Nepal Today

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

NC MAHSIMITI MEET CONCLUDES THURSDAY Kathmandu, 11 April: NC mahasimiti meeting at Tribenighat, Nawalparasi, concludes Thursday after a three-day closed session. A political report of Vice-president Ram Chandra Paudel and organization reportof General Secretary Praash Man Singh were discussed by 14 groups from 14 anchals. ‘There have been some suggestions,” Paudel said when asked to comment on criticis of his report. The mahasimiti in which more than 1,300 delegated participated was held after two and held year after the party’s general convention that elected Sushil Koirala president. Another General Secretary Krishna Prasad Shitaula presented suggestions for party statute amendment and Treasurer Chandralekha Yadav presented a financial report. Criticism of the establishment by 22 Young Turks for appointing government chief Khil Raj Regmi who continues as chief justice ended with a whimper. The party meet was convened ahead of constituent assembly elections for which there was no alternative, leadership said. BAIDHAYA GROUP BEING INCITED CLAIMS PRACHANDA Kathmandu, 11 April Mohan Baidhaya group of CPN Maoist is being incited by persons and revisionists who don’t desire elections, Maoist Chairman Orchanda said in Pokhara Thursday. People will take take of them, Prachanda said.. A high-level political mechanism of the Big Four was seeking an agreement with the Maoist rebel group, the Maoist chief added, Baidhaya group said the body is unconstitutional and will talk only with the parties of constituents of the high-level body as demands were made for a national consensus government selected by a roundtable meet. Nnnn ONE ELECTROCUTED, 12 INJURED IN DHADING Kathmandu, 11 April One persons died after being electrocuted at Dharka in Dhading Thursday morning. One dozen others were injured one day’s walk from Dhadng beshi. nnnn TWO KILLED, 13 INJURED ON FIRST DAY Of BISKETJATRA Kathmandu, 11 April: Two persons were overrun ad killed while a chariot with Lord Bhairab was being pulled in Bhaktapr at Taumadi on the first day on the Bisket jatra coinciding with New Year 2070 that begins Sunday Thirteen others were injured. The festival continues for nine days and eight nights. Residents of the northern and southern sections were pulling the three-tired chariot with the idol of Lord Bhairab to their section of the town watched by hundreds of tourists Clashes when the chariot is towed are annual occurrences but such fatal accidents while the chariot is pulled to and fro by four ropes are rare. nnnn NEPAL UNLIKELY TO HOST 2013 SAARC SUMMIT Kathmandu, 11 April: Despite repeated commitments in international forums to hold the 18th Saarc Summit within this year, Nepal is unlikely to host the regional meeting of eight South Asian countries by 2013, Anil Giri writes in The Kathmandu Post.. Chances of organising the 18th Saarc Summit in Kathmandu are hanging in balance due to Nepal ’s internal political situation and the complicated political situation in Maldives. Nepal ’s plan to host the Sixth Meeting of Saarc Home or Interior Ministers, a regular mechanism that usually takes place before the Saarc Summit, on November 11-23 has been rescheduled after Maldives requested the Nepal i side to postpone it for the time being, according to officials. After the Maldivian request, Nepal will soon propose another date, which will further delay the prospect of hosting the summit. “This has made the Saarc Summit within this year impossible. If the elections take place as per the schedule, we may be able to host it in first half of 2014,” said spokesperson at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Arjun Bahadur Thapa, who also looks after Saarc and other multilateral affairs. Besides Nepal ’s uncertain poll prospects, Maldives has also failed to circulate dates for hosting the inter-summit, which takes a formal decision to announce the Saarc summit date, venue and put forward the name of incoming Saarc secretary general. In addition to hosting the jamboree, Nepal should name a Saarc secretary general, a plum diplomatic post based in Kathmandu, during the mini-summit. The Article III of the Sarrc Charter states, “The Heads of State or Government shall meet once a year or more often as and when considered necessary by the Member States.” Earlier, Maldives had informed that the inter-summit would be organised by July. Now, Male is also rescheduling the meeting, which has put the summit in limbo, according to officials. The inter-summit, a prerequisite to the summit, has also been postponed time and again by Maldives. “The inter-summit has pushed the summit date further back. Had Maldives convened the meeting early 2013, we would have felt the urgency of hosting the summit before September 2013,” a foreign ministry official said. Nepal had expressed willingness to host the Saarc Summit in first half of 2013. Owing to the turbulent domestic situations, Nepal later proposed hosting the summit by September 2013 during a meeting of the Saarc Council of Ministers in New York. Another concern raised by officials is lack of attention shown by political leaders to host the regional gathering. Besides settling political issues, Nepal needs to prepare for the summit and finalise the venue, reconstruct the demolished roads, renovate the International Convention Centre, make arrangements for proper security and meet other logistical requirements. Nepal ’s inability to hold the regional summit, where influential countries like the US, Japan and China are observers, is likely to further erode the country’s international standing. It would also allow other member states to step in to host the summit, said Saarc Secretariat officials. Nnnn US DIPLOMATS DUPED TO BUY STOLEN URANIUM FROM INDIA Kathmandu, 11 April: Two Nepali businessmen once duped US diplomats by offering to sale Uranium claimed to have been smuggled from a nuclear facility in India, according to diplomatic cables recently released by Wikileaks, Planindra Dahal writes in The Kathmandu Post. . In September1973, one JC Thakur approached the US Embassy in Kathmandu and claimed that he could deliver 2 to 3 kg of Uranium at $40,000 per kg. The samples of the purported radioactive element were collected by US Embassy officials and were sent to the US-based Atomic Energy Commission for verification, according to the cables. A cable forwarded on September 26 that year said Thakur, in a meeting with the embassy officials, expressed willingness to offer samples for analysis and briefly showed them a small amount of a brown substance packed in a small plastic vial. When inquired about the source, he indicated that the uranium would be smuggled out to him from nuclear power facilities in Bombay (present day Mumbai). A day after the cable detailing Thakur’s attempt to sale the element was forwarded to the State Department in Washington, the US Embassy in New Delhi suggested that the information be shared with the Indian government. The cable dispatched on September 27 asserts that such a move would contribute to the atmosphere of trust and confidence with India for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. A cable later sent by Washington gives a green signal to collect the samples from the traders in Kathmandu. It also instructs the embassy officials to send it to the US through a ‘small diplomatic pouch’ and advises the embassy in New Delhi to use its “discretion” in apprising the Indian government ‘informally of the offer.’ Thakur himself contacts US embassy officials in Kath-mandu on October 7 and visits them the next day to hand over the samples. The communiqué notes that in the second meeting, Thakur stressed the need for ‘secrecy,’ saying that the issue is a ‘life or death situation for him and his partner,’ according to the leaked cables. He also says he can provide 5 kg of enriched Uranium per month for $3,500 per kg, a rate cheaper by $500 than the one mentioned in the first meeting. The reply from State Department on October 16 says that the sample was not radioactive, hence it was not likely to be uranium. Before the announcement of the result, the US Embassy in New Delhi informed the Coordination Director of India’s External Affairs Ministry of Thakur and his attempt to sale smuggled uranium. US diplomats later found out that Thakur was the brother of Prakash Chand Thakur, the former Nepali ambassador to Japan who was recalled for drug abuse, and concluded that the incident was part of an ‘elaborate hoax’ perpetrated on them. A cable sent from Kathmandu in August 1975 states that Thakur was trying to test the samples for free and ascertain whether Uranium exists in the Nagarjun hills in Kathmandu. In October 1973, the US embassy in Kathmandu is contacted by another individual named Krishna Tamang who hands over a sample, claiming that he can supply 10 kg of uranium per month for $5,000 a kg. It notes that Tamang was highly nervous in the October 18 meeting and said that he received the substance from his partner in India. Tests of the sample handed over by Tamang confirmed in November that it was not uranium. The State Department in Washington then draws the attention of its embassy in India and Nepal to the matter and asks them not to consider the ‘hoax offers’ but accept samples, if offered. A cable sent from New Delhi in May 1974 quotes the then Indian Minister of State KC Pant as informing the Rajya Sabha that five persons were arrested and 750 grams of yellow powder, said to be uranium but later verified as sulfur, was obtained during a raid in Jamshedpur in South Bihar. The police action in the state of Bihar reminded the US diplomats in New Delhi of the purported uranium deal of September 1973, who said the ‘silly season’ for uranium deals were yet to be over. Again in September 1975, Krishna Tamang visited a US Embassy official in Kathmandu and offered two vials of a reddish powdery substance for testing. Considering Tamang’s old record, both the embassy and the State Department concurred that they would not forward it for testing. nnnn


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