Nepal Today

Monday, December 31, 2012

SANKATA, MACHINDRA MEET IN FOOTBALL LEAGUE Kathmandu, 1 Jan.: Sarashwati plays Madhyapur in martyr memorial A Division football league at Dashtath Rangashala Tuesday. Sankata plays Machindra in another fixture. nnnn GOVT. WITHDRAWS CRIMINAL CASES AGAINST TOP MAOISTS Kathmandu, 1 Jan.:: Five criminal cases filed against the Unified CPN-Maoist leaders and cadres have been withdrawn from Kavre District Court over the period of two weeks in line with the government’s decision to this effect, Raj Kumar Parajuli writes in The Himalayan Times from Kavre... Cases against Maoist cadres Shiva Prasad Dahal of Ugrachandi Nala and Ramdas Ulak of Khopasi were withdrawn from the court today, while three other cases against UCPN-M Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai, also the prime minister, and district leader Suryaman Dong were withdrawn 13 days ago. The cases were withdrawn as per the instruction of the Office of the Attorney General to the concerned Office of the District Attorney about a month ago. The government decision to withdraw the cases against ruling Maoist leaders and cadres has, however, drawn flak from human rights organisations. Police had arrested Shiva Prasad Dahal about 11 years ago over a robbery case in which Shiva Prasad and his men had looted property worth Rs 3 million from the house of Yaduraj Giri of Tukucha VDC. Police had recovered the looted amount and valuables. Shiva Prasad, however, was released in 2006 when peace talks to bring the then warring Maoists to mainstream politics were going on. Ulak was facing charges of staging blast and arson at the house of Nepali Army Col Baldevraj Mahat in Panauti Municipality about nine years ago. UCPN-M Chairman Dahal, along with 30 others, had a case against them in connection with arson at Agriculture Forest Foundation’s field office in Mahadevsthan about 11 years ago, Bhattarai was implicated in a case of explosion and arson at a police post in Mahadevsthan and Dong and 11 others were facing the charge of setting a bus on fire in Kunta about eight years ago. The Cabinet on July 27 had also decided to withdraw the case related to the abduction and murder of Arjun Lama, 48, of Chhatrebanj VDC, Dapcha. Lama’s wife Purnimaya on November 22 had filed a case against UCPN-M leaders Agni Sapkota, also the party spokesperson now, and Dong at the Supreme Court seeking a mandamus order. In response, the apex court on November 26 had issued an interim order to the defendants, including the prime minister, Cabinet, district police and district administration, asking them not to implement the government decision of withdrawing the case until a verdict on the writ. Charges they were facing • Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal was facing an 11-year-old arson charge • Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai Bhattarai was implicated in an 11-year-old case of explosion and arson at a police post • District leader Suryaman Dong was facing the charge of setting a bus on fire in Kunta eight years ago • Party cadre Shiva Prasad Dahal was facing an 11-year-old robbery charge • Party cadre Ramdas Ulak was an accused in a blast and arson case nine years ago Nnnn PASSPORT DEPT. FAILING TO KEEP PROMISE[ Kathmandu, 1 Jan.: Need a passport? Need it urgently? The Department of Passport claims that it provides you with the machine readable passport in seven days provided you pay Rs 10,000, double the normal charge. But the claim seems to be nothing but a sham, The Himalayan Times reports.. Bhuwan Silwal of Langi, Gorkha, today tucked Rs 10,000 into his pocket and visited DoP at Narayanhiti today, wishing to get his passport in seven days — through the fast track service. But he was shell-shocked when authorities refused to accept his application even though he was ready to shell out double the normal charge. Silwal was one among 200 passport seekers who could not submit their applications today. Yadav Khanal, acting head of DoP, said his office was not receiving applications, as the number of passport seekers in the last one month has grown exponentially. According to Khanal, DoP is getting more than 1,000 applications every day for passports through the fast track service. DoP receives fast track applications through three counters and it can manage only 750 applications a day. DoP said it has been manning all the three counters from 9:00am-9:00 pm every day, including on holidays, and processing around 1,200 applications a day on certain occasions. “With the current strength of DoP, it can only issue 1,200-1,300 passports a day and we are getting 2,500-3,000 applications every day,” said Khanal. “Half of the passport seekers opt for the fast track service. Despite our efforts, we are unable to receive applications.” Khanal added that applicants from Nepal’s missions abroad also have significantly increased of late. But the question still lingers. Why DoP continues to boast of the fast track service when it cannot live up to it? If it does not have enough human resources, why does not it take initiative to do the needful to this effect? Foreign Secretary Durga Prasad Bhattarai, who is in New Delhi, India on a personal visit, told THT over phone that there are two ways to address the problem: Extending the time of the fast track service or creating additional posts through a government decision for effective service delivery. So why does not DoP or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under which the department is, act? “We are trying our best to create additional posts to address the issue though,” said Bhattarai, adding that given the sensitivity of the document, the ministry cannot deploy temporary staff to issue passports. Why DoP getting more applicants The Department of Passport says there are three reasons for the rise in number of passport applicants of late. First, it is the peak season for foreign job seekers. Second, the South Korean government recently made it mandatory that foreigners applying for job in South Korea have to have machine readable passports, prompting many Nepalis to visit DoP for MRPs. Third, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs itself has decided to hasten the process of replacing the hand-written passports with MRPs, even though hand-written ones have the validity up to November 24, 2014. Nnnn NC. UML SEEK MAJORITY GOVT. Kathmandu, 1 Jan.: After several rounds of talks failed to yield any positive result, the Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-UML are preparing to pile pressure on President Ram Baran Yadav to sack the government and begin a process of forming a majority government, Kamal Dev Bhattarai, Pranab Kharel write in The Kathmandu Post. . Key negotiators from the two opposition parties said there are no chances of consensus among the parties in the near future. According to them, the only option is to form a new government on the basis of majority in the dissolved Constituent Assembly (CA). The opposition parties are of the view that the President himself should complete the process of forming a new government as he had initiated it. “We are planning to mount pressure on the head of state to form a new government as per Article 38 (2) of the Interim Constitution as the parties have failed to form a consensus government as per Article 38 (1),” an NC leader said. Article 38 (1) calls for consensus among the parties. UML leaders also said there is a possibility of the President forming a new government. They, however, said that anything of that sort has to happen within the parameters set by Article 38 (1). “The talk for consensus among the parties was relative in nature. This means we can arrive at it even without Prachanda. Since the major parties have failed to give an outlet to the impasse, the President must hold consultations with more parties,” UML Secretary Shanker Pokharel said. Pokharel was, however, quick to add that the constitutional framework to be used was Article 38 (1) “as there is no possibility of invoking Article 38 (2).” Pokharel said his party will be supporting NC President Sushil Koirala as a consensual candidate. “But this has to be endorsed by other parties as well.” President Yadav had on November 23 initiated the process of forming a unity government after he set a seven-day deadline for the parties to find a consensual prime minister. The deadline has been extended six times, while consensus is still nowhere in sight.“For the protection of the constitution and to check the totalitarian activities of the government, the President must call on the parties to form a government on the basis of majority,” said NC spokesperson Dilendra Prasad Badu. He said opposition parties will hit the streets to make an environment for the President to sack PM Baburam Bhattarai. Echoing Badu, UML leader Pokharel said the opposition will be left with no option but to take to the streets “if the President doesn’t provide an outlet.” Even as parties continued to harp on consensus, they have taken no significant step towards that end. The parties failed to hold even a single meeting in the last extended deadline. As UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Monday flew to Thailand for his wife Sita Dahal’s treatment, chances of an early agreement are slim. Dahal’s fresh proposal to revive the CA if consensus is not had within January 9 has irked the opposition parties. Nnnn FAMILY MEMBERS SUSPCTED FOR MURDER OF GIRL IN RARA Kathmandu, 1 Jan.: Bara police have concluded that 16-year-old Bindu Thakur of Prastoka VDC-5 was murdered by her own family members, The Kathmandu Post reports from Bara. . Police Inspector Ramnath Ghimire told media persons on Monday that Bindu was murder ed by her father, Rama Thakur, and other family members after finding out that she was romantically involved with her classmate, Kundan Sah. As Bindu’s family did not approve of her relationship with the boy, Ghimire said, they killed her and then set her body on fire in the storeroom. Her burnt body was recovered by a bamboo grove close to the house on Wednesday morning. Bindu’s slippers were found outside her house. An empty kerosene jar was also recovered inside the house. Rama Thakur was taken into custody in the wake of the incident. He and the other family members have been claiming that Bindu had left the house on Wednesday morning for tuition class and that her charred body was found nearly an hour after her leaving. Inspector Ghimire said police were led into suspecting the family members behind the incident as their statements did not add up when they were interrogated separately. Based on the evidence gathered so far and the statements from the people close to the victim, the District Police Office has decided to keep Rama Thakur in custody for some more time. He was produced before the district court for the extension of his custody on Monday. He has denied the police claim arguing that there is no substantial evidence that could be held against him at the court. Meanwhile, women rights activists staged a rally in Kalaiya on Monday afternoon demanding stern action against people involved in Bindu’s killing. nnnn

RAPE AGAIN IN SIRAHA Kathmandu, 1 Jan. Two persons are on the run after a rape overnight in Lhangadi VDC-9 near Lahan. Siraha, police said... A woman was gang-raped. Nnnn MINIMUM TEMPERATURE 3 DEGREES CELSIUS Kathmandu, 1 Jan. Capital’s temperature Monday morning temperature was 3 degree Celsius. Mercury is expected torise to 19 degrees Celsius in the afternoon. Nnnn. GERMAN CHARGED . Kathmandu, 1 Jan.:: Police has filed a public offense case against Germany national Menphrint arrested on charge of child sexual harassment, RSS reports from Ratnanagar. He will face action for his act, said Chief of Chitwan District Police Office, Deepak Thapa. 'We have registered a case against him under Public Offense Act and strong action will be taken based on evidence', he added. Police on December 28 had arrested the Germany national red hand from a hotel at Sauraha on the charge of molesting children in and around Sauraha on temptation. Likewise, police had rescued a child from the room. The case has been filed after investigating the incident during two days, police said. Local entrepreneurs have demanded stern action against him accusing the police administration of merely registering feeble case despite having evidences of sexual harassment to children in the past. Police has recovered some 13 equipments including recorder, camera, laptop and data cables from him and further investigation will be made based on this, police said. nnnn DR. KC's LONE CRUSADE CHANGES 1 Kathmandu, 1 Jan.: Who says change is not possible through individual endeavor? With strong will power and relentless efforts, everything is possible, and change is inevitable, Professor Govinda KC at the Tribhuvan University Institute of Medicine (IOM) has proven this in the politics-ridden institute and the TU Teaching Hospital (TUTH), Arjun Paudel writes in Republica.. When all the government hospitals and institutions remain plagued with political meddling, Dr KC successfully rescued IOM and TUTH. To save TUTH, an epitome of quality medical care in Nepal which was struggling to maintain its very identity due to gross mismanagement and politicization, KC had staged a series of hunger strikes and he finally succeeded in his mission. The change brought through the single-handed efforts of Dr KC was a visible and significant one in the year 2012. The whole country and the civil society were overwhelmed by his selfless efforts and had also supported the peaceful protest. Dr KC along with other professors, doctors and students were dissatisfied with the decision of the TU´s executive council to extend the term of Dean Arun Sayami. They had warned the TU authorities against extending Sayami´s term, but the executive committee ignored the request and extended his term for an indefinite period. But Dr KC would not relent, he vowed to launch more protests against corruption in the TU. Demanding action against IOM officials including Dr Sayami who were implicated in several cases of irregularities by the Jayaram Giri-led committee formed after the 17-day TUTH strike in March 2010, Dr KC staged fast-unto-death thrice within a period of three months. And he started fast unto death on May 14. Dr KC ended his strike only after Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai invited him to the former´s residence and assured to fulfill his rightful demands. Bowing to the pressure of Dr KC´s strike, Prime Minister Bhattarai was compelled to write to the TU´s executive committee directing it to form a committee to recommend names of office bearers on merit basis. At that time, six top positions at IOM, including that of dean were vacant for the past eight months. Following continuous pressure of protest and Prime Minister´s directive, the TU finally sacked Dr Sayami from the post of IOM dean and appointed Prof Dr Kumud Kumar Kafle to the post. But Kafle retired after five weeks due on age ground. Kafle-led committee had recommended names of office bearers on the basis of merit and seniority, but TU VC Hira Bahdur Maharjan had prepared another list of names. Dr KC smelled a rat and again resumed protest on July 4 which lasted for four days. The executive council meanwhile appointed Dr Dharma Kanta Baskota as dean at IOM but Dr KC and agitating doctors rejected the decision outright saying it was not in line with seniority and merit. This prompted Dr Govinda KC to launch fresh fast-unto death protest. Dr KC´s last strike that started August 12 lasted six days until the government bowed to his demands. Classes at IOM remained halted and later all services except emergency at TUTH were disrupted. As Dr KC´s health worsened, doctors intervened and put him on a saline drip. Doctors threatened to stop all services except emergency at medical institutions across the country. An extended meeting of Nepal Medical Council (NMC) had decided to close all medical institutions across the country for two days to pressure the government to fulfil Dr KC´s demands. Finally the government bowed to the pressure and Dr Prakash Sayami as appointed as new IOM dean. Professor Dr Prakash Sayami, dean of IOM, later recommended the names of office bearers but TU VC Maharjan refused to accept the names saying the recommendations were not inclusive. Then Dr Sayami tendered his resignation over the dispute. IOM sources said VC Maharjan had sought to make political appointments to the vacant posts. When Dr KC again threatened protest, the TU council made the appointments as recommended by him. Following this Dr Sayami withdrew his resignation. The TU executive committee has appointed Dr Bimal Sinha as the chief of planning section, Dr Bharatmani Pokhrel as the examination head, Dr Sarad Onta as the academic chief and Dr Sarala Joshi as the chief of administration. Top positions at IOM had remained vacant for the past one year, which had severely affected the institute´s academic calendar. With the appointment of new office bearers, every shortcoming is expected to come on track. Later, as per the recommendation of IOM Dean Office, Dr Bhagwan Koirala was appointed as director of TUTH. Dr Koirala who served for eight years as the director of Sahid Gangalal National Heart Center is credited with markedly improving the hospital management. Within weeks of his appointment, Dr Koirala has made his presence felt at TUTH. Two changes are already visible -- first, the bed occupancy rate has reached almost 100 percent with Dr Koirala ensuring that patients do not have to turn back. Secondly, patients now do not need to queue up for hours to get admission as Dr Koirala has ensured that the ticket counter is open continuously from 10 am to 5 pm. Dr KC has proved that one man´s efforts can bring big change. Nnnn MBBS, MD STUDENTS LEFTIN LURCH IN CHINA Kathmandu, 1 Jan.: More than 60 Nepali students enrolled in MBBS and MD programs in various universities in China have been left in the lurch after Motherland Charitable Foundation failed to pay the fees to the universities, Nitjana Sharma writes in Republica. . The guardians of the students said they had paid the foundation Rs 1.5 million per student for the six-year MBBS program and Rs 750,000 per student for the three-year MD program. The foundation also runs an education consultancy. “The foundation had claimed that it had received donations from Nepalis and foreigners in Europe, the US and Canada to provide 50 percent scholarships to those who wanted to become medical doctors in Nepal,” said Arjun Kumar Thapa of Rautahat, who sent his daughter for the MBBS program after paying Rs 1.5 million through the foundation. “I went to the foundation after reading a newspaper advertisement claiming to provide scholarships, but it did not even pay the universities the amounts the guardians had paid.” The foundation located at Chandi Complex in Kalimati, Kathmandu, has been found cheating guardians and students since the last three years. Purushottam Pokharel, one of the guardians, said that foundation owners Raja Jha, Mukesh Jha, Prabina Khokali and Anita Shakya did not deposit the amounts the guardian had submitted to their organization. He said most of the guardians have paid all the money the foundation demanded. “Five students who went to China three months ago have not even gotten their admissions to the universities,” said Neela Jha, whose husband Dr Neeraj Aryal also went to China through the foundation. Jha said her husband has been waiting in China for the approval of his documents as the consultancy is yet to deposit the admission fee at Launing University. The Chinese university sent back Dr Shabana Khan who went there for his MD three months ago. Similarly, the university also refused to admit Babita Sah to the MBBS program, informed Tara Kumari Rai, coordinator of the action committee formed by the guardians of the victims. As many as eight students who went to Southern University for the MBBS have been left helpless while 17 MD students are said to be stranded at Launing University. Similarly, six MBBS and eight MD students at Chauchang University, 11 MBBS students at Xindao University, and two MBBS and 27 MD students at Teinjin University have been left helpless after the foundation failed to pay the fees to the universities. The official website of the Ministry of Education has stated that education consultancies are only authorized to provide counseling and cannot send students to foreign countries. Following the guardians´ complaint at the Metropolitan Police Range, police have arrested Raja Jha of Janakpur, one of the members of the foundation. The three others are still at large. Nnnn

PRACHANDA LEAVES FOR BANGKOK ACCOMPANIED BY WIFE Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal flew for Bangkon Monday accompanied by wife Sita Dahal and will return Wednesday. Sida Dahal is being treated for a kidney ailment in the Thai capital, an aide said. nnnn

SC INTERVENES TO STOP DIGAMBAR FROM ASSUMING OFFICE Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: The Supreme Court has issued an interim order in the name of the government, asking it not to allow Digambar Jha to act as Chief of Nepal Telecommunications Authority, RSS reports.. A division bench of Justices duo Kalyan Shresth and Sushila Karki issued the order on Monday in the name of the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Ministry of Information and Communications and Nepal Telecommunications Authority asking not to enforce the appointment of Jha as Chief. The SC has reasoned in the order that qualification and experience needed to the post was not ensured which could create legitimacy crisis in the government's decision. Advocate Jagan Nath Mishra on December 12 had filed a writ petition at the SC, challenging the government decision to appoint Jha by arguing that it was against Clause 5 of Telecom Act 2053BS. Nnnn MMC DEFEATS APF IN FOOTBALL LEAGUE Kathmanu,31 Dec.:: Jawalakhel Youth Club (JYC) defeated Boudha FC 3-0 in the martyrs memorial A division league Monday. JYC is now place in 8th place in the chart with 14 points. Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) defeated Armed Police Force (APF) 3-0 in another match. nnnn

THREE CHINESE ARRESTED] Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: Three Chinese nationals have been held along with five kilograms of red sandalwood on Monday, RSS reports.. Police arrested the trio while they were heading to China on a China South Airlines aircraft from Tribhuvan International Airport. Following the arrest, they have been handed over to the District Forest Office along with the confiscated red sandalwood for further action, the Office said. Nnnn SC STAYS GOVT. AMNESTY DECISION Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: The Supreme Court on Monday issued an interim order in the name of the government staying its decision to withdraw a murder case, RSS reports. A single bench of Justice Damodar Prasad Sharma ordered the government not to with the murder case filed against 13 persons, including Hridaya Narayan Kamat of Majhaula VDC in Siraha district for murdering Bhola Saha of the same locality. Rather, the government has been ordered to appear before the SC with a written response within 15 days on the case. The government, on December 14, had decided to withdraw the murder charge registered against different 13 persons. Against this decision of the government, Khushi Lal Yadav, son of the murdered had filed a writ petition at the SC on December 26. Thirteen persons including Hridaya Narayan Kamat had killed Paltu Yadav and Beltu Yadav over a minor dispute on August 1, 1990. nnnn

SHARE PRICE SLUMP Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: Share prices slumped Monday after a long rally. Nepse closed at 534 points after losing 6.97 points on the first day of weekly trading. The market was closed Sunday for Loshar. Altogether 314,556 shares were traded for Rs.111.637 million in 1300 transactions. nnnnn

Sunday, December 30, 2012

MAINTENANCE COST IN NUWAKOT Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: Over 53 million rupees has been spent for the construction and maintenance of the physical infrastructures that were destroyed by the former rebels during the insurgency period in Nuwakot district, RSS reports from Trishuli.. The district development committee (DDC), district technical office and urban and building development office spent the amount in the district in the reconstruction and maintenance bid. The Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction had initiated the reconstruction works in the district since 2064/065 fiscal year. According to engineer Lalit Neupane at district technical office, health posts in Kimtang, Phikuri, Valche, Dangsing, Deurali, Manakaman, Thaprek and others VDCs were reconstructed. Similarly, agriculture service centers, livestock service centers, Ayurveda center were also reconstructed in different VDCs in the district. The DDC said that the government is gradually allocating budget for the construction of remaining other physical infrastructures damaged during the decade-long conflict waged by the then CPN-Maoist. During the insurgency period, 60 VDC buildings, agriculture service sub-center and police posts were damaged in the district. Nnnn HILLARY CLINTON DEVELOPS BLOOD CLOT Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was admitted to a New York hospital Sunday after the discovery of a blood clot stemming from the concussion she sustained earlier this month, AP reports from Washington. Clinton's doctors discovered the clot Sunday while performing a follow-up exam, her spokesman, Philippe Reines, said. He would not elaborate on the location of the clot but said Clinton is being treated with anti-coagulants and would remain at New York-Presbyterian Hospital for at least the next 48 hours so doctors can monitor the medication. "Her doctors will continue to assess her condition, including other issues associated with her concussion," Reines said in a statement. "They will determine if any further action is required." Clinton, 65, fell and suffered a concussion while at home alone in mid-December as she recovered from a stomach virus that left her severely dehydrated. The concussion was diagnosed Dec. 13 and Clinton was forced to cancel a trip to North Africa and the Middle East that had been planned for the next week. The seriousness of a blood clot "depends on where it is," said Dr. Gholam Motamedi, a neurologist at Georgetown University Medical Center who was not involved in Clinton's care. Clots in the legs are a common risk after someone has been bedridden, as Clinton may have been for a time after her concussion. Those are "no big deal" and are treated with six months of blood thinners to allow them to dissolve on their own and to prevent further clots from forming, he said. A clot in a lung or the brain is more serious. Lung clots, called pulmonary embolisms, can be deadly, and a clot in the brain can cause a stroke, Motamedi said. Keeping Clinton in the hospital for a couple of days could allow doctors to perform more tests to determine why the clot formed, and to rule out a heart problem or other condition that may have led to it, he said. Dr. Larry Goldstein, a neurologist who is director of Duke University's stroke center, said blood can pool on the surface of the brain or in other areas of the brain after a concussion, but those would not be treated with blood thinners, as Clinton's aide described. Clinton was forced to cancel Dec. 20 testimony before Congress about a scathing report into the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The report found that serious failures of leadership and management in two State Department bureaus were to blame for insufficient security at the facility. Clinton took responsibility for the incident before the report was released, but she was not blamed. Some conservative commentators suggested Clinton was faking the seriousness of her illness and concussion to avoid testifying, although State Department officials vehemently denied that was the case. Lawmakers at the hearings - including Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman who has been nominated by President Barack Obama to succeed Clinton - offered her their best wishes. Last Thursday, before the discovery of the blood clot, Reines said Clinton was expected to return to work this week. The former first lady and senator, who had always planned to step down as America's top diplomat in January, is known for her grueling travel schedule. She is the most traveled secretary of state in history, having visited 112 countries while in the job. Clinton is considered a front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, although she has not announced plans to run. Nnnn CHAVEZ SUFFERS COMPLICATIONS Kathmandu, 31 Dec.:: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is suffering more complications linked to a respiratory infection that hit him after his fourth cancer operation in Cuba, his vice president said in a somber broadcast on Sunday, Reuters reports from Caracas.. Vice President Nicolas Maduro flew to Cuba to visit Chavez in the hospital as supporters' fears grew for the ailing 58-year-old socialist leader, who has not been seen in public nor heard from in three weeks. Chavez had already suffered unexpected bleeding caused by the six-hour operation on December 11 for an undisclosed form of cancer in his pelvic area. Officials said doctors then had to fight a respiratory infection. "Just a few minutes ago we were with President Chavez. He greeted us and he himself talked about these complications," Maduro said in the broadcast, adding that the third set of complications arose because of the respiratory infection. "Thanks to his physical and spiritual strength, Comandante Chavez is confronting this difficult situation." Maduro, flanked by his wife Attorney-General Cilia Flores, Chavez's daughter Rosa Virginia and her husband, Science Minister Jorge Arreaza, said he would remain in Havana while Chavez's condition evolved. He said Chavez's condition remained "delicate" - a term he has used since the day after the surgery, when he warned Venezuelans to prepare for difficult times and urged them to keep the president in their prayers. "We trust that the avalanche of love and solidarity with Comandante Chavez, together with his immense will to live and the care of the best medical specialists, will help our president win this new battle," Maduro said. A senior government official in Caracas said the New Year's Eve party in the capital's central Plaza Bolivar had been canceled. "Everyone pray for strength for our comandante to overcome this difficult moment," the official, Jacqueline Faria, added on Twitter after making the announcement. OIL-FINANCED SOCIALISM Chavez's resignation for health reasons, or his death, would upend politics in the OPEC nation where his personalized brand of oil-financed socialism has made him a hero to the poor but a pariah to critics who call him a dictator. His condition is being closely watched around Latin America, especially in other nations run by leftist governments, from Cuba to Bolivia, which depend on subsidized fuel shipments and other aid from Venezuela for their fragile economies. Chavez has not provided details of the cancer that was first diagnosed in June 2011, leading to speculation among Venezuela's 29 million people and criticism from opposition leaders. Chavez's allies have openly discussed the possibility that he may not be able to return to Venezuela to be inaugurated for his third six-year term as president on the constitutionally mandated date of January 10. Senior "Chavista" officials have said the people's wishes were made clear when the president was re-elected in October, and that the constitution makes no provision for what happens if a president-elect cannot take office on January 10. Opposition leaders say any postponement would be just the latest sign that Chavez is not in a fit state to govern and that new elections should be called to choose his replacement. If Chavez had to step down, new elections would be called within 30 days. Opposition figures believe they have a better shot against Maduro, who was named earlier this month by Chavez as his heir apparent, than against the charismatic president who for 14 years has been nearly invincible at the ballot box. Any constitutional dispute over succession could lead to a messy transition toward a post-Chavez era in the country that boasts the biggest oil reserves in the world. Maduro has become the face of the government in Chavez's absence, imitating the president's bombastic style and sharp criticism of the United States and its "imperialist" policies. In Sunday's broadcast, Maduro said Chavez sent New Year greetings to all Venezuelans, "especially the children, whom he carries in his heart always. nnnn

PERSON SUSPECTED OF RAPE ARRESTED Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: Following intense pressure from rights activists, police detained Bhup Narayan Yadav—an alleged rapist—of Lalpur VDC-5 of Siraha district on Sunday night, RSS reports from Siraha . Yadav, 40, has been accused of raping a local 20-year old mentally retarded lady on Friday afternoon. Activist Sunil Sah said that police inspector Shailendra Gachhadar of Area Police Post, Golbazaar, had refused to arrest the alleged rapist. However, Gachhadar later arrested Yadav after receiving a call from superintendent of police (SP) Bikram Gurung. SP Gurung has directed the junior police officials to take stern action against alleged rapist if was confirmed a guilty. Nnnn NC MARKS NATIONAL UNITY DAY Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: NC marks national unity day Monday. The day commemorates the return home of self-exiled NC leader BP Koirala from India where Prime Minister Indira Gandhi slapped an Emergency. She didn’t tolerate activities of supporters, Koitala, of Jayaprakash Narayan. nnnn

COLD WAVE DEATHS REACH 12 IN NEIGHBOURING SIRAHA Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: Number of people dying due to cold has reached 12 in Siraha district, RSS reports from Siraha.. Of them, one is a child, six elderly women and five elderly men. Locals said six persons including a minor died at Itariprasahi VDC in Siraha district in the last six days due to the sudden fall in mercury. Mostly, dalit children and elderly persons lost their lives in the VDC due to cold as they could not manage warm clothes, said Sumitra Mandal, a teacher. Similarly, one elderly man and two elderly women died in Sakhipur VDC due to excessive cold, said VDC Secretary, Drabeshwor Das. Likewise, two people lost their lives in Jamdaha VDC and one in Tergena Govindapur VDC due to cold. Transport services, the market, factories and educational institutions in the district have been affected due to dense fog and cold wind. According to the District Agricultural Development Office, blight disease has been seen in potato crop and leaves of mustard and bean plant are drying due to the cold wave. Number of patients suffering from various cold-related illnesses visiting health institutions in the district has gone up. Mostly, children and elderly persons have been affected by the cold. The people here have demanded that the government provide warm clothes to the poor, women and children, who have been affected by cold for lack of warm clothes. RSS Nnnn PROTESTS OPPOSING ABUSES AGAIINST FEMALES CONTINUE FOR FIFTH DAY Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: Rights groups are continuing their protests against abuses tarketing girls and women for two hours in front of the prime minister’s residence Monday. Protests are continuing for the fifth consecutive day. nnnn

COLD WAVE DEATH IN RAUTAHAT INCREASES TO 13 Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: Cold wave deaths in Rautahat increased to 13 with deaths of a 50-year-old woman and a 80-year-old man. The man died in Gaur. Dead are mostly old poor. Nnnn MMC, APF MEET IN FOOTBALL LEAGUE Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: Jawalakhel Youth Club plays Baudha in the Martyrs Memorial A Division Football League Championship at Dashtath Rangashala Monday. MMC and APF meet in another match. nnnn TAXMEN MAY CONFRONT POLITICAL PERSONS FOR MONEY LAUNDERING Kathmandu 31 Dec.: Financial transaction s of politically exposed persons (PEPs)—who may represent a higher risk of corruption by virtue of the positions they hold—may face greater scrutiny, with the government doing homework to amend the Anti-Money Laundering Act to include such a provision, Prithvi Man SHrestha writes in The Kathmandu Post.. The proposed second amendment to the Act is in line with the revised recommendations put forth by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global anti-money laundering body. The FATF has sought an enhanced due diligence of both foreign and domestic PEPs, PEPs from international organisations and their family and associates. The previous recommendation had only talked about foreign PEPs. “We will incorporate the provisions that are compatible with the FATF recommendations in the amendment,” said Law Ministry Secretary Bhes Raj Sharma. However, endorsing a bill that scrutinises the political class will be a herculean task, as the final decision makers are the politicians. “We have to make the law compatible with international standards. But politicians are the ultimate decision makers,” said Sharma, who is also a member of the Anti-Money Laundering National Coordination Committee. A technical team within the law ministry is currently drafting the amendment. Initial recommendations put forth by the team on the amendment were discussed in the meeting of the coordination committee on Sunday. As per the new FATF recommendation, tax crimes such as smuggling should also be brought under the anti-money laundering regime. The FATF has given Nepal until June 2013 to amend the Act. The FATF has said in its report despite having the Act in place, Nepal has failed to criminalise money laundering and terrorist financing. Finance Secretary Shanta Raj Subedi said although preparations are under way, the components to be inclu-ded in the Act are yet to be determined. Another official participating in the meeting said discussions were held on incorporating enhanced measures in high-risk areas and measures to be taken to maintain more transparency on the ownership and control of legal persons and legal arrangement or about the parties to wire transfer in the amendment. Dharma Raj Sapokota, chief at the Financial Information Unit (FIU) of the central bank and secretary of coordination committee, said based on FIU’s records, real estate, shares and foreign exchange transaction s are riskier areas where vigilance should be upped. During Sunday’s meeting, officials also discussed how to get the ordinance on Organised Crime endorsed, preparation of a separate Act to freeze and confiscate property of those involved in money laundering and terrorist financing and upgrading automation of FIU. Sapkota said the law secretary has been asked to arrange an appointment with the Prime Minister to discuss the ordinance on Organised Crime. Nnnn SOUTH KOREAN CO.. CONSTRUCTING INFORMATION HIGHWAY IN SOUTH ASIA Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: The government gearing up to sign a contract with South Korea’s ICRAFT Company for the execution of the South Asian Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Information Highway Project, The Kathmandu, Post writes. . The Asian Development Bank (ADB)-supported project will link Nepal with India, Bangladesh and Bhutan through an optical fibre network. The Ministry of Information and Communications issued a letter of acceptance (LoA) to the Korean firm on December 25. In a tender invited by the ministry, ICRAFT had quoted the lowest bid of $ 1.94 million for the project. Two Chinese firms—Anhui Communications Services and ZTE Communication—had quoted $3 million and $3.51 million, respectively. Another Chinese firm Sichuan Qingfeng Communications had also proposed to undertake the project, but its proposal was rejected during preliminary evaluation as its bid security validity period was not sufficient. Ministry officials said the work on the project will begin within the next month. “We have given a 28-day time to ICRAFT to submit performance bond and sign a contract,” said Sushil Ojha, spokesperson for the ministry. The SASEC project has focused on three components—setting up cross-border regional connectivity with a backbone bandwidth capacity of 10 Gbps; making ICT accessibility in rural communities; and operating a resource and training centre. The project will open 30 community e-centres in rural areas, besides a research and training centre for development of ICT in the country. The planned cross-country fibre link will help reduce the cost of using data and voice services. It is also seen as the best way to avoid dependency on satellite connections for communicating with countries around the world. As per the government target, the project is scheduled to be completed within the 8-10 months after the signing of the contract. Under the project, the government will install an optical fibre link of more than 500km (skipping sections where fibre links have been laid by Nepal Telecom). It will provide an alternate backbone route in Nepal for establishing cross-border connectivity through Cable Landing Station (CLS) in Rani, Biratnagar, by connecting to the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) network in Jogbani, India, and another CLS in Birgunj connected to Raxaul, India. About seven months ago, Nepal Telecom, on behalf of the government, had signed a contract with BSNL, Bangladesh Telecom Company and Bhutan Telecom to establish bilateral interconnections by building a fibre link. As per the government’s decision, the ministry will implement the project and hand it over to Nepal Telecom for operation and maintenance. nnnn

CHOLESHWOR DAHAL NEW CHAIRMAN OF NEPAL JAYCEES Kathmandu, 30 Dec.: The 39th national convention of Nepal Jaycees elected Choleshwor Dulal as its new chairman, RSS reports from Hetauda. Dulal was elected by securing 1145 votes, defeating his nearest rival Sunil Babu Shrestha. Shrestha got only 820 votes. The general convention also elected Nishara Acharya, Rabindra Gurung, Subhash Chandra Bhattarai and Nirajan Thapa as the executive vice-chairpersons. Similarly, Amrit Aryal, Krishna Bahadur Bohora, Subhash Chandra Gautam, Nawal Bhattarai, Binram Shrestha, Manrath Shrestha, Jitendra Shrestha, Bhojraj Bhandari and Bina BC were elected 10 national vice-chairpersons Nnnn THREE STAR CLUB ROUT BANSBARI 6-0 IN FOOTBALL LEAGUE UPDATE Kathmandu, 30 Dec.: Three Star Club Sunday routed Bansbari FC 6-0 in the Martyrs Memorial A Division football league championship. Friends Club beat Himalayan Sherpa Club 1-0 in another match. Nnnn PM SAYS RESIGNATION IN HIS POCKET Kathmandu, 30 Dec.: Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai has reiterated that he was not an obstacle but a means to resolving the present political crisis, RSS reports.. Speaking at the monthly ´Prime Minister with the people´ programme of Radio Nepal here this evening, Dr Bhattarai said "I have my resignation letter in my pocket and I am ready to resign as soon as the parties forge a consensus". He however said that his resignation alone would not give an outlet to the country in absence of a consensus among the political parties. Emphasizing on the need of holding elections to the CA in May after forming a government of national consensus by the second week of January, he urged the parties not to push the country into a quagmire of uncertainty for their petty interest. Dr Bhattarai pointed out the need for a consensus among the parties in arms during and after the 12-point agreement in order to institutionalize the gains of the people´s movement. Accepting that his government has not been able to perform as much as expected by the people as a result of the difficult circumstances, the Prime Minister however expressed optimism at the present political situation. Referring to the failure in the promulgation of the new constitution from the erstwhile CA, the Prime Minister said as the Government only played a coordinating role in the constitution making process, it was the political parties who were mostly responsible for it. Saying that he was trying his best to ensure good governance to the people, the Prime Minister acknowledged that traditional acts and laws have barred to achieve the expected results. The Prime Minister said that something new was being done through the programmes like ´Hello Sarkar´ and ´PM with the People´. The PM said his government was not able to do as per the people´s expectations due to lack of its own policy and programs and lack of timely budget in this fiscal year. Prime Minister Dr Bhattarai further added that some new programs have been initiated after instituting the Investment Board and declaring the Nepal Investment Year. "I urge all not to be disappointed as works cannot be done in a hurry in transition," the PM tried to placate the listeners. On the occasion, the PM said that alcohol was also one of the causes of violence against women and added official concerned have been ordered to control it. The government was committed to the development of agriculture and added he was planning to bring some new projects for the development and expansion of the agro-industry. The PM said that loadshedding hour was not reduced in the past due to lack of clear policy adding that the government was preparing to import 200 megawatt of power from India. Hetauda and Duhabi based multi-fuel plants have been brought into operation, he added. Dr Bhattarai also said that he was committed to ending anarchy and confusion in the education sector and the officials of the Tribhuvan University have been ordered to fully implement the academic calendar. Nnnn DEMAND FOR SPECIAL RIGHTS FOR DALITS Kathmandu, 30 Dec.: CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidhya has said that Dalits should be entitled to not only reservation but also special rights, RSS reports. Speaking at an interaction on 'role of media in the dalit liberation movement' organised by Revolutionary Dalit Journalists' Association here on Sunday, he said the dalits are entitled to special rights along with compensation because the dalit community faced injustice at the hands of 'Brahmanism and Feudalism' for a long time. He also said the dalits should be given an inclusive place in the media considering participation and the issues concerned. However, only resolution of problem of class and not caste would resolve ethnic, regional and economic problems, he said. Vice-chair of Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) Yashoda Timsina said inclusion in education would resolve the problem to a large extent. Ex-member of parliament and journalist Binod Pahadi shared that around 700 dalit journalists are working for various forms of media in Nepal. Revolutionary Journalists' Federation Chair Kumar Shah, Nepal Press Union Secretary Bhuvan Bhatta and other speakers stressed on the need of a special role in putting an end to ethnicity-based discrimination in the media. Earlier, Chairperson of Revolutionary Dalit Journalists' Association Padam Biswakarma had presented a working paper on the theme of the programme. nnnn HAPPY NEW YEAR A HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR TO ALL READERS OF THE BLOG.FROM BHOLA RANA. YOUR ENCOURAGEMENT, SUGGESTIONS AND HELP WILL CERTAINLY HELP US GOING. TNKS AND RGDS. Nnnn POLICE BLAMED FOR GIRL’S DEATH Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: Bara locals on Sunday protested against "police incompetence" in investigating into the death of Bindu Thakur, an 18-year-old girl whose charred body was found on Wednesday, Upendra Yadv writes in Republica from Bara.. Claiming that the post mortem report was false and fabricated, the protestors led by Nepal Sadvawana Party chairperson Sarita Giri alleged that the police were trying to save the main culprit of the incident. Giri, who led a sit-in protest in front of the Distinct Police Office, told the media that she suspects police might be under some kind of pressure as they are still clueless even five days after the incident. She also demanded action against the concerned doctor at Kalaiya Hospital stating that post mortem report was incomplete. Giri further claimed that the autopsy report has tried to cover the "murder" further as it failed to answer if Bindu was raped. The report is also silent about the bruises on Bindu´s body, according to Giri. Bindu´s charred body was found in a field 100 meters away from her house in Prastoka of Bara district. When asked about the allegations of "police incompetence", Deputy Superintendent of Police Dipak Adhikari said that police are working independently and they will resolve the case as soon as possible. He however said Bindu´s family and some locals are trying to cover up the incident Nnnn ATTEMPTS TO FEND OFF DHRUBE FUTILE Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: When it cames to repelling wild elephants from barging into human settlements, Chitwan National Park (CNP) and the authorities concerned have left hardly any stone unturned. Nevertheless, precautionary measures have failed to prevent elephants from killing humans in the Madi area of Chitwan in the past few months, Ramesh Lumar Paudel writes in Republicca from Chitwan.. Electric fences placed around the Madi area could not fend off the tuskers. Training the locals in how to chase away the tuskers with power torchlights has had no positive impact either. Moreover, attempts to understand the tuskers´ abnormal behavior through detention and tracking with electronic devices have also all gone in vain. All the precautionary efforts were initiated by the Tarai Arc Landscape (TAN) project of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) at huge expense and with manpower provided by the village development committees(VDCs) and the buffer zone forest users groups. “We had placed 36 km of electric fencing around the four VDCs of Madi. One km of fencing costs around Rs 200,000,” said Abdul Ansari, assistant coordinator of TAL. Despite the electric fencing, which was installed some four years ago, two locals were trampled to death by a tusker back in December of 2010. The killings were followed by the death of another local, Amar Bahadur Thapa, in Ameliya forest of Gardi VDC on November 2, 2012. All the victims´ houses were within the electric fencing. “To strengthened the electric current we doubled the solar power for charging the fence but even that didn´t stop the tuskers from entruding and killing,” said Yama Kanta Bhusal, chief of the Pancha Pandav buffer zone users´ group. “Three more people were trampled by tuskers after the power boost,” added Bhusal. In the course of familiarizing locals about wild tuskers, CNP had even let three domesticated tuskers, as one of them named ´Kunki,´ mingle with them. Among the trainees, Dhan Bahadur Gurung of Dhropatinagar-9 was elated, hoping such familiarisation would dispel the daily trauma among locals, but that is not how it turned out. To his dismay, an elderly couple was killed by a tusker on April 17, 2012 in the same village. On June 1, TAL distributed 56 powerful torchlights as it was believed they could be used to dispel the tuskers easily when encountered. At the same time, locals were trained in spotting the tuskers through GPS technology. “Sadly, all that training has brought no safety,” said Bhusal. “We are still trying our best to improve on the security measures. Keeping the locals and tuskers apart has become our major challenge,” said Ansari. According to Dr Narendra Pradhan, an expert on elephants, Nepal has a wild elephant population of about 170. Nnnn PM APOLIGIZES IN TIA RAPE CASE Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: The government on Sunday has formally apologised for the robbery and rape of a woman, who hails from Bhojpur district, by the police and immigration officials at the Tribhuvan International Airport, The Himalayan Times reports.. In a joint meeting of the central coordination committee on gender-based violence and gender empowerment, advisors’ group and chiefs of the security agencies, Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai and Chief Secretary Lilamani Paudel expressed sadness over the TIA rape case and apologised. The meeting was held at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Baluwatar today. According to a statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister, the country’s executive head directed the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) and Inspector General of Nepal Police to book the officials who allegedly robbed and raped the woman who returned home from Saudi Arabia. Also, the meeting directed MoHA to immediately make public the status and process of ongoing investigation into the case. The report would be sent to the CIAA tomorrow for further action, and it would be publicised after the completion of investigation, according to the statement. Occupy Baluwatar protest continues Earlier today, activists and people from various walks of life continued the Occupy Baluwatar protest near the Prime Minister’s official residence for the third day. They demanded action against the ones involved in the TIA rape case and other cases of gender-based violence, and chanted slogans against the Prime Minister and Home Minister for their apathy towards curbing the gender-based violence. The kith and kin of Saraswoti Subedi, who was found dead in suspicious circumstances in Ananmangar-based house of a senior police official’s relative, and Chhori Maiya Maharjan, who mysteriously disappeared from the Capital on February 28 also assembled there. nnnn. DEMOCRATIC PANEL WONS ELECTIONS. Kathmandu, 31 Dec.:The Democratic Professors Union, affiliated to Nepali Congress, elected its new executive committee on Sunday, Surendra Kafle writes in The Himalayan Times from Nepalgunj. . Prof. Basudev Ghimire has been elected the DPU’s new president. He defeated Hari Darshan Shrestha in the elections held here in Nepalgunj today. With both of them garnering 361 votes, Dharma Raj Koirala of Ghimire’s panel and Krishna Prasad Gautam of Shrestha’s panel tied for the post of senior vice president. Six regional vice presidents and seven members elected in the new executive committee are from Prof. Ghimire’s panel. Jagat Timilsina was elected the general secretary, Bishnu K.C. the secretary and Bishnu Pokhrel the treasurer of DPU. They are from Shrestha’s panel. After his election as the DPU president, Prof. Ghimire expressed his commitment to work for the right of university teachers and education quality and its effectiveness. As many as 905 votes were cast in the polls today. Six more members will be nominated in the DPU executive committee later. nnnn

PARTIES GET ANOTHER DEADLINE EXTENSION Kathmandu, 30 Dec.: President Ram Baran Yadav Sunday extended a deadline for the seventh time until 9 January 9 asking political parties to agree find a consensus candidate to replace Baburam Bhattarai who is reluctant to quit after 16 months in office. The deadline was extended after consultations with leaders of UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF). MORE. ANOTHER JANAJATI PARTY LAUNCHED Kathmandu, 30 Dec.: Socialist Democratic Party, sponsored by Janahatis, was launched from the capital Sunday. The new party was launched one after Ashot Rai, vice-chairman of UML, launched The Federal Socialist Party on Sunday. Leaders of the new party are dissatisfied with Rai's faction. A seven-member committeehas been formed with Chaitanya Subba; other members are:, Kumar Rai, Bal Kumari Budamagar, Pasang Sherpa, Dalmardan Karki, Nima Gyanzen Lhyolmo and Jyoti Dunuwar. nnnn ROCK BLAST KILLS TWO WORKERS Kathmandu, 30 Dec.: Two Nepali workers were killed Sunday when rocks were being blasted while constructing a tunnel of Khani Khola Hydropower project in Dolakha. Bir Bahadur Gurung was among the killed. nnnn

BLOOD CLOT REMOVED FROM BASTOLA’S BRAIN Kathmandu, 30 Dec.: Blood clot was removed from the brain of Chakra Prasad Bastola at a hospital in Siligudi Saturday, Nagarik reported Sunday quoting Bastola’s nirce Sarita Prasai. But he’s not out of danger, other reports said. Bastola collapsed at home in Biratnagar Saturday and was rushed to Siligudi after being referred there by a Dharan hospital following brain hemorrhage. .. Nnnn WOMAN BURNS WIFE Kathmndu, 30 Dec.: Kamaro Sarki of Narayan municipality, Namunabasti burnt his wife in the right thigh last week. She has recovered in hospital. Police have detained the husband.’ The incident comes against increasing crimes against women an girls. Nnnn GOVINDA MAINALI SEEKS 68 MILLION YEN DAMAGE Kathmandu, 30 Dec.:- Govinda Prasad Mainali , who was erroneously imprisoned in Japan for 15 years, has demanded 68 million yen in compensation from the Japanese authorities, The Japan Times reported on Saturday. The sum is equivalent to over Rs 69 million, the highest Mainali can claim as per Japan's law, Anlit Adhikari reports in The Kathmandu Post.. Mainali's family members in Kathmandu, however, declined to confirm the amount, saying that Mainali is in talks directly with lawyers in Japan. “We are in no position to comment on anything concerning the compensation amount,” said Bishnu Nisthuri, former president of the Federation of Nepali Journalists and one of Mainali's relatives. Radha, Mainali's wife, too, refused to divulge the details. “We can't say anything yet,” she told the Post over the phone. “If there are any developments in future, we will present ourselves to the media.” Mainali was not available for comments despite several attempts of the Post. Considering that his case is still under way in Tokyo High Court, Mainali has refrained from appearing in the media. According to The Japan Times, under the criminal compensation law, a wrongfully imprisoned person is allowed to seek damages from the state and the sum is determined after the government considers factors such as the length of time served and the degree of mental distress caused. “The amount per day ranges from 1,000 to 12,500 yen,” reads the report. “Mainali is seeking 12,500 yen per day and may file another lawsuit for damages.” Mainali was jailed for a 1997 rape and murder of a woman in Tokyo. After serving 15 years, a retrial last April revealed that the semen collected from the woman's body did not match Mainali's. He was deported to Nepal in June. The Tokyo High Court on December 7 released its final verdict declaring Mainali innocent. Prosecutors who had been demanding Mainali's imprisonment even after his deportation withdrew their case on October 29, saying, “Based on available evidence, the possibility of another person being the culprit [rapist and murderer] cannot be ruled out.” nnnn BLACKLISTING LOOMS LARGE Kathmandu, 29 Dec.:Although Nepal has been categorised among the countries that are making progress in addressing deficiencies in their Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regimes, its failure to introduce the ‘Act on Organised Crime’ has increased the risk of being downgraded to the ‘dark grey list’ or being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental global anti- money laundering body. Nepal is currently on the ‘grey list’, Prithvi Man Shrestha writes in The Kathmandu Post. . Nepal had promised to introduce three Acts—Act on Organised Crime, Mutual Legal Assistance Act and Act on Extradition Treaty—within 2010, but the government has so far been able to introduce only two Acts. The Mutual Legal Assistance Act and the Act on Extradition Treaty were brought thorough ordinance in June 2012. After the endorsement of the two anti- money laundering (AML) bills, Nepal had received one more year (until June 2012) to address its AML/CFT deficiencies. With political parties expressing reservations over the ordinance on organised crime, it was not sent to the President for endorsement in June. Now, senior government officials say the country’s failure to introduce the Act may prove risky. Among the major jobs that Nepal needs to complete are the endorsement of the bill on organised crime, amendments to the Act on Anti-money Laundering and automation of the Financial Information Unit (FIU) at the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB). Despite the central bank’s effort, work on FIU automation hasn’t been moved ahead. “Whether the FATF will continue to keep Nepal among the countries making progress or downgrade will be based on the progress made in introducing this Act,” said NRB Deputy Governor Maha Prasad Adhikari. The FATF has long been blaming Nepal’s AML/CFT deficiencies for its ‘failure to criminalise’ money laundering and terrorist financing. The next FATF plenary is scheduled to be held in February 2013. But before the FATF plenary, Nepal has to take part in the meeting of the Regional Review Group (RRG), a body of the International Regional Review Group (ICRG) that analyses risks to international financial system due to AML/CFT deficiencies of certain countries. The RRG meeting is scheduled to take place in Hong Kong on January 17, for which Nepal has already sent a progress report. Based on Nepal’s progress report and outcome of the face-to-face between the two sides, RRG will send its report to ICRG and FATF. “This meeting is crucial as FATF’s decision in February will be based on ICRG’s reporting,” said Adhikari. Central bank officials said RRG had asked Nepal to act faster on introducing the Act on Organised Crime during the face-to-face held in Australia a few months ago. If blacklisted, Nepali financial institutions will lose their credibility in the international arena and foreign banks may not approve the letters of credit issued by Nepali banks. The blacklisting will also diminish Nepal’s prospects of getting foreign aid and investment. In its progress report sent to RRG, Nepal has included the progress made so far, including the AML directive issued by central bank and five-year strategic plan, among others. “However, it may not be enough and we may have to be defensive when it comes to the Act on Organised Crime,” said Dharma Raj Sapkota, chief of the NRB’s FIU that keeps records of suspicious financial transactions. With RRG meeting inching closer, the Finance Ministry has started consultations over the issue and a meeting has been planned on Sunday. FATF is more concerned about the introduction of necessary laws to criminalise money laundering and terrorist financing. “They don’t care about Nepal’s limitations and ask why the law could not be passed when the state is functioning,” said Adhikari. The FATF’s October plenary had pointed out some of Nepal’s AML/CFT deficiencies, including criminalising money laundering and terrorist financing; establishing and implementing adequate procedures to identify and freeze terrorist assets and confiscate them, enacting and implementing appropriate mutual legal assistance legislation; ensuring a fully operational and effectively functioning of FIU; and establishing adequate suspicious transaction reporting obligations. “Despite the endorsement of the mutual legal assistance ordinance, the FATF has told the government that the law is not of international standards,” said Sapkota, adding the FATF had sent a letter to the Finance Minister on November 2 to make the Act of international standards. “As the Act does not allow sharing of information with the countries with which Nepal has not signed extradition treaty, FATF termed it deficient,” said Sapkota. Nepal had narrowly avoided a blacklisting in February 2012 during FATF plenary in Paris. Intense last minute diplomatic efforts both in Kathmandu and Paris had rescued Nepal then. nnnn

Saturday, December 29, 2012

PM TO INTARACT WITH RADIO NEPAL LISTENERS Kathmandu,30 Dec. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai will interact with listeners of state-owned Radio Nepal at 8.10 in the evening Sunday. The premier launched the Janata Sangha Pradhan Mantri programme when he assumed office to interact directly with people. The head of government also spends one night month with a family in a village. Another monthly programme to visit his parliamentary constituency has been abandoned. Nnnn MINIMUM TEMPERATURE SLIPS TO 1.2 DEGREES CELSIUS IN CAPITAL Kathmandu, 30 Dec.: Minim temperature overnight in the capital was 1.2 degrees Celsius and rose of 1.8 degrees Celsius early morning Sunday. Mercury is expected to rise to 19 degrees later in the day. Nnnn FRIENDS CLUB PLAY HIMALAYAN SHERPA IN FOOTBALL LEAGUE SUNDAY Kathmandu, 30 Dec.: Friends Club play Himalayan Sherpa Sunday in the Martyrs Memorial A Division football championship at Dashrath Rangashala. Three Star play Bansbari in a second match. nnnn AFP LIFT T20 NATIONAL CRICKET CHAMPIONHIP Kathmandu, 30 Dec. Nepal AFP Saturday lifted the T20 national cricket tournament at Kirtipur. ar accelerated the score with a cameo innings of 20 runs off 12 balls. APF batted first and scored 168 runs for five wickets. Region-VI (Baitadi) scored 72 runs in 14.4 overs. APF was the runner-up lasr year when when Nepal Police Club won the title. Winner APF received Rs 1, 25,000 and the trophy while runner-up Baitadi got Rs 75,000 nnnn. MEDIA GOOGLE “Rautes living in the forest of Kajeri VDC are willing to serve monkey meat to the Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai if he ever visits their village. After receiving relief materials sent by a Vietnam citizen Aadhyatma Guru Ching Hi in Khalanga, Maina Bahadur Sahi, chief of Raute said he would serve monkey meat as cooked meal to the prime minister if he likes.” (Report in The Himalayan Times, 30 Dec.) Nnnn NON-FUNCTIONING PEs SEEK LOANS Kathmandu, 30 Dec.: Some public enterprises (PEs) that are not in operation at the moment have asked the government to release loans to bear their administrative costs, The Himalayan Times reports.. At least half a dozen PEs have approached the Finance Ministry seeking loans, said joint secretary at the ministry Khum Raj Punjali. Janakpur Cigarette Factory has asked ministry to release Rs 56.6 million to distribute salaries, he said, adding employees have not received salaries from July. Similarly, Nepal Drugs Limited (NDL) has also approached the ministry asking it to release a loan of Rs 30 million, he informed. NDL has said that it is in dire need of the amount to distribute salaries to its employees and to carry out other administrative work. Another public entity, Gorakhkali Rubber Udyog Limited — state run automobile tyre manufacturer — has sought a loan of Rs 20 million loan to manage its administrative cost, said Punjali. “Nepal Orind Magnesite Ltd has also written to the ministry asking it to release Rs 1.5 million.” The government is unsure about whether to address the demands of the public enterprises, according to Punjali. “The burning issue is that for how long can the government keep injecting funds into public entities that are not in operation and are unproductive.” The government, however, has the ultimate responsibility for the closed public enterprises, he said. “It is necessary for the concerned public enterprises and ministries responsible for overseeing them to work together to find a way out to the problem,” said Punjali. The ministry has been conducting consultation meetings with concerned officials to seek long-term solutions despite the mounting pressure for loans, he said, adding that the government is planning to either totally shut down those entities or ask the private sector to take over their management. The Finance Ministry and Ministry of Industry are in consultation to find a solution to the existing problem, he said. Both the ministries will identify a future strategy together, according to Punjali. The government had provided a loan of Rs 10.25 billion to public enterprises in fiscal year 2010-11, according to Finance Ministry. The government, till 2010-11, has provided a loan of Rs 95.16 billion to PEs, according to recently published public enterprises progress review report. Government’s loans to PEs was Rs 84.91 billion until the end of fiscal year 2009-10. Nnnn GOVT. ENFORCING NEW LAND POLICY Kathmandu, 30 Dec.: The government has planned to form the land management department to implement the Land Use Policy 2012 formulated eight months back. Government introduced the policy in Baisakh, The Himalayan Times reports.. The government has formed a nine-member committee to conduct the Organisation and Management survey under the coordination of joint secretary of the Ministry of Land Reform and Management Krishna Bahadur Raut. It has granted the committee 90 days to furnish the report, said Raut who is also spokesperson at the ministry. The decision was taken as ministry found it difficult to implement the land use policy, he said. “The new department will have officials from agriculture, forest and survey sectors. It will have about 50 employees,” said Raut. According to him, the ministry has been making changes to land reform, land registration and land revenue policies and directives to accommodate the new policy. The Land Use Policy has plans to categorise land into six different types according to their use. nnnn

SUNDAY IS BEING CELEBRATED AS TAMU LOSHAR Kathmandu, 30 Dec.: Sunday is being celebrated as Tamu Loshar. By the Gurug community. Government has announced a public holiday. Nnnn 142 KILLED, 514 INJURED IN ROAD ACCIDENTS Kathmandu, 30 Dec..: After a deadly road accident claimed 15 people in Surkhet district on Friday morning, the Traffic Police updated statistics about road accidents. And, the results were shocking: Altogether 142 people died and 514 were injured in 238 road accidents that occurred in the last nine months in the mid-western region alone, Khalendra Sejuwal reports in Republica.. In Nepal, the rate of deaths due to road accidents is probably higher than by anything else. Not even cardiac arrests or AIDS claim as many lives as road accident do. Unfortunately, however shocked they are at the ever rising number of road accidents -- most of them simply avoidable, government authorities appear least bothered about doing away with problems that cause road mishaps. Low-quality roads (bumpy, narrow or muddy), use of old or nearly broken down vehicles, unscientific method of issuing driving licenses, overloading, weak traffic check system and negligence by drivers have been identified as the major causes of road accidents. “It is not that concerned government bodies are unmindful of these causes,” says DIG Tapendra Dhwaj Hamal, the chief of the Midwestern Traffic Police Office. “But, as they do not try to address these issues, accidents are occurring almost regularly.” On August 30 this year, altogether 28 people died when a bus veered off Karnali Highway. Later, it was concluded that the poor condition of the highway, which connects Jumla with Surkhet, was the major reason behind that deadly accident. However, upgrading the Karnali Highway, which is too narrow and bumpy to be called a highway, is yet not in the priority list of the government. As old buses crammed with passengers continue to ply the Karnali Highway, another deadly accident can occur anytime in the future. In the midwestern region, other roads are also in a very sorry state. “As roads are very bad, a new bus wears out in a matter of 3-4 years,” says Bishnu Bahadur Khadka, chairman of the Midwestern Transport Entrepreneurs´ Association. “It is always a high risk to drive buses on narrow, bumpy and muddy roads.” To an extent, Khadka is right. But, drivers and/or public transport entrepreneurs are equally responsible for frequent road accidents. However aware at the risk of driving on narrow and bumpy roads, they always squeeze as many passengers as they can into their bus, which also increases the risk of road accidents. Along the Dhuliyabit-Bhedabari road of Surkhet, where the latest deadly accident occurred, it is quite rare to see a bus that is not jam-packed. “In such crammed buses, there is not enough space even for standing on both feet,” says Dilmaya Birkatta, a local resident. “It is not unnatural that such buses often meet with accidents.” In many cases, accidents have occurred due to drink-driving. Although the Traffic Police have intensified a campaign to curb drink-driving across the country in recent times, it has yet to make an impact on those who drive after drinking, especially on long routes. And, it is easy to get driving licenses by bribing government staff. “If driving license distribution system is fair and old buses do not get route permit, the number of road accidents will automatically decline,” says DIG Hamal. However, Om Basnet of Bheri Zonal Transport Management Office is not ready to accept the blame. “We do not approve ownership transfer or route transfer of over 20-year-old vehicles,” says Basnet. “If people use their old vehicles without obtaining approval from our office, what can we do? We can´t go out and catch them.” Nnnn SPECIAL COMMITTEE MEET INCONCLUSIVE EPUBLICA KATHMANDU, Dec 29: A meeting of the Special Committee for Supervision, Integration and Rehabilitation of the Maoist combatants held on Saturday ended inconclusively after committee members differed over the compensation amount to be given to the combatants, who earlier chose integration but now want voluntary retirement. Though they had reached an agreement in principle to allow nearly 40 combatants to give up military training, the committee members failed to reach to any decision on the compensation amount. They have demanded that they be given a package similar to combatants who opted for voluntary retirement earlier. Talking to media persons after the meeting, Special Committee member from CPN-UML Bhim Rawal said there an agreement has been made to allow combatants to quit training on humanitarian grounds. "The meeting decided to allow Nepal Army to relieve incapable combatants," he said, adding that they have not reached any agreement on compensation amount. Special Committee members from the opposition parties had argued in the meeting that the since the combatants undergoing Nepal Army training are governed by the Military Act, they cannot be given any compensation. However, ruling party members had argued that they should not be denied compensation on “humanitarian ground”. The government had provided Rs 500,000 to Rs 800,000 to each of the retiring combatants depending on their rank in the Maoist army. The ruling party members in the Special Committee had proposed that 40 combatants be given at least 75 percent of amount given to combatants retiring earlier. Altogether 1,442 former Maoist combatants, including 70 in the officer rank, are current receiving military training. As it is punishable under Military Act to quit the training halfway, nearly 40 combatants currently undergoing training have demanded that they be allowed to choose voluntary retirement with the voluntary retirement package. Earlier, the committee had asked then Special Committee Coordinator Bala Nanda Sharma to submit a report on combatants wishing to quit training. nnnn

PRESIDENT YADAV CONVENING MEETING OF PARTIES UPDATE Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: President Dr. Yadav is calling a meeting of parties after a sixth presidential deadline to find a successor of Prime Minster Baburam Bhattarai could not find a successor of the incumbent government chief by Saturday, press aide Rajendra Dahal said. Details are being worked out.. Dr. Yadav had also asked parties to assemble a consensus government. Nnnn CHAKRA BASTOKA SICK CORRECTION Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: Chakra Bastola suffered a stroke in Biratnagar Saturday where he collapsed at a house. He’s undergoing treatment at Silgudi. Nnnn DETAILS OF FOOTBALL LEAGUE Kathmandu, 29 Dec: Nepal Army defeated RCT 2-1 in the second match of the martyrs memorial A Division football league championship Saturday. nnnn

ABUSES AGAINST WOMEN PROTESTED IN FRONT OF PM’S RESIDENCE Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: Rights activists Saturday continued their sit-in in front of the official residence of the prime minister. Activists are protesting abuses against women, including two burnings and rape at TAI by immigration officials. nnnn

UPDATE POLICE, NRT DRAW THEIR FOOTBALL LEAGUE MATCH Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: Nepal Police and New Road Team (NRT) drew their martyrs memorial A Division football match Saturday. Both teams scored one goal each. Nnnn POLITICAL PARTIES ACHIEVED NOTHING IN SEVEN MONTHS SAYS FORMER SPEAKER Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: CPN-UML leader and former speaker Subash Nembang has said it was blunder to amend the interim constitution and adopt Majority, RSS reports from Manglbare. process. He further said political parties achieved nothing in the recent seven months because of the provision that majority process could be adopted as per Article 38 (1) of the Interim Constitution for the formation of the government. Speaking at a programme organised by the Constitution Information Centre, Ilam, here today, he said because there was no parliament but legal vacuity, only consensus was solution to political crisis. The interim constitution has not mentioned who appoints the prime minister of national consensus government at a time there was no parliament, he added. Interim constitution cannot address all problems, he said, adding that a full-fledged constitution was there essential in the country. nnnn

MORE ON PRESIDENT RETURN Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: President Dr.. Ram Baran Yadav told reporters Saturday political parties have to attempt to find a consensus for a political outlet. He was talking to reporters at TIA after concluding his India visit. The president said his health was good following a check-u in the Indian capital. Nnnn MAOISTS BLAME OPPOSITION Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: Ruling UCPN-Maoist has said that a national unity government was not formed due to opposition political parties' stances, RSS reports. At a weekly regular press meet at the party headquarters in Paris Danda on Saturday, UCPN-Maoist spokesperson Agni Prasad Sapkota said the national unity government was not formed due to various stances of the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML. Sapkota said, "National consensus in not only for one or two political parties. Consensus among major political forces can be truly a national consensus. For this, the UCPN-Maoist has urged the opposition parties to join the current government even for a single day. But, the opposition parties are stubborn to this end." He also said that the coalition parties floated the proposal for reviving the dissolved constituent assembly (CA) after seeing no chance of political consensus in any of the alternatives. Sapkota said that the UCPN-Maoist was committed to holding the fresh CA elections by mid-may and the party has no intention to run away from the elections. Rumor that the Maoists were reluctant to face the elections after the party split was totally wrong, the UCPN-Maoist spokesperson added. Saying that no political problem would be resolved sans national consensus, Sapkota said that the opposition parties would come for consensus one or the next day. On a separate context, the UCPN-Maoist spokesperson Sapkota said leadership of an independent figure could be accepted as the new prime minister to end the protracted deadlock. nnnn

CHAKRA PRASAD BASTOLA SUFFERS HEART ATTACK Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: NC leader ad former foreign minister and ambassador to India Chakra Bastoka suffered a heart attack Saturday at his home in Jhapa, He was rushed across the border to Siligudi for treatment. Bastola is a nephew of the Koirala family. He lost favour in the NC and isn’t even central committee member after revealing details of Girija Prasad Koirala’s direct talks with self-exiled Maoist leader Prachandaa and Indian officials in new Delhi to usher in a republic. The revelations were made in an article on the 13th day of Girija Prasad Koirala’s death. Nnnn ANOTHER WARNING OF NO VOTE Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Bijay Kumar Gachhadar on Saturday remarked that fresh Constituent Assembly (CA) poll by mid-May is impossible if parties fail to forge consensus by January 9, RSS reports from Biratnagar. Briefly talking to journalists, Gachhadar also said that Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai would not resign until the CA elections were ensured. “The Prime Minister would not quit until parties sign a package deal,” he added. He also ruled out the possibility of an NC-led government as in his own words opposition parties Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML refused to accept a nine-point rider put forth by the Madhesi Front. Gachhadar, who is also the chairman of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Loktantrik), said the NC and CPN-UML should understand that Madhesi parties would not support to the parties that are not ready to resolve the issues of Madhes. He also made it clear that the constitution was not drafted due to opposition parties' reluctance to accept federalism and existence of Madhesi. Nnnn COLD KILLS ONE PERSON IN TANAHU Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: An elderly people died of chilling cold at Damauli Bus Park in Damauli, Tanahun, RSS reports from Damauli.. Identity of the man, who seems like an Indian national, has not been ascertained yet, police said. His body has been kept at Damauli Hosptial for postmortem. Nnnn THREE HELD FOR HELPING GET CITIZENSHIP ILLEGALLY Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: The Area Police Office, Rangeli, has arrested three persons for providing help to Anup Shrestha to acquire citizenship illegally from Morang district, RSS reports from Biratnagar. The arrested ones were office assistant at the Area Administration Office, Rangeli, Panchu Chaudhari, Gopal Shivakoti of Darbesh VDC and Shaktikala Rai of Indrapur-4. Similarly, Anup Shrestha originally hailing from Kathmandu was held for acquiring citizenship illegally from the Area Administration Office, Rangeli on June 13, 2011.Police have initiated further investigation on them. nnnn.

MORE DETAILS OF PRESIDENT’S ACTIVITIES IN NEW DELHI Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: According to our New Delhi reporter, Rupesh Acharya, on the final day [Saturday], he [{resident DR. Ram Baran Yadav] was called on by Lal Krishna Advani, senior leader of Baratiya Janata Patry and Indian Minister for Commerce, Industry and Textile Ananda Sharma, The Himalayan Times reports.. President Yadav also met Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Friday late night. Minister Khurshid, talking to the media after the meet opined that the President’s visit though short became successful. He also said that because of the political impasses in Nepal, there were limited issues on which both countries could discuss. ''There were not much agendas on which we could talk,” said Khurshid. However, he informed that issues on power were discussed at ministerial level. ''Our water resource minister met Minister Mahendra Yadav and I had requested that they could start talk on things that could be done,'' he added. He also informed that technical wings of power sector are working to provide electricity supply to Nepal to in a bid to reduce power cut. Talking on political agendas, he told that there were discussions on routine things whatever was possible during the President’s visit. "We have repeatedly wished for betterment of Nepal and asked the President to convey it to Nepali people,” said Khurshid ''We hope parties will be able to forge consensus to pave the way for fresh poll,” Answering journalist’s question about the specific reasons behind his third time meeting with the President he said that he wanted to be sure that the President was comfortable with his medical tests. “Medical tests were the primary purpose for his visit, and I am glad that the medical tests went well", said Khurshid. President Dr Ram Baran Yadav, who had left for an official visit of India on November 24, had held talks with his counterpart Pranab Mukherjee, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh among others in New Delhi. Earlier on Tuesday, President Dr Yadav was honoured with Doctorate of Law from Banaras Hindu University. nnnn GERMAN NATIONAL ARRESTED FOR INDESCENT BEHAVIOUR Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: A foreign tourist was caught red-handed while being engaged in sexual activities with a minor boy from a hotel at Sauraha in Chitwan Friday Night, RSS reports from Ratnanagar, Chitwan. Identified as Manfrintz, the German national was arrested on the charge of molestation of a local boy. Police have rescued the victim. Tourism entrepreneurs said that they informed the police about the incident. They said the accused used to bring boys from different places and molest them in the past also. According to Inspector Devenrea Pal of Area Police Office, Ratnanagar, details of the incident would be revealed after an investigation. The German national has been sent to District Police Office, Chitwan, today. Police have also seized a recorder, a camera and a laptop from the possession of the accused. Nnnn SUGAR PRICE FIXED Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: Sugar mill owners and farmers Friday fixed the procurement price of sugar in Nawalparasi. The price was fixed at Rs.400 per quintal. nnnn

LATE KING BIRENDRA’S 69TH BIRTHDAY OBSERVED Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: The 69th birthday of Late King Birthday—the 10th king of the Shah dynasty-- was observed Saturday. His statue was garlanded at Jawalakhel.. Crown Princ e Birendra gunned down his parents, brother Nirajan and sister Shruti 11 years ago a dinner reception for the family in Narayanhiti. The carnage ultimately toppled the dynasty. Nnnn 40 IEDs REOVERED Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: Forty improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were found from a jungle at Tarakhola in Baglung by villagers who were foraging. Security officials were immediately informed. Police suspect Maoists may have left or hidden the devises there during the 10-yar insurgency. nnnn

UPDATE PRESDENT RETURNS Kathmandu, 29 Dec. President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav returned home Saturday following three-day extensive discussions with Indian riling and opposition leaders and senior officials. Discussions were held on a political and constitutional crisis on which there is no breakthrough .despite six presidential deadlines to parties to form a successor government of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to hold constituent assembly elections in April/May. The sixth deadline ended Saturday with no result. The interim constitution does not envisage a situation without a constitution beiong being promulgated in two years. President Dr..Yadav, RPP-Nepal Chairman Kamal Thapa says—is trying to find an outlt by consulting only about a dozen party leaders who form what he called a ‘;syndiate’and not political parties. For the first time the head of state attempted to involve parties other that the Big Three and a front of five Madesh parties during the last deadline extension. But discussions weren’t held. nnnn

Friday, December 28, 2012

TWO SELECTED FOR ASIAN JUNIOR TENNIS Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: Two players have been seleted to represent Nepal at U-14 ITF Asian Junior Championship in Vietman 14 to 25 January. Bijisha Shrestha and Mayanka Rana will represent the country. nnnn

DHRUBE WON’T BE SHOT SAYS MINISTER Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: Communication Minister Raj Kishore Yadav Friday rejected demands of dear ones of those killed by Dhurbe –dubbed the mad elephant in Chitwan—the tusker won’t be killed. The minister said this even as security teams fanned out into the protected National Chitwan National to shoot dead the tusker—unsuccessfully.’Dhruve wul not be killed,” MinisterYadav said. The elephant has been destroying houses and crops next to the protected forest which is home to other protected and endangered species like the tiger and one-horned rhino. A ranger heading a squad ti kill was transferred after a failed attempt. Opinions are divided why the tusker has gone berserk00 some even suggesting he is seeking a female companion. nnnn

FATHER OF DEAD GIRL ARRESTED FOR INVESTIGATION IN POSSIBLE MURDER Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: Bindhu Thakur, father of Bindhu Thakur, 18, was arrested Friday for investigation of possible murder of the teenager Wednesday in Bara. Police are investigation possible involvement of the family in the murder. Bindhu was appearing in this year’s SLC examinations. Nnnn NEPAL ARMY PLAYS RCT IN FOOTBALL LEAGUE SATURDAY Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: Nepal Police Club play NRT in the first match of the Martyrs Memorial A Division Football league championship Saturday at Dashrath Rangashala. Tribhuvan Club of Nepal Army meet RCT in the second match. nnnn

APF BAITADI PLAY T20 CRIKET FINAL Kathmandu 29 Dec.:Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club and Region-VI (Baitadi) play in the final of Twenty20 National Cricket Tournament title Saturday at Kirtipur. APF Friday defeated Region VIII (Pokhara) by 95 runs Baitadi secure a one wicket win over Region-IV (Bhairahawa). Nnnn PRESIDENTAL DEADLINE WILL AGAIN BE MISSED, HEAD OF STATE TO CONTINUE EFFORT FOR NEW GOVT., ELECTION Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: President Ram Baran Yadav will continue prodding the political parties for forming a national unity government and holding elections upon his return from India, his aide said on Friday, The Kathmandu Post writes.. The statement comes ahead of the expiry of the fifth extended deadline on Saturday for the formation of a national unity government . The head of state is scheduled to return from a six-day official visit of India on Saturday afternoon. Talks between major political parties have slackened after President Yadav left for India on Monday afternoon. It is almost certain there will be no fresh talks among the parties before the President returns. President Yadav will continue the constitutional process that he initiated on November 23 calling on the parties to form a unity government as per Article 38 (1) of the Interim Constitution, President's Press Advisor Rajendra Dahal told the Post from New Delhi. Sheetal Niwas is lately weighing two options--giving an additional unspecified period of time to the parties or setting another deadline. Legal advisors to the President have cited past precedents and are stressing that he set up a limit while he extends the time in future. President Yadav will hold cross-party talks upon his return and decide whether the extension should be revised. Prior to his departure for Varanasi on Monday, President Yadav convened an all-party meeting and urged the leaders to come up with "constitutional, legal and political options" to end the impasse. The President had urged the parties to reach an agreement on a consensus prime ministerial candidate by the time he returns. Major party leaders had even urged the President to postpone his visit claiming that his presence could be instrumental in securing a cross-party deal. They are now waiting for the message the head of state will bring home from New Delhi, an NC negotiator claimed. Nnnn FOREIGN MONEY WON’T BE ACCEPTED FOR PMO Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: January, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) will not accept any direct foreign aid or project in its office. The PMO undertook several projects in the past through direct foreign funding in different sectors. The President's Office will also gradually not receive such aid, Anil Giri writesin The Kathmandu Post.. The idea, according to a senior official at the PMO, is to "keep away from direct influence and to send across the signal that we can at least fund the PMO and the President's Office on our own." "From January onwards, we have decided not to accept direct foreign aid due to the nature of the office. It is not an executing or implementing agency. The role of the PMO is to monitor government ministries and offices. If we need to run any project, we will seek help from the ministries concerned but not seek help from the donor community," a secretary at the PMO told the Post. The government is also preparing a list of government agencies that need foreign aid or project. Multiple sources at the PMO told the Post that it was decided in principle during the tenure of the then Chief Secretary Madhav Ghimire in May that the PMO will not accept direct foreign aid or project. The UK's DFID had helped set up the government's complaint telephone line 'Hello Sarkar' initially, while through the Asia Foundation, the PMO had conducted a project 'Governance Reform and Administrative Restructuring.' The DFID had also supported the PMO through the Asia Foundation to set up a gender unit and undertake a project 'Gender-Based Violence (GBV).' Currently, an Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-related project is being run at the PMO with technical support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). "We had decided to readjust the project under the Ministry of Communications, but the ADB requested us not to do so as it is nearing completion. Apart from this, we do not have any foreign funded project at the PMO right now," the secretary said. While a majority of high-ranking officials at the PMO lauded the decision, some said it was not a good idea. "As we are a donor-dependent country, we must not discard foreign aid and projects," an official at the PMO said. nnnn

PM LAYS FOUNDATION STONE OF 25MW MADI HYDRO PROJECT Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: Prime Minister Friday laid the foundation of the 25MW Upper Madi Hydro Project in Sildujure in Kaski. The project is situated at Sildujure VDC, Chansu in the district andis expected to be completed in 30 months.. The project is a joint undertaking of Madi Hydro and China’s Three Gorges Corporation. nnnn. NEPAL WOMEN SQUAD FOR ACC CRICKET Kathamandu, 29 Dec.: Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) Friday selected a 18-member preliminary squad for the ACC Women’s Championship scheduled for January 21-31 in Thailand. Rubina Chhetri (Belbasi), Saraswoti Chaudhary, Karuna Bhandari, Sarita Magar, Rashmi Sharma Chaulagain, Shilu Rijal, Indu Verma, Trishna Singh, Rekha Rawal, Shova Ale Magar, Mamata Thapa, Sangita Gauchan, Madhu Thapa, Nira Rajopadhyaya, Sonu Khadka, Nery Thapa, Roshani Bohara and Sita Rana Magar have been selected.. Nnnn HOTEL BARAHI WIN 9TH ELEPHANT RACE Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: Bahadur Gaj representing Hotel Barahi Pokhara won the title of 9th elephant race held at Sauraha, Chitwan, RSS reports from Chitwan. Gaj clocked 1 min 6 sec to win the 300-meter race. Similarly, Ekatakali from the Chitwan National Park and Suraj Kali representing the Coldfeet Adventure, England secured the second and third positions respectively. A total of 24 teams including the international teams participated in the tournament. Likewise, the same Ekatakali from the Chitwan National Park won the 'Elephant Beauty Contest', another attraction of the Elephant Festival. Kali clinched the title leaving behind Prakriti Kali and Pinki Kali. Similarly, the bull-cart belonging to Hotel Wild Life Camp won the bull-cart race competition organised on the sidelines of the Elephant Festival. Likewise, horse-cart of Wild Expedition Service won the title of horse-cart competition. The festival kicked off on December 26. Nnnn CAPITAL MINIMUM TEMPERATURE FALLS TO 1 DEGREES CELSIUS Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: The capital’s minimum temperature fell to 1 degrees Celsius in the last 24 hours. Saturday morning’s temperature rose to 2 degrees Celsius amid tick mist. Mercury is expected to rise to 19 degrees in the afternoon Saturday. Terai is covered by think fog. Nnnn SHIWA MURDER CASE GETS MURKIER Kathmandu, 29 Dec.: The murder of the teenaged girl of Bardiya, Shiwa Hashami is getting more confusing with each passing day after Siwa Hasmi’s mother and brother backtracked on their earlier statements following their detention, The Himalayan Times reports from Nepalgunj.. The family members, who had earlier accused their neighbour Babu Khan of burning her to death, have now expressed their ignorance as to who set her ablaze. Police had detained Shiwa’s mother Hasina and youngest brother Suddhu about 10 days ago after an FIR was filed at the District Police Office, Bardiya, claiming family’s hand behind the murder. According to DSP Yamuna Rajak, the detained family members are now expressing their ignorance over the incident. “We did not see the person who set her on fire, neither did we hear about the person involved in the incident,” DSP Rajak quoted the detained family members as saying in their statement to police. Earlier on December 7, Siwa Hasmi, 16, was burnt alive at her home in Gulariya. She finally succumbed to her injuries and died while undergoing treatment at a hospital in the Capital. Meanwhile, the Muslim community and civil society members have staged demonstrations in Gulariya claiming that the family was responsible for Siwa’s murder. Nnnn Kathmandu,29 Dec.: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai today [Friday] once again rubbished the opposition allegations that he was the stumbling block to consensus and said the parties in opposition were ‘levelling charges against him to tarnish’ his image. Sildujure . Even as the country struggles to get rid of the prevailing crisis, blame is the name of the game in Nepali politics. “The biggest lie in the world at this time is to say that I am a hindrance to the much-desired political consensus. In fact the opposition, which has been taking undue media advantage, is spreading a completely wrong message,” said Prime Minister Bhattarai while addressing a programme after laying the foundation stone of the Upper Madi Hydro Project in Sildujure, Kaski. “The opposition rant is nothing but a ploy to besmirch my reputation. If there has been no consensus despite the parties’ claims that they are quite close to it, then there is no point accusing me of playing the spoilsport.” It has been more than a month since the President first asked parties to reach a compromise to form a consensus government, but the parties have been squabbling over several issues and have invariably failed to strike a deal. In the last more than four weeks, opposition parties have been accusing Prime Minister Bhattarai of refusing to pave the way for consensus while the latter has stood his ground, saying his resignation would only create a political vacuum. “I have given my commitment that I will quit the moment there is consensus. Opposition is blaming me for its failure,” said Bhattarai. “I have my resignation letter in my pocket. The moment the parties forge consensus, I will put in my papers.” Stating that he has no other concern except ensuring successful completion of peace and constitution-making processes, Prime Minister Bhattarai said he wished for an early consensus among parties. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai said on Friday that President Ram Baran Yadav has no right to formally call for the formation of a consensus government and extend the deadline for the same. He said the Council of Ministers has already reacted to the President’s move, and therefore, the Head of State should desist from acting further on the issue. The Cabinet had termed the presidential call for the formation of a consensus government under Article 38 (1) of the Interim Constitution ‘unconstitutional.’ Stating that he will not be an obstacle to consensus, Bhattarai said all the doors for consensus were open. “Revival of the Constituent Assembly is the last option. The first option is to hold fresh election by forging consensus,” Bhattarai said at a programme organised by Tarai Madhes Democratic Party on its fifth anniversary. “Those who aspire to lead the government should be ready to strike a deal in a package.” nnnn