Nepal Today

Sunday, March 3, 2013


SANGH CLOSED SESSION BEGINS IN JHAPA Kathmandu, 3 March: A closed session of Nepal Dalit Sangh begins in Birtamodh Sunday. The body affiliated with main opposition is to elect new office bearers. Nnnn UML LEADER SAYS REGMI GOVT. A PLOY TO AVOID ELETIONS Kathmandu, 3 March:- CPN- UML Secretary Bishnu Poudel has claimed that internal and external forces have been attempting to thwart the fresh Constituent Assembly (CA) election and promulgation of new constitution. He added that attempts were being made to ruin the agreement between the parties, The Kathmandu Post reports from Gulmi.. Addressing the inaugural of party's district convention here in Tamghas, leader Poudel said there was no alternative to CA election under no circumstances. He accused that the UCPN (Maoist) of being involved in the conspiracy to hold the country a hostage of indecision. He said that the UCPN (Maoist)'s proposal to appoint Khil Raj Regmi as the prime minister was part of the plot to avert the CA election. No matter what kind of conspiracy is hatched, the CA election would be held by third week of November—if not mid-June, the UML leader claimed. "We are committed to go for elections regardless of any plot," he added. UML politburo member Pradeep Gyawali, Chabilal Bishwokarma, central member Gokarna Bista, Netra Panthi and Thakur Gaire, among other leaders, expressed their views at the convention The Post Adds from Kathmandu: ATHMANDU, MAR 02 - CPN-Maoist Secretary Dev Gurung has remarked that the four major political parties have been heading towards fascism . He warned that the nation would plunge into darkness if the sitting chief justice was appointed as the prime minister. "What is currently happening is the policy of fascism , and the three political parties have been heading towards the same," said leader Gurung, speaking at the Reporters Club in the Capital on Saturday. "The country will plunge into a serious confrontation. And it is not the way out from the political deadlock as it is being dubbed but a bad omen for the nation," he added. Saying that the major four political parties have initiated party-less rule similar to the Panchyat system by agreeing to appoint the chief justice as the prime minister, Gurung said there is no alternative to agitation to fight against it. He charged that the current government led by Baburam Bhattarai is the most corrupt government in history. He added that the current government should be toppled by any means and that his party would adopt all measures for the same. At the same programme, UCPN (Maoist) leader Shakti Basnet made it clear that the appointment of chief justice as the prime minister, resignation of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and the clearance of constitutional and legal hurdles would happen at the same time. Likewise, UML leader Raguji Panta said there is no alternative to forming an election government under the chief justice to end the political deadlock. The Post adds from Kathmandu: CPN-Maoist Secretary Dev Gurung has remarked that the four major political parties have been heading towards fascism . He warned that the nation would plunge into darkness if the sitting chief justice was appointed as the prime minister. "What is currently happening is the policy of fascism , and the three political parties have been heading towards the same," said leader Gurung, speaking at the Reporters Club in the Capital on Saturday. "The country will plunge into a serious confrontation. And it is not the way out from the political deadlock as it is being dubbed but a bad omen for the nation," he added. Saying that the major four political parties have initiated party-less rule similar to the Panchyat system by agreeing to appoint the chief justice as the prime minister, Gurung said there is no alternative to agitation to fight against it. He charged that the current government led by Baburam Bhattarai is the most corrupt government in history. He added that the current government should be toppled by any means and that his party would adopt all measures for the same. At the same programme, UCPN (Maoist) leader Shakti Basnet made it clear that the appointment of chief justice as the prime minister, resignation of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and the clearance of constitutional and legal hurdles would happen at the same time. Likewise, UML leader Raguji Panta said there is no alternative to forming an election government under the chief justice to end the political deadlock. .nnnn TRC A BONE OF CONTENSION Kathmandu, 3 March:: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has been a major bone of contention between the four major forces ever since they started discussing alternatives to replace Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, The Himalayan Times reports.. Unified CPN-Maoist and CPN-UML have been at loggerheads over TRC. While Maoists have put their weight behind provisions set by the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) and Interim Constitution (IC)regarding granting amnesty in most cases of human rights violations; UML leaders have been demanding that TRC must stand on international standards and punish those involved in gross human rights violation. UCPN-Maoist spokesman Agni Sapkota said his party stands firm with provisions in the CPA and IC, but opposition parties especially UML are trying to spoil the environment by insisting on prosecuting war-era cases through existing laws. “Since they don’t want elections, UML has been trying to revive war-time cases,” he said. Except some exceptional cases, Sapkota said all other cases should be resolved through reconciliation so as to ensure peace in society. He also clarified that his party was not in a position to leave the government’s leadership unless other parties took a concrete decision on TRC. “Issues of the so-called international standards and human rights violations are not acceptable as the cases happened during a significant part of history that ensured that this change happened,” he said. One the other hand, UML leader Agni Kharel, one of the members of the task force formed by the four forces to sort out differences so as to form an election government under the sitting Chief Justice, alleged that UCPN-M did not want elections, so they have been sticking to their stance on giving amnesty to all human rights violators. “TRC must be set up as per international standards that will not spare anyone involved in cases of gross human rights violation,” he said. NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi, however, had said his party had no objection to formation of TRC, if that was brought by addressing the concerns expressed by the international community as promised by UCPN-M leaders during their meeting on January 18, when UCPN-M had expressed commitment on formation of TRC as per the spirit of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). - See more at: http://www.thehimalayantimes.com/fullNews.php?headline=TRC+continues+to+be+a+bone+of+contention&NewsID=368024#sthash.oSIo1MVv.dpuf nnnn REPUBLIC OF CONGO OPEN FOR WORKERS Kathmandu, 3 March:: The government has added one more nation in its foreign job market list, opening the Republic of the Congo — popularly known as Congo-Brazzaville — for Nepali workers, The Himalayan Times reports. There are 109 countries open for foreign jobs to Nepalis. The government has opened the Republic of Congo for Nepali foreign job aspirants, said secretary of ministry of labour and employment Suresh Man Shrestha. Nepali outsourcing agencies had asked the government to open the destination some seven to eight months back due to demand from the country. “Details of the recruitment process and benefits have been mentioned in Nepal Gazette published in February.” According to the gazette, Nepali workers will get at least $320 (Rs 28,127) salary in the destination. “Unskilled workers will get at least Rs 28,127, semi-skilled workers will get $620 (Rs 54,496) and skilled workers or professionals will get a monthly salary of $2,000 (Rs 175,793),” the gazette says. Salary scale is better than in Gulf where Nepali workers have been getting $240 (Rs 21,095). Nepali workers will also get free boarding facility in the country. “Employers have to bear the air ticket and visa fee while recruiting Nepali workers,” said Shrestha. “Outsourcing agencies will get just Rs 20,000 as mediating fee.” The Republic of the Congo was a French colony before 1960. The country became independent on August 15, 1960. It has diplomatic relations with Nepal since September 22, 2006. However, its neighbour, Democratic Republic of Congo, is in a civil war and Nepali army has been stationed there with the UN peace keeping mission. Republic of the Congo has a population of 4.4 million and per capita income is $3,000 (Rs 263,690). Its minerals, forest, agriculture and service sectors have been booming rapidly. Israel demands 300 caregivers Israel has demanded about 300 caregivers a week after the Nepali government requested it to open its job market for Nepali women. “We have received a demand for 300 caregivers under government-to-government employment,” said secretary of ministry of labour and employment Suresh Man Shrestha. “The demand is a pilot project for the government-to-government process.” About 7,500 Nepali women have been working in the caregiver sector in the destination. Israel had closed its door to Nepali caregivers on April 24, 2010, after 1,000 women were found to be staying there in an illegal status. nnnn PRESIDENT CALLS FOR QYAKE RESISTANT HOSPITALS Kathmandu, 3 Feb.: Inaugurating the 26th All Nepal Doctors' Conference with a focus on hospital's preparedness and response in case of earthquakes, organized by Nepal Medical Association (NMA), President Dr. Yadav expressed his hope that the conference would provide guidelines to the government about preparing hospitals for disasters like earthquakes, The Rising Nepal reports... President Dr. Yadav asked the participating doctors to discuss effective ways to reduce the vulnerability of existing infrastructure to handle eventualities like the earthquake. Keeping the risk of low level preparedness of hospitals in case of earthquakes in view, the NMA organized the three-day conference. A total of 1,100 doctors from across the country and outside are participating in the conference, in which 90 scientific papers will be presented. The conference will focus on the state of disaster preparedness of Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH), Kanti Hospital, Birendra Sainik Hosipital, Paropakar Maternity and Bir Hospital, Dr. Hari Kishor Shrestha, secretary of the organizing committee, said. Outgoing president of NMA Dr. Kiran Shrestha handed over the mantle of presidentship to the newly elected chief, Dr. Ananjani Kumar Jha. Dr. Jha raised the concern over the security of doctors. "Doctors are working under the threat," Dr. Jha said. He expressed his commitment to work for doctors' safety during his tenure. A study by UNDP has ranked Nepal as the eleventh most vulnerable country in the world in terms of earthquake. According to a national study, only 20 per cent hospitals were in a position to provide service to the people during an earthquake of a magnitude equivalent to that of the 1990 quake that had devastated Nepal. The country also lies in a seismically sensitive area where large-scale earthquakes were frequent in the history. Only the Maharajgunj-based Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital is built to be seismically safe hospital in Kathmandu Valley. However, doctors said the TUTH could not serve 100 additional patients in case major disasters. Experts have estimated around 300,000 people would be injured and need the hospital services if an earthquake of that magnitude jolted the nation. Earthquake, fire, storm, flood, landslide, heavy rain, drought and epidemic are the main hazards listed in the Natural Calamity (Relief) Act 1982 of Nepal. On the other hand, high population growth with haphazard migration and encroachment into marginal land, ecologically sensitive areas, deforestation, agricultural activities in steep slopes, lack of disaster awareness and preparedness have contributed to turning the hazards into disasters with a large number of casualties and huge loss of properties. Meanwhile, the NMA honoured Dr. Ramesh Kanta Adhikari, Dr. Chandra Kanta Maskey, Dr. Nira Devi Dangol, Dr. Pravin Mishra, Dr. Baburaja Shrestha, Dr. Chitra Prasad Wagle and Dr. Dhanaratna Shakya for their contribution in the health sector. Similarly, the NMA lifetime achievement award was given to Dr. Dwarikanath Regmi. nnnn MAOISTS BETRAYING SAYS SUSHIL KOIRALA Kathmandu, 3 March:: Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala Saturday said his party would not surrender before any forces in a name of consensus if it imperiled democracy, RSS reports from Jhapa.. Koirala urged all to be aware of UCPN-Maoist, which he said, was continually betraying the parties. Speaking with party workers here, he said his party would not tolerate UCPN-Maoist if it moved to capture state power by meddling with the judiciary. Koirala came to Jhapa to inaugurate the Dalit Association’s 14th national conference. “Sitting chief justice should lead government after reigning from the post.” he said. The NC chief accused UCPN-Maoist of interfering in Nepal Army, Nepal Police and civil service to use state mechanisms in its favour. “So, the NC will not compromise on democratic ideal in the name of consensus” he said. Koirala assured his party would not take any decision that posed threat to democracy. The NC chief reiterated his commitment to separation of power and democratic norms. However, he said the NC accepted CJ-led government to save democracy and people mandate. Koirala claimed his party agreed to give executive responsibility to the chief justice only in the condition that it did not affect the separation of powers. Nnnn CHINA INTERESTED IN ACQUISITION Kathmandu, 3 March: At least two Chinese companies have expressed interest to acquire state-owned Nepal Metal Company Limited (NMCL), which has failed to start production even after over three decades of Establishment, Republica reports. The NMCL was established with the aim of extracting zinc-lead ores from Mount Ganesh area of Dhading district. The two Chinese firms--South Asia Mining Energy Company Limited and Chenhui Mineral Energy Company Limited--have jointly approached the Ministry of Industry (MoI) offering their interest to take up the management of NMCL after acquiring company´s shares. "The Chinese firms have shown interest to take over the company by acquiring all its shares. Whether to sell the company is now up to us," said MoI Secretary Krishna Gyawali. Gayawali added that the ministry has asked the firms to submit a detailed proposal on share acquisition. The company that never came into operation since its establishment in 1976 has an authorized capital of Rs 330 million. "We will call the company´s board meeting to discuss the matter once we receive a hard copy of the proposal from the Chinese companies," Gayawali said. According to a Ministry of Finance (MoF) report, the company´s board has already submitted its own business plan to the government to bring NMCL into operation. "The board is currently awaiting government response," reads the MoF report. The government has 75 percent stake in the company. A source close to the firms said that the Chinese investors were ready to buy all shares in the company. "The firms are preparing a detailed proposal as demanded by the government," the source said. The company that never started its production, however, has 10 employees on its payroll. Bimal Wagle, chairman of the Public Enterprises (PE) Board, said that it would be better to hand over the company if any party comes up with a viable business plan to operate it. "Given the government´s failure to commence production at NMCL in more than three decades, PE Board will give a go ahead signal to the government to handover the company to any investor--domestic or foreign--if the investors´ intention is found good," said Wagle. nnnn GOVT. TO STREAMILNE FOREIGN FUNDNG Kathmanu, 3 March: Amid growing concerns over foreign aid being spent in non-priority areas, the government has stepped up efforts to streamline foreign aid, especially those directly reaching the local level. Kosh Raj Regmi writes in Republica.. Officials at the Ministry of Local Development (MoLD) said they have recently forwarded a proposal to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) on streamlining foreign aid being spent at the local level without prior knowledge of the concerned government bodies. Among other things, the proposal aims at tightening the screws on the current practice of directly funding projects at the local level. As per the proposal forwarded by MoLD, the donor agencies concerned will be required first to sign a formal agreement with the government as to how much financial support they wish to extend in the given fiscal year and to what kind of projects. This initiative is aimed at bringing such foreign aid under Nepal´s budgetary system. Deputy Prime Minister and Local Development Minister Narayankaji Shrestha said the initiative was taken amid concerns from various quarters that the foreign aid Nepal is being misused. “We are grateful for the support we have been receiving from various donors. So our move is only aimed at properly managing foreign aid,” said Shrestha, who also holds the portfolio of foreign ministry. Once the proposal gets endorsed, donor agencies would not be allowed to directly channel funds to local projects such as construction and renovation of school buildings and construction of roads and bridges, among other things. The Indian embassy in Kathmandu has been authorized by the Indian finance ministry to directly spend Rs 50-million on projects at local level without bringing the aid under the government´s budgetary system. But as other countries, including China, recently came up with similar proposal to allow them direct funding, officials said they felt the urgency of the matter. “Since such aid does not come under the notice of government, they not only lack transparency, but also often misused. Our move is aimed at enhancing effectiveness of the aid and ensuring that it is spent on areas prioritized by the government,” said a senior official at MoLD. Apart from regulating foreign aid meant for the local level, the government is also mulling to review overall Foreign Aid Policy of the country. A cabinet meeting held last week formed a taskforce led by former Chief Secretary Madhav Prasad Ghimire to prepare a draft of the new Foreign Aid Policy that suits broader interests of the country. The committee comprises of members from the finance ministry, foreign ministry and the National Planning Commission. nnnn UPDATE PALESTINE BEATS BANGLADESH Kathmandu, 2 March: Palestine Saturday beat Bangladesh 1-0 in the AFC Qualifier Group D match in the Nepali capital. The solitary goal came in the 75th minute on play on the opening day of the tournament. Palestine is a strong contender to head the Group and qualify for the next round in Maldives. Nnnn OPINION COLD FEET OR PART OF THE SCRIPT. Kathmandu, 2 March. For nearly a month, as Nepal churned in controversy over the political establishment’s attempt to entrust the government to Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi, the man himself remained tight lipped. The silence was far from dignified. Some speculated that Regmi’s refusal to speak on something that split the political class, including the four principal parties pushing the initiative, bespoke his covetousness for the top executive position. When the proponents finally got around to formally requesting Regmi to head an election government, the chief justice turned ambivalent. First, he seemed to loathe the specific – albeit still-unspecified – conditions set by the parties. Then he thought of the reputation he had built during his long career in the judicial branch, Maila Baje writes in Nepali Netbook. One more excuse or the other has popped up since. While Regmi has not pronounced an emphatic final no, the advocates of a chief justice-led government have started looking like lily-livered clowns. From the outset, the proposal was an admission of failure by the political fraternity. Now, leaders had to virtually supplicate before the man to save what remained of their reputations. Maila Baje agrees that Regmi could have saved us a lot of time and energy if he had been more upfront about his intentions from the beginning. In fairness, though, he didn’t really have that much explaining to do. He didn’t step forth and present himself as a potential head of government. Some leaders of the principal political parties were bent on installing a ‘non-political’ government from all angles. There was much politicking going around within these four parties before they settled on the chief justice. While the ruling faction of the Maoists seemed more united behind the idea, the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the Madhesi parties were deeply divided. Traditional factional maneuverings guided individual leaders’ position. If Regmi refused to become part of this sordid play, you could hardly blame him. It has since emerged that the intrigues ran deeper. Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal was credited with the idea of amalgamating the executive and judicial branches in the legislative emptiness as part of some dazzling conspiratorial design. Dahal endured much opprobrium, too, before and after the Maoist party convention in Hetauda. Then Nepali Congress leaders Ram Chandra Poudel and Krishna Prasad Sitaula separately insisted that the idea of a chief justice-led election government was really the brainchild of President Ram Baran Yadav. Yadav, for his part, conceived of the notion during his visit to India. Then things got a bit outlandish. After the Maoist convention, Indian Ambassador Jayant Prasad reportedly reprimanded Dahal for having uttered such an inanity. The Maoist chairman then did a 180 and, with a straight face, claimed he had never made the suggestion. By then, the leaders of the other three parties/groupings had considerably warmed up to the idea, despite continuing turbulence within their own respective organizations. Where did this leave India? Its widely assumed principal spokesman Surya Bahadur Thapa of the Rastriya Janashakti Party spoke against the proposal with all the scorn he could muster. But K.P. Sharma Oli of the CPN-UML, another voice believed to convey Indian thinking, took his own U-turn to support the idea. While the Indians are known to play from all sides of the field, the Europeans stuck out their necks the farthest, urging Nepali leaders to suspend constitutional subtleties to hold elections. That forced Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala – the most aggrieved man in the race to succeed Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai – to reveal that the parties accepted the proposal amid mounting international pressure. Now C.P. Mainali of CPN-ML – never one to fade into oblivion – suggests that Dahal be given leadership of an election government. Something crucial is lost amid the wrangling over who should lead an election government. Let’s assume that free and fair elections were held in time. How long might the new house be able to hold on to its mandate? Coming back to the original question: did Regmi get cold feet or was his stance part of the script all along? Does it really matter? Nnnn

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