Nepal Today

Sunday, May 29, 2011



Kathmandu, 30 May: British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt also welcomed the constituent assembly term extension.
“This should be coupled with rapid and irreversible progress on the integration and rehabilitation of the former Maoist combatants, as well as other outstanding issues from the comprehensive peace accord,” a statement issued by the British embassy said.
Japan also welcomed a prolonged temporary resolution of the deadlock.
“It is sincere wish that all the concerned political parties redouble their efforts to complete the peace process and drafting of the new constitution within the revised time-frame through constructive dialogue and mutual understanding and achieve the people’s aspiration entrusted to constituent assembly three years ago,” the Japanese embassy said.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also welcomed the tenure extension early morning Sunday by a two-third parliamentary vote.
The UN chief said the time gained was ‘useful’ and hoped the players will complete the peace process and constitution drafting in time.
He pledged continued UN support.


Kathmandu, 30 May: Bhoto will be displayed from the Rato Machindranath chariot at Jawalakhel 25 June.
The jatra—Nepal’s longest-- will conclude with its display
Astrologers fixed the date on the public display.


Kathmandu, 30 May: Gross foreign exchange reserve fell 4.4 percent to Rs.257.05 billion in the first eight months of the current fiscal that ends mid-July, Nepal Rashtra Bank said.
The country has a Rs.268.91 billion reserve in mid-July 2010.
Gross foreign exchange reserve in uS dollar terms declined 1.3 percent to $3.57 billion in mid-March.
The central bank said the foreign reserve situation is comfortable.
Rs 117.97 Indian currency was bought for $1.62 billion to meet shortage with widening gap in trade with India.

Kathmandu, 30 May: Two unidentified persons broke into Thamel-based Hotel Dream Home feigning themselves as Nepali Army personnel and abducted a 24-year-old American tourist, John Robert Schrumpf, at around 2.30am today [Sunday], The Himalayan Times reports..

However, Schrumpf contacted the police after 15 hours of captivity.

“He was set free by the abductors at around 5.30pm in Durbar Marg area after he paid Rs 40,000,” informed DSP Hridaya Thapa, investigating official.

One of the abductors had shown an ID card of Nepali Army bearing the name S Gautam on the pretext of carrying out a security check and took away Schrumpf after 25 minutes from the hotel for “smelling of cannabis”.

DSP Thapa said: “Primary investigation suggests they are serial robbers, who target foreigners in Thamel and surrounding areas.” The kidnappers are still at large.

Schrumpf had been staying in the hotel since May 1 and was to leave for the US on Tuesday.

“They held me captive at a hotel room in Durbar Marg and sought money to set me free,” DSP Thapa quoted Schrumpf as saying.

The victim was forced to call his parents back home for dollars equivalent to

Rs 20,000 to pay a ransom of Rs 40,000. He was handed over to officials at the United States Embassy later.

Narayan Sodari, who was on duty at hotel when the incident occurred, said two persons in their late 20s came around 2 am and said they were assigned to carry out security checks in Thamel-based hotels by Nepali Army, as all Nepal Police personnel were deputed at Constituent Assembly building and neighbouring areas.


Nepal At The Crossroads
G. K. Pakavath writes in The Rising Nepal

IT seems Nepalis have forgotten to smile. Disappointment, apprehension, anxiety and mindless violence have overtaken a country which, in the past, touted its peace-loving generations and wealth of culture over its counterparts not only in the continent but also across the world.
Decline and stagnation in virtually every imaginable segment of the society have given rise to the grim forecast that even with the stake of the present government, the situation is unlikely to improve either in the long or short term.
Until a few couple of years back, we were at war with the outmoded system of governance, dynastic rule, imperialism and colonisation. Today we are at war with ourselves. Materialistic influences from the developed West have created a crop of leaders who are unconnected with the roots while asserting their ungainly right to follow ideas unrelated to their immediate environment.
For the moment, the trend is confined to the upper crusts of the politicians, but the octopus has long tentacles.
The second, it is unrealistic to expect a nation of young adults to lead the business enterprise of the state. Yet the conflict for and against investment by outsiders is ongoing. The involvement of the locals is restricted to securing employment. Besides business, Nepalis expect their garbage to be cleaned, their dresses tailored and their hair cropped by others.
The third, and equally palpable scenario, is of course political. However, it is more of a war of words, of thundering humbug than a war of ideologies. Both - the one in power as well as the opposition - continue to accuse each other of orchestrating campaigns to discredit the other through lies and murders involving their respective cadres.
Political murders in the country are now so commonplace that they have ceased to be a law and order problem. Besides the factional infighting, violence and the rule of the gun also are gradually alienating people from support to a particular party or their political convictions.
Mob violence appears to have emerged as the principal currency of protest in post-Jana Andolan Nepal. The trend is disturbing. More than anything else, it signifies the awkwardness of the political process. Meanwhile, the contradictions of the Nepali psyche have continued - unconcern over individual harassment and suffering, and mob violence following a road accident.
Violence or the threat of violence that nearly always looms large in a movement these days needs to be subjected to greater sociological examination, and appropriate lessons drawn for the greater good of the democratisation process. Mass mobilisation as a democratic tool, relying solely on voluntary participation of individuals and leading to grand public rallies and marches, is now more or less extinct as a protest form. We have instead the ‘bandh’ culture, which frequently means the forced closure of a factory, office space, business establishment or indeed an entire city, accompanied by wanton destruction.
The transition to the present trend needs study, but a few points are in order. The tendency to overwhelm public authority appears to have taken hold as the latter, in many cases, are too willing to be overwhelmed. Under the mistaken notion of being alive to political sensitivity, they stand by and watch violence being unleashed instead of taking in the troublemakers and protecting the victims.
The false notion of political sensitivity frequently arises from the fact that the political masters these days have no grassroots links and confuse the apparent for the real.
Two, it is not infrequently the case that the authorities have almost ceased to take note of peaceful protests. The culture of public discourse, democratic dissent and democratic protest has been subverted as a result.
The messy alternatives of public and private lives have turned Nepal into a sea of discontent and pessimism. Crossed allegiances, confused programmes and mixed reaction to issues have further contributed to the surrender of reason and the will to assert. There is a need for commitment and dynamism. Given several decades of Nepal’s subjugation to dynastic rule, one wonders if radical changes in the priorities and attitudes can help cross the frontiers of frenzy and acute frustration as this is a country where the status quo will prevail for a long time.


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