Nepal Today

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

FORMER KING, QUEEN ACCOMPANIED BY GRANDCHILDREN FLYING FOR BANGKOK WEDNESDAY Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: Former King Gyanendra and Queen Komal are flying Wednesday for Bangkok to be with their only son Paras Shah who is under treatment at hospital in the Thai capital since 19 February after a heart attack. The former royal couple is accompanying grandchildren Hridayendra, Poornika and Kritika. Former Crown Princess Himani and other relatives re already in Bangkok. Paras has not come out of a coma as yet. The latest medical bulletin described his condition as ‘very critical but stable’. nnnn WOMAN DRUGS TRAFFICKER FROM NEPALGUNJ NABBED IN CAPITAL Kathmandu, 27 Feb.:: Bitti Khan aka Sofia of Nepalgunj aand a wanted drugs trafficker was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NBC) Sunday from the capital. She was arrested wile selling 85 grams brown sugar to a decoy and was on the most waned list for being in the business for more than 15 years. nnnn DEMAND FOR WORKERS WON’T FALL IN QATAR SAYS ENVOY Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: Nepali ambassador to Qatar Dr Maya Kumari Sharma has said that the demand from the destination will not fall because of the Nepali government’s new salary scale for the country, The Himalayan Times reports.. Qatar — organiser of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Football — has a large demand for construction workers, so there is no chance of the demand dropping, she said. The government hiked the salary of Nepali workers bound for Qatar last month. The Ministry of Labour and Employment has increased the salary from Qatari Riyal 800 (Rs 19,000) to Qatari Riyal 1,200 (Rs 28,500) for unskilled workers, Qatari Riyal 1,400 (Rs 33,000) for semi-skilled, and Qatari Riyal 1,800 (Rs 42,000) for skilled workers. Qatar had the world’s highest gross domestic product per capita — $109,000 (Rs 9.41 million) — in 2012. Its economy started looking up in 2002 with a double digit growth in later years. However, outsourcers reject her claim and say that demand for workers from Qatar has been falling gradually. “Qatar is looking for workers from other cheap destinations,” said president of Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies Bal Bahadur Tamang. Therefore, the government must revoke the decision and let the salary be decided by the market, he added. According to outsourcers, they are not receiving demand from Qatar due to the increased salary structure. “We are fabricating demands to meet the government standard,” said an outsourcer Hansh Raj Wagle. “Workers joining jobs in Qatar are just getting Qatari Riyal 900-1,000. Outsourcers have been taking permits by submitting false documents,” he said. Outsourcers have been doing so by taking help from politicians and bureaucrats. “The irresponsible behaviour of government agencies has been fuelling ‘setting’ based migration these days. The government is not listening to the concerns of registered agencies,” said an outsourcer Kumud Khanal. Qatar is a popular destination among migrants. About 500,000 Nepalis are believed to be working there, mainly in construction and manufacturing sectors that employ unskilled workers. According to Department of Foreign Employment, about 59,565 joined Qatari jobs in first month of current fiscal. Nnnn COUNTRY ESCAPES BEING BLACKLISTED UNTIL JUNE Kathmandu, 27 Feb.:: Nepal has avoided being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) till June, The Himalayan Times reports.. The FATF plenary has kept Nepal at a status quo as recommended by the International Co-operation Review Group. For the time being‚ Nepal will be listed as Improving Global AML/CFT Compliance Ongoing Process which is also recognised as the Grey List. However‚ if by the deadline of June‚ 2013‚ Nepal fails to execute the ‘Action Plan’ against money laundering it has proposed to FATF‚ the country will be blacklisted. The delegation‚ headed by deputy governor of central bank Maha Prasad Adhikary that returned from FATF plenary held on February 18-22‚ in Paris‚ has informed that the anti-money laundering body has insisted that Nepal must implement the remaining Bills and Acts as soon as possible. Nepal has escaped being blacklisted this time due to the last minute approval of the Organised Crime Bill on February 15. However‚ it needs to show progress in the endorsement of the amendment of the Assets Laundry Prevention Act‚ apart from the Proceeds of Crime Bill by the next plenary and working group meeting of FATF in Oslo‚ Norway‚ on June 17-21. These two Acts provide authorities enough strength to confiscate property amassed through illegal means and fight organised crime. FATF‚ a global standard setting body for anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism (AML/CFT)‚ has asked Nepal to pass these Bills to avoid being blacklisted by next meeting. If Nepal gets blacklisted by FATF‚ extra fees will be levied on cross-border financial transactions‚ and international governments will forbid its citizens and organisations to do any sort of transaction with Nepal. Nepali accounts — either personal or belonging to government bodies — will also be asked to be closed. nnnn


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