Nepal Today

Saturday, March 30, 2013

FIVE POLICEMEN SUSPENDED IN TANAHU Kathmandu, 31 March: Five policemen have been suspended in Tanahu after death of Sujan Tamang, 22, in custody Thursday. Police said Tamang, who was in possession of marijuana, fled from custody and died after a fall off a cliff. Nnnn BRITISH TREKKER DIES OF ALTITUDE SICKNESS IN ANNAPURNA REGION Kathmandu, 31 March: British trekker Michael John, 60, died of altitude sickness, at Deurali in Ghandruk-9 in Kaski Friday, RSS reports. The trekker returning after completing a trip to Annapurna held a passport with number 509160233. nnnn AFC U-14 FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT BEGINS TUESDAY Kathmandu, 31 March: Group C qualifiers of the AFC U-14 Football Championship 2014 begins in the capital from Tuesday. National teams of Bhutan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Nepal will compete in the five-day tournament. Nepali team:Aashish KC, Abhishek Rijal, Suraj Thapa, Susaan Shrestha, Anosh Magar, Ashim Rai, Dorje Tamang, Jitesh Gurung, Sojit Gurung, Sujan Karki, Kailash Basnet, Kshitiz Khadka, Kshitiz Raj G T, Laxman Pariyar, Manish Bahadur Karki, Mingma Tenzing Sherpa, Pawan Karki, Prezen Tamang, Roman Limbu, Rumesh Bartaula and Sangam Thapa Magar. Nnnn MMC PLAYS RCT IN SUPER LEAGUE Kathmandu, 31 March: MMC lays NRT in martyrs memorial A Division Super league championship at Dashrath Rangashala Sunday. Three Star has already lifted the championship. nnnn. CAPITAL’S SUNDAY MORNING TEMPERATURE 13 DEGREES CELSIUS Kathmandu, 31 March; Capital’s Sunday morning temperature at seven was 13 degrees Celsius. Mercury is expected to rise to 31 degrees Celsius in the afternoon. nnnn 13 31. GOVT.ATTORNEYS LOBBY FOR APPOINTMENT AS JUDGES Kathmandu, 31 March : At a time when the Judicial Council (JC), the constitutional body responsible for recommending appointment of judges, has expedited the process of filling vacant posts of judges at the Supreme Court (SC), appellate and district courts, government attorneys have demanded that the JC appoint sufficient number of judges from among them, Republica reports/ They have accused the JC of being biased toward them while appointing judges in the courts. According to a memorandum made by government attorneys to the JC, only five government lawyers out of 137 have been appointed as judges in the appellate courts between 1994 and 2010. Similarly, 33 lawyers out of 149 have been as judges in the district courts during the same period. "Discretion and a sense of justice have not been employed while appointing judges, who are responsible for delivering justice," reads the memorandum submitted by the government attorneys. Government attorneys have demanded with the JC that they should be treated equally because they are also a part of the judiciary. They have argued that they should be also given priority in appointment of judges as they have already under gone through test of competency before joining the government service. Government attorneys have also warned the JC that the blame will go to the constitutional body if competent and qualified persons are not appointed to the posts of judges at the courts. Recently, government attorneys had also drawn the attention of the chief justice toward their demands. Nnnnn VOTERS’ LIST UPDATE FROM POLICE STATION Kathmandu, 31 March: CPN-Maoist cadres have continued to disrupt voter list updating work in the district. After the cadres created hindrances at the voter roll collection center set up at the VDC office at Sangachok and padlocked the VDC office, the team continued its voter resignation work from the local police station on Saturday, Dhruba Dangal writes in Republica from Sindhupalchowk. CPN-Maoist activists padlocked the VDC office at around 11 A.M. and put up a warning notice to stop the voter registration immediately. According to District Election Officer Umesh Kumar Rai, the team continued its registration work from the police beat office once the VDC office was padlocked.“The laptops and other accessories needed to continue with the job were all outside the office at the time. So we could continue the registration from the police beat office,” said Rai. The administration has beefed up security in the district as obstruction of the voter roll collection went unabated in various places. Security at the district election office has been increased and police have been providing security to the voter list teams. Nine voter roll collection teams have been deployed in the district. Each collection team has been provided a security detail of five policemen, informed Inspector Sujan Kumar Rajbhandari at the district police office. People have been too frightened to attend the voter list collection center following disruption and threats from CPN-Maoist cadres. Meanwhile, our correspondent Devendra Basnet in Dang reports, quoting police, that the CPN-Maoist cadres pelted stones at the voter list colleting team at Baghmare VDC in western Dang. The Maoists took to their heels after police intervened against them. “We have stepped up security following the incident. No one can hinder the registration process now,” said district police chief Lokendra Malla. Similarly, Maoist cadres also obstructed voter registration in Urahari VDC. The registration process was briefly halted following hindrances created by the Maoist cadres. The cadres fled after police reinforcements arrived. According to Gangaparaspur VDC Secretary Dev Raj Adhikari , the voter list collection team in his VDC was likewise threatened by Maoist cadres. Nnnn JUNE ELECTIONS A MIRAGE Kathmandu, 31 March: Unless a miracle happens, holding Constituent Assembly elections in June will be akin to chasing a mirage, Ram Kumar Kamat writes in The Himalayan Times.. This was the message from Nepali Congress Vice President Ram Chandra Paudel’s reactions that mediapersons received after a meeting between the four forces — Unified CPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML and the United Democratic Madhesi Front — and the Election Commission today. Senior leaders of the four forces Ramchandra Paudel, Jhala Nath Khanal, Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Mahatha Thakur took stock of the EC’s poll preparations today. “Given the EC estimates, it does not seem possible to hold elections by third week of June,” Paudel said. The leaders, however, suggested that the EC try its best to hold polls by the third week of June as agreed by the four forces in the 11-point agreement. “When we sealed the 11-point deal, we were confident we could hold polls by that time,” he clarified. A source said though Dahal was enthusiastic about holding polls by the third week but Khanal was non-committal. Hinting at obstructions against the EC campaign to update voters’ roll, Paudel said unforeseen circumstances were posing challenges. He said the major forces were in favour of holding polls as soon as possible. “If we can hold polls early, it will give a positive message. Therefore, we have told the EC to try its best to hold polls by third week of June.” Paudel clarified. “Ensuring the credibility of elections is also equally important,” he noted. Paudel said EC would be able to tell in two or three days how many days it would exactly need to hold fresh polls. Chief Election Commissioner Nilkantha Uprety, however, said the process of amending election laws and citizenship law could take four to five days and they could probably tell only after that how many days would be needed to hold polls. “We are not denying the possibility of polls by the third week of June,” he said and added that the EC would be able to publish detailed election programmes only after voters’ registration was completed. We will be able to tell the possible date for elections only after election laws are amended, Uprety added. “Once citizenship distribution is completed by the Home Ministry, we can send our teams to update voters’ registration,” he added. The EC, he claimed, is leaving no stone unturned to hold polls at an early date. Uprety said his office did not want to deprive voters of their right to franchise. The EC urged the leaders of four forces to help build positive environment for the polls. An EC source said reduction of proportional representation seats from 335 to 240 could delay the EC’s effort to finalise amendments to election laws as some fringe parties might raise the issue in tomorrow’s all-party meeting. Nnnn BANK RESTRICION ON WITHDRAWALS FOR SECURITY Kathmandu, 31 March: Account holders will now have to queue at branches to make withdrawals of more than Rs 50,000. Nine commercial banks have slashed the withdrawal limit from ATMs to tackle security Threats, Dikshya Singh writes in The Himalayan Times... They have reduced the withdrawal limit to Rs 10,000 per transaction from ATM consoles. Likewise, cardholders cannot withdraw more than Rs 50,000 on a single day using their ATM cards, while monthly limit has been fixed at Rs 200,000. Banks that have issued the notice are Nepal Investment Bank (NIBL), Siddhartha Bank, Rastriya Banijya Bank (RBB), Global IME Bank, Sunrise Bank, Machhapuchchhre Bank, Laxmi Bank, Kumari Bank and Citizens Bank International. “We decided to reduce withdrawal limit to safeguard deposits of customers until security is further strengthened,” said CEO of RBB Krishna Prasad Sharma. Earlier, banks allowed withdrawals of Rs 40,000 per transaction and daily limit was fixed at Rs 100,000. “We have also asked cardholders to change their Personal Identification Number (PIN) as soon as possible because a large number are still using the PIN issued by banks, which has increased the threat of being easy targets of card scammers,” he added. The move came in response to increasing card fraud incidents in Nepal and India through the use of debit cards issued by Nepali banks. A couple of days back, Nepali police had apprehended a group of Indian nationals withdrawing money from India using fake NIBL cards. Banks have also limited the amount of withdrawals from India to Rs 8,000 per transaction, and reduced monthly transaction to Rs 80,000. “Cardholders can use debit cards at Point of Sale (POS) machines while making purchases instead of withdrawing cash,” pointed out Sharma. These banks have set the daily transaction limit through POS terminals at Rs 100,000. However, the monthly limit has been set at Rs 200,000. Most account holders have been relying on plastic money — especially debit cards — to withdraw money instead of waiting in queues to encash cheques. Moreover, most depositors do not own cheque books in order to avoid additional conditions that come with owning cheque books like extra charges and mandatory balance requirements. “We are aware that customers will go through inconvenience due to slashed limits but the risk of falling victim to card frauds will also be minimised,” added Sharma. There are about three million debit cards distributed by financial institutions in Nepal. nnnn COL.LAMA READY TO FIGHT CHARGES OF RIGHTS ABUSE IN NEPAL IN BRITISH COURT EVEN AFTER CLEARING CHARGES AT HOME Kathmandu, 31 March: Nepal Army Col Kumar Lama , who faces criminal charges in the UK under the universal jurisdiction for allegedly committing torture, is ready to fight legal battle to prove his innocence, a family source said on Friday, Nabin Pokhrel writes in The Kathmandu Post from London.. Lama was freed on bail on March 15 and has been living at his home under the surveillance of the British authorities, awaiting the plea and case management hearing on May 10 and a trial scheduled for June 5. He is innocent and confident that he would receive a clean chit from the UK's court, a family source told the Post. "He is working to collect evidences from Nepal and contacting his juniors regarding the incidents in which he has been charged," said a relative. He has been charged with intentionally inflicting severe pain or suffering on Janak Bahadur Raut between April 15 and May 1, 2005 and torturing Karam Hussain between April 15 and October 31, 2005 in the capacity of the head of the Gorusinghe Barracks of the Nepal Army. Lama last week met with his lawyers and plans to visit the Nepal Embassy in London to discuss his strategy with Nepali Ambassador Suresh Raj Chalise and legal expert Surya Subedi. The talks are in preparation for the upcoming hearings and are intended to formulate a strategy to win the case, said an embassy official. The May 10 hearing will see whether Lama would plead guilty or not and set dates for completing various procedures up to the trial. Family sources said Lama is optimistic, living a normal life and is free to contact any person he likes. He is living under house curfew from 10pm to 7am every day and is asked to visit the local police station once a week. Nepal had issued an assurance letter stating that Lama would not be issued any travel document until the final verdict on the case and deposited 36,500 pounds as security bond and bail amount before his release. (Note: Col.Lama is first person arrested in UK after Chilean leader Pinochet for rights abuses.) nnnn


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