Nepal Today

Saturday, July 24, 2010

NC holds talks with Madesh front parties

By Bhola B Rana


Kathmandu, 25 July: NC talks team Sunday morning hold talks with a front of four Madesh parties to collect support for Vice-president Ram Chandra Paudel in the 2 August runoff elections for prime minister.
Talks are centered around 16-point concept of the front for regional demands ,including self-determination and an autonomous Madesh Pradesh.
The front said it will extend support to the candidate extending written support to the concept paper.
“We agree on many points raised by the front; but we have to discuss some points to come to an agreement,” Spokesman Arjun Narsingh KC said.
Maoists are scheduled to hold separate discussions with the front leaders later Sunday.
Maoists are in a position to form a majority government should the front decide to support Maoists who have 237 seats in the 599-member parliament.
The front has 89 decisive votes.
NC will need the support of both the UML and the front to form a government to succeed Caretaker Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.
Maoist Vice-chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai Sunday suggested one of two candidates withdraw to form what he called a government of national understanding to end a standoff.
The 2 August election will be the third for prime minister in one month.
“Within this election process, through understanding, one candidate should withdraw and agree in favour of the other. The second alternative is for both candidates to withdraw their candidacies, amend rules and start a new process,” Bhattarai told Kantipur in an interview.
Under the existing parliamentary rules, the election should continue until one candidates gets a simple majority; new candidates can’t come in the fray.
Bhattarai said a majority government formed with the support of 301 legislators won’t be stable.
“A government with the support of 310 lawmakers may be formed. That government can’t complete the peace process and draft a constitution. Finally, the country will be driven towards uncertainty and conflict,”
But Bhattarai didn’t rule out forming a government with simple majority even while calling for broader support within parliament.
Prachanda Saturday told a meeting in the capital his party’s support for Jhalanath Khanal was a planned move against ‘ status quoists and rightists’.
“It was not only a strategy to support UML Chairman with a two-third majority vote. It was a move against status quoists and rightists entrenched in Nepali society.”
He made the comment while releasing the Nepali translated version of Das Capital of Karl Marx along with Khanal and another communist leader.
Ram Chandra Paudel said a major crisis was averted in Friday’s inconclusive vote for prime minister.
“There would have been a big accident Friday; it was averted with great effort,” Paudel reportedly told a party central committee meeting, according to Naya Patrika.
Communists were close to capturing power—averted by a stand by a section in the UML insisting Khanal must be elected with two-third not simple majority vote in parliament.
There’s no provision for election of prime minister by two-third vote in majority voting system in parliament.
‘If the election on 2 August is held on simple majority basis, it will be a hollow exercise. It will be a meaningless exercise,” Khanal said
NC central committee Saturday formed three separate committees to collect support for Paudel.
Acting President Sushil Koirala, Sher BahadurDeuba, Chiranjibi Wagle and Paudel are in the talks committee with UML.
General Secretary Bimalendra Nidhi, who hails from terai, heads a talks team with the front of four terai parties; Shekhar Koirala, Khum Bahadur Khadka and Spokesman Arjun Narshing KC are members of the committee.
Vice-president Prakash Man Singh, Dr Ram Sharan Mahat and Dip Kumar Upadhaya have been entrusted responsibility for talks with Maoists.
“Dahal will score a hat-trick by losing on 2 August,” said UML politburo member KP Sharma Oli sarcastically.
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NC village, municipal conventions Sunday

Kathmandu, 25 July; Nearly 300,000 activists are participating in Sunday’s
village and municipal conventions Sunday, the party said.
Regional conventions will be held on schedule 31 July, according to a central committee decision.
But 59 district conventions have been rescheduled for 12 August after 2 August was set aside to hold runoff elections for prime minister.
District conventions will be held 31 July or two days before election for prime minister in 16 single constituency districts.
Local and districts were earlier scheduled to be held from 9 July to 2 August.
The elections are being held ahead of the 12th national convention in the capital from 26 to 30 August to elect a new leadership following the death of President Girija Prasad Koirala.
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Three Muslim girls drown in Sunsari

Kathmandu, 25 July: Three Muslim girls aged between 10 and 13 years drowned in a pond at Narsingh VDC in Sunsari Saturday while swimming.
Two children grazing goats were swept away by a river in the district.
Floods, landslides and lightning have claimed nearly 60 lives in the current monsoon season.
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Rohit’s attempt to get into record book again

Brothers Rohit and Santosh Tilimshina shook hands for 19 hours and 35 minutes in their attempt to etch their names in the Guinness Book of Records
They broke a record of Matthew Rosen and Joe Ackerman of London shaking hands for 15 hours 30 minutes and 45 seconds in November 2009.
The Timilshina brothers started their feat at 3.25 PM Friday ending it 11 in the morning Saturday.
Rohit, 35, the elder sibling has already been mentioned in the record book for holding 21 tennis balls in one hand and kissing 116 persons in less than a minute.
Guinness Book of Record is yet to recognize his feat of holding 23 gold balls in one hand for 3 minutes and 52 seconds.
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Another gruesome manslaughter caser in the capital

Kathmandu, 25 July: There was another case of manslaughter in the capital Saturday probably for ransom, according to police,
Krishna Shrestha died and his wife, Sita, was seriously injured in an attack by a group at their eatery in Masang Galli in the capital.
Shrestha was hit on the head with beer bottles and glass while his wife was gagged.
Two suspects have been arrested.
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SOCIETY

24 contestants qualify for Miss Nepal 2010

Kathmandu, 25 July: Twenty- four contestants have been selected from 100 applicants for the Miss Nepal 2010 contest.
The successful candidates will be under a six-week training on grooming, confidence building to improve their personality, The Hidden Treasure said.
The candidates will also attend a closed camp before the Dabar Special Miss Nepal 2010 contest.
The winner will represent Nepal is the Miss World 2010 in Sanya, China, in November/December while the runner-up will participate in the Miss Earth in Manila in October.
The winner will collect a cash prize of Rs 100,000 and the runner-up Rs 50,000.
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Donors attempt to free themselves of evaluation condition of SWC

Kathmandu, 25 July: Major donor agencies have objected to the Social Welfare Council’s (SWC) practice of charging non-governmental organizations (NGO) and international non-governmental organizations (INGO) fees for evaluating them, Republica reports.
The SWC currently charges NGOs and INGOs for mid-term and final evaluation of their respective projects as per the written commitment made while signing the project agreements.
While NGOs and INGOs had been grumbling quietly about this, donor agencies have registered their objection with the government, claiming that the practice is unfair.
“We brought that [practice] to the attention of the government,” Department of for International Development (DFID) said.
Sources claimed the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare has already been directed to change the embarrassing practice.
”We have yet to get any official complaint but have received informal complaints about the practice,” Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare Mahendra Prasad Shrestha said,
But he said the ministry cannot do anything as the SWC is an autonomous body formed under the Social Welfare Act 1992.
Director of SWC Raju Joshi said,” We hire an independent evaluator and a financial expert who team up with a representative each from SWC and the ministry related with the project for evaluation.
“The organizations deposit the amount in our account, and we pay to the experts, not the organizations themselves.”
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• LETTERS
Oberthur officials in town to seal deal
KATHMANDU, July 25: -
Senior officials from Oberthur Technologies, which won the contract to print and supply Machine Readable Passport (MRP) to Nepal, have arrived here to sign an agreement with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), The Kathmandu Post reports..

MoFA on Wednesday had dispatched a letter to Oberthur’s headquarters in Paris asking it to sign the deal within 15 days. The ministry had also asked Oberthur to deposit 5 percent performance bond of the total cost of the project before signing the final deal.

“Upon our request, a senior team of Oberthur is in town,” said a senior MoFA official. MoFA and Oberthur officials will hold preliminary talks in MoFA on Sunday.

“We are waiting to see if any complaints will be lodged against the decision to award the contract to Oberthur at the Public Procurement Office (PPO) by Sunday, the last date for two rival firms to register complaints against the French firm,” said the official.

The dissatisfied firm has to deposit a refundable US $ 120,000 to file a complaint against the decision at PPO. “If no complaints are filed by Sunday, we will expedite the talks with Oberthur,” the official said.

MoFA is also preparing documents for signing the deal with the French company. “Only a few lawmakers turned up at the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Saturday for a hearing on MRP. Moreover, the PAC has not instructed us to halt the process,” said the official. This, said the official, indicates MRP’s smooth passage.

A PAC meeting on MRP scheduled for Saturday morning has been put off as due to dismal presence of members, informed PAC Secretary Som Bahadur Thapa.

Nepali Congress lawmaker Ajaya Kumar Chaurasia demanded that foreign minister and foreign secretary be summoned over the issue. However, UCPN (Maoist) lawmakers were absent in the meeting. “Why should the PAC create a hiccup if the process adopted legal procedures,” said a Maoist lawmaker.
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US calls for new govt.
Kathmandu, 25 July: The United States has urged Nepal’s political parties to reach an agreement on the formation of next government soon, The Himalayan Times reports.
Assistant Secretary of State Philip J. Crowley in the Bureau of Public Affairs in Washington in a daily press briefing on Thursday urged political party leaders to reach an agreement on a government that will move forward quickly on the issues that are essential for Nepal’s stability and economic development and completion of the peace process and drafting of a new constitution.
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81 Nepalis killed in Malaysia

Kathmandu, 25 July: Eighty-one Nepali workers have been killed in Malaysia from January to June, Annapurna Post reports.
The data was provided by the Nepali embassy in Malaysia.
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