Nepal Today

Sunday, July 7, 2013



Kathmandu, 8 July: Nepal Police has been put on special alert to protest Buddhist places of worship including Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha, following the bombing of the Baud Gaya temple across the border in the Indian state of Bihar.
“Following the incident in Bihar, directives have been issued to be alert to to prevent  icidents at places of worship in Nepla,” said Nepal Police Spokesman  Nabaraj Silwal.
A security alert has been issued.


Kathmandu, 7 July: CPN Maoist is announcing a talks teak to talk with a
‘legitimate government body” to discuss its decision n of the politburo and central committee to boycott the 19 November second constituent assembly polls.
Talks team is being announced Monday.
The opposition party decided to talk after readiness of HLPM to discuss a demand for roundtable discussions to discuss five demands to participate in the vote.
CPN Maoist has been demanding resignation of the Khil Raj Regmi government.


Kathmandu, 8 July: UCPN (Maoist) is likely to call its national convention after mid-January to settle the dispute over power sharing in the party.
The factional dispute over power-sharing had led to senior leader Baburam Bhattarai´s resignation from the post of party vice-chairman recently. Party leaders said the national convention will form a concrete mechanism in the party to discourage the trend of handpicking leaders for important posts, Kiran Pun writes in Republica. .

After failing to resolve the dispute, the party has called for an extended central committee (CC) meeting for July 19 July in Kathmandu. But the extended CC meeting will only provide a temporary solution to the dispute.

“The extended CC meeting will only provide a temporary solution. The dispute over organizational structure and power sharing would be resolved by the mechanism formed by the general convention,” said Chief of the Tamsaling state committee Bishwabhakta Dulal. He said the national convention will bring about a total policy change in the party.

The CC extended meeting will prepare the party for the Constituent Assembly (CA) polls scheduled for November 19. The party will call its national convention after the polls.
“We are holding discussions on holding the national convention in mid-January if the CA polls are held on schedule,” said Dulal. He also said that the seats under proportional representation would be distributed by mid-January.

The party is facing disputes over powers-sharing, especially after the party transformed into a parliamentary party after the Hetauda general convention. Though the party transformed into a parliamentary party, its organization structure remains unchanged.
The Hetauda general convention had concluded without giving full shape to the party CC and appointing office bearers. Formation of the party´s standing committee and politburo had also been left pending.

Chairman Dahal had presented a proposal on power-sharing in the CC meeting held last week. “Chairman Dahal´s proposal was opposed by CC members as party positions had been proposed on the whims of Dahal, Bhattarai and vice chairman Narayankaji Shrestha,” added Dulal.

Talking to media persons at the regular meeting at his party head office on Saturday, Spokesperson Agni Sapkota said that the party will develop a “four-in-one” organizational structure. As per this structure, the party committees will have equal representation of senior leaders, youths and regional and ethnic minorities.
Sapkota said that the party would call a national convention if the CC meeting fails to resolve the disputes.

Katmandu, 8 July: Land and housing prices, which are on a downtrend for the past four years, will not improve for at least another two years, a government study shows, Balgopal Gyawali writes in Republica..

The study, which was commissioned by the privatization unit under the Ministry of Finance to prepare Business Confidence Index, has revealed that realty market will not improve at least until 2015.

Though the team led by Basudev Sharma, under secretary at the unit, found some improvements in business confidence of realty entrepreneurs, the confidence level of real estate and housing sector has remained at the lower end.The study, the first of its kind in Nepal, was based on the universally accepted OECD model.

“The study, which was carried out to measure business confidence level of entrepreneurs, found that confidence of realty entrepreneurs is at the lowest level,” Sharma told Republica. “Most of the realty entrepreneurs we talked to told us that they don´t expect land and housing prices to improve until 2015.”
According to Sharma, less than two percent of the respondents said they expect land and housing prices will increase in the coming days. “Likewise, only a few of them said they expect the prices to go further down,” Sharma said, adding that majority of the respondents was hopeful that prices will improve after 2015.
The team talked to people involved in varied sectors like hotels, financial institutions, wholesalers, retailers, realty entrepreneurs, and infrastructure developers, among others. It found lowest level of confidence among realty entrepreneurs, according to Sharma.

“Some realty entrepreneurs think the existing downtrend will continue for at least two to three years,” said Sharma.
The study has found that entrepreneurs involved in infrastructure, pharmaceutical, hospitals and agriculture sectors have high confidence level. In course of the study, the researchers had asked five questions to more than 300 business firms.

Land and housing prices increased exponentially in the past as people put their money on land and houses due to commercial reasons. About four years ago, people used to purchase land plots and houses not for residential purposes but to make fast bucks. Though land and housing transactions, they could make profit of 10-15 percent in just a month.

Global realty market slumped to recession in 2007 and its impacts were seen in Nepal after about two years.
Sharma blamed that Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) did nothing to shield the country´s economy from global economic meltdown. “When global realty market slumped to recession, land and housing prices in Nepal were increasing,” he said. “NRB swung into action only after banks and financial institutions started facing liquidity crunch due to over exposure to the realty sector.”

Sharma further said this type of slowdown generally persists for five years. “It is likely to improve after 2015,” he added.
He also said the study shows that land and housing prices have come down by 20-40 percent after downtrend in realty sector began in 2009.
Despite drop in prices, Sharma said realty transactions have dropped by up to 80 percent. He, however, expects transactions to improve by around 20 percent in the next fiscal year.

Land and housing prices had started declining after NRB instructed banks and financial institutions to put a cap on lending to the realty sector in 2009 to cool the heated realty market.


Kathmandu, 8 July:: New excavations on the premises of Maya Devi Temple in Lumbini have unearthed ruins of a thriving village with a shrine, dating back more than 1,000 years before Emperor Ashoka built monuments there to spread Buddhism, extending the history of the site to a much earlier date than previously thought, The Himalayan Times .
Until now, the earliest Buddhist temples have been attributed to Emperor Ashoka, who built a pillar and a brick temple in Lumbini in third century BC in his endeavour to spread Buddhism across the region.

“For the first time in South Asia, excavations have revealed a pre-Ashokan temple of brick, which itself was built over a wooden structure,” revealed Prof Robin Coningham of Durham University in UK, who co-directed a team of Nepali and international experts together with Kosh Prasad Acharya, at a press conference in Kathmandu today.

Coningham also said that even older remains of a village dating back to as early as 1300 BC were found a few hundred metres south of Lord Buddha’s birthplace, pushing the date of the

settlement of the region back by a thousand years.

“We have now very robust proof that Lumbini’s history extends far before the visit of Emperor Ashoka. The government of Nepal will step up its efforts to preserve the outstanding universal value of the site,” says Sushil Ghimire, Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

“These two discoveries are giant steps, which help us to better understand the origins of Lord Buddha’s life and the spiritual importance of Lumbini,” says Acharya Karma Sango Sherpa, the vice-chair the Lumbini Development Trust that looks after the preservation and management of the site.

The team worked within the framework of a UNESCO project funded by the Government of Japan. The first phase of the project was completed this month in Lumbini, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1997. “I am pleased that the project that the UNESCO has implemented in close cooperation with the Lumbini Development Trust and the Department of Archaeology has resulted in such important discoveries,” says Axel Plathe, Head of the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu and UNESCO Representative to Nepal. “Japan is honoured to have been able to contribute to the success of this flagship project,” says Kunio Takahashi, the Ambassador of Japan to Nepal.

Kathmandu,, 8 July;: To revive sick industries, financial institutions might be able to obtain refinancing facility from the central bank at a minimal interest
Rate, tHe Himalayan Times reports..

Financial institutions can finance restoration of identified sick industries that have the possibility of revival by restructuring the already floated loans at an interest rate as less as 4.5 per cent.

Those banks that are financing sick industries can avail refinancing facility provided by Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) at 1.5 per cent, thus banks can finance those ailing industries with a spread rate of three per cent, according to the recently released draft proposal of NRB regarding the financing of sick industries.

However, the sick industries have to submit a proper plan to revive their enterprises to the banks. Moreover, even if the banks are not qualified or interested to get refinancing facility from the central bank, they can still finance the revival of sick industries at an interest rate corresponding to their base rate.

Likewise, if the proposal for the bylaw gets endorsed, banks will have to recover the interest and principal after a certain period of time and will have to forgo penalty interest rate.

As an incentive for banks, Nepal Rastra Bank has also proposed to allow banks to provision only one per cent against possible loan loss if the sick industries pay the interest and principal amount of restructured loans regularly for a minimum of two years.

Those enterprises that are beyond saving will be provided a year by the banks to get their assets sold and not auction them off.

The Sick Industry Rehabilitation Forum at the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry states there are around 400 sick companies.

Till date, there are 37 applications at the Industrial Promotion Division for sick industry facility and the committee under the division has officially labelled Birat Leather, Birat Shoe, Nepal Boards, Everest Floriculture and Basuling Sugar Mills as sick industries.

Enterprises that have been continuously bearing losses for three years but can start to make profits if operated with facilities from the government as sick can be revived.


“World powers are chasing a man [Snowden] because he dared to say in public the fact what we all know,”

 “They have to respect the sovereignty of all the countries,”

”The US calls Venezuela a dictatorship, but we are free. We choose our leaders through voting,”

(Venezuelan Ambassador to Nepal Milena Santana Ramirez, The Himalayan Times, 8 July)


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