Nepal Today

Monday, July 15, 2013

rax raused

Kathmandu, 16 July: A meeting of office bearers of UCPN Maoist has been convened Tuesday to discuss differences between Chairman Prachanda and
Bbauram Bhattarai and other leaders on organizational matters in the
UCPN Maoist.
Top party leadership has been holding a series of meetings ahead of a
plenum 19 July to discuss differences on appointments to key party positions suggested by the party chief.
Bhattarai, who resigned as vice-chairman, also asked Prachanda to resign as the party boss.
Kathmandu, 16 July: Government with immediate effect Tuesday raised meter
taxi fares 15.6 percent following a hike on fuel prices.
Fare was increased Rs.5 per km.
Kathmandu, 16 July:: Water tax was also increased from Tuesday even taps are dry most of the time even in the wet season.
Ten thousand luters of water a moth will now cost Rs.150.
Kathmandu, 16 July:: Former Vice-chair of UCPN-Maoist Baburam Bhattarai today refused to be inducted as ‘senior leader’ of the party, saying this would not help fulfill the aim of his sacrifice, The Himalayan Times reports..

Devendra Poudel a pro-Bhattarai leader said Bhattarai had refused the senior leader position as that wouldn’t help his intention of developing a culture of sacrifice among those yearning for better positions.

Bhattarai declared he had relinquished party vice-chairmanship after leaders fought for positions during the last central committee meeting. He has been firm about his decision to relinquish the position claiming that leaders should be ready to sacrifice their positions to save the party and work in whatever position the party decides.

Sources said Bhattarai had proposed that Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal form a chairman-led one-man office bearer with all others being central committee members.

The leaders are still discussing whether to form a secretariat of office bearers elected by the national congress or to include all leaders proposed for office bearers in the latest central committee meeting. Chairman Dahal had proposed Krishna Bahadur Mahara as senior secretary, Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, Barshaman Pun and Girirajmani Pokhrel as secretaries and Hisila Yami as treasurer. Sources said members of the secretariat would only be central committee members but they could be consulted by the chairman whenever necessary.

On the other hand, Dahal’s confidantes claim that Bhattarai has almost agreed to become ‘senior leader’ of the party. Worried about Bhattarai’s indirect yearning for the post of chairman, Dahal, according to sources, won’t let Bhattarai create such grounds so easily. If Bhattarai scores high in his latest move by successfully ending the row by making leaders relinquish their respective positions, popular leaders could bargain later with the party to become a candidate for the post of president, which Dahal has been eying since long.

In this context, Dahal could force Bhattarai to withdraw his decision though for a short period, and then make his move, that is push through his proposal after studying what Bhattarai’s next move could be.

Pro-Bhattarai leaders say Dahal will decide only after calculating his moves. Some believe that his Singapore visit, apparently for his wife’s health check up, has helped him find the true meaning of Bhattarai’s move.

Kathmandu, 16 July: Quite often, the following days of budget are open season on the government for a reason or two, but the domestic tourism industry may in the coming fiscal year enjoy a season of windfall, Eliza Manandhar writes in The Himalayan Times..

If the government succeeds in implementing its budgetary programme that mandatorily calls for financial institutions and profit-making public enterprises to send their employees on paid trips to local destinations, the domestic tourism industry is likely to get a boost of around Rs 800 million.

In the budget presented yesterday, Minister for Finance Shankar Koirala categorically said that commercial banks, development banks and profit-generating state-owned enterprises must send their employees on a seven-day paid trip to domestic tourist destinations every year. The programme, according to the minister, was introduced to give a fillip to domestic tourism businesses.

“The programme mentioned in the budget is aimed at promoting domestic tourism which is quite appreciable,” said Madhusudan Acharya, Vice-president, Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents. “If the programme is implemented effectively, it will help cushion the off-season blow, as these institutions are home to over 31,700-strong potential tourism clients.”

Let’s have a look at how domestic tourism industry can benefit. Thirty-one commercial banks, including state-owned banks, employ around 12,000 people. Eighty-eight development banks in the country, on the other hand, have around 6,360 staff on their payroll, while 15 of the 37 public enterprises that were operating in profit last fiscal employ around 13,363 staff.

Going by the figures given to The Himalayan Times by the NATTA, each domestic tourist has the capacity of spending an average of Rs 3,500 per day, which implies each of these people will be spending around Rs 24,500 a week. If over 31,700 employees listed in the payroll of commercial banks, development banks and profit-making public enterprises go on seven days’ holiday every year, the domestic tourism industry can earn revenue to the tune of Rs 776 million per annum.

However, it is not that these institutions do not send their staff on holidays.

According to Rajan Singh Bhandari, President, Nepal Bankers’Association, most of the private commercial banks in the country provide annual paid leave of 10 days to their employees. “But we have not developed a package of sending our staff to tourist destinations,” Bhandari, also the CEO of Citizens Bank International, said.

A mathematical tour

• Thirty-one commercial banks, including state-owned ones, employ around 12,000 people

• Eighty-eight development banks have around 6,360 staff on their payroll

• Fifteen of the 37 public enterprises, which were operating in profit last fiscal, employ around 13,363 staff

• NATTA figures show each domestic tourist has the capacity of spending an average of Rs 3,500 per day, which implies each of domestic tourists will be spending around Rs 24,500 a week

• If over 31,700 above-mentioned employees go on seven days’ holiday every year, the domestic tourism industry can earn around Rs 776 million per annum
Kathmandu, 16 July::Fighting between troops and rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has killed at least 130 people including 10 soldiers, the government said, the deadliest clashes in months, AFP reports from Kinshaha.

Loud blasts rang out north of the flashpoint city of Goma Monday afternoon, and up to 1,000 people fled towards the city in a cloud of dust, an AFP photographer reported.

"Our forces have inflicted very heavy losses on the M23 fighters, 120 have been killed and 12 captured," government spokesman Lambert Mende said.

Mende said 10 soldiers had also died in the ongoing clashes between the army and rebels of the M23 group.

The fighting broke out Sunday outside Goma, the capital of North Kivu province in the volatile east -- an area rich in minerals including gold and coltan, a key component in cell phones and other electronic equipment.

Several Congolese army tanks fired at M23 positions Monday. Mortar fire could also be heard.

The M23 briefly seized Goma late last year before withdrawing under international pressure.

Mende said that this time they had attacked army positions supported by Rwandan troops.

"For several weeks the M23 rebels and their Rwandan allies have been reinforcing their positions," he said.

The M23, an armed group launched by Tutsi former soldiers who mutinied from the Congolese army in April 2012, blamed the government for the fighting.

In a statement it condemned "in the strongest terms the resumption of war initiated by the Congolese government".

The group, which says it is fighting for the full implementation of a peace deal that incorporated an earlier rebel group into the Congolese army, said it was committed to peace talks.

United Nations experts have accused both Rwanda and Uganda of supporting the M23, and US President Barack Obama earlier this month urged the DR Congo's neighbours "to stop supporting armed groups".

Both countries have denied the charges.

The UN has its largest peacekeeping mission in the world in DR Congo, including a new "intervention brigade" created by the Security Council in March to fight armed groups -- the first offensive unit ever authorised by the UN.

UN soldiers did not intervene in the recent clashes, Mende said.

In a statement, the UN force in the region MONUSCO confirmed the use of tanks and heavy artillery.

"Any attempt by the M23 to advance toward Goma will be considered a direct threat to civilians," it warned.

UN peacekeepers were prepared for "any necessary measures, including the use of lethal force," to protect civilians, it added.

Mende said government forces had managed to recapture previously rebel-held positions as the M23 fled. But he declined to confirm reports that some 2,000 soldiers had been deployed in the fighting.

In Rwanda meanwhile, a military spokesman said two mortar bombs had been "deliberately" fired into the country from DR Congo on Monday.

The spokesman blamed the Congolese army and the UN peacekeeping force on the grounds that the bombs were fired from territory they control. The mortars caused no casualties.

The UN's new intervention brigade of some 3,000 soldiers began arriving in the region in May, heavily armed and with more power to fight renegade forces than ever before.

The troops, drawn in equal numbers from Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania, are joining about 17,000 UN soldiers already deployed in the area with a limited mandate to protect civilians and themselves.

In all, about 30 armed groups are active in the region, where they have lucrative stakes in the illegal mining of diamonds, gold and coltan. These minerals are then exported around the world via neighbouring Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.

The fighting outside Goma comes after a separate rebel attack in the town of Kamango in the northernmost part of the province sent 55,000 people fleeing to neighbouring Uganda, according to the Red Cross.

Kamango was attacked and briefly occupied Thursday by a Ugandan-led rebel group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

The ADF has been relatively quiet in recent years, but one Western military source said attacks had increased in recent weeks.


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