Sunday, October 31, 2010

Caretaker govt cannot bring full budget: Bhattarai


BIRATNAGAR: Unified CPN-Maoist vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai stressed on the need for bringing budget after the new government was formed saying the caretaker government does not have constitutional rights to bring full budget.

Talking to the media persons in Biratnagar Airport the new government should be formed within mid November and that government only should bring new budget as the present government has already resigned.

He said Nepali Congress and CPN-UML should move back from their stance for the formation of new government saying his party had withdrawn candidacy for prime ministerial post for peace and constitution writing.

He said the nation would have to face serious crisis if the political parties remained stiff on their stance and did not reach to consensus soon.

Nepal pavilion wins hearts in Shanghai Expo


SHANGHAI: 'Nepal pavilion in Shanghai World Expo is one of the best examples of patriotism’- wrote Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal in the visitor’s book while expressing best wishes to the Expo in his official visit to China some 10 months ago.

He also wrote that the pavilion which has envisioned to highlight the prosperous history and culture of Nepal and shown the country as a confluence of classicism and modernism is an exemplary deed.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala who was in the peime minister's entourage, wrote thus: 'The pavilion has finely displayed the culture and heritage of Nepal which would help bring numerous tourists in Nepal in the Tourism Year 2011.'

Similar views were expressed by the Ministers of Finance and Energy while visiting the opening of the Shanghai Expo with the prime minister.

Of course, as lauded by the Prime Minister and the ministers, the Expo is really very advantageous to indentify Nepal’s specialties.

Former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal who visited the Nepal Pavilion some weeks ago lauded the Nepalis' efforts, saying serious efforts were made to project the history and pride of Nepal in front of the world through Nepal Pavilion.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai World Expo-2010 will conclude on Monday.

President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksha, Prime Ministers of Finland, Hungary, Lesotho, East Timor and Bahamas and the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have arrived here to attend the concluding ceremony.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is scheduled to arrive here on Monday to take part in the ceremony.

High ranking officials of almost all countries including ministers arrived today as part of their programme to attend the ceremony.

The Expo is drawing to a close with a splendid ceremony with the participation of top leaders and special representatives of the world. A total of 190 countries and 60 international organizations participated in the Expo that continued for 184 days (six months).

Similarly, a Nepali delegation of business community including the President of the Federation of the Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) Kush Kumar Joshi and former President Binod Bahadur Shrestha have arrived here to participate in the concluding ceremony.

Miss US crowned Miss World 2010


SANYA, Oct 30: Blonde, blue-eyed American teenager Alexandria Mills won the Miss World crown for 2010 on Saturday, defeating more than 100 other hopefuls at a glittering ceremony in southern China.

Mills, an 18-year-old from the southern US state of Kentucky, wept as outgoing Miss World Kaiane Aldorino of Gibraltar placed the tiara on her head and led her to a diamond-shaped throne marking the pageant´s 60th anniversary.

The 1.75-metre (5´9") beauty in white -- a professional model listed with the Elite Models agency -- waved to the cheering crowd at the 2,000-capacity Beauty Crown Theatre in the resort town of Sanya on Hainan island.

During the two-hour competition, which annually draws a global television audience of about one billion, Mills said her month spent touring China with the other 114 Miss World hopefuls had made a "big impact" on her life.

Botswana´s Emma Wareus was second, and Venezuela´s Adriana Vasini placed third in the pageant, which was first held in 1951.

The pageant got off to a colourful start with a performance by dancers and drummers from China´s Li ethnic minority group, who mainly live on Hainan island, which was hosting the event for the fifth time in eight years.

Before the contestants whirled in national costume for the "Dances of the World" segment, viewers were treated to a video montage of the women´s whirlwind tour of China -- from the Great Wall to the shopping malls.

Early favourite Mariann Birkedal of Norway, listed by British bookmaker William Hill as the woman to beat ahead of Mills, finished in the top seven.

A win for Norway could have caused a stir in Beijing, where the government is furious that the Oslo-based Nobel committee awarded this year´s Nobel Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Aldorino, 24, said she had enjoyed her year as Miss World, saying that in all the countries she had visited, one thing had remained the same: "The smile on a child´s face, and that´s what has captured the moment".

The competition emphasises the importance of charity work.

Miss "Beauty with a Purpose" -- Kenya´s Natasha Metto, who has worked on combatting an epidemic of parasitic Jigger fleas in her country -- earned a "fast-track" spot in the final group of 25, but was then eliminated.

Ireland´s violin-playing Emma Waldron, who won the talent contest and finished in the top five, wowed the audience by greeting them in Chinese, while Miss China, Xiao Tang, spoke mostly in English.

The event rivals the Miss Universe pageant owned by US tycoon Donald Trump, which was won by Mexico´s Jimena Navarrete in August.

In 1951, Sweden´s Kiki Hakansson became the first Miss World. Oscar-winning American actress Halle Berry was a finalist in 1986.

Venezuela and India have produced the most Miss Worlds, with five titleholders each. Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai took the crown in 1994.

In 2002, the pageant was moved from Nigeria to Britain after more than 200 people died in clashes sparked when a newspaper suggested the Muslim prophet Mohammed would have chosen a wife from among the contestants had he been alive.

SOS Manpower tops labor exporters list

KATHMANDU, Oct 31: SOS Manpower Agency Service has become the top recruiting agency, sending 5,342 workers to overseas destinations during fiscal year 2009/10.

SOS Manpower, which has been topping the list of Nepali manpower agencies for the last 15 years, sent 9,800 workers abroad during 2008/9 and contributed Rs 4.5 million to state coffers as income tax.

SOS has retained the top position during 2009/10 as well despite suffering a sharp fall in the demand for workers by Saudi Arabia-- the destination where the company sends most of the job seekers.

Government data shows that the total number of workers leaving for overseas destinations during 2009/10 through manpower agencies was 228,307, including 2 24,087 male and 4,220 female workers.

Those making their way to the labor market during the year through individual contacts stood at 65,768, including 59,951 males and 5,836 females.

The number of workers leaving by air for foreign jobs through the top 10 manpower agencies stood at 32,218 or 14.11 percent of the total 228,307 workers who found work though recruiting agencies during 2009/10.

A total of 523 manpower agencies submitted their statements at the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) on the number of workers who left for overseas work through brokering by them.

According to the statements submitted at DoFE, 43 companies have sent more than 1,000 workers and 15 sent more than 2,000 workers during the year.

Nepali manpower agencies have said that overseas workers and growing competition among local recruiting agencies in the host countries have posed a threat to overseas job prospects for Nepalis.

They said growing demand for skilled manpower in the international labor market whereas an overwhelming number of Nepali job seekers are unskilled is indicative of bleaker job prospects for Nepalis in the overseas market.

“I am not optimistic about the growth of overseas job opportunities as we are not able to fulfill demands for labor which is sellable in the job market. Availability of more skilled workers at a lower salary than paid to Nepalis is worrying us,” said Som Lal Bataju, managing director of SOS Manpower Service.

“The growing attraction of Nepali youths to Malaysia compared to the Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia following the gradual recovery of economies from the two-year global financial crisis is the main cause behind the fall in number of workers approaching our company,” said Bataju, who is also president of Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (NAFEA).

However, the number of workers leaving for Saudi Arabia-- the biggest destination for Nepali workers-- had increased to 63,700 during fiscal year 2009/10 from 48,434 recorded in 2008/09.

Gyan Prasad Gaire, promoter of Rara Employment Consultant--the sixth largest manpower agency during 2009/10, said that relocation of foreign employment agencies from Malaysia to Saudi Arabia at the time of the financial crisis triggering excessive competition among them in the desert kingdom.

“We also witnessed a fall in the number of aspirants seeking Saudi jobs as we couldn´t bring more job offers from Saudi Arabia. However, the total number of workers leaving for different destinations through our company has gone up by over 40 percent compared to the previous year,” said Gaire, who is also general secretary of NAFEA.

Rara Manpower Agency, which brokers jobs mainly for Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, sent altogether 2,895 workers during 2009/10, up from around 2,000 a year earlier.

“We succeeded in sending more workers to Malaysia despite a decline in the number of workers leaving for Saudi Arabia through our company,” Gaire said.

No salary for ministers from next month: OPMCM

KATHMANDU, Oct 31: The Finance Section at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) has informed ministers that it cannot release their salaries from next month {Mid November} if budget for the current fiscal is not endorsed soon.

"The section is running short of money,” an official at the section informed ministers´ aides who had reached there to withdraw their salaries. “We hardly have Rs 1.5 million left which is only enough to conduct regular activities of the OPMCM. We won´t be able to distribute the salaries of ministers and their aides from next month if budget is not endorsed soon," said Under Secretary and chief of the section Umakanta Acharya.

According to the section, more than half of the aides and personal assistants of the caretaker ministers in the current government have already been informed about the budget crunch.

“We have collected the details of salaries to be provided to the cabinet members," said an official at the section adding, “The total salaries of the ministers amount to Rs 6 million," said an official at the section. “Not only will the ministers, but government officials also will not get their salaries if the budget is not passed soon.”

Officials made it clear that they can release salaries from next month only if the annual budget is passed by parliament or if the finance minister makes a policy-level urgent decision. “Otherwise we cannot release the salaries and we have informed cabinet ministers about this,” Acharya told Republica.

The section generally releases the salaries of the prime minister and other ministers on the 26th, 27th or 28th of the Nepali month.

Currently, the prime minister receives Rs 252,000 while the deputy prime minister receives Rs 175,000 as collective monthly salaries. Each minister receives a monthly salary of Rs 132,000, and a state minister and an assistant minister receive Rs 128,000 and Rs 101,000 respectively.

The section releases salaries to ministers and their aides through a single check.

Meanwhile, the section is planning to request the office of Financial Comptroller {OFC) to provide the budget for the distribution of salaries. "If the Office of Financial Comptroller doesn´t provide budget, we cannot neither release the salaries to the ministers nor the officials," he said, adding, "However, even if the OFC provides some budget it won´t be enough to distribute to all the ministers and officials," Acharya clarified.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Villagers get Re 1 for urinating in loo

DARECHOWK, Oct 27: As a means to create awareness regarding the value of human urine, Sewa Nepal of Darrechowk-7, Chumlingtar has started paying one rupee each to those who urinate in their toilets.

“We´ve started this payment to make people aware about the importance of urine,” Sriren Prakash Pokharel, president of the organization, said.

Pokhrel said they have started to collect urine to convert the human waste into money. Upon learning that human excreta can be used instead of chemical fertilizers, many people in Chumlingtar have started to collect excreta at their homes.

“We give a bar of soap to people who bring us 10 liters of urine, and a brush to clean the toilet to those who bring 30 liters,” Pokhrel said. “We´ve started this campaign as using human excreta is very beneficial.”

The campaign which started three years ago has now spread to 733 houses in the village. These houses have modern EcoSan toilets that store the excreta. “Since everything can be reused, we´ve started to prioritize use of human excreta also,” Pokharel said. These toilets collect the feces in septic tanks and urine in a drum through two different pipes. The contents of the two tanks will be used every six month.

“After using a tank for six months, it should be covered, and a new one used. After six months, feces turns into manure,” Pokhrel said. Likewise, the urine stored in a drum comes into use after a month. The collected urine should be used according to the size of the plants. “If it´s a small plant, water should be mixed, and in case it´s a big one, the urine can be poured on directly,” Pokharel said. With this initiative, the whole of Chumlingtar village has also become cleaner.

“Productivity is good even with the use of human excreta,” said Shiv Ram Pokharel, a local farmer who has been using urine for vegetable cultivation. “It was due to unawareness that the excreta used to be gotten rid of. We have to learn to utilize it and benefit from it,” Shiv Ram said.

Shiv Ram has been using urine as manure for his vegetable cultivation since last year. He finds that productivity is good.

Agriculturalists who have learnt of the benefits of human excreta also say that it´s good to use it on farmland. “Excreta can be used as compost manure,” Birendra Bahadur Hamal, director at the Western Regional Agriculture Directorate, Pokhara said. “Chemical fertilizers increase productivity at once. However, human excreta increases soil productivity slowly but steadily,” Hamal said.

Paudel misses lady luck in 13th attempt

Himalayan News Service

KATHMANDU: Efforts to find a new leadership for the country once again ended in fiasco with the only prime ministerial candidate Ramchandra Paudel facing defeat in the vote at the parliament today for the 13th time.

The 14th runoff is scheduled for Friday, although it has become quite clear from the unchanging stances of the political parties that the House could just be engaged in a never ending exercise in futility.

The sole candidate in the race Paudel garnered 98 votes. Two votes were cast against him while 44 lawmakers stayed neutral out of the 144 votes cast.

Maintaining their earlier stance, Unified CPN-M, UML, MJF and a few others didn’t vote. MJF-D, Sadbhavana and a few others continued with their neutrality.

Paudel is the only candidate left in the race after Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal withdrew his candidacy from the seventh run-off. The parliament has failed, so far, to elect a new prime minister for nearly four months after Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned on June 30.

After today’s polling, Paudel said that the parties were doing homework to hammer out a collective solution and they would intensify talks after Dahalreturned from China. But he reiterated that he would not withdraw his candidacy until the parties reached consensus on the issues of peace, the new constitution and the question of who should be the PM.

No Dashain allowance to ministers' assistants

KATHYMANDU, Oct 27: Following a report by the Office of Auditor General (OAG), the government has stalled Dashain allowance to be released in the name of personal assistants of all ministers of the caretaker government.

The finance section of the Prime Minister´s Office (PMO) stated that it didn´t release Dashain allowances to the assistants as the OAG put such allowances under arrears category. This step has saved the govenrment about Rs 4.1 million.

In the past, personal assistants of all ministers received Dashain allowance.

Terming the Dashain allowance taken by ministers´ assistants last year as arrears, the OAG had instructed government officials not to release the allowances this year until a law on allowances is formulated.

"We didn´t release Dashain allowances to personal assistants and secretaries of ministries as directed by the OAG," said under secretary and chief of finance section at PMO, Umakanta Acharya.

The investigation by OAG shows that Rs 1.4 million was arrears last year alone under the heading of Dashain allowances paid to ministers´ assistants.

There are altogether 295 personal assistants and secretaries working for cabinet ministers at present. Legally, one minister can appoint 7 personal secretaries. Records at the finance section of the PMO show that almost all ministers have appointed 7 personal assistants. There are 43 ministers in the caretaker government.

"Many personal assistants of ministers came and asked about Dashain allowances this year too. We however, refused to release the allowances citing the OAG directive," said an official at the PMO.

According to Acharya, they have already forwarded a draft of law on the Dashain allowance.

"We will decide further on whether to release Dashain allowance upon the enactment of law to this effect," Acharya told Republica.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

पशु बिमा अनिवार्य नहुँदा किसान मर्कामा

काठमाडौं, (नेस), पशुधन बिमा नहुँदा पशुपालक किसानहरु जोखिममा परेको सम्बन्धित क्षेत्रका विज्ञले बताएका छन्।

राष्ट्रिय दुग्ध विकास बोर्ड र केन्द्रीय सहकारी संघ लिमिटेडले संयुक्त रुपमा आयोजना गरेको दूधको संकट समाधान विषयक अन्तरक्रिया कार्यक्रमका वक्ताहरुले सो कुरा बताएका हुन् ।
कर्जा सुरक्षा निगमले बैंकबाट ऋण लिएका पशुहरुको मात्र बिमा गर्ने हुँदा स्वलगानीमा पालेका दूधालु पशुहरु बिमाबाट वंचित भई पशुपालकहरु असुरक्षित हुनुपरेको केन्द्रीय दूध सहकारी संघ लिमिटेडका महासचिव रमन पाठकले बताउनुभयो।

कार्यक्रममा विद्यमान दूध संकट र पशुपालकहरुका समस्या विषयमा कार्यपत्र प्रस्तुत गर्दै महासचिव पाठकले निर्वाहमुखी पशुपालकलाई व्यावसायीकरणतर्फ उन्मुख गराउन ऋण लिएको पशुको साथमा स्वलगानीमा पालेका दुधालु पशुको समेत अनिवार्य बिमाको व्यवस्था गर्नुपर्ने बताउनुभयो। विद्यमान बिमा नीतिअनुसार प्रिमियम ६ प्रतिशत लाग्ने गरेको छ भने त्यसमध्ये ३ प्रतिशत प्रिमियम किसानले र ३ प्रतिशत सरकारले व्यहोर्ने गरेको छ।

यो व्यवस्था स्वलगानीमा पालेका दूधालु पशुहरुमा पनि लागू गर्नुपर्नेमा उहाँले जोड दिनुभयो। पशु बिमा कार्यान्वयनको लागि कर्जा सुरक्षा निगमले गर्नुपर्ने वा विद्यमान पशुधन बिमा नीति अनुरुप केन्द्रीय दुग्ध सहकारी संघलाई समेत प्रत्यायोजन गर्न सकिने उहाँले स्पष्ट पार्नुभयो। त्यसै गरी उहाँले उक्त सहकारी संघलाई पशु बिमा गराउन पाउने अनुमति प्रदान गर्नु्रपर्ने समेत माग गर्नुभयो।

Judge suspended for promiscuity

Himalayan News Service

KATHMANDU; The Judicial Council today suspended Pokhara Appellate Court Judge Om Prasad Subedi charging him of sexual misconduct.

Barring him from his duties, the Judicial Council headed by Chief Justice Ram Prasad Shrestha today decided to set up an inquiry committee headed by Justice Top Bahadur Magar.

The JC suspended him on the basis of Justice Bala Ram KC’s report, which indicted him for rampant sexual misconduct. KC referred Subedi’s case to JC saying Subedi lacked the conduct becoming of a judge as he was involved in extra-marital affair with a woman lawyer and was involved in sex scandals wherever he was transferred.

He also faces the charge of sexual misconduct with a woman lawyer studying with him in Kathmandu School of Law. “His sexual misconduct is the major reason behind the suspension but he also faces other charges,” Jiwan Hari Adhikary, Secretary, JC said.

On October 10, Subedi criticised CA members of being incompetent and undeserving of the ‘honourable’ title. Speaking at a programme in Pokhara, Subedi had said the lawmakers had betrayed their commitment to peace and the constitution and were misusing taxpayers’ money.

The JC has given two months to the Justice Magar-led inquiry committee to probe issues related to Subedi. He, however, termed the JC decision ‘biased and framed’ . “This happened due to pressure from CA members who objected to my views,” he said.

NAC grounds Boeing

Himalayan News Service

KATHMANDU; The national flag-carrier has grounded one of its Boeing 757s reducing international flights by half at a time when Nepal Tourism Year 2011 is only two months away.

This is the second time since August that Nepal Airlines Corporation has grounded its aircraft.

On January 14, the ambitious NTY 2011 — aiming to attract one million tourists — will kick off. But just when NAC needs to add to its fleet, it has had to ground one of its two aircraft. Something that certainly doesn’t bode well for tourist arrivals.

NAC has been forced to reduce its international flights by half due to a crack in two of the 70 Outlet Guide Vanes in the engine of the 9N-ACB aircraft. The crack was discovered during regular check-up.

“The aircraft has been grounded since Saturday,” said a highly placed NAC source. This has forced NAC to cut down on lucrative destinations.

NAC makes one flight everyday on the New Delhi route. It also flies thrice a week on the Bangkok and Hong Kong routes, and four times on the Dubai-Doha route, with both aircraft. “Though we will decide how many international flights to reduce tomorrow, we have not flown on the New Delhi route for two days,” the source said, adding, the flights on the Bangkok, Hong Kong and Dubai-Doha routes had already been reduced to half.

“We are in touch with the Boeing company and the engine-maker Rolls Royce to fix the problem,” he added.

“We will not suspend flights to New Delhi, though we are planning to reduce them,” the source said. Although NAC desperately needs a new aircraft, all aircraft purchase deals have been controversial. NAC had decided to buy a wide-bodied and a narrow-bodied aircraft from European manufacturer Airbus. It had planned to purchase a A330-200 — a wide-bodied aircraft with a seat capacity of 279 — and a narrow-bodied A320-200 with seating capacity of 150.

But the government’s anti-corruption watchdog has put the NAC’s long-cherished dream of adding a new aircraft to its fleet of two age-old Boeings on the back burner.

New budget to declare secondary education free

KATHMANDU, Oct 26: The government is declaring education up to secondary level free for all under the budget for the current fiscal year, said Finance Minister Surendra Pandey. It is also providing incentives to all enrolled students to discourage dropouts.

The new program under the upcoming budget, if it comes into force, will directly benefit some 6.5 million students studying up to 10th grade in public schools across the country. So far, public schools have been providing financial support for books to students who cannot unafford them.

The incentives for students from dalit and underprivileged groups will be even higher; for others it will be nominal.

Under the program targeted specially at developing human capital, the government has settled on providing Rs 70 per month to all dalit students to encourage them to continue their studies.

All girl students will get Rs 60 per month and others, Rs 50 per month.

If the legislature-parliament allows him to present the budget and endorses it, Pandey will spend as much as Rs 5 billion for implementing the new program.

“We have worked out the financial burden it will create. But as education holds the key to the development of the country, we are ready to bear the cost,” Pandey told Republica.

Ministry of Finance (MoF) officials, however, said that they have not yet worked out the modality for issuing the incentive to students.

“We want to make sure that the incentive is not misused, but have not finalized the modality,” said a source. He indicated that the government could decide to hand over the incentive amounts to the mothers of students to make sure of their proper use.

He stated that the government has sought the support of donors to implement the program. So far, donors have been contributing Rs 17 billion a year in the development of Nepal´s education sector. Apart from that the government spends around Rs 40 billion a year on education.

* All students to get incentives to attend school
* Dalit students to get Rs 70, girls Rs 60 and others Rs 50 per month
* Govt plans to entrust incentives to mothers
* Program to cost Rs 5b annually

The government will also continue to spend on an incentive system at schools on the basis of admission rate, dropout rate and pass percentage, in order to improve the quality of school education.

“A special incentive to check dropout is necessary, especially if we want to retain students from poor and underprivileged groups in the schools,” said Vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission Jagadish Chandra Pokharel.

He noted that the new program could make a meaningful contribution in attaining universal primary education, one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Currently, enrollment in primary education stands at 93.7 percent and the government has set itself a target to raise that to 97 percent in the next three years.

35-year man taking old-age allowance

UDAYAPUR, Oct 25: In an example of aberration in system, a 35-year-old man of Jogidaha-5 in the district has been found taking old-age allowance for the past three years.

Raj Kumar Chaudhari has been receiving monthly allowance of Rs 500 meant for people over 70 years for the past three years on the basis of his citizenship certificate.

Chaudhari´s citizenship certificate, that was issued by a mobile government team in his village on May 3, 1988, has registered his date of birth as 1928 while his actual date of birth is 1975. The certificate (no 466/344) issued on the basis of descent is undersigned by team chief Madhav Pokharel.

“I have been receiving social security allowance producing the citizenship certificate for the past three years,” Chaudhari confided with Republica.

The illiterate man said the error may have occurred due to oversight of others. “The paperwork was done by others. I didn´t know what was written and was made aware of the mistake only four years ago,” he added. He said the local registrar at the Village Development Committee (VDC) pointed out that his citizenship certificate showed him 47 years older than his actual age when he went there for birth registration of his child.

“I immediately tried to correct the mistake by going to the District Administration Office feeling that the mistake may land me in trouble in future but they sent me back saying it cannot be corrected,” he reasoned. “In the meantime, some locals suggested that I apply for old-age allowance on the basis of the certificate and I did accordingly,” he explained.

Assistant Chief District Officer Jhalak Ram Subedi admitted that the records showed Chaudhari´s age to be 82 but expressed ignorance as to whether Chaudhari had come to the office to get it corrected. “A meeting called by the chief district cfficer can correct it if Chaudhari comes forward withnecessary proofs,” Subedi claimed.

Monday, October 25, 2010

54 extra flights operated during Dashain

KATHMANDU Oct 25: Domestic airlines operated 54 additional flights on different routes between October 8 and 22 to cater to the increasing demand for air seats during the Dashain festival.

Officials of different airlines said they managed to plan additional flights as they had opened bookings a couple of weeks before the festival.

Yeti Airlines - one of the leading domestic airlines -- alone operated 41 flights between October 8 and 22. Ankur Rana, reservation manager of the airline, told Republica that they operated 18 extra flights to Bhadrapur alone. “We operated 17 extra flights to Biratnagar, four to Bhairahawa and one additional flight each to Nepalgunj and Bharatpur,” Rana added.

The airline has been operating flights to most of the major destinations, including Bhadrapur, Biratnagar, Janakpur, Bharatpur, Pokhara and Dhangadhi.

Buddha Air also operated additional flights period to better serve passengers during the Dashain festival. Rupesh Joshi, executive manager of Buddha Air, that the airline operated two additional flights with a 72-seater aircraft in the Biratnagar sector. “We also operated two extra flights to Bhadrapur using a 47-seater aircraft,” Joshi said, adding, “I think people did not face any difficulty in getting tickets this Dashain because of the arrangement for additional flights.”

Buddha Air operates flights to nine destinations, including Simara, Biratnagar, Bhadrapur, Janakpur, Nepalgunj and Pokhara.

Agni Air also joined the fray and operated an additional flight every day to Biratnagar from October 10 to 16. Sailesh Shrestha, sales and marketing manager of the airline, however, said the number of flights that they operated this year was lower than what they had operated last year. “We have operated three flights a day to Biratnagar last year,” Shrestha added.

The airline operates with a fleet of six aircraft, including three 18-seater Dornier 228s and three 42-seater BAe Jetstream 41s.

Most of the passengers, who had made booking in advance, got the tickets easily, while those making last-minute booking were disappointed, according to the airlines. However, passengers to destinations like Pokhara, Janakpur and Nepalgunj among others faced difficulty in getting tickets as the airlines had operated additional flights only on selected routes.

Though most of the passengers managed to get tickets easily, they couldn´t enjoy discounts on airfare that they used to get on normal days. Prajwal Thapa, marketing manager of Guna Airlines, argued that it was natural for the airlines to charge normal fare when demand is high.

The airline had added one flight each to Biratnagar and Pokhara during the festival.

“We couldn´t add more flights as we generally don´t get sufficient passengers for our return flights during festive season,” Thapa said.

Teku Hospital lacks dengue rapid test kit

Himalayan News Service

KATHMANDU: Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital in Teku doesn’t have even a single rapid diagnostic kit to test for dengue at a time when an outbreak of the disease looms large in the country.

During Dashain alone, around 200 dengue cases were referred to Sukraraj Hospital and more than 20 patients were admitted. At present, two severe cases are being treated there.

The disease has been diagnosed in 24 districts this year in the Tarai and patients being treated at the hospital are mainly from Butwal, Birgunj and Bara.

Dr Basu Dev Pandey, virologist at Teku Hospital said the hospital was unable to conduct rapid tests. “We can’t also test for the type of dengue because the hospital lacks the Polymerase Chain

Reaction testing kit,” said

Pandey adding that Elisa test, which the hospital conducts, takes more than a week to confirm the disease.

Dengue is transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. Some symptoms are high fever, severe headache and pains in the joints, behind the eyes, in the muscles, nausea, rash and vomiting informed Pandey.

“The government should mobilise the only six doctors who have received special training from WHO, to respond to the disease immediately,” said Dr Pandey.

The result of a serological study of dengue Infection 2007 identified Bardiya as high risk district — 64.10 per cent — followed by Biratnagar and Hetauda where the dengue risk is 47.5 per cent and 35.29 per cent respectively.

19 times Everesteer Sherpa missing in avalanche

KATHMANDU, Oct 25: A Nepali mountaineer who was just one climb away from equaling the world record for most ascents of Mt Everest has gone missing along the slopes of the 7,129-meter Mt Baruntse in eastern Nepal.

Chhewang Nima Sherpa, 43, went missing after a massive avalanche struck the slopes of the mountain at around 4:30 pm Saturday, said the agency that organized the expedition.

“A search operation could not be initiated on Sunday owing to extremely windy conditions along the mountain´s slopes,” said Jeewan Ghimire of Sherpa Shangri-la Trek and Expeditions. “We hope to be able to conduct an aerial search Monday morning,” Ghimire added. The agency came to know about the tragedy only at 9 pm Saturday.

Chhewang, who climbed Mt Everest twice in spring 2010 pushing his count to 19, was fixing climbing ropes at an altitude of 7,045 meters when the avalanche struck, according to Ghimire.

All other members of the expedition, including six British and one American climber, are safe.

Apa Sherpa, 50, who climbed Mt Everest for the 20th time in May this year, is the only climber to have set his feet on top of the world more times than Chhewang.

But Chhewang was poised to beat Apa owing to an age advantage. He was planning to take the lead in 2011.

According to Tilak Pandey, an official at the Mountaineering Division of the Ministry of Tourism, Chhewang was seeking to climb Mt Everest twice in spring 2011 to overtake Apa.

Pandey also said chances of finding Chhewang alive are slim.

“The aerial search will be focused on recovering his body. It is unlikely that he survived the massive avalanche,” Pandey said.

Born in Thamo village of Solukhumbu district, Chhewang made his first ascent of Everest in May 1994. He climbed the 8,848-meter peak via both the north and south faces. He also climbed several other well-known peaks including Cho Oyu, Shishapangma, Ama Dablam, and Nosing Khan.

Despite his achievements and reputation as among the most experienced alpinists in the world, Chhewang continued to live in Thamo village with his wife and two children, and worked as a professional guide.

This is the second major avalanche on a Nepali peak in less than a month. On September 28, an avalanche that struck the slopes of Mt Dhaulagiri killed three Japanese climbers and their Sherpa guide. Rescuers were able to recover the dead body of only one Japanese climber.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dengue hits Rupandehi, scores affected

RUPANDEHI: Over 40 persons including two medical professionals have been infected with dengue after the disease broke out here in the district.

According to Dr. Laxmi Raj Regmi, dengue symptoms have been seen in more than 40 patients admitted to the Lumbini Nursing Home and Siddhartha Children's and Women's Hospital in Rupandehi.

Dr. Krishna Khanal and Durga Sapkota of Lumbini Zonal Hospital also have contracted the disease.

A team of experts including Dr. Bishwaraj Khanal from the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division, Kathmandu has arrived in the district to assess the situation of the outbreak.

Dengue is a viral fever transmitted to humans through the bites of infective female Aedes mosquitoes.

The symptoms include headache, high fever, nausea, and severe muscle and joints pain.

Prachanda playing China card: Bijukchhe

KATHMANDU: UCPN-Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s China trip is the foreign rebel leader’s move to affright the southern neighbour India with 'China card' and his ambition to get to the government, Nepal Workers and Peasants Party (NWPP) chairman Narayan Man Bijukchhe said on Saturday.

China, however, would never say a particular party should lead the government as it would not interfere in Nepal’s internal affairs, he said.

“Maoist dream of reaching the government through ‘China card’ will not materialise,” he said, arguing that India is familiar with the mannerism of Prachanda and comrades who stayed in India while launching a decade-long armed insurgency in Nepal.

He was speaking at a programme organised by Nepal Shilpakar Samaj here in Bhaktapur.

Currently, the Maoist leader is in a four-day visit to China to take part in the ongoing World Expo in Shanghai.

According to Bijukchhe, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal's resignation on June 30 with no other options left to solve the political crisis has further worsened the situation.

He opined that the amendment of the Interim Constitution would be the only alternative to find a way out of the political impasse if the major parties did not show readiness for the consensus.

Dahal has two-hour meet with China officials

SHANGHAI, Oct 24: Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal held a two-hour long meeting with Chinese officials Saturday at the state guest house in Shanghai where he is staying.

Dahal was accompanied by Maoist leader Krishna Bahadur but the other members of the Maoist team were conspicuously absent at the meeting.
Maoist politburo member Agni Prasad Sapkota and Dahal´s personal secretary Sameer Dahal are among members of the team.

Asked about the meeting, Mahara refused to talk about the contents and also did not disclose the identity of the Chinese officials.

The meeting was not in the original itinerary for the Maoist delegation prepared by the foreign department of the Shanghai municipal government. Dahal held the two-hour meeting that began from 2 p.m., canceling a pre-scheduled program to visit the Russian and German pavilions at Shanghai World Expo.

Earlier on Friday, a ministerial-level team from the Chinese government arrived in Shanghai to take Dahal to Beijing for political parleys.

The five-member team led by vice-minister level official at the Chinese Communist Party´s foreign relations department Hao Ping will be in Shanghai for two days before flying to Beijing on Sunday with the Maoist team.

Saturday´s meeting of top Chinese officials with Dahal was scheduled after Mahara held consultations with the Chinese team.

Dahal attended a dinner organized by the Nepal Pavillion after the meeting with Chinese officials. On the occasion, Dahal said that Nepal and China should work together to spread a new message in the world. “Nepal and China must join hearts, forging an emotional friendship to spread a new message of peace and prosperity to the world,” he added.

Vice chief of the Shanghai unit of the Chinese Communist Party´s foreign relation department Wong Siosu had welcomed Dahal upon his arrival at Pudong International Airport at 10:15 p.m. local time on Friday. Binod Bahadur Shrestha, Amrit Shakya and Binayak Shah of the Nepal Pavillion at Sanghai Expo were also present to welcome Dahal.

Dahal, who is on a five-day visit to China, is scheduled to observe Shanghai World Expo and take part in interactions on Saturday and Sunday.

He was scheduled to observe the pavillions of China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the US, Russia, Germany and Sri Lanka before flying to Beijing on Sunday evening.

Dahal took part in a meeting and lunch party organized by Sanghai municipal standing committee member Yong Siodu on Saturday afternoon.

On the occasion, Dahal reiterated that Nepal was serious over the security of China. “No foreign force will be allowed to conduct anti-Tibet activities from Nepali soil. There has also been talks with the government about this,” Mahara quoted Dahal as saying on the occasion.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Does your facebooking offend?

KATHMANDU, Oct 23: Have you intentionally or unintentionally posted or shared disturbing pictures, defaming political leaders and other public figures in internet media including social network sites? Beware, you might face five years in jail and Rs 100,000 in fine.

Concerned over the growing trend of spreading malice through insulting sketches and cartoons of the country´s leaders and other public figures in recent months, the Home Ministry has warned of legal action against those involved in broadcasting and transmitting material that violate ´public decency and courtesy´ through internet media including social network sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Home Ministry spokesperson Jaya Mukunda Khanal said display, transmission and broadcast of such materials has been prohibited by the Electronic Transaction Act 2063 BS. “Our move comes as part of the state´s social responsibility to curb such acts, as per the laws of the land,” he said.

Anyone transmitting or broadcasting such material is liable to Rs 100,000 in fine or five-years in jail or both under Article 47 of the Electronic Transaction Act 2063.

Spokesperson Khanal said the move came after a three-month exercise to curb this ill practice that spreads social malice.

A press statement issued by the ministry on Friday said it has come to its notice that vulgar material that breaches public decency and courtesy is found being transmitted by internet and electronic media. “The broadcast, display, sale and transmission of such material has been prohibited as they spread ill in society and also promote criminal activities,” added the statement.

The ministry has asked one and all to provide information relating to such crime, through e-mail or written notification. According to the press statement, those wanting to provide information of such crimes through e-mail can reach regulatory authorities at or or or or .

Likewise, the ministry has requested that written information about such crime be sent to the Peace and Security Division at the Home Ministry, the Ministry of Information and Communications, Nepal Telecom Authority and Nepal Police Headquarters.

Social network sites, particularly Facebook, have recently drawn media headlines in various South Asian countries and elsewhere for all the wrong reasons.

In May, Bangladesh temporarlily blocked access to Facebook after satiric images of political leaders and anti-Islamic content about Prophet Hazrat Muhammad were found uploaded on facebook. The move came shortly after Pakistan invoked a similar ban on the site for carrying offensive content.

Son kills mother with axe


BHAIRAHAWA: An intoxicated man killed his mother here in Bhairahawa on Friday.

According to the police, Nawaraj Paudel attacked his 60-year-old mother Nim Kumari with axe and hacked her to death at their house at around 3 today afternoon.

Police said they have detained Paudel and are looking into the incident.

First MRP consignment likely to arrive by early Nov

KATHMANDU: The country’s wait for Machine Readable Passports (MRPs) is likely to be over shortly, with the first consignment of the smart passports expected to arrive by the first seek of November.

A senior official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said on condition of anonymity today, “MRP booklet printing is already underway in France and we expect to get the first consignment by the first week of November.” On August 27, MoFA and French firm Oberthur Technologies had signed an agreement for printing and supplying some 4 million MRP booklets within the next five years, and providing other solutions including personalisation of MRPs.

As per the agreement, Oberthur has to supply the first lot of MPR booklets within 70 days from the date of signing the contract – by November 5.

The French firm will supply each booklet for $3.59 and the total cost of the project will be approximately $14.36 million.

In the first lot, Oberthur will supply 400,000 MRP booklets, including 10,000 diplomatic passports, 15,000 special

passports and 25 travel documents, by November 5, according to the official.

An Oberthur representative in Kathmandu confirmed that the printing of MRP booklets is underway in France. “Works are going on smoothly as per the deal with the government,” the representative said, adding, “Providing the MRP booklets on time won’t be difficult.”

Harish Chandra Ghimire, the MoFA assistant spokesperson, informed that the French firm has also expedited work on the installation of hardware and software at the MoFA for MRP personalisation. “We are all set to train our staffers on MRP issuance,” he added. As per its commitment to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the regulatory and directive UN body of all trans-national flights, the foreign ministry will have to issue MRPs from January 1, 2011 at all costs. During the MRP signing ceremony, foreign ministry officials had said they would start issuing MRP two weeks after receiving the booklets. “We will try to

issue MRPs at the earliest,” said Foreign Secretary Madan Kumar Bhattarai.

As per its earlier commitment to the ICAO, Nepal was required to switch to MRPs by April 1, 2010. However, the country missed the deadline due to a series of scandals on the MRP procurement process.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Prez continues discussions with party leaders


KATHMANDU: Deputy Prime Minister and chairman of the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Loktantrik, Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar, chairman of the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Nepal, Upendra Yadav, general secretary of the CPN (ML) CP Mainali and president of the CPN (United) Chandradev Joshi called on President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav separately at the Rastrapati Bhawan, Shital Niwas, today.

During the meetings, President Dr. Yadav discussed with them on topics like constitution writing and the complications encountered in the peace process and how a way out of the complications could be found.

President Dr. Yadav on the occasion also urged the party leaders to resolve the problems together, the President's Office stated in a press release.

Smart card project soon


KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Home Affairs is stepping up efforts to establish a national identity card management centre for the distribution of Bio-Metric Smart Card.

Joint spokesperson at the ministry Praladh Pokharel informed that the ministry has initiated legal and technical preparations for the establishment of the card management centre.

The government has a policy to establish a separate central authority for the implementation and distribution of the smart cards bearing photographs of card holders.

The card will be taken as the national identity card that can also be used in elections. Pokharel said the ministry is preparing a legal draft for the distribution of smart cards.

25 million SMS greetings during Dashain

KATHMANDU, Oct 21: This festive season has seen a rapid surge in the number of festival greetings being sent to relatives and friends through Short Message Service (SMS). More than 25 million SMS were recorded to have been sent during the 10-day festival season.

“From the day of Ghatasthapana to Dashami Nepal Telecom´s (NT) mobile phone users have sent 21 million SMS,” said Surendra Thike, spokesperson of Nepal Telecom.
According to Thike, there has been a drastic increase in the number of SMS this festive season in comparison to last year.

The festive schemes announced by telecom service providers such as Nepal Telecom, Spice Nepal (Ncell) and United Telecom (UTL) are one of the major factors contributing towards the increase in the number of SMS. On the occasion of Dashain and Tihar, NT is charging 50 paisa per SMS (exclusive of tax) and UTL is charging only 30 paisa per SMS.

“The discount offer we have introduced during the festival season has helped in boosting up the SMS greetings,” said Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ncell Pasi Koistine. Under its scheme, Ncell has offered 50 free SMS to customers purchasing Ncell´s SIM card.

Customers are recorded to have sent 2,900,000 SMS through GSM during the eighth and ninth days of the festival, Thike informed. 2,700,000 and 1,400,000 SMS were sent on Phulpati and Dashami.

Over a period of time, SMS has emerged as one of the convenient, speedy and economical ways of sending festive greetings and is greatly replacing the trend of sending festival greeting cards.

Amid the increased number of SMS sent this festive season, customers, however, have complained of untimely delivery of messages and some had to send their SMS more than twice.

Telecom on the other hand said that SMS are delivered after being sent once though it may take some time and customers are not required to send more than once.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

4.9-magnitude quake measured in China-Nepal border


KATHMANDU: The earthquake that shook the Kathmandu Valley in the wee hours of Monday morning (at 1:55 a.m. Nepal Standard Time) had its epicentre in China's Xizang-Nepal border region, according United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The quake occured at 4:11:20 a.m. local time at the epicentre (28.535°N, 85.668°E), which lies 95 km in the north from Kathmandu, was measured 4.9 on the Richter Scale.

Parameters of the earthquake are measured as:

NST= 59, Nph= 61, Dmin=>999 km, Rmss=0.78 sec, Gp=101°,

M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=6

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Budget talk turns into verbal volleys at Big 3

The Reporters' Club Nepal organised the face to face programme to discuss how responsible are the parties for bringing the budget within October 26.

KATHMANDU: Member of the standing committee of the Unified CPN-Maoist, Dev Prasad Gurung has said the care-taker government under the leadership of Madhav Nepal is making ill-intentioned attempts to introduce the full-fledged budget by infringing on the Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2007.

Speaking at a face-to-face programme organised at the Reporters' Club Nepal on Monday, he said the UCPN-Maoist expressed the commitment that his party is committed to abiding by the constitution in letter and spirit but it would not sit idly by if the care-taker government tries to infringe the constitution.

He alleged the leaders of the Nepali Congress and the CPN -UML of twisting his party's statement that the door to consensus would open after the prime minister's resignation.

Gurung said the country has been stuck in a serious crisis as the Nepali Congress and the CPN- UML forced upon the majority and the parliamentary system by replacing the consensual system.

Member of the Nepali Congress central committee, Deep Kumar Upadhyaya urged the CPN -UML to make its views clear regarding supporting the Nepali Congress' prime ministerial candidate.

He stressed the need for detaching the UCPN -Maoist's from arms and the combatants and that withdrawing the party's prime ministerial candidate is secondary.

Leader of the CPN -UML Pradip Gyawali pointed out the need of keeping the national economy above the politics. He suggested holding discussions in package for formation of new government.

Former Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank, Deependra Bahadur Chhetri, economist Chiranjivi Nepal, president of Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC) Surendra Bir Malakar, advisor at the Ministry of Finance Keshav Prasad Acharya said the country will face a serious economic crisis if the full-fledged budget is not brought soon.

They said so far 40 billion rupees have been released and the remaining nine billion rupees would not be sufficient to sustain the expenses until mid-November.

The Reporters' Club Nepal organised the face to face programme to discuss how responsible are the parties for bringing the budget within October 26.

Prez, PM, leaders, ex-king wish happy Dashain


KATHMANDU, Oct 17: President Dr Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala and former king Gyanendra Shah have all extended hearty best wishes to Nepali citizens for happiness, peace and prosperity on the auspicious occasion of Dashain.

In a message on the occasion, President Yadav said: "The country has made notable political and social achievements in the days after the People´s Movement of 2006/07. Our national pledge to making the State secular, democratic republic and inclusive is not only a historic achievement but also a guideline for building a prosperous Nepal. Still today we face the challenge of institutionalizing such important achievements and making them sustainable."

The President said there is no alternative to taking the peace process to a meaningful conclusion and promulgating a democratic constitution within the remaining seven and half months tenure of the Constituent Assembly for ensuring the rule of law in the country by institutionalizing the democratic republic achieved through the great sacrifice of the Nepali people.

Noting that our real goal is a Nepal that is economically and socially prosperous, President Dr. Yadav said all should be conscious of the fact that the constitution should be formulated at the earliest.

The President expressed the confidence that the political parties and especially, the Constituent Assembly would realize their responsibilities to that regard.

"The Nepali nationalism that draws its strength from ethnic goodwill, religious and cultural tolerance and social unity and territorial integrity is our pride. May Shree Durga Bhawani give to us all the strength to protect this national prestige," the President said in the message.

PM Nepal wishes

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has wished that may the Dasain festival bring joy, enthusiasm, happiness and prosperity for all the Nepalis and inspire them to further promote unity, amity, cooperation, patience and tolerance.

In a message on the occasion of the Bada Dasain festival, Prime Minister Nepal said Dasain is the biggest festival of the Nepalis as well as an opportunity to promote goodwill, tolerance and unity.

"This is also an opportunity to give up misunderstanding, conflict and dissention and further strengthen goodwill and friendship," the prime minister said.

"We have upon our shoulder the responsibility of completing the peace process honestly and concluding the task of constitution-writing within the extended timeframe. We are required to complete this task with mutual unity, collaboration and far-sightedness," Prime Minister Nepal said and wished that may the Bijaya Dashami festival make us all victorious in the campaign of completing these important tasks.

Koirala wishes

President of the Nepali Congress Sushil Koirala has wished happy Bijaya Dashami to all Nepalis.

In a message on the occasion of Bada Dasain festival, 2010, the Nepali Congress president said Bijaya Dashami is a religious and cultural festival that gives out the universal message of victory of justice and truth over injustice and falsehood which the Nepali society has been celebrating every year as an occasion fostering family love, social goodwill, mutual cooperation and unity.

Stating that Nepal is an ancient country with different languages, religions, cultures and festivals and we Nepalis have a unique tradition of respecting each other´s language, religion, culture and festivals, Koirala said therefore, these festivals of ours are the heritage of our social relations and cultural amity. He said these festivals have helped further promote collective feelings and building a foundation of unity and friendship among all.

He said today our country is faced with complex problems and that history has bestowed upon us the grave responsibility of establishing lasting peace in the country, preserving the national interest and formulating the democratic republic constitution by properly addressing these problems.

"Our country Nepal could be transformed into a peaceful and prosperous nation only if we are conscious of this responsibility and fulfill that responsibility," he said.

Similarly, the Nepali Congress parliamentary party leader Ram Chandra Poudel has greeted all the Nepalis within and outside the country on the occasion of the Bijaya Dashami festival.

In a message of best wishes, Poudel wished that may goddess Nawa Durga bestow us the power to establish lasting peace and draft a democratic constitution on this occasion.

He also stressed the need of consensus, unity and collaboration among the political parties for ending the current political impasse by taking the peace process to logical conclusion. RSS

Shah too wishes

Former king Gyanendra Shah has extended best wishes to all Nepalese residing inside the country and abroad for happiness, peace, prosperity and progress on the occasion of the Vijaya Dashami festival.

In a message on the occasion, the former king said that he strongly believes a festival like Vijaya Dashami would help in making significant contribution in preserving ´our inherent culture, religion, national pride and uninterrupted national sovereignty´.

"My sincere belief is that we have to take continuous steps towards the prosperity of the Nepalese by protecting our religion, culture, traditional customs and mores and by preserving our sanctity and development of our national glory along with political stability, the experience of good governance, assurance of peace and security and nurturing social goodwill and religious harmony," the former monarch said in the message.

Saturday, October 16, 2010




Transform urgency into action: Pascoe


KATHMANDU, Oct 15: The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe has called on the political parties to take early decisions to bring the peace process to a successful conclusion.

During his briefing to the United Nations Security Council in New York on October 14, Pascoe said, “There is no doubt that the 15 January deadline for UNMIN’s withdrawal has created a new sense of urgency among the parties, and more focused thinking on how to end the prolonged stasis is taking place.”

Pascoe visited Nepal on October 6 and 7 on behalf of the Secretary-General and held extensive consultations with key stakeholders in the peace process as part of the preparations to brief the Security Council, which had requested the report on progress in the implementation of the Four-Point Agreement of 13 September between the Government of Nepal and the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M). In the same resolution, the Council explicitly stated that UNMIN’s mandate would terminate on 15 January.

“It is still possible for the parties to meet their targets in time but, as I stressed to all those I met during my visit, it will require translating this new-found sense of urgency into decision-making and concrete action,” he said.

The Under-Secretary-General said that despite recent progress and important steps in the peace process, a political impasse remains and no breakthrough has been achieved. “If the parties fail to manage their differences in order to complete this common agenda, it is they and the people of Nepal that stand to lose,” Pascoe said.
-: 8 :-

According to a press release issued by UNMIN here today, the progress Pascoe highlighted included the formation of a Secretariat to support the Special Committee, but he stressed that essential political decisions on integration and rehabilitation still have to be made. “I advised the parties to give priority to integrating and rehabilitating the combatants which would permit the closure of the cantonments,” he said.

Pascoe stressed that “dialogue continues across Nepal´s political fault lines,” adding that many of his interlocutors in Nepal told him that a political breakthrough was possible in early November, after the end of the current holiday period in Nepal. “We also believe this is possible if the parties exhibit the necessary flexibility and will,” he said.

“Progress on forming a consensus government or on the substantive issues related to integration and rehabilitation could provide the critical momentum for a breakthrough,” Pascoe added.

The Under-Secretary-General said that during the time remaining, UNMIN’s priority will continue to be working with the parties to ensure its smooth withdrawal, adding that the UN would follow closely developments on the ground. Pascoe added that the UN’s engagement with Nepal would continue after UNMIN’s withdrawal.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bank note with printing errors


JHAPA: A hundred rupee banknote with printing errors has been found at Jhapa Bazaar.

The banknote, issued by Nepal Rastra Bank with serial number 933679, bears double printing and missing the part that shows number '100'. Chairperson of Saragam FM, Leela Khanal received the banknote from a local clinic as a change.

Guinness crowns Khagendra worlds shortest living man

KATHMANDU: Khagendra Thapa Magar from Nepal has officially been recognised as the world’s shortest living man in Pokhara on Thursday.

A team of Guinness World Records recognised his height as 67.08 cms in a check-up at Phewa City Hospital early in the morning. The team had measured his height and confirmed it prior to handing him the certificate recognising him as the world’s shortest man.

Marco Frigatti, vice chairman of the Guinness World Records (GWR) handed over the world’s shortest man’s certificate on his eighteenth birthday amid a function at a hotel in Pokhara. Surya Bahadur Karki, a CA member also attended the function.

Khagendra succeeds Colombia’s 24-year-old Edward Nino Hernandez who was officially recognised as the shortest man in the world on September 4, 2010.

Born to Rup Bahadur and Dhana Maya Thapa Magar in Baglung in 1992, in western Nepal, Magar currently weighs 6 kgs.

Khagendra Thapa Magar declared world's shortest man


KATHMANDU, Oct 14: Nepali Khagendra Thapa Magar celebrated a big birthday Thursday as the world´s smallest teenager turned 18, and was officially declared the world´s smallest man.

A team of adjudicators from the Guinness World Records led by deputy chairman Marco Frigatti arrived in the lake city of Pokhara to award Magar the title. "It´s my big birthday today," he said by telephone. "I´m going out to play."

As the media flocked to the tourist spot, Magar cut his birthday cake at the ceremony where he received his certificate.

"He´s very happy today," his mother Dhan Maya Thapa said. "I had so little hope of seeing him grow up to be this old when he was born."

The infant fit in his mother´s palm when he was born in Nepal´s Baglung district in 1992.

Three rounds of tests done on Magar on Wednesday showed him to be 67.08 centimetres tall and weigh about 6 kilograms.

Magar´s predecessor is 70-centimetre-tall Columbian Edward Nino Hernandez, who weights around 10 kilograms.

Magar, a big Tom and Jerry fan, attends a local kindergarten.

"A birthday is a very special day for anyone," said his father Rup Bahadur Thapa. "But Khagendra´s birthday is more special because we´ve been through very hard times bringing him up."

Magar´s parents sold fruits and vegetables before the boy gained his celebrity status.

"´We also hope to register him as the lightest man in the world and for the smallest hand and feet in the Guinness World Records," said Min Bahadur Thapa of the Khagendra Thapa Magar Foundation, who has been campaigning for last four years to register Magar in the records book.

Magar has been helping his family make a living as he travels around the country with dancing troupes. He says he is looking forward to traveling to China as Nepal´s goodwill ambassador for Nepal Tourism Year 2011, a title he shares with the reigning Miss Nepal.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

PM's action adds insult to injury of grieving couple

Murder victim Liladhar Bhatta's kin feel not only fate, State too biased against them

MAHENDRANAGAR: When Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal chose to visit Kapil Dwibedi’s family in Nepalgunj two days ago to console them for their son’s killing, Liladhar Bhatta’s parents were wondering why he didn’t pay them a visit. After all, both Kapil and Liladhar were killed after kidnapping by the same gang.

Janaki and Dikerdev Bhatta, parents of 15-year old Liladhar, feel that not only the fate but the State too is biased against them.

They have been taking shelter at their niece Bhuwan’s home in Haldukhal of Bhimdutta Municipality.

No state representative has visited the family though

the PM had visited Kapil Dwibedi’s family in Nepalgunj two days ago.

“I too would have told him about the pain of losing a son, had the PM decided to meet us,” sobbing Janaki told this correspondent. “We had hoped that he would come here as well from Nepalgunj.”

“This government has failed to stop abductions and murders,” said Janaki, hoping that no other mother has to meet her fate.

Sub Inspector Dikerdev, who has been in Nepal Police for nearly three decades, had

rented a room in Nepalgunj for the sake of his son’s studies, though he was posted in Jajarkot.

He has served in the remote districts of mid-western region and is appalled by the government apathy.

Not long ago, his only wish was to retire from service and spend time with his family. After cruel turn of events,he wants the abductors and murderers of his son are subjected to maximum possible punishment.

Liladhar, a student of Grade X, was abducted from Nepalgunj on September 30 with his friend Kapil. He was found dead on October 4.

Home Minister, IGP face contempt charge

KATHMANDU: The Supreme Court today initiated contempt of court action against Home Minister Bhim Bahadur Rawal, Inspector General of Nepal Police Ramesh Chandra Thakuri and Superintendent of Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range Ramesh Kharel for violating its verdict to release detainees.

Bikash Simkhada, Dilli Prasad Paneru and Bhim Bahadur Rokka were arrested from the Supreme Court premises for the third time yesterday. A single bench of Justice Rana Bahadur Bam directed the defendants to explain within seven days why they should not be punished for contempt of court.

Nirmala Thapa has moved the apex court charging the authorities of violating the ruling of the SC by arresting her brother Bikash Simkhada and his friends Paneru and Rokka.

The trio have been detained in the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range, Hanumandhoka. The bench also directed the defendants to produce a reason for the arrest within 24 hours.

The trio were first arrested for public offence one-and-a-half months ago and prosecuted in the Kathmandu District Administration Office but when the latter ordered to release them on a bail for Rs 2,000 each, they were rearrested by the security personnel of Lalitpur Metropolitan Police Range charging them with attacking on duty police personnel on September 22.

Meanwhile, ordering the release of a minor, Chhoilang Lama, 14, the SC directed the Ministry of Home Affairs to provide security and manage the Bhaktapur-based Child Reform Home. Justice Bam issued the order responding to a writ petition challenging the detention of the minor because the Reform Home did not have sufficient space to admit the minor. Demanding the release of the minor, advocate Sita Sharan Mandal had moved the SC on Sunday.

Responding to another habeas corpus petition, the bench directed the authorities to clarify the detention of Raj Kumar Lama and Prakash Sunuwar as advocate Surya Bahadur Pandey demanded their release. The bench directed them to submit in writing within 24 hours why they had been detained.

Maoists want package before integration, rehab


KATHMANDU, Oct 13: The UPCN (Maoist) has linked the peace process with constitution writing and government formation, saying that there should be a package deal on these matters at a political level before formally starting the process of integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants.

The Maoist move is likely to break the recent momentum in the peace process, especially in forwarding the process of combatants management, and delay the much-awaited start to integration and rehabilitation of over 19,000 Maoist army personnel.

As per the September 13 agreement and a decision of the Special Committee on September 17, the process should have kicked in by now so that the peace process could be concluded basically before January 14 and within the last term of UNMIN which has less than 100 days left to run.

“It will not be acceptable for us to see one foot to go forward and the other lag behind,” Maoist leader Janardan Sharma, who is also a former peace minister, said.

In saying so, Sharma meant that the process of integration and rehabilitation has been moved forward a lot while there has been no progress in the constitution-writing process.

Sharma, a member of the Special Committee for supervision, integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants, said that the drafting of a new constitution by the Constituent Assembly should be guaranteed and the key issues related to constitution drafting resolved before the process is started.

Maoist army commanders had recently suggested to their party leadership to ensure the drafting of a new statute before they are brought formally under the government-formed Special Committee.

On Tuesday, UCPN (Maoist) representatives on the Special Committee formally told the Committee meeting that there should be a package deal on the peace process, constitution drafting and the formation of a new government, including an end to the deadlock over the prime minister´s election, before advancing the process of integration and rehabilitation any further, said Peace and Reconstruction Minister Rakam Chemjong, an invitee member on the Committee.

As the Maoists sought the package deal at the meeting of the Special Committee Tuesday afternoon, the Committee has authorized Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal to hold talks with top leaders of major parties, including the UCPN (Maoist), on the fresh Maoist demands.

In this connection, Prime Minister Nepal is meeting the UCPN (Maoist) on Wednesday to discuss the Maoist demands, said a source close to the prime minister.

“If the meeting [between Dahal and Nepal] does not result in a breakthrough, the prospect of starting the process of integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants in the near future will be very slim,” the source told Republica, preferring to remain unnamed.

A meeting of the Special Committee on October 2 had formed a taskforce comprising Committee members Barsha Man Pun, Dr Ram Sharan Mahat and Ishwar Pokharel to sort out differences on issues related to integration and rehabilitation of the combatants, who have been living in cantonments since their verification by the United Nations in 2007.

The taskforce could not progress further with its mandate after the UCPN (Maoist) linked the peace process with the package deal, said Minister Chemjong.

A source said that the Special Committee is likely to meet on Thursday if the meeting between Dahal and Nepal culminates in a breakthrough.

PLA slams Indian allegation of Naxalites receiving training in its camps as 'propaganda'

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) on Tuesday refuted the news about Nepal's Maoists imparting training to Indian Maoists on Nepali soil as "baseless and fictitious".

Issuing a statement on today, PLA chief Pasang expressed regret at these kinds of "baseless and fictitious propaganda" and said he completely denounces it.

In a report that appeared in Monday's edition of the Indian Express newspaper, the Indian government claimed that Indian Maoists sneak into Nepali territory to get training from the Maoists' PLA fighters and international terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Toiba.

According to report, the Indian Home Ministry gave the details of the movement of the Maoists from India to Nepal and vice-versa and requested the Maoist Naxalite-hit states "to stay on high alert in the fight against Naxalites."

The report said that the Indian home ministry note says that on June 28, five Maoists from Andhra Pradesh who were led by Comrade Pankaj from Bihar, crossed over to Malangwa in Nepal and joined 20 trainees undergoing training in the PLA camp.

In the statement Pasang said that these kinds of allegation has only raised suspicion whether some forces are conspiring to derail the ongoing peace process and constitution writing in Nepal in order to create a premise for greater intervention in the country's internal affairs.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Former queen mother undergoes leg surgery


BHAKTAPUR: Former queen mother Ratna Rajya Devi Shah underwent surgery of one of her legs at the Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital on Sunday. She has been admitted there.

Though the hospital did not provide information in detail about her ailment, it said the doctors operated her leg.

Ratna is King Mahendra's widow.

All members of the royal family including her step son former king Gyanendra Shah visited her at the hospital.

UNMIN obliges govt with data on combatants


KATHMANDU; United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) on Sunday formally handed over the information of UCPN-Maoist combatants to the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction as requested by the government.

“UNMIN released the data following the necessary agreement of the parties. I view that agreement as another positive step in the peace process,” UNMIN Chief Karin Landgren said in a statement.

The meeting of the Special Committee for the supervision, integration and rehabilitation of Maoist army personnel, held on October 2, had decided to ask UNMIN for the complete data of the combatants residing UNMIN-monitored camps, to expedite the integration and rehabilitation process.

Previously, UNMIN had been reluctant to share the information of the combatants with the government, which later created a stir in the political circles.

According to Secretary at the Peace and Reconstruction Ministry, Dhurba Prasad Sharma, UNMIN provided the hard copy of the necessary information of the combatants including their complete name, permanent address, age and photo. On Thursday, UNMIN had provided its electronic version to the Ministry.

Sharma said that the Peace Ministry handed over the data on Sunday to the Special Committee, headed by Prime Minister.

An official of the Peace Ministry informed that the number of combatants living in UNMIN-monitored cantonments has come down to 19,532, which is 70 less than the total verified by UNMIN in the year 2007. This new figure of the combatants came to the government’s notice after the Office of Cantonment Management registered only 19,532 combatants to receive their salary last month.

An UNMIN official said that the UN mission did not provide the fresh data to the government adding there is no fresh head count of the combatants in the moment. UNMIN had collected the data as part of its activities related to the monitoring of the management of arms and armies.

Laxman Tharu caught with pants down


KATHMANDU: Police on Sunday raided Shree Ganesh Guest House at Bagbazaar and caught Laxman Tharu in a compromising position. Tharu is the chairman of Federal Democratic National Forum (FDNF) advocating the rights of indigenous nationalities in the Terai.

A special task force of Metropolitan Police Range, Hanumandhoka had carried out surprise raids on various hotels in the area as a part of its ongoing efforts to check anti-social activities.

Superintendent of Police Ramesh Prasad Kharel, in-charge, MPR said Tharu was found to be indulging in immoral activities with a 20-year-old woman Radhika Magar (name changed) when the police raided the guest house and was caught red-handed. The woman was an employee at the guest house.

The police have also arrested the woman and guest house owner Parbati Puri (34), hailing from Lubhu of Lalitpur.

“We raided the guest houses, acting on information that they had long become fronts for illegal sex trade and other anti-social activities. “We have brought a charge against them, including Tharu under Some Public Offences (Control and Punishment) Act- 1970,” informed SP Kharel.

They have been taken into police custody.

When cops turn robbers


KATHMANDU, Oct 11: Robbery by three cops at a house in Galfutar Saturday evening has dealt a heavy blow to Metropolitan Police´s assertion that security arrangements in the capital for the ongoing Dashain festival have been tightened.

The cops posted at Metropolitan Police Circle Maharajgunj allegedly broke into one Bishnu Neupane´s residence at Golfutar of Mahankal VDC-5 at around 5:30 PM and made off with Rs12, 000 and a bank check worth Rs 50, 000.

The cops-turned-robbers have been identified as constables Kushal Chandra Bhandari, Komal Bahadur Basnet and Jitendra Hajara. They are now in police custody.

Maharajgunj police nabbed the three cops after victims had accidentally identified one of the robbers -- Jitendra Hajara -- at its office a few hours later.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Deepak Thapa, chief of Maharajgunj Police, said he immediately suspended the cops after confirming their crime. According to him, constable Bhandari had already been warned twice for questionable conduct.

“They had finished their duties at 2 PM and appeared for regular roll-call at 6:30 PM. They are found to have robbed the house in that intermission,” explained Thapa.

The trio had stormed Neupane´s rented first floor after two staffers of Kumari Saving & Credit Cooperative Pvt Ltd entered the house to collect regular deposit installment. “First, they battered a couple, Neupane´s close relatives, and the staffers, a girl and a boy,” said Thapa. “Then, they extorted the cash and also forced the cooperative staffers to sign the check.”

Thapa said that the cops did not possess arms while robbing the house. All three have been booked on ´forced theft´ charge. “By intent, this is a robbery indeed. As there were only three accused, they could not be booked on a robbery charge. Under the laws, a robbery is an act that involves at least four persons forcefully breaking into a place and getting hold of things.

DSP Thapa said that the cops committed the crime for money. Constable Bhandari was found with the looted amount after the dramatic unraveling of the case at the police station.

Superintendent of Police (SP), chief of Metropolitan Police Range Kathmandu (MPRK), said that the accused cops would be sacked from the police service. He also said that the alleged trio would be made public on Monday.

Monarchy will be restored at the earliest: Thapa

Chairman of pro-monarchist Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal (RPP-N), Kamal Thapa, Sunday claimed that monarchy will soon be restored in the country as the current political scenario is indicating the same.

Speaking to reporters in Biratnagar, the RPP-N chief said that the big three parties have been trying to institutionalise extremism and reactionary forces in the name of democratic practices.

Stating that the legislature Parliament has become less significant as it has failed to elect a new prime minister for the twelfth time, he felt the need of taking a new mandate to dissolve the current Constituent Assembly.

"The problem is created by incomplete and unclear peace agreement," Thapa said, "There is no alternative left but to dissolve the House."

RPP-N chairman Thapa also accused major political parties of making Nepal a failed state. "Now the country is their tripartite syndicate," he added.

He also sternly condemned the recent attack on Indian envoy to Nepal, Rakesh Sood, and termed it as a wrong action against a diplomat.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dashain a boom time for ad industry

KATHMANDU, Oct 9: Dashain is the festive season when people are busy shopping and to attract them many corporate houses and business organizations come up with various consumer schemes and offers. The announcement of schemes and offers helps the ad industry increase its turnover.

Nirmal Raj Poudel, president of Advertising Association Nepal (AAN) and CEO of Welcome Advertising Agency, said the ad business increases by 25 to 30 percent during Dashain.

“Nepal has witnessed a big boom in the advertising business in recent years, and the sector as a whole sees transactions of 300 to 350 million around Dashain and Tihar," informed Poudel. He said that these days it is companies that are into construction materials and housing that provide more ad volume.

“Dashain being the most important festival when people get long holidays, the shopping trend and consumption pattern increases and different brands and companies bring out schemes and offers to reinforce sales and generate profit. This ultimately helps the turnover of the ad industry” informed Ujay Shakya, managing director of Outreach Nepal Pvt. Ltd.

The print media carries more advertisement than electronic media. “Most companies spend at least one-third of their yearly ad budget on advertisements during the festive season” informed Shakya. The ad volume at V-Chitra has increased by 60 to 65 percent during the festive period this year. “Automobile and housing companies and paint industries are giving out more ads about their schemes and offers, and every company has something to offer,” said Sanjaya Singh, accounts director at V-Chitra.

“This year more advertisement growth is seen in television with an increase of 25 to 30 percent compared to the previous year,” said Raj Kumar Bhattarai, managing director of Spectrum Advertising. The ad volume at Spectrum has increased by 50 percent compared to mid-August and 20 percent compared to last year´s Dashain.

“Due to the increasing trend of providing different offers and schemes during Dashain and Tihar even smaller businesses are announcing offers and this has given the ad industry increased business,” said Ranjit Acharya, CEO of Prisma Advertising Agency. Print media has seen a growth of 10 to 15 percent and electronic media 5 to 10 percent since before Dashain started, said Acharya.

“The advertising industry has matured and new talent is bringing new ideas to the market, which has helped the ad industry flourish,” said Arvindra Ranjit, assistant manager of Business Advantage. Corporate houses are enlisting the help of advertising agencies for different activities like logo and campaign designing and brand building, which have also helped the ad industry boom.

Hurdles galore for passengers at Mugling bridge

Himalayan News Service

MUGLING:Hours-long traffic jam has become a part of everyday life for Mugling residents and passengers for these days. At the root of this problem is the dilapidated Mugling bridge that lies on the Prithvi highway. With only one-way traffic allowed through the bridge for the past 10 days, hundreds of passengers have to bear the brunt every day. Local people say vehicles get caught in traffic jam for around three hours daily.

During rush hours (from 10 am to 4 pm), the line of vehicles awaiting passage extends up to three kilometres, according to Modraj Silwal, a local.

“Vehicles on either side can cross the bridge after waiting for an hour,” he says, referring to the one-way traffic movement regime that local youths and Road Division staffers have enforced to prevent the bridge’s collapse.”

Traffic movement comes to a halt when 20 vehicles cross the bridge.” The restricted movement has caused traffic snarls on the Mugling-Narayangadh section also.

Shaligram Regmi, the Road Division Office (Tanahun) chief, says the problem has arisen mainly because the bridge’s support plate has snapped. Apart from that, some knots and bolts have loosened, while others have dislodged.

According to Regmi, two-way vehicular movement will resume in four days after minor maintenance, but full-fledged maintenance will begin after Dashain.

Scholarships for bureaucrats tightened

KATHMANDU, Oct 10: Acting on complaints lodged by service seekers, a high-level government committee on scholarships has decided to tighten scholarship programs awarded for long to government officials with the support of various international entities.

A meeting of the scholarship committee headed by Chief Secretary Madhav Prasad Ghimire decided to tighten the provisions on scholarships, concluding that there have been severe anomalies in the programs.

Dozens of government employees have long been receiving scholarships for abroad study with the support of foreign countries.

A meeting of the committee held four days ago concluded that scholarships are grossly misused and there is a lack of transparency in the programs. Scholarship programs are largely contributing to delay in service delivery, thereby inviting complaints from service seekers, the committee concludes.

The committee also concluded that scholarships are not distributed in a fair manner.

"Most government agencies have for long been awarding scholarships without taking prior consent from the scholarship committee constituted under the chief secretary, something mandatory under the Civil Service Act 2049 BS," states the decision taken by the committee, adding, "Every government agency is required to seek consent from the committee before awarding a scholarship to anyone."

* Scholarship committee asks govt agencies to accept foreign aid only for most needed scholarship programs
* Govt agencies asked to get prior consent from scholarship committee before awarding scholarships
* Committee directs govt agencies not to send jumbo teams abroad under scholarship or training programs
* Agencies asked to give priority in scholarships to those working in remote areas

The committee has asked all government agencies concerned to accept foreign aid for scholarships only in the most needed situations.

"The committee took the decision as government work has been badly affected due to absence of officials," said Binod KC, spokesperson at the Ministry of General Administration (MoGA), adding, "The fresh decision will help deliver government services in an effective and speedy manner, thereby curbing anomalies facing the scholarship programs."

According to the committee, a trend of jumbo government teams going abroad for scholarship programs or trainings is rife.

"The committee directs government authorities concerned not to send jumbo teams on foreign trips under scholarship or training programs, thereby affecting government services," reads the committee decision.

The committee has asked state agencies not to award scholarships at the same time to two high ranking [special-class level] officials from an institution where two such persons are working.

All government bodies are also asked to appoint anyone for a scholarship only if the scholarship committee gives its nod.

Acting on a complaint that most scholarship programs are being awarded to those working either in Kathmandu or in other urban areas, the committee has further directed agencies concerned to give priority to those working in remote areas while selecting them for and awarding scholarships.

"The committee also asks the authorities concerned to give priority to those working at local level and to non-gazette employees," the decision further states.

As per the committee´s fresh decision, all government agencies are required to monitor whether the new instructions are being implemented.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dragon thunders as dissident gets Peace Nobel


LONDON: Jailed Chinese pro-democracy activist Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize today for decades of non-violent struggle for human rights, an award that Beijing had anticipated and bitterly criticised.

Governments, activists and human rights campaigners around the world reacted swiftly to the news. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said: “The awarding of the peace prize by the committee to this person completely contradicts its aims and is an obscenity against the peace prize.”

A report from Oslo said China summoned Norway’s ambassador in Beijing to protest the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarding the 2010 peace prize to Chinese dissident Liu, Norway’s foreign ministry said.

“They wanted to officially share their opinion, their disagreement and their protest,” a ministry spokeswoman said.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said: “I would like to convey my congratulations to Liu Xiaobo for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2010. The decision of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee is a strong message of support to all those around the world who, sometimes with great personal sacrifice, are struggling for freedom and human rights.”

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle termed the Nobel committee’s decision ‘courageous’.

Amnesty International said this award can only make a real difference if it prompts more international pressure on China to release Liu, along with the numerous other prisoners of conscience languishing in Chinese jails for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

France’s foreign ministry took the occasion to renew the call for dissident Liu’s release.

In Washington, the wife of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu argued China should take pride in her husband’s selection and release him from prison.

“I hope that the international community will take this opportunity to call on the Chinese government to press for my husband’s release,” she said.

Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama congratulated Liu for winning the prize, calling on the government to release him and other jailed activists.

“Awarding the Peace Prize to him is the international community’s recognition of the increasing voices among the Chinese people in pushing China towards political, legal and constitutional reforms,” the Dalai Lama said.

Past laureates and their work at a glance

• 2009 - US President Barack Obama, for efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.

• 2008 - Former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, for working for peace in places from Namibia to Kosovo.

• 2007 - Former US vice-president Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for raising awareness of the risks of climate change. 2006 - Bangladeshi economics professor Muhammad Yunus and Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank, for work to end poverty through”microfinance”.

• 2005 - The International Atomic Energy Agency and its head Mohamed ElBaradei, for fighting the spread of nuclear weapons.

• 2004 - Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai, for her movement promoting the planting of tens of millions of trees.

• 2003 - Iranian human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi, for her work in defending human rights and promoting democracy in Iran.

• 2002 - Former US president Jimmy Carter, for years of work helping to solve conflicts in places ranging from the Middle East to North Korea, Haiti and Eritrea.

• 2001 - The United Nations and Secretary-General Kofi Annan,for working for a more peaceful world by tackling challenges ranging from poverty to terrorism.

Royal hopes & republican fears

Ex-king Gyanendra Shah is not wrong to feel that he is being unjustly treated in the new political set-up following the consignment of monarchy to history in 2008. Most of the post-2008 developments have added to his predicament. Narayanhiti Palace, which was his private abode, is now a museum. General people peek inside his bedroom, dining room and the whole sumptuous comforts that he had enjoyed. All of his secrets and privacy have been invaded. Visitors impute him for his alleged hands in the massacre of 2001. He who was a shri panch of the country is now just Gyanendra Shah. It is imaginable how unbearable it must have been for him to have shri panch maharaj dhiraj (His Majesty) obliterated from his name for good. The national celebrations, in which he, and only he, would be the principal guest, say in Krishnaasthami (Lord Krishna’s birthday) celebrations and Indra Jatra celebrations, are graced by someone with no royal lineage, and enjoys the privileges that otherwise were only his birthrights. He who was a divinity incarnate is now a mere mortal. Nothing could have been more lacerating for him than the wounds of these losses.

Therefore, he has started to fight back this trauma of dethronement. He, along with his family members, has decided to be seen and heard among the public. Ex-princess Himani Shah’s Himani Trust is one of the weapons to go to the public. Ex-royalties are taking entourage to temples and religious sites across Nepal participating in dozens of social and cultural programs and charitably donating, thus transforming themselves from rulers to givers. They have metamorphosed themselves surprisingly. Paras Shah has been, apparently, prohibited to make political comments lest that his words be interpreted wrongly. Ex-king himself refrains from speaking to the media. He greets the crowds wherever he goes, joining hands and smiling and nodding giving a regal wave to the people who respond with a thunderous applause for him. In a typical fashion of Panchayat days, his loyalists chant, “Come king save the country. Long live our king! Victory to our king!” In response, he smiles and nods and through which he seems to be saying “keep patience. I’ll be back if you so desire. I will not speak but act. Action speaks louder than words.” So does his son Paras Shah. He shakes hands with Nepali people. He smiles. He has had his hair cut short and has disciplined himself. It is hard to believe he was ever a wayward prince. This way the father, the son and the daughter-in-law have embarked on a mission to proving themselves to be more law-abiding, more concerned about the sufferings of the people and more civil than their republican rivals (read political parties and their supporters who fought for and hoped from republic) have been.

Hope from history will make the ex-king work more for people to garner their support. The fear of history, hopefully, will alert the political leaders to be sincere in institution-alizing democracy.
Through these civilities, the ex-king is, in fact, communicating a great deal of messages to the political parties and the people. He is saying, “I was not a good king but I was not worse than you. I had my follies, I admit. But your follies are greater than mine. People elected you to draft the constitution on time. But you have not even been able to form the government, let alone draft the constitution. You relegated me to the status of a common citizen and I have been living as a common citizen. You have played with people’s wishes. Point out a single mistake of mine since I was dethroned. I can point out a dozen that you all have committed.”

Political parties, on the other hand, are losing moral strength to repudiate these disputations. They know they are earning unpopularity and weakening. They know the ex-king’s unexpressed claims bear truth. So they want this truth not to be public. “You have already been pushed into history, there is no chance that you will be revived. You and your ancestors ruled this country for two-and-a-half centuries. It’s our turn now. We have our follies but you were not better either. Don’t ever dream of restoration,” they think. Behind this silent war of words, hopes from and fear of history and past are operating. The former is triggering the confidence and boldness of the ex-royals. The latter is crippling the self-confidence of political parties.

Emboldened by hope, the ex-king has started to say his fate depends on people. But deep down, he is waiting for his rivals to worsen further. He knows that his utter dysfunctional conduct had empowered the political parties four years ago. Their dysfunctional conduct, he hopes, will place him in a position of power again. Monarchy has been reinstated after its abolition in world history. After 11 years of decapitation of Charles I, Charles II was reinstated in 1660 in Britain. In Nepali history, too, the throne had stayed empty for 18 days in 1816 in between the death of King Girban Yuddha Bikram and coronation of King Rajendra Bikram. Maybe, a few years of republican experiment will bring monarchy back. Maybe 1660 and 1816 will be back. Who knows? Ex-king may be taking consolation from such reasoning.

While these historical realities have buoyed up the ex-royals to establish connection with the people, this has alarmed the political parties. The political parities are aware that their waning fame and rising incompetence are giving wings to ex-king’s rising influence. They too know that what happened in England in 1660 could happen in Nepal in the 2010s if they keep failing like this. So the caretaker prime minister restricts the movement of the ex-king barring him from participating in the Indra Jatra celebrations and issuing warning to him to remain in the capacity of just a commoner but not a king. The ex-king does not react to this commandment. He sees that in not reacting, he will earn more public sympathy.

This hope and fear of history being repeated is adding a strand to Nepali political discourse. But neither the king nor his rivals will publicly admit this. One has to psychoanalyze them. For me, the hope factor and fear factor, if acknowledged sincerely, will do some good to the people in the long run. Hope from history will make the ex-king work more for people to garner their support and sympathy. The fear of history, hopefully, will alert the political leaders to be more sincere in institutionalizing democracy, rule of law and the republican system. Both will, in all likelihood, cheer up people.