Nepal Today

Sunday, November 28, 2010

NC CONTINUES DISCUSSIONS IN APPOINTMENT OFFICE BEARERS

Kathmandu, 29 Nov.: Amid opposition to NC President’ Sushil Koirala’ s proposal to appoint Ram Chandra Paudel party vice-president and Krishna Prasad Shitaula general secretary, the central working committee (CWC) continues discussions for the second consecutive day Monday.
Most of the 11 speakers Sunday opposed the president’s proposal.
Opposition came mainly from the camp of three-time prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba who considers himself the second ranking leader in the party after Koirala.
Paudel, the incumbent current vice-chairman and leader of the parliamentary party, is Dueba’s main rival.
Deuba has been demanding proportionate representation for his supporters in the central committee; he’s pushing for seats in the powerful commensurate to the vote he collected in the Kathmandu general convention two months ago.
Koirala defeated Deuba in the presidential race and his nominees were elected general secretary and treasurer while a Deuba loyalist was elected treasurer.
Koirala is seeking to strengthen his grip over the party by appointing 20 supporters.
The appointments have to be approved by the CWC, according to an amended party statute.
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SPEAKER BEGINS DISCUSSIONS TO CONVENE
PARLIAMENT

Kathmandu, 29 Nov.: Speaker Subash Nemwang has begun consultations with major political parties to convene a session of parliament
after President Dr Ram Baran Yadav prorogued it earlier this month
to promulgate a budget of 2010/11 through ordinance amid
Maoist opposition.
Nemwang held discussions with NC and UML leaders Sunday and lwhhips of major parties.
He asked lawmakers not to leave the town as consultations intensify to convene the legislative session to approve the budget and elect a prime minister.
The country is administered by Caretaker Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal since 30 June after resigning on Maoist pressure.
Nepal’s successor hasn’t been elected even in 16 rounds of parliamentary vote.
Nepal’s donors have been pushing for decisive elections to conduct urgent business with the government.
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NEPAL ALSO FIGURES IN WikiLeaks

Kathmandu, 29 Nov.: Nepal also figures in the WikiLeaks which the US State Department is desperately trying to plug.
The exposures have embarrassed Washington which says risks lives.
Some of the 250,000 confidential US diplomatic cables leaked Sunday relate to Nepal.
It’s believes 2,600 documents relate to Nepal; the Nepal section hasn’t been leaked yet.
The leaks are being released phase-wise.

According to the website, the dossier has 2,278 memos sent by the US Embassy in Kathmandu to the US State Department. Eighty-four of those memos were labeled secret and 1,399 confidential while remaining 795 are unclassified.





“The documents will give people around the world an unprecedented insight into US Government foreign activities.

“The cables, which date from 1966 to February 2010, contain confidential communications between 274 embassies in countries throughout the world and the State Department in Washington,” it added.

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COMEBACK OF CONEDIAN SANTOSH PANT

Kathmandu, 29 Nov.: A household name once because of his much loved serial “Hijo Ajaka Kura” (HAK), actor Santosh Pant is back in the limelight again with the same series after a gap` of four years, Dikshya Karki writes in Republica.

Originally broadcast every Friday at 9 PM from Nepal Television (NTV), the series is now aired through Kantipur Television every Friday at the same time.

Seven episodes of the serial have already been telecast, and the team is busy shooting for the eighth episode. Rehearsing the dialogues with his crew, Pant was busy on the sets of the series on Wednesday. The fine actor, who has stepped into his fiftieth year, directs the serial, scripts it and acts in it as well. As Mahendra Nakarmi, chief assistant director of the serial briefed him on the shots to be taken, he listened attentively and gave his own inputs.

“We aired 565 episodes of the show and it ran for more than a decade,” Pant recalled, sitting down comfortably on a wooden chair and holding up his face for makeup artist Amrit Maratha. His face was dabbed with foundation. A white tone was added to his eyebrows and moustache. The area around his eyes was shaded with a dark hue.

“I’m enacting the role of a 70-year-old man in this episode,” he clarified. His character has an ailing wife at home and all his children are abroad.

As an actor who likes to experiment with his roles, Pant has donned on the roles of a Marwari businessman and a Constituent Assembly member for earlier episodes of the series. Starting as a performer at the tender age of three, Pant has spent 47 years in the Nepali acting scene.
A household name once because of his much loved serial “Hijo Ajaka Kura” (HAK), actor Santosh Pant is back in the limelight again with the same series after a gap of four years.

Originally broadcast every Friday at 9 PM from Nepal Television (NTV), the series is now aired through Kantipur Television every Friday at the same time.

Seven episodes of the serial have already been telecast, and the team is busy shooting for the eighth episode. Rehearsing the dialogues with his crew, Pant was busy on the sets of the series on Wednesday. The fine actor, who has stepped into his fiftieth year, directs the serial, scripts it and acts in it as well. As Mahendra Nakarmi, chief assistant director of the serial briefed him on the shots to be taken, he listened attentively and gave his own inputs.

“We aired 565 episodes of the show and it ran for more than a decade,” Pant recalled, sitting down comfortably on a wooden chair and holding up his face for makeup artist Amrit Maratha. His face was dabbed with foundation. A white tone was added to his eyebrows and moustache. The area around his eyes was shaded with a dark hue.

“I’m enacting the role of a 70-year-old man in this episode,” he clarified. His character has an ailing wife at home and all his children are abroad.

As an actor who likes to experiment with his roles, Pant has donned on the roles of a Marwari businessman and a Constituent Assembly member for earlier episodes of the series. Starting as a performer at the tender age of three, Pant has spent 47 years in the Nepali acting scene.
After HAK was shelved by NTV following, as Pant likes to refer to as the decision of the NTV management, he ventured into other small screen projects. He hosted “Anautho Pratibha” and a drug awareness related program-“Say No To Drugs”. Both programs were successful in their own right, but Pant remained shadowed.

“Audiences know me from HAK, and I had to be back,” he said. Pant was also encouraged by the program production team of Kantipur Television.

Being one of the veterans in the comedy genre, Pant is very vocal about the current trends in the Nepali comedy scene.

“I’ve always been against loud acting. We’re comedians, not clowns. Our work demands situational comedy, not the interplay of exaggerated expressions and dialogues,” he put in.

He termed HAK as a reflection of the socio-political discrepancies that exist in Nepal.

“The serial isn’t aiming for mere entertainment but using satire and humor to change the system.” He exemplified the success of this endeavor. “Recently in an episode, the issue of unreasonable taxi fares was discussed. The very next day, we were happy to read news about a dozen taxi drivers being arrested on the charge of cheating,” he said.

The same old cast of the serial has been given continuity in the new episodes as well.

“Our cast was never apart. Professionally, we might’ve been separated but we share great personal relationships. And when the idea of reviving the serial came along, my crew was more excited than I was,” he shared.

The cast ensemble includes Rama Thapaliya, Radhe Shyam Satyal, Sabin Shakya, and Narendra BC, among others.

When the shooting of the particular episode began, the flamboyant star spontaneously hunched his back, wrinkled his forehead and dragged his feet awkwardly. He was already so much into the character that he appeared to have aged gracefully just in a few minutes.

Improvising on the dialogues, he delivered several shots on target. When the shooting wrapped up after 45 minutes, Pant did not show a bit of tiredness and actively planned the next shot at the Nepal Electricity Authority office.

Discussing his work, he emphasized that he had no regrets about being an actor. And that he found it more challenging and enriching to be able to act and direct side by side.

“I feel immortal. Someone who is rich will only get to enjoy this life and be forgotten after he’s dead. But I believe people will remember me even after 100 years. Acting has bestowed on me this gift,” he proclaimed.

Besides gracing the small screen, Pant has also been signed by director Manoj Babu Pant for his film “Cashmere Galbandi.” He will be enacting the lead role in the film of a Dalit individual who has been suppressed by the society.

This particularly recorded episode of HAK, by the way, will be telecast this Friday at 9 PM on Kantipur Television.
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IMPORTERS DIVERT CARGO IMPORT TO KOLKATA FROM TIBET
Kathmandu, 29 Nov: Importers of electronic goods from China have started diverting their consignments from Tatopani to Kolkata and receiving them via India, as sharp rise in transportation cost and damages to the goods caused by poor road conditions made importing via Kolkata cheaper than Tatopani, Prabhakar Ghimere reports in Republica.

"In recent months, cost of overland transportation of goods from Guangzhou -- the major supply point in China -- has increased sharply.
This has made cost of importing through ship via Kolkatta some 40 percent cheaper than importing via Khasa," Durga Lal Shrestha, the president of Nepal Trans-Himalayan Traders Association told Republica.

According to the association, fare for transporting goods from Guangzhou to Kolkata and from Kolkata to Kathmandu totals to around Rs 275,000 per container. Whereas transporting the same from Guangzhou to Khasa and from Khasa to Kathmandu totals to Rs 365,000.

"Actually, transporting goods from Guangzhou to Khasa is cheaper than Guangzhou to Kolkata. However, as transporters operating along the Tatopani-Kathmandu route are charging exorbitant rates, the overall cost of doing business via Khasa has become impractical," said Shrestha.

Records show, importers can receive a container of goods in Kathmandu from Kolkata by paying Rs 100,000, whereas the cost of transporting a container from Khasa to Kathmandu could go up to Rs 250,000. Interestingly, distance between Khasa and Kathmandu is about a third of distance between Kolkata and Kathmandu.

"The problem has to do with syndicate of transporters. Unfotunately, Commerce secretary who makes big speeches on trade facilitation has done nothing to stop this evil, despite heading the Competition Board," Shrestha added.

Apart from the cost factor, traders say imports from Kolkata have less chances of breakage and damages to goods apart from low cost.

"Electronic goods are fragile and prone to breakage and damages. Hence, traders are switching to Kolkata port for safer delivery of goods," said Shrestha.

As a result of this shift, import of electronic goods, which used to make major chunk of imports from Khasa, has dropped significantly to 5-10 percent.

Nepal imports wide range of electronic goods including computers and their parts, calculators, television sets, radio sets and their accessories, electronic conductors and air conditioners from China.

Trade balance between China and Nepal has always remained unfavorable to Nepal and the volume of trade deficit has only grown over the years. Figures at the Trade and Exports Promotion Center (TEPC) show that Nepal suffered a trade deficit worth Rs 31 billion in 2009/10 with China. It was Rs 21.5 billion a year earlier.
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MAOIST GORKHA PLENUM REVIEWED

Kathmandu, 29 Nov.: The UCPN-Maoist’s extended meeting, which ended without a decisive document, has prolonged ideological struggle within the party, indicating that the Maoists have not really changed since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord and that peaceful resolution of political conflict remains a challenge, Ajaya Bhadra Khanal writes in The Himalayan Times.

Under attack from both Dr Baburam Bhattarai and Mohan Baidhya, UCPN-M Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has tried to fend himself and found it extremely difficult to promote peaceful resolution of political differences against party workers’ wishes to violently commandeer powers of the state.

Maoist dreams, once exemplified by Prachanda, that their goals could be peacefully achieved, have shattered, with many cadres losing faith in the current political negotiations.

Although the extended plenum has sought to cover up the differences in the top leadership with the fig leaf of “re-unity,” the Central Committee will find it difficult to resolve the issues raised in separate documents presented by party Vice Chairmen Mohan Baidhya and Dr Baburam Bhattarai in sharp contrast to the one brought out by Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

In the history of Unified CPN Maoist, this is the first such extended meeting in which the chairman’s political document has not been passed unanimously from the House. The party is yet to finalise its principal contradiction and assessment of the developments since the Chunbang meeting.

It all shows that the Maoists continue to be a house divided. How can they continue to demand the formation of a consensus government when the party itself has failed to arrive at a consensus within its leadership?

Prachanda’s primary effort, which has been partly successful, was to prove that he is still the sole leader inside the UCPN-M. However, he is torn between expectations of democratic forces in the country and wishes of orthodox ideologues inside the party.

The central issue is the Maoists’ commitment to peaceful and democratic means of resolving political differences. The Maoists once believed that they could easily impose their ideological preferences through peaceful means, but now the Maoists are divided on how to move forward.

As a result, the party leadership has retained the idea of a “people’s revolt” as the ultimate weapon of their movement. The idea of revolt flies directly in the face of a democratic polity since this means an armed revolution. If this is the ultimate aim of the Maoists, why go through the subterfuge of democracy, parliament, constitution making and the like? If the Maoists are not serious about a democratic republican government, then why should the other parties like the UML and the NC collaborate with a party which is so evidently against democracy to form a government?

The plenum has also failed to come out with a concrete plan for the demobilisation and integration of the PLA, the single most important sticking point for the complete integration of the Maoists in the political mainstream of Nepal. Without this there can be no question of the Maoists forming government with democratic forces.

The only way forward, at this stage is for all the political parties to engage in confidence building measures and allow an open public debate. After all it is not a question of what the parties want.
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