Nepal Today

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

IMPLEMENT NEW BUDGET FORMER FINANCE MINISTERS TELL SUCCESSOR Kathmandu, 26 June: Former finance ministers Wednesday held consultative meeting with Finance Minister Shanker Koirala wo is busy preparing the annual budget 2013/14. Without parliament, for the first time a complete budget will be presented. Koirala said energy sector will be prioritized. Former finance ministers Wednesday told Koirala to concentrate on budget implementation. nnnn CHINESE LONGEST MANNED SPACE MISSION ENDS WITH SAFE RETURN OF ASTRONAUTS Kathmandu, 26 June : China completed its longest manned space mission Wednesday as its Shenzhou-10 spacecraft and three crew members safely returned to Earth, in a major step towards Beijing´s goal of building a permanent space station by 2020, AFP reports from Beijing.. The return capsule touched down at 8:07 am (0007 GMT), live state TV footage showed, kicking up a cloud of dust on the grasslands of north China´s Inner Mongolia region. Technicians quickly gathered to open the craft´s hatch and crawled inside to check the crew´s safety. Applause erupted at mission control when word came through that they were in good condition. A smiling commander Nie Haisheng was the first to emerge from the capsule at 9:31 am. He was followed by female astronaut Wang Yaping, who also smiled and waved, and Zhang Xiaoguang. "At this moment what I most want to say is that space is our dream and our motherland is forever our home," Nie said. "I wish our motherland to thrive even more and our people to become happier and happier. I thank the entire nation for their concern and support for us." The 15-day Shenzhou-10 ("Divine Vessel") mission is seen as another step in Beijing´s ambitious objective of building a space station. Highlights of the mission included docking with China´s orbiting space module Tiangong-1 in tests intended to prepare for the building of the space station. Wang delivered a video class to children across the country from space last week, showing how a variety of objects -- from a bubble of water to a spinning toy -- behave in zero gravity. The crew also conducted medical experiments during the mission. China first sent a human into space only in 2003 and its capabilities still lag behind the United States and Russia. But its programme is highly ambitious and includes plans to land a man on the moon. Beijing sees its multi-billion-dollar space programme as a symbol of its rising global stature, growing technical expertise, and the Communist Party´s success in turning around the fortunes of the once poverty-stricken nation. Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, in a congratulatory message delivered at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center and shown on state TV, cited "the staunch leadership of the party central committee with comrade Xi Jinping as general secretary" as a factor in the mission´s success. "Our motherland and people will forever engrave in our memory your distinguished success," he added, referring to all involved in the mission. Users of Weibo, China´s Twitter-like microblogs, also offered congratulations. "Heroes have returned victoriously," read one posted under the username Christina from Kaifeng Radio, a station in Kaifeng in the central province of Henan. The space programme has been heavily promoted on Chinese media. On Monday, Xi, who besides heading the party is also China´s president, spoke to the crew via video call. "The space dream is part of the dream to make China stronger," Xi told them, the state Xinhua news agency reported, referencing his signature "Chinese dream" concept. "With the development of space programmes, the Chinese people will take bigger strides to explore further into space," he said from the control centre. Xi had travelled to the Jiuquan space centre in the Gobi desert to witness the blast-off on June 11. China plans to launch the Tiangong-2 space lab around 2015, the official Xinhua news agency reported Wednesday, citing Wang Zhaoyao, director of China´s manned space programme office. Wang also discussed plans to put in orbit an experimental core module of a space station around 2018, with the manned space station itself being built around 2020. Morris Jones, an independent space analyst based in Sydney, Australia, called the latest mission a success and said it bodes well for China´s space ambitions. "China has truly mastered the art of space flight and is now ready to begin work on a space station," he told AFP. China is only the third nation after the now-defunct Soviet Union -- now Russia -- and the US to carry out manned space missions. Other space programmes such as in Japan and Europe have chosen not to go the manned route on their own and instead cooperate with others such as the US and Russia to put their astronauts in space, Jones said. "China is forging a more independent path where they are not dependent on other nations for their basic space capabilities," he added. Nnnn RUDD STAGES COMEBACK AS AUSTRALIAN PM Kathmandu, 26 June: Kevin Rudd returned as Australian prime minister on Wednesday, executing a stunning party room coup on Julia Gillard almost three years to the day after being ousted by his former deputy and less than three months out from a General, Reuters reports from Canberra. election. The reinstatement of Rudd as leader was a last-ditch effort to shore up support by the governing Labor Party, which opinion polls show faces a battering at a poll scheduled for Sept 14. The Mandarin-speaking former diplomat draws strong popular support but has divided and destabilised his party after launching two failed leadership bids in the past 18 months. Analysts said the move could backfire. "I don't think it will help Labor. I think they've dug themselves a deeper grave," said John Wanna, professor of politics at the Australian National University. The return of Rudd could now see Australia go to an election in August rather than the set date of September 14 to cash in on his greater popularity with voters and an expected honeymoon period with the electorate. The leadership change followed a series of opinion polls showing Gillard's minority government could lose up to 35 seats, giving the conservative opposition a massive majority in the 150-member parliament. GILLARD GRACIOUS IN DEFEAT Gillard, Australia's first female prime minister, stuck to her promise to quit parliament if she lost the ballot. "I am very proud of what this government has achieved which will endure for the long term," a gracious but business-like Gillard told reporters, congratulating Rudd on his victory. Senior ministers including Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan, Education Minister Peter Garrett, Trade Minister Craig Emerson and Climate Minister Greg Combet announced their ministerial resignations in the wake of the coup. Transport Anthony Albanese was named deputy leader. Gillard struggled to win public support despite economic growth, low unemployment and low interest rates at a time when other developed countries are struggling to keep out of recession. Gillard has also pushed social reforms that pour money into schools, and which help disabled people gain access to much-needed free care, but the changes have done little to shift her dwindling support in opinion polls. Voters have also remained angry that her government, which holds a one-seat majority with support from the Greens and a clutch of independents, introduced a controversial carbon tax in a backflip from her 2010 election promise not to do so. Two independent lawmakers and the Greens said they would continue to support a Rudd government in the hung parliament. Nick Economou, from Melbourne's Monash University, said the only potential policy change would be on the carbon tax, and Rudd could move quickly to shift to a floating carbon price. But the change won't help Labor survive the election. "Australian voters don't like disunited parties, and these guys are nothing if not disunited," he said. Like Gillard, Rudd is a strong supporter of both Australia's military alliance with the United States and of growing ties with top trading partner China. Opposition leader Tony Abbott, the favourite to win the coming elections, has promised to scrap the carbon tax and a 30 percent tax on iron ore and coal mine profits if he wins power. Abbott has also promised tighter control of public spending, a speedier return to surplus budgets, and stronger economic growth if he wins office. nnnn


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