Nepal Today

Saturday, June 30, 2012

FORMER KING LAUNCHES VISITS OF MID-WEST TERAI DISTRICTS Kathmandu, 1 July: Former King Gyanendra leaves the capital for a four-day visit of Rupendhahi, Nawalparasi aand Kapilvastu districts of the mid-West Sunday after of terai districts of the eastern and far-western districts. The former king launches his visit from Bhairahawa. He’s offer puja at temples and Lumbini, the birthplace of The Buddha. nnnn CA ELECTION NOT POSIBLE SAYS UML CHAIRMAN KHANAL Kathmandu, 1 July: CPN-UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal Saturday said that the UCPN-Maoist and Nepali Congress (NC) had lost their capacity to lead the country, The Rising Nepal reports from Butwal He said that the Maoists’ orthodox communist ideology and NC’s traditional mindset could not lead the country in the current situation. Speaking at a Lumbini Zonal level meeting of the party, he claimed that his party UML was a rising power in the country. Khanal said that the Maoist-led government was trying to remain in power for a long time by declaring the impossible election. He said, "Holding the new CA election in the stipulated deadline is not possible." He said that the Maoists were responsible for the dissolution of the CA. "They did nothing to save the CA," he said. He further said that the Maoists were creating confusion among the people by dissolving the CA and accused them of pushing the country towards a deeper crisis. He said, "They will never succeed to puzzle the people every time. The people should understand the Maoist ploy to misguide and confuse the people." He also said that the hardliner communism and anarchy within the Maoists were what led to the split in the UCPN-Maoist. He said, "The people should defeat the hardliner communists." UML secretary Bishnu Poudel said that his party would give the solution to the issues of state restructuring. He said that all leaders and cadres should struggle within the party to meet their demands. UML politburo member Surendra Pande said that Dr. Baburam Bhattarai had only the right of a caretaker Prime Minister. "President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav should take the steps to form the new government," he said. UML leader Parshuram Megi Gurung said that the UML’s vision about the federal system was scientific and the party had no any internal dispute. Nnnn CHINESE PARTY FUNCTIONARY AI PING URGES LEADERS TO RESOLVE CRISIS THROUGH CONSENSUS FURTHER DETAILS Kathmandu, 1 July:: Vice Minister for Asian Affairs at the International Department of China Ai Ping Saturday suggested the top leaders of the major political parties of Nepal should start consensus politics to resolve the current political crisis, The Rising Nepal reports. A Chinese delegation led by Ai Ping Saturday met UCPN-Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, Nepali Congress (NC) president Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal and urged the leaders to play the key roles to end the current political deadlock. He arrived in Nepal on Friday and started holding meetings with the top level leaders of the key political parties. The vice-minister met with UCPN-Maoist chairman Prachanda at the latter’s residence in Lajimpat and talked about the He inquired with the Maoist chief about the causes of the CA dissolution. During the meeting, Maoist chairman Prachanda said that the CA was dissolved due to lack of trust among the parties. He also informed that his party was trying to find a new political consensus to resolve the ongoing crisis. He also asked him about the split of UCPN-Maoist and urged him to resolve the crisis soon through consensus. On the occasion, Prachanda said that the party split would not hamper the peace and constitution writing processes. He also said that his party was serious to resolve the crisis. During the meeting, he said that the Chinese government was positive to increase the assistance for Nepal’s development process. Similarly, the meeting between the Chinese vice-minister and NC president Koirala held at Maharajgunj centered about the matters of current political deadlock in Nepal. After the meeting, Koirala said that the Chinese delegation stressed the consensus politics to settle the current political crisis. He said that the meeting also centered in ‘One China policy’ of NC and the country and China-Congress relationship. "I informed the Chinese delegation that the NC was playing a positive role to end the current political situation and the parties have no alternative but to reach a consensus," Koirala told. He informed that the NC initiated dialogue with the leaders of different parties. Talking to journalists, the vice-minister said that he suggested the leaders for consensus politics to determine the further steps of the country. He said he also got information on Nepal’s current politics. Meanwhile, the Chinese delegation also held talks with CPN-UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal at the party’s central office at Balkhu and talked about the consensus politics of Nepal. Khanal said that the Chinese leader urged him to start consensus politics. Nepal was always in favour of ‘One China policy’, Khanal added. UML leader K.P Sharma Oli and general secretary Ishwor Pokharel, other leaders and Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Yang Houlan were also present during the meeting. This is the most senior Chinese delegation visiting Nepal after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly. During the meeting, the visiting Chinese leader said that China always wanted to see prosperity and development in Nepal. He also wished for Nepal’s success to resolve the political crisis and added that Nepal could end the political transition period to start the economic development of Nepal. Nnnn LAKE BURST THREATENS HUMLA VILLAGE Kathmandu, 1 July: As the Halji river breaches its banks and advances rapidly, its namesake village in Humla district is under a high risk of flooding. Locals said that the river floods during the monsoon with an increase in water flow from the melting snow, Jaya Bahadur Rokaya writes in The Kathmandu Post from Humla.. The river has already destroyed four houses in the Halji village. “Some villagers moved to safety two years ago but those who cannot afford to flee are left to suffer,” said Khendap Tamang, a local resident. “The main problem in the village is the eroding river. As it advances towards the village, we are under the menace of landslides,” said village leader Tandupa Tamang. To add to the danger, landslides are becoming increasingly frequent and a glacial lake threatens to burst. Khendap said that Halji and its surroundings would surely be swept away in a glacial lake outburst. Tandupa also claimed that his family had been spending nights out in the open fearing landslips. Villagers are unwilling to abandon an 11th century monastery, the heart of the village, which also runs the risk of being swept away by a landslide or flood. Locals have accused the government and political parties of doing nothing to prevent a disaster. Two years ago, the Water Induced Disaster Prevention Office, Surkhet, set up a makeshift embankment of gabion boxes at the cost of Rs 1 million. However, villager Chhingnurbu Tamang said the structure was swept away. Chief District Officer Bijaya Narayan Manandhar has assured the people of initiatives to tame the river. Nnnn UML IN DILEMMA OVER CA FUTURE Kathmandu, 1 July: The CPN-UML, which bluntly rejected the fresh Constituent Assembly (CA) elections declared by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, has yet to take a formal position on revival of the CA, Bhadra Sharma writes in The Kathmandu Post.. While a section of Janajati and Madhesi leaders of the party demanded revival of the CA in a nine-point demand submitted to the party leadership, nothing has been mentioned in the minutes of the recent national gatherings of cadres and the Central Committee. Very few leaders have spoken out in favour of CA revival as an alternative. Party insiders said the UML is afraid of disgruntled Janajati and Madhesi leaders going against the party line due to differences between the Janajati-Madhesi and party establishment on issues of federalism. “UML has this fear, but revival of the CA is inevitable,” said Politburo member Prithvi Subba Gurung, who was head of the Janajati caucus in the dissolved CA. The party’s recent meetings and national gatherings endorsed multiple identity-based federalism while Janajatis have been pressing the party to opt for single identity-based federalism. Before CA dissolution, 51 Janajati and Madhesi lawmakers of the UML signed in favour of single identity-based federalism, a total of over 400 signatures from the dissolved 601-member CA. However, the party establishment has said it will support CA revival for a few days in case of a package deal that sorts out all the unresolved issues of the constitution. “The UML is not in favour of CA revival but we can support other parties to this effect only if they forge consensus on all unresolved issues including those of constitution writing, its promulgation process and power sharing,” said former lawmaker Rabindra Adhikari. “The UML is not in favour of CA revival but we can support other parties to this effect only if they forge consensus on all unresolved issues including those of constitution writing, its promulgation process and power sharing,” said former lawmaker Rabindra Adhikari. Senior UML leaders, including party Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal, are in a dilemma after leaders like Pradeep Nepal spoke out against federalism while others favoured a referendum to sort out key issues including federalism and state restructuring. Unlike the UML, 78 of the total 114 Nepali Congress lawmakers have put their ignatures to a campaign demanding CA revival. Even UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has spoken out publicly in support of the assembly’s revival. Nnnn CAAN RESUMES TENDER EVALUATION OF POKHARA AIRPORT Kathmandu, 1 July: The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has resumed the process of awarding tender for the construction of Regional International Airport in Pokhara after the Ministry of Finance (MoF) asked it to move ahead the bid evaluation process and select the contractor strictly complying with the existing laws, Republica reports. . CAAN had halted the evaluation process and knocked on the doors of MoF after the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu recommended the name of four bidders, asking it to select one. The names recommended by the embassy were China CAMC Engineering, China International Water and Electric Corporation, Sinohydro Corporation, and China CWC. "And the embassy´s letter had grossly confused us. Except for China CWC, which was disqualified on the ground of not submitting all the required documents, other three firms were already in our list," said a source at CAAN. Owing to the confusion, CAAN had approached MoF to clarify its position, mainly to learn if it had held further talks with the Chinese government on soft-loans it was providing for airport construction. "MoF a few days ago informed that CAAN is authorized to select the contractor and suggested us to move ahead the selection process as per the law," the source added. Deputy Director General at CAAN, Suman Shrestha also confirmed that CAAN has resumed the tender evaluation process of the regional international airport in Pokhara following the green signal from MoF. "We are hopeful of completing the evaluation within a week," said Shrestha, adding that CAAN would award the project to the lowest bidder qualifying on technical evaluations. Once the contractor is selected, the officials are hopeful that implementation of much-talked Pokhara Regional International Airport project will gain full momentum. The overall process of selecting the contractor had drawn controversy after CAAN published the tender notice with a short deadline of 45 days. The lawmakers in March had also raised questions over fairness of the bidding process after they found Finance Minister Barshaman Pun of signing an agreement with China CAMC Engineering, assuring it of providing the contract. The controversy was later settled after Pun apologized for his mistake and dismissed his agreement with China CAMC Engineering, and CAAN on Public Accounts Committee´s instruction extended the bid submission deadline by another 45 days. The government is eyeing soft loans of around $ 145 million from Exim Bank of China for the development of the regional international airport in Pokhara. The Chinese government has responded positively, and committed of signing the loan agreement once the contractor is selected for engineering, procurement and construction of the project. According to CAAN, the project will be completed within three years from the date of commencement. The total cost of the project is estimated at around $ 166 million. The airport, once completed, will be able to handle single aisle jet aircraft. The government had acquired 3,106 ropanis of land at Chhinedanda in Pokhara for the construction of the airport in 1975. nnnn ________________________________________

PM, UPENDRA YADAV DISCUSSIONS Kathmandu, 1 July: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai overnight held discussions with MJFN Chairman Upendra Yadav—a terai-party not in the Madesh Morcha supporting the government, Yadav is a firm critic of the UCPN-Maoist, Madesh Mourcha coalition government. The premier and the terai leader reviewed the critical political situation. Yadav quoted Bhattarai as saying the government chief was ready to quit government as demanded by the main opposition. nnnn MEDIA GOOGLE . “Raising the issue of ethnicity by neglecting the issues of development and industrialisation will push the country into dark ages.” (UML leader KP Sharma Oli, The Himalayan Times, 1 July) “Europeans are turning Nepal into a Yugoslavia through forced conversion and raising ethnicity issue.” (Former UML minister and UML leader Raghuji Pant, TV news report, 1 July) ‘Nepal needs inclusiveness not divisiveness. The proposed federal bogey initially raised by UCPN Maoist and then funded and supported by western nations is meant to divide and weaken Nepal.” (Pushna Manandhar, Republica, 1 July) nnnn CHINA ASKS NEPALTO FOCUS ON ECONOMY NOT ETHNICITY Kathmandu, 1 July; : Ai Ping, a Vice-minister at the International Department of Communist Party of China (CPC), conveyed Beijing’s message: focus on economic issues rather than ethnic ones while framing the new statue, The Himalayan Times reports,. He also stressed consensus among parties for stability, peace and prosperity in Nepal. With CPN-UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal, Ai expressed concern about the ethnic debate, prolonged transitional period and deteriorating economic situation. “Although he did not say the ethnicity issue while determining states was inappropriate, he hinted it in clear terms,” said Milan Raj Tuladhar of UML Foreign Department. He said Nepal had missed the development opportunity of its neighbours. With Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala also, Ai emphasised consensus among stakeholders to shorten the transition and find peace, stability and prosperity. “We had wanted to make this visit an opportunity to celebrate the constitution of Nepal,” Koirala quoted Ai Ping. “Now, we wish to see Nepal complete the remaining tasks of peace and statute and benefit from the economic success of its neighbours.” Koirala told the Chinese leader that NC would not share responsibility for the “disaster” (dissolution of the CA) as it was the sole decision of UCPN-M. Apart from the current political and economic situation, Ai talked about the split in ruling UCPN-Maoist party with its Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and CPN-Maoist leader Baidhya. Dahal was quoted as saying in his personal website that some leaders had separated from the party due to their “dogmatic, selfish and extremist thought”. Interestingly, Ai invited Baidhya to visit China and stressed on good relations between Communist Party of China and CPN-M, according to party secretary Dev Gurung. He also called on Deputy Prime Minister and leader of MJF-Loktantrik, Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar. Ai told mediapersons he had conveyed the urgency of consensus among parties. Nnnn PRESIDENT SAYS GOVT. DECISION TO CALL CA ELECTION A BLUNDER Kathmandu, 1 July: President Dr Ram Baran Yadav today said (Saturday) that he would have to play a role of patron of interim constitution to form the new government as the caretaker government cannot last longer, Prakash Acharya writes in The Himalayan Times.. “It is not the caretaker government like that of previous ones such as led by Madhav Kumar Nepal. Because, there was parliament when Nepal resigned and worked as caretaker prime minister. But, now, there is no parliament. So, additional responsibilities have come to me,” the President said talking to a delegation of journalists led by Tanka Panta. The President further said, “I have not used the role of the patron till the date and is waiting for consensus among the parties as per the spirit of the interim constitution. If the new government could not be formed even after a longer time as per the spirit, I will have to play the role of the patron.” Stating that the caretaker government cannot bring a complete budget without consensus among the parties, he said, “Since the fresh elections have already been announced, the government can bring the special budget only for elections and other regular expenses. If it has to bring a complete budget the government should forge consensus among the parties.” The President said that he had already told it to the Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and would tell him the same thing again. Dr Yadav said that the country was not at the stage of constitutional vacuum, “There is no constitutional vacuum because there are institutions such as President, government, other constitutional bodies and the interim constitution. But, we have constitutional crisis, which the political parties should resolve through consensus as per the spirit of the interim constitution.” “I am aware of the constitution and laws, and the government should show similar cautiousness,” he said. The President termed the government’s decision to declare fresh Constituent Assembly polls without arranging the constitutional provision as “blunder”. “The alternative as suggested by the Supreme Court should have sought from within the CA, and not from the government,” the President added. “I am looking for a solution coordinating with the political parties staying within my constitutional boundaries,” said the president talking to a journalist committee on Saturday. “There is no constitutional vacuum after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly. The only thing is there is no constitution,” he added. “The sentiment of the constitution is to run the country in consensus,” said the president about the next budget. “I have told the prime minister that no budget could be brought without consensus.” The delegation handed over a memorandum to the President urging him to play the role of patron as per the interim constitution to end the constitutional and political crisis. Nnnn LOCALS CLASH WITH POLICE DEMANDING POLLUTION CONTROL FROM LOCAL INDUSTRIES Kathmandu, 1 July: Villagers and police clashes at Lipnimal in Baraa nar Saturday demanding Control of pollution released by industries, Ritesh Tripathi reports in Nagarik from Birgunj. Three dozen were injured in the clash, including fv policemen. Nnnn 2,500 TONS OF FERTILIZERS ARRIVING MONDAY Kathmandu, 1 July: At a time of extreme shortage, 2.500 of 12,00 tons of fertilizers imported from India arrives Monday, Nagarik reports. Fertilizers are being imported from Metals and Minerals Trading Company. The consignment was loaded in Assam for dispatch Friday. nnnn TWO SHOT IN RIVAL MAOIST CLASH Kathmandu, 1 Juky: Around a dozen Maoist cadres were injured in a clash between UCPN (Maoist) and CPN-Maoist on Saturday. Of them two UCPN (Maoist) cadres - Uttam Gurung and Surya Gurung --have been seriously injured when shots were fired in the clash, Chandni Hamal writes in Republica from Chitwan.. Pramesh Timalsina, Lal Singh Thing, Madhur Nepal, Sabita Nepali, Barsha Sapkota, Mod Raj Neupane, Narin Tamang, Ram Mani Thapaliya, Posh Kanta Chapagain, Masini Bomjan and others of the Baidya-led party, and Ram Dhwoj Dallakoti, Narayan Acharya and Shankar Mahato of UCPN (Maoist) are among the others injured in the clash. The clash ensued when both the parties insisted on organizing a program at the meeting hall of the party office in Chitwan. Deputy in-charge of UCPN (Maoist) in Chitwan Ghanashyam Dahal accused the Mohan Baidya -led party of opening fire but Chitwan police, while acknowledging that shots were fired, said it has yet to find out who opened fire in the clash. UCPN (Maoist) had announced a meeting of 32 sister wings on June 27 while the Baidya´s party had called for a meeting of trade union at the same venue a day later. The two groups had disputes since the party split. "They had planned to kill our cadres earlier," said UCPN(Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal," adding, "We won´t resort to violence like them but will take legal recourse." He also accused the Baidya group of announcing a program for Saturday with ill-intent. Dahal said the clash occurred after the UCPN-Maoist cadres tried to remove the signboards erected by CPN-Maoist cadres. However, the CPN-Maoist cadres argued that the Baidya´s party should own the party office. "Pushpa Kamal Dahal´s brother Narayan Dahal and Chitra Bahadur Shrestha used goons to chase us away. We only retaliated," stated central committee member of CPN-Maoist Anil Sharma. The scuffle continued for a long time with the Baidya group chasing and beating whoever of the establishment group was in sight. Around half-a-dozen motorcycles were also vandalized in the incident. Police have taken the party office under control following the clash, while over three dozen cadres from both the factions have been detained. New party captures establishment´s Udaypur office Meanwhile, CPN-Maoist has captured the UCPN (Maoist) office in Udayapur district, reports our correspondent Maheshwar Chamling Rai. Chiefs of 15 sister wings of the party swore allegiance to the Baidya group Saturday and claimed that the office has been taken over by the new party through consensus with the party establishment. Chairman of the All Nepal Peasants´ Federation in the district Min Prasad Pokharel said the party office was taken over by the new party in consent of in-charge of the establishment group. Office secretary before the party split, Rita, said the letter pads, donation receipts, membership forms, stamps, sign boards and other documents of UCPN (Maoist) are safe despite the takeover by the new party and would be handed over to the party establishment. The new party has also consented to pay the unpaid rent of the office. Meanwhile, CPN-Maoist said that the clash between the two sides erupted after UCPN (Maoist) cadres led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal´s younger brother Narayan Dahal and Chitra Bahadur Shrestha forcefully tried to capture the party office. A press statement issued by CPN-Maoist leader Pampha Bhusal said the cadres of Dahal´s party attacked their cadres in the office with knives, sticks and swords. The statement said that five cadres including Lal Singh Thing, Rupa Tamang, Anusha Nepali, Rythm, Biplav and Ambika Mudvari from their side were seriously injured in the attack. They are currently undergoing treatment at a Chitwan hospital. “We condemned the attack by the cadres of Prachanda [Pushpa Kamal Dahal] in our party office. And, we urge the party concerned to immediately stop such conspiracy and find the solution to the issue of property belonging to the Maoist parties through talks,” said the statement. Baidya-led Maoist party has also warned that Maoist Chairman Dahal will be responsible for consequences if such attacks are not stopped right away. nnnn

TWO MAOIST FACTIONS CLASH IN CHITWAN Kathmandu, 30 June: Activists of both factions of Maoists- UCPN Maoit amd CPN Maoist-clashed in Chitwan over ownership and control of the party office in the central district Saturday. Several workers on both sides were injured. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai held consultations Saturday with Mohan Baidhya who split from UCPN Maoist and formed CPN Maoist. The clashes were expected and both sides had consulted each other to avoid such a situation. nnnn NA SOLDIER ARRESTED OUTSIDE BARRACKS WITH PISTOL, BULLETS Kathmandu, 30 June: Raju BK, 26, a soldier with Nepal Army was arrested Saturday in Bhaktapur with 32 roundsof live bullets and a 9mm pistol ny polic. He was handed over to Nepal Army. Nnnn

RPP CHAIRMN RANA ALSO BATS FOR CONSENSUS Kathmandu, 30 June:: Chairman of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party, Pashupati Shumsher JB Rana stressed the need of broader national consensus to navigate the present political transition, RSS reports from Sundarijal. Inaugurating the 8th annual general meeting of the Sangitshala Foundation at Gokarna, Kathmandu, Chairman Rana said the nation would have to pass through the political transition till Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai tendered his resignation and pave the way for broader national consensus. RPP Chairman Rana said there was no alternative to national consensus government, and the unity government could only hold election by resolving the constitutional crisis in the country. nnnn

FORMER PM CHAND ALSO URGES CONSENSUS; OTHER DETAILS Kathmandu, 30 June: Former Prime Minister and senior leader of Rastriya Prajatantra Party Lokendra Bahadur Chand has said that only the national unity could find away out to the protracted political deadlock in the country, RSS reports. Speaking at a programme organized by the Siward International College Thimi, Bhaktapur today, the former prime minister stressed the need of forging national consensus to establish the lasting peace in the country and for the safeguard of national integrity. "Now, the nation is passing through transition", he said adding that unity in every level from politics to cultural sector was necessary to give an outlet to the nation. On the occasion, leader Chand presented the Siward Running Shield to the Balkot-based Mount View English School that secured the highest marks from the district in the School Leaving Certificate ( SLC) examinations- 2068 BS. Likewise, the SLC toppers from the district including Iraj Parajuli, Arati Shrestha, and Rabindra Duwal were honoured on the occasion. : Nepali Congress General Secretary Prakasman Singh has said that his party would not participate in the elections to the Constituent Assembly announced by the government without forging political consensus. Speaking at a programme in the Capital today, leader KC stressed the need of forging consensus among the parties before going for the fresh CA elections. He said the CA elections announced in haste by Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai for November 22, this year holds no meaning. The Prime Minister should immediately resign from the post to pave the way for the formation of the national consensus, said the NC General Secretary Meanwhile, Vice-President Parmanand Jha has said the unity among political parties had no alternative to solve the present political and constitutional crisis. Speaking at a programme organized by the Former Parliamentarians’ Forum on the occasion of the 54th Parliament Day in the capital Saturday, Vice-President Jha said the Forum could also play a role to forge political consensus. On the occasion, former chairman of the constituent assembly, Subash Nembang said the present crisis was resulted after the not interpreting the Supreme Court verdict properly and announcement next election to constituent assembly without any legal and constitutional preparations. Former prime minister and leader of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party Lokendra Bahadur Chand said national unity was only measure to wipe out present problems and establish peace and write constitution. Chairman of the organizing body and former speaker Taranath Ranabhat said it was unfortunate that bickering for power became the attitude of political parties. Founding chairman of the Forum Ram Hari Joshi said the State needs to utilize the knowledge and experience the former parliamentarians have. The Forum, though not having parliament in the country at present, has continued marking the Parliament Day. nnnn

UPDATE MAOIST CHIEF, CHINESE FUNCTIONARY MEET Kathmandu, 30 June: A visiting Chinese delegation headed by Chief of South Asian Affairs for International Department of the Communist Party of China, Ai Ping, called on Chairperson of Unified CPN (Maoist) on Saturday, RSS reports. Matters concerning Nepal's recent political development, peace process, constitution-making and building national consensus were discussed during the meeting held at Chairperson Dahal's residence, Lazimpat, said Chief of UCPN (Maoist)'s Department of Foreign Affairs, Krishna Bahadur Mahara. On the occasion, leader Ping enquired Chairperson Dahal about the reasons behind the dissolution of Constituent Assembly (CA). Responding the queries, Chairperson Dahal said the CA was dissolved in absence of consensus among the political parties on the issue of state restructuring. Consensus should be forged among the parties and his party has been effortful in this regard, Chairperson Dahal said. Forging consensus and collaboration is the best alternative to give outlet to the current political standoff and they have been making efforts for this as the largest party in the CA, Mhara quoted Chairperson Dahal as saying. Leader Ping also urged the Chairperson to forge political consensus at the earliest possible in a bid to cut through the current political crisis. Likewise, leader Ping also enquired about the split of the party. In reply, Chairperson Dahal said the breakaway faction headed by Mohan Baidhya and other leaders have splintered the party being based on worn-out thoughts and the party split would not affect the peace and constitution-making process anymore. He also briefed the Chinese delegation that they have been opting for party merger and the confidence to get success to that end was still there. Dahal further said the general convention was still to go in a bid to patch up problems surfaced within the party and the Chinese leader extended best wishes for the success of the event, informed Mahara, Standing Committee member of UCPN (Maoist). Leader Ping also expressed the best wishes that Nepal would steer ahead to the path of economic prosperity by attaining political stability and said the Chinese government was ready to assist Nepal to the possible extent to that end. Also present on the occasion were standing committee member duo Mahara and Leelamani Pokharel and the Chinese Ambassador to Nepal. During the meeting, Chairperson Dahal reiterated that Nepal always sticks to one China policy and is also committed to not allow Nepali territory to be used against neighboring countries. nnnn

S.L.C Result 2068 Bhattarai, Dahal hold discussion on ending political impasse Saturday, Jun 30, 2012 MAOIST CHIEF, PM CONSULTATIONS Kathmandu, 30 June: Prime Minister and UCPN (Maoist) Vice Chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai and party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal held a meeting on Saturday, RSS reports. The meeting took place at the Prime Minister's Official Residence, Baluwatar focused on the intra-party disputes in the UCPN (Maoist), according to Prime Minister's aide Prashant Lamichhane. Similarly, matters relating to the party's upcoming seventh plenum scheduled to begin from July 16, government activities and the latest political developments in the country were also discussed at the meeting. The meeting also discussed on how to take the party ahead in the context that the dissent faction within the party led by senior Vice Chairman Mohan Baiddya has already quit the party and announced the formation of a new party, it is learnt. RSS nnnn

PM REITERATES HE’LL CONINUE WITHOUT CONSENSUS Kathmandu, 30 June: Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai has said that he would not be an obstacle if the political parties forged consensus to end the current political transition, RSS reports. Talking to journalists at his official residence, Baluwatar, on Saturday, the Prime Minister refused to resign from the post only on the basis of the demand of his resignation by parties. Prime Minister Dr. Bhattarai said none should be obstacle if the political consensus among the parties was forged, adding he had no desire to clinging to the post of prime minister. He said, "It is not logical just to seek resignation from the street claiming the political parties do not seem ready to enable environment for consensus and understanding through dialogue. The political understanding is the key to resolve the current political transition." Dr Bhattarai further claimed the best alternative to resolve the current political impasse was to go for fresh Constituent Assembly (CA) election announced by the government for November 7 and stressed the political parties need to be united for this. Stating that there was no alternative to peace, constitution and democracy, the Prime Minister made it clear that he and his party was ready to go for any option if political parties came up with common understanding. Asked whether the dissolved Constituent Assembly (CA) could be revived, Prime Minister Dr. Bhattarai replied, 'CA could also be reinstated if consensus was forged among parties. But, prior to this, all should come to a point to federate the country based on identity and make the people empowered.' Informing journalists that the government is making preparation to hold elections, he further underscored the need of consensus among the political parties for this. 'The CA was not dissolved by any party or the government rather it lost its life automatically. So, it does not hold any meaning to blame one another'. He clarified that he has emphasized to go for elections to the CA rather than its reinstatement. The incumbent government is not that of the caretaker status but the one with full authority to hold the elections, he argued. The Prime Minister claimed that the present government would bring full-fledged budget as the incomplete budget could not address the country's needs and people's aspirations. The government and Unified CPN (Maoist) have floated no plan to send ex-Maoist fighters to voluntary retirement, he noted, adding that all the processes would expedite on the basis of consensus. 'The Public Service Commission has put forward the process of army integration. The government would also take it ahead. Letting ex-combatants go for voluntary retirement is meaningless. It is not true'. He also made it clear that there was no misunderstanding between the President and him. nnnn

Friday, June 29, 2012

DEMOLITION DRIVE RESUMES FROM LAZIMPAT TO NARAYAN GOPAL CHOWK Kathmandu, 30 June: Amid heavy deployment of police, a suspended demolition drive of what has been called illegal structures resumed from Narayan Gopal Vhowk in Maharajgung and Lazimpat approaches of Indian and British embassies. The drive resumed after a month-long disruption by owners of houses along the road. Owners staging a sit-in in front of Hotel Ambassador were removed. Two bulldozers were deployed and vehicles. The Himalayan Times adds: The government is set to start the expansion of the Lazimpat-Golfutar road from tomorrow despite a concerted protest from the local people. Shital Niwas, the official residence of the president, the foreign ministry, Nirmal Niwan, the residence of former King Gyanendra and the Japanese embassy are situated along the road. Government authorities, though, tried to appease the agitated lot today with a pledge to spare major residential buildings along the five-km stretch. Bhaikaji Tiwari, senior engineer at the Kathmandu Valley Town Development Authority, said the authority is ready to expand the stretch after a three-month hiatus resulting from the locals’ protest. “I would like to make it clear that the government will not even those private buildings constructed on public land. I appeal to all to cooperate with the authorities in the broad-road initiative,” he appealed. Officials said they will only raze subsidiary structures of the main buildings — garages and compound walls. According to Tiwari, parts of as many as 318 houses and private buildings will have to be pulled down if the government presses ahead with the broad-road initiative as per the law. “Keeping in mind the directives of Prime Minister and local people’s requests, we will try to minimise damage while pressing ahead with the road expansion drive,” he informed. The government has decided to expand the road section by only nine metres on both sides against its earlier decision to expand the stretch by 11 metres on either side. “We took the move in a bid to minimise the damage to private property after several rounds of talks held with locals,” Tiwari informed. DIG Ganesh Raj Rai, in-charge of the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, underscored the need to expand the roads in areas where vital government installations and diplomatic missions are based. “The narrow stretch in Lazimpat has made traffic management difficult,” he reasoned, appealing to all stakeholders to cooperate with the government. Despite the appeals, local residents have vowed to disrupt what they called ‘the demolition drive’ of the government and drive away officials from their areas tomorrow. A joint struggle committee comprising locals from Lazimpat, Maharajgunj and Golfutar have been staging a hunger strike against the demolition initiative demanding that they be compensated for the damaged incurred. SSP Jaya Bahadur Chand, Kathmandu police chief, said his office has put special security arrangements in place to thwart untoward incidents during the demolition drive. “We will use force if the demonstrators hamper the broad-road initiative,” he warned. The government has said that it plans to expand the road in line with a notice published on Nepal Gazette on July 4, 1977. It claimed to have demolished only those structures built in violation of the notice for which there will be no compensation. Officials have pledged compensation for structures built before the gazette notice. Officials said a stretch totalling around 45-km has been expanded since the launch of the initiative five months ago. They said they will widen an additional stretch of 31 km within a few months. Nnnn

HARSHYANI EKASASHI OVSERVED Kathmandu, 30 June: Saturday was observed by offering puja to tulsi coinciding with Harshyani Ekadashi.I. Tulsi planted one month earlier is worshipped. nnnn ONLY TWO DISTRICTS REMAIN TO BE LINKED BY ROAD Kathmandu, 30 June: Grains now have to be transported by helicopter to only two of 75districts, Suraj Kuwar writes in Katipur Except Humla and Jumla, all other districts have been linked by road. It’s possible to transport grains overland in the winter. nnnn UPDATE ON UNION OFFICE VANDALIZATION Kathmandu, 30 June: A group of 30 to 40 persons overnight vandalized the office of the Free Students’ Union and Economics Department at TU in Kirtipur. The Department Friday published results of examinations it had conducted. Records and computers at the Union office were destroyed at the Union office. Nnnn 54th PARLIAMENT DAY BEING OBSERVED SATURDAY Kathmandu, 30 June: The 54th Parliament Day. is being observed Saturday without parliament which has been automatically dissolved after government unilaterally announced constituent assembly elections 22 November. Nepal’s first elected parliament met exactly 54 years ago. NC, the second largest party, before dissolution of parliament, gained an absolute ajority in the 1959 parliamentary elections. The legislature was dissolved by King Mahendra in December 1960 after a short experiment with parliamentary democracy. nnnn

SON AXES MOTHER TO DEATH Kathmandu, 30 June: Mohan Dhami, 16, axed his mother to death at Krishnapur VDC un Kanchanpur Friday. Kalawati, 45, died instantly at her home. Nnnn FIVE COMMITTEES UNDER CABINET Kathmandu, 30 June: Five committees have been formed under the cabinet to facilitate its work. Political, administrative, social, economic, bills and infra-structure development committees have been formed Prime minister heads the political and administrative committees while the home minister heads the social committee. Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun leads the economic and infrastructure development committees and Tourism Minister Post Bahadur BOgati is coordinator looks after the bills committee. nnnn

CHINESE PARTY FUNCTIONARY BEGINS CONSULTATIONS WITH PARTY LEADERS Kathmandu, 30 June: Ai Ping, senior specialist in the Communist Party of China (CPC) begins consultations with leaders of political parties Saturday ami a political crisis in Nepal that has concerned Beijing. Ai, who arrived overnight, holds separate consultations Saturday with UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal, NC President Sushil Koirala and Maoist Chairman Prachanda. He will hold discussions with Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav. Ai is Vice-minister at the International Department of the CPC. nnnn MALAYSIA LIFTS BAN ON SECURITY GUARDS Kathmandu, 30 June: Malaysia—one of the lucrative countries for foreign employment—has lifted the ban on hiring of Nepali workers in the security sector after three years, The Kathmandu Post writes.. The country reopened the sector two weeks ago following increased demand for security guards and pressure from local companies seeking to hire Nepalis for the job. It had stopped recruiting Nepalis in security jobs in 2009, citing unskilled Nepali workforce. The latest decision of the Malaysian government means many Nepalis aspirants having a background in Nepal Army, Police and Armed Police Force will get an opportunity for overseas employment. According to the Security Services Association of Malaysia, the government lifted the ban after pressure from employing firms and increased demand. “We hope this decision will help address the demand for quality workers,” said a member of the association. According to a report, there are around 5,000 Nepalis in Malaysia working as guards legally. The Malaysian government had planned to hire 10,000 security guards after legalisation of illegal migrant workers as part of its amnesty programme. However, the plan failed with only around 3,500 Nepali applying for security guard job after legalising themselves. The Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies has said it will soon hold discussions with agencies to send quality and experienced guards. “We will utilise this opportunity in the best possible way,” said Kumud Khanal, vice-president of the association. Khanal said they have already started to get orders for security guards. Lately, with the US dollar and Malaysian ringgit soaring, salary of security guard has also increased in the range of Rs 38,000 to Rs 41,000 a month. Nepalis are considered best workers in the security sector in Malaysia. “It will be better if aspirants learn English before going to Malaysia for effective job performance,” said Khanal. nnnn OPPOSITION SOFTENS STAND ON INTEGRATION OF FORMER PLA FIGHTERS Kathmandu, 30 June:: As the government mulls a "unilateral" move to kick start the stalled PLA integration process, opposition parties have softened their stand on the former combatants' entry into the Nepal Army, The Kathmandu Post writes. Nepali Congress and CPN-UML leaders have said they are ready to attend a meeting of the prime minister-led Special Committee for the Integration, Supervision and Rehabilitation of Maoist Combatants. This development comes in the wake of allegations levelled againt opposition leaders by the Prime Minister's Chief Political Advisor, Devendra Poudel, that the leaders were against attending a meeting of the committee. "We were never against attending a meeting of the Special Committee. We have stressed that the prime minister must reach out to parties and create an environment of trust," said Nepali Congress leader Minendra Rijal. UML leader Bhim Rawal said there should be political consensus among the parties on the structure of the general directorate and ranks to be conferred on the combatants at the top level before the committee meeting is held. "The prime minister is trying to take forward the process arbitrarily. He should sit for dialogue with the parties before taking any decision," he said. The NC and UML leaders' stance now clears the way for the PM to convene a meeting of the committee and give the Army a go-ahead for the selection process. The Army is all set to start groundwork for the selection next week. Devendra Poudel said the stalemate in the integration process resulted from the opposition leaders' reluctance to attend a meeting of the committee. nnnn

FIRE AT TU FREE STUDENTS’ UNION OFFICE Kathmandu, 30 June: A fire overnight at the office of the Free Students’ uNION office At TU destroyed furniture, first reports said. The fire was extinguished in one hour by the Valley’s firefighters. nnnn WRITER KRISHNA DHARABASHI WEDS MANJU BIMALI Kathmandu, 30 June: Writer Krishna Dharabashi wed Manju Bimali of Birthamod Friday. The marriage was their second. nnnn. LEADING GOLFER SHIBARAM SHRESTHA WEDS KALPANA LAMA Kathmandu, 30 June: Nepal’s leading professional golfer Shibaram Shrestha wed Kalpana Lama Friday. nnnn . 69 FORMER LAWMAKERS YET TO RETURN DIPLOMATIC PASSPORTS Kathmandu, 30 June As many as 69 former Constituent Assembly members have yet to return their diplomatic passports that they had acquired in capacity of parliamentarians, despite National Vigilance Centre's directive to do so. The former lawmakers were supposed to return their diplomatic passports within a week of dissolution of the CA, The Himalayan Times reports. NVC, an-anti-corruption body, had sent circulars to the Parliament Secretariat and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to do the needful to get diplomatic passports from former lawmakers back. “Of 522 former CA members, 69 have not returned their red passports,” informed an official at MoFA. The Secretariat is planning to make public names of those parliamentarians who have failed to follow the NVC directive. "Discussions are under way whether to publish a notice with the names of non-complying former lawmakers or make their names public through the print media," said an official at the Secretariat. Mukunda Sharma, Spokesperson for the Parliament Secretariat, however, said the former lawmakers have sought some time to return their passports. "They should have returned their passports of their own volition after they lost their CA membership," said Sharma. In its circulars, NVC has mentioned that the red passports could be misused. Six CA members were convicted of misusing their red passports in the past. nnnn FRUSTRATION AMONG FORMER PLA FIGHTERS HIGH IN CAMPS Kathmandu, 30 June: Former People´s Liberation Army (PLA) chief Nanda Kishor Pun has demanded that the government and political parties start the integration process as early as possible, saying the delay in starting the process has spread frustration among the combatants in cantonments. Talking to Republica on Friday, Pun said the combatants have been exerting "tremendous" pressure on him for an early start of integration process, which was supposed to begin immediately after completion of the second phase of categorization in mid-April. Altogether 3,123 combatants have been waiting for integration into the national army. "They have been pressing to start the process as soon as possible," said Pun, adding, "The frustration among combatants has soared up due to delay." Sources told Republica that handover of the cantonments to the Nepal Army on April 10 has further added to the frustration among combatants. The demand of the former PLA chief to start the process has come at a time when Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has already said that the integration process would start from July 3. Despite the government´s plan to proceed with the process, the prime minister is yet to bring the opposition parties on board. Saying that the integration process would move smoothly, the former PLA chief also said the combatants are desperately waiting an end to their uncertain future. "All comrades will participate in the integration process and they will be integrated in the national army," said Pun, "I urge all comrades not to run after rumors." nnnn ________________________________________ UML DISSIDENTS CALL FOR CA REVIVAL Kathmandu, 30 June: The group of dissident leaders from ethnic, indigenous and Madhesi communities in the CPN-UML plans to press the party to stand firmly for the reinstatement of the Constituent Assembly (CA), Republica reports. They said they will raise the issue of CA revival as one of the preconditions for resuming their work in the party or else they will break off relations with the UML in the days to come. A group of UML leaders led by party Vice-chairman Ashok Rai has been boycotting the party´s formal events and meetings, demanding that the UML be ready to delineate and name federal provinces after single-ethnic identity and reinstate the CA, among other things. But the party leadership is reluctant, saying that federalizing the country solely along ethnic lines would be sowing the seeds of ethnic and sectarian conflict in society. In a bid to pacify the dissident leaders, a recent Central Committee meeting of the UML endorsed a seven-province model based on multi-ethnic identities. As per this proposal the provinces would be named after the identities of the dominant communities and a neutral entity, such as in Bagmati-Newa-Tamsaling. UML politburo member Prithivi Subba Gurung, a key member of the dissident group, said the party should clearly and firmly lobby for CA reinstatement because the task of constitution writing cannot be accomplished by any institution other than the CA. "Any decision to write a new constitution while bypassing the CA is simply unacceptable," he said. He criticized the party leadership for not clearly standing for CA revival. "It seems that our party is waiting for a decision to be taken by the Nepali Congress (NC) or some other party and only then would it follow suit," said Gurung. The UML dissidents´ decision comes at a time when a large number of former lawmakers from another opposition party, Nepali Congress, have already started campaigning for CA revival. According to Gurung, the dissident group is not satisfied with the party´s decision to mandate a group of experts with the task of delineating the provinces. "The subject of delineating provinces requires the support of experts. Therefore, a constitutional commission comprising experts from related fields should be formed and the task of delineation carried out as per the suggestions offered by the commission," the party´s decision had stated. Gurung believes that such a decision came with the intention of further derailing the process of federalizing the country. Another demand of the dissident group is that the party leadership commit itself to making the UML leadership and organization more inclusive from the next general convention. "All the communities should be well-represented in party organs and the diversity of Nepali society reflected in the UML leadership at various levels," Gurung explained. Yet another demand of the group is that the party revoke its decision to take action against some UML leaders for their involvement in the campaign for ethnic federalism. The party had removed its central committee member Rajendra Shrestha as UML chief for Kathmandu Valley and expelled Aung Kaji Sherpa, general secretary of the National Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN), from the party´s general membership, for using inflammatory language that risked inciting ethnic violence. "The decision to take action against them should be revoked and the leaders must ensure that party members involved in the campaign will not be under any shadow in future," he said adding that only such a move will create an atmosphere conducive to their continuity in the party. He informed that he is taking initiatives for talks with the party leadership to create an environment for the dissident leaders to resume their work in the party. "But there is no progress in this regard so far," he said. nnnn ________________________________________ GOVT. FAILURE PROPELS ECONOMIC PROBLEMS Kathmandu, 30 June: The government's failure to fulfill its primary responsibility of prosecuting those who try to control others' life, liberty and property by force or fraud has led to a need for more institutions like regulators that have in turn created more problems, according to a renowned libertarian, Kuvera Chalise writes in The Himalayan Times.. Countries with a strong banking regulation have eight times more chances of facing a banking crisis than in states where there are less regulations, said associate professor of Economics and Political Science at Hawaii Pacific University Ken Schoolland, who is at present in Nepal. "Regulatory authorities — that are also government agencies — have created more room for market players to exercise monopoly," he said, adding that monopoly has created inefficiency leading them not to do their duty faithfully and efficiently. The writer of the world famous book, The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible - A Free Market Odyssey, opined that governments around the world are inefficient because they enjoy monopoly. Similarly, companies also try to destroy competition and create a monopoly in the market by doing some favour to the government, the free market guru said, adding that there is no better investment than to invest on a politician and the companies in return get some kind of favour like regulations. "Regulation is an instrument for monopolists promoting crony capitalism in the name of free market giving more room for cartels," he said. "With more regulations, governments make cartel possible forcing consumers to suffer. When government has no skin in the game, it's more secure and companies ensure that they remain competent." In a free market, players always worry about new entrants and remain competitive, the associate professor opined, adding that a free market provides choices to people leading to competition, innovation and choice. "However, one's choice should not injure another person's choice." Similarly, ethics is a key for market players as a free market does not mean robbing consumers with the help of politicians, Schoolland clarified. nnnn

NEW MAOIST PARTY FOR MASS MOVEMENT TO TOPPLE PM BHATTARAI AND CONDUCT GENERAL CONVENTION Kathmandu, 30 June: CPN Maoist Vice-chairman CP Gajurel said Saturday the party lunched after splitting with UCPN Maoist, the party leading the government, is launching a movement against the government in the absence of parliament. There’s no legal way to topple the Baburam Bhattarai government. The only way is to remove it through a street movement,” Gajurel said in a radio interview. He said Bhattarai “only has the support of four/five Madeshbai parties’. The leader of the new communist party said opposition parties NC an UML a were ‘consulting Chairman Prachanda” to remove Bhattarai and added, ”This is not possible.” Prachanda heads UCPN Maoist of which Bhattarai is vice-chairman. Gajurel said ‘there’s a national crisis’ and ‘this was willfully created by Bhattarai/ CPN Maoists plans to hold Bhattarai at his official residence stopping g from moving out of Baluwatar during a planned street movement, Gajurel said. The new party is also planning to hold a general convention.. . “Mo convention has been held for 22 years whereas it should normally be held once every four years. Prachanda never conducted it,” Gajurel added. “There’s no need for resignation of government. There should be consensus for a consensus government,” Health

8 JAPANESE VOLUNTEERS ARRIVE Kathmandu,29 June: A new batch of eight volunteers of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) arrived in Kathmandu on Thursday for two years of assignment, according to JICA, RSS reports. Each year JICA dispatches Japanese volunteers eager to make use of their skills and experience acquired in Japan to developing countries. The new batch of JICA volunteers dispatched as per the bilateral agreement between the two governments would be assigned to work in different fields of expertise to take part in various fields across the country and help improve the livelihood of locals. Three senior volunteers would work in earthquake safety and disaster management, solar energy and database management sectors at Lalitpur Sub-metropolitan city, National Academy of Science and Technology and Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT). nnnn GOLD SLIPS RS.700 PER TOLA Kathmandu, 29June: The price of gold decreased by Rs 700 per tola (11.66 grams) in the Nepali market on Friday, RSS reports. The hallmark gold was traded at Rs 56,500 per tola in the local market on Friday, according to the Nepal Gold and Silver Dealers' Association. The gold price is witnessing fluctuations both in the domestic and international market these days. The hallmark gold was traded at Rs 57,400 per tola June 26. Similarly, the price of silver was cheaper by Rs 20 per tola on Friday as compared to the Thursday's price. Silver was traded at Rs 1,010 per tola in the Nepali market on Friday. nnnn FLOODS CREATE HAVOC IN NORTH-EAST INDIA Kathmandu, 29 June: GAUHATI: Raging floodwaters fed by monsoon rains have inundated more than 2,000 villages in northeast India, sweeping away homes and leaving hundreds of thousands of people marooned Friday. At least 27 people were killed, but the toll was expected to rise, AP reports from Gauhati. The Indian air force was delivering food packages to people huddled on patches of dry land along with cattle and wild elephants. Rescuers were dropped by helicopter into affected areas to help the stranded, but pouring rain was complicating operations. About 1 million people have had to evacuate their homes as the floods from the swollen Brahmaputra River — one of Asia's largest — swamped 2,084 villages across most of Assam state, officials said. Assam's flooded capital of Gauhati was hit by mudslides that buried three people. Many of the city's 2 million residents were negotiating the submerged streets in rubber dinghies and small wooden boats. Most businesses were closed. Officials have counted 27 people dead so far, but the toll is expected to be much higher as unconfirmed casualty reports mount. Many of the victims so far have drowned, including five people whose boat capsized amid choppy waves. Telephone lines were knocked out and some train services were canceled after their tracks were swamped by mud. As the floods soaked the Kaziranga game reserve east of Gauhati, motorists reported seeing a one-horned rhino fleeing along a busy highway. "We never thought the situation would turn this grim when the monsoon-fed rivers swelled a week ago," said Nilomoni Sen Deka, an Assam government minister. Residents of Majuli — an 800-square-kilometer (310-square-mile) island in the middle of the Brahmaputra River — watched helplessly as the swirling, gray waters swallowed 50 villages and swept away their homes. "We are left with only the clothes we are wearing," said 60-year-old Puniram Hazarika, one of about 75,000 island residents now camping in makeshift shelters of bamboo sticks and plastic tarps on top of a mud embankment soaked by rain. Ratna Payeng, who was sheltering with her three small children in the camps, said she was praying for the rains to stop. "If they don't, our land will become unfit for cultivation and everything will be lost," Payeng said. Nearby, a herd of 70 endangered Asiatic elephants, which usually avoid humans, were grouped together, Majuli island wildlife official Atul Das said. "The jumbos have not caused any harm, but we are keeping a close watch," he said. In neighboring Nepal, landslides also triggered by monsoon rains killed at least eight people Thursday night and left two others missing. nnnn.

MINISTER RAJENDRA MOHOTO PREDICTS CONSENSUS GOVERNMENT SOON Kathmandu, 29 June: Minister for Health and Population Rajendra Mahato has said a national consensus government could be formed soon as per the five-point agreement reached among the political parties. At a programme organized in the Capital on Friday, Minister Mahato said the national consensus government would be formed within a month and consensus on constitution was possible within this period. "Consensus government was only after the consensus on constitution with federalism. None should obstruct the agreement for this,” said Mahato. Also the Chairman of Sadbhavana Party, Minister Mahato said his party was also concerned over the remarks the prime minister made at the Tribhuvan International Airport following his arrival from Brazil. The government would bring full budget at any rate, he claimed, adding that the election to the constituent assembly on November 22 was doubted because some provisions on constitution were in need of amendment for this. He reminded that he met with top leaders of the main parties in a bid to forge national consensus. In another note, he said he was bringing a plan to send doctors in the remote areas. Minister Mahato warned of action on the government doctors once complaints on them working in the private clinics were lodged. nnnn

$ 60M WB LOAN FOR BUILDING, MAINTAINING BRIDGES Kathmandu, 29 June: World Bank (WB) has approved a US$60 million loan to help Nepal maintain and construct bridges in its strategic roads network, an announcement said Friday. nder the project dubbed Bridges Improvement and Maintenance Program, Eighty-nine bridges will be maintained, 300 bridges will undergo major and minor maintenance and 121 new bridges will be built under bridges improvement and maintenance progamme, the bank said.. “Three quarters of the bridges require urgent maintenance and the costs are estimated at under $250,000 per bridge,” the statement quotes Farhad Ahmed, task team leader at the World Bank, as saying. “Similar estimates suggest that most of the new bridges will cost less than $1 million each.” WB will provide approximately 40 percent of program financing an government will contribute the balance. nnnn ________________________________________ 17 MAOISTS KILLED IN CHHATTISGARH BY SECURITY FORCES Kathmandu, 29 June: At least 17 Indian Maoist rebels were killed during a gun battle Friday with security forces in the central state of Chhattisgarh, a hotbed of left-wing extremism, police said, AFP reports Friday. The gunfight erupted in the early hours of the morning in a thickly forested area of Chhattisgarh's Bastar region, about 295 kilometres (184 miles) south of the state capital Raipur. "In a fierce gun battle in Farkeguda forest 17 Maoists were killed today," district police superintendent Prashant Agrawal told AFP by phone. Six Maoists and six members of the security forces were wounded, he added. Security forces are combing the area in search of more Maoist fighters, after the rebels ambushed a police patrol and shot dead six officers and a civilian in the state last month. The Maoists have been fighting a deadly low-intensity war against authorities for decades for what they say are the rights of tribal people and landless farmers. The government describes the guerrillas as India's most serious internal security threat. Nnnn

PADDY DAY OBSERVED Kathmandu, 29 June: Amid government to provide fertilizers in time to transplant paddy, ‘Paddy Day’ was observed Friday coinciding with 15 Ashad to highlight the importance of the main staple crop for the national economy. NC President Sushil Koirala blasted the government for failure to provide fertilizers on time this year while participating in a party transplantation function at Kapan. After gas cylinders, government has failed to provide fertilizers while promising relief. Agriculture ministry officials said this week paddy has been transplanted only in five percent fields this year when the normally 30 percent paddy should have been transplanted. The popular belief is paddy transplanted after 15 Ashad will reduce yield. Experts said a dry spell before the monsoon late by one week will adversely affect maize and paddy production this year. Ashad 15 is observed by eating beaten rice with curd, Paddy Day is being observed since 2061, nnnn AMID APPEAL FOR POLITICAL SUPPORT, PM ASSURES CINE-ARTISTS COPYRIGHT PROTECTION Kathmandu, 29 June: Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai has consulted the cine-artistes at the Prime Minister's official residence in Baluwatar today [Friday], RSS reports. The Prime Minister has already discussed the leaders of political parties, civil society and business community for his attempt to forge consensus for national unity. During the meeting, the PM has said that he was committed to forging national unity to bail the country out of the present imbroglio. PM's aide Prashant Lamichhane said PM Bhattarai also expressed his confidence that the political parties would forge consensus either sooner or later as they have no other options left. According to Lamichhane, the PM told the artistes that he was not a power-hungry leader but giving way out to the country's political crisis was his major concern. During the meeting, PM Bhattarai also said that the government was committed to the development of film industry and expressed concerns saying that Nepali films were shadowed by the foreign films. On the occasion, the Prime Minister pledged to take possible initiative to resolve the problems of piracy and issue of royalties. The artistes demanded that the government form a trust for the welfare of the artistes and resolve the issues of piracy and royalty from the CRBT, said film director Ashok Sharma. Bhuwan Chand, Yadav Kharel, Nir Shah, Basundhara Bhusal Ashok Sharma, J B Tuhure, Shambhu Rai, Udaya Subba, Pradip Udaya, Ujjawal Ghimire, Kiran KC, Jitu Nepal, Dipak Raj Giri, Dipashree Niraula, Binita Baral, among others, were present during the meeting with the Prime Minister. nnnn

FINANCE MINISTER PUN PREPARING BUDGET Kathmandu, 29 June: Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun is giving final touches to the annual budget 2069/70 that normally come into effect mid-July. Minister Pun is giving final touches to the document assisted by finance ministry officials at a resort in Godavari. Opposition says a caretaker government of Prime Minister can’t promulgate a full budget though an ordinance as government seeks opposition support to announce the document in the absence of parliament. Government/opposition consultations are continuing. But FNCCI and other business organizations are lobbying for full budget to boost the economy. nnnn CROC. KILLS CHIILD Kathmandu, 29 June: One child was killed and another was injured when a crocodile attacked them in Guthi Prasauni of Nawalparasi district, RSS reports. Akleskumar Rajbhar, 11, of Narsahi VDC-3 died in the attack while fishing in the river and Rabindra Rajbhar has been injured. He has been sent to the Lumbini Zonal Hospital Butwal for treatment, police said. According to police, they were attacked outside the river and died on way to hospital. nnnn

RAM CHANDRA PAUDEL RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL Kathmandu, 29 June: Vice-President of the Nepali Congress, Ram Chandra Poudel has been discharged from the TU Teaching Hospital this afternoon after the improvement in his health, RSS reports. Leader Poudel was receiving treatment for pneumonia and high blood pressure for a week. After being discharged, Vice-President Poudel thanked all doctors attending him and those wishing good health to him, according to his aide Chiranjivi Adhikari. Talking to media persons, Vice-President Poudel said present political deadlock would be removed if the party leaders became honest and responsible towards people and country. During the treatment at hospital, various leaders talked about the political consensus, he said, adding that even the UCPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has stressed the need for consensus to solve problems. In another note, leader Poudel urged the government to immediately provide chemical fertilizer to the farmers across the country. UN CONTRIBUTES 48 MILLION TO PEACE FUND Kathmandu, 29 June: The United Nations Peace Building Fund Friday contributed $8 million to help the peace process. The fund is managed by Nepal government. The money will be used to consolidate the peace, including improving policing, promoting dialogue and leadership and reinforcing national efforts to address the needs of women and conflict affected children, a statement issued by the Office of the Resident and Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Nepal, said. “As we saw in late May, some of the most difficult and sensitive issues of the peace process are till ahead of Nepal. At this uncertain juncture, we will target these resources towards interventions that will help move the peacebuilding process forward,” a statement said. Judy Cheng-Hopkins, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, said Nepal will continue to require medium and long-term investment in peacebuilding to address the underlying causes of the conflict. “We want to see our resources fund projects that will create momentum in support of the peace process in Nepal,” the senior UN official said.eng-Hopkins as saying. Nnnn ________________________________________

BAIDHYA DEFENDS SPLIT Kathmandu, 29 June: Chairman of the newly-formed CPN-Maoist, Mohan Baidhya, on Friday urged the party cadres to take the breakaway from the Unified CPN-Maoist as a natural process, RSS reports.. Laying the foundation stone of Ichchhuk Cultural Foundation building here today, he said some former UCPN-Maoist leaders separated and formed the new party after the UCPN-Maoist was not ready to transform as per the Marxist theory. He said unity, struggle, transformation and breakaway in a communist party was natural process. Chairman Baidya said that formation of the new party was the beginning of a new chapter as the leaders of the new party would take a leading role to fulfill the unfulfilled dreams of the great fighters like Krishna Sen Ichchhuk. He said formation of the revolutionary party was a must to pave a way to the current political transition. On the occasion, Baidya said that the Ichchhuk Cultural Foundation should be developed as a broad research center. He appreciated the life of Sen and said one and all should learn from the struggles of Ichchhuk and added he was a true revolutionary figure. Vice-chairman of the Foundation Dr Rishiraj Baral said they had to struggle enough to establish the Foundation. Journalist and critic Ichchhuk was arrested and murdered by the state force a decade ago. nnnn WOMAN KILLED IN FAMILY DISPUTE Kathmandu, 29 June: A woman was killed at Panchganchhi VDC-7 in Jhapa district in a family dispute over the issue of sharing of property, RSS reports from Damak. Hem Kumari Shrestha who was critically injured after her brother-in-law Raj Kumar Shrestha thrashed her on Thursday died while undergoing treatment in Biratnagar on Friday morning, according to District Police Office, Jhapa. Police arrested Raj Kumar after his involvement in the murder case. nnnn

UML CHIEF KHANAL ACCUSES PM OF DISTURBING ENVIRONMENT FOR CONSENSUS Kathmandu, 29 June: Chairman of CPN (UML) Jhalanath Khanal has accused Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai of disturbing the environment of national consensus after his arrival from Rio de Janeiro. RSS reports. Speaking at a press meet here today, Khanal said that the only way to resolve the political and constitutional crisis in the country was to forge national consensus. UML Chairman Khanal arrived here to attend a paddy plantation programme organized at Panchakanya in Nuwakot. Nnnn PM CONSULTS CINE ARTISTES Kathmandu, 29 June:: Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai has consulted the cine-artistes at the Prime Minister's official residence in Baluwatar today [Friday], RSS reports. The Prime Minister has already discussed the leaders of political parties, civil society and business community for his attempt to forge consensus for national unity. During the meeting, the PM has said that he was committed to forging national unity by ending the present political deadlock. PM's aide Prashant Lamichhane said PM Bhattarai also expressed his confidence that the political parties would forge consensus either sooner or later as they have no other options left. According to Lamichhane, the PM told the artistes that he was not a power-hungry leader but giving way out to the country's political crisis was his major concern. During the meeting, PM Bhattarai also said that the government was committed to the development of film industry and expressed concerns saying that Nepali films were shadowed by the foreign films. On the occasion, the Prime Minister pledged to take possible initiative to resolve the problems of piracy and issue of royalties. The artistes demanded that the government form a trust for the welfare of the artistes and resolve the issues of piracy and royalty from the CRBT, said film director Ashok Sharma. Bhuwan Chand, Yadav Kharel, Nir Shah, Basundhara Bhusal Ashok Sharma, J B Tuhure, Shambhu Rai, Udaya Subba, Pradip Udaya, Ujjawal Ghimire, Kiran KC, Jitu Nepal, Dipak Raj Giri, Dipashree Niraula, Binita Baral and others were present during the meeting with the Prime Minister. nnnn

SUSHIL KOIRALA, RAJENDRA MOHOTO MEET Kathmandu, 29 June: Sushil Koirala and NSP Rajendra Mahoto of the ruling Madeshbadi Morcha held discussions Friday one day after the NC President held talks with TMLP Chairman Mahanta Thakur also of the Morcha. Koirala sought cooperation of the two leaders for a consensus government proposed by major opposition parties. nnnn GOVT. PROPOSES TRANSPORT FARE HIKE Kathmandu, 29 June: Department of Transport Management has proposed a3.75 percent hike in public transport fare and 4 percent hike in cargo fare, a published report said. New fares are likely to be announced in a week. Nnnn DATA OF FOREIGNERS CONVERTING PEOPLE THOUGH ENTICEMENTS BEING COLLECTED Kathmandu, 29 June: Data on Christians in the country is being collected, , Nepalipatra reports. Siurces said names of organizations and individuals forcibly converting people on money power is being collected. Data of foreigners and oranizations going to poor areas in urban areas, Dalitl communities in hills and Janajatis and converting people by showing encitements is being collected. nnnn

Thursday, June 28, 2012

THREE CHINESE ASTRONAUTS RETURN Kathmandu, 29 June: Three Chinese astronauts have returned to Earth after achieving China's first manual docking in orbit, a milestone in the country's effort to build a space station by the end of the decade, AFP reports from Beijing. The return of the trio, including the country's first female astronaut, to a landing zone in a remote and sandy area of northern China was broadcast to a national audience on state television. The return capsule of the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft, which lifted off on June 16, hit the ground about 10:00am (0200 GMT) on Friday, after an approach slowed by a large parachute. Rescue workers quickly surrounded the capsule but did not immediately open it, so the trio's conditions were not immediately clear. The crew had successfully carried out China's first manual space docking with the orbiting Tiangong-1 module, a difficult move that is essential in the process of building a space station -- which Beijing aims to do by 2020. The manoeuvre -- completed by the Americans and Russians in the 1960s -- requires two vessels orbiting Earth at thousands of kilometres (miles) per hour to come together very gently to avoid destroying each other. It was the main goal of the mission, China's fourth manned trip to space. China sees its space programme as a symbol of its global stature, growing technical expertise, and the Communist Party's success in turning around the fortunes of the once poverty-stricken nation. The Shenzhou-9 team was headed by Jing Haipeng, a veteran astronaut on his third space mission. Liu Wang carried out the manual docking and the third crew member was Liu Yang, the first woman China has sent into space who has been hailed a national heroine. nnnn OPINION HAPPY TO BE ‘RIGHTIST’ Kathmandu, 29 June: Going through the highly readable and tickling Babler’s tidbits in the PEOPLE’S REVIEW, this writer came across an item that inspired this week’s column. There are heroes who suffer great hardships, risking life and limb for the cause of national interest and social welfare. We pygmies are nowhere being any hero but, as alert and attentive citizens, some of us can at least afford to stand by our conviction, whatever the wrath it might incur, Trikal Vastavik writes in People’s Review.; . It has now dawned on all Nepalis without any room for doubts that they had been taken through the garden path all along by the champions of “New Nepal” were keen in procuring power by means fair or otherwise. The incessant squabbling over who gets what posts from which group, the ceaseless foot-dragging over the constitution-making process on one pretext or another, and the running resource drain mocking at the hapless, impoverished, half-starved people were the indicators that had since long made it crystal clear that a black comedy was in the offing. The June 27 formal demise of the constituent assembly and its effects have predictably but tragically generated a revulsion in the public against all major political parties and their leaders who shamelessly go about without any earnest apology to the voting public that installed them to power four years ago to a two-year task. Instead of completing their mandated assignment within the stipulated deadline, most parties arbitrarily joined a chorus triggered by their own self-interests to extend the term of the constituent assembly four times. By the time the Supreme Court ordered the constituent assembly not to extend the term beyond June 27, the people’s “representatives” drew widespread public criticism. When a body entrusted to complete a task in two years goes on to overextend its tenure by two more years, public disenchantment is not surprising at all. A very positive outcome of all this is that all so-called senior leaders from different parties have been exposed for their duplicity, doubletalk and enormous deficit in delivering to the public what they pledged. That democracy is not just votes has been amply underscored. The whole electoral process and commitment to election manifestos, political principles, including accountability, and the letter and spirit of the constitution combine to shape the quality of governance. The past four years, not to speak of the previous two, have been destructive, uprooting many cherished institutions and prized cultural possessions. It will take a long, long while for recovery but to what shape and structure is uncertain. When society denies history and denigrates even the founder of the nation, the malaise sinks deep into the vitals of its arteries and veins. What was accepted as 240 years of construction till a few years is now sought to be interpreted as a dark period of destruction. Those who uphold such stance today are the ones who exhort the people to “live in harmony as they have been doing since centuries.” Undeniably, there were many shortcomings in the past. But the attempt at erasing it all as if nothing positive had happened is to delude oneself. The danger is that the trend might cause relentless damage without care for reversing it. For destruction is far easy than construction, as the loktantrik years have reiterated. Conviction cannot be equated with dogmatism. The idea is to leave ourselves open to correction and improvement. The institution of monarchy is no good institution for a full-fledged, functioning democracy where a citizen has all the reasons for ensuring equality of opportunity, social harmony, equitable distribution of wealth and, last but not the least, maintenance of law and order. The loktantrik years so far have rubbished all this in practice. The result is before us all who have seen and experienced it. This author has no hesitation in saying that the years from 1990 to 2005 were appreciably better than the loktantrik years. The shortcomings witnessed under the 1990 constitution are easily outstripped by the sufferings the recent years have produced for this country of nearly 30 million people. A democratically elected government headed by Nepali Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba called for the dissolution of the House of Representatives and called for elections. Deuba was, however, not able to hold elections within the deadline he himself had set. As the custodian of the constitution, King Gyanendra intervened to address the vacuum left by Deuba’s act. Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) leaders, including Deuba and Madhav Kumar Nepal, vied for nomination as prime minister and with mixed results. Three nominated cabinets and yet complete failure to cope with the armed Maoist rebellion, organized by comrades who pitched their camps in the outskirts of New Delhi for eight and a half years. Capacity to organise is missing among independent Nepalis and floating voters. The so-called civil society members are either political party activists or posing as fronts for INGOs or both. Testrength they draw from green dollars and extraneous inspiration produces people like Krishna Bhattachan and Krishna Sundar Malla. Some of them openly talk of slitting the throats who do not agree with their scheme of things. Other civil society activists pretend not to hear of the terrifying fatwas. INGOs pumping in cash to such statement originators and activity that are hoped to enable Nepalis to comprehend and appreciate the values of foreign sponsored faith that precedes and immerses in the power of foreign currency. Nepalis have begun to get acquainted with the knots and bolts of the issues at stake. There is extensive disenchantment seething under the surface of what politicians think to be public acceptance of whatever they do. Deeply humiliated and seething with anger, people are ready to express their inner feelings when the dam ultimately bursts. How and when the action gets unfolded is only a matter of time. A string of Nepali Congress activists, claiming to represent civil society, five weeks ago issued a statement against the Baburam Bhattarai government. They would have issued similar statements if a Bhattarai of their own party, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, had displeased Girija Prasad Koirala who brought such serious setbacks for decades to come to his party. The current chaos calls for the revival of the tried and tested 1990 constitution with suitable and practical changes. If this means a “rightist” stand, so be it. It will restore Nepali pride in the international sector, promote national unity and deliver democratic practices, provided political actors democratically. Otherwise the solution currently being devised will only result in divisive and destructive political climate, come autumn. nnnn

LANDSLIDE KILLS THREE IN BAGLUNG ALSO Kathmandu, 29 June: Three members of one family missing in Baglung following a landslide at a village overnight. Three houses have been destroyed. Seven members of a family were killed at two in the morning in Tanahu Friday. :nnnn GOVT. PREPARING TO AMNESTY PERSONS CHARGED WITH SERIOUS CRIMES Kathmandu, 29 June: - Despite objections from national and international rights groups, the government is once again preparing to withdraw over a dozen criminal cases, including cases of murder, Praban Kharel writes in the Kathmandu Post.. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai himself tabled the agenda in the Cabinet meeting on May 24, three days before the expiry of the Constituent Assembly tenure. However, after the proposal was rejected, Bhattarai entrusted a three-member team led by Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Top Bahadur Rayamajhi with the task of dealing with the cases, according to a Cabinet member. The PM had first asked Minister for Land Reforms and Management Chandra Dev Joshi to look into the matter, but Bhattarai handed over the job to Rayamajhi after Joshi refused to work, a Cabinet source who attended the meeting said. The Cabinet members wanted to know the background of these persons, for whom the government was trying to withdraw cases," said a Cabinet member, requesting anonymity. The PM, in the capacity of the law minister, had proposed amnesty for 16 persons accused of criminal offences. Bhattarai had presented the cases, including those of Udaya Narayan Adgarai and Balkrishna Kumar Mukhia, accused of the murder of engineer Nawaraj Bista, for amnesty. The Supreme Court in April issued a mandatory order to the government asking it to not withdraw serious cases, even if they were of political nature. The court also asked the government to amend provisions in the Working Procedure and Criteria for Withdrawing Criminal Cases 1998 to make sure that cases related to "serious crimes," including treason, war crimes, crimes against humanity and serious human rights abuses, are not withdrawn. Sources at the Office of the Attorney General said a new criterion has been prepared, but is yet to be approved by the Cabinet. The apex court's April directive followed a writ filed in July 2010 against the then Cabinet's decision on June 30, 2010 to withdraw criminal cases against 20 persons, including Ganesh Kaluwar, accused of murdering five persons, Ram Prakash Yadav, Kanaiya Prasad Yadav, Tara Prasad Yadav and Ambika Mahato, in January 2010 in Bara district. The incumbent government has tried to withdraw criminal cases many times in the past as well. In December 2011, the government prepared a list of over a dozen cases involving more than 130 individuals accused of being part of serious crimes, including murder, arson and robbery. In November last year, the Cabinet recommended UCPN (Maoist) leader Bal Krishna Dhungel, convicted for murder of one Ujjain Shrestha of Okhaldhunga during the insurgency, for presidential clemency after concluding that the case against him was politically motivated. Nnnn 8 IN RACE FOR POST OF CHIEF SECRETARY Kathmandu, 29 June: With a month-and-a-half remaining before incumbent Chief Secretary Madhav Ghimire retires, the race for the top post in the bureaucracy has begun in earnest, Anil Giri writes in The Kathmandu Post. Multiple sources told the Post that at least eight senior incumbent secretaries are in the fray for the new Chief Secretary, a position that will then be occupied for three years. Ghimire, who retires on August 5, is all set to “take leave” on the second half of July following the long-held tradition in the Nepali bureaucracy. Those vying for the top bureaucracy job are Lila Mani Poudel (Prime Minister’s Office), Balananda Poudel (Women and Children), Baman Neupane (President’s Office), Brinda Hada (Irrigation), Umakanta Jha (Industry), Shanker Koirala (Election Commission), Tana Gautam (Urban Development) and Sushil Jung Bahadur Rana (Home). nterestingly, Bhagawati Kumar Kafle, who is the seniormost bureaucrat, is not in the race. After Kafle, on the basis of seniority are Koirala, Poudel, Gautam, Lilamani, Rana, Neupane and Hada. All these secretaries had been promoted on October 10, 2007. “Lilamani, Brinda and Shanker are leading contenders in the race, with strong backing from powerful constituencies,” said a senior bureaucrat. “If the current ruling coalition continues until the second half of July, Lilamani is likely to win the race.” He has strong backing from the prime minister, Chairman of the UCPN (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal, a large section of the ruling Maoist party and other parties too. The Madhesi Morcha is likely to up the ante against Lilamani’s nomination. A key leader of the Morcha, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar had transferred Lilamani from the Home to the PMO last September due to some “policy conflict” with him and there has been no change in that position since then, sources said. Lilamani has experience of working in various ministries, including the PMO, Home Ministry and Ministry of Information and Communications. Hada, the only woman contender for the top post, is lobbying hard to be the first woman chief secretary.Sources said Hisila Yami, the prime minister’s wife, and some others are extending their support to Hada “because she comes from the Newar community and she is also a female.” Another contender is Shanker Koirala, who has experience of working in the energy and tourism ministries and the Election Commission. Koirala is known to have won the favour of Nepali Congress. “Given his long tenure at the Ministry of Finance, he will also garner the support of the donor community,” sources said. Another partner in the ruling coalition, the Madeshi Morcha, is extending support to Umakanta Jha. An engineer, Jha belongs to the Madhesi constituency and has experience of working in various ministries, including Water Resources, Physical Planning and Works, Irrigation and Industry. However, DPM Gachhadar is known to have a soft corner for Home Secretary Sushil Jung Bahadur Rana. Rana hails from Banke district, the constituency of NC President Sushil Koirala, and sources said Koirala is also ‘positive’ about Rana. A section of the NC, including Ram Chandra Poudel, is favouring Tana Gautam, who served for a long time in the Culture Ministry, the National Vigilance Centre and Urban Development Ministry. The CPN-UML is likely to support Balananda Poudel, who has experience of working in the Energy and General Administration ministries. Baman Neupane, who is working at the President’s Office, is likely to get support from a section of the NC and a leverage from the President himself, sources said. Nnnn MEN PROMISING WORK IN CYPRUS ABSCONDING Kathmandu, 29 June: Three persons, including Ramesh KC, have gone missing since Wednesday with Rs 10 million collected from 50 persons assuring them they will be sent to Cyprus for work, Sher Bahadur KC reports from Butwal. Ramesh KC collected Rs. 50,000 to Rs 400,000 from them. nnnn

SEVEN WOMEN BURIED BY LANDSLIDE IN TANAHU Kathmandu, 29 June: Seven women died overnight when a landslide buried the house of Rupa BK at Jamuni in Tanahu. Four members of BK’s family were buried alive along with three guests. Nnnn GOVT. TO ALLOW RICE EXPORTS AMID PREDICTION OF FALL IN PRODUCTION Kathmandu, 29 June : Farmers complaining about low price of rice in the market will soon have a reason to rejoice. The government is preparing to lift up the ban on exports of rice imposed since 2008 owing to low production, Bhoj Raj Pokhrel writes in Republica. . The Ministry of Agriculture Development (MoAD) has said it will allow export of up to 100,000 tons of rice from the next fiscal year which begins from mid-July. The Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) has said it will open up two customs points -- Tatopani and Rasuwa -- for rice exports. But it has yet to fix the exact quantity that would be allowed to be shipped out of the country. "Although the MoAD has okayed exports of 100,000 tons of rice, we are planning to limit it to 50,000 tons for now," Lal Mani Joshi, secretary at the MoCS, said. "The decision has to be approved by the Prime Minister´s Office." At present, the government has decided to open only two border points, Tatopani and Rasuwa, for exports as these areas were hubs for illegal exports of rice. "We hope this step will control smuggling of rice," the official said, adding, “Opening up of customs points for legal exports will also ensure that farmers will get higher returns for their products.” According to MoAD statistics, the country enjoyed food surplus of 443,000 tons in the fiscal year 2010/11. It has forecast a food surplus of about 800,000 tons for this fiscal year, of which 300,000 tons will comprise rice, the statistics show. The preliminary estimation of crops production of MoAD shows that paddy production reached 9.45 million tons this fiscal year, up 9.8 percent compared to the last fiscal and 21.8 percent compared to the fiscal year 2009/10. Despite surplus paddy production, the government is reluctant to open up exports of rice from other customs points citing unethical behavior of traders. "There is a risk in opening rice exports from other customs points," an official at the MoAD said. "Bangladesh has a huge demand of rice of almost 1 million tons that might lead us to another trouble." The official´s statement stems from the fear that Nepali traders re-export rice imported from India to Bangladesh. nnnn ________________________________________ GULF STILL ATTRACTS MIGRANT WORKERS Kathmandu, 29 June:: Despite regional political turmoil and continuing global economic slowdown, demand for foreign workers remains high in the Gulf region, according to a study, Republica reports. The study commissioned by Western Union (WU) -- the world´s leading money remitter -- says the region is still seeing moderate growth rate despite political uprisings and civil unrest. “We expect opportunities for global workers to remain strong with the remittance flows from host to home countries,” said Jean-Claude Farah, Western Union´s Senior Vice-president for the Middle East and Africa. “The Asia Pacific region has been a significant source of labour for Gulf countries led by India, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand and Nepal. This study should instill greater confidence among global workers seeking employment in these countries”, said Drina Yue, managing director and senior vice president of Western Union, Asia Pacific. The study "The Economic Impact of the Uprisings in the MENA Region" also states that economic forecasts for Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are much better than those for the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region as a whole. The GCC block includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The study´s lead author Dr Ahmed Farouk Ghoneim, who is also the professor of Economics at Cairo University said that the real GDP growth in GCC was expected to remain strong despite short-term disturbances. Ghoneim also noted that the region´s countries have limited exposure to international financial crisis. “In relative terms, the financial crisis and oil and food price increases have had only mild effects on MENA economies, owing to their limited integration into the world economy”, added Ghoneim. nnnn ________________________________________ NO PROGRESS AT COMMITTEE TO REVIVE SICK INDUSTRIES Kahmandu, 29 June: The recently formed high-level committee for revival of sick industries has not yet determined its own working procedure to start its work to deal with the issues of sick industries, The Himalayan Times writes.. The government has repeatedly formed task forces and committees to identify and revive sick industries but till date none of the committees have accomplished its task. According to officials of the Ministry of Industry (MoI), a 15-member high-level committee has been formed to identify sick industries and recommend their names to the government. “The committee has organised only one meeting so far which discussed on developing its working procedure,” said the official. A primary meeting of the high-level committee was held on June 22. “There will be another meeting to develop the working procedure but we are not sure when that will take place,” the official said. The cabinet had directed MoI to form a high-level committee comprising of representatives from the government and the private sector to further identify and recommend the names of sick industries to the government for their revival. Earlier too, there was another high-level task force for the rehabilitation of sick industries with representatives from MoI, Finance Ministry, Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), Confederation of Nepalese Industries, Ministry of Energy, and National Planning Commission. However, the sick industries are still waiting for the committee to start its work. Sick Industry Rehabilitation Forum at FNCCI states there are around 400 sick companies. “Government should work more effectively and the meetings that committee organises should be more productive,” said an official at FNCCI. According to the source, the sick industries are categorised as complete sick industries, possible sick industries, and vulnerable sick industries. Complete sick industries are those Othat cannot be revived and they can completely shut down their businesses after paying the principal amount. Similarly, possible sick industries are those which have the possibility of revival, and for those industries, the central bank will provide a facility of a soft loan for three to five years depending on the nature of the industry. Meanwhile for vulnerable sick industries, NRB will allow a short-term facility of one year which is a waiver of the interest on the loan taken. Meanwhile, president of Nepal Carpet Exporters’ Association Kabindra Nath Thakur said that there are a number of fraud industrialists who are waiting to take advantage of the government programme to revive sick industries. Nnnn TRC THROUGH ORDINANCE Kathmandu, 29 June: The 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that brought then warring Maoists to peace process categorically called for establishment of Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission on Inquiry of the Disappeared to deal with transitional justice, Ananta Raj Luitel writes in The Himalayan Times. But in the following years, even after the elections of the Constituent Assembly that doubled as Parliament, the parties that had come together to sign the peace deal continued warring over several issues, resulting in failure to form the two major commissions. Eventually, after years of wrangling, the signatory parties to the peace deal could neither establish the commissions nor promulgate the constitution, and the CA-cum-Parliament died at the stroke of midnight of May 27, dealing a blow to the victims of decade-long conflict. And now in the absence of an elected body, the government, which has been reduced to the caretaker status, is doing the groundwork to establish TRC and CoID through ordinances. “Discussions are under way to bring some ordinances to deal with cases of human rights violations during the decade-long conflict,” a highly placed bureaucratic source at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers told THT on condition of anonymity. According to him, the government would take steps to invoke Article 88 of the Interim Constitution for more ordinances, but only after it succeeded in bringing the budget through ordinance. “In fact, we are discussing whether to bring a single ordinance or two separate ones for TRC and CoID,” he added. Few months before CA’s demise, major parties had almost reached a deal on establishing an integrated commission for transitional justice. But will such ordinances for TRC and CoID by the government be acceptable to all? Rights defenders are throwing a wary glance at such potential move by the government. Charan Prasai, Chairman of Joint Forum of Human Rights said civil society and human rights community will not accept transitional justice mechanisms enforced through ordinances. “We can wait for justice, but cannot tolerate injustice,” said Prasai. “Bringing ordinances (for TRC and CoID) will squarely mean that the government wants to grant blanket amnesty to human rights violators.” The Maoist party was labelled as the main obstacle to the two much-awaited commissions in the past and now a government led by it pushing for TRC and CoID through ordinance reflects its intention to impose general amnesty, say rights activists. Human rights advocate Govinda Bandi said TRC through ordinance will be tantamount to institutionalising impunity and that national and international rights bodies were sure to object to such legislation through ordinance. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s political adviser Devendra Paudel confirmed that the government was doing the groundwork to promulgate some ordinances. “At present the government is working on ordinance for the budget. After that some more ordinances are likely,” said Paudel. The government is also working to bring ordinances in order to amend the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority Act, Election Commission Act, Voters’ List Act and the National Human Rights Commission Act. A source of the Office of the President, however, said the President might not approve any more ordinances. A report launched today by International Commission of Jurists also has cast doubt on formation of such mechanisms, saying Nepal has the long legacy of ad hoc and failed commissions. “There is reason to suspect that any proposed transitional justice institution will be equally vulnerable to the weakness and political influences that have plagued the numerous inquiry commissions dotting Nepal’s social and legal-political landscape,” said the report titled Denying Remedies Entrenching, Impunity. nnnn