Nepal Today

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

RULING 3-PARTY MEET BEGINS By Bhola B Rana Kathmandu, 1 March: A crucial meeting of the Big There began Thursday morning sponsored by UCPN (Maoist) leading the government began at the residence of Chairman Prachanda to untie a political deadlock and embittered relations between opposition and Maoists. The meeting come s one day before a deadline to resolve differences of statutes to be included in a constitution that has to be promulgated 28 May to institutionalize a declared republic. Chairman Nilambar Acharya said a report of the main constitution drafting committee under him will be sent to the 601-member constituent assembly (CA)) recording the differences. Each article in a constitution will have to be approved by two-third Majority in the CA to launch a basis law by May end. The task won’t be met again despite discussions and non-discussions in a Prachanda sub-committee with representatives of major parties to resolve thematic differences. At the last moment, Prachanda, NC President Sushill Koirala and senior UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal were given responsibilities to present proposals for a breakthrough on integration, constitution and constitution drafting. Prachanda proposed an integration proposal for Maoists with the appointment of a former PLA fighter with the rank of a brigadier general in Nepal Army—a proposal unacceptable to opposition NC and UML The three leaders meet Friday after Koirala and Nepal didn’t present their proposals at the last meeting. The here meet after the Maoist chief blasted NC and UML reflecting the deteriorating relations with parties and lack of trust to complete the peace process and constitution drafting. “You only hear abuses while opening the television set these days. These two parties have forgotten their past deeds. You only hear abuses sometime from NC ad then the UML,“ he told a gathering Wednesday in Parsa. Thursday’s meet comes hours after government and Maoists attempted to placate opposition by agreeing to close down 13 of 28 camps housing former PLA Maoist fighters in the next days. Nearly 9,500 fighters are lodged at the camps for more than four years. nnnn DRAFT BILL PROPOSES JUDGE APPOINTMENT THROUGH OPEN COMPETITION Kathmandu, 1 March : The Judicial Council (JC) has begun discussions on a draft bill that proposes appointing judges through open competition and making judgeships inclusive in keeping with the current wave of adopting inclusive policies and filling vacancies at constitutional bodies in a competitive fashion, Republica reports. A JC meeting on Tuesday discussed the draft bill that proposes announcement of vacancies for judges at all three levels -- district court, appellate court and Supreme Court -- and calling of public hearings for aspiring candidates, before they are chosen for the posts. The next meeting of the JC, which is headed by the chief justice, is expected to finalize the draft and forward it to the Ministry of Law and Justice for cabinet approval. According to JC member Upendra Keshari Neupane, candidates aspiring for judgeships at district courts will have to appear for both a written examination and an interview, under the proposed bill. Those aspiring for appellate court judgeships will have to fill out forms to be developed by the JC. "Those aspiring for judgeship at appellate courts will also have to attend some sort of test to be developed by the Judicial Council," said JC Secretary Jibanhari Adhikari about provisions in the bill being prepared to amend the existing Judicial Council Act. • Related news: JC Decides To Study Faulty Court Verdicts Similarly, the draft bill proposes that aspirants to the post of Supreme Court justice will also have to fill out a form to be developed by the JC, setting out why they want the post. The provision, if approved, will mark a major shift from the existing practice of appointing judges on the basis of a roaster prepared by the J C secretariat in a non-transparent fashion and at the discretion of the chief justice and members of the council. Under the existing system, those who have good contacts with the J C secretariat, the chief justice and JC members can secure appointments as judges at different courts. JC member Neupane said that the JC has proposed appointing judges through open competition on the basis of the experience of other countries. Neupane said judges are chosen through open competition in many countries, including India, the UK and Canada. "The draft bill aims at making the existing judicial appointments system more transparent," said Secretary Adhikari when asked why the JC felt it necessary to change the existing system. Similarly, the draft bill has also tried to respond to public calls to make the judiciary inclusive and has proposed quotas for women, indigeneous people, Madhesis and Dalits and other backward communites in the appointment of judges. It says that 48 percent of the vacant posts for judges will be reserved for excluded groups and communities. Of the reserved quotas, 33 percent will be allocated to women, 25 percent to indigenous peoples, 26 percent to Madhesis, seven percent to Dalits, five percent to the physically challenged and four percent to backward communities. At present, the judiciary is one of the least inclusive institutions. As of now, only six out of the total of 191 judges at courts of different levels are women while the number of judges represenating other excluded groups and communities is also very low. "The draft bill proposes a policy of positive discrimination in the appointment of judges," said JC member Neupane. nnnn ________________________________FORMER KING ATTENDING RELIGIOUS FUNCTION IN SUNSARI THURSDAY________ ________________________________________

FORMER KING ATTENDING RELIGIOUS FUNCTION IN SUNSARI

Kathmandu, 1 March: Former King Gyanendra attends a religious function at Jhumka in Sunsari Thursday.
Amid efforts of successive to curb his religious activities, government last year restricted his movement and stopped him from visiting Kumari Ghar on Indra Jatra.
A motorcycle rally is awaiting to welcome the former kng as he alights a flight to Biratnagar from the capital enroute to Jhumka.
He has just returned from India after a month-long visiting meeting Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul creating a political stir at home.
The meeting coincided with a comment of Indian Ambassador Jayant Prasad political stability in Nepal isn’t possible without cooperation of monarchists, democrats and communists.
The former king’s participation in a religious function comes after a long quiet.
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CHIR ERECTED AT BASANTAPUR MARKING BEGINNING OF HOLI

Kathmandu, 1 March: The Holi chir was erected Thursday at 8.41 AM at Basantapur
heralding week-long celebration marking the end of winter and beginning of spring manly in the terai.
The chir with colourful festoon on top of the pole was erected at the square amid religious rituals and gaiety.
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11 GOLDS UP FOR GRABS IN 6TH NATIONAL GAMES THURSDAY

Kathmandu, 1 March: Eleven golds are up for grabs on the fifth day of
the 6th National Games in Dhangadi and the capital Thursday.
The Gaes areeingheld for the firs timein 13 years and for th first time in the far-West.
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CAPITAL WEATHER

Kathmandu, 1 March: The minimum temperature in the capital was six degrees Celsius.
Mercury is expected t rise to 26 degrees Celsius in the afternoon.
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NEPAL SEEKS HELP TO DETERMINE MOUNT EVEREST HEIGHT
Kathmandu, 1 March: Nepal is appealing to international donors to help it finally settle a long-running dispute over the height of Mount Everest, a government official said today 9Wednesday], The Himalayan Times reports.

The world’s highest peak, which straddles Nepal and China, is usually attributed a height of 8,848 metres following an Indian survey in 1954, but other more recent measurements have varied by several metres.

China measured the peak four metres lower — by excluding the snowcap — while in 1999 an American team using GPS technology recorded a height of 8,850 metres, a figure used by the US National Geographic Society.

Nepal’s state-run Survey Department told AFP it was seeking to obtain grants and expertise from international donors, as well as the global scientific community.

“This is part of the ongoing three-year Nepal government project to settle the mountain’s height. But we have neither the scientific expertise nor the resources to carry out such tasks,” said Director General Krishna Raj BC.

He said Italian scientists researching the mountain had already expressed an interest in providing help.

Everest was first measu-red in 1856, nearly 100 years before it was conquered by Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary.
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GOVT. SITTING ON RIGHTS ABUSES CASES
Kathmandu, 1 March: The government has been literally sitting on more than 100 orders that the Supreme Court had issued vis-a-vis serious cases of human rights violation, Ananta Raj Luitel reports in The Himalayan Times reports.

Former Minister for Information and Communications Agni Prasad Sapkota and Additional Inspector General of Police Kuber Singh Rana are among the alleged high-profile human rights violators, who continue to enjoy impunity.

On June 21 last year, the court ordered the Prime Minister’s Office and the Council of Ministers, Police Headquarters, Home Ministry and the Kavre District Police Office to bring Sapkota, a senior Maoist leader accused of killing teacher Arjun Lama in Kavre, under the purview of investigation for prosecution and report to it on the progress every fortnight from July.

The order remains on paper to this day.

“No government authority has bothered to report the SC on the progress in the case,” an apex court officer told this daily.

On July 13, the court directed the PMO and the council of ministers, home ministry and Dhanusha DPO to report to it on AIG Kuber Singh Rana, who stands accused of killing five youth in Dhanusha in October 2003 when he was a regional police chief. No different is the status of this order.

“This inaction on the part of the government is not just a contempt-of-court case,” human rights activist Charan Prasain says, adding, “It shows that government agencies are unable to bring DIG Rana and powerful Maoist leader Sapkota under the purview of law.”

Notwithstanding an April 11, 2011 court order, the government is yet to form a committee, a task that the government was supposed to complete in two months, let alone enact a legislation to ensure reproductive rights of jailbirds.

Issuing a verdict on December 21, 2007, the court had ordered the government to amend laws to ensure the rights of sexual minorities, as records at the court’s Judgment Execution Directorate show. The verdict remains unimplemented with the government yet to form a committee for amending laws on sexual minorities that comply with international conventions to which Nepal is a party.

On December 28, 2007, the SC directed authorities form a panel and amend Section 42 of the Punishment Chapter of the Civic Code. The panel is nowhere in sight.

Out of other 129 orders issued in response to public interest litigations between July and January this year, only one verdict got executed, while 128 verdicts are awaiting execution. Of orders on 48 petitions related to personal issues, only got implemented during the period. The progress ratio was comparatively higher in 2010/11 with 34 out of 110 verdicts implemented, while 76 verdicts remain pending. In 2009/2010, authorities implemented 37 out of 87 orders.

SC registrar Lohit Chandra Shah says the apex court will now analyse the status of verdicts and take suitable action
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NEPAL, INDIA RAILWAY PACT REVIEW MEET STARTS LATER THURSDAY

Kathmandu, 1 March After deferring for well over two years, technical officials from Nepal and Indian are finally convening in the capital on Thursday for a two-day review meeting of Bilateral Rail Service Agreement, through which Nepal hopes to get all forms of rail cargo services operated between all inland container depots and Indian ports through which the country moves third country cargoes, Republica reports..

“Agendas for the meeting have already been finalized. We hope to conclude the meeting successfully,” Naindra Kumar Upadhaya, joint secretary of the MoCS told Republica.

The continued deferral to review the agreement, which was due for 2009, has limited the operations of Nepal´s inland container depot (ICD) in Birgunj. Nepal Freight Forwarders Association (NEFFA) has claimed the delay has inflicted the country a loss of around Rs 7.3 million each day since more than two years.

The meeting would review the progresses made after the review meeting that was held last in New Delhi in 2009. It will mainly focus on performance of Container Corporation (Concur) of India while providing service to the Nepali traders.

Traders in recent years have been complaining that Concur has not been doing its jobs properly and this, in turn, has been compelling them to pay undue demurrage charges and bear other costs.

Many containers had stranded in Kolkata port just a couple of weeks ago due to the negligence of Concur - Indian government-owned container handler. “Concur´s service has turned problematic of late. We will request India to correct it,” said one of the government officials participating in the meeting.
Though Upadhyaya refused to elaborate further, sources said Nepali officials in the meeting would push India to either improve the service performance of Concur or allow private railway service providers to cater to the needs of Nepali traders.

The meeting would also seek India to open railway cargo services between all ICDs and Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) of Nepal and all the Indian ports through which Nepal is authorized to carry out third country trade. The existing railway agreement presently limits such services between Birgunj ICD and Kolkata and Haldiya ports only.

“We also have an agenda on free exchange of open and flat track wagons from and to any ICDs and ICPs,” said the source. So far, India has opened operations of closed railway cargoes only.

If this agenda is endorsed, it will pave the way for Nepal to operate railway cargoes between every ICDs and ICPs in Nepal and newly assigned Vishakapatnam port. It will also enable the country to trade with Bangladesh via train through Rohanpur-Singabad railway network.
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