Nepal Today

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

33 PARTIEES ON MECHI-MAHAKALI PROTEST MARCH Kathmandu, 15 May: Thirty-three parties, including CPN Maoist, are starting a Mechi-Mahakali march protesting the appointment proposed co0nstituent assembly elections, appointment of Lokman Singh Karki as CIAA chief and appointment of The kHil Raj Regmi government. The parties have been on pronged public protests and have rejected government invitation for talks to hold constituent assembly vote. . CPN Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidhaya is in Dhangadi to lead Wednesday’s march. nnnn. JOHANNES ZUTT APPOINTED WB COUNTRY DIRECTOR Kathmandu, 15 May: Johannes Zutt has been appointed new country director Of World Bank (WB) to Nepal/ Zutt, is a Dutch national who joined the WB in 1999. He held managerial positions in Eritrea, Kenya, and Rwanda. nnnn FOREIGN MISSIONS FORMALLY TOLD OF END OF ARMS EMBARGO Kathmandu, 15 May: In an effort to consolidate the support of the international community for aid to the Nepal Army, the government has sent letter s to all the diplomatic missions in Kathmandu informing that the restriction on the supply of arms and ammunition put by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) since 2006 has ceased, Phanindra Dahal writes in The Kathmandu Post.. The Ministry of Defence dispatched a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday for the second time urging it to communicate with the international community that Nepal has lifted restriction on the import of arms for the national army. Nepal has not received any lethal aid for the Army after the CPA between then seven-party government and the Maoists in 2006 barred the transport of arms, ammunition and explosives. With the progress in the integration of the former Maoist combatants into the Nepal Army last year, major political parties in March agreed to end the obstacle in importing arms. In its letter , the Defence Ministry has noted that the army integration Special Committee on March 11 had amended the CPA’s constraints on lethal military aid. “We have asked the Foreign Ministry to notify all the countries with which we have bilateral relations that there is no longer any obstruction on the import of arms,” Defence Secretary Tilak Ram Sharma said. He added that informal discussions are under way for new purchase after the Cabinet last month cleared the deck for the military supplies. Officials have said the government’s decision is intended to avoid ‘confusion’ and ‘update’ the international community on the end to the eight-year old stagnation in arms import. “Some representatives of the international community would refer to the restriction when we sought lethal military aid in the past. The decision to dispatch letter s is aimed at avoiding that confusion,” said the Defence Ministry official. Nepal officially requested India to resume lethal supplies to the Nepal Army during the latest meeting of the Bilateral Security Consultative Group in Bangalore in April. Officials have claimed that India has positively responded to the Nepali request. However, the supply of the logistics will take time as it has to be vetted by different mechanisms including India’s Defence Ministry. Nnnn 130,000 NEPALIS TO BENEFIT FOM SAUDI AMNESTY - Kathmandu, 15 May: Saudi Arabia has formally asked the Nepali mission in Riyadh to facilitate its citizens either to correct their legal status or move out of the country without facing punishment. In a letter addressed to the embassy, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs has informed that the amnesty, which came into effect from May 10, will last till July 3, Roshan Sedhai writes in The Kathmandu Post. . Under the amnesty plan, the workers including housemaids, can either correct their illegal status or leave the country without being penalised. However, there are conditions for those willing to change their legal status. Meanwhile, the Nepali mission in Riyadh has started process to facilitate the return of illegal migrant workers. The embassy started receiving applications on Monday from workers who don’t have their passport. “We urge everyone to utilise this opportunity. The workers can get travel documents from the embassy without charge. They are requested to fill up forms and provide photocopies of their passport or the citizenship certificate,” said Udaya Raj Pandey, Nepal’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia . According to Pandey, the new amnesty scheme will benefit around 130,000 Nepalis. “An estimated 70,000 male and 50,000 female Nepali migrants are illegally working in Saudi Arabia ,” said Pandey. After Malaysia and Qatar, Saudi Arabia is the third biggest work destination for Nepali migrants with around 600,000 workers. The first news of amnesty was announced by Saudi Labour Minister Adel Fakeih on February 25. But the Saudi government had not given any formal notice to the Nepali mission. The new legalisation scheme allows runaway workers holding authentic passports to be legal even if they have been blacklisted by their employer. For this, they should change their sponsorship through the Labour Office. Domestic workers will be allowed to work legally by changing their sponsor. Meanwhile, those working illegally after running away from their sponsor without passport will be given a travel document which can be shown at the Immigration to get an exist visa. Similarly, those who chose to flee from the airport before joining the sponsor could also leave without facing any penalty. In case of a Muslim pilgrim who visited the country before July, 2003 and chose to work there illegally, they can be legal by changing the sponsorship from the Labour Office. Illegal workers with passports may leave the country by acquiring exit visas from the Saudi Immigration. Necessary documents can be obtained free of cost even if one lacks the passport. The Nepali embassy has asked the illegal workers without passport to proceed to acquire the travel document. The new measure is an extension of the “Saudisation” programme called Nitaqat (ranges or zones), introduced in June 2011 by the Saudi Labour Ministry aimed at creating job opportunities for its nationals, especially youths, by replacing a small percentage of the foreign workforce. nnnn