Nepal Today

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

UCPN MAOIST CENTRAL COMMITTEE MEETS THURSDAY Kathmandu, 27 June: UCPN Maoist central begins its central committee meets Thursday. The committee meets one week after adjournment. Responsibilities are being given to top leaders. Krishna Bahadur Mahara is likely to replace Post Nahadur Bogati as general secretary with the latter’s appointment as one of three-vicechairmen. The post was vacant after Mohan Baidhaya quit and launched CPN Maoist. Baburam Bhattarai and Narayan Kazi Shrestha are two other vice- chairmen. nnnn TWO KILLED BY FALLING BOULDER IN KALIKOT Kathmandu, 27 June:Two persons were killed while they were asleep at a hotel en route home in Kalikot overnight. One person was injured. They were returning fron flood and landslide ravaged Utterkhand across the border where many Nepalis died and are still missing. The number of Nepalis and missing or dead won’t be known with proper records of cross-border movement of people along the open border. nnnn BAITADI SCHOOL CLASS IN TOILET Kathmandu, 27 June: - The Kailapal Lower Secondary School at Amchora VDC in the district has been running a class in a toilet building for years, thanks to the apathy of the authorities concerned to construct a school building, DR Pantha/ Khagendra Awasthi wtite in The Kathmandu Post from Baitadi.. "We have been asking the authorities concerned to construct a building ever since the school was established 21 years ago. However, our demand has never addressed and we are forced to conduct classes in the toilet ," said Rameshram Sarki, chairman of the school management committee. He said they started using the toilet as a classroom by destroying its partition after the dilapidated two-room school building failed to accommodate students. Currently, the school has a total of 278 students. He said though they hold classes on the school playground during the winter season, it is not possible to do so during the monsoon. A majority of the students in the school are from Dalit community and they do not have any alternative as they have to walk for three hours to reach another school nearby. Social activist Narayanram Sarki accused the District Education Office of being apathetic towards constructing a building for the school. Besides a building, the school also lacks human resources. Rameshram said the school has only one permanent teacher while four others are employed on private resources. School Inspector Haridatta Joshi, however, said his office is ignorant about the situation of the school. nnnn CDC BEGINS DELAYED TRICKY JOB OF DELIENATING 240 ELECTORAL CONSTITUENCIES Kathmandu, 27 June: The Constituency Delimitation Commission (CDC) began its work yesterday, 12 days after the members were appointed, and it was an immediate realisation for the experts that the road ahead was fraught with complications and contradicting provisions, The Himalayan Times reports.. The major task of the CDC is likely to boil down to how to allocate more seats to Kathmandu district without offending other districts. As per the Interim Constitution, changes are possible only in 35 first-past-the-post seats in 25 districts. Article 154 (6) allows proportional distribution of FPTP seats for every district, however, Article 154 (8) prevents reduction of the 205 constituencies that were demarcated for the 1999 elections. The second contradiction in constitution is that although it requires an increase in seats in the Madhes region proportionate to increase in population, it limits the total number of constituencies to 240. The review, which the CDC has to do, will apply to five hill districts (Kathmandu, Kavre, Gorkha, Makwanpur and Kaski) and 20 Madhes districts. Currently there are 116 constituencies in the Tarai and 124 in the hill and mountain region — out of total 240 first-past-the-post election constituencies. An analysis of demography and available constituencies shows that the only imbalance is between Kathmandu and five other districts. It doesn’t make sense to change the other constituencies. This, however, is fraught with geo-political difficulties. Given the average for these 35 constituencies under review, Kathmandu would need exactly 15 seats, which would mean reducing five seats from the other 24 districts. This way Kathmandu can get only about three more seats if imbalance has to be avoided. If constituencies are to be reduced, the first targets would be Morang, Nawalparasi, Dhanusha, Saptari and Kavre. The only question therefore is whether this would be a good idea given the social and political dimensions of Nepal’s demography. In 1999 elections, there were 205 seats, allowing one seat for every 112,900 people. Currently there are 240 constituencies, or one seat for every 110,920 people. In the 25 districts under review, the current average is 116,345 for every seat. It was worse in 1999, when one seat was available for every 132,645 people in these districts. The districts getting the most out of the current arrangement are Gorkha (89,796) and Kavre (97,489). The districts getting the worst are Kathmandu (174,097), Mahottari (129,281), Kailali (128,379), Sarlahi (128,108) and Rupandehi (126,672). However, if seats are reduced from districts like Kavre or Gorkha, their situation will be worse than that of those three districts of the Tarai region, though still better than that of Kathmandu. CDC members now got to go the limit to delimit the constituencies to not offend any district. Nnnn UCPN MAOIST DONATION TERROR IN TERAI Kathmandu, 26 June: : The Unified CPN-Maoist has launched a fresh spate of donation drive in Bara, Parsa and Rautahat, unleashing terror among local businesspersons and government employees, Ram Dahal writes in The Himalayan Times from Birgunj. The business fraternity and government officials are in panic after the party of former rebels started dispatching letters to them seeking donation between Rs 25,000 and Rs 1 lakh. A letter signed by party’s Bhojpura State In-charge Prabhu Sah and sent to a government office chief sought Rs 25,000 ‘in aid to bring out a song album that carries the message of change’. The letter in a sealed envelop also had an audio CD inside. The album, Mohar Mahir, which is produced by Prabhu Sah has three Bhojpuri songs sung by Udit Narayan Jha. This scribe today witnessed a UCPN-M cadre scurrying out of the office of the Birgunj Sub-Metropolis after handing a sealed envelop to the office chief Tara Bahadur Karki. “We are under stress with the donation drive,” said Surya Sedhain, chief of Revenue Investigation Unit Pathlaiya. Parsa Chief District Officer Kailash Kumar Bajimaya said the government employees in no way ‘can oblige political parties by paying them money’. “Employees cannot afford that much amount as donation, and secondly we have not received any complaints in connection with the donation drive,” said Bajimaya. According to a source, around 24 chiefs of different government offices, including customs office, inland revenue office, revenue investigation unit office, transportation management office, land revenue office, sub-metropolis office, agriculture inputs company, salt trading corporation, and some large business establishments have received such sealed letters with an audio CD. Bhojpura State In-charge Sah, however, denied that his party was forcing business houses and government employees to cough up money. “We are a political party so seeking voluntary donation is but natural,” Sah argued, but he failed to explain how it became voluntary when letters signed by him are sent to people asking for money. Ashok Baidhya, Chairman of Birgunj chapter of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, flayed the UCPN-M’s donation drive. Birgunj, Bara and Rautahat chapters of the FNCCI have issued a joint statement opposing the donation drive. Nnnn PUTIN REJECTS US EXTRADITION REQUEST OF SNOWDEN Jathmandu, 27 June: US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden today spent a fourth day at a Moscow airport with his onward travel plans still a mystery after Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected calls for his extradition to the United States, AFP reports from Moscow.. The United States told Russia it has a “clear legal basis” to expel Snowden but anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, which helped organise his flight from Hong Kong, said he risks being stuck in Russia “permanently”. Meanwhile Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, who by coincidence is expected in Moscow next week for an energy summit, said Caracas would consider any asylum request from Snowden just as Ecuador is doing. In his first comments on the chase for the former contractor that has captivated world attention, Putin yesterday confirmed that Snowden had arrived in Moscow but said he had never left the airport’s transit zone. “He arrived as a transit passenger... He did not cross the state border,” Putin said at a news conference in Finland late yesterday. “For us, this was completely unexpected,” he added. “Snowden is a free man, the sooner he selects his final destination point, the better for us and for himself,” he said. Snowden, who leaked revelations of massive US surveillance programmes to the media, had been expected to board a flight for Cuba on Monday, reportedly on his way to seek asylum in Ecuador. But he never did and Putin hinted that his onward travel plans were still unknown. His US passport has been cancelled but WikiLeaks says e left Hong Kong with a refugee document supplied by Ecuador. The US urged Russia to use all means to expel Snowden, who arrived at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on a flight from Hong Kong on Sunday despite the US issuing a request for his arrest in China. “While we do not have an extradition treaty with Russia, there is nonetheless a clear legal basis to expel Snowden,” National Security spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said. Hayden said that Snowden could be expelled on the basis of his travel documents and the pending charges against him. However, Putin insisted that Russia could not extradite Snowden as it has no extradition agreement with the US. Putin said he would prefer not to deal with cases such as those of Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London to avoid allegations of sexual assault in Sweden. “It’s the same as shearing a piglet: There’s a lot of squealing and not much wool,” he said. The Interfax news agency cited an unnamed source in Snowden’s entourage claiming he is in limbo because his passport was cancelled by the US. “Snowden’s American passport is annulled, he has no other ID with him. Therefore he is obliged to stay in the Sheremetyevo transit zone, since he can neither enter Russia nor buy a ticket,” the source said. Nnnn MEDIA GOOGLE “In that case, either bar everyone [from contesting elections]’convicted of criminal offences or allow all to contest the elections.” (Lawyer Ram Chandra Paudel in The Kathmandu Post, 27 June) nnnn


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