Nepal Today

Thursday, April 18, 2013

FORMER RPP-NEPAL LAWMAKER DEAD Kathmandu, 19 April: Former lawmaker LokBahadur Thaoa of RPP-Nepal died Wednesday. He was 75. The central advisot of RPP-Nepal was member of the dissolved Rashtriya Sabha, nnn VALLEY COOL WITH SOME RAIN Kathmandu, 19 April: The temperature is the Valley has been cooling with some rain. Friday morning temperature in the capital hovers around 12 degrees Celsois. Mercury is expected to rise to 26 degrees Celsius in the afternoon. nnnn MNIMUM WAGES FOR MIGRANT WORKERS GOING TO BAHARAIN, OMAN Kathmandu, 19 April: Government has set the minimum wage for Nepali migrant workers going to Bahrain and Oman. Ministry of Labour and Employment has set the salary according to the suggestions of the diplomatic mission based in Saudi Arabia, The Himalayan Times reports. The ministry has set Bahraini Dinar 100 (Rs 22,850) for jobs in Bahrain and Omani Riyal 100 (Rs 22,400) for Oman. “Hereafter, demand for workers with below the minimum wage will not be accepted,” said spokesperson at the ministry Buddhi Bahadur Khadka. The rate was set according to the government policy to fix migrant workers’ salary at above $240 (Rs 20,700). Outsourcing agencies and individuals have to take foreign job permits under the Foreign Employment Act 2007 to join foreign jobs. About two million Nepalis have joined jobs in the Gulf region in the last one and a half decades. However, the number of Nepalis working in the region exceeds 2.5 million as there are many undocumented/illegal migrants. The Nepali embassy in Saudi Arabia, which also looks after diplomatic issues in Bahrain and Oman, had suggested the rate to the government. The government has already set the minimum wage for Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait. According to the new wage plan, semi-skilled Nepali workers joining jobs in Bahrain and Oman will earn about 120 Bahraini Dinar (Rs 27,450) and 120 Omani Riyal (Rs 26,875), respectively. Similarly, minimum wage for skilled workers in both countries is 150 Bahraini Dinar and Omani Riyal. Professionals will earn around 550 Bahraini Dinar (Rs 125,800) and Omani Riyal (Rs 123,200), respectively. The earning is similar to the minimum age set in other Gulf countries, he said. Though the government has set the minimum wage for Nepali migrants in Gulf countries it is hard to enforce it. “Just 20-25 per cent demands actually meet the criteria,” said president of Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies Bal Bahadur Tamang. “Outsourcing agencies have been using fake demands to get foreign job permits.” The government should do its homework in the respective destinations to enforce the minimum wage in the real sense, Tamang added. nnnn VALLEY BECOMING HUB FOR SMALL ARMS TRADE Kathmandu, 19 April:: The rise in smuggling of small arms into the Kathmandu Valley has caused a surge in crimes like murder‚ abduction and robbery‚ police say. They said they confiscated 24 illegal firearms‚ arresting 44 people for the possession of these arms in the valley since April 2012, The Himalayan Times reports.. After the fatal shooting of Supreme Court Justice Rana Bahadur Bam at Lalitpur in 2012‚ no such shooting has been reported so far. But 14 incidents of robbery and three cases of abduction at gunpoint have been recorded in the valley‚ which underscore the growing threat of small arms. SSP Hemanta Bahadur Pal‚ spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Crime Division‚ said 24 small arms‚ including pistols and countrymade guns‚ were confiscated from various persons and criminal groups in 2069 BS. Though it is a record-low recovery of firearms from criminal gangs in the past three years compared to 46 in 2067 BS and 38 in 2068 BS‚ officials conceded that proliferation of illegal weapons continues unabated in the valley. During the same period‚ 44 suspects were arrested for possessing illegal arms and charged under the Arms and Ammunition Act. Ninety bullets were also seized from their possession. The MPCO data reflect on a growing gun-culture in the valley. According to sources‚ a pistol fetches the racketeers up to Rs 100‚000 depending on the need of the prospective clients‚ who are extortionists and organised criminal gangs mostly. “We have succeeded in cracking down on such racketeers and are committed to ensuring public security. The three-yearly data also support our claim‚” SSP Pal said. On Tuesday‚ police raided a rented house at Mitranagar‚ and arrested four suspects with a cache of illegal weapons. The arrestees — Yam Bahadur Thapa‚ 23‚ of Gorkha‚ his sister-in-law Alisha Gurung‚ 20‚ of Gorkha‚ Pankaj Malla‚ 19‚ of Banke and Rudra Dahal‚ 25‚ of Morang — were held with a semi-automatic rifle‚ a revolver‚ bullets‚ swords‚ khukuris and knives. Though Thapa‚ one of the detainees and former Maoist combatant‚ produced licence for the German-made GST-5d Caliber 22 LRHV rifle and 53 bullets‚ officials said they were trying to establish if the user had misused the licensed weapon. The revolver and two bullets were found to be illegal. Officials said the open Nepal-India border is becoming a haven for illegal arms traders‚ who are often attracted to the Capital to smuggle the weapons in the hope of making more money. nnnn PHOTOS OF TWO SUSPECTED BOSTON BOMBERS RELEASED Kathmandu, 19 April:: Investigators released pictures of two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing on Thursday, seeking the public's help in identifying two backpack-toting men photographed on the crowded sidewalk on Monday before bombs exploded near the finish line, Reuters reports from Boston. The blasts that killed three people and wounded 176 began a week of security scares that rattled the United States and evoked memories of the September 11, 2001 hijacked plane attacks. "Somebody out there knows these individuals as friends, neighbors, co-workers or family members of the suspects," Richard DesLauriers, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation's special agent in charge in Boston, told a news conference. "Though it may be difficult, the nation is counting on those with information to come forward and provide it to us," he said. DesLauriers warned the public that the men were considered armed and dangerous. Both men carried backpacks that were believed to contain the bombs. The FBI identified suspect No. 1 as a man wearing a dark baseball cap and sunglasses. Suspect No. 2 wore a white cap baseball cap backwards and was seen setting down his backpack on the ground, DesLauriers said. The FBI released a 30-second video of the two men, one walking behind the other, that edited together three different angles. The video appeared to have been taken from security cameras. A picture of both men in the same frame was taken at 2:37 p.m., about 13 minutes before the two explosions tore through the crowd that had been cheering on finishers of the race. Investigators believe the bombs were made of pressure cookers packed with shrapnel. Some of the wounded suffered gruesome injuries and at least 10 people lost limbs as a result of the blasts. Investigators hoped the men would be identifiable within hours of the release of the pictures and video, a national security official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Investigators were looking at the men for some period of time before deciding to make the videos public, and they had extensive video and still pictures to justify the FBI decision to label the two men as suspects, the official said. At least one other person of interest who featured in crime scene pictures had been ruled out as a suspect. Also ruled out earlier in the week was a Saudi student who was injured in the attacks, the official said. OBAMA IN BOSTON President Barack Obama sought to bring solace to Boston and the nation in an interfaith service at a cathedral about a mile (1.6 km) from the bomb site, declaring "You will run again" and vowing to catch whoever was responsible. He promised resilience in a message directed toward Boston but also to a country that was on edge. A man was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of mailing the deadly poison ricin to Obama and a massive explosion at a fertilizer factory devastated a small Texas community, sending shockwaves at least 50 miles (80 km) away. Obama said the country stood in solidarity with the victims of the Boston bombs on their road to recovery. "As you begin this long journey of recovery, your city is with you, your commonwealth is with you, your country is with you," Obama said. "We will all be with you as you learn to stand and walk and, yes, run again. Of that, I have no doubt. You will run again." After his speech, Obama met with volunteers and Boston Marathon organizers, many of whom cared for the injured, and with victims at Massachusetts General Hospital. The bombs in Boston killed an 8-year-old boy, Martin Richard; a 29-year-old woman, Krystle Campbell; and a Boston University graduate student and Chinese citizen, Lu Lingzi. Before his visit, Obama declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts, making federal funding available to the state as it copes with the aftermath of the bombing. nnnn


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