Nepal Today

Thursday, August 26, 2010

President holding collective discussions with 3 parties

Kathmandu, 27 Aug.: President Dr Ram Baran Yadav has arranged a collective meeting with leaders top three parties- Maoists, NC and UML—as a political deadlock continues, a presidential palace source said.
The president has invited them to Shital Niwas for discussions Saturday.
The country is being administered by a caretaker prime minister for two months and parliament which normally meets until the beginning of the festive season isn’t in session.
Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal Thursday night briefed the president on a looming financial crisis without the presentation of the annual budget 2010/11 even until the end of August.
Meanwhile, three months have passed since the three parties extended the elected two year mandate of the constituent assembly (CA) for one more year until 28 May 2011.
But no work has been done to draft a constitution to institutionalize a declared republic in the last three months with parties’ undivided attention over toppling the government to retaining hold of Singha Durbar.
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Floods kill three more; other details

Kathmandu, 27 Aug.: Bodies of two persons swept away by floods were recovered in Okhalgungha Thursday while a third person in still missing, police in the central district said.
Floods and landslides triggered by heavy monsoon rains continue to wreck havoc from Mechi to Mahakali.
Six houses were swept away by Sapta Kosi at Mahendranagar-5 in Saptari Thursday.
Water flow of the river has started receding.
The flow was recorded Thursday was 204,095 cusecs—down from 339,405 cusecs while 27 sluice gates have been opened.
The red danger light hasn’t been switched off at the Kosi barrage on the Nepal-Bihar border though.
The river’s water flow was the highest in 14 years.
Floods have inundated 200 districts in Jhapa.
Water flow on Mahakali river in the far-West has started receding providing relief to residents of Bhimdutta municipality that was deluged.
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Two DNA experts arriving Friday to identify body parts

Kathmandu, 27 Aug.: Two American forensic experts are arriving Friday at government request to help Nepali doctors conduct DNA tests to identify victims of Tuesday’s Agni Air Dronier air crash over Makwanpur.
Body parts of the crash victims are kept at the TU Teaching Hospital.
Remains of eight Nepali passengers and crew have already been handed over to relatives after identification.
Eleven passengers and three crew members perished—among them were four Americans, One Japanese and one Briton.
The remains of foreigners are yet to be identified.
TU teaching Hospital has only limited facilities for DBA tests to identify victims.
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Cabinet approves MRP design

Kathmandu, 27Aug.: The row over the design of the machine readable passport (MRP) has finally ended after the cabinet approved the design on Thursday, a move that has paved the way for the signing of an MRP procurement deal with Oberthru Technologies, a French security printer, Republica reports.
Foreign Secretary Madan Kumar Bhattarai said the deal is likely to be signed Friday.
The deal was supposed to be signed much earlier but it was delayed as Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala declined to approve the design accusing officials of the her ministry of keeping her in dark while selecting the French security printer.
According to a source in the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Chief Secretary Madhav Prasad Ghimere signed on the decision approving the design on Friday.
But the office could not send the decision to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoF) as it could not print a colour copy of the design within the office hours.
“We will send the decision and a colour copy of the design to the ministry of Friday,” said the source.
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• MEDIA GOOGLE
• “I appeal to all not to put the country in limbo for petty interests of few individuals, political parties and groups. Time is running out to end the protracted political deadlock, elect the new prime minister and resolve the crisis facing the country.”
• (Home Minister Bhim Rawal, The Himalayan Times, 27 Aug.)
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• ET “””I CETERA
PM proposes reducing, limiting UNMIN mandate -

Kathmandu, 27 Aug.: Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has floated the idea of downgrading the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) from a “political mission” to a “technical mission”, which will only monitor the Maoist army, The Kathmandu Post reports.

However, his own party Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal was not impressed with the proposal pitched during a high level consultation held in Singhadurbar on Thursday afternoon. Leaders of the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, Cabinet ministers, officials from the Foreign Ministry and non-Maoist representatives of the Special Committee and Technical Committee attended the discussion organised by the government to seek suggestions on the term extension of UNMIN.

According to a leader, the prime minister suggested that a small technical team comprising officials from the United Nations could be invited as an alternative to UNMIN to monitor the Maoists’ People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The prime minister proposed that the Nepal Army be kept out of the purview of the UN as the concept of “two sides” mentioned in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) has become irrelevant since 2008, after the Maoists joined the Interim Parliament.

Khanal, without referring to the prime minister’s proposal, however, stressed the need to “forge a political consensus before taking any decision” on the fate of UNMIN, whose term expires on Sept. 15. “UNMIN is needed in the country until the peace process reaches its logical conclusion,” UML General Secretary and Special Committee member Ishwor Pokharel told the Post. “But its mandate can be narrowed down in the changed context.”

During the one-and-a-half-hour long discussion, NC leaders supported the prime minister’s proposal to end UNMIN oversight over Nepal Army. They argued that UNMIN could be given an extension with a limited mandate focusing on the monitoring of Maoist combatants.

“The mandate fixed for UNMIN four years ago has now become invalid. We have suggested a revision,” said NC leader Ram Sharan Mahat.

“We listened to various opinions from leaders on the term extension. This is a preliminary consultation,” said Peace Minister Rakam Chemjong. “The government will consult with the Maoists and reach a conclusion.”

Some participants also suggested the government hold discussions with ambassadors of five permanent member countries of the UN Security Council before taking a call on the future of UNMIN.

Following the discussion on Thursday, a three-member task force comprising Nepal’s Permanent Representative to the UN Gyan Chandra Acharya, former Assistant Secretary of the UN General Kul Chandra Gautam and Retired Lt. Gen. Balananda Sharma has been assigned to prepare a proposal on the mandate revision.

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NC race for top posts begins
TAMANG, ACHARYA DECLARE LEADERSHIP ASPIRATIONS

Kathmandu, 27 Aug.: Nepali Congress leaders Bhim Bahadur Tamang and Narahari Acharya today announced their candidacies for the posts of party president and general secretary, respectively, in the upcoming 12th general convention to be held on September 17-21, The Himalayan Times reports.

The leaders have also set up a contact office at Baneshwor from where they will launch their election campaign. Making public a joint commitment paper, Tamang said he and Acharya had decided to contest the party’s election to restore its lost glory and strength.

“In order to ensure political and socioeconomic transformation, the 12th general convention should give space to the youths,” Tamang said at a press .

Acharya said the party leadership had failed to follow its ideology and run it as an institution. He stressed the need to heal the wounds caused by the party’s breakup seven years ago.

Acharya said their candidacies for the 12th general convention are meant to unite the party on ideological grounds; prepare it for socioeconomic transformation; maintain economic transparency and political relations in the party rank-and-file and reorganise it as a force for socioeconomic transformation. He vowed to give the Congress a new lease of life by bringing about structural changes in its organisational setup.

Tamang and Acharya have expected the 12th general convention to come up with a clear stand on the form of governance and federalism — the two key issues of the new constitution — that are yet to be finalised.

Although the NC has been invariably insisting on parliamentary democracy, Tamang and Acharya have options open on finding an alternative to the parliamentary democracy without compromising its universal values.

NC leader Sher Bahadur Deuba also announced his presidential candidacy and set up his contact office at Baneshwor.
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