Nepal Today

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bhai tika observed

Kathmandu, 30 Oct: Sisters put on tika on brothers Thursday on the last day of tihar to protest them for a long life.
The auspicious time for tika was for 10 minutes from 11.45 to 11.55 in the morning, according to Nepal Astrologers’ Council.

Criminal activities in tarai delaying talks: Home minister Gautam

Kathmandu, 30 Oct: Deputy Prime Minister Bamdeb Gautam has alleged criminal activities, like extortion and acts of violence, have delayed negotiations between government and rebels groups in the south to address regional demands.
Some of the demands are separatist.
Government has said it will hold talks with only political and not criminal groups.
Government said it has established contacts with at least nine of nearly two dozen groups active in the south—many based across the border in Bihar and Utter Pradesh.
Gautam said action against criminal groups is proving difficult as their leaders conduct their activities from across the border.

Local bodies being formed

Kathmandu, 30 Oct: Local Development Minister Ram Chandal Jha said local bodies are being formed by government by Paush [December end] end.
Government is holding consultations with political parties.
Nepal has been without elected bodies for more than nine years.
Appointed government officials run local bodies.


UN General-Secretary Ban arrives Friday

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 30 Oct: UN General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon arrives Friday on a two-day official visit to discuss the large and even controversial three-pronged activities of the world body in Nepal.
Besides the regular activities in the Himalayan state, the UN has been involved for nearly 17 years in managing UNHCR-administered camps for 108,000 Bhutanese refugees in east Nepal and is also managing Maoist arms and combatants.
The regular activity includes financing development assistance.
For 17 years, the Bhutanese refugees have been managed and fed in the camps without their return home.
Instead, the UN is now involved in resettling nearly 50,000 Hindu refugees of Nepali ethnicity to the West, including USA. They were forced out in an ethnic cleansing policy by Buddhist Bhutan through India to land-locked Nepal as the UN watched helplessly the movement of helpless people across two international borders.
Another mission of the UN came with the security council mandate after April 2005 to oversee impartial elections of the constituent assembly and manage Maoist arms and combatants to mainstream the Maoists who launched a bloody people’s war killing 13,000 on both sides of the conflict.
Most of the UN personnel have now returned after the controversial 10 April election in which Maoists emerged as the largest political party and capture4d state power through a vote after emerging from their hideouts in India and the jungle.
The election was held even when conditions weren’t right.
The UN and major world powers pushed election, whether it was free or not, just to facilitate the declaration of a republic.
The result: Nepali Congress, now the main opposition, claims the vote wasn’t fair. But the fact remains, the government which is headed conducted the vote , thinking it would win.
It abandoned pre-conditions like Maoist return of seized assets and went for the vote in haste; it’s now repeating the pre-conditions after the vote and putting hurdles in the implementation of the peace process to mainstream Maoists.
Prime Minister Prachanda said he spent eight on the 10 years of the people’s war in India which declared Maoists terrorists.
New Delhi was either sheltering declared terrorists or its agencies were using them against the rulers of a friendly neighbour.
The remaining mandate to manage the Maoist arms and combatants ends mid-January 2009; the UN has two and a half months to complete an extended mandate to manage the responsibility.
Top Nepali Congress leaders charge UNMIN hasn’t been impartial and has favoured Maoists—a charge that has been repeatedly denied.
The peace process can’t be complete without the integration of the Maoists and their arms.
UN says the process may not be completed in the remaining time as Nepali Congress and openly come out against integration of for former rebel force in Nepal Army.
Ban will discuss the difficulties and complexities of completing the process in the remaining three months with his host Prime Minister Prachanda and constitutional assembly members before flying for Bangladesh Saturday.
Ban will visit Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha.
Besides integration, political uncertainty now prevails.
With direct confrontation between Maoists and Nepali Congress, doubts have surfaced whether a constitution can be drafted by the CA in the remaining 16 months.
Discussions haven’t started nearly seven months after the election.
A culture of street politics and the shredding of basic laws by them have been established.
Major political players are already divided on the nature of a new constitution whose draft hasn’t even been discussed.
Nepali Congress says democracy is being derailed by Maoists who want to impose a radical people’s republic on the strategic land-locked state between China and India.
UN has already said it can’t complete its remaining limited task before the assigned the third week on January 2009.
The mandate may have to be extended again.


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