Nepal Today

Saturday, April 30, 2011

GOVT. EXPANSION LIKELY BY MONDAY

MJFN TO JOIN GOVT. DESPITE DIFFERENCES IN PARTY

Kathmandu, 1 May: MJFN will get four ministries, including the foreign ministry, and position of deputy prime minister.
The expanded government will have three deputy prime ministers—Bharat Mohan Adhikari from UML, Krishna Bahadur Mahara from UCPN (Maoist) and Chairman Upendra Yadav from MJFN.
Yadav is a former foreign minister.
Besides the foreign ministry, ministries of commerce and supplies, agriculture and cooperatives and labour and transport have been allocated to MJFN.
Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal, Maoist Chairman Prachanda and MJFN Chairman Yadav held late night discussions on expanding the government Saturday at the official residence of Khanal.
The decision to award ministries to MJFN comes as Jayaprakash Prasad Gupta, second ranking leader of terai party, is on a nation-wide tour
to oppose the party decision of Yadav to join government.
Maoist central office bearers are meeting Monday to finalize remaining members of its government team; UCPN (Maoist) has to select seven more ministers and 11 state ministers.
Prachanda has been entrusted responsibility to select remaining members of its government team as to pleaders lobby to send their supporters to government.
Deputy Prime Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara heada a four-member Maoist team in government.
Sunil Mahandhar of CPN (ML)is also joining the Khanal government; the splinter communist group is led by CP Mainali.
Government is likely to be expanded Monday.
Khanal, elected 3 February, hasn’t succeeded in expanding his government team for nearly three months because of inter and intra-party bickering.
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HALF DOZEN HOUSES DESROYED BY FIRE IN KAILALI

Kathmandu, 1 May: More than one dozen houses were destroyed by a fire overnight at Sukkar Bazzar in Kailali.
Other details weren’t immediately available.
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MAOIST INTER-PARTY DICUSSIONS FOR PEACE AND CONSTITUTION DRAFT

Kathmandu, 1 May: Maoists Sunday begin high-level inter-party discussions with parties, including the main opposition NC and ruling UML heading the government, for constitution drafting and completing the delayed peace process.
A meeting of central office bearers took the decision Saturday following the adoption last week by Maoist central committee of Chairman Prachanda’s changed political strategy after 28 May to temporarily suspend the people’s war in favour of peace and constitution.
Just 27 days to promulgate a basis law that will be missed for the second time in three years 28May;various options have floated opposing suggestions on how to meet a void after 28 May.
Prachanda said an integrated draft constitution will be prepared by 28 May by the main constitution drafting committee headed by Nilambar Acharya.
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SUNDAY DECLARED A PUBLIC HOLIDAY

Kathmandu, 1 May: Sunday has been declared a public holiday to celebrate May Day.
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TERAI GROUP ABANDONS VIOLENCE

Kathmandu, 1 May: Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha, onn of more than two dozen armed groups active in the south along the 1,700 km open Indo-Nepal border, renounced violence and adopt peaceful means to push programmes and polices Saturday in Rajbiraj.
Chairman Rajiv Jha mad the announcement personally at a news conference.
The group was launched February 2009.
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INFORMAL MEET OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE

Kathmandu, 1 May: An informal meet of a special committee on integration, resettlement and supervision of Maoist former fighters meets later Sunday.
The committee is headed by Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal and has representatives of major parties as representatives.
The committee last met 23 March.
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TRADE, COMMERCE, ECONOMY

ANURAG MISHRA IN SCBSNL

Kathmandu, 1 May: Anurag Mishra took over Sunday as acting chief executive of Standard Chartered Bank Nepal Limited (SCBSN).
He was head of wholesale banking department.
Mishra succeeds Sujit Mundul who retried Saturday after eight years in Nepal.
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NEPSE LOSES 9.15 POINTS

Kathmandu, 1 May: Nepse lost 9.15 points in five-day trading when the market closed of the last day Thursday.
The market closed at 356.87 points on the first day of trading Sunday and settled at 347.72 Thursday.
The bearish trend continued its run.
Market turnover surged 258.65 percent because of bulk transfer of shares of Bottlers Nepal in the Khetan Group.
Altogether 644,096 shares were traded for Rs.356.22 million in 6,046 transactions.
Altogether 3.2 million shares of Country Development Bank were listed in the capital market.
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MEDIA GOOGLE

“The constitution must be promulgated by extending the CA term by six months at the most in case the country fails to promulgate the constitution by May 28.”

(Dr. Babauram Bhattarai, The Kathmandu Post, 1 May)
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ARRESTED OFFICIAL IMPLICTES FOUR COLLEAGUES IN PASSPORT SCAM

Kathmandu, 1 May:: Section Officer Bhuminanda Bhandari of the Immigration Office at Tribhuvan International Airport — who was arrested for helping the users of diplomatic passports that lawmakers Gayatri Shah and Bishwanatha Prasad Yadav had sold — has implicated four other immigration officials in the scam, The Himalayan Times reports..

Bhandari spilled the beans on the four who had assisted Prithvi Chhantyal and an unidentified woman fly from Kathmandu with the tampered red passports and later sneaked them out of TIA ‘for astronomical bribes’.

“Bhandari told investigators that Chief Immigration Officer Khadananda Dhakal, section officer Shyam Babu Bhandari, computer officer Indra Kumar Sunuwar and senior immigration assistant Devi Dutta Khatri were also culpable,” a source said.

The Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police had arrested Bhuminanda on April 27 in connection with the red passport scam.

“On Khadananda’s instruction, Shyam, Indra, Devi Dutta and myself had received Chhantyal and the unidentified woman and let them loose, instead of handing them over to the Department of Immigration upon arrival at TIA on January 18,” read Bhuminanda’s statement. As per the Immigration Act, TIA immigration officials have to detain persons deported from other countries and hand them over to DoI to establish the reason behind their return. Bhuminanda and others had helped Chhantyal and the woman sneak out of the airport. “Etihad Airways officials had handed Chhantyal and the woman to us and we released them on Khadananda’s instruction,” said Bhuminanda.

The source said Shyam, Indra and Devi Dutta are absconding. “We wrote to the Department of Immigration twice requesting it to produce them before police, but it replied that the three were at large after Bhuminanda’s arrest.”

The source further informed that the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority was interrogating Khadananda.

Khadananda told The Himalayan Times that he accepted moral responsibility for what had happened.

Chhantyal and the woman were bound for Australia via Etihad Airways when Abu Dhabi Airport found the tampered red passports on January 16. They were deported two days later.

To make things worse, immigration officials handed over the tampered passports to Santosh Uprety, who runs a forgery racket. According to police, Uprety then handed over the passports to Shah and Yadav.
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GOVT. COMMMITS Rs.2B TO NOC


Kathmandu, 1 May 1: Turning deaf ears to widespread call for adjustment of fuel prices, the government has decided to arrange yet another tranche of loan for Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) to finance oil import to end the fuel scarcity that has paralyzed the country for two weeks,Republica reports.

NOC officials said the government this time was arranging Rs 2 billion in loan from Employment Provident Fund (EPF).

“The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has initiated the process to arrange loan from the provident fund manager,” said NOC Spokesperson Mukunda Dhungel. Talking to Republica, he further disclosed that Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has resumed normal volume of fuel supply to Nepal from Friday after it was informed about the government´s fresh endeavor for arranging loans. IOC stepped up exports after it was convinced that NOC would be able to pay for the supply without further piling up the dues.

The development has raised hopes of fuel availability getting normal by the coming weekend. However, it has left the issue of fuel pricing and NOC´s loss, which stands at the crux of the supply problem, as it is. This means fuel supply remains as vulnerable as ever, admitted officials.

“The immediate good news, nonetheless, is that the IOC has supplied 2,330 kiloliters of fuel from Raxaul on Friday, raising it substantially from around 1,600 KL till a day ago,” said Dhungel.

It has also agreed to issue as much supply as possible on Saturday as well, as Sunday is a public holiday when no supplies are issued. Following such development, NOC distributed 167 KL of petrol and 365 KL of diesel in the Kathmandu Valley on Saturday. However, it also announced that no distribution would be made on Sunday because of the May Day.

“We will step up supplies substantially from Monday and we expect the petrol scarcity to end by Thursday,” said Dhungel. Diesel shortage, however, might persist for a long time as demand of diesel is high in numerous cities and industrial pockets, and the corporation plans to distribute the fresh consignments evenly to all sectors.

The scarcity has hit consumers across the country since 18 days after IOC slashed supplies to Nepal by one-third citing lack of payment from the NOC following which NOC, too, had to slash supplies by similar proportion. Majority of petrol pumps across the country pulled down shutters hanging ´no petrol´ ´no diesel´ tags. Long queues of vehicles were seen at the pumps and consumers were forced to wait for hours to get limited fuel.

“With a monthly loss of Rs 1.96 billion, there is bound to be scarcity,” said officials at NOC, and urged the government to adjust fuel prices so that existing loss could be checked. Otherwise, they cautioned, consumers will face another spate of shortage once the fuel supply ensured by the Rs 2 billion loan is used up.
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MISSING NEPALI CHOIR TURNS UP AND PERFORMS IN UK
Kathmandu, 1 May: The Nepali singers presented Nepali folk songs at the festival today. They are set to perform for two more days, Rudra Pangeni reports in The Himalayan Times.
The Nepali singers who reached the United Kingdom to take part in Cornwall International Male Voice Choral Festival have contacted the organisers on Saturday after missing for three days from the Heathrow Aiport.

Peter Davies, the Festival director, informed The Himalayan Times over telephone that the Nepali choir reached the programme venue at Cornwall at around 1:00 a.m. GMT on today to perform later in the morning.

The Nepali singers presented Nepali folk songs at the festival today. They are set to perform for two more days.

Though Davies did not prefer commenting on the choir’s late arrival, one of its members claimed that none from the organisers’ side turned up at the Terminal 3 of the airport to receive the Nepali team.

Bimal Sherchan told The Himalayan Times over telephone that the team which was already disturbed after losing the musical instruments while flying to Mumbai from New Delhi en route to the United Kingdom was further embarrassed to find itself left high and dry in London.

He claimed the team members stayed at a motel in central London for two days before getting success on contacting the organisers through Internet.

The immigration officials were informed about the Nepali choir’s missing on Tuesday itself. It was suspected that the members had absconded from the airport.

Laxman Bidari “Shesh” leads the team comprising of Bimal Sherchan, Parbati Gurung, R G Kharel, Akash Manandhar, Manoj Chhetri, Goma Lamichhane, Prabin Lal Joshi, Dipesh Shrestha and Yuva Raj Shrestha. They represent the Syuchatar-based Nepalaya Lok Kala Manch.
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