Nepal Today

Friday, October 29, 2010

AUSPICIPOUS TIME FOR BHAI TIKA

Kathmandu, 30 Oct.: Auspicious time for bhai tika Sunday 7 November is at 11.31 in the morning, Panchangi Nirnayaj Samiti said after a meeting Friday.
Kaag and kukur tihar is on 4 November, Laxmi Puja falls on 5 November and gai and hour pula is on 6 November.
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PRESIDENT INSPECTING NEPAL PAVILION SATURDAY

Kathmandu, 30 Oct.: President Dr Ram BaranYadav is inspecting the Nepal pavilion at the Shanghai Expo Saturday; he arrived in Shanghai from Xian Friday.
The president will attend the closing ceremony of the Expo Sunday in the presence of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao
The president changes his schedule at the last moment and will also inspect the Indian pavilion is the city Saturday, Radio Nepal said.
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11 INJURED IN BANKE BUSS ACCIDENT

Kathmandu, 30 Oct.: Eleven passengers were injured when a bus overturned near Kusum in Banke Saturday morning.
The bus was heading for Nepalgunj from the capital.
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FORMER LAWMAKERS’ MEET

Kathmandu, 30 Oct.: Nearly 1, 500 former lawmakers will meet in the capital 13/14 December to direct parties amid a continuing political deadlock.
Survivors of the first parliament of 1959 and former legislators of four parliaments after restoration of multi-party democracy in 1990 will attend.
Former lawmakers elected in 2048. 2051, 20 56 and 2063 will be invited.
Lawmakers of thee panchayat are not eligible.
A meeting of the former legislators’ front took the decision to convene the meet Friday.
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AWARD TO REMEMBER GOPAL RAJBHANDARY

Kathmandu 30 Oct.: A Rs 1 million award to a person,
institution or a group contributing to social welfare has been established in memory of businessman Gopal Rajbhandary.
Rotary International District 3292 announced the institution of the award Friday.
“The award [Gopal-Kamala Rajbhandary Rotary Award] will be given every two years to a person,, institution or group contributing to welfare of society,” said Debendra Raj Shrestha, Secretary District 3292 secretary.
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UML LABOUR LEADER DEAD

Kathmandu, 30 Oct.: UML trade union leader Madhav Neupane, 52,
died Friday.
He was suffering brain TB.
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FNCCI DELEGATION LEAVES TO PARTICIPATE IN SHANGHAAI EXPO

Kathmandu, 30 Oct.: A FNCCI delegation led by Chairman Kush Kumar Joshi flew for Shanghai to join the delegation of President Dr Ram Baran Yadav to attend the closing ceremony of the Shanghai Expo Sunday.
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SPORTS

BANK COMES TO NSC RESCUE

Kathmandu, 30 Oct.: Bank of Asia Friday extended a Rs 8 million loan to National Sports Council (NSC) to finance Nepal’s participation in the forthcoming ASIAD in China with a bank loan—the first time Nepal is participating in the sporting event with a loan from a commercial bank.
In the past, government funded the participation.
The bank extended a loan against a Rs 4 million from the Players’ Welfare Fund.
Government is cash strapped without the presentation of a full budget even three months after the beginning of the fiscal year 2010/11.
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TWO NEPALI DOMESTIC WORKERS ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED MURDER

Kathmandu, 30 Oct.: Two Nepali nationals who allegedly looted their employer’s house in Gurgaon after serving them food faced with sedatives were arrested in the capital, police said Friday, according to a PTI report from New Delhi.
The arrested have been identified as Khadak Bahadur, 21, and Prakash Bahadur,19. Police have allegedly recovered IRs 450,000 fromthem.
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MEDIA GOOGLE

‘Commanders of Maoist fighters, without informing government and UNMIN, visited China for rebellion and military purposes.”

(Peace Minister Rakam Chemjung, Annapurna Post, 30 Oct.)

“The prime minister’s party which is a part of the current coalition should either forge consensus or cast its vote. Certainly, a way out would come to end the deadlock.”


(NC Vice-president Ram Chandra Paudel after 14th round defeat in election for PM, Republica, 30 Oct.)




DR BAURAM BHATTARAI’S MEET SHIFTED TO BIRATNAGAR
Kathmandu, 30 Oct.: Following obstruction by Kochila State Committee, UCPN (Maoist) Vice Chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai who was scheduled to visit Biratnagar to attend a function on Saturday will instead address his party cadres on the outskirts of the city, Ajit Iiwari reports from Biratnagar.
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The program was suddenly rescheduled on Friday.

The Kochila State Committee has barred Dr Bhattarai from holding meetings with party cadres in its area.

DR Bhattarai is currently visiting various parts of the country to garner support for his political paper to be presented in party plenum to be held in Gorkha in a month.

The venue of the program has been rescheduled as Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Vice Chairman Mohan Baidya objected to such meetings, a source close to Dr Bhattarai said, adding, "The venue and the time of the program have been kept very secret."

The source also informed that they have invited Maoist cadres from Jhapa, Sunsari and Morang to attend the meeting. Invitees are also unaware of the venue and time of the program.

Dr Bhattarai will meet Maoist leaders and cadres available in Biratnagar at the office of Kochila State Committee at 3 pm on Saturday. Maoist leaders close to Dahal and Baidya are also invited at the office.

"Bhattarai will address party cadres secretly either before or after attending the short program at the Kochila office," the source added.
Kochila State Committee deputy in-charge Gangaram Shrestha also confirmed the program scheduled at Kochila State Committee office. "He will meet and address the cadres at committee office," he said, adding, "He will listen to the views of party cadres after addressing them."
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MAOISTS, DELHI LOOK FOR THAW

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Kathmandu, 30 O)ct.: The Maoist move to repeatedly postpone its crucial plenum indicates that the party is perhaps keen to negotiate with India to bring about a thaw in its icy relationship with the southern neighbour. Party insiders say that from the leadership viewpoint it makes a lot more sense to hold the extended plenum after finding out the Indian position, rather than before the plenum, Kamall Raj Sigdel and Kamal Dev Bhattarai write in The Kathmandu Post. .

The plenum — which is expected to hammer out the party’s key political documents, including its India policy — was first scheduled for Sept. 21, and was again postponed for the fourth time on Thursday. The new date now is Nov. 21.

“There could be a number of reasons for the postponement of the plenum but the most important consideration at this point in time for the party would be to find out the Indian position,” said a Maoist leader seeking anonymity. “The tone and tenor of the Gorkha plenum will be decided by how our relationship with India develops in the interim.”

The Maoist decision to postpone its extended plenum follows party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s visit to China, which asked the Maoists to improve their ties with India. Maoist-Delhi relations have soured in recent months, especially after the Maoist government sacked then-Army chief Rookmangud Katawal and subsequently resigned from office.

Following the China visit, Dahal and Delhi are trying to open back channels to reach out to each other. Party sources claim informal talks have already begun.

“The talks with India are going on through both formal and informal channels and we want to re-establish cordial ties with India, though Delhi seems to have a caveat to hold the upper hand,” said Maoist politburo member Hari Bhakta Kandel.

Maoist insiders say the results of the talks with India would go a long way in deciding what will be the focus and objective of the plenum, which is expected to bring more than 5,000 Maoist leaders of various levels together. One of the key agenda would be to decide who the party’s “principal enemy” will be. The party is still deeply divided over the issue. Hardliners such as Vice Chairman Mohan Baidya say India should be declared the ‘principal enemy’.

Leaders like Vice Chairman Babu Ram Bhattarai are opposed to the idea, who suggest that the party can’t afford to confront India.

Maoist insiders say Dahal, still undecided which way to go, wants to use the time before the plenum to see how Delhi looks at such key issues as the peace process, especially integration of the party’s combatants, constitution writing, and formation of the new government.

The long stalled budget, according some Maoist insiders, has also provided another window of opportunity for the party to strike a deal. If the Maoists fail to sort out all outstanding issues before the budget, the next trigger could come round Jan. 15, the date for UNMIN’s exit.

Yet another important date will be May 28, when the Constituent Assembly term expires
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UN DEFENDS NEPALIP EACEKEEPERS IN HAITIS

Kathmandu, 30 Oct.: The United Nations headquarters has insisted that tests of samples taken from Nepali peacekeepers based in Haiti have proved ‘negative’.

The UN’s clarification comes amidst allegations that sewage water coming from latrines at the Nepali peacekeeping base in Mirebalais could be the source of cholera outbreak in the Caribbean country, Maahesh Acharya reports in The Kathmandu Post from New York..

The UN has reiterated its point amid international concern over the cholera outbreak.

During the daily noon briefing at the UN headquarters on Thursday, Spokesperson for the Secretary General, Martin Nesirky, said, “Tests of samples from the military camp and waters adjacent to the river were conducted on October 22 and proved negative.”

Denying claims that there were leakages in the sewage system, Nesirky told reporters that the overflow of water seen near the latrines is actually from the kitchen and showers of the Nepali camp. He added the soak pit is located three metres away from the latrines, and hence misleading passers-by into believing that the soaked ground is caused by the overspill of human waste.

MINUSTAH has said all human waste in the camp in connected to seven septic tanks, all constructed in close circuit and allowing for organic treatment of the waste, which are emptied four times a week by a private contractor. The private contractor discharges waste at a nearby landfill site authorised by the Municipal Council, MINUSTAH added.

The Nepali camp is based near the source of Meille river, a tributary of the Artibonite river which is considered to be the major source of the cholera outbreak.

Expressing UN’s serious concern over the allegations on Nepali peacekeepers, Nesirky said the mission is always ready to let in journalists to see the conditions inside the camp. The Force Commander and the Chief Mission Support Officer have agreed to allow interested journalists to have access to the Nepali compound and verify that MINUSTAH is in full compliance with all sanitary and environmental standards, he said.

The UN has also denied allegations that Nepali peacekeepers are suffering from cholera. “MINUSTAH would also like to stress that all 710 Nepalese soldiers underwent all required medical tests prior to their deployment in Haiti between 8 and 15 October,” Nesirky added. “None of them is cholera-positive.”

Till date, cholera has claimed nearly 300 lives in Haiti.During the daily noon briefing at the UN headquarters on Thursday, Spokesperson for the Secretary General, Martin Nesirky, said, “Tests of samples from the military camp and waters adjacent to the river were conducted on October 22 and proved negative.”

Denying claims that there were leakages in the sewage system, Nesirky told reporters that the overflow of water seen near the latrines is actually from the kitchen and showers of the Nepali camp. He added the soak pit is located three metres away from the latrines, and hence misleading passers-by into believing that the soaked ground is caused by the overspill of human waste.

MINUSTAH has said all human waste in the camp in connected to seven septic tanks, all constructed in close circuit and allowing for organic treatment of the waste, which are emptied four times a week by a private contractor. The private contractor discharges waste at a nearby landfill site authorised by the Municipal Council, MINUSTAH added.

The Nepali camp is based near the source of Meille river, a tributary of the Artibonite river which is considered to be the major source of the cholera outbreak.

Expressing UN’s serious concern over the allegations on Nepali peacekeepers, Nesirky said the mission is always ready to let in journalists to see the conditions inside the camp. The Force Commander and the Chief Mission Support Officer have agreed to allow interested journalists to have access to the Nepali compound and verify that MINUSTAH is in full compliance with all sanitary and environmental standards, he said.

The UN has also denied allegations that Nepali peacekeepers are suffering from cholera. “MINUSTAH would also like to stress that all 710 Nepalese soldiers underwent all required medical tests prior to their deployment in Haiti between 8 and 15 October,” Nesirky added. “None of them is cholera-positive.”

Till date, cholera has claimed nearly 300 lives in Haiti.
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SPEAKER UNDER FIRE
Kathmandu, 30 Oct.: Speaker Subas Chandra Nembang may have reasons to preside over the futile parliamentary voting to elect a new prime minister, but constitutional law experts fail to see ‘a method in his madness’. Ananta Raj :Luitel reports in The Himalayan Times..

Rather, they think his inaction has invited what they call a ‘political and constitutional impasse’.

“The Speaker is not functioning as Constituent Assembly Chairman,” Daman Nath Dhungana, former speaker and veteran constitutional law expert, told this daily. “His role does not seem to fall in line with the dignified post of a presiding authority of a sovereign body.”

The weak role that the Speaker has been playing is ruining the image of political parties, he said. According to Dhungana, Nembang has the authority to rule the House to remove difficulties and resolve the problem.

The Speaker should work to boost the image of the CA, he said. “The Speaker is a thinking being, he should understand the powers vested on him.”

A reputed pro-UML lawmaker declined to comment on the Speaker’s role to facilitate the CA to choose the new PM. Constitutional law expert Purna Man Shakya said the Speaker can issue a ruling to resolve the crisis. “The Speaker might be thinking of exercising his authority at the last hour. He can scrap the PM’s election and issue an appropriate ruling,” Shakya said.

Upendra Keshari Neupane, former Chairman of Democratic Lawyers’ Association, took strong exception to ‘Speaker’s role in prohibiting’ the government from bringing the budget. “The Speaker might be right on the issue of PM’s election as he is stressing consensus politics, but he is totally wrong and working unconstitutionally by prohibiting the government from bringing the budget,” Neupane noted.

On his part, the Speaker said he is ‘ready’ to work, provided the parties accept his ruling. “People have frustrations and I am also under intense pressure.” “If I call off the election, the parties will not just make a hue and cry, but will also accuse me of violating Rules and Regulations,” he said.
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DONORS CAN ALSO FEEL BUDGET BUDGET-HEAT

Kathmandu, 30 Oct.: Delay in budget may affect assistance from donor agencies, which in turn can hurt development activities, The Himalayan Times reports.

“If the current impasse continues, it will hut development activities in the long-run,” said Sultan Hafeez Rahman, director general, South Asian Department at Asian Development Bank (ADB) while talking to newsmen here today.

The delay will not only slow down development activities, new projects planning well get affected as well, he said.

ADB that contributes around $270 million to $300 million to Nepal, making it one of the largest donors, has not yet figured out consequences and their magnitude, it is hopeful that the leaders will understand the urgency. Nepal has no luxury of time, and every day lost is a loss of livelihood of people and economy, he said.

At a time when ADB has doubled its assistance, the government has not been able to bring budget that can propel the development activities.

“Despite uncertainties economic activities have been continuing after the Comprehensive Peace Accord in 2006,” he said, adding that Nepal did not face recession and the growth rate has been hovering around three to four per cent, which is satisfactory.

Agriculture and construction will continue to do well, he said, adding that manufacturing and energy sectors have been sluggish. Exports need to be revived and macroeconomic situation has to be managed well, he advised. He blamed the monetary expansion in the last few years for escalating inflation. “However, it is not overly alarming,” Rahman who used to head ADB Resident Mission in Nepal during 2003-2006 said.

A conducive political climate and good macro-economic management can fix these problems, he said. ADB is also planning to help Nepal improve movement of goods and services to make the economy more competitive. “North-South connectivity can help increase the movement by bridging the gap between produce and market,” he added.

The international community has a tremendous goodwill for Nepal.

ADB’s commitment to assist Nepal is line with its Country Partnership Strategy 2010-2012. Rahman is on an official visit to Nepal from October 27.
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AIDSS RISK INCREASSING AT ALARMING LEVEL





Kathmandu, 29 Oct 29: The number of people at risk of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS was increasing in Nepal, stakeholders stated, The Rising Nepal reports.
The existing law was responsible for increasing the risk of HIV/AIDS, they said.
Speaking at the programme on the occasion of National Condom Day, Dr. K.K. Rai, director of National Centre for AIDS and STD Control (NCASC), said that condom was the only safe way to minimise the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and control the population growth.
The 16th National Condom Day is being celebrated on Saturday with the slogan of Universal Access to Condom for Dual Protection. The NCASC and various NGOs are preparing awareness generating programmes for the occasion.
Government health authorities are working to increase the access of condom to most-at-risk-population (MARP) by distributing condoms freely. On the other side, government security forces have been arresting sex workers on such flimsy grounds as finding condoms with them. Due to this type of dual policy, sex workers were compelled to hide their identity. This has increased the risk of HIV/AIDS and STD transmission, Dr. Rai said.
Until the ground as well as MARP groups revealed their status, every individual was at a risk of HIV infection, Dev Ratna Dhakhwa, general secretary of Nepal Red Cross Society said.
If the government did not come up with a clear policy about sex workers, use of condoms will not increase among the most-at-risk population. If the situation persisted, Nepal’s condition may be like that of Africa, Dr. Rai said.
Thailand, a most popular country for sex tourism, has now notably decreased its HIV/AIDS and STD prevalence rate by increasing the access of MARP groups to condoms.
According to global estimation, around 70,000 Nepalese are HIV infected. However, according to NCASC, so far only 16,000 HIV-infected Nepalese have revealed their status.
Saying that having sex using condom is the only safe way to protect and control the HIV and STI transmission, stakeholders asked the government to increase people’s access to condom.
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PRACHANDA REFUSES TO ACEEPT INVITATION FROM CONSTITUTIONAL COUNCIL

Kathmandu, 30 Oct.: A meeting of the constitutional council (CC)
won’t be immediately held after the leader of the main opposition Pushpa Kamal Dahal refused to accept an invitation from the Office of the Prime Minister, Nagarik reports.
Following the refusal, chiefs of constitutional bodies and their members can’t be appointed; there are vacancies for more than three-and-a-half years.
Dahal has been invited to attend Sunday’s meeting of the CC.
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