and birds are sacrificed by Nepal Army and two police forces? The government will have to handle the matter delicately to discourage dissatisfaction in security agencies.
The Ministry of Culture is discussing ending the tradition of fetching fulpati from Dhading to Hanumak Dhoka Durbar during dasain, The Rising Nepal said.
Managers of Indra jatra festival will consult soothsayers on when to declare the festival closed by bringing down the linga erected at Basantapur.

Heavy rain continue in Kailali; death toll mounts to 14

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 21 Sept:: Heavy rain continued to lash Kailali Sunday as floods and landslides triggered by a retreating monsoon killed at least 14 persons and two dozen are missing in the mid and far-West Saturday.
Thousands of homes in Kailali and Kanchanpur are inundated and sections of the Mahendra Highway have been washed away isolating settlements without electricity and telephones.
An estimated 10,000 persons have been displaced as the festival season approaches.
Nepal Army, Armed Police Force bases and Maoist camps in the region have been inundated.
Dhangadi, Mahendranagar and Tikapur along with 24 VDCs in Kailali have been inundated and people are perched atop trees and roofs to save themselves from flood waters.
Thousands have moved to safer ground for safety and shelter.
Five persons of a family were buried alive by a landslide in Doti.
Thousands of hectares of farmland is under water.
Bad weather is obstructing rescue and relief work.
Locals said the downpour is the season’s biggest.
The rain started Friday night after the flooded Kosi ravaged east Nepal.
Monsoon is expected to withdraw from Nepal in the next two days.

Lawyers to boycott courts Sunday

Kathmandu, 21 Sept: Lawyers will boycott courts in the Valley for three continuous days from Sunday protesting a supreme court decision of suspend his license of Nepal Bar Association (NBA ) President Bishwakant Mainali for six months.
The NBA said the apex court decision the illegal decision should be overturned.
Mainali charged the corruption is rampant at courts.
Meanwhile, supreme court justice Balram KC called the apex court’s decision erroneous and asked for a rethink.

Nepal, India water resources secretaries to meet

Kathmandu, 21 Sept: Water resources secretaries of Nepal and India will meet in the Nepalese capital for the first time in four years for three-day talks from 28 September immediately after Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s India visit.
Nepal and India agreed during the visit to form ministerial, secretarial and technical committees to push cooperation in water resources sector.
Indian delegation to the talks will be led by secretary UN Panjiyar.
Teams will inspect the ravage caused by the flooded Kosi as well.

Official suspended

Kathmandu, 21 Sept: Director General Khagendra Mani Pokhrel of the Department of Transport Management and five subordinates were suspended by the cabinet Saturday for two months until an official investigation into corruption is completed.
A three-member team has been constituted to probe alleged corrupt practices..
Cabinet charged Pokhrel didn’t execute a directive to act against five juniors charged for corruption.
But Pokhrel charged he wasn’t given one day to execute the order.
“I wasn’t given even one day to do the assigned task. I was asked to suspend the officials on Thursday. I had started the process immediately after the minister instructed me,” The Kathmandu Post quoted Pokhrel as saying.

Jimba Zangbu Sherpa elected NMA chairman

Kathmandu, 21 Sept: Jimba Zangbu Sherpa has been elected chairman of Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), the richest NGO, to replace Ang Kazi Sherpa in an election delayed by internal dispute.
Royalty collected from foreign climbers for climbing what has been called ‘trekking peaks’ is NMA’s main income source.
Ang Kazi Sherpa has been elected general secretary.

Wife, son accompany PM Prachanda to New York

Kathmandu, 21 Sept: Wife Sita and son Prakash Saturday accompanied Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda on his maiden visit of the USA the citadel of capitalism loathed by Maoists.
Prachanda flew for New York to attend the annual UN general assembly session.
Sita earlier accompanied Prachanda to Beijing and New Delhi but Prakash is accompanying his father on a third foreign visit after assuming office two months ago.
Prakash is accompanying the government as a ‘private assistant’.
In a break from tradition, Kathmandu-based diplomats weren’t summoned by the protocol division of the foreign ministry Saturday to see off the government chief at the airport where a representative of the UN was present.
The prime minister will address Europe-based Nepali ambassadors in Frankfurt Sunday.
The diehard communist will visit the birthplace of Karl Marx at Traier in Germany while transiting to New York.

Maoists ministers still driving around in stolen vehicles

Kathmandu, 21 Sept: Maoist leaders, even after becoming ministers, are driving around in vehicles illegally smuggled into the country during the people’s war, Ujir Magar reports in Kantipur.
They bear yellow, white and green number plates.
Maoists told the government last year they have 95 cars/jeeps and 160 such motorcycles.
Only 63 illegally imported vehicles are registered with government.
Seventeen of 35 Maoist central members still ride such vehicles.

No tika for president; protests in capital against govt. interference in Kumari tradition

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 20 Sept: Violent protests continued in the capital for the second day against government interference in the observance of Indra jatra Saturday one day after Goddess Kumari didn’t put the tika on President Dr Ram Baran Yadav, security sources said.
The president was scheduled to visit Kumari Ghar on the last day of the festival Friday to receive tika from the Living Goddess as the kings did before the establishment of a republic this year.
The chariot with the Kumari couldn’t be pulled through the capital’s streets even as devotees lined the streets to have a glimpse of her and offer tribute.
The Maoist-led government didn’t set aside money for animal sacrifice on the last day of the festival drawing immediate protests from locals and managers of the trust.
The discontinuance sparked violent widespread protests in the capital Saturday, including New Road and the inner areas of the capital and other parts of the Valley.
To quell the anger of protestors who charged government was interfering in religious practices, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bamdeb Gautam issued a statement said government won’t interfere with cultural tradition like Kumari worship and observance of Indrajatra.
He said traditional government dole for the festival observance will continue.

Casualties, destruction by rain in mid and far-West

Kathmandu, 20 Sept: At least three persons were confirmed dead and eight others are missing in Kailali alone after heavy rains and storms in the mid and far-West Saturday.
Rising rivers in the region have flooded more than 4,000 homes displacing 1,000 families.
Many areas have been cut off with highways washed away by floods; telephone services have been disrupted and many areas are without electricity.
This year’s monsoon should retreat from Nepal three days later Tuesday.
Floods have damaged crops as well and air services in the region have been disrupted.
Heavy rains have also triggered landslides in hills killing people.
Dhangadi is under waist-deep water.

Special committee within 15 days for Nepal Army, PLA integration

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 20 Sept: Amidst uncertainty and opposition, PLA Chief Nanda Kishore Pun ‘Pasang’, who recently took over from PM Prachanda, says a ‘ special committee’ will be formed within 15 days to integrate the rebel and state armies.
He said in an interview with Samya, ”There’s no alternative to integration. It’s essential for the peace process.”
Pasang said there should be a single command for the integrated armies.
“Nepal Army has six and we have seven divisions and deputy commanders. They should be integrated from the top,” he said.
He claimed Maoist combatants are qualified for integration.
“In our opinion, the first qualification is physical health. It’s useless to say that an army that fought from the tarai to the mountains is not qualified,” the Maoist army chief claimed. “The 10-year people’s war has proved who is qualified for the army.”
“The PLA has won politically [against Nepal Army] because right now a republic has been established; monarchy has fallen,” Pasang added.
The PLA chief said 4,408 child soldiers identified by the UN should be considered for integration; the PLA strength stands at 19,604.
Pasang ruled out immediate reduction in the strength of integrated armies whose strength should be 115,000.
“If the army strength is reduced right now, problems could arise. The force should be reduced while making a national security policy,” the former rebel military leader said.
“The fusion of the two armies will make the nation strong,” denying integration will create problems and rebellion in the state army.
He said armies should be integrated within six months and added,“Otherwise, the peace process will be derailed.”

Govt. considering declaring red light in capital outskirts: Home Minister Bamdeb Gautam

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 20 Sept: To pacify protests of workers and owners of night clubs in the capital, Home Minister Bamdeb Gautam said he is considering declaring some outskirts of the capital red light areas.
“I am considering declaring red light areas for them to continue their trade,’ identifying . Nagarkot as one such area in an interview with Samya.
Local administration banned operation of nightclubs and casinos after 11 PM with the Maoist-led government takeover.
But Samir Gurung, Coordinator of Night Industry Management Association, revealed police and YCL take cuts from clubs for their smooth functioning.
“We have to pay police large sums of money. Without their permission and nod, nobody can run such facilities,” Gurung said in reply to a question whether naked dances are performed with police concurrence.
“’Monthly payments are being made [to YCL] after they started putting obstructions,” Gurung disclosed.

Cabinet accepts resignation of Matrika Prasad Yadav

Kathmandu, 20 Sept: The cabinet Saturday accepted the resignation tendered by controversial Land Reforms Minister Matrika Prasad Yadav Friday.
Yadav was involved in the armed seizure of Maoist-seized land restored to owners in Siraha by police this week by evicting settlers.
CPN (Maoist) had asked Yadav to publicly apologize; Yadav refused.
The cabinet took the decision before PM Prachanda flew for New York to attend a UN general assembly session.

Friday, September 19, 2008

PM Prachanda invited to Bush reception

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 20 Sept: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda flies for New York Saturday to address the UN general assembly session 26 September and said he has received an invitation to attend a reception there hosted by US President George W. Bush.
“Today, I have received an invitation from US President George Bush for a reception,” the government chief told the CA Friday.
Prachanda is heading a 12-member delegation that includes Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav.
The prime minister will attend the Bush reception 22 September; the foreign ministry said Prachanda will hold talks with the US president.
Maoists are still on the US terrorist list; but Washington has opened direct links with the Prachanda government.
US Ambassador Nancy J. Powell met Prachanda after his appointment in the first direct contact between Americans and Maoists; Americans had shunned Maoists before the rise of Maoists.
Prachanda will address Nepali ambassadors based in Europe while transiting through Frankfurt Sunday.

Govt. official shot dead in Parsa

Kathmandu, 20 Sept: Parsa district officer Mohan Mainali was shot dead in Birgunj by tarai rebels Friday as violence continues in the south.
United Janatantrik Tarai Liberation Front has claimed responsibility.
Imamudim Sheikh was shot dead by Madesh Virus Killers in Saptari Friday.
Pawan Yadav was shot dead by another rebel group in Siraha Thursday.
Three persons were abducted and shot dead in three days, including a government official of hill origin.

Kumari chariot pull suspended, obstructed

Kathmandu, 20 Sept: The traditional pull of the Kumari chariot trough the streets of the capital was suspended Thursday evening after government annual allowance for animal sacrifice on the last day of Indrajatra.
Mostly women eagerly waited patiently along the narrow streets for hours to have a darshan of the Goddess.
Angry locals and trust managers obstructed the chariot pull.
The pull got off at midnight after the finance and home ministries issued separate statements claiming government allocation for the festival hadn’t been suspended.
The pull was obstructed one hour later at Kilagad Naradebi by protesting locals.
The Ministry of Culture and State Restructuring has sent letters to the Kaushitoshakhana,Guhi Sansthan and the Department of Archaeology asking them to stop sacrificing animals during the festival season, The Kathmandu Post reports.
The ministry has cited the Finance Ministry’s decision not to release any fund to purchase and sacrifice of animals, a tradition throughout the country for centuries, the newspaper said.
The Guthi Sansthan had spent nearly Rs 10.5 million on rituals and animal sacrifices during the festive season.

Indian soldiers entered with govt. permission; other details

Kathmandu, 20 Sept: A 24-member Indian army contingent led by a colonel came to Nepal with the consent of the government, foreign ministry said Friday.
The entry of the troops created a controversy with first reports saying the team entered Nepal without permission.
The Indian army contingent returned Friday after surveying damage caused by flooded Kosi river in Sunsari.
Meanwhile, US/AID has released an additional $ 800,000 for Sunsari and Saptari flood victims.

NBA to boycott courts for three consecutive days

Kathmandu, 20 Sept: Nepal Bar Association (NBA) will boycott courts for three consecutive days from Sunday with threats of more protests following a six-month suspension of NBA President Bishwakant Mainali.
The NBA has asked the ban on Mainali be immediately lifted.
Mainali publicly said corruption was rampant in the judiciary.

Army, police put at par

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 20 Sept: The Maoist-led government put Nepal Army and police at par when Finance Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai Friday announced a Rs 236.15 billion deficit budget for the remaining10 months of the current fiscal year 2008/09.
He set aside Rs 12.03 billion for Nepal Army and Rs 11.02 billion for police.
Altogether Rs 128.51 billion has been earmarked for regular expenditure, Rs 91.31 billion for capital expenditure and Rs 16.18 billion for debt payment.
Foreign grants and loans of Rs 65.79 billion will finance the deficit.
“The new budget is over-ambitious and there’s too much programming. The budget has also mentioned increasing foreign aid by 100 percent—a factor which would be certain to increase dependence on donors. It is a glaring example of over-programming,” said former National Planning Commission (NPC)Chairman Dr Shanker Sharma.
“In the case of Nepal, resource mobilization is difficult and foreign aid also cannot be utilized,” Dr Sharma added.
The Maoist-led government has reversed the privatization policy of the previous government by promising to revive Chinese-aided state industries that have either closed down or are ailing; the finance minister said government will guarantee purchase of two aircraft for Nepal Airlines.
“At a time when there is an urgent need to lure huge investment from private sector, the budget seems to be more inclined towards government agencies and cooperatives,” said President of Confederation of Nepalese Industries Binod Chaudhary.
The budget predicts a 7 percent GDP growth for the current fiscal year with plans to achieve double digit growth in the next two years while pledging to bring down inflation to 7.5 percent from 12 percent.
No significant tax increases were announced to popularize Maoists; taxes were hiked only on liquor and tobacco.
Debt of up to Rs 30,000 of farmers were also waived and sale of liquor from shops will be regulated to cover those under age.
Altogether 35,000 youth will be mobilized as local literacy volunteers at the cost of one billion rupees.
“The budget will face challenges in both raising revenue as well as in spending on development. Last year the government was able to spend only Rs 42 billion on development,” another NPC Chairman Dr Jagadish Pokhrel said.
To recall, government has set aside Rs 91.31 for development this year.
Role of state and political parties will be enhanced in development, Dr Pokhrel said.
“They [Maoists] don’t trust bureaucracy and believe that the political machinery must be engaged. This is what they mean by a break with tradition,” the former NPC Chairman said.
Predictably, former Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat said: “I call it pork barrel budget. It’s blown up like a balloon…It is oriented towards consumption and distribution.”
Dr Bhattarai admitted the budget was ambitious.
“ Because the budget was republican Nepal’s first ,it has careful and cautious ambitions objective,” the finance minister said.
Civil servants of all grades received a flat Rs 2,000 monthly pay increment.
Nepal Tourism Year will be observed in 2011.
A Power Sector development Committee chaired by the prime minister will be established to produce 10,000 MW electricity in the next 10 years; no license will be required for projects to generate power up to 3 MW.
Education sector received a Rs 38.98 allocation—up 44.5 percent from the year; health sector received Rs 15.58 billion—a 53.92 percent increased contribution from the previous year.

14 killed, 24 injured in bus plunge

Kathmandu, 19 Sept: Fourteen passengers were killed and 24 were injured when a bus fell into Mahesh khola on the Prithvi highway near Dhading Friday morning.
Two Indians were among the killed; injured are being treated in the capital.
The bus was heading for the capital from Birgunj when it fell into the river at 5.30 in the morning.
Army has pulled the bus out of the rivulet.

PM Prachanda flies for New York Saturday

Kathmandu, 19 Sept: PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda flies for New York
Saturday to lead the Nepalese delegation to the annual UN general assembly session.
He leads a 12-member team that includes Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav.
The visit will be his third foreign trip of the prime minister who first visited China and then India.

President to receive credentials from foreign ambassadors

Kathmandu, 19 Sept: For the first time, President Dr Ram Baran Yadav will receive credentials from ambassador designates of German and Norwegian ambassadors at Shital Niwas.
Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, officiating as head of state as well, received such credentials at Singha Durbar soon after political changes in April 2006.

PM Prachanda calls for break in continuity in Indo-Nepal ties

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 19 Sept: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda Thursday called for a break in continuity in bilateral Indo-Nepal ties with the establishment of a republic in Nepal.
“To establish a republic in Nepal is not continuity. It’s a break in continuity. Continuity now should be broken in Nepal-India ties,” Prachanda told reporters after returning home Thursday from an official India visit.
“There were two possibilities before the visit before the visit. There was a possibility of a new chapter being added to Nepal, India relations; dangers could have ensued if the result was negative.”
Prachanda said the visit was successful.
An angry prime minister said he visited India as a head of government and not a party.
“My party may have its own principles over many issues. But I am representing the state,” he told reporters emphasizing differences in party and government perceptions.
“I didn’t go to India to establish Maoists,” the angry government chief told reporters who asked him if CPN (Maoist) had abandoned its claim India was expansionist. “There are examples of Mao’s China and Soviet Union during the Stalin era having good ties with capitalist nations.”

Confusing statements on entry on Indian troops in Sunsari

Kathmandu, 19 Sept: Home Ministry Spokesman Modh Raj Dotel said Indian soldiers and heir vehicles were taken under control by local administration in Sunsari because of lack of communication.
“The work was stopped because of information which didn’t reach the local level in time. They [ Indian soldiers] are technicians in uniform without weapons,” Kantipur reports Friday quoting Dotel.
Earlier reports said a team of 24 soldiers led by a colonel started work on flooded Kosi this week without Nepal government permission.
CPN-UML said its serious attention has been drawn to the entry of Indian troops in uniform Monday.
The ruling party asked the government to furnish information while asking the government to stop ‘unauthorized entry while being alert.

Monsoon ends 23 Sept.

Kathmandu, 19 Sept: The monsoon ends this year 23 September, according to Rajendra Prasad Shrestha, senior meteorologist at the Meteorological Forecasting Division (MFD) in The Kathmandu Post.
“.. this year’s monsoon was drier with less rainfall in various parts of the country,” Shrestha said.

Controversial land reforms minister levels charge against home minister

Kathmandu, 19 Sept: Controversial Land Reforms Maoist Minister Matrika Prasad Yadav charged Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bamdeb Gautam from CPN-UML was interfering in his domain.
“The home minister interfered in my work without prior information,” Yadav said Thursday. “My action is hundred percent justified.”
Yadav justified reinstatement of what he called landless people in Siraha this week after they were evicted by police on orders of the home minister.
Yadav’s action has created a controversy and main opposition Nepali Congress leaders said they will gherao the rostrum after budget presentation Friday.
Gautam evicted persons from land belonging to a former Maoist who joined the MJF in Saptari.
“The Forum is a party of feudal landlords,” Yadav charged.
Forum has been holding transport strike in the district demanding the return of land seized by Maoists forcing the local administration to open the movement of vehicles by declaring a curfew.

Congress deputes teams for integration

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 19 Sept: Nepali Congress Thursdays deputed teams to all districts to unity units from region to villages, Bimarsha reports.
Two central leaders have been sent to each district.
During reunification, only central and district working committees were unified.
Senior party leaders were reluctant to go to remote districts where junior workers have been sent, Nepal Samacharpatra reports.
Gobinda Raj Joshi has been deputed to Lalitpur, Bal Bahadur KC to Jhapa, Chitralekha Yadav to Ilam, Gyanendra Bahadur Karki and Krishna Prasad Shitaula to Morang; these districts are easily accessible.
Mahesh Acharya has been sent to Bhaktapur.
Central leaders haven’t been deputed to hill districts in the east, mid-West, Karnali or other remote districts.
This demonstrates the lust for convenience in Nepali Congress.
The teams have been told to reach districts in the next two weeks to activate the party.

50,000 Bhutanese refugees apply to resettlement in third countries

Birthamod, 18 Sept: More than 50,000 Bhutanese refugees have applied for resettlement in third countries, including the United States, Lila Baral reports in Kantipur.
This is about half the number of refugees in camps in Jhapa and Morang, according UNHCR Information Officer Bimal Khatri.
There are approximately 106,000 refugees in the camps.
Altogether 4,211 refugees have already been resettled so far.

Demand for release of Muslims arrested for cow slaughter

Kathmandu, 19 Sept: Muslim Liberation Front has demanded the release of 13 Nepali Muslims arrested for killing a cow to be laid on the table in Nepalgunj, Janadisha reports.
Central Chairman Husain Fharuki made the demand in a statement saying the arrests had drawn the Front’s grave concern.

Land reforms minister Matrika Prasad Yadav resigns (BREAKING NEWS)

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 19 Sept: Controversial Maoist Land Reforms Minister Matrika Prasad Yadav resigned to the prime minister Friday.
Yadav armed with Maoists
“UML and MJF are anti-people parties. They demolished houses of people. CPN-UML has appointed an Indian citizen minister,” he charged in an interview over Radio Nepal..
“ I cannot continue. Allegations are true,” Yadav said. “I had no pressure from the party.”
He added: “I resigned voluntarily without pressure. My actions are justified. What I did is correct.”
Yadav resettled people on land from where police on orders of home minister Bamdeb Gautam this week evicted land-grabbers.

Shaym Sundar Gupta expelled

Kathmandu, 19 Sept: Shyam Sundar Gupta has been expelled from the NSP(D).
The former minister was expelled by a party meeting chaired by Ananda Debi in Jankapur Thursday.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Maoist-led govt. to announce a Rs 238 billion budget

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 19 Sept: Finance Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai is expected to present a Rs 238 billion deficit budget for the remaining 10 months of the current fiscal year 2008/09 at the CA later Friday.
The proposed expenditure is 47 percent higher that the actual expenditure of last year, The Kathmandu Post said quoting an unidentified source.
The annual budget was delayed in mid-July because of haggling in assembling a post-CA government.
Govt. will set aside Rs 1.5 to Rs 3 million for 4,000 villages to implement “Let’s Beautify Our Village Programme” and civil servants will get a salary hike of 17 to 25 percent—a programme first launched by CPN-UML when first elected.
Old age allowance will be increased to Rs 500 per month and a cooperative store will be established in each village in the populist budget; widows’ allowance will also be increased.
Duty of beverages and tobacco will be hiked 2 percent.
Loans of small farmers will be waived.
There ‘s a scheme to announce voluntarily assets with a special programme to create employment.
The budget aims to record a 6.5 DDP growth in the fiscal year 2008/09 keeping inflation below 8 percent.
The budget will set aside Rs 126 billion for recurrent expenditure and Rs 96 billion for capital expenditure while Rs 17 billion will be earmarked to pay domestic and foreign loans.
Revenue collection will be increased 31 percent to Rs 140 billion.
A deficit will be met by raising Rs 25 billion through borrowings and Rs 70 billion through foreign grants and loans.
The Maoist architectural engineer presented a gloomy economic picture in a whitepaper issued Thursday instead of the economic survey report but yet unveiled an ambitious plan for double digit growth in five years.
Announcing a 15-year development plan, Dr Bhattarai said: “The ground will be laid in the first two years; double digit growth will be recorded in the following three years; the last 10 years will be a leap-frogging decade.”

UN appointment

Kathmandu, 19 Sept: Karin Landgren of Sweden has been appointed deputy special representative of UN Secretary general Ban Ki-moon for Nepal.
She is an experienced UN official with extensive experience in political, managerial and international law.
She has worked in India with the UNHCR, Philippines and Great Lakes region in Africa.

Dr Ram Sharan Mahat taken ill

Kathmandu, 19 Sept: Nepali Congress leader and former finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat has been taken ill due to viral infection, The Himalayan Post reports.
Dr Mahat is suffering from Bell’s Palsy and is undergoing a four-week physiotherapy.
“He cannot chew with his left jaw,” his nephew Ramesh said.

PM Prachanda returns

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 18 Sept: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda returned home Thursday concluding a five-day official goodwill working India visit.
Government described the visit as successful.
A joint statement issued at the end of the visit indicated India was ready to work with the Maoist-led government dominated by communists.
Prachanda himself said the government can’t pursue a communist agenda because of its coalition character.
India indicated it will work with the Maoist-led government even as some western countries have reservations.
USA hasn’t formally congratulated Prachanda on his assumption of office.
After visits to China and India, Prachanda is now scheduled to fly to New York to address the annual UN general assembly session.

NBA president Bishwakant Mainali debarred

Kathmandu, 18 Sept: Nepal Bar Association (NBA) President Bishwakant Mainali has been debarred for six months from arguing cases in court the supreme court,
The apex court’s Thursday decision comes after Mainali charged there was widespread corruption in the judiciary.
All courts in the Valley, except the supreme court, stopped work for two hours Thursday to protest Mainali’s remarks.
Mainali charged the courts acted like a trade union and could have instead filed a defamation suit against him.

Nepal, India to review 1950 treaty

Kathmandu, 17 Sept: A foreign-secretary level task force will be formed to review the1950 treaty of peace and friendship between Nepal and India.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda presented a draft of a new treaty during his visit to India this week.
The prime minister leaves for Bangalore later Wednesday after discussions with Indian leaders in New Delhi and is scheduled to return home Thursday.
A joint statement is being issued Wednesday at the end of his New Delhi visit.
India announced a Rs 200 million relief package coinciding with the visit.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been extended an invitation to visit Nepal.

NHRC request to political parties

Kathmandu, 17 Sept: National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked political parties not to break law by creating fighting forces.
NHRC said CPN (Maoist) had formed the YCL, CPN-UML Youth Force, Nepali Congress Tarun Dasta and MJF Madesh Bahini.

Strong Congress, CPN-UML objections

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 17 Sept: Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have raised strong objections to the seizure of land in Siraha by an armed group led by Land Reforms Minister Matrika Prasad Yadav
The Maoist team recaptured land it had seized from a MJF activist.
Home Minister Bamdeb Gautam had ordered the forcible eviction of landless from the land seized during Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s tenure; then Home Minister Krishna Prasad Shitaula admitted in an interview this week the Koirala government had tolerated the Maoist excesses.
Congress and CPN-UML demanded action against Minister Yadav for making mockery of the rule of law by taking law into hand.
Yadav threatened to resign from government and party if Prime Minister Prachanda intervened.
Yadav’s action cannot be condoned.
But Congress and CPN-UML objections also come after they illegally seized private property of former King Gyanendra when they were in government.
Congress and CPN-UML also made mockery of the rule of law and justice when they were in government.
The seizure will be taken up by the CPN-UML with the Maoists when Premier Prachanda returns home from India Thursday.
The unacceptable behaviour of Minister Yadav is also a challenge to Home Minister Gautam’s commitment to restore law and order within six months.
Night club workers and owners have also threatened to come out on the streets if government doesn’t rescind an order to close down establishments by 11 PM in the capital.

Unauthorized entry of Indian troops in Sunsari

Kathmandu, 17 Sept: In the name of inspected damage caused by the Kosi flood, a contingent of Indian troops entered Nepal in combat dress without permission, Debraj Paudel and Khim Ghale report in Kantipur.
The 20-member contingent inspected the flooded areas Monday.
The center and district had no prior information of their entry during the prime minister’s India visit.
The contingent came in two jeeps and one truck.
“They were not permitted to enter Nepal,” a defence ministry source said.
Defence ministry made inquiries with army headquarters which said it had no information.
Indian embassy spokesman Gopal Wagle said the technical team came after consultations with technicians of the two countries; the visit was coordinated with district officials.

Buddha Air puts two ATRs into service

Kathmandu, 17 Sept: Buddha Air Wednesday pressed two French-built ATR 42/320 into service on Dhangadi, Nepalgunj, Bhairahawa and Bhadrapur sectors.
The 47-seater was bought with a $10 million load from the IFC—an affiliate of the World Bank.
The IFC for the first time invested in the aviation sector in Nepal.
Buddha Air now has a fleet of nine aircraft.

Dollar crosses Rs 75 mark

Kathmandu, 17 Sept: The dollar crossed the Rs 75 mark Wednesday.
Nepal Rashtra Bank fixed the selling rate Wednesday at Rs75.45.

GDP growth 5.6 percent

Kathmandu, 17 Sept: Nepal’s GDP growth in 2008 will be 5.6 percent.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) revised the earlier projection of 3.8 percent annual growth in its Asian Development Outlook 2008 report.

Sudip Pathak re-elected

Kathmandu, 17 Sept: Sudip Pathak has been re-elected unanimously president of Nepal Human Rights Organization for another three-year term.
Pathak was re-elected by the Organization’s 11th assembly Monday.

Asian Mountain Bike Championship 6 Nov

Kathmandu, 17 Sept: Asian Mountain Bike Championship will be held in the capital from 6 to 8 November by Nepal Cycling Associaion.
Nepal is hosting an international cycling event for the first time.

Army chief presents four alternatives for Maoist combatants

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 17 Sept: Chief of the Nepal Army (NA) Gen Rukmangud Katawal presented four alternatives for Maoist combatants after Defence Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’ said PLA will be integrated in the NA in six months, Janaastha reports.
The alternatives were presented before Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and ministers at a briefing at army headquarters Friday.
According to a source, the first alternative is to send Maoists abroad for employment and the second alternative is to impart university education to those unwilling to go abroad for work.
The third alternative is incorporate combatants in an unnamed security force and the last and forth option is to integrate remaining Maoists who meet the NA’s minimum qualification in the state army.
The alternatives were given after Katawal presented a written ‘vision statement’.
The prime minister and ministers left the headquarters immediately after the presentation and without comment even as officers said they were prepared to discuss the statement.

China giving recognition to PLA?

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 17 Sept: Is China giving official recognition to the rebel PLA? asks Janaastha inits Wednesday editions.
China, which previously provided one seat, has now set aside four seats for the National Defence College.
NA has chosen candidates for the nine-month course compulsory for promotion to major general; Prem Prakash Thapa and Yagya Bikram Rana have been selected; but surprisingly Kathmandu CDO Jaya Mukunda Khanal has also been elected for the course.
One candidate is yet to be selected. Defence ministry is attempting to include one person from PLA even as the former combatants haven’t been integrated in NA.
Defence ministry is attempting to find ways to include the PLA in the course.
Nanda Kishore Pun ‘Pasang’ could be a candidate; but there’s a problem.
How do you send a person who has assumed leadership of PLA from Premier Prachanda for a course meant for brigadier generals?
He will have to be away for nine months while it has been said PLA will be integrated in NA within six months.
It’s not known how China will react to the nomination of a PLA combatant for the course.
Name of Umesh Bhattarai, chief of the PLA military barrah at Charali is also being mentioned for the course.

Rush to marry Bhutanese refugees

Damak, 16 Sept: This is not the marriage season.
But there’s a rush at refugee camps in Jhapa to marry Bhutanese refugees who were previously looked down on.
The trend to marry refugees in camps at Morang and Jhapa started after displaced persons received permits to resettle in third countries.
“The trend has started with the hope of going to USA,” said Menaka Nepal, secretary at the Sanischare camp.

Note: I am resending this as I notice it was not posted on the blog Wednesday.
Tnks n regards
bhola rana