Nepal Today

Thursday, March 7, 2013

PM TO INAUGURATE INTERNATIONAL TRADE FARE IN CAPITAL FRIDAY Kathmandu, 8 March” Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai inaugurates the five-day 2nd Nepal International Trade Fair 2013 in the capital Friday. Goods from Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan and the US will be on show at 400 stalls, FNCCI said. Organizers expect 200,000 visitors. Nnnn WOMEN’S DAY BEING CELEBRATED Kathmandu, 8 Narch: Women’s Day is beig celebrated Friday. Government ha announced a oyblic holiday for them. Nnnn FRIDAY MORNING CAPITAL TEMPERATURE 10 DEGREES CELSIUS Kathmandu, 8 March: Friday morning’s capital temperature at seven was 10 degrees Celsius. Mercury on a cloudy and rainy afternoon is expected to rise to 24 degrees Celsius. nnnn THREE STAR CLUB TAKES ON NEPAL POLICE IN RESUMES MARTYRS MEMORIAL A DIVISION LEAGUE Kathmandu, 8 March: Three Star Club meets Nepal Police Club in the Martyrs Memorial A Division League that resumes at Dasharath Rangashala Friday. Eight teams are in the competition. ANFA rescheduled the super league matches to hoat the just concluded the AFC Challenge Cup Group D Qualifiers. Three Star Club has 35 points from 15 matches and Nepal Army. Is in second place with 23 points from 15 matches. Other teams in the league are:Machhindra Club,, New Road Team, , Manang Marshyangdi Club, Ranipokhari Corner Team and Friends Club. . Nnnn PARAS COMES BACK FROM JAWS OF DEATH Kathmandu, 8 March : It was around 7:30 pm on February 19. Sunil Khadka, a Bangkok-based Nepali businessman, had just woken up from an evening nap and was staying idle in one of the bedrooms of his apartment on the sixth floor of Premier Place at Rama 9 Road in the Thai capital, Rupak D. Sharma writes in Republica from Bangkok/Kathamandu. . “I didn´t have any plans for the evening so I was just taking a rest,” Khadka told Republica, recalling events of that day. Then there was a knock on the door. As Khadka opened the door, he saw former Crown Prince Paras Bir Bikram Shah standing with a cup of black tea on his hand. Forty-one-year-old Shah, who was sharing Khadka´s apartment for the past two months, had prepared that tea for Khadka. “He (Shah) had become more like my elder brother and a friend, so the favor was not unnatural,” said Khadka, who is also the general secretary of Non-Resident Nepalis Association (Thailand Chapter). As they started taking tea, Shah and Khadka, along with Khadka´s wife and Shah´s Thai friend Kannika Chaisan, started making dinner plans. One option was eating outside. “But he (Shah) wanted to have Nepali food and volunteered to make chicken himself,” Khadka said. “I was told to cook rice and daal (lentil soup).” Since Khadka´s refrigerator didn´t have much stock of food, he offered to drive down to Foodland Supermarket in Ramkhamhaeng area to get some meat. He also took his wife along with him. “After I bought the meat, I received a phone call from the apartment. But I didn´t answer it thinking it was just another call to query about my whereabouts,” Khadka said. “A minute or two later, I received a text message (from Kannika).” Khadka´s heart froze as he went through the message. “It had said (former) crown prince had suffered a heart attack and was unconscious,” he said. This was the second cardiac arrest Shah had suffered since ¬¬¬¬September 2007. Khadka immediately called the apartment and asked the security personnel to help Kannika bring Shah to the hospital. Shah was taken to Samitivej Hospital in Srinakarin area of Bangkok. Khadka also drove different way to the hospital. “We all reached the hospital around the same time,” Khadka said. Then came the shocker. “Doctors who were attending to (former) crown prince told me he can´t be saved as his heart had stopped beating for quite a long time,” Khadka said, his voice quivering. This was horrifying news for Khadka, who had established good rapport with the former crown prince. “I told the doctors they can´t say such a thing and asked them repeatedly to keep trying until I establish contact with his family members,” Khadka said. After 90 minutes of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with multiple DC shocks, Shah´s blood circulation resumed. But Shah was comatose at that time due to hypoxic injury to the brain, the hospital said. He was then put on a ventilator, to facilitate artificial respiration. Doctors also successfully performed balloon angioplasty and stent placement to facilitate delivery of blood and oxygen to the heart muscle and prevent recurrence of blockage in the coronary artery. “I didn´t sleep the whole night,” Khadka said. The next morning, Shah was shifted to hospital´s Sukumvit branch, where medical facilities are better. He was still in a comatose state at that time and doctors treated him with therapeutic hypothermia to prevent further injury to brain and vital organs. They also performed a CT scan and no traces of blood clots were found. That evening Prerana Singh, Dilasha Shah, Dr Rajive Shahi, Puja Shahi and Adarsha Rana flew to Bangkok. Then on Feb 22 rumors of Shah´s death started flying on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. The relish with which some people had latched onto the idea of seeing Shah dead was shocking. That afternoon Adarsha Rana, Shah´s family member who was seen around Starbucks café in Samitivej Hospital, was fuming at those who were spreading baseless rumors. “How can people be so senseless?,” he expressed his anger in a casual conversation with this correspondent. A few minutes later, Dr Rajive Shahi, a son-in-law of the former royal family, also arrived at the cafe. He clarified that rumors about Shah´s death were groundless but denied making further comments--although most of Shah´s family members told this correspondent to get information from him because of his status as a medical doctor. That afternoon some Nepalis working in Bangkok and former minister Senate Shrestha, who is operating a business in Krabi of Thailand, were also seen at the hospital. But no one was allowed to see Shah, who was still battling for life. That evening former Crown Princess Himani Shah arrived in Bangkok. That was the day the hospital also issued its first official statement citing Shah´s condition as “very critical but stable”. The next day -- on February 23 -- Shah´s condition further deteriorated as he developed bleeding from stomach because of use of blood-thinning medicine. The bleeding was immediately stopped and further complications were not reported. Then on February 25, the hospital invited a team of doctors from Bangkok Hospital to assist in Shah´s treatment. Till that time word about Shah´s medical condition had spread throughout Thailand, which triggered incessant flow of Nepalis and people of Nepali origin living in the country to the hospital. Many even organized gatherings in and outside the country to pray for Shah´s speedy recovery. Now, it looks like those prayers were heard. On February 27, the hospital, in a statement, said Shah moved his limbs spontaneously. That was on the day when his parents -- former King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah and former Queen Komal Rajya Laxmi Devi Shah -- had arrived in Bangkok. Reliable sources told Republica that the limb movements were seen after his body temperature was raised to normal of 37 degrees centigrade that day. Under the therapeutic hypothermia treatment conducted on Shah, doctors were gradually raising Shah´s body temperature over the past few days to avoid multiple organ failure. Since that time his condition has only improved. Shah regained consciousness on March 2 and was taken off the ventilator the following day. He can now communicate verbally and doctors are said to have put him on liquid diet. “Looking over, it looks like a miracle has happened. A man, who doctors said could not be revived, has come back to life,” Khadka told Republica, albeit expressing displeasure over Shah´s habit of skipping medication and regular heath checkups Nnnn LEADERS CLAIM NARROWING DIFFERENCES Kathmandu, 8 March : Key leaders from the four major political forces have yet again claimed to have narrowed down differences on forming election government, criteria for voters’ registration and key provisions on Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Thira L. Bhusal writes in Republica. . Emerging from the interparty talks on Thursday evening, some leaders said they would finalize the deal by Friday while other participants were skeptic if the parties would reach any deal in the next 24 hours. “Almost all issues have been settled. The only one that is yet to be resolved is determination of the ranks of former Maoist combatants [who have joined the integration process],” Nepali Congress (NC) leader Sher Bahadur Dueba told reporters after the talks held at the secretariat of the special committee at New Baneshwar. Also, Deputy Prime Minister Narayankaji Shrestha claimed that almost all the issues have been settled and that they agreed to finalize everything by Friday. “Tomorrow, the taskforce will finalize the language of the agreement. We will reach a final deal by tomorrow with a plan to hold elections by mid-June,” said Shrestha. But NC Vice-President Ram Chandra Paudel was skeptic and said that some issues are yet to be settled. Also CPN-UML Vice-Chairman Bamdev Gautam said that there are some differences, including on determining the ranks of the former Maoist combatants. On determining ranks of the former Maoist combatants in the national army, the ruling Maoist leaders have been insisting that the senior-most Maoist combatant be given a rank of colonel in the NA. While NC and CPN-UML leaders have been maintaining that the ranks of Maoist combatants be determined in accordance with the national army´s standards or as determined by the cross-party special committee that is mandated to oversee the army integration process. "These issues should be resolved based on the NA´s standard norms and the criteria set by the special committee," said Paudel. "It can´t be done through political agreements." According to CPN-UML leader Bhim Rawal, Thursday´s discussions mainly focused on issues ranging from voters´ list, provisions on TRC and commission on disappearances, rank determination of former Maoist combatants, removing constitutional difficulties and on the process of administering oath of office. The ruling and opposition leaders are sharply divided over a key provision on the proposed TRC. While Maoists want to include a provision of general amnesty to those involved in human rights violations during the decade-long Maoist insurgency, opposition leaders are against the provision of general amnesty at all. "There will be no provision of general amnesty. Those involved in violating serious human rights will be punished," said Gautam. According to him, they reached an understanding in principle to finalize the entire process by Friday if possible. According to Gautam, they have decided to settle the issue of voters´ registration based on the voters´ list used in the 2008 elections, the latest update of name list with photographs and the latest verdict issued by the Supreme Court in this connection. Nnnn MERGERS ENCOURAGED IN INSURANCE SECTOR Kathmandu, 8 March: The regulator might allow insurance companies to spend more on promotional activities if they opt for mergers, The Himalayan Times reports. The Insurance Board (IB) — insurance sector regulator — is preparing merger guidelines to encourage and facilitate mergers and acquisitions among insurance companies. “The merger guidelines will clarify the merger procedures and introduce incentives for insurance companies that will encourage them to merge,” pointed out chairman of Insurance Board Prof Dr Fatta Bahadur KC. “The guidelines will spell out the rewards or concessions that merged companies will receive,” he informed, adding that the rates of tax exemptions will be clarified in the fiscal policy but the regulator will be lenient regarding terms of reserve requirement, earmarked reserves, and promotional expenses among others for a few years after the merger as an incentive. The insurance sector regulator had capped the promotional expenses of insurance companies at the beginning of the current fiscal year. The regulator had dictated that expenses under business promotion, that included incentives provided to insurance agents, should not exceed six per cent of the annual gross premium income for life insurance companies. Likewise, non-life insurance companies cannot spend more than 1.5 per cent of their net premium income annually for promotional activities. The regulator’s move to restrict unnecessary expenses of insurance companies did not go down well with insurance agents and companies. Mergers have emerged as one of the best options for companies as they are running out of time to increase paid up capital. By the end of the current fiscal year, regulation requires non-life insurance companies to increase their paid up capital to Rs 250 million and life insurance companies to Rs 500 million. None of the existing insurance companies — both life and non-life — have been able to fulfil the paid up capital requirement. As the insurance regulator is encouraging mergers and the deadline for companies to meet the paid up capital requirement is approaching fast, insurers have kick started the merger process. Merger talks between Premier Insurance and Neco Insurance have taken off and they have already informed the regulator regarding their possible merger. “Talks have not been finalised yet, we are taking cautious steps,” said CEO of Neco Insurance Bhoj Raj Sharma. “But a merger is definitely on the cards as it will not only help us increase paid up capital but will strengthen the company in terms of cost minimisation and competitiveness as well,” he added. A year back, Prudential Insurance Company, United Insurance Company and Shikhar Insurance Company had opted for a merger but it was aborted midway. Likewise, one and a half years back, Shikhar Insurance, Premier Insurance and Sagarmatha Insurance’s merger process also did not take off as they failed to agree on major issues. nnnn


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