Nepal Today

Monday, April 30, 2012

NPC TO PLAY IN PRESIDENT’S CUP IN CAMBODIA Kathmandu, 1 May: Nepal Police Club (NPC) is flying for Cambodia Wednesday to participate in the group matches of AFC President´s Cup there from 2 to 5 May. NPC was runner- up in the 2007 edition. Nepal is in Group B along with Phnom Penh Crown FC, Dordoi Dynamo of Kyrgyzstan and Yeedzin FC Bhutan. NPC plays Dordoi Dynamo 5 May 5, Phnom Penh Crown FC 7 May and Yeedzin FC 9 May. Police Team Ritesh Thapa and Bishal Shrestha (goalkeepers), Rakesh Shrestha, Dipendra Paudel, Suraj BK, Rabin Shrestha, Suman Subedi, Parbat Pandey, Ramesh Kumar Rai, Ramesh Katuwal, Bhola Silwal, Bhola Silwal, Yogesh Shrestha, Jumanu Rai, Pankaj Shahi, Roshan Karki, Bharat Shah, Dilip Rai, Rupesh Kumar Chaudhary Coach: Birat Krishna Shrestha Nnnn 48 PLAYERS CALLED FOR CAMP BY ANFA Kathmandu, 1 May All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) has called 48 players for a preliminary training camp for the AFC U-22 Asia Cup Qualifiers. The matches will be played in the capital from 2 to 10 June. The training camp started Monday under Coach Krishna Thapa. nnnn MAOISTS HEADING FOR SPLIT SAYS GEGERAL SECRETARY THAPA Kathmandu, 1 May: General Secretary of the UCPN (M) and a senior leader from the rebel faction Ram Bahadur Thapa said Monday that his faction would ultimately form another party but were waiting to see what kind of constitution would be promulgated before taking such a move, Kiran Pun writes in Republica.. Addressing a national gathering of the students close to the faction, Thapa also claimed there was no longer any ideological base that connected them with the party establishment led by Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal. "It should not be limited to a just ideological group of Kiran [Mohan Baidya] and we are moving toward forming a new party. All ideological bases that made it possible for us to walk with Dahal have vanished. Only some issues remain to be completed. So, we should wait until May 27," ANNISU-R Vice-chairman Sharad Rasaili quoted Thapa as telling the gathering. The gathering was organized by the rebel faction in its bid to chart out the strategy of students close to it and afiliated with All Nepal National Independent Student Union- Revolutionary (ANNISU-R). The faction has already held national gathering of people´s volunteers and ex-PLA, and formed parallel committees. But the gathering of the students refrained from forming a parallel committee. "Dahal deviated from the spirit of sacrifice. They surrendered and have taken a wrong path," another participant quoted Thapa as saying. Thapa was critical of the ongoing differences among parties on contentious issues of the constitution writing and even termed them as deliberate drama. He was of the view that the issues had already been settled and the parties were engaged in a sham negotiation just to show to the people. "Dahal and Bhattrai gave up all agendas of the Maoists and surrendered to the parliamentary forces. They will do what parliamentary parties want. So, there is no possibility of the country getting a people´s constitution," another participant quoted Thapa as saying. Thapa also told the gathering that they would announce a movement after evaluating the text of the constitution. During the training session, party standing committee member and student faction in-charge Netra Bikarm Chand urged the student to be prepared for "people´s revolt". "It has become clear to some extent of Dahal and Bhattarai´s surrender to the reactionary forces and we have to go to the people and tell the full story," another participant quoted Chand as saying. Nnnn NEPAL BANK ALLOWED TO SELL ASSETS TO INCREASE CAPITAL BASE Kathmandu, 1 May: The government has given green signal to state-controlled Nepal Bank Limited to start selling fixed assets to replenish its capital, while rejecting its proposal to waive off capital gains tax on sales of these assets, Rupak D Sharma writes in Republica. The Ministry of Finance has said the technically bankrupt bank can sell fixed assets that are not in use in a phase wise manner and subsequently raise Rs 2 billion to fix its balance sheet which shows a negative net worth of Rs 4.5 billion. However, it was asked to take into consideration the cabinet decision of June 2010 which does not allow public enterprises to sell fixed assets to the private sector. “Because of this provision the entire process of selling fixed assets belonging to the bank has slowed down,” a person privy to the issue told Republica. “The issue has recently been settled as it has been acknowledged that the government is not a majority stakeholder in the bank and it should be exempt from the condition that solely applies to public enterprises, which according to the definition are companies in which the government is a majority shareholder.” This has paved way for the bank to sell its fixed asset to the private sector as well. Established in November 1937, Nepal Bank, a category ´A´ financial institution, is 40.19 percent owned by the government; public shareholders own 49.94-percent stake in it, and the rest is owned by banks, financial institutions and other institutions. Despite being a public entity, it failed to maintain good governance due to which its non-performing loan soared to 59 percent of the total credit portfolio by 2002. Since then it has undergone a reform program, which has bolstered its financial condition. One of the indicators of its improved financial health is the proportion of bad debts, which stood at 5.17 percent of the total credit portfolio as of mid-January. But since it has a negative core capital of over Rs 4.5 billion it needs an injection of at least Rs 9.7 billion to do away with the negative net worth. To replenish its capital, the bank is planning to raise Rs 4 billion through rights issue of which Rs 1.5 billion will come from the government. It is planning to raise another Rs 2 billion through sales of fixed assets. Nepal Bank is estimated to have fixed assets worth around Rs 14 billion at current market price throughout the country. “The bank, however, has not finalized plots of land that would be put on sale, although it is looking at areas where real estate prices have not come down yet,” the source said. As per the bank´s recapitalization plan, which has been approved by the central bank and the finance ministry, valuation and sales of land would be conducted in three phases. So far, the bank has already conducted first phase of land valuation. The second and third phases of valuation works are scheduled to begin in mid-May and mid-July, respectively. Based on the valuation, the bank is planning to issue a tender notice within mid-May inviting interested parties to bid for land that it is planning to release under the first phase. “But this process is likely to be delayed because of time taken to convince the government to let the private sector participate in the bidding,” the source said. This delay, in turn, is likely to affect the bank´s land sales plan under second and third phases which were supposed to begin in mid-June and mid-August, respectively. Earlier, the bank had also requested the government to waive off capital gains tax on sales of these assets. But the finance ministry rejected the proposal. It has instead said the amount raised as tax would be invested in purchasing rights shares of the bank. nnnn

PARTIES AGREE TO AMEND RULES OF PROCEDURE TO FACIKITATE PASSAGE OF ARTICLES Kathmandu, 1 May The Big Thee and Madesh Morcha decided Tuesday to amend a constituent assembly (CA) procedure Tuesday to facilitate approval by the assembly to articles to a proposed constitution. Maoist leader Khim Lal Devkota disclosed this after a summit meeting of party leaders The CA is scheduled to meet at one in the afternoon. The assembly meeting was postponed twice to enable parties to come to a consensus. Without consensus on disputed articles to be incorporated in a basic law , the CA will vote on articles for adoption by majority vote.. Leaders of the big parties held discussions with Chairman Subash Nemwang before a Prachanda-sub-committee on resolution of disputes met. The body held discussions even as its tenure had ended. nnnn MINISTER DISDAINS NATIONAL FLAG Kathmandu, 1 May:: Culture Minister Gopal Kirati seems to be too haughty to honour the norm set by the state for high profile public post holders, Bishnu Pd. Aryal writes in The Himalayan Times.. Unlike other ministers, Culture Minister Gopal Kirati prefers to be driven along without the national flag on his vehicle. “It is mandatory for ministers to use the national flag on their vehicles, but we have noticed that Minister Kirati’s car does not have one,” said officials at the Prime Minister’s Office. Spokesperson for Culture Ministry Narayan Prasad Regmi expressed ignorance about Minister Kirati not using the national flag. “Ministers get a vehicle with the national flag because they deserve state respect and they must reciprocate,” said Regmi. “PMO is the responsible body to look into these matters.” But PMO Secretary Lila Mani Paudel said the Ministry of Home Affairs was the body to implement rules. MoHA Secretary Sushil Jung Bahadur said MoHA Spokesperson Shankar Koirala would answer, but Koirala could not be contacted. The minister appears to know only too well how to give things a twist. “I’ll use the national flag only after the constitution is promulgated,” Kirati said in his brief comment sent through text message. nnnn CIAA DRAGS 41 OFFICIALS TO COURT Kathmandu, 1 May: The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority on Monday dragged 41 government officials and members of the All-Party Mechanism to court on charges of gobbling up millions of rupees allocated to local bodies in Bara district. The CIAA has sought around Rs 177 million from them in fines, The Kathmandu Post reports. The anti-graft body said the number of those dragged to court was the highest ever. Thirty-four police officials and two suppliers were taken to court in the Sudan scam. In the charge sheet filed in the Special Court, the CIAA concluded that the government officials, including former Bara LDO Murari Prasad Nepal and 18 members of the cross-party mechanism, gobbled up Rs 22.767 million earmarked for local development. During his three-month stay in the Bara District Development Committee, LDO Nepal embezzled millions of rupees in the name of fake projects, while working hand-in-glove with the APM. A CIAA team led by DIG Ramesh Shekhar Bajracharya investigated the matter after the media reported massive corruption in Bara district. According to CIAA officials, the case was filed by taking into account funds misused just before the end of the fiscal year 2010/11. "We have not yet touched cases of long unpaid advance payment and some 200-300 fake projects and the budget misused in their name," Bajracharya said. The CIAA has sought Rs 22.7m from former LDO Nepal, Rs 22. 7m from Chief Accountant Gopal Das, Rs 17.25 million from engineer Meghu Jaiswal, Rs 17.158m from the Senior Divisional Engineer, Rs 12m from engineer Rajesh Lal Karna and Rs 14. 5m from enginener Pradeep Poudel, among others. It has also sought Rs 9.1 million from 18 members of the APM representing various political parties. nnnn SALARY REVISED WTH JOb SHORTAGE Kathmandu, 1 May: Shortage of foreign job aspirants has forced the government to hike salaries in the destination countries in Gulf; Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, The Himalayan Times reports. Ministry of Labour and Transport Management is revising salary structure upwards for Gulf states to attract potential job aspirants, said spokesperson at the ministry Buddhi Khadka. “We have increased salary from Saudi Riyal (SR) 600 to 800 SR,” he said adding that the revision of other destination countries is also on card. “Gulf countries are offering lowest salary to Nepali workers, so it needs to be revised to attract more foreign job aspirants,” he said. “The ministry is increasing migrant workers’ salary to at least $250 (Rs 20,500) from current average $180 (Rs 14,760). The outsourcers have also agreed to increase salary in Saudi Arabia and the talks are going on to revise salary of other countries upwards,” Khadka added. The ministry and outsourcing agencies have agreed to increase worker’s salary for Saudi Arabia to SR 1,000 including boarding facility, on Sunday. Nepali embassy in Jeddah has advised government to revise salary upward last month after studying salary structure of migrant workers in the destination country. The study has revealed that Nepali migrant workers are getting the lowest salary compared to the workers from India, Sri Lanka, Philippines and African countries. Nepali and Bangladeshi workers are found earning the lowest salary of around SR 800 ($210). However, Bangladesh is not in a mood to revise salary of gulf bound workers. “We have agreed to increase migrant workers salary following workers’ shortage but it may back fire as the neighbouring countries are sending workers at a low salary,” said second vice president of Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies Kumud Khanal. According to him, Nepali outsourcing sector is in risk unless Nepal endorses Saudi Arabian government salary. “If Bangladesh and African countries supply workers at the current wage there will not be any demand for Nepali workers,” he said adding that it is hard to implement the decision. He, however, suggested the government to start diplomatic efforts to revise migrant worker’s salary in other gulf countries and Malaysia. According to the association, outsourcers are getting sufficient workers according to the demand they have in hands. “Outsourcers have to visit villages to convince youths for foreign jobs. They have mobilised their agents in villages,” said president of the association Bal Bahadur Tamang. “But the department’s raid against agent’s offices have created problem,” he said, adding that they have above 100,000 demands in hands but only one-third of them has contacted for foreign jobs. “Branches and agent’s office are illegal, according to Foreign Employment Act,” director general at the Department of Foreign Employment Purnachandra Bhattarai, said, agreeing that there is a shortage of foreign job aspirants but his drive is to protect the sector. “The government is ready to facilitate outsourcers according to the law but they should come forward,” he added. nnnn

MAY DAY BEING CELEBRATED Kathmandu, 1 May: May Day is being celebrated Tuesday. Government declared Tuesday a public holiday. Two factions of Maoists, leading a government, are celebrating the day separately. nnnn GUIDELINES FOR RECOVERING HOUSE RENT Kathmandu, a May: Finance Minister Barshaman Pun released the ‘House Rent Tax Recovery Guidelines, 2068 and House Rent Tax booklet at a function organized at the Ministry of Finance here on Monday, RSS reports. Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Pun said the guidelines has been introduced with objective of bringing house rent into the tax net while the booklet gives the information essential for the house rent tax payer. The booklet shall also used to maintain a log sheet of the tax paid by the house rent tax payers, he added. House rent tax shall be collected by the Inland Revenue Department, the Metropolis, Sub-metropolis and municipality. As per the provisions of the Guidelines, the Department targets to distribute the ‘House Rent Tax Booklet’ to 25,500 tax payers within the current fiscal year, and bring them into the taxing net. A landlord is required to pay 10 per cent of the total income made through house rent in case of an individual and 25 per cent in case of an institution as house rent tax. Accordingly, the Department aims to collect Rs. 1.35 billion within the current fiscal year. At the program, Finance Secretary Krishna Hari Banskota and Director General of the Department, Tanka Mani Sharma said the Municipality and the Tax Offices shall inform the tax payers about the use of the ‘house rent tax booklet’ and other details of house rent tax. Nnnn VOTING ON CONTENTIOUS ISSUES IN CA WHICH MEETS TUESDAY Kathmandu, 1 May: The meeting of the major political parties and the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) held Monday to resolve contentious issues of federalism concluded inconclusively as the parties did not make any change in their previous stances, The Rising Nepal reports. The meeting of the UCPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML and UDMF held at the Secretariat of Army Integration Special Committee at New Baneshwor, could not strike any deal on state restructuring. Instead, the leaders hinted at resolving the issues through majority votes in the Constituent Assembly. Today’s meeting ended without holding formal discussion on the disputed issues regarding the form of governance, they said. The parties are scheduled to seek an ultimate meeting point on state restructuring, mainly on their numbers, boarders and name of federal units, and the form of governance Tuesday morning at a meeting with the members of Dispute Resolution Sub-Committee under the Constitutional Committee at Singha Durbar. Chairman of the UCPN-Maoist Puspha Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ said that the parties would not immediately go for voting. Chairman of UDMF Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar said that discussions were focused to forge consensus. "We will meet again tomorrow and reach a consensus regarding the disputed issues," he said. He said that the parties were close to resolve the contentious issues through dialogues but they differed over the procedures, Gachchhadar said. According to him, the ruling parties stressed the resolution of the contentious issues regarding federalism and form of governance at first while the opposition parties stressed the formation of a consensus government. He said that talks to form the new consensus government would begin only after sorting out all contentious issues of the constitution. NC leader Arjun Narasingh KC said that although the parties failed to find any meeting point on disputed issues, they were closer to finalise the contentious issues of the new constitution with majority votes. Referring to the formation of the new government, KC said that NC would take any decision to form the national consensus government if it was not formed immediately. He said that the latest activities of the Maoist party showed that they did not want to promulgate the new constitution. NC general secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula said that the parties discussed about the two options of resolving the contentious issues-- either through consensus or majority votes. He said that as the parties had limited time to resolve the disputed issues by majority votes, they focused on how to find a common point of consensus. "All parties have positive understandings of forming the consensus government led by NC before May 27. If it cannot be possible, mistrust among the parties will increase," Sitaula said. However, he made it clear that no trust motion would not be registered against the current government. He said that the consensus government would be formed within a few days. CPN-UML chairman Jhala Nath Khanal said the leaders could not find any way out as they stuck to their own stands. "Stances of the parties have made the promulgation of the new constitution within May 27 more challenging," Khanal said. nnnn CAAN ASKED TO CONDUCT GROUND HANDLING Kathmandu, 1 May: Nepal Rastriya Karmachari Sangathan, the authorised trade union at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), has asked the CAAN management to carry out the ground handling activities at the Tribhuwan International Airport for providing quality Services, RSS reports. Until now, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has been doing the ground handling works at the sole international airport of the country. Issuing a press release on Monday, the trade union said that the existing laws have given the authority to the CAAN to carry out ground handling activities at airports. The authorised trade union further demanded for build up necessary infrastructures for ground handling purpose. Various lapses in ground handling and loss of baggage of customers while undergoing the ground handling in the TIA have attracted its serious attentions, the organisation said. Ground handling at the airports by the CAAN itself is necessary not only for providing quality services but also for improving the economic condition of the organisation, it said. nnnn

JANAKPUR CLOSED DOWN; OTHER DETAILS By Bhola B Rana Kathmandu, 1 May: Enraged people Tuesday closed down Janakpur where five perons were killed and 30 were injured in a powerful bomb blast targeting people demanding Mithila Rajya Monday. The demand was sidelined by Maoists and Madeshmorcha also in government with Maoists ; themorcha is ldemanding One Madesh and One Pradesh. One day before the blast, NSP Chairman Rajndra Mahoto threatened in the birthplace of Sita that protests of Tithini Rajya would be exposed. A stage was bombed on the third day of protests of the Mithila Rajya byTerai Mukti mOrcha (Rajan Group). A parked motorcycle exploded causing the worst carnage during demands for la federation embarassing political parties that have been demanding seven to 12 states by in a new fedral structure o replace a unitary state. Fourteen of the seriously are undergoing treatment at TU Teaching in the capital; President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav, who hails from Janakpur visited the injured at hospital. Demands have been made for a judicial prove into the blast, compensation and arrest of the culprits. Motorcycle owner Jaya Prakash Chaudhary was immediately arrested as he parked his motorcycle before the blast. The Kathmandu Post Adds: Various political parties and organisations have condemned the Janakpur bomb blast in which four innocent persons were killed. They have expressed deep sadness over the loss of lives and wished for an early recovery of those injured. In a press statement, the Nepali Congress (NC) has strongly condemned the “cowardice and inhumane incident carried out by criminal group. The party has demanded the government hunt down the criminals involved in the incident as soon as possible and bring them to justice. Furthermore, the NC has also demanded the government ensure the security of the general public; provide compensation to the next of kin of those deceased in the blast and medical treatment to injured. NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi expressed his deep sadness over the incident and demanded stern action against the “criminals” behind the blast. He has demanded the government form a commission to look into the incident, declare those killed as martyrs and make arrangement for treatment of those injured. Four persons were killed and eight others injured when a bomb went off at Ramanand Chowk of Janakpur. FNJ draws attention Meanwhile, Federation of Nepali Journalist (FNJ) drew the attention of political parties towards the blast saying that it was carried out taking advantage of political fluidity. The umbrella body of journalists remarked that the parties, who are engaged in the disputes on the contents of the new constitution, should learn a lesson from the incident. The FNJ has urged the parties to work seriously to forge consensus and maintain the rule of law in the country by promulgating the new constitution at the earliest. In a statement today, FNJ General Secretary Om Sharma demanded compensation for the family of the victims. He also called for the identification and punishment to the guilty in the act of terror. Likewise, the FNJ has expressed condolences to all those affected by the Janakpur blast and wished for early recovery of FNJ member Ashok Dutta, who was injured in the incident. Nnnn TWO KILLED, 20 INJURED IN PALPA BUS ACCIDENT Kathmandu, 1 May: Two passengers were killed and at least 20others were injured in a bus accident Tuesday morning at Lamdanda in Palpa in the Siddhartha Highway. Anil Karki of Gairgaun, Tansen, and bus assistant driver Deepak Lama of Bhairahawa, Rwer killed, police said. The bus was proceeding to Butwal from Tansen. Nnnn FIRE DESTROYS 55 HOUSES IN SUNSARI Kathmandu, 1 May: Fifty-five houses of 20 families were destroyed by a fire that started overnight at 11.30 at Bhautaha in SUnsari. Firefighters brought the fire under control in five hours . Initial damage is estimated at Rs 15 million. There were no human casualties but 15 domestic animals perished. Fires are raging in the hills and terai during the current dry spell ahead of monsoon. Nnnn

DIFFERENCES PRSIST Kathmandu, 30 April: Big Three and Madeshbadi leaders couldn’t agree on a constitution, form of governance, national government and other issues at talks Monday. They failed to arrive at a consensus before Tuesday’s meeting of the constituent assembly (CA) which will vote on issues without consensus. The process is long and political uncertainty will increase. Only 27 days remain to promulgate a basic law. un. FAR-WEST STRIKE WITHDRAWN Kathmandu, 30 April: Indefinite Kanchanpur district strike called by different political parties and organizations demanding 'indivisible far-west' has been called off from today [Monday], RSS reports from Kanchapur. The strike was called to protest the UCPN (Maoist) proposal of 10 provinces on state-restructuring. The agitating sides have said that they would prepare agendas for further programmes by holding discussions with the indigenous and Tharu communities. Issuing a join press statement today, the UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, CPN (UML), CPN (ML) and other parties active in the district including civil society have said that the strike was postponed to prepare common agendas after organizing a round table conference with the stakeholders. Life in the district has returned to normalcy after the postponement of the strike. Nnnn

TOP PARTIES CONSPIRING CHARGES CP GAJUREEL Kathmandu, 30 April: UCPN (Maoist) Secretary CP Gajurel has alleged that conspiracy was being hatched by the top leaders of the four major parties to promulgate new constitution through bargaining, RSS reports from Janakurdham.. At a press meet organised by Revolutionary Journalists Association in Janakpur on Monday, Gajurel said t top leaders of the four parties have been conspiring to finish off the Constituent Assembly’s role in the name of resolving disputes. He added that removing Mithila state from the 10-province model presented by his party chairman is condemnable. The 10-province model was against the party policy, he said and blamed that his party Chairman has been working under the design of the Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala, senior leader of the CPN-UML Madhav Kumar Nepal and Chairman of the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum -Loktantrik Bijay Kumar Gachhadhar. nnnn

THAI AMBASSADOR PRESENTS LETTERS OF CREDENCE TO RESIDENT Kathmandu, 30 April: Residential Ambassador of Thailand Kanthong Unakul presented his letters of credence to President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav Monday. Cuba’s non-residential Abelardo Rafael Cueto Sosa, and Ambassador Ibrahim Asad Oglu Hajiyev of Azerbaizan also presented their letters of credence to the president. Chief of Army Staff Chhatraman Singh Gurung, Secretary at the President's Office Baman Prasad Neupane, Foreign Secretary Durga Prasad Bhattarai and other senior officials from the Office of the President and the Minsitry of Foreign Affairs were present on the occasion. nnnn ESTABLISHMENT FACTION OF NC APPOINTS REMAINING MEMBERS OF AD HOC BODIS OF FOUR CLASS ORGANIZATIONS Kathmandu, 30 April:: The Nepali Congress (NC) today [Monday] gave full shape to four of its class organisations which were constituted on an ad-hoc basis before, RSS reports. The four class organisations given full shape today include the Nepal Democratic Fighters Association, Nepal Indigenous Nationalities Association, Nepal Farmers Association and Nepal Magar Association, according to a press release. The associations are required to hold their general conventions within six months. (Note: Sher Bahadur Deuba faction says establishment intervention is undemocratic and has been opposing the move.) Nnnn DEMONSTRATION IN PARSA FOR FEDERALISM Kathmandu, 30 April: Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Nepal on Monday staged a demonstration, calling for guarantee of federalism along with ethnic-identity in the new constitution in Parsa, RSS reports from Parsa. According to the party, the demonstration was organised in order to pile pressure on the bodies concerned to address the demand for 'one Madhesh one Province' raised by the Madhes community. The protest rally was originated from the Ghantaghar Chowk based in Birgunj passed through various parts of the city and later converged into a corner assembly after reaching back to the same location. MJF-Nepal Parsa district President Pradeep Yadav led the rally. Addressing the gathering, various leaders of the Forum said that the constitution failing to incorporate the Madhes issues would not be acceptable for them. nnnn

SHARE PRICES SINK AMID POLITICAL UNCERTAINTY Kathmandu, 30 April: Amid uncertainty of the complete promulgation of a constitution by 27 May, share prices sank 18.26 on the second day of weekly five-day trading. The market closed at 40.73 point Monday. Prices fell 4.32 percentage points. Altogether 277,477 shares were traded for Rs.101.3 million nnnn

JANAKPUR DEATH TOLL INCREASES TO FIVE UPDATE Katmandu, 30 April: One person among 24 injured in the Janakpur bomb blast died while being rushed to the capital for emergency mediaal reatment.Monday. Death toll has increased to five. Eighteen among 24 injured are serious. NSP Chairman Rajendra Mahoio warned Sunday a Mithila Rajya to split the Madesh would not be tolerated and it would be exposed. People on stage bombed Monday were protesting sidelining of a Mithila Rajya or province by major parties during the constitution drafting process. nnnn

FNCCI, TiT-GLOBAL MoU Kathmandu, 30 April: FNCCI and TiE-Global signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) Sunday to enhance bilateral cooperation for better access to technology, networking to tap into ideas and create employment and access to capital. FNCCI and TiE –Global will work together for economic development y and the partnership will help Nepal create employment. FNCCI Chief Suraj Baidya member of TiE-Global and managing director of APCA Nikesh Sinha signed the MoU.. TiE-Global has a global network with more than 57 branch offices and 600 members, said Sinha. Visiting US State Department special representative for commercial and business affairs Lorraine Hariton attended the function. “The time is perfect as the peace process is coming to its logical conclusion,” she said. Hariton is leading a US State Department team on a five-day long visit to hold discussions with the government and private sector for the development of entrepreneurship and business. nnnn LALITPUR MURDER Kathmandu, Parshuram Tamang , a owner of a motorcycle workshop, was apparently murdered at Ekantakuna in Lalitpur. Police Sunday broke into the workshop after residents complained of foul smell and found Tamang’s decomposed body. Tamang,30, hialed from of Kavre. Nnnn PAROPAKAR MATERNITY HOPITL TO START IN-VITRO FERTLITY SERVICE Kathmandu, 30 April: Paropakar Maternity Hospital will formally launch its In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) service from tomorrow [Tuesday], the hospital said, reports The Himalayan Times.. The hospital has screened seven suitable women, aged 30 to 41, from 22 patients to undergo the procedure to give birth to ‘test-tube baby’. Dr Ashwini Trikha, an expert on IVF service, informed that the hospital has prepared the women for the procedure. “The hospital carried out ovum pick-up on Friday and will perform embryo transfer tomorrow,” said Trikha. In-vitro fertilisation is a process in which egg cells are fertilised by sperm outside the womb. It is what doctors resort to when other methods of assisted reproduction fail. The process involves hormonally controlling the ovulatory process, removing ova (eggs) from the woman’s ovaries and allowing sperms to fertilise them in a fluid medium. The resulting fertilised egg is placed into the woman’s uterus for further development of the foetus. Former Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal had inaugurated the IVF centre in August 2011. “The hospital is now ready to provide full-fledged IVF service,” said Dr Shila Verma, director at the hospital. She informed that it took about a month of preparation. She informed that the hospital sent four doctors and two nurses to learn the process in India. Dr Verma added that the government is providing the service at a reasonable price for people with low income. The price for the service is Rs 1.6 lakh at the hospital. So far, the facility is not available at any other government hospital. While Om Mani Tamang, born on March 3, 2005 at Om Hospital and Research Centre Pvt Ltd, was Nepal’s first test tube baby. The world’s first IVF baby, Louise Brown, was born on July 25, 1978, in England. There have been over a million children born through the process since then. According to the Health Ministry, around 20 per cent of Nepali couples have fertility-related ailments. Nnnn MEDIA GOOGLE “… we’ll expose conspiracy to weaken Madesh by creating more Madesh provinces.” (NSP Chairman Rajendra opposing Mithila Rajya in Janakpur Sunday, Naya Patrika, 30 April) nnnnl

UPDATE JANATANTRIK TERAI MUKTI MORCHA CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR JANKPUR BOMBING Kathmandu, 30 April: Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha has claimed responsibility for the Janakpur blast, police said. Seriously injured have been airlifted to the capital for treatment. Fresh reports said two dozen persons were injured in the bombing. nnnn. BHUTANESE TRANSPORTING NEPALIS TO USA AS BHUTAESE REFUGEES ARRESTED FROM UN AGENCY OFFICE Kathmandu, 30 April: Jit Bahadur Subba was arrested by Central investigation bureau Sunday from premises of IOM Transit Center in the capital; the Center has been processing the movement of more than 50,000 Bhutanese from refugee camps in Jhapa to the West, mainly USA. Subba is a Bhutanese holding fake Nepali citizenship and passport. The Bhutanese had been sending Nepalis to USA and Canada in guise of Bhutanese.refugees charging fees. nnnnss

STAGE WHERE DEMAND FOR MITHILA STATE DEMAND BEING STAGED BOMBED KILLING FOUR Kathmandu, 30 April: One person died instantly and three others died at hospital while undergoing for injuries sustained in the bombing of a stage at Raamananda Chowk Janakpur where demand were being pushed for a Mithila state Monday. This is the first violent incident during ongoing debate and heated demand for a federation. The violence will incite anger. Bimal Saran, Ranju Jha, Suresh Upadhyay and Jhagaru Mandal were killed in the bombing, The bomb was hidden in a parked motorcycle. One suspect has been arrested. Nobody has claimed responsibility so far. Nnnn UML YOUTH LEADER SURRENDERS VOLUNTARILY Kathmandu, 30 April: UML youth leader and Morang district Chief of Youth Association Nepal (YAN) Parshuram Basnet surrendered voluntarily before the Morang district court Monday. He was charged for a murderous attack on Biratnagar-based journalist Khil Nath Dhakal last year. nnnn

Sunday, April 29, 2012

MOHAN BAIDHAYA FACTION I UCPN MAOIST LAUNCHING STUDENT FRONT Kathmandu, 30 April: Mohan Baidhaya faction of the ruling UCPN (Maoist) has convened a two-day meet of students to lform a student front of the rebel group. The students meet at TU in Kirtipur. The move indicted a deep personal and ideological split in the largest party which is also communist party at a time when a constitution has tobe approved by two-hird majority in parliament. A divisin could split the vote in parliament and complicate constitution promulgation. Yet another group is splitting in the party leading the government. nnnn DEMONSTRATIONS NATION-WIDE AHEAD AS D-DAY APPROACHES TO ANNOUNCE CONSTITUTION Kathmandu, 30 April: Daily life in the Far-Western districts remained affected for the third consecutive day on Sunday due to the banda enforced by different political parties, student bodies and organisations demanding for ‘undivided’ Far Western Region, Chitranga Thapa and Mohan Budhair write in The Kathmandu Post from Kanchanpur and Kailali. Although the banda was enforced in Kanchanpur and Kailali, the other seven hill districts in the region also bore the brunt, mainly caused by the idled transport service. Many people travelling within and outside the Far West districts were stranded. Meanwhile, education institutions, marketplace, banks and government offices in Kanchanpur and Kailali remained closed. The grade 12 exam that started on Sunday, however, took place without any obstruction. The banda supporters, comprising of political activists from various parties excluding the UCPN (Maoist), students and local business community, were seen on the main thoroughfares and market area from early Sunday morning to make the banda a success. They also staged protest rallies against the Maoists proposal of separating the Far Western districts into different states while federating the country. An organisation struggling for a discrimination-free progressive society and two others representing the Chhetris and Thakuris in Kanchanpur, meanwhile, submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister through the District Administration Office asking to keep the national indivisibility and ethnic harmony intact while federating the country. Meanwhile, the banda-organisers on Sunday evening agreed to withdraw their protests following request from the civil society. They have agreed to shelve their struggle for the time being and sit for talks with representatives of Tharu communities to come up with a common agenda. Demonstration against caste-based federation KAVRE: In a bid to discourage caste-based sate restructuring, communities representing 10 castes, including the Chhetris, Brahamins, Giris, Puris, Bharatis and the Dalits, have announced a joint struggle in Kavre. As part of their phase-wise agitation, the joint-struggle committee submitted a memorandum to Chief District Officer Rudranath Basyal on Sunday. The committee has said it would not accept caste-based federalism at any cost. Rally for Tamuwan state KASKI: Demanding that the Gandak region should be declared a Tamuwan autonomous state, people representing various janajati groups staged a large rally in Pokhara on Sunday. The rally participants, gathered from different parts of the country to attend the assembly of janajatis, called for federalism with ethnic identity and to ensure right to self-determination for the janajati groups in the proposed Tamuwan state. Leaders belonging to various janajati caste groups representing the political parties, including the UCPN (Maoist), CPN-UML and the Nepali Congress, were invited to address the assembly. A different rally was also staged by the people from non-janajati communities demanding that caste-based federalism should not be established. They also submitted a memorandum to the local administration warning that caste-based federalism could invite ethnic conflict and disintegrate the country. Mithila state sought JANAKPUR: Objecting the Maoists-proposed state restructuring model sans Mithila state, the residents of Janakpur continued to protest for the third day on Sunday. The Mitihila State Struggling Committee obstructed the traffic movement for three hours at Pidari Chowk in Janakpur pressing for a separate Mithila state. The committee has warned to step up the protest if its demand was not addressed. Nnnn ETHNIC FRONTS MONT PRESSURE FOR FEDERATION 0 Kathmandu, 30 April:- As major parties--UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha--continue to haggle over the contentious issues of constitution writing, including federalism, lawmakers from these very parties are forming various ethnic fronts to pile pressure on their leadership to promulgate a timely constitution that addresses the concerns of marginalised communities, Pranab Kharel writes in The Kathmandu Post.. Various cross-party fronts and alliances--Comprehensive Madhesi Front, National Muslim Struggle Committee, Samyukta Loktantrik Tharu Morcha and ethnic caucus in the parliament--have sprung up recently. The lawmakers, representing marginalised communities such as Muslims and Tharus, say they want to ensure that the rights of the constituencies they represent are enshrined or at least represented in the new constitution. They seem to be wary of the leadership, fearing that the delay in the constitution writing may lead to a compromise on issues of their constituencies or may even derail the entire process of constitution writing. “We hear that parties may also bring in a constitution that does not ensure issues of identity” said Nepali Congress lawmaker Mohammadi Siddiqui, also associated with the National Muslim Struggle Committee, a cross-party front of Muslim lawmakers. He added that the lawmakers fear that the party leadership is at times not serious about addressing the concerns of the marginalised groups. “We have handed over several memorandums to the party leadership. And they also ensure us of their implementation. However, the assurances could also be mere lip services”. Echoing Siddiqui, Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party-Nepal leader Govinda Chaudary, who is also associated with the Samyuka Loktantrik Tharu Morcha, said lawmakers will have problems in facing constituencies if the constitution is not delivered within the stipulated deadline of May 27. “The changes of 2006 have generated a lot of hope among the masses. These changes need to be institutionalised through the new constitution. Hence these alliances are coming up as forms of pressure,” he said. Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav, who is associated with the Comprehensive Madhesi Front, said that since lawmakers don't have confidence in their leadership when it comes to issues of marginalised groups, the result is the formation of the various alliances. The 217-member ethnic caucus in the parliament has piled pressure on their leaders to address issues of the indigenous nationalities. The caucus intensified its campaign during the Hattiban Resort negotiations among the parties. They are demanding that the parties adopt a report prepared by the State Restructuring Committee of the Constituent Assembly, which recommends federating the country into 14 units on the basis of identity and capability. nnnn

UPDATE FOUR KILLED, 10 INJURED IN JANAKPUR BOMB BLAST Kathmandu, 30 April: Four persons were killed and 10 others were injured in a bomb blast in Janakpur, fresh reports said. The blast went off at 10 in the morning. MORE GOVT. COALITION REJECTS DEMAND FOR GOVT. CHANGE UPDATE Kathmandu, 30 April: A meeting of Maoists leading the government and Madesh Morcha headed by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai decided Monday the incumbent government should be transformed into a national government rejecting a demand of opposition NC and UML for government change under leadership of NC. The coalition partners said a national government is a second priority after constitution drafting, participants said after the meeting concluded. Demand for government change has created uncertainty, the ruling parties concluded. nnnn THREE FINANCE COMPANIES TO MERGE Kathmandu, 30 April: Butwal Finance Limited and Alpik Everest Finance Limited and C.M.B. Finance Limited have decided to merge. Butwan Finance Limited has Rs. 220 million paid-up capital. Alpik Everest Finance Limited and C.M.B. Finance Limited have Rs. 110 million and Rs. 150 million paid-up capital respectively. Nnnn STRIKE AFFECTS FAR-WEST FOR FOURTH CONSECUTIVE DAY Kathmandu, 30 April: A regional strike in nine districts of the far-West for the fourth consecutive day Monday has brought life to a standstill inconveniencing people. The strike was convened to oppose the division of the region into provinces, opposed by groups demanding an undivided region. Nnnn BUDGET CRUNCH HITS MDG Kathmandu, 30 April: The pace of progress being achieved by Nepal in relation to Millennium Development Goal (MDG) is likely to be slowed due to the insufficient allocation of budget, Gita Sapkota writes in The Rising Nepal.. Health officials said that this is sure to affect quality service delivery. The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has been proposing 10 per cent budget allocation for health sector of total budget for some years. Last year a total of 24 billion rupees (seven per cent of the total budget) was allocated for health sector. The Ministry of Finance has put a ceiling of 27 billion rupees in the health sector for this year. Dr. Baburam Marasini, programme coordinator of Health Sector Reform under the Ministry of Health and Population, said the MoHP would be unable to launch any new programmes in existing budget conditions. The allocated budget is insufficient even to meet pays and perks of the employees and operational costs of institutions, Dr. Marasini said. According to an assessment of the National Planning Commission, a budget of around 70 billion rupees was needed to meet MDG 2015. However, the government has failed to allocate half of the estimated amount. In line with the MDG, the government has targeted to lower maternal mortality, child mortality, and neonatal mortality rates and increase the coverage of nutrition. So far, Nepal is on the right path towards the MDG goal. Some compact and comprehensive programme is needed for further achievement. However, insufficient budget may hinder the progress, Dr. Marasini added. Still 65 per cent women can not visit health institutions during delivery. The MoHP had targeted to extend safe motherhood programme, launch mental health programme and nutrition coverage programme, decrease disparity in health access among urban and rural population during this year. However, due to budget constraints, all these programmes would be affected, Dr. Marasini said. On the other side, the government has not added a single position in health sector manpower in the last 21 years. The MoHP had targeted to extend safe motherhood programme, launch mental health programme and nutrition coverage programme, decrease disparity in health access among urban and rural population during this year. However, due to budget constraints, all these programmes would be affected, Dr. Marasini said. On the other side, the government has not added a single position in health sector manpower in the last 21 years. The MoHP had proposed an increase of 15,000 posts of health manpower during three years some months ago. The proposal is lying idle in parliament. Nnnn DETAILS OF NA RESTRUCTURING PROPOSAL Kathmandu, 30 April: Chief of the Army Staff (CoAS) Chhatra Man Singh Gurung Sunday floated a proposal about restructuring the Nepal Army, Ram Prasad Dahal reports in The Rising Nepal. Gurung briefed about the NA restructuring proposal at the meeting of the State Affair Committee under the Legislature Parliament. Briefing the synopsis of the proposal in the meeting, Gurung claimed that the existing structure of Nepal Army could not work properly in the new federal republic state. He proposed to add the posts of high ranking army officials starting from lieutenants to major generals. According to his proposal, NA was seeking four lieutenant generals in place of two and 24 major generals in place of 18. Likewise, he proposed to increase the number of brigadier generals to 80 from existing 70, colonels to 147 from 133 and lieutenant colonels to 400 from 388. CoAS Gurung informed that NA has strength of 92,753 personnel in total and it has approved posts for 95,753 .He proposed to add the high level officer posts without increasing the existing strength of NA. According to him, NA had only 18,000 personnel in 1965. "Now the old structure of NA cannot work, it needs timely reforms," he said. Gurung told at the meeting that a10-year master plan was in implementation phase for strengthening the NA. He also informed that NA needs RS. 1.18 trillion to implement the 10-year master plan. His proposal was in line with the NA restructuring panel report of a year back At the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadhar pointed out the need of restructuring the NA. He said that the processes for the relevant reform of the NA were underway. "The Ministry has started a positive initiative to make the NA a more capable, transparent and professional organization" he said. Defense Secretary Madhav Prasad Regmi said the NA was facing lack of physical infrastructure and called for making it more competent by developing the needed infrastructure. Colonel Raghu Bhandari said the NA was founded in 1816 B.S and got recognition of national army in 2009 B.S. The NA’s proposal would be submitted to the Committee within two days in written. After the meeting, committee chairman Ram Nath Dhakal said the committee would reach in conclusion about the proposal in another meeting. nnnn

FOUR KILLED, SIX INJURED IN JANAKPUR BOMB BLAST (BREAKING NEWS) Kathmandu, 30 April: Four persons were killed and six were injured in a late Monday morning bomb blast in front of Janaki Mandir. Other details are awaited. The office of the UML Janakpur anchal was slightly damaged in a bomb blast hours earlier at 11.30 at night. MORE ONE KILLED, 26 INJURED IN JHAPA BUS ACCIDENT Kathmandu, 30 April: One person was killed and at last 26 were injured in a bus accident at Jhapa on the Mahendra Highway Monday morning. Injured are undergoing treatment at hospitals in Damak and the region. Nnnn MAOIST, MADESH MORCHA TALKS Kathmandu, 30 April: Talks are ongoing between Maoists leading the government and the Madesh Mocha in government after opposition NC an UML Sunday called for government change during talks to resolve differences on constitution and form of government. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai convened the meeting. MORE

UML OFFICE BOMBED OVERNIGHT IN JANAKPUR Kathmandu, 30 April: UML office was overnight in Janakpur, Radio Nepal said in its Monday morning news broadcast. Other details weren’t immediately available. nnnnn

BIG THREE, MADESH MORCHA TO CONTINUE DISCUSSIONS MONDAY Kathmandu, 30 April: Leaders of the Big Three and the Madeshbadi Morcha will continue discussions on from of government, articles to be included in a proposed constitution and even formation of a national government Monday. ‘Talks were positive. There should be an agreement in the next three days,” Maoist Chairman Prachanda said after inconclusive discussions Sunday. He confirmed the meeting discussed a national government Only 27 days remain to promulgate a constitution and agreement between major players has been elusive. Formation of a national government led by main opposition NC was discussed Sunday with UML supporting the suggestion. The idea of a national government came at a time when the two opposition parties proposed bringing a no confidence motion against the seven-month government of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai is a basic law isn’t going to be promulgated. nnnn ST. XAVIER’S SCHOOL OR CELEBRATE DIAMOND JUBILEE Kathmandu, 30 April: St Xavier’s School will celebrate its diamond jubilee 6 May. The Jesuit school is the first for boys first opened and run in Godavari by Amrican Jesuits. The school later shifted Jawalakhel. President Ram Baran Yadav as chief guest will be chief guest at the diamond jubilee celebrations. The Jesuits are currently running four schools, a college, two social organisations and eight mobile clinics, across the country. Plans are afoot to open a school in Dhading district soon. nnnn BISHAL BAZZAR GETS A LIFT Kathmandu, 30 April: Bishal Bazzar in New Road got a lift last week for the convenience of shoppers. It has been installed at the western section of the city’s first department store which hs an escalator. nnnn MADHAV KUMAR NEPAL LETS CAT OUT OF BAG; PROPOSES CA EXTENTION BY DRAWING PREPARING A PRELIMINARY CONSTITUTION DRAFT Kathmandu, 30 April:: Senior leader of the CPN-UML and former prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, who is a member of the Problem Resolution Sub-Committee formed by the Constitutional Committee to resolve disputed issues of new constitution, today [Sunday] dropped a hint that the Constituent Assembly’s term may be extended by one-and-a-half months beyond May 27, The Himalayan Times reports. During today’s Constitutional Committee meeting, Nepal said it was possible to do so if parties prepared the first draft of new constitution by May 27. “Rest of the jobs related to the new constitution can be completed by mid-July if the first draft of new constitution is ready by May 27,” Chhabilal Bishwokarma, a CC member, quoted Nepal as saying. But Bishwokarma said he was clueless on what ground Nepal said so when the former PM was aware of the fact that CA term could not be extended beyond May 27 if the Supreme Court’s verdict were to be adhered to. Nepali Congress leader Arjun Narsingh KC said no alternative should be explored to bypass the Supreme Court’s mandatory verdict. After Nepal’s briefing about talks among the parties on federalism and forms of governance, today’s CC meeting was postponed indefinitely until further notification, said CC secretary Tekprasad Dhungana. “Issues of forms of governance and federalism are complicated and serious. These issues will take more time to resolve. The first draft of new constitution cannot be prepared without reaching consensus on its fundamental issues,” Dhungana quoted Nepal as saying. Nepal was the only member of the Sub-Committee to attend today’s CC meeting. Sub-Committee Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and NC Vice-President Ramchandra Paudel did not turn up at the meeting, saying they were busy in the four-party meeting. Meanwhile, today’s planned CA full House meeting, which was supposed to endorse voting process on the disputed constitutional issues, was also put off with a notice at the parties’ request. The next Constituent Assembly full House meeting will be held on Tuesday. Nnnn NEPAL-CHINA TALKS TO ADDRESS PROBLEMS FACED BY NEPALI TRADERS Kathmandu, 30 April: China has approached the Nepali government to hold bilateral trade talks as soon as possible in order to ease the tariff and transit related barriers on quarantine and customs, among others, that Nepali businesspeople are facing for a long time, Bhola Ran Poudel writes in Republica. “The Chinese team has come to have a preliminary meeting in order to fix the third meeting of Nepal-Tibet Trade Facilitation Committee (NTTFC),” Naindra Prasad Upadhyay, joint secretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Supply (MoCS), told Republica on Sunday. However, the two sides have not yet finalized the date for bilateral talk which will be held in China this time. The last meeting was held in Kathmandu in May 2011. According to Upadhyay, the agendas for the meeting have not been finalized yet. “We will start working on agendas once we set the date for meeting,” he said. “There are chances that we would get invitation from China within this week with a date of the meeting.” Nepal and China, in the second meeting of NTTFC, had agreed to ease the quarantine and transit issues. However, Nepali traders have allegedly said that the government has failed to raise the issues that have reduced Nepal´s export to China. “Nothing substantial has been done to help improve Nepal´s export to China after the second meeting of NTTFC in 2011,” Rajesh Kaji Shrestha, president of Nepal-China Chamber of Commerce (NCCI) said. “There would be no progress this time as well. I am not hopeful.” Upadhyay, who is also looking after the Nepal-China trade in the MoCS, said that he had discussed all the transit and quarantine related problems that Nepali business people are facing in the preliminary meeting last week. “I have raised the issues that are affecting our export growth to China,” Upadhya said. A recent study on Nepal-China Trade conducted by a regional think-tank, South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE), with the assistance of United State Agency for International Development (USAID), has said Nepal´s trade agreement with China has failed to uphold national interest. “The letter of exchange (LoE) signed between Nepal and China in May 2010 has turned out to be a barrier itself for the export growth of Nepal,” the report says. Shrestha, complaining the government inefficiency to have a better negotiation, said that the Nepali business people were facing multiple problems in the border areas. “China definitely is a huge market but we can´t tap it until the transit and quarantine related issues are addressed,” he said. According to Trade and Export Promotion Center (TEPC), trade deficit with China shot up to Rs 38.2 billion during fiscal year 2009/10 from Rs 11 billion recorded in 2005/06. Nnnn THARUS FOR JOINT THARU REGION Kathmandu, 30 April 29: At a time when the locals are demanding an integrated far-western region, about two dozen Tharu organizations have joined forces against the locals´ demand, Dil Bahadur Chhatyal reports from Dhangadi.. A joint meeting of Tharu organizations held in Dhangadi on Sunday decided to launch a struggle for the formation of Tharuhat region comprising Kailali and Kanchanpur on the basis of historical background and identity. “We decided to form a struggle committee to counter the demand of undivided far-western region,” said Madhav Chaudhari Kailali secretary of Tharu Kalyankarini Sabha. Tharu leaders said that they would launch an awareness campaign from Monday. The committee also decided to organize publicity gathering in Dhangadhi on May 2. “We are ready to pay any cost for undivided Tharuhat region,” Chaudhari stated. haru leaders stated that they would organize a two-day gathering in Kailali starting May 11. The newly formed struggle committee includes Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN), Tharu Rastriya Mukti Morcha and Tharu Kalyankarini Sabha, among others. nnnn

UPDATE FIRST ROUND TALKS INCONCLUSIVE Kathmandu, 29 April: A meeting of top three political parties and Madhesi Morcha held today [Sunday] ended inconclusively after the top leaders failed to yield fruits on state-restructuring and form of governance, RSS reports. Talking briefly after the meeting, Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' however said that the parties will forge consensus by this evening as intensive discussions were underway among the leaders. Dahal said, "We are holding serious discussions. We will reach consensus till this evening." Leader of CPN (UML) Bhim Rawal said the next meeting will held on 2 pm this afternoon to resolve the issues as leaders were divided on state-restructuring though they were expected to make common voice. It is learnt that the top leaders are divided over number of provinces and bases of provinces, either capability or identity. In today's meeting slight discussion was also held regarding the formation of national unity government. nnnn

JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTER CONCLUDES VISIT UPDATE Kathmandu, 29 April: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayankaji Shrestha has said that Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba´s visit to Nepal was successful in strengthening the bilateral relations existing between the two countries, RSS reports. Speaking at a press meet before bidding farewell to Mr Gemba here today, Minister Shrestha said the Japanese Minister´s visit has added a new dimension to consolidating the mutual relations between Nepal and Japan. "The cooperation and solidarity on the part of Government of Japan to Nepal´s development endeavors and ongoing peace and constitution drafting process is really praiseworthy", he said adding, "The visit to Nepal by a Japanese Foreign Minister after 35 years has been fruitful from many aspect". The Government of Japan is always ready to help Nepal for her overall development, said Minister Shrestha quoting the Japanese Minister. The Japanese Minister has pledged to help Nepal especially in the sectors of education and agriculture and in development of physical infrastructure, he added. Stating that political stability and institutional development of democracy would help Nepal move towards economic prosperity and bring peace and progress among the Nepali people, the Japanese Minister said that Japan wishes to play a constructive role in the international forum and in SAARC by remaining close to Nepal, according to Minister Shrestha. During his meeting with political leaders here, Minister Gemba expressed his hope that the new constitution would be promulgated within the slated time in Nepal, it is learnt. The Japanese Minister arrived here on Saturday night in connection with a two-day official visit. Japanese Foreign Minister returns Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba returned to New Delhi, India on Sunday following completion of a two-day official visit to Nepal. Foreign Minister Gemba had arrived here on Saturday evening leading an 11-member Japanese delegation, at the friendly invitation of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Narayan Kaji Shrestha. Mr Gemba and his team were seen off by Foreign Minister Shrestha, Japanese Ambassador to Nepal, Kunio Takahashi and other high-level government officials. During his stay here, the Japanese Foreign Minister had called on the President and the Prime Minister, and had meetings with senior leaders of major political parties. Nnnn BIRD FLU OUTBREAK; POULTRY FARMERS TO BE COMPENSATED Kathmandu, 29 April: The Bird Flu Disease Control District Technical Committee has decided to compensate the losses incurred by poultry farmers in the culling of poultry and related products carried out in order to check the spread of the Disease, RSS reports from Lalitpur. The meeting on Sunday of the Committee decided to award compensation to the losses incurred due to the damage in eggs, poultry feed and other goods including poultry faeces. It may be noted that the Bird Flu Control Ordinance-2066 B.S. did not include compensation for faeces, crate and other goods used in poultry farms. The poultry farmers can now avail of the new ambit of compensation from the Department of District Livestock Services, according to the Committee. The issue of compensation to other goods incurred by poultry farmers in course of the culling operation had come to light when a poultry farmer in Lalitpur lost 450 kilogram of feed and 1,600 eggs during such an operation, carried out following the confirmation of Bird flu in the area. nnnn

FORMER MINISTER CHIRANJIBI WAGLE RELEASED Kathmandu, 29 April: Former Minister Chiranjibi Wagle was released from jail Sunday after serving part of a 18-month jail sentence and paying a Rs. 23 million for official corruption when he was minister. The NC leader from the Sher Bahadur Deuba camp was freed on supreme court order. Wagle said he was innocent after his release. “I was victim of political vendetta. I am innocent,” he said and blamed ‘state injustice’. Wagle referred to thousands of persons killed during the Maoist insurgency and thousands of maimed. The former minister was a Girija Prasad Koirala critic. Nnnn CARDS FOR LPG CYLINDERS NOT RELEASED UPDATE Kathmandu, 29 April: Promised cards for LPG cylinders weren’t released Sunday. Dealers cited technical reasons and added cards would be distributed Wednesday. Government promising an efficient an clean administration hasn’t regularized LPG import and distribution for more than four months. nnnn .

DETAILED EXPENDITURE OF MINISTERS DURING DISTRICT VISITS Kathmandu, 29 April: The Ministers have spent Rs. 13.2 million during their district visits in the first eight months of current fiscal year 2068-69 BS, reveals the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM), RSS reports. Minister for Local Development Top Bahadur Rayamajhi has spent highest amount in district visits compared to other Ministers, a report made public by the OPMCM disclosed. He had received Rs. 802,580 for district visit up to Falgun 4, 2068 BS (February 16, 2012 AD) this fiscal year. The Ministers have been receiving daily subsistence allowance, hotel accommodation and visit allowance while going for district visit, the OPMCM said. Some 46 Ministers of the present government have set out to visit to districts. According to the OPMCM, Deputy Prime Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar has taken Rs. 328000, former Minister Jaya Prakash Prasad Gupta Rs 100,000, Minister Hridayesh Tripathi Rs 90,000, Minister Posta Bahadur Bogati Rs. 77,000, Minister Rajendra Mahato Rs. 388,000 and Minister Barshaman Pun Rs. 177,000. Among other recipients are Minister Dinanath Sharma (Rs. 336000), Mahendra Prasad Yadav (Rs. 155,000), Lokendra Bista Magar (Rs. 272,000), Gopal Kiranti (Rs. 461,000), Bhim Prasad Gautam (Rs. 116,000) Anil Kumar Jha (Rs. 564,000), said the OPMCM. Also receiving money for the district visit are Minister Brijesh Kumar Gupta (Rs. 450,000), Hemraj Tated (Rs. 47,000), Kamala Rokka (140,000), Raj Lal Yadav (Rs. 317,000), Muhhamud Wakil Musalman (Rs. 67,000), Dan Bahadur Chaudhary (Rs. 387,000), Kalpana Dhamala (Rs. 155,000) and Satya Pahadi (Rs. 388,000). Former Ministers Nandan Kumar Dutta and Sarita Giri are said to have received Rs. 500,000 and Rs. 63,000, respectively, for the district visit purpose. Similarly, State Ministers including Khobhari Roy (Rs. 259,000), Ram Bachan Yadav (Rs. 175,000), Saroj Kumar Yadav (Rs. 79,000), Dilip Maharjan (Rs. 283,000)and Bishnu Prasad Chaudhary (Rs. 115,000) have received amount for the same. According to the OPMCM, other State Ministers receiving this facility are Surya Man Dong (Rs. 32,000), Leela Bhandari (Rs. 319,000), Gopi Achhami (Rs. 400,000), Ghanashyam Yadav (Rs. 418,000), Jwala Kumari Saha (Rs. 87,000), Sushma Sharma )Rs/ 44,000), Hariraj Khewa (Rs. 445,000), Sunita Kumari Mahato (Rs. 84,000 and Bhim Raj Chaudhary Rajbamshi (Rs. 252,000). Among other State Ministers getting state money for district visit are Laxman Mahato, Durga Devi Mahato,Kashidevi Jha, Iswordayal Mishra, Arbinda Saha, Ramani Ram, Surita Kumari Saha and Om Prakash Yadav. Members of the then Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal-led government received altogether Rs. 2.48 million as field visit expenses, according to the OPMCM. nnnn PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE DISCUSSES NEW UNIVERSITIES Kathmandu, 29 April: The International Relations and Human Rights Committee of the Legislature-Parliament has decided to summon the bodies concerned in its upcoming meeting to discuss on the issues relating to the university establishment process and permission to that end, RSS reports. A meeting of the Committee took place at the Singha Durbar on Sunday ended with this conclusion. The Parliamentary Committee has decided to hold discussions with the bodies concerned on the issues, following the rising demand for the establishment of new universities. Talking to media persons after the meeting, Committee Chairperson Padma Lal Bishwakarma said the meeting has decided to call the Education Minister, the Education Secretary and the Chairman of the University Grant Commission to take information about the efforts going on for giving approval for the establishment of the five new universities including the Nepalgunj and Birgunj University. At the meeting, Committee members Narayan man Bijukchhe, Binda Pandey, Mohammed Siddiki and Kumar Rai stressed on the need of holding further discussions on the concept of open universities brought out by the government. The Committee members present at the meeting stressed on the need of ensuring quality education within the country so as to save millions of rupees being spent by the Nepali students abroad for further education. Nnnn GENERAL CONVENTION OF NEPAL RED CROSS OCIETY BEGINS IN BANEPA Kathmandu, 29 April: The 41st general convention of the Nepal Red Cross Society has begun in Banepa on Sunday, RSS reports from Banepa. Inaugurating the general convention, Chairman of the Red Cross Society Sanjeev Thapa said that the general convention is started to review the previous works of the Red Cross and prepare future policy. He said Red Cross will remain involved to serve people from available resources and means. Thapa said that problems of climate change, disasters, malnutrition and hunger have been increasing and the convention will chart out policies to work actively to that end. Similarly, representative of Red Cross Red Crescent Society Victoria Benan said that the Red Cross should work as per the need of the hour in the changed context. On the occasion, local leaders of different political parties and government officials appraised the activities of the Red Cross Society. A total of 300 representatives of the Red Cross Society were present in the general convention. The jamboree of the Red Cross workers will last for two days Nnnn TEACHERS WITHDRAW STRIKE Kathmandu, 29 April: The teachers associated with the Community Teachers' Union Nepal fully cooperated in the Plus Two Examination held on Sunday. The teachers agreed to call back the strike after talks with the government, RSS reports. The representatives of the Higher Secondary School Board (HSEB) Examination Controller, Durga Prasad Aryal, Member-Secretary, Bhim Gurung, and the Union held talks regarding the teachers' demands at Hotel Dwarika's on Saturday night. According to Member-Secretary Gurung, the representative of the Teachers' Union agreed to call back their strike to obstruct examination with the talk held last night. nnnn

UPDATE JAPAN EXTENDS ASSISTANCE TO AUGMENT FOOD PRODDDDDDDUCTION; OTHER DETAILS Kathmandu, 29 April: Japan Sunday gave Nepal an annual 250 million Yen grant to increase food production confirming renewal of an old programme. Japanese ambassador Kunio Takahashi and Finance Secretary Krishna Hari Baskota signed an ageementin the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayan Kazi Shrestha and visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba.. Gemba arrived overnight for a 16-hour visit. Nepal asked Japan during bilateral talks for Japanese assistance for the Upper Seti hydropower plant , and execution of a metro railway network in the Valley; Nepal also asked Tokyo for assistance to modernize TIA and construct a centre for accident for the treatment of serious injurious. Japan provided support material to election commission through JICA. Gemba held discussions separately with Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai and President DR. Raaaaam Baran Yadav. nnnn ARMY CHIEF PROPOSES INCREASING OFFICER CORE OF NA Kathmandu, 29 April: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Bijay Kumar Gachhadar on Sunday said that the government was working actively in a positive way to make the national army more capable and professional, RSS reports. Speaking at a meeting of the State Affairs Committee (SAC) of the Legislature-Parliament, Gachchhadar said the government was doing homework to make timely changes in the Nepal Army's organisation. Lauding the national army for living with different political changes happened in different sections of history and being devoted to country and country people, the Defence Minister said that the Nepal Army (NA) has established a glorious history as the national army. "Nepal Army is a non-disputed organisation and Nepal Army itself has proposed a new working plan for making the organization more effective," Gachchhadar told the meeting. The recently-proposed document would help make the NA a democratic and inclusive institution at a time when voices were raised from different political sections in order to make the NA more responsible to people. Secretary at the Ministry Madhav Prasad Regmi informed the meeting that total size of the national army has reached 92,753 at present. On the occasion, Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Chhatra Man Singh Gurung said that the NA was working professionally by adopting democratic system. Saying new working plan was floated and sent to the Ministry as the organizational structure of the NA was too old, irrelevant and incompatible; CoAS Gurung said that new working plan with vision to uplift the NA should be made in order to take the NA in line of the armies of other developed countries. During the meeting, the report on NA's internal restructuring was also proposed. On the occasion, members of SAC drew attention of the government to table bill on national security policy in the Legislature-Parliament prior to approving the new working plan floated by the NA. In its proposal, the NA has proposed to increase the numbers of senior officials. NA has proposed to four quotas for Lieutenant Generals from existing two quotas and from 18 to 24 quotas for Major General, among others. nnnn

UPDATE CA MEET POSTPONED UNTIL TUESDAY Kathmandu, 29 April: A scheduled meeting of the constituent assembly (CA) was again postpone until Tuesday without conducting any business. As in the past, a notice was posted on the notice board of parliament. There was no breakthrough in talks between the Big Three and Madeshbadi parties to resolve differences on articles to be incorporated in a proposed constitution. Nnnn CC MEET POSTPONED INDEFINITELY UPDATE Kathmandu, 29 April: A meeting of the main constituent committee (CC) drafting a constitution and headed by Nilambar Acharya empowered to preparing a draft a constitution was postponed indefinitely Sunday. The committee will meet only after a sub-committee on reconciling differences chaired by Maoist Chairman personally appears at the committee with suggestions, Acharya said. nnnn

Saturday, April 28, 2012

FOUR INJURED IN TERAI FIRE Kathmandu, 29 April: Four persons were injured and nearly 300 houses were destroyed by fire Saturdayin Siraha, Kapilvasthu and Biratnagar, Gorkhapatra reports. Conservative damage estimated at Rs.75 million. Nnnn PRIVATE RESIDENCE OF KING BUIRENDRA INSIDE NARAYANHITI STILL NOT OPEN TO PUBLIC BECAUSE OF ACCES ROAD UNCERTAINTY Kathmandu, 29 April: Shri Sadan—the private residence of King Birendra inside former Narayanhiti Royal Palace—is still not open to the general public, Gorkhapatra reports. Officials at the Narayanhiti National Museum aren’t decided on an approach road to the building. nnnn STATE HONOUS LIKELY TO BE DELAYED Kathmandu, 29 April:: The medals meant for the first batch of recipients of state honours, announced two years ago, are almost ready, The Himalayan Times reports. The Department of Cottage and Small Scale Industries, Patan, has handed the medals to the Nepali Army’s Sundarijal Arsenal for polishing, according to an official at the Home Ministry. The plan to confer the state honours on the selected lot before the Republic Day (May 28) is likely to be delayed as the government is planning to celebrate the day in a grand manner, unlike Democracy Day and Loktantra Diwas. “There is a chance that the new batch of state honours will be announced on the Republic Day,” informed a source. The medal minting process took more than a year due to soaring prices of gold and precious stones used in the medals and lack of craftsmen and equipment. The department tasked with casting 232 decorations, orders and medals has so far made decorations of Nepal Ratna Malla, Rastra Gaurab, Rastra Deep and Janasewa Shree. Nnnn

US TOURISTS OF INDIAN ORIGIN MANHALDLE PILOT OF SIMRIK AIR Kathmandu, 29 April: Seven Americans on Indian origin threw water bottles on theface of Capt. Siddhartha Gurung of Simrik Gurung Saturday at the internal terminal, of TIA, Annapurna Post reports. Fisticuffs broke out after misbehaviour of the tourists following delay in mountain flight originally scheduled for takeoff at 8.30 AM. Police had to intervene. The pilot was pushed and shoved. nnnn

BAIDHYA FACTION PULLS DOWN PORTRAITS OF CHAIRMAN PRACHANDA FROM PARTY OFFICES Kathmandu, 29 April: Baidhya faction in the UCPN (Maoist) has begun pulling down portraits of Chairman Prachanda from offices of state committees, affiliated fraternal organizations and other party offices, Kantipur reports. Chairman Prachanda has been accused of deceiving the communist movement Nnnn MEDIA GOOGLE ‘We educed number for integration for lack of agreement of major general and brigadier general.” (Maoist military leader Nanda Kishore Pun, Kantipur, 29 April) Nnnn CONSTITUTION UNCERTAIN WITH DRAFT DELAY SAYS NILAMBAR ACHARYA Kathmandu, 29 April: Constitutional Commi-ttee Chairman Nilambar Acharya said on Saturday that the preparation of the first draft of the constitution within the Constituent Assembly’s May 27 deadline would be difficult if the parties failed to resolve contentious issues at the earliest, The Kathmandu Post reports. He warned that the deadline would not be met if the party leaders kept on seeking extension of the timeframe given by the Constitutional Committee (CC) to reach a compromise. He made this ruling at Saturday’s CC meeting after the Dispute Resolution Subcommittee sought postponement of discussion until Sunday morning. “By looking at the volume of unfinished work and unresolved issues, the task of preparing the first draft within the remaining period seems very tough,” said Acharya. He said the CA Secretariat would require at least 15 days after a political agreement to prepare the first draft and finalise its wordings. Lawmakers at the CC would discuss and endorse the first draft before deciding to refer it to the CA for approval. The delay in forging consensus will make the preparation of the first draft uncertain, as the assembly needs to conduct theoretical discussions on the document before its approval. Earlier, the CC had asked the Dispute Resolution Subcommittee headed by Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal to present the progress report of talks on the resolution of contentious issues at Saturday’s meeting. While Dahal was absent at the discussion, NC Parliamentary Party leader Ram Chandra Poudel, on behalf of the subcommittee, requested the committee chair to postpone the meeting till Sunday morning. Poudel said parties were yet to reach an understanding on forms of governance and state restructuring. He urged the CC to wait till Sunday morning, informing that top leaders were trying to narrow down the differences over two issues. Altogether 13 lawmakers expressed their views at Saturday’s meeting and stressed that parties should immediately reach a compromise. They stressed that the Subcommittee should not be allowed another extension of term to find common ground. Time is running out for the new constitution with the Constituent Assembly tenure expiring in less than a month. nnnn WEST SETI TANGLED IN CONFUSION Kathmandu, 29 April: When the Ministry of Energy (MoE) signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China Three Gorges International Corporation (CTGI) for the 750-MW West Seti Project, there were hopes that the much-talked about power project would finally take off, Ashok Thapa writes in The Kathmandu Post. However, even after one-and-half months of the MoU signing, not a single work on the project has been initiated, thanks to the lack of coordination, confusion and ego tussle between government agencies. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and MoE are at variance over concluding the deal with CTGI. The PMO had directed the ministry to hand over the project to the Investment Board, but the ministry says it want to handle the project. PMO officials say the parliamentary Natural Resources and Means Committee (NRMC) directives add to the confusion over the project execution. “The committee directed the government to hand over the project to the Investment Board, but it failed to mention clearly about how the process should begin and who was supposed to initiate it,” said a PMO official. The panel, in its directives, had asked the government to make amendments to the MoU signed with CTGI, change the equity sharing modality and conclude the deal with conditions that extract the maximum benefits for the country. Another confusion is about who should talk to CTGI about the amendments to the MoU. The Investment Board says as the ministry signed the MoU in haste, it is responsible to amend the agreement. But the ministry says its can do nothing amid plans to hand over the project to the board. However, the PMO had instructed the ministry to start talks with CTGI for the MoU amendment and further negotiations. “No progress has been made towards the development of the project due to the ministry,” said another official at PMO. Therefore, the government has not formally informed CTGI about NRMC’s decision. The board says it has not been officially asked by the government to take over the project even after Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s instruction. “As per Investment Board Act, we have the legal authority to carry out the project, but we haven’t been formally asked to begin further work,” said a board official. The parliamentary committee had also instructed the government to arrange necessary structure and human resources for the Investment Board to enable it to take ahead the West Seti Project within two weeks. But one-and-a-half months have already passed and the government is yet to follow the instruction. Energy Minister Post Bahadur Bogati said the ministry would resolve the issue in a day or two, calling all the sides for meeting. The ministry has also raised questions over the board’s capacity to handle a large project like West Seti. “The newly formed board does not have adequate human resources to handle the project,” read the ministry’s letter sent to the PMO. MoE Joint Secretary Arjun Karki says the ministry needs a clear answer on whether the board has the required human resources and structure to execute such a mega project. Investment Board CEO Radesh Pant says the board is just a facilitation body and won’t seize the project from the ministry. “The delay over the West Seti deal would send a negative message about Nepal to international investors,” he said. Nnnn

LOAD-SHEDDING INCREASED ONE HOUR UNANNNOUNCED Kathmandu, 29 April: Load-shedding has been increased one hour without any announcement with increased power demand following rise in temperature, Nagarik reports. Notice hasn’t been officially announced. Load-shedding can be increased or decreased by one hour as per old schedule,” said System Director of NEA Bhuban Chetri. nnnn

FURTHER DETAILS OF 11,12 CLASS EXAMS Kathmandu, 29 April: Class 12 students are appearing for English in the class 11,12 tests that began Sunday morning. Altogether 405,526 students are appearing for the examinations this year. nnnn THREE CHINESE ARESTED AT TATOPANI ATTEMPTING TO SMUGGLE OUT 6KG YARSHAGUMBA [HIMALAYAN VIAGRA] Kathmandu, 29 April: Six persons, including three Chinese nationals, were arrested Friday night while smuggling 6kg yarshagumba to Tibet from Tatopani, dhruba Dangal writes in Nagarik from SIndhupalchowk. Rs.1.3 million was also recovered from them. Police have concluded Tatopani is emerging as a route for smuggling yarshagumba from Nepal to Tibet. The consignment was seized at 8 PM while being unloaded from a jeep. One kg yarshagumba [fetches Rs.300,000 in China. It can be exported from Nepal paying Rs.500. Nnnn MINIMUM TEMPERATURE 16 DEGREES CELSIUS Kathmandu, 29 April; Minimum temperature Sunday morning in the capital was 16 degrees Celsius. Mercury is expecyed to rise to 35 degrees Celsius in the afternoon. nnnn NC, UML MAY AGREEE ON 12 PROVINCES Kathmandu, 29 April: The Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) and the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) seem to have cajoled the Nepali Congress (NC) and the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) into agreeing to more pradeshes than their previous stances of having only six to eight of them, Ram Kumar Kamat, Prakash Acharya write in The Himalayan Times. . The UCPN-M, CPN-UML, NC and the UDMF today failed to reach agreement, but it appears they could end up carving out 10 to 12 pradeshes. The four forces will be meeting at 7:00 am tomorrow. A source claimed that consensus would be reached on the thorny issues of federalism and forms of governance then. UCPN-M negotiator Dev Gurung, close to hardline faction leader Mohan Baidhya, said the convergence of views between his party, UML and UDMF on the issue of federalism and forms of governance had become greater. “Now, only the Congress stance on forms of governance and federalism continues to remain different,” Gurung said after the meeting held at the Special Committee office in New Baneshwor. Congress leaders held a separate meeting to chalk out strategies on the pradeshes to be formed and the forms of governance to be adopted and decided to agree to 10 to 12 pradeshes. The NC rider on the issue, however was that the there should be agreement on keeping the existing 75 districts in the country intact, said Congress leader Gopal Man Shrestha. Gurung said there was growing realisation during the negotiations that the mixed model would be the best option in relation to the issue of forms of governance. “The rights and powers of the President and Prime Minister are however yet to be finalised,” he added. Gurung said the media report that the UCPN-M was in favour of having 10 pradeshes was wrong because his party still continued to favour the idea of the country having 14 pradeshes. UML negotiator Bhim Rawal said his party as well as the other negotiators had agreed to be flexible on the possibility of forming six to 12 pradeshes because that was a better proposition given the risk of continued political instability the country would have to suffer. “We prefer to have pradeshes on the basis of identity and economic capability. However, while choosing identity-based federalism we should do it in a way that will strengthen national unity, and not promote ethnic discord,” Rawal clarified. He also added, “If we want to have directly elected president then we will have to strengthen the parliament.” NC negotiator Ramesh Lekhak said his party did not believe that the mixed model of governance would work better but might go for it if all parties agreed to give more power to the Cabinet in case there was directly elected president. “If the President can be impeached from the parliament and political rights rests with parliament, then we might go for mixed model, otherwise we will decide the issue through voting in the Cosntituent Assembly,” Lekhak added. Lekhak said his party was not opposed to identity-based federalism, but the boundary of a Pradesh should not be confined to areas of a particular ethnic community. A Congress source also said the final authority to give names to the pradeshes should rest with the respective Pradesh sabhas. nnnn EXPLOSIVES A GROWING THREAT Kathmandu, 29 April: Cases revolving around illegal explosives in the Kathmandu Valley increased four folds in 2068 BS, compared to the previous year, while the number of house burglaries fell by 4.05 per cent, figures from the Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s Office show, The Himalayan Times reports. Eighteen cases related to explosives were recorded at the commissioner’s office in 2068, including the blast that claimed three people and injured six outside the Nepal Oil Corporation in Babarmahal. Bombs were found in more than 10 places in the valley after the blast. In the previous year, only four such cases were reported. Valley police, despite ‘stepped-up operations to catch burglary rackets’ in 2068, could only report marginal success if the number of reported cases are to be taken into account. According to MPCO, 284 burglaries were reported in 2068 BS, against 296 in 2067 BS in the valley. However, security personnel scored success in arresting those accused of burglary. Police informed that 70 burglars were arrested and indicted in 2068 compared to 52 in the previous year. In 2068 alone, more than 10 members of organised burglary rackets were arrested. In 2068 BS, burglary cost victims an estimated Rs 56.8 million in lost property, officials said. The average rupees loss per burglary was Rs 2 lakh in the previous year. Similarly, the number of armed robberies also decreased from 16 in 2067 BS to 10 in 2068. The figures indicate that cases of fraud, murder, illegal gambling, forgery, drug crimes, banking offences, trafficking, rape and public offences also slightly declined in 2068. Nnnn THARU ALLIANCE FOR INTEGRATED TRARUAT STATE Kathmandu, 29 April: The United Democratic Tharu Front (UDTF), a newly formed cross-party alliance, has unveiled a concept paper, demanding an undivided Tharuhat state with preferential political rights and right to self-determination, Republica reports. A two-day national gathering of UDTF held in the capital on Saturday came up with the concept paper that envisages initiatives to get the Tharu community´s concerns addressed in the new constitution through co-ordination with political parties and other organizations. The alliance has also demanded declaration of those killed in the Tharuhat movement as martyrs and involvement of indigenous people of the Tharuhat state in every level of state affairs. Co-coordinator of alliance Surendra Chaudhari Tharu said that they are against the idea of dividing the Tarai region into two or more provinces. He added that the alliance would stage shutdown in all the Tarai districts from May 3-5 to press for their cause. Addressing a press meet organized by the alliance in the capital on Saturday, Tharu said, “Our bottom-line is an integrated Tharuhat state. We will not accept a divided Tharuhat at any cost.” He also warned the major political parties not to look for alternative to the Constituent Assembly (CA) to promulgate the new constitution. “Conspiracy is being hatched to dissolve the Constituent Assembly (CA) but we won´t accept a constitution that will be promulgated from outside of the CA,” Tharu maintained. Tharu leaders said that they have joined forces for common concerns despite their affiliation with various political parties. “We have come together by rising above partisan interests,” said Chief Whip of Madhesi People´s Rights Forum-Democratic (MPRF-D) Ramjanam Chaudhari. Tharu leaders have claimed that the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) has also expressed solidarity with UDTF. Asked if they would support Tharu leaders, a senior UDMF leader said they have no objection to the demands of UDTF. “Whether you name it Tharuhat or Madhes, we also want an integrated Tarai,” added the leader on condition of anonymity. nnnn

CARDS FOR NOW RARE LPG CYLINDRS FROM SUNDAY Kathmandu, 29 April: Cards are being distributed to residents from Sunday through city ward dealers to get LPG cylinders that have become a rare commodity in the last three months. Cylinders are being traded in the black market despite government assurances to give relief to the people. People are getting cards two weeks after they were distributed to Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and cabinet ministers. Nnnn HISTORIC MILITARY HOSPITAL AT MAHANKAL TURNED INTO NURSING SCHOOL Kathmandu, 29 April: The historic military hospital at Mahankal, New Road, has been converted into an Institute of Health and Science, Nursing School of Nepal Army (NA). Army Chief Chhatra Man Singh Gurung inaugurated the Institute Friday. Altogether 102 students --33 from military and 69 civilians—are undergoing training. Students come from various districts. The Hospital was gifted by the British Government at the end of World War I as appreciation of Nepalese contribution for the war effort. NA charges Rs.320,000 for a three-year proficiency certificate level nursing Course, Rs. 760,000 for a four-year B. Sc. course and Rs. 330,000 for a two-year post basic bachelor’s nursing course. Nnnn FIRE GUTS SWASTIK JUTE BILLS IN BIRATNAGAR Kathmandu, 29 April: A fire Saturday gutted the Swastik Jute Mills in Biratnagar. The fire destroyed machinery and raw materials worth Rs.30 million. nnnn SHERPA INJURED, HUNDREDS OF CLIMBERS PANIC ON EVEREST Kathmandu, 29 April: A Nepali mountaineering official says a major avalanche has swept the western cwm of M. Everest, AP reports. It injured at least one Sherpa guide and panicked hundred of climbers trying Trying to reach the world’s highest peak. Nnnn BAIDYA FACTION REJECTS 10-PROVINCE MODEL OF ESTABLISHMENT Kathmandu, 29 April: The United National People´s Movement Committee (UNPM), formed by the Mohan Baidya faction of the UCPN(Maoist) to struggle against the establishment faction, organized a mass gathering Saturday to press for ethnicity-based federal provinces under the new state restructuring, Raju Adhikari writes in Republica from Jhapa. The mass gathering organized in Damak, with participants brought in from various districts including Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari and Ilam, has vowed to fight for ethnicity-based federal provinces, concluding that conspiracies were afoot from various quarters to weaken the demand for a federal structure based on ethnic identity. Maoist leaders present at the function have announced the launch of a ´new revolution´, strongly criticizing the leaders of the party´s establishment faction. The function was attended by the leaders of parties who defected from the Maoists in the past. Addressing the function, Baidya faction leaders said that the 10-federal provinces model proposed by the Maoist establishment faction was not be acceptable to them. They argued that the proposal, which was brought in without consulting them, fails to ensure ethnic identity. “It was a personal proposal of Prachanda [Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal],” said C P Gajurel, who is the UNPM coordinator. “It is not acceptable to us. The official stance of the party is for 14 federal provinces as proposed by the State Restructuring Commission.” Gajurel alleged that Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai had weakened the demand for ethnicity-based federal provinces, kneeling down to imperialist forces. “Prachanda and Baburam are bent on weakening the demand of the ethnic groups by creating disputes over federalism,” he said. “This alliance was deemed necessary to fight that conspiracy. It appears we should now spearhead a movement through this committee.” Gajurel alleged that the party had betrayed the people hugely by relinquishing its long-held bottom line of ethnicity-based federal provinces. Also speaking on the occasion, CPN (Maoist) Chairman Matrika Yadav alleged that Maoist Chairman Dahal had reneged by relinquishing the demand for ethnicity-based federal provinces and merging the People´s Liberation Army with the Nepal Army. “Prachanda, who would argue that ethnic liberation was not possible without ethnicity-based provinces, has betrayed the people,” he said. Yadav said that a new government was a must for promulgating a new constitution. Addressing the function, Mani Thapa of the Revolutionary Communist Party said federalism would be meaningless if it failed to ensure ethnicity-based federal provinces. Kumar Lingden of Federal Limbuwan State Council warned that they would tear up the new constitution if it failed to ensure a Limbuwan province. Nnnn

JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTER HOLDING TALKS IN PM BHATTARAI Kathmandu, 29 April: Japanese Foreign Minister Koichi Gemba will hold separate talks with Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kazi Shrestha Sunday after arriving for a 20-hour visit overnight. Gemba is the first Japanese foreign minister to visit Nepal in 35 years. Bilateral agreement s are being signed—including an agreement on food assisrance. nnnn BIG THREE, MADESHBADI PARTIES MAKING ANOTHER ATTEMPT TO RESOLVE DIFFERENCE ON CONSITUTION Kathmandu, 29 April: Leaders of the Big Three and Madeshbadi parties in government and opposition make another attempt Sunday to resolve differences on articles to be incorporated in a proposed constitution and form of government after inconclusive two rounds of talks Saturday. The leaders assemble ahead of a meeting of the main Nilambar Acharya main constitution drafting committee and the constituent assembly (CA) session. The Acharya committee hasn’t been able to start stat work to draft a basis law as a Prachanda sub-committee on resolution of thematic differences on a proposed couldn’t complete its work in the extended two-day Friday as well. The Acharya committee has to decide whether to ask CA’s business advisory committee for another deadline extension to resolve differences by consensus to go for a longer progress of vote in the 601-member CA to adopt articles in a constitution. Nine far-West districts are shutting down poorest region of the country for the third day protesting Maoist plan to divide the region. Sherpas said they will shut down Solokhumbu—their homeland where the 8848 meters high Mount Everest is located—if the community that shot into international prominence with the ascent of world’s highest peak by Tenzing Sherpa with Edmund Hillary—isn’t doesn’t get Solokhumbu the status of province. Group and regions have come put on street protests demanding provinces and inclusion as only 28 days remain to promulgate a constitution. Nnnn CLASS 11, 12 EXAMINATIONS FROM SUNDAY Kathmandu, 29 April: Class 11 and 12 examinations begin Sunday. Tests are being nation-wide after SLC examinations for the year were held last month. nnnn