Nepal Today

Monday, April 15, 2013

FIVE THARU DISTRICTS IN MID AND FAR-WEST CLOSED DOWN Kathmandu, 16 April: Life was forcibly brought to a halt Tuesday in five districts in the mid and far-West where the Tharu community has a large presence. The community called the forcible closure charging government for failure to pursue the murder of Srijana Chaudhary, 12, in Lalitpur last month charging employers of murder. A bandh closed down Dang, Banke, Bardiya, Kailali and Kanchanpur. Nnnn CITIZENS’ CHARTER TO BE UPDATES Kathmandu, 16 April: As part of improving governance, the government today [Monday] announced that Citizen’s Charter at all government offices will be updated with the provision that service seekers can file for compensation — from Rs 250 to Rs 5,000 — if they do not get the service within the said time period. Prakash Acharya writes in The Himalayan Times.. As per the new provision, the responsible government employee will bear the cost of compensation. The recent move will be implemented in revenue and survey offices in 20 districts in the first phase. Minister for Land Reform and Management Riddhi Baba Pradhan and Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office Krishna Hari Baskota today announced the good governance move at a programme at Land Revenue Office, Dillibazaar, where the Citizen’s Charter with new provisions was implemented. Baskota said that the Citizen’s Charter has the provisions for timely, regular, quality, accountable, pro-people and cheaper service delivery, along with the provision of compensation to service seekers. Included in the Charter are nature of service, documents necessary for the service, time required for service, responsible official, fee, complaint, and amount of compensation. A service seeker must claim the compensation within three days and s/he can do so through email as well. The responsible official will have to provide the compensation within seven days, according to Baskota. When a particular official cannot be held responsible for compensation, it will be paid from the fund set up by the government, said Baskota. The new provision calls for prompt priority service delivery to physically impaired, pregnant, children and senior citizens. Baskota said that the Charter has been implemented in offices of departments of foreign employment, transportation management, immigration, land revenue and survey. nnnn NEPAL, UAE CIVIL AVIATION TALKS BEGIN Kathmandu, 16 April: Nepal and the UAE today started air service agreement (ASA) dialogue in the Valley, The Himalayan Times reports.. A UAE delegation that is in Kathmandu on the invitation of Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, and the ministry officials started the dialogue today, according to a source at the ministry. “Nepal also needs to review its fifth freedom right, as there are some countries that have already entered into the sixth, seventh and eighth freedom rights,” said the official. “The revised ASA may include aviation commercial operations, aviation security, and third party code sharing provisions.” On February 15, Cabinet had directed the ministry to form a committee to start talks with UAE to revise the ASA as it was long overdue and the UAE airlines flying to Kathmandu planned to increase their flight frequency. The two-day talks will pave the way for long due ASA revision between the two nations, he said, adding Nepal had signed an ASA with UAE in 1999, which was revised in 2007. “But after 2007, the ministry's decision on December 16, 2010, allowing Air Arabia to operate six flights a week, had come into controversy due to parliamentary committee’s direction to withdraw it on December 13, 2011, seeking a revision. The committee had also prevented Air Arabia to fly on the Kathmandu-Kuala Lumpur route against the ASA due to protest from the employees of Nepal Airlines. Currently, Nepal has air service agreements with 36 countries and 90 per cent of them have the fifth freedom right, which is the right to carry passengers from one’s own country to a second country and from that country to a third country. Kathmandu-Shanghai direct flight : Nepal and China both can benefit from the direct flights on Kathmandu-Shanghai route, according to the entrepreneurs. Nepal-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCCI) president Rajesh Kazi Shrestha said — during a talk with a visiting delegation from Council for the Promotion of International Trade Shanghai led by its vice chairman Li Zhigang — that both countries can benefit, if a direct flight can come into operation. Zhigang, on the occasion said that a direct flight on Kathmandu-Shanghai route could come into operation soon as most of the Chinese are Buddhists and they like to visit Lumbini. Office bearers of NCCCI and the visiting delegation also discussed on boosting bilateral trade and investment between Nepal and China. “Nepal needs investment in hydropower, agriculture, and tourism,” Shrestha said. Nnn OBAMA WARNS STILL UNIDENTIFIED US BOMBERS Kathmandu, 16 April: A stony-faced President Barack Obama declared that those responsible for the explosions at the Boston Marathon "will feel the full weight of justice," but he urged a nervous nation not to jump to conclusions. Top lawmakers declared the deadly incident an act of terrorism, and a White House official said it was being treated that way, AP reports from Washington.. Obama, speaking from the White House late Monday, pointedly avoided using the words "terror" or "terrorism," saying officials "still do not know who did this or why." However, a White House official later said the incident at the famous race was being treated as terrorism. "We will find out who did this. We'll find out why they did this," Obama said in his brief statement. "Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice." Authorities say at least three people were killed and more than 140 injured during two explosions near the finish of the marathon. A senior U.S. intelligence official said two other explosive devices were found near the end of the 26.2-mile course. The president said the government would increase security around the United States "as necessary," but he did not say whether his administration thought the incident was part of a larger plot. Following a briefing with intelligence officials, Maryland Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said most urban areas in the country would be under high alert. "We want to make sure this is not a pattern," Ruppersberger said, adding that people could expect to see greater security at public areas such as train stations, ports and baseball games. On Capitol Hill, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told reporters that she had been in contact with U.S. intelligence agencies and it was her understanding "that it's a terrorist incident." Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the officials reported no advance warning that "there was an attack on the way." California Republican Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said it was a "terrorist attack" and "yet another stark reminder that we must remain vigilant in the face of continuing terrorist threats." The White House said Obama refrained from publicly calling the attacks terrorism because it was early in the investigation and the perpetrators were unknown. But the official said any time there is an event with multiple explosions going off at the same time and aimed at hurting people, the administration considers that terrorism. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still under way and the official was not authorized to be quoted by name. The president was briefed on the incident Monday by several senior administration officials, including FBI Director Robert Mueller and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. He also spoke with Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino and pledged to provide whatever federal support was needed. Additionally, the president spoke with Republican and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill, saying that "on days like this, there are no Republicans or Democrats, we are Americans united in our concern for our fellow citizens." The Secret Service quickly expanded its security perimeter at the White House. The agency shut down Pennsylvania Avenue and cordoned off the area with yellow police tape. Several Secret Service patrol cars blocked off the entry points to the road. The White House was not on lockdown, and tourists and other onlookers were still able to be in the park across the street from the executive mansion. The Federal Aviation Administration created a no-fly zone over the site of the two explosions and briefly ordered flights bound for Boston's Logan International Airport held on the ground at airports around the country. Security for outbound international flights has been increased, federal law enforcement officials said. Numerous runners were expected to leave Boston after the race, and the additional security was added as a precaution, the officials said. Those officials requested anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly. As authorities grappled to fill in the pieces of what happened, Obama said Boston and its "tough and resilient" residents would "pull together, take care of each other and move forward as one proud city." In Washington Monday night, the American flag over the Capitol was flying at half-staff. NNNN