Nepal Today

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

SHREYA DHITAL TO PARTICIPATE IN OLYMPIC HEATS Kathmandu, 1 Aug.: Shreya Dhital is participating on the heats of the women’s 100m freestyle in the London Olympics 2012 Wednesday. Five Nepalis are participating in the competition held once every four years. Without hope for collecting a medal, Nepalis are attempting to better their personal records at the competition that give the athletes international exposure. nnnn MEDIA GOOGLE “The Maoists approached not only India but also wrote letters to other members of the international community saying that they were not a terrorist organization. If writing to India is a slur on nationalism, it is a slur to write to others.” (So-called Nepal expert but Indian Government operative Prof. SD Mini commenting on his own controversial chapter in a recently published book o Nepal, The Kathmandu Post, 1 Aug.) “The next elections would be conducted by a national unity government and the polls are possible only in mid-April next year,” (Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachedhar, The Kathmandu Post, 1 Aug.) Nnnn HIGH-LEVEL NEPAL-CHINA MEET 11 AUG. Kathmandu, 1 Aug: Senior foreign ministry officials from Nepal and China will soon meet in Kathmandu to discuss bilateral relations, the status of China-funded projects in Nepal, mutual security and other related issues, The Kathmandu Post writes.. The ninth meeting of the Nepal-China Consultative Mechanism is slated for August 11 and is taking place after more than three years. Foreign Secretary Durga Prasad Bhattarai is leading the Nepali delegation while Fu Ying, Vice Foreign Minister for China will lead the Chinese side. “We will discuss the entire gamut of bilateral relations but have yet to finalise our agenda,” said Arjun Bahadur Thapa, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Outstanding issues including boundary talks, status of China-funded projects like the West Seti will be discussed and reviewed. Bilateral issues like trade, commerce, investment, border management, infrastructure development, tourism, connectivity and security are other issues to be discussed during the meeting. The Nepal-China Consultative Mechanism was established in April 1966 to be headed by the Nepali Foreign Secretary and the Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and is the highest level mechanism between the two countries. During Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Nepal on January 14, the two sides had agreed to make full use of existing mechanisms, including diplomatic consultations and the Nepal-China Joint Economic and Trade Committee Meeting. nnnn MAYOR STHAPIT SIPHONS OFF RS. 38.5 MILLION Kathmandu, 1 Aug.: Former mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) Keshav Sthapit defied directives of the then All Party Mechanism (APM) to pay Rs 38.5 million that he “embezzled” while collecting octroi tax (chungi kar) during his tenure, according to KMC officials, The Kathmandu Post reports. Based on the Special Court (SC) verdict on June 29, 2009, the APM had issued a directive in the name of Sthapit to pay the amount some six months ago. A SC full bench led by Chairman Gauri Bahadur Karki had convicted him of embezzling of Rs 38.5 million while granting contracts to collect taxes. The court had also ordered the KMC to recover the loss from Sthapit. The verdict was made in response to a corruption case filed by the CIAA in 2006, seeking recovery of the loss from the defendant. “The decision of the CIAA has been upheld,” reads the SC verdict. “As Sthapit was responsible to cause losses to the Kathmandu Metropolitan City, the amount should be recovered from him.” Going against the law, Sthapit had abused his authority to appoint Sagar Prasad Wagle as the in-charge of Thankot-Balambu Depot to raise taxes to serve his personal interests. “He has not paid the money back till the date,” said a senior official at KMC seeking anonymity. “This is just an example. There are many cases of irregularities committed during his tenure.” According to the official, Sthapit has arbitrarily distributed a huge amount of the KMC budget to a few NGOs in the name of organising a sanitation campaign. Sthapit has been allegedly ignoring to comply with the directives, saying that the KMC cannot make such decisions on the case that is still under consideration at the Supreme Court. Challenging the SC decision, he had moved to the apex court demanding nullification of the previous verdict. But the court has heard no petitions in three years as his lawyers have been demanding postponement of hearing for several times, said Hemant Rawal, apex court assistant spokesperson. nnnn

SLC SUPPLEMENTARY EXAMINATIONS BEGIN Kathmandu, 1 Aug. This year’s SLC supplementary examinations began Wednesday morning. Students who failed in the just concluded SLC examinations one month earlier are eligible to sit for the test nation-wide. Students are appearing for English on the first day of the examination. Nnnn ARMY VETERANS’ HOME INAUGURATED Kathmandu, 1 Aug.: Army Chief Gen. Chhatra Man Singh Gurung Tuesday inaugurated a “Veteran Homes” complex at Inchagunarayan VDC in the capital. The complex with basic facilities for retirees and helpless veterans of all ranks is built on 11 ropanis land The complex has three buildings to care immediately for 28 veterans and can untimately extend care to 84 veterans. Nepal ArmyW elfare Fund financed the investment. Nnnn

BRUISED BODIES OF SCHOOL PRINCIPAL AND ACCOUNTANT FOUND IN BHAKTAPUR Kathmandu, 1 Aug.: Bodies of a principal of a school in Kamal Binayak in Bhaktapur and a woman accountant were found Monday night near a bamboo grove at Ithuli, Tathali in Bhaktapur. Police suspect they were murdered. Sujan Paudel, principal of Neologian Boarding School, and accountant Bidhya Laxmi Shakhkarmi. Paudel (25) were discovered dead. Both bodies were bruised. Nnnn EC WITHDRAWS ELECTION CODE OF CONDUCT Kathmandu, 1 Aug. The Election Commission (EC) Tuesday withdrew an election code of conduct especially for government to follow after formally announcing a constituent assembly(CA) can’t be conducted 22 November. Government has been informed of the EC decision EC Acting Secretary Sharada Prasad Trital said one day after announcing the national vote won’t be held on the 22 November the code was no in effect. The code restricts government appointments, promotions and transfers especially to influence vote outcome and tampering. Nnnn

MAOIST GENERAL CONVENTION ORGANIZING COMMITTEE TO MEET Kathmandu, 1 Aug. A meeting of the UCPN Maoist general convention organizing committee (GCOC) is being held Wednesday to discuss not only preparations for the first party general convention but also a current political deadlock and other issues. The GCOV replaced other top policy making bodies, including the Central committee and politburo, to lay a groundwork for themed-February2013 convention. The body has to be expanded with appointments to the 175-member organizing committee which now has only 104 members responsibilities have also to be assigned A stormy plenary session of UCPN Maoist decided hold a general convention. Party leaders, including Chairman Prachanda, were criticized for their lavish lifestyles and alleged amassing of wealth in a party of the proletariat. and commissions formed to probe the assents of leaders have yet to come up with their reports. Meanwhile, the GCOC meets amid continued differences in the ruling party even after a big group led by former Vice-chairman Mohan Baidhaya quit and launched CPN Maoist. A group le by another vice-chairman and Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kazi Shrestha charged Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai for signing a bilateral trade and investment accord wit India without consultations in government and party implicitly charging the government chief of his close links with New Delhi. The charge comes at a time when it has come to light Chairman Prachanda and PM Bhattarai wrote to the Office of the Prime Minister in New Delhi the self-exiled leaders wouldn’t conduct ‘anti-India ‘policies even as the party was launching a trench war against the southern neighbour. nnnn MONKEY POPULATION UPIN PSHUPATINATH AREA Kathmandu, 1 Aug.:: Are you visiting Pashupati Area with human foods for monkeys? Beware, for the food that you feed them has prompted artificial physical growth and higher fertility rate among monkeys, leading to increased menace among visitors and locals, Rudra Pangeni reports in The Himalayan Times.. Their reproductive age has come down to two or three years on average from the natural four to five years leading to higher fertility rate. Monkey specialist Mukesh Chalise attributes this to artificial food the monkeys are fed. His research paper published in a journal ‘Perspective of Education’ of Tribhuvan University in 2008 states that they reproduce twice a year in twins, triplets, even in quadruplets, which is rare in the world. Therefore, cases of monkey menace are on the rise in Pashupati and Swoyambhu areas and other nearby settlements in the capital city. A housewife close to Gaurighat told this daily, her family has been haunted by monkeys who invade in hordes unlike in the past 12 years this season. “They coming mostly with babies, one or two of them, who tear the clothes drying on the roof top, damage flower pots and snap telephone and internet cables,” she said, choosing not to be named. She recently bought a catapult to ward off the monkeys. They also take shelter in houses during rainy season. Chalise said that the human foods they are given has increased their fertility rate. Several cases of birthing twice a year have also been noticed, which happens once every two to three years in the jungle. Food-shortage in the shrinking forest has pushed them towards settlements causing a menace to the locals. “Fruits, barks, buds and saps are the natural foods of red-monkey species, however all these things are not available in the Pashupati jungle,” added Chalise. He added that some even steal eggs from the nests of birds nest in the jungle. A sweetmeat seller in Pashupati, said he often gives sweetmeats and other foods from his kitchen to the monkeys but says he has no idea what comprises the appropriate food for monkeys. Chalise said, “They are closer to human beings as visitors feed them, locals provide food for them regularly and they have the tendency to imitate human beings. They are often mischievous when they are chased, scared and retaliate.” Gita Ghimire, another woman in the locality of Gaurighat, has a routine of leaving food to the monkeys on the roof of her house every morning. Single monkeys that stray from the holy site also hassle locals in Chabahil, Siphal, Gaushala, the Airport, Koteswor, Patan and other inner parts. Chalise said the males who are defeated in the fight for sexual intercourse with female monkeys stray for weeks in the inner cities where they steal food. “Increment of their habitat or control of the monkey population and their transfer to forests where the monkey population has been depleted and using them for medical and scientific research are some measures of preventing their menace,” Chalise said. He also suggests that locals should not feed them, which will cause their population to naturally deplete. nnnn FURTHER DETAILS OF NC DISTRICT PRESIDENT CONCLAVE Kathmandu, 1 Aug.: Nepali Congress district presidents' second national conclave concluded in Barhabise today, with district presidents unanimously calling the party leadership to announce the wou-ld-be prime ministerial candidate to lead the upcoming consensus government, Yubaraj Puri writes in The Himalayan Times from Barhabise.. The conclave, issuing the Barhabise declaration, has demanded the party to put an end the prevailing practice of not declaring the prime ministerial candidate in time. Through the 14-point declaration paper, the district presidents have voiced that the Constituent Assembly reinstatement should not be priority issue of the party, reckoning a parliamentary election to draft the constitution afterwards as a best option. The document, however, has also made a provision in it to accommodate some of the district presidents of the Deuba camp standing for CA reinstatement despite the call of the majority for election. Further, the gathering urged the party leadership to make preparation to launch a fresh agitation from mid-August to dethrone the present government and form a national government in its place. Also, the participants of the gathering have demanded that the government immediately scrap its decision to award different state amenities to the former VIPs. On the issues of federalism, Madhes and Jaanajati, the presidents have urged the party leadership to make its official stance clear on those issues. According to NC central member Gagan Thapa, there were mostly discussions on the issue of factionalism in the party. "The gathering has given us more power to take a decision regarding the election but anything regarding the matter will be taken by the party high committee (Mahasamiti) meeting," he said. Following the speeches of the district presidents, Sindhupalchowk district president Mohan Bahadur Basnet read out the declaration paper before handing it to the Party President Sushil Koirala. Speaking at the conclusion of the gathering, NC chief Koirala had clarified that he did not wish to promote factionalism in the party. Expressing his sadness over the allegation of the presidents, Koriala said he was ready to rectify any weakness if there are any. Further, pointing to the possible danger of losing the achievements so far gained owing to the tussle triggered by the ethnic issues, he expressed his worry that the weakened NC has a negative bearing on the democracy in the nation. Meanwhile, while there were calls by most of the district presidents against the CA reinstatement, senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba, however, had refused to budge from his stance. Today, while the gathering was underway, NC senior leader Deuba had set out from Barhabise at about 3 pm citing an urgent business after Indian Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha called him from the Capital. As per a source, Deuba has a programme to have a dinner with Sinha on Tuesday evening. Talking to the mediaperson, he reiterated that CA should be reinstated at any cost. nnnn

SUSHIL KOIRALA, YASHWANTA SINHA TALKS Kathmandu, 1 Aug. NC President Sushil Koirala holds discussions Wednesday morning with visiting Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha who has been holding extensive talks with leaders for the last three days at a time of deep constitutional and political deadlock. Koirala,. Sinha talks are being held one day after main opposition party presidents called for parliamentary polls, instead of constituent assembly elections (CA), announced by government. Election Commission said the22 November election can’t be conducted because of inadequate preparations. Main opposition held presidents also called for a change in government leadership amid demands NC should lead a government of national consensus by replacing Maoists. But New Delhi is firmly backing the Maoist/ Madeshi coalition government of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to extract maximum concessions, including management contract of TAI to strengthen its security presence in Nepal. Maoists have said calls for ouster of the Bhattarai government sare o;utdated with dissolition of CA/parliament by invoking a five-partyagreementbetween the opposition and the present ruling coalition. Sinha, a former finance and foreign minister in New Dekhi, overnight held seprate discussions with NC leader Sher Bahadur Deuba. nnnn NTA ASKS TELECOM OPERATORS TO SHUT DOWN INTERCONNECTION WITH UTL Kathmandu, 1 Aug.:: Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has asked all the telecom operators to shut down their interconnections with the United Telecom Limited (UTL) with immediate effect because UTL has been refusing to clear its outstanding dues to the government, Republica reports. The NTA issued the instruction to all the telecos through a formal letter on Tuesday. The UTL has around Rs 1 billion to settle to the NTA says the telecom sector regulator. As interconnection allow subscribers to call from one operator to another, shutting it down will prevent UTL customers from making or receiving calls to and from other operators. The NTA on Monday had also sent the letter to UTL reinstructing it to shut down its basic services which includes wireless fixed line, lease line, STD and ILD gateway. The authority had issued similar instruction earlier this year which however, was not implemented due to its the lack of coordination with Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC). “If it continues to defy instructions, NTA has the authority to scrap UTL´s operating licenses of all services,” an NTA official said. Under the licensing condition the operator is required to pay 4 percent of its total revenue or its committed royalty or which ever is higher. According to the official, UTL has so far paid only four percent of its revenue and the amount was not sufficient to clear the royalty as per the requirement. “After deducting royalty received in the form of four percent of its revenue, the company still has to pay more than Rs 900 million to the government to clear its royalty liability,” the official added. UTL was established in 2002 and the royalty worth Rs 190 million was written off in 2006. The operator has meanwhile claimed compensation charging the government of not following its commitment to the operator while awarding the license. NTA Chairman Kanel resigns Chairman of Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) Bhesh Raj Kanel has resigned from his post citing increasing government interference in the autonomy of the telecommunications regulator. Kanel, who still had one and half year of his five year tenure left, submitted his resignation to the government through Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) and will be effective from Wednesday. Kanel, in his resignation letter has stated that he was compelled to resign after the ministry didn´t respond to NTA´s repeated calls in reformation and amendment of Telecommunications Act 1997. His main objection was on the government´s fifth amendment of Nepal Telecommunications Regulation 1998. After the amendment, NTA can only implement its annual budget and program after concurrence with MoIC. Likewise, the amendment also asks the authority to seek permission from the ministry for perks and benefits of NTA members. “There was no point to continue working when the ministry is not listening to the authority´s suggestion,” he said. Nnnn ________________________________________ INSURANCE BOARD SUSPENDS OPERATION OF NB INSURANCE Kathmandu, 1 Aug.: The Insurance Board has suspended the operations of NB Insurance Company after finding that it embezzled millions in premium amounts collected from the public, and because of suspicion arising over misuse of amounts that needed to be transferred to the accounts of reinsurance companies, Rupak D Sharma writes in Republica. . With the temporary ban, the non-life insurer company cannot conduct any commercial activities related to insurance, including sale of new policies and renewal of old ones. It can, however, settle claims, but only after acquiring permission from the Board, the insurance sector regulator. “We were forced to take the harsh measure after the company failed to rectify its mistakes despite repeated calls,” Binod Aryal, executive director of the Board, told Republica. “We won´t allow it to resume normal operations unless we are convinced it can protect the public´s funds and is willing to do business in an ethical manner.” A call made to NB Insurance Director Laxmi Bahadur Shrestha went unanswered. He also did not reply to a text message sent by Republica. NB Insurance, which generates revenue by selling motor, fire and marine insurance policies, among others, was found guilty of four counts of willful misdeed. In one instance, the company was found misappropriating a staggering Rs 59 million -- more than half the company´s capital of Rs 100 million -- on the pretext of paying rental installments for a building which it claimed it had hired for 15 years. Republica first reported on this controversial matter in April. At the time, the case had raised eyebrows among insurance sector regulators as insurance companies are not allowed to incur expenses of over Rs 2 million without prior approval from the Insurance Board. “Besides, payment of such a huge amount in advance for property whose monthly rent was said to be around Rs 230,000 did not make sense,” an official at the Board said on condition of anonymity. The Board then issued a first warning to the company, instructing it to immediately return the money. As per the directive, the company said a sum of Rs 58.4 million was retrieved but was then deposited in a finance company. This again created a controversy as insurance companies cannot park in one finance company more than three percent of the gross amount allocated for investment. In case the finance company in question has not completed five years of operations, only one percent of the investment amount can be deposited with it. Insurance companies can, however, park money in different finance companies but the amount should not exceed 15 percent of the gross amount allocated for investment. “We asked the company countless times to transfer the amount to commercial banks, but it never complied,” Aryal said. Even as these unethical practices were coming to the fore, the Insurance Board unearthed another case of embezzlement at NB Insurance. This was related to misuse of the ´earmarked fund´ -- which comprises the amounts parked in reserve funds, insurance funds, unexpired risk reserves and outstanding claim reserves. As at the end of fiscal year 2010/11, NB Insurance had around Rs 140 million in ´earmarked funds´. Although the law bars insurance companies from using even a penny from this fund, the regulator detected the flight of around Rs 70 million from the reserves. “We again instructed the company to return the money but as with other instructions this was also disregarded,” Aryal said. Making matters worse, NB Insurance also failed to reimburse Rs 7.5 million issued as credit to board members. The Insurance Board now suspects the company may have even misappropriated around US$108,000 that it was supposed to forward to reinsurance companies. The latter provide cover for risks borne by local insurance companies. If this turns out to be true, people who have bought policies from the company may not be able to get any compensation, as all domestic insurance companies only collect money from clients here but insure goods and assets for customers with reinsurance companies based abroad. nnnn ________________________________________

NEPAL, BANGLADESH TO HOLD ANNUAL CONSULTATIONS Kathmandu, 31 July: Sputh Asian members of regional grouping SAARC have agreed to hold annual foreign secretary-level meeting alternatively in the capitals of the two countries. Nepal and Bangladesh signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Dhaka initialed by Nepali Foreign Secretary Durga Prasad Bhattarai and his Bangladesh counterpart Mijurul Quayes. Foreign Secretary flew toDhaka Monday for bilateral talks. Nnnn

NC CALLS FOR PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS Kathmandu, 31 July: Main opposition NC district president meet concluded Tuesday in Bharabishe calling for parliamentary elections . Seventy-five district presidents also said the party should lead a government now headed by Maoists. The two-day meet adopted a Bharabishe Declaration. RSS adds: Nepali Congress (NC) senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba has said that matters concerning consolidation of party organization, removal of political deadlock and holding general council (Mahasamiti) meeting are being discussed in the gathering of NC district presidents.. He further said the district presidents had aired their views demanding that the party give outlet to the current political standoff. 'The gathering has demanded to expand the base of the party, declare Mahasamiti meeting and form national consensus government', leader Deuba said while speaking to journalists this afternoon. The assembly of NC district presidents, which was stated for removing political crisis, kicked off at Barhabise of Sindhupalchowk from last Monday. The gathering is attended by all district presidents and office-bearers and members of central working committee. He further said that holding of Constituent Assembly (CA) elections is not possible without amendment to the Interim Constitution. 'Without amendment election is impossible. Therefore, revival of CA for a short while is an alternative for the purpose', he added. Nnnn -

NTA CHAIRMAN BHESH RAJ KANDEL RESIGNS Kathmandu, 31 July: Alleging interference from Comminication Ministry, Chairman of Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), Bhesh Raj Kandel, resigned from the post Tuesday. Kandel was appointed 20 November 2—8 for a five-yeartenure. nnnn

ADB ASSIST FOR WATER PROJECTS Kathmandu, 31 July: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is to provide grant assistance of Rs. 990 million (equivalent to 11 million US dollar) to the Government of Nepal for an effective and rapid implementation of water projects, RSS reports. The funds will be used to prepare potential projects aimed at upgrading irrigation schemes, improving irrigation efficiency and preventing water-related disasters, said Jiangfeng Zhang, Principal Natural Resources and Agriculture Specialist at ADB. The funds will also be used by the departments of Irrigation and Water-Induced Disaster Prevention for job training and social and environment capacity enhancement. nnnn

AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY ARRIVING Kathmandu, 31 July: Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Foreign Affairs Richard Marles is arriving here on Monday on a two-day visit, RSS reports. The visit by the Australian diplomat is expected to focus on a review of the Australian assistance to the development endeavors of Nepal and on inquiring information about the latest political developments. During his stay in Nepal, Marles will call on Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai and hold a separate meeting with senior government officials, said Spokesperson of Foreign Ministry Arjun Bahadur Thapa. Besides, he is scheduled to take part in a meeting of development partners of Nepal and donor agencies. The Australian Government is helping Nepal in the sectors of health and education, for good governance, peace process and rural development under the Technical Assistance Programme since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1960. The Australian Government is also providing economic and technical assistance to Nepal for the School Sector Improvement Programme, entrepreneurship development and electoral system improvement and organisational strengthening. According to the Ministry, the annual assistance by the Australian government to Nepal stands between Rs 300 to 400 million. nnnn

RULE BY ORDINANCE IS AUTHORITARIAN SAYS UML CHAIRMAN KHANAL Kathmandu, 31 July: Chairman of the CPN-UML, Jhalanath Khanal, has said it was authoritarian practice to rule the country with ordinances, RSS reports. Addressing the third meeting of the council of the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT) affiliated to his party in the capital Tuesday, Chairman Khanal said storm of people's movement was essential against government's move to rule country with ordinances. The bill brought on election without political consensus would not be implemented, he said, claiming that election if announced many times but without consensus would not be successful at all. "We realized the need of unity, but the Maoists realized the need of destruction. It is the reason behind eluding consensus," he argued. He accused the foreign forces of inciting former constituent assembly members of ethnic and Madhesi communities to form a caucus thereby foiling the consensus on constitution. On the occasion, senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal said the Prime Minister has lost the moral ground to continue power as the Election Commission has already ruled out the possibility of election. If the country adopts ethnicity-based federalism, it would turn into Rwanda, he warned, and suggested that the contentious issues of federalism could be solved through referendum. Similarly, Vice-Chairman Bam Dev Gautam said the imperialist forces were inciting the ethnic conflict in Nepal. It was the need of day to frustrate ultra-leftist vision of the UCPN-Maoist and secessionist thoughts of the Madhes-based parties, he underscored. Moreover, party general secretary Ishwor Pokhrel said there was no option but to go for fresh mandate to free country from crisis. nnnn RPP-NEPAL CHAIRMAN KAMAL THAPA SAYS FOREIGN FORCES PLAYING IN NEPAL UNDER NOSE O F PM BHATTARAI Kathmandu, 31 July: Chairman of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party, Kamal Thapa, has said the foreign forces were maneuvering in Nepal by taking advantage of Baburam Bhattarai's government. In order fulfill its vested interests, the foreign forces incited Bhattarai government to dissolve the constituent assembly, he blamed, RSS reports. Addressing the district level cadres' gathering of the party organized here on Tuesday, Chairman Thapa said the competition to become prime minister must be stopped so as to create an atmosphere conducive to holding the next general elections. He demanded formation of a government led by former chief justice to hold free and fair elections. nnnn

SECRETARY SHYAM PRASAD MAINALI ALSO RESIGNS Kathmandu, 31 July: Secretary at the Public Service Commission Shyam Prasad Mainali has resigned from the post to be effective from tomorrow, expressing dissatisfaction over an appointment of the new Chief Secretary, RSS reports. Speaking at a press meet at the Commission on Tuesday, Secretary Mainali termed the appointment of new Chief Secretary an 'impractical' 'imprudent' and 'illegal' one. He claimed that the government's latest move regarding the appointment of the new Chief Secretary would negatively affect its activities in the days ahead. It may be noted that the government on Sunday had promoted Secretary Leelamani Poudel to the post of Chief Secretary as the incumbent Chief Secretary Madhav Prasad Ghimire is retiring from July 6 due to age-limit. nnnn

SUPREME COURT ORDERS GOVT. TO HOLD ANNOUNCED FACILITIES FOR PARTY LEADERS UNTIL FINAL VERDICT Kathmandu, 31 July: A single bench of supreme court on Tuesday issued a stay order directing government not to implement articles in an ordinance to provide life-long perks and facilities to party leaders who held top government jobs until a final court verdict. Retired chief justices are also beneficiaries of the government largesse. “Civil society’ withdrew campaign against perks following the verdict. nnnn

UPDATE KHUM BAHADUR KHADKA VERDICT BY SUPREME COURT 14 AUGUST. Kathmandu, 31 July: A division bench of the supreme court Tuesday said it will give its verdict of grant charges of CIAA against former home minister and NC leader Khum Bahadur Khadka 14 August. Hearing concluded Tuesday. CIAA charged Khadka for.having assets disproportionate to his income—estimated at Rs.23.6 million. nnnn.. HALF OF INDIA WITHOUT POWER FOR SECOND DAY Kathmandu, 31 July:: Half of India's 1.2 billion people were without power on Tuesday as the grids covering a dozen states broke down, the second major blackout in as many days and an embarrassment for the government as it struggles to revive economic Growth, Reuters reports from New Delhi.. Stretching from Assam, near China, to the Himalayas and the deserts of Rajasthan, the power cut was the worst to hit India in more than a decade. Trains were stranded in Kolkata and Delhi and thousands of people poured out of the sweltering capital's modern metro system when it ground to a halt at lunchtime. Office buildings switched to diesel generators and traffic jammed the roads. "We'll have to wait for an hour or hour and a half, but till then we're trying to restore metro, railway and other essential services," Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters. More than a dozen states with a total population of 670 million people were without power, with the lights out even at major hospitals in Kolkata. Shinde blamed the system collapse on some states drawing more than their share of electricity from the overstretched grid. Asia's third-largest economy suffers a peak-hour power deficit of about 10 percent, dragging on economic growth. "This is the second day that something like this has happened. I've given instructions that whoever overdraws power will be punished." The country's southern and western grids were supplying power to help restore services, officials said. The problem has been made worse by weak a monsoon in agricultural states such as wheat-belt Punjab and Uttar Pradesh in the Ganges plains, which has a larger population than Brazil. With less rain to irrigate crops, more farmers resort to electric pumps to draw water from wells. Power shortages and a creaky road and rail network have weighed heavily on the country's efforts to industrialize. Grappling with the slowest economic growth in nine years, Delhi recently scaled back a target to pump $1 trillion into infrastructure over the next five years. Major industries have dedicated power plants or large diesel generators and are shielded from outages -- but the inconsistent supply hits investment and disrupts small businesses. High consumption of heavily subsidized diesel by farmers and businesses has fuelled a gaping fiscal deficit that the government has vowed to tackle to restore confidence in the economy. But the poor monsoon means a subsidy cut is politically difficult. On Tuesday, the central bank cut its economic growth outlook for the fiscal year that ends in March to 6.5 percent, from the 7.3 percent assumption made in April, putting its outlook closer to that of many private economists. Nnnn

NEPAL TELECOM TO PAY RS.19.61 BILLION IN TAXES TO GOVT. THIS FISCAL YEAR Kathmandu, 31 July: : The Nepal Telecom has set a target to pay total tax of Rs 19.61 billion to the government in the current fiscal year, RSS reports. The Company is set to pay the revenue amount on different headings that includes bonus, VAT, ownership tarrif, telecommunication service tax, income tax and royalties, informed at a press conference organised here on Tuesday. The telecommunication company had handed over total revenue amount of Rs 18.79 billion in the fiscal year 2068-69 BS. Likewise, the Company is expanding competitive capacity of its services by introducing new technologies such as Bi-Max, IP, CDMA, GSM and 3-G so as to expand its services in rural and urban areas this year. It was informed that the Company has allocated a budget of Rs 62.36 billion for the current fiscal out of which Rs 15.11 billion is for installing telephone lines. NTC Managing Director Amarnath Singh said the Company is bringing in new technologies to ensure quality of telecom services it has been providing to customers. NTC Spokesperson Surendra Prasad BK said an agreement was already signed to procure 4.8 million lines under the plan of expanding GSM services. nnnn

STOCK PRICES STABLE Kathmandu, 31 July: Stock prices were stable Tuesday on the third day of five-day weekly trading. Nepse gained 0.4 points or 0.09 percent and closed at 400.99 points. Altogether 139,405 shares were traded for Rs.45.365 million in 1356 transactions. nnnn

ANOTHERVICTORY FOR GOVINDA PRASAD MAINALI IN JAPANESE COURT Kathmandu, 31 July: Tokyo High Court Tuesday rejected a prosecutor’s objection to grant a retrial for Govinda Prasad Mainali. A charge against Mainali was rejected after serving part of a 15-year sentence for murder and rape of a Japanese woman in Tokyo. Mainali was convicted by a court 1997 but was found innocent after DNA tests. The Nepali from Ilam entered Japan illegally and returned home with his wife and two daughters 7 June. Nnnn SAPTARI FARMERS DEMAND DISTRICT BE DECLARED DROUGHT-HIT Kathmandu, 31 July: Farmers in Saptari district have demanded that their district be declared a drought-affected area. A gathering of farmers at the BP Secondary School, Bhardaha took a decision to this effect. Hundreds of farmers from a dozen Village Development Committees (VDCs) attended the farmers' assembly, RSS reports. The gathering concluded that drought-like condition persisted in Saptari district as there was no adequate rain this year and demanded that the district be declared a drought-affected area. Farmers also demanded that the government provide a compensation of Rs 50,000 per bigaha of land. Similarly, the gathering called for the supply of fertilizers an accessible manner, for providing diesel, petrol and other agricultural implements at subsidized rate, making provisions for issuing farmers' cards and appointment of agriculture extension workers in villages. nnnn

Monday, July 30, 2012

NINE STUDENT UNIONS AFFILIATED WITH OPPOSITION PADLOCK OFFICES OF SENIOR OFFICIALS OF HSEB Kathmandu, 31 July: Nine student unions affiliated with the opposition parties Tuesday indefinitely padlocked offices of senior officials of Higher Secondary Education Board (HSEB) in second phase protests Regional offices have also been padlocked. Educational and political demands have been pressed. Nnnn POLICE REVIEW SECURITY SITUATION IN EASTERN REGION Kathmandu, 31 July: A two-day met of senior police offers in the eastern region began in Dhankuta Tuesday. Situation in anchals and 16 districts of the region is being reviewed. Future strategies are being discussed along with review of the security situation last year. Nnnn

400 STUDENTS FALL SICK AT A RUKUM SCHOOL Kathmandu, 31 July: As many as 400 students at the Jana Kalyan Secondary School in Kholagaon VDC-3 have fallen sick over a week now, RSS reports from Rukum.. They have shown symptoms of various diseases, according to the school management. The students are suffering from fever, dizziness and headaches, said the school principal, Ruplal Khadka. He has appealed to all sides to help resolve the problem and provide necessary medicines. The school says it requires large quantity of medicines as a sizeable number of students have been affected by the unidentified disease. The school has been closed following this. However, the District Hospital, Rukum said it has not received any information about this occurrence. nnnn

THREE BOL BOM PILGRIMS KILLED IN OVERNIGHT TRACTOR ACCIDENT IN SARLAHI Kathmandu, 31 July: Three Bol Bom pilgrims, including a woman, were killed overnight in an overloaded tractor accident along a highway in Sarlahi. Two others were severely injured. The tractor was returning with pilgrims from Tuteshwar Mahadev in Mahottari . nnnn GRADUATE STUDENT ACCUSED OF OPENING FIRE KILLING 12 PERSONS CHARGED WITH 24 COUNTS OF FIRST-DEGREE MURDER; COULD GET DEATH SENTENCE Kathmandu, 31 July: The former graduate student accused of opening fire at a midnight screening of the new "Batman" film in Colorado, killing 12 people, was charged on Monday with 24 counts of first-degree murder, making him eligible for the death penalty if convicted, Reuters reports from Centennial, USA. James Holmes, who was arrested behind a suburban Denver multiplex minutes after the July 20 shooting at a packed showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," also faces 116 counts of attempted murder in one of the worst outbursts of U.S. gun violence in recent years. Fifty-eight people were wounded in the attack, some of whom remain in critical condition. Prosecutors have said a decision could be months away on whether to seek the death penalty against Holmes, 24, who made his second court appearance on Monday. Colorado has three men on its death row and but has not executed a condemned inmate since 1997. Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers' office charged Holmes with two counts for each victim - one for carrying out the crime "after deliberation" and the second for "malice manifesting extreme indifference to human life." Holmes, who authorities say styled himself after Batman's comic-book nemesis "The Joker," appeared in court clad in jail garb, his hair still dyed bright orange but with the color fading to pink in places. He sat impassively at a table with two defense lawyers through the 45-minute hearing but seemed more alert than during his initial court appearance a week ago, when he looked dazed and groggy. The former neuroscience student spoke only once, quietly answering, "Yes," in response to a question from Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester. He mostly kept his gaze lowered and did not look at a courtroom gallery packed with members of the media and victims' family members. The judge set a pre-trial hearing for September 27, tentatively scheduling a preliminary hearing for the week of November 13. Police say Holmes entered Theater 9 at the Century 16 multiplex in the Denver suburb of Aurora wearing tactical body armor and a gas mask and tossed smoke bombs before spraying moviegoers with bullets from three guns. Authorities who rushed to his apartment following the movie house massacre said they found it wired with enough explosives to bring down the three-story building, and spent several days dismantling the booby traps. Holmes was also charged on Monday with possessing an explosive device. Pregnant survivor Ashley Moser suffered a miscarriage following the shooting, but the loss of her fetus did not alter the number of murder charges because the unborn cannot be counted as homicide victims under Colorado law. Moser, 25, was left paralyzed from the waist down from her own bullet wounds. Her daughter, 6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan, was the youngest of those who died in the shooting. Moser's aunt, MaryEllen Hansen, said after Monday's hearing that she found Holmes a "diabolical, evil presence." "But he looked very sane to me. He really did. His reaction looked different," she said. "When we've seen him before, he looked like he was kind of spaced out or out of touch. But he seemed very, very alert today and very lucid as to what was going on." Prosecutors, who are under a protective or "gag" order imposed in the case by the judge, declined to explain their decision to file the double charges, but legal experts say it could to be a strategy to offer jurors more than one path to a guilty verdict. During the hearing, defense attorney Tamara Brady asked that prosecutors turn over evidence collected in the case. The defense is seeking a package that news reports have said was sent by Holmes to a University of Colorado psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton. Prosecutors responded that they had not yet opened that parcel, which according to Fox News contained a notebook outlining his plans for the shooting, including stick-figure drawings. Holmes, a San Diego native, was a doctoral student of neuroscience at the university's Anschutz Medical Campus before turning in paperwork to drop out in June. Court documents filed on Friday by defense lawyers said he had been a patient of Fenton, who is medical director for student mental health services on campus. She is also listed as a member of the school's behavioral threat-assessment team. Neighbors and students in the North Aurora neighborhood where Holmes lived said his withdrawal from the university would likely have triggered his eviction from his apartment because the building is reserved for people affiliated with the school. Police have not offered a motive for the shooting rampage that stunned Aurora and evoked memories of the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School less than 20 miles away in Littleton. Authorities have said that following his arrest, Holmes called himself "The Joker" and experts say his mental state could play an important role in the case. Police said Holmes was armed on the night of the shooting with a Smith & Wesson M&P .223 semi-automatic rifle, similar to an AR-15 assault rifle; a 12-gauge shotgun and a Glock .40-caliber handgun, according to police. An additional Glock .40-caliber handgun was found in his car. All the weapons had been bought legally in the previous 60 days. nnnn

TEJBAJRA BAJRACHARYA APPOINTED CHAIRMAN OF UNION FINANCE LTD Kathmandu, 31 July: The board of Union Finance Ltd, has accepted the resignation tendered by Surendra Malla as chairman and director. Tejbajra Bajracharya replaces Malla as chairman. . nnnn GAS INDUSTRY OWNERS THREATEN SUPPLY DISRUPTION Kathmandu, 31 July:- The Nepal LPG Industry Association (NLPGIA) has demanded a hike in their commission and cancellation of the planned dual cylinder system, Sangam Prasain writes in The Kathmandu Post. The association of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) bottlers has threatened to stop collecting purchase delivery orders from Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) from August 7 and stop the supply of LPG from August 15 if their demands were not met. The NLPGIA has presented a 16-point charter of demands to NOC and the government in violation of the Essential Services Operation Act. NOC issues purchase delivery orders to gas bottlers who refill gas cylinders and sell them. As per its phase-wise protest plan, it will stop loading LPG at all the depots in India from August 16. On August 17, it has decided not to clear customs. “Finally, we will be compelled to stop the supply of LPG in the market,” said Shiva Prasad Ghimire, senior vice-president of the NLPGIA. The association said that NOC should introduce a commission system on the basis of percentage and that it should not be below 5 percent. Similarly, they have refused to introduce the dual cylinder system (red and blue) saying that it would increase their cost and also encourage malpractices in the market. The government has planned to enforce a dual cylinder system (red cylinders for consumers and blue for commercial users) with differential pricing for LPG from August 17. The association said painting the cylinders would take time and cost Rs 200 per cylinder. “This is an ad hoc decision of the government, and we are against it,” Ghimire said. The other demands of the bottlers are introducing a social awareness fund by allocating 1 percent of the revenue of the total imports in the fund, fixing the weight tolerance of LPG at 1.5 percent as per international standards, enforcing third-party insurance immediately, fixing the LPG quota on the basis of the number of cylinders, and allocating LPG quotas for the industry under the NLPGIA's recommendation, among others. The bottlers have also raised concern over the government's prioritizing public agencies to supply LPG. Recently, the Nepal Police had announced setting up a bottling plant to supply LPG in a bid to make the supply system more efficient. “We are compelled to give this ultimatum as the government has been ignoring our demands from the past,” Ghimire said. He added that they were ready to sit for a dialogue with the government and NOC, but had not received any invitation. However, NOC officials said that the bottlers had refused their invitations several times. The Essential Services Operation Act includes a list of 16 services where strikes are prohibited to prevent unnecessary suffering to the general public. However, the association has claimed that the supply of LPG is not included in the list, and that they were ready to face any penalty if the government enforces the act against them. There are around 43 bottling companies operating in the country. Nnnn HUGE INCREASE IN VEHICULAR ACCIDENTS Kathmandu,31 July: Deadly road accidents and fatalities continue to register a dramatic increase nationwide, according to the latest statistics of Nepal Police, The Himalayan Times reports. The number of road accidents recorded during the year 2011/12 has increased by 10.22 per cent to reach 21,577 as compared to 19,575 in the preceding year. As many as 1,754 people were killed in road accidents during the fiscal 2011/12 against 1,664 in 2010/11. It is 5.40 per cent increase in road deaths. With the beginning of new fiscal 2012/13, a total of 126 people were killed including 110 in seven major accidents that occurred elsewhere in the country. Despite the harrowing details of road fatalities, the government is yet to step up its efforts to strengthen safety measures and law enforcement side to cope with it. Also it seems authorities and stakeholders have done nothing more than passing the buck to other departments for poor handling of the situation. Ganesh Raj Rai, Traffic DIG, blamed the human error, drivers in particular for road accidents and stressed on the need to make drivers and their employers more responsible. “Most drivers rarely think that the passengers have been putting their life in their hands. We should curb the negligence of driver, drunk-driving, and overtaking, driving overload beyond the capacity and over speed guided by financial motivation and poor road infrastructure to prevent road accidents,” DIG Rai suggested. When a person meets road accident, the entire family will have to bear the expenses of medical treatment; whereas in the event of death of bread earner it may become financially vulnerable. Yogendranath Karmacharya, president of Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs, rubbished the claims made by the police. “The police investigation into the accidents is unfair and unilateral. When a road accident occurs, a section of police reach the site and prepare a report on its own without involving all stakeholders, including the FNTTE, workers and eyewitness,” he said. Karmacharya, however, echoed the police’s suggestion of making the driving license issuance system relevant to the present time. “Vehicles are more vulnerable to accident during the monsoon due to heavy rain combined with landslip, road cave-in, poor visibility and slippery roads. Moreover, brake does not work properly during the rainfall,” he added. Tulasi Prasad Sitaula, Secretary at the Ministry of Physical Planning, Works and Transport Management, echoed the stand taken by the police and said drivers should learn to drive professionally. “Plans are afoot to conduct orientation training for transport entrepreneurs and drivers, and reform road infrastructure,” he said, adding that, “We need to overhaul the licence distribution system.” Sitaula appealed drivers to perform their jobs taking the road and weather condition into consideration. Two die in three incidents Itahari: Two persons died and one was critically injured in three separate accidents in Sunsari today. According to the District Police Office, Sunsari, 60-year-old Hari Shrestha of Babiyabirta of Morang was found dead along the Koshi Lokmarg's Duhabi-4 road. Police surmised that Shrestha, who was residing in Duhabi, might have died of excessive drinking. His body has been sent to the Biratnagar Koshi Zonal Hospital for post-mortem. Similarly, the body of an unidentified youth in his 30s was found lying near Sunsari's Budhikhola Bridge. According to Belbari Area Police Office, the youth, who appeared to be from Madhesi community, had sustained lots of bruises throughout his body. Investigators suggested that he could have been killed. In another incident, Ankit Guragain of Biratnagar was critically injured after he fell from a moving tanker heading to Dharan from Biratnagar in Sunsari's Hansposha. He is undergoing treatment at Biratnagar-based Neuro Hospital after he could not be treated at the Dharan-based BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences. Police have detained the driver and impounded the vehicle. nnnn

HEARING ON CHARGE AGAINST KHUM BAHADUR KHADKARESUMES AT SUPREME COURT TUESDAY Kathmandu, 31 July: Hearing of multi-million corruption charge against NC leader and former home minister Khum Bahadur Khadka resumes at the supreme court Tuesday. Hearing began at the apex court on the charge registered by CIAA Monday. Top NC leaders and foirmer ministers Gobinda Raj Joshi, Chiranjibi Wagle and Jayaprakash Prasad Gupta have been sentenced and jailed. Joshi is the latest to be convicted for amassing wealth not commensurate to his income. nnnn .

PM, YASHWANT SINHA HOLD DISCUSSIONS Kathmandu, 31 July: Visiting Indian leader of Bharatiya Janata Party Yashwant Sinha held discussions with Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai Tuesday after overnight talks with Maoist Chairman Prachanda. Sinha suggested in talks with Premier Bhattarai greater role of Maoists to break a a prolonged constitutional and political deadlock. The Indian leader, who arrived Monday, also held talks overnight with Madeshbadi parties. The former foreign and finance minister is holding discussions with UMLChairman Jhalanath Khanal Tuesday. President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav held a dinner reception for Sinha Monday. Senior party invitees held talks with the visiting leader.

FORMER PLA FIGHTERS ASK PRACHANDA, PM TO SETTLE SOONEST THEIR FUTURE Kathmandu, 31 July: - Former commanders of the Maoist army have asked the party leadership to take immediate decisions regarding the fate of over 3,000 fighters awaiting integration into the Nepal Army, The Kathmandu Post reports.. In a meeting with UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal at party headquarters Paris Danda, former division commanders and vice-commanders asked that the integration be completed as soon as possible. They also suggested that the party leadership send all fighters for voluntary retirement if other parties remained inflexible on issues of dispute. “We cannot send our friends into integration by allowing the Nepal Army to measure their chest. Integration conducted like a recruitment drive is disrespectful to the revolution,” said former acting commander of the Rolpa-based Fifth Division, Raj Bahadur Budha. Budha said that Dahal committed to further talks with other parties to ensure a 'dignified' integration process. Former Sixth Division commander Mahendra Bahadur Sahi also said they urged the leadership to end the stalemate over the integration process as early as possible. The selection process of 3,123 former fighters was stalled earlier this month after fighters expressed reservations over the recruitment-like process of integration. Many commanders, who had opted for integration, submitted their resignation from the Maoist army after facing charges of corruption in the recently concluded seventh plenum. The plenum had decided to send fighters into retirement if other parties did not exhibit flexibility on age and educational status of the former combatants. nnnn

NEPALI DOCTORS CONTINUNG THEIR INDEFINITE STRIKE AT MANIPAL TEACHING HOSPITAL Kathmandu, 31 July: Nepali doctors at Manipal Teaching Hospital in the resort town of Pokhara are continuing their indefinite strike for the third day Tuesday. The doctors are demanding equal pay. Nepali and Indian doctors are mainly enrolled at the Indian hospital. Services have been closed down since Sunday following the strike. nnnn

NIRANJAN MALLA DENIES HE JOINED ANOTHER CLUB WHILE ON PAYROLL OF HIMALAYAN SHERPA CLUB Kathmandu, 31 July: Yeti Airlines Himalayan Sherpa Club has filed a complaint at All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) against Nirajan Malla for joining another club even while he was on the payroll of the Himalayan Sherpa Club. Malla, who has joined Manang Marshyangdhi Club, denied the charge. Nnnn MEDIA GOOGLE “A shed for 601 goats can’t give a constitution. Reviving that shed is meaningless now.” (Rashriya Janamorcha Chairman Chitra Bahadur KC, Nagarik, 31 July) Nnnn FURTHER DETAILS OF MONDAY’S NEPAL, BANGLADESH AGREEMENT Kathmandu, 31 July: Nepal and Bangladesh on Monday agreed to finalize the modality for operating carriage of transit cargos between the two countries which is expected to simplify use of two major Bangladeshi ports to boost exports from Nepal, Prabhakar Ghimere writes in Republica. Lal Mani Joshi, secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) and his Bangladeshi counterpart Mohamed Ghulam Hussain signed the trade pact on Monday -- the last day of two-day commerce secretary level bi-lateral talks held in Kathmandu. “In an effort to facilitate trade between the two South Asian neighbors, officials of the both countries have agreed to finalize the modalities on operating carriage transit cargo by December this year. Nepal can increase trade with Bangladesh through Chittagong and Mangla port once the modality is enforced,” said Naindra Prasad Upadhya, joint secretary of MoCS. He said the agreement will be endorsed by the secretary level meeting after a joint secretary-level meeting in September finalizes the points agreed in Kathmandu. Both the sides have agreed to hold secretary-level trade talks in Dhaka in February. As per the pact, Bangladesh, which has been slapping 60 percent customs duty on Nepali agri products, has agreed in principle to provide preferential market access for 100 Nepali primary and agriculture products. Similarly, both the sides have agreed to finalize draft agreement to operate Kathmandu-Dhaka bus service at the earliest. According to Nepal Tourism Board, the number of Bangladeshi tourists visiting Nepal increased by around 10 percent to 17,563 in 2011compared to a year earlier. In a bid to enhance transport connectivity between the two countries, Bangladeshi officials have expressed commitment to upgrade transport infrastructures, including road and rail transport, to Bangladesh ports at the earliest. Nepal and Bangladesh have also agreed to make necessary groundwork for setting uniformity on standard of quality, quarantine system and health related criteria for traded goods as well as recognize quality certification in respective countries. Bangladesh has also agreed to provide on arrival visa for Nepalis. Nepal is already providing such facility to Bangladeshis. Dhaka has also agreed to take initiative in promoting currencies of both countries for trade and tourism. Both the sides have also agreed to facilitate traders to organize single country trade fair in each other countries, introducing joint tourist package to promote tourism in both countries and harmonization in working hours in customs points. Nepali business people have hailed the agreement. “We welcome the Bangladesh government´s decision to provide zero-tariff facility to Nepali agricultural products and bring two Bangladeshi ports into operations for bilateral trade,” Suraj Vaidya, president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), told Republica on Monday. Vaidya also welcomed Dhaka´s decision of providing on arrival visas to Nepalis. Nepal exports to Bangladesh during the first 10 months of 2011/12 dropped by a whopping 48.7 percent to Rs 1.69 billion compared to export figures in the same period of 2010/11, thanks to sharp drop in export of lentils - Nepal´s largest export to Bangladesh. “There have been good agreements in the past; but the implementation aspect was weak. We want these agreements to be implemented sincerely,” added Vaidya. nnnn ________________________________________

WRIT DEMANDS DISMISSAL OF PM BHATTARAI Kathmandu, 31 July: A writ was filed at the supreme court by two advocates Monday demanding removal of Prime Minster Baburam Bhattarai for ‘unconstitutional’ work without forming a consensus government. The writ petition demanding SC issue show cause notices in the name of the Office of the Prime Minister for making ‘various unconstitutional moves’ in the wake of the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly (CA). Advocates Saroj Kumar Thapa and Paras Mani Bhattarai filed the writ. Article 38(1) of the interim constitution. According to Article 38, the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister shall be constituted by political consensus. But there’s also a provision for majority government if consensus is elusive. A hearing is scheduled Wednesday. nnnn BANK SPREAD RATE WIDENS Kathmandu, 31 July: The gap between borrowing and lending rates at commercial banks, known as spread rate in banking term, has continued to widen, with almost all of the category ´A´ financial institutions jumping on the bandwagon to reduce deposit rates, while only around a dozen taking similar measure on credit Rates, Rupak D Sharma writes in Republica.. Latest data published in various national dailies show commercial banks slashed interest on one-year fixed deposit by as much as three percentage points and savings rate by as much as 1.5 percentage points in the last three-month period. In contrast, lending rates on consumer loans, such as auto and home, and corporate loans, such as term and overdraft, fell by up to two percentage points. Among banks that topped the list in revising one-year fixed deposit rate downward was Commerz and Trust. Established around six years ago, the bank brought down the rate on the product for individuals to eight percent this month, from 11 percent on April 20, marking a reduction of 27 percent. Almost all other banks have also slashed rates on the most popular fixed deposit product by 0.5-1.75 percentage points. This has pulled down the rates on the product to single digit, as against the industrial average of 12 percent a year ago. With this reduction, interest rates on one-year fixed deposit now vary from as low as 3.5 percent extended by Standard Chartered Bank Nepal to up to nine percent offered by Civil Bank. Considering inflation of 9.9 percent in mid-June, it could be said depositors are not getting the return needed to compensate the rising consumer prices by parking money in banks for a year. The trend is the same in the case of savings deposit, with most of the banks reducing yields on these products by 0.25-1.5 percentage points. Savings rates now vary from two percent to up to 8.5 percent. The level of enthusiasm showed by bankers in reducing deposit rates, however, did not reflect on lending segment, with handful of banks reducing credit rates on auto, home, term and overdraft by up to two percentage points. Citizens Bank, for instance, slashed auto loan rates to 13-16 percent this month from 15-16.5 percent on May 16. It also brought down rates on home loans to a range of 13-15 percent from 15-16.5 percent. Mega Bank has also reduced interest rates on auto loans by up to two percentage points to a band of 12-14.5 percent and home loans by one percentage point to a range of 12-16 percent. Banks are offering auto loans for a lowest of 12 percent interest rate, while cheapest home loan can be fetched from NIC Bank for a low of 9.99 percent interest rate. In terms of corporate loans, such as, term loan, which is paid back in installment and is used by start-up businesses, interest rates came down by 0.25-1.5 percentage points. These rates, which were reduced by only nine banks, vary from 12-17 percent. Likewise, rates on revolving loans like overdraft, on which credit limit is set, came down by up to two percentage points to a range of 12-18 percent. Most of the bankers told Republica that they have not been able to reduce credit rates to a desirable level due to lack of demand for loans, which has compelled them to pay quite a significant amount on mountain of cash created due to liquidity surplus in the banking industry. But economists said this tendency of cutting deposit rates with higher margin, while bringing down lending rates marginally is hurting both depositors as well as borrowers. Nnnn ________________________________________

MEDIA GOOGLE “It has [political meddling in appointment of senior civil servants]. This has become a system and it sends out a bad message down the bureaucracy chain.” (Retired Secretary Umesh Mainali, The Himalayan Times, 31 July) “Even if a person chosen for the coveted post is the most efficient, the way political leaders are intervening is wrong.” (Shailendra Sigdel; am expert on good governance, The Himalayan Times. 31 July) Nnnn CASINO REGULATION BEING GIVEN GOVT. APROVAL Kathmandu, 31 July: Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation is planning to soon forward the casino regulation to Cabinet for its approval, again, Shiromani Dhungana writes in The Himalayan Times.. The government has been failing to regulate the casino sector due to lack of a clear regulation, said secretary at the ministry Dr Ganesh Raj Joshi, adding that even the government’s agencies have been failing to shut down those casinos which have not cleared their royalties. The ministry had last year forwarded a draft of the regulation to the cabinet but the Cabinet sent it back to the ministry asking it to incorporate the opinions of the Finance Ministry, Ministry of Industry, and Ministry of Law, Justice, Constituent Assembly and Parliamentary Affairs, informed secretary Joshi. The ministry, at present, is conducting meetings with the concerned stakeholders — representatives from Finance Ministry, Ministry of Industry, and Ministry of Law, Justice, Constituent Assembly and Parliamentary Affairs — to incorporate their opinions, according to him. “The ministry will finalise the draft of the regulation within 15 days and forward it to the cabinet.” The ministry had proposed a new regulation that will grant licence to the casinos instead of hotels in the draft which was prepared last year. Similarly, the proposed regulation had envisaged that it would also deal with key aspects like entry of Nepalis in casinos, checking slot machines and labelling them, regulating the entry point of casinos, and security of foreign citizens. It had also incorporated that the government should make it mandatory to register casino machines and introduce stickers to verify them. The ministry has been holding intensive dialogues with other concerned ministries to bring the new regulation as per international standards, said Joshi, adding that the suggestions and reactions from the Finance Ministry, Ministry of Industry, and Ministry of Law, Justice, Constituent Assembly and Parliamentary Affairs, will be included in the draft before forwarding it to the cabinet. Four casinos out of the 10 have yet to clear their royalty dues of last year, according to Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. Casino Fulbari and Casino Grande of Pokhara, and Casino Anna and Casino Nepal of Kathmandu have not cleared their dues so far, said secretary at the ministry Dr Ganesh Raj Joshi, adding lack of a regulation has been affecting the ministry’s plan of scrapping licences. All casinos are liable to pay Rs 20 million annually according to legal provisions. nnnn NC DISTRICT PRESIDENT MEET EXTENDED BY ONE MORE DAY; SUSHIL KOIRALA AGAIN HITS OUT AT MAOISTS Kathmandu, 31 July: Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala today accused the Maoists of not honouring its past agreements, Yubaran Puri writes in The Himalayan Times from Barhabise.. Inaugurating the second national conclave of the party district presidents today, the NC chief said the country has plunged into a great crisis due to the Maoist modus operandi of making the deals, but never bothering to honour the same. “It is for the same nature of the Maoist party that the country has failed to get the constitution, which the people had dreamt for long,” he said. “The NC opposed the fresh polls declared by the Maoist because that was not only unconstitutional but also the political parties were not taken into confidence.” Further arguing only the persons against constitution have accused the Congress for the CA dissolution, Koirala said the statute could not be drafted due to the multiple assurances given to the people by the Maoist despite the realisation that they would not be fulfilled. “Scores of their assurances are yet to be fulfilled,” he said, adding, the Maoist-raised issue of Jaanajati has only served to bring clash among different ethnicities. Regarding federalism, Koirala said the NC is for creating few states as the country cannot afford the expenses of many states. He also called on the Maoist to forge consensus saying there was no alternative to consensus, cooperation and unity among the political parties. Speaking at the programme, NC senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba stressed on the CA reinstatement at least for two weeks’ time following the consensus among the parties. “Instead of keeping the country without constitution for long, political parties should be flexible to sort out the contentious issues and ratify the statute from the reinstated CA,” said the leader. He suggested an all-party commission could draft the state and get it approved through a referendum. Yet another leader Ram Chandra Poudel, on his part, accused the Maoist of leading the country into chaos by trying to impose its rule. Meanwhile, despite the call for CA reinstatement by the former NC lawmakers, district presidents of the party have, however, demanded that the party should go for the election at all cost. Speaking during the closed session, the district presidents held that the party should not carry the agenda of the CA reinstatement. “There is no option to forming a national government-led by NC and conducting a fresh election,” said Kaski president Yagya Bahadur Thapa, adding, all party district presidents who spoke today demanded that the Congress should be ready for the Constituent Assembly or parliamentary poll. “We have demanded that a government be formed under NC’s leadership whether through consensus or agitation and hold fresh election,” Thapa told the THT, adding, they are unanimously against the CA reinstatement. Presidents from different districts had spoken at the session that is said to be extended for one more day though it was earlier said to last till Tuesday. nnnn

THREE PLAYERS TO JOIN TEAM IN AUSTRALIA AFTER RECEIVING DELAYED VISAS Kathmandu, 31 July: Cricketers Saurav Khanal, Avinash Karn and Ram Naresh Giri have received their delayed Australian visas to participate in the U-19 World Cup beginning downunder from 11 August. Assistant coach Jagat Tamata also received the visa from the Australian embassy, Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) said.. They will leave Friday to join the team that’s already in Australia. The embassy denied the players were not granted travel documents and added the three were players were minors and permission of guardians was needed for issuance of visas. nnnn

HYDROPOWER COMPANY FORMALLY LAUNCHED Kathmandu, 30 July; : The Hydropower Investment and Development Company Limited has formally begun its operation from Mondaym RSS reports. An announcement to this regard was made in the capital today in the presence of Chief Executive Officers and representatives of various banks and financial institutions, shareholders of the Company and journalists. The Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) had given a certificate of approval to the company recently. On the occasion, member of the Company, Maheshwor Prasad Dahal called for investment in the hydropower sector. The Company has been given authority to develop hydropower projects with a capacity of over 25 megawatt. Chief Division Engineer Sanjeev Baral said that the new projects would be developed with the financial backup from national and international companies, commercial banks and other financial institutions. The company has an authorized capital of Rs 50 billion, issued capital worth Rs 10 billion and paid up capital of Rs 8 billion. In the initial phase, the company will have a share of Rs 5 billion from the government side, Rs 3 billion from organized institutions and Rs 2 billion from the general public. So far, the Company has received Rs 2 billion from the Ministry of Finance and Rs 1 billion each from the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Law and Justice, Financial Comptroller General Office and Employees´ Provident Fund Nnnn

TARA AIR BEGINS KATHMANDU, BHOJPUR FLIGHTS Kathmandu, 30 July: Tara Air Monday began once weekly flights between Kathmandu and Bhojpur. The one-way fare is Rs 4,995 (including fuel surcharge) or US $132. nnnn

NEPAL, BANGLADESH COMMERCE TALKS CONCLUDE UPDATE Kathmandu, 30 July:: A Bangladeshi delegation, which is here for Nepal-Bangladesh trade talks, called on Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai at the Prime Minister's office, Singha Durbar, RSS reports. An eight-member delegation led by Commerce Secretary of Bangladesh, Mohamed Ghulam Hussain, familiarised the Prime Minister about the progress of the talks. Talking to media persons after the meeting, Hussain said that he informed Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai about the agreement reached on giving entry to 146 agro products of Nepal in Bangladesh without customs tariff and importing medicines manufactured in Bangladesh to Nepal. He said that they familiarised the Prime Minister about numerous possibilities of co-work between Nepal and Bangladesh in the sector of hydropower and tourism, and added that they requested the Prime Minister to take necessary measures for the same. Ambassador of Nepal for Bangladesh Dr. Neem Chandra Bhaumik was also present in the meeting. nnnn

PM BHATTARAI DEFENDS APPOINTMENT OF LILAMANI PAUDEL Kathmandu, 30 July: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai defended appoint of LIlamani Paudel as acting chief secretary. Bhattarai told Radio Nepal listeners Monday Paudel was efficient with a clean image. He said 13 persons, including Paidel joined civil service the same day. nnnn KHUM BAHADUR KHADKA APPEARS BEFORE SUPREME COURT Kathmandu, 30 July: Supreme Court division bench Monday resumed hearing on corruption case against Khum Bahadur Khadka, top NC leader and former home minister. CIAA laid the charge against Khadka who has been charged for misappropriating Rs. 23.6 million. Nnnn HARI PRASAD SHRESTHA, COLLEAGUE OF TANKA PRASAD ACHARYA, DEAD Kathmandu, 30 July: Hari Prasad Shrestha died Monday. Shrestha, along with Tanka Prasad Acharya, led the anti-Rana movement toppling 104-year Rana rule. The member of Praja Parishad, in his 90s, was cremated Monday at Pashupatinath Aryaghat. nnnn

TWO MORE SECRETARIES RESIGN UPDATE Kathmandu, 30 July: Two more government secretaries resigned Monday bringing to three top government officials who resigned over dissatisfied over appointment of Lilamani Paudel acting chief secretary by government Sunday on pressure in cabinet by .Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. Senior secretaries Sushil Jung Bahadur Rana and Trilochan Upreti also resigned after they were superseded in tye firstrevolt in administration. nnnn

EC OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCES NO ELECTION 22 NOVEMBER; GOVT. SILENT Kathmandu, 30 July: Election Commission (EC)officially announced the 22 November constituent assembly announced unilaterally by government can’t be held within the deadline. There’s no agreement between parties whether national election should be held for CA or parliament. Chief Election Commissioner Neel Kantha Uprety and spokesperson Sharada Prasad Trital announced the Commission conclusion Monday. Government didn’t amend articles concerning elections in an interim election or amend laws related to election to conduct the popular vote on four years. The two officials said besides amendments, consensus was needed between parties for a vote. Government has maintained a stoic silence Nnnn

GERMAN AMBASSADOR’S FAREWELL CALL ON PM Kathmandu, 30 July: Ambassador of Germany to Nepal, Verena Grafin von Roedern, made a farewell visit to Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai at the latter's office at Singha Durbar, today [Monday], RSS reports. Talking briefly to RSS after the meeting, Ambassador Roedern expressed the view that there is no alternative to forging consensus among political parties to conclude all works related to constitution and the peace process. Stating that the Government of Germany has provided assistance even in this difficult situation, she expressed the commitment that it will give continuity to it in the future as well. Ambassador Grafin also said that her country is always willing to provide more assistance to Nepal in the sector of trade and commerce. Nnnn NORTH INDIA, INCLUDING NEW DELHI, PLUNGES INTO DARKNESS WITH POWER FAILURE Kathmandu, 30 July:The electricity grid across northern India failed Monday, leaving hundreds of millions of people without electricity in one of the worst power failures of the past decade, officials said, AP reports from New Delhi. Hundreds of trains, including New Delhi's massive Metro, were forced to a halt and hospitals shifted to generator power when the country's northern grid crashed about 2:30 a.m. because it could no longer keep up with the huge demand for power in the hot summer. Residents woken from sleep when their fans and air conditioners stopped, came out of their homes in New Delhi's sweltering heat as the entire city turned dark. By late morning, 60 percent of the power had been restored in the eight northern states affected by the outage, said Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde. The rest should be back to normal by the late afternoon, he said, adding that he was forming a committee to investigate the outage. The failure was the first time since 2001 that the northern grid had collapsed. But India's demand for electricity has soared since then as its economy has grown sharply. In addition, a weak monsoon has kept temperatures higher this year, further increasing electricity usage as people seek to cool off. Shivpal Singh Yadav, the power minister in the state of Uttar Pradesh, home to 200 million people, said that while demand during peak hours hits 11,000 megawatts, the state can only provide 9,000 megawatts. The grid collapsed because some states apparently drew more power than they were authorized to take to meet the summer demand, Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation chief Avnish Awasthi said. Blackouts are a frequent occurrence in many Indian cities because of a shortage of power and an antiquated electricity grid. At the same time, tens of millions of people living in villages in northern India have no access to the electricity grid at all. Earlier this month, angry crowds blocked traffic and clashed with police after blackouts in the Delhi suburb of Gurgaon that houses many high-rise apartment blocks and offices. With no power in some neighborhoods for more than 24 hours, people erected blockades that paralyzed traffic for several hours. Transmission and distribution losses in some states are as much as 50 percent because of theft and connivance of employees in the power industry. ____ Associated Press writer Biswajeet Banerjee contributed to this report from Lucknow, India. nnnn

NEPSE RECOVERS Kathmandu, 30 July: Nepse recovered 4.57 points or 1.13 percent on the second day of weekly five-day trading Monday and closed at 400.59 points. Altogether 160,694 shares were traded for Rs.49.140 million in 1438 transactions. nnnn

SHRAWAN 15 OBSERVED EATING KHIR WITH NEAR AND DEAR ONES Kathmandu, 30 July: Shrawan 15 was celebrated Monday by eating khir.with ner anddear ones. Ashan 15 is celebrated by eating beaten rice and curd. nnnn CCTV INSTALLED AROUND MAYADEVI TEMPLE TO ENHANCE SECURITY AT BIRTHPLACE OF THE BUDDHA Kathmandu, 30 July:The Lumbini Development Trust (LDT) has installed CC camera in the Lumbini area to make the Buddha's birthplace safer, RSS reports from Bhairava.. LDT decided to install CC cameras to check incidents of theft and robbery that had been repeating in this holy place at different times. In the first phase, CC cameras have been installed around the Mayadevi Temple and the plan is to install them in other places in the second phase, according to the LDT. Altogether 14 CC cameras have been installed in the temple complex including one each inside and outside of the main gate to the temple, six at different corners and other places. LDT said CC cameras were installed at a cost of approximately Rs 900,000. nnnn SIX HOUSES ROBBED OVERNIGHT IN MOHOTTARI i Kathmandu, 30 July: Armed robbers plundered half a dozen homes at Halkhori VDC in Mahottari district last night. A gang of robbers comprising some 15 people looted cash and valuables worth approximately one million rupees from six houses in the locality, the District Police Office said, RSS reports.. The robbers fired in the air and took the occupants of the houses in control before they went on a plundering spree. Six women have sustained injuries as they tried to resist the robbers. They are receiving treatment at local health centre. Nnnn AT LEAST 30 FEARED DEAD IN INDIAN RAILWAY FIRE Kathmandu, 30 July: Thirty people were feared dead on Monday in a fire on board a passenger train travelling to the city of Chennai in southern India, a railways ministry spokesman said, AFP reports from Hyderabad.. The accident, on a long-distance service from New Delhi, occurred in the early hours of the morning near the town of Nellore in Andhra Pradesh state. "Thirty people are feared dead. I am told by our officials on the scene that rescuers can see the bodies inside the coach but they can´t get to them yet," railways ministry spokeswoman Chandralekha Mukherjee told AFP. One coach had been completely gutted, with rescuers struggling with the fierce temperatures inside the mostly metal carriage. Gas cutters were being used to cut open wider access for the emergency services. "We are unable to identify the cause of the fire yet -- it might have been a short circuit, it might have been due to someone carrying inflammable materials on the train," Mukherjee added. India´s accident-prone rail network is still the main form of long-distance travel in the huge country, despite fierce competition from private airlines. There were two fatal accidents in May, including a collision that killed 25 people near the southern city of Bangalore. Four passengers also died after a train derailed in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. In March, the then railway minister Dinesh Trivedi unveiled a draft budget for 2012-13 that included a major safety upgrade which would be financed by across-the-board fare hikes. But he was forced to withdraw it and resign after a rebellion from his own populist party, the Trinamool Congress, which objected to increasing ticket prices for the poorest travellers. India´s worst rail accident was in 1981 when a train plunged into a river in the eastern state of Bihar, killing an estimated 800 people. nnnn

Sunday, July 29, 2012

EDUCATION MINISTRY SHIFTS TO SINGHA DURBAR FROM KESHAR MAHAL Kathmandu, 30 July: : The Ministry of Education is shifting from Keshar Mahal to Singha Durbar, the country's main administrative complex, from today [Monday], RSS reports. The Ministry would shift to the new building next to the Parliament Secretariat building. Minister for Education Dinanath Sharma will inaugurate the Ministry's new building after 10 a.m. today. The ministry has been moved to Singha Durbar as it was facing difficulties carrying out its works due to the various protests and sit-in demonstrations frequently held by different groups at Keshar Mahal, the Ministry stated. Of the 26 ministries, the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Health and Population and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are located outside the government secretariat. nnnn

ELECTION COMMISSION SECRETARY SHANKER KOIRALA RESIGNS UPDATE Kathmandu, 30 July Election Commission Secretary Shankar Koirala resigned Monday/ Koirala was a leading contender for post of chide secretary. Nnnn

ELECTION COMMISSION SECRETARY SHANKER KOIRALA RESIGNS UPDATE Kathmandu, 30 July Election Commission Secretary Shankar Koirala resigned Monday/ Koirala was a leading contender for post of chide secretary. Nnnn

FORMER INDIAN FINANCE MINISTER YASWANT SINHA IN TOWN; WILL HOLD HIGH-LEVEL CONSULTATIONS WITH PARTY LEADERS Kathmandu, 30 July: Former Indian Finance Minister Indian Yaswant Sinha is holding high-level consultations with political party leaders. He arrived Monday and offered puja at Pashupatinath temple in the third Monday of Shrawan considered the month of Lord Shiva. Sinha arrived at a time of political deadlock in Nepal. Nnnn NEPAL CARPET EXPORTS RECOVER Kathmandu, 30 July: Nepal’s carpet export revenue swelled despite an 11 percent drop in volume in the last fiscal year. The country earned US$ 70.65 million in 2011-12, up from US$ 60.67 million in the previous year. According to the Trade Export Promotion Centre (TEPC), Nepal exported 621,771 sq m of carpets in the last fiscal, down from 697,121 sq m in 2010-11, Rajesh Khanal writes in The Kathmandu Post.. The US is the largest buyer of Nepali carpets followed by Germany, the UK, Canada and Belgium. According to TEPC statistics, Nepal exported 228,713.77 sq m of carpets worth US$ 32.25 million to the US. Government apathy, lack of effective implementation of the refinancing facility, ongoing financial problems in Europe and increasing cost of production have been blamed for the decline in exports. President of the Nepal Carpet Exporters’ Association (NCEA) Kavindra Nath Thakur said the government’s apathy was among the factors behind falling exports. “Although the government had announced providing loans to the sector as a refinancing facility, many commercial banks are still reluctant to implement the provision,” he said. According to him, many exporters have not been able to benefit from the cash incentives announced by the government due to bureaucratic hassles. TEPC figures show that the US has surpassed Germany in both quantity and value as the largest importer of Nepali carpets. The US imported 228,713 sq m of carpets during the last fiscal year, accounting for 36.78 percent of the total exports. US imports doubled last year to US$ 32.25. Traders said that a growing attraction for high priced carpets in the US was the reason behind increasing exports. “Carpets in 100 knot and 150 knot fineness and expensive carpets made of silk and nettle fibres are finding a larger market in the US,” said Thakur. Meanwhile, the Euro zone crisis and increasing cost of production have been cited as the reasons for declining exports to the European market. According to traders, the price of wool imported from New Zealand has increased to US$ 6.20 per kg from US$ 2.10 per kg. Similarly, higher wages for carpet workers have also added to the cost. Thakur said that German importers who used to buy medium and low-priced carpets from Nepali exporters had started switching to Indian exporters. GK Joshi, director of Joshi Carpet Industry, said the ongoing economic problem in many European countries was the main reason behind falling exports. “Many German traders who are the main suppliers of Nepali carpet in the European market are unable to sell their products,” he said. Carpet Export FY Quantity Value 2011-12 621,771 sq m $70.65 million 2010-11 697,121 sq m $60.67 million Top Five Buyers US 228713.77 sq m Germany 226377.16 sq m UK 33657.04 sq m Canada 21373.26 sq m Belgium 14808.66 sq m Nnnn NEPAL TO HOST CACCI MEET 3 TO 5 OCT. Kathmandu, 30 July:The Federation of Nepal Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) is hosting the 26th annual conference of the Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) in Kathmandu from Oct 3-5, 2012. The conference aims at attracting business leaders from the countries new to Nepal in terms of foreign investment with a theme “A Vision for Shared Prosperity”, The Kathmandu Post reports. According to the federation, some 300 businessmen from 27 Asia-Pacific countries will participate in the event, which is expected to provide a platform to expand the country’s industrial and business opportunities. The conference is being held in Nepal, coinciding with the government’s announcement to mark the current fiscal year as Nepal Investment Year (NIY) and Visit Lumbini Year (VLY)-2012. “We are getting an opportunity to host this conference for the first time. We hope it’s going to be a historical event that could bring in economic transformation in the country,” said Pradip Kumar Shrestha, former president of the FNCCI and executive member of the CACCI. FNCCI Senior Vice-president Bhaskar Rajkarnikar said that the conference would offer Nepal an opportunity to explore business prospects. The conference features break-out sessions, business-to-business (B2B) meetings and signing of memorandum of understanding (MoU). The programme is designed to make the Kathmandu gathering important occasion for CACCI members to discuss current business issues and explore possible areas of cooperation. The break-out sessions will be organised on sectors of interest to members, such as tourism, construction and contracting, food and agriculture, water and energy, SME development, young entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs and ICT. Likewise, B2B meetings feature one-on-one business matching sessions between CACCI delegates and Nepalese businessman from various industry and service sectors to explore possible opportunities for business, trade and investments. The two-day event will also offer opportunities for perspective investors to sign MoU with FNCCI and other CACCI members on defined areas of cooperation. “Beside attracting foreign investors, the conference will also help Nepali business leaders to extend relationship with the entrepreneurs at international level,” Om Rajbhandary, coordinator of the conference said. The FNCCI is preparing to present around 60 projects in order to attract investments. The 25th CACCI conference was held in Turkey last year, while the Philippines will play host to the next event. nnnn

PREPARATION OF SAF LIFTS OFF MONDAY Kathmandu, 30 July: National Sports Council (NSC) begins Monday a three-month training programme for participants of the delayed 12th SAG in New Delhi. Exact dates for the South Asian sports gala event haven’t been announced yet. Altogether 177 participants are participating in the first phase of the programme named Mission SAG. nnnn.

SIGNATURE CAMPAIGN AGAINST GOVT. PERKS FOR TOP PARTY LEADERS WHO HELD SENIOR POLITICAL POSITIONS Kathmandu, 30 July: A nation-wide signature campaign sponsored by ‘civil society’ is being launched from Naya Baneshwor Monday against government perks, including expensive limousines, for top party leaders who held senior political positions in the administrative hierarchy. Former prime ministers, presidents, vice-presidents, home ministers, speakers are beneficiaries of a scheme announced by a the government of Prime Minster Baburam Bhattarai promising austerity. The plan from which PM Bhattarai will also benefit, is being launched through an ordinance which has been promulgated by the president. The civil society is being launched immediately after a hunger strike. Some former premiers, speakers and chief justices have returned government vehicles in scheme involving millions of rupees in official espense. government expense. Nnnn

SENIOR GOVT. SECRETARIES THREATEN RESIGNATION AFTER APPOINTMENT OF LILAMANI PAUDEL AS ACTING CHIEF SECRETARY Kathmandu, 30 July: Promotion Sunday of Lilamani Paudel as Acting Chief Secretary by the cabinet under intense pressure from Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai on Madeshbadi parties in the government has raised a hornet’s nest with threats of Paudel’s juniors to resign en masse. Madeshbadiparties agreed to Paudel’s appointment as Acting Chief Secretary and will be confirmed chiefsecretary6 August. Paudel superseded eight secretaries, including Home Secretary Sushil Jung Bahadur, to grab the top civil servant job. Bhattarai lobbied for Paudel’s appointment arguing a loyalist of the government should be appointed to run government smoothly. Secretaries who have been superseded have threatened resignations. nnnn

NEPAL, BANGLADESH CONSULTATION MECHANISM BEING FORMED Kathmandu, 30 July: A three-member Nepali team led by Foreign Secretary Durga Prasad Bhattarai leaves for Dhaka Monday to launch a bilateral consultative mechanism Bhattarai will hold discussions with his Bangladeshi counterpart Mijarul Quayes. Nepal and Bangladesh have agreed to form a bilateral consultation mechanism, Nepal has such a mechanism with immediate neighbouring countries India and China. Nepal and Bangladesh are signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for regular consultations at foreign ministry level during Secretary Bhattarai’s visit. Nnnn GANESH THAPA’S SON UNDER CIAA SCANNER Kathmandu, 30 July: Gaurav Thapa, son of ANFA President Ganesh Thapa, is being investigated by CIAA for receiving ,$100,000 from former Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Mohammal Bin Hammam. ANFA Chief Ganesh Thapa confirmed the ‘personal loan’ collected in his son’s account. The money has been repaid, Ganesh Thapa said, nnnn

NC DISTRICT PRESIDENTS MEET IN BAHARABISHE MONDAY Kathmandu, 30 July: Main opposition NC’s two-day meet of all 75 district committees begins in Baharabishe Monday. The meeting will discuss broad range of issues including its strategy, national elections announced by government , ways to end a deadlock , ways to end internal party dispute and other issues. The presidents meet ahead of an assembly of secretaries in Pokhara.. All 75districts chiefs are participating in the meeting for which preparations were completed Sunday. nnnn PM TO ADDRESS QUERIES OF RADIO NEPAL LISTENERS MONDAY EVENING Kathmandu, 30 July: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai will answer queries of Radio Nepal listeners over state radio at 8.10 in the evening Monday. The premier launched public relations programme after his installation 11 months ago. nnnn PROTEST IN RAJBIRAJ AGAINST CHINESE OPPOSITION TO FEDERAL STRUCTURE Kathmandu, 30 July: United Madesh Front Sunday held a demonstration in Rajbiraj Sunday against Chinese concern against federalism, Nagarik reports from the terai town. Beijing’s concern was expressed at a meeting with CPN Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidhaya who has just concluded a China visit. China says a federal structure will split Nepal and directly opposed a One Madesh, One Pradesh in terai bordering India. nnnn . CPN MAOIST EASTERN CHIEF BISHWAKARMA AGAINST GOVT. PERKS MAINLY TOP PARTY LEDERS WHO HELD TOP GOVT. JOBS Kathmandu, 30 July:: CPN-Maoist Eastern Regional in-Charge Khadga Bahadur Bishwakarma has said the government's decision to provide state facility to its former senior officials is against the people's sentiments, RSS reports from Mangalbare.. Speaking at a news conference in Ilam this morning, he accused the government of misappropriating the state coffers in the name of providing facilities to dignitaries rather than focusing on people's desires and needs. An interim government should be formed and a roundtable conference be held to give the nation a way out to the existing political crisis, opined Bishwakarma. It is not good to propose CA reinstatement in the present situation of the country, he said, adding that his party would not take part in the elections announced without political consensus. Now the country has plunged into a grave crisis and the Nepali Congress and the CPN (UML) should realise this and unite to prevent the nation from seeing further crisis, he said. The CPN-Maoist leader further claimed that the integration of the Maoist former fighters was against the agreement and the government became a failure due to such violation of the agreement. Nnnn MEDIA GOOGLE ‘… with the UCPN-Maoist, Chand said that his party could unify provided both Puspha Kamal Dahal and Baburam Bhattarai accept Mohan Baidhya's leadership and his ideology. Stating that the UCPN-Maoist had betrayed thePeople's Liberation Army, Chand accused Dahal of embezzling massive amount of fund released in the name of PLA combatants from the state coffers.” (CPN Maoist General Secretary Netra B.Chand, The Himalayan Times. 30 July) "The meeting concluded that the prime minister´s move contravenes the constitution and that it is just a ploy to prolong his stay in power. "We have concluded that the prime minister should withdraw the ordinances and vacate Baluwatar [the prime minister´s official residence] so as to create an environment conducive to ending the ongoing political stalemate.” (Ramnath Dhakal , Secretary UML parliamentary party department, Republica, 30 July) . ‘Bhattarai who dissolved constitutional assembly secretly has no right to declare another election constitutionally and politically.” (CPN Maoist General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa, Nagarik, 30 July) nnnn Nnnn BANK LENDING UP 41.5 PERCENT; COLLECTION GROWTH 367.7 PERCENT Kathmandu, 30 July:: Lending of commercial banks leapt by 41.5 percent in the first 11 months of last fiscal year, despite posting a whopping 367.7 percent growth in deposit collection in the same period, latest report of Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) shows, Republica reports. A total of 32 commercial banks extended Rs 74.21 billion in credit to various sectors in the 11-month period to mid-June, in contrast to deposit mobilization of Rs 138.84 billion in the same period. In the same period of fiscal year 2010/11, commercial banks had extended Rs 52.44 billion in loans and collected Rs 29.68 billion deposits. The discrepancy in deposit and credit expansion shows that banks are currently sitting on a mountain of cash, much of which has not been utilized. It is said the banking system currently has a liquidity of around Rs 100 billion. But due to tepid credit growth, triggered by slowing productive sector, most of the financial institutions are only paying interest on the parked cash, which is putting pressure on their net earnings. “The investment climate in the country is not promising, which has brought down the demand for loans,” Rajan Singh Bhandari, CEO of Citizens Bank, said. “Had it not been for few sectors like hydropower and industries like cement and steel plants, it would have been difficult for banks to post 41 percent lending growth.” The NRB report shows that basic iron and steel plants consumed Rs 6.01 billion in loans, while cement industries took away credit of Rs 4.41 billion in the 11-month period, up 29.2 percent and 36 percent, respectively. Credit growth in these sectors pushed up lending to the production sector by 22.8 percent to Rs 26.25 billion, or 35 percent of the total loans extended by commercial banks. However, in terms of growth, agriculture sector topped the list, with credit flow rising by a hefty 60 percent to Rs 8.5 billion during the period. Many bankers say the credit to the agri sector has gone up in the recent period because of the central bank´s mandatory provision that requires all banks and financial institutions to extend at least 10 percent of the total loan to agricultural and energy sectors. But they also say their balance sheets do not show the level of growth reflected by the central bank report. Earlier, bankers had urged the central bank to launch an investigation into the matter as they fear cases of reclassification to meet the standard set by the central bank. Among others, wholesale and retail traders took away Rs 14.8 billion in loans, a hike of 13.6 percent, construction sector secured Rs 8.97 billion in credit, a rise of 17.4 percent, and service sector consumed Rs 6.66 billion in loans, a rise of 18.3 percent. nnnn BANGLADESH AGREES TO ZERO TARIFF FOR NEPALO AGRO PRODUCTS Kathmandu, 30-July: Bangladesh - one of the few countries with which Nepal enjoys trade surplus -- has agreed to provide zero-tariff facility to Nepali agriculture products such as lentils and tomato, Bhojraj Pokhrel writes in Republica. According to Commerce Secretary Lal Mani Joshi, Bangladesh unilaterally announced to provide zero-tariff facility to Nepali agricultural products at a bilateral meeting held on Sunday. “High-level Bangladeshi officials agreed to provide zero-tariff facility on Sunday. However, formal agreement to this effect will be signed on Monday,” Joshi said. Nepal had been requesting for such a facility for more than a decade. It had been failing to secure the facility mainly Bangladesh was expecting similar treatment for Nepal. But it hadn´t materialized as bilateral treaty between Nepal and India bars Nepal from providing equal or more favorable tariff treatment to any third country. “Bangladesh has finally understood our position and agreed to grant zero-tariff facility unilaterally,” Joshi said, adding, “It is a great achievement as it might help us fined a new market for our agricultural products.” The Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) - a blueprint to boost export - has identified Bangladesh as third major destination for ginger. The meeting, however, could not reach to an agreement on operation modality for transit route. “We are close to forging an agreement on the issue. But we won´t sign it now,” Joshi said, adding, “We will hand over the draft agreement to a technical committee. That committee will pave the way for us to sign the pact.” Nepal and Bangladesh had okayed the draft of the operation mechanism of transit route during the commerce secretary-level talks held in Dhaka in 2010. Once signed, it will pave the way for Nepal to use Mongla and Chittagong ports for international trade. It will also resolve problems faced by traders on the overland transit route of Kakarvitta-Fulbari-Banglaband. However, traders doubt smooth operation of this land route as India has not improved the roads conditions and eased movement of transit traffic along the Kakarvitta-Fulbari and Fulbari-Banglaband segments of the route. Meanwhile, officials also held discussions on problems faced by traders from both the countries. Nepal´s exports to Bangladesh presently stand around Rs 3.3 billion, whereas imports from Bangladesh stand at around a billion rupees nnnn ________________________________________ PM PRESSURIZES PRESIDENT TO SIGN ELECTION ORDINANCES Kathmandu, 30 July: Singha Durbar and Shital Niwas are yet again on a collision course -- thanks to the two ordinances that the Cabinet moved to the President's Office on Friday. While political pundits and legal experts engage in passionate bi-partisan debate over whether the Head of State should approve the ordinances, the President's Office could take some time before deciding, Ananta Raj Luitel writes in The Himalayan Times. "It depends whether these ordinances are within the purview of the Constitution," Rajendra Dahal, Press Adviser to the President told The Himalayan Times today. "If the ordinances meet constitutional parameters, the President will be compelled to approve them," he added. Dahal said it would be some days before the President took a decision. President Yadav has already okayed ordinances on Mutual Legal Assistance and Extradition Treaty, facilities to former bigwigs and the budget for the current fiscal year following the dissolution of the CA. The government forwarded Constituent Assembly Election Ordinance and General Revisions and Amendment to Election Ordinance to the President on Friday. Lawyers claim that the President is not compelled to issue the ordinance but he can test its constitutionality. Attorney General Mukti Narayan Pradhan, however, said since the President did not have executive powers, he could not reject recommendations of the Cabinet. Minister of Physical Planning and Works Hridayesh Tripathi said, "The government decided to send the ordinances to the President, as they were necessary whether the elections for CA are held on November 22 or any other date," he said, adding, "Even the constitutional provisions regarding elections would have to be amended through ordinances." Former PM and senior leader of UML Madhav Kumar Nepal urged the President to reject the ordinances. "The government is against the Constitution and it did not even feel the urge to forge consensus," he added. Dr Ramsharan Mahat, a senior Nepali Congress leader, however, blamed the government for justifying its illegal decision to hold elections in such a situation. "The President must reject the ordinances, as it could not forge consensus," he added. Deputy Prime Minister and Vice-Chairman of UCPN-Maoist Narayan Kaji Shrestha said the Interim Constitution did not envision a situation of rejection by the President. "Neither the government nor the party has ever thought about such a situation," he added. "It would be unfortunate if the President did so. It is not even certain that the promulgation of the ordinance can ensure election." Nnnn REAL SECTOR FIRMS FAIL TO ATTRACT INVESTORS Kathmandu, 30 July: The Nepali capital market keeps pining for more real sector companies even though the stocks of the existing real sector companies fail to charm Investors, The Himalayan Times reports. Trading of real sector stocks listed at Nepal Stock Exchange (Nepse) under the heading of manufacturing, trading and hotels, comprises of about 0.16 per cent of the total shares listed under those subgroups. There are more than 86 million unit shares of the 26 companies listed under the three subgroups at Nepse. In the last 90 days, only 141,408 million unit shares belonging to these companies were traded. Likewise, among the 26 companies, shares of only nine companies were traded in 2012. Among the real sector companies listed at Nepse, four hydropower companies and Nepal Telecom are the only companies that see their shares trade regularly. The capital market regulator and Nepse have been trying to attract more real sector companies to get listed, blaming the dominating presence of financial intermediaries for the poor performance of the market as a whole. “The increasing number of real sector companies is not enough for diversification of the stock market if the performance of the real sector companies remains poor, discouraging investors,” pointed out share analyst Rabindra Bhattarai. “The regulators need to focus on listing quality companies instead of on the number of companies because when Nepse was established real sector companies had outnumbered financial institutions but now most of them have disappeared,” he added. Among the listed real sector companies, shares of Unilever Nepal, Bottlers’ Nepal, three listed hotels and Bishal Bazaar Company were traded in the last three months. Relative lack of transparency and minimal dividend distribution by real sector companies is a big turn off for investors. “Financial institutions, insurance companies and telecommunication companies have strong regulators keeping a tab on them, but manufacturing companies lack that and are not big on transparency as well, so investors have a hard time trusting them,” said Bhattarai who is also president of Securities Research Center and Services. Most companies prefer raising capital by borrowing from financial institutions instead of offering shares to the public as disadvantages of getting listed outweigh benefits. The government has even announced in the budget for the current fiscal year that companies who get listed at the stock exchange will be entitled to a 10 per cent tax discount as an incentive. The regulator — Securities Board of Nepal (Sebon) — had proposed an incentive package for diversified companies to get listed to be announced in this fiscal year’s budget but due to the partial announcement it has been postponed, said chairman of Sebon Baburam Shrestha. “Though we want more real sector companies to issue shares to the public, Securities Board of Nepal will only approve the public issue of companies that have good future prospects — both financially and in terms of corporate governance — to save investors from losing money to fly-by-night companies,” Shrestha added. Nnnn NEPALI-SPEAKING DISPLACED FROM ASSAM Kathmandu, 30 July: One hundred Nepali-speaking persons have been displaced in communal clashes in Assam between Bodos and Muslims, Rabeti Raman Sapkota reports in Nagarik. They have moved for security Chirai district and are being looked after at abuilding of a lower security school. nnnn