Nepal Today

Thursday, May 31, 2012

10TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE NARAYANHTI ROYAL PALACE MASSACRE Kathmandu, 1 June: Friday marks the 10th anniversary of the Narayanhiti Royal Palace massacre in which King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya were assassinated with other members of his family. Crown Prince Dipendra shot dead his parents and committed suicide by pumping a bullet into his head. Prince Nirajan and Princess Shruti were among 10 members of the royal family killed in the gruesome murder. The children of Shruti and her husband Kumar Gaurav survived. The massacre led to the end of the Shah dynasty,’ nnnn MAOIST CENTRAL COMMITTEE MEET Kathmandu, 1 June: A delayed meeting of the Maoist central committee is being held Friday, Facing a split, the committee is discussing stratrgy and situation after after Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai called elections for constituent assembly (CA) 22 November. nnnn. THREE INDIANS, ONE NEPALI GOING TO TIBET ARRESTED WITH FOREIGN CURRENCY NOTES Kathmandu, 1 June: Three Indiana and a Nepali were held Thursday with foreign currency a they were proceeding to Khasa, Tibet. Altogether $40,000, 346,000 Indian currency notes, 3,100 yuans and 200 British pounds were recovered from the group. nnnn ASSASINATED JUSTICE BAM BEING CREMATED FRIDAY Kathmandu, 1 June; Supreme Court Justice Rana Bahadur Bam, shot dead by two unknown people Thursday, is being cremated Friday. His body has been kept for public viewing to pay last respect at supreme court premises before cremation. nnnn 36 FORMER UML LAWMAKERS PREPARING TO RESIGN FROM PARTY Kathmandu, 1 June: Janajatis and Madeshi leaders are preparing to resign from the party blaming UML leadership for dissolution if constituent assembly (CA), Madhav Dhungel writes in Nagarik. Nearly three dozen leaders along with Vice-chairman Ashok Rai are preparing to resign. nnnn

MEETING TO NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL UNDERWAY Kathmandu, 1 June: A security meeting promised Thursday by Prime Minster Baburam Bhattarai after the murder of Supreme Court Justice Rana Bahadur Bam got underway Friday. Justice Bam was shot dead despite heightened security following similar shootings in the capital and fluid political situation. The premier heads the national security council, nnnn INSUFFICIENT MILK FOR NEPALIS Kathmanndu, 1 June: Nepalis are not getting to consume enough milk according to the quantity prescribed by the government due to shortfall of production and lack of management, The Himalayan Times reports. According to the National Dairy Development Board, average milk consumption in the country stands at 52 litres per year while the government has prescribed 57 litres per year. But the Food and Agriculture Organisation has prescribed 97 litres per year for a person. Similarly, the country is facing a huge shortage of milk in urban areas. The board has recorded a shortage of about 475,000 litres in winter and 300,000 litres in summer, said the board on the occasion of International Milk Day 2012, today. The government entity, Dairy Development Corporation sells 235,000 litres in summer and 150,000 litres in winter. Private dairies have been supplying two-thirds of the milk in major towns including Kathmandu. The average supply from the private sector is around 475,000 litres in summer and 375,000 in winter. According to the board, the country produced about 1.55 million metric tonnes in 2010-11 from 2.26 million milking cows and buffaloes. The country has 12.21 million cows and buffaloes but most of them are of a local breed and cannot produce high quality milk. Out of the total of 1.55 million metric tonnes of milk produced in the country, only 15 per cent is marketed through formal channels like dairies. About 35 per cent is used in local tea shops, sweet shops, hotels and restaurants. Similarly, farmers living across the country consume 778,225 metric tonnes of milk themselves. The board has decided to start programmes to overcome the shortfall of milk by promoting hybrid cattle, producing advance foods, and research and development of more milk producing cows and buffaloes. Increase in milk production will be our major focus in coming years, it said. The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has estimated that there are some 1.33 million milking buffaloes this year which is an increase of 3.05 per cent as compared to last fiscal year, and some 998,962 milking cows that is a 2.55 per cent increase as compared to last fiscal year. Nnnn ATTEMPT TO BOOST SHARE MARKET Kathmandu, 1 June: The government today [Thursday] promised to ease margin type lending for shares to boost investor confidence, The Himalayan Times reports. In a nine-point agreement between various stakeholders, the Finance Ministry has agreed to relax the margin type loan against shares as it will take some time to bring margin lending regulation. “Investors can avail loans against the share purchase receipt,” said president of Nepal Investors’ Forum Sitaram Thapalia. After a discussion among Finance Ministry officials led by the caretaker finance minister Barshaman Pun including the central bank governor and Securities Board of Nepal (Sebon) chairman, the government also agreed to bring a slew of market supporting regulations soon. “The central bank and Sebon will take appropriate measures to provide long-term loan facility,” according to spokesperson of the Finance Ministry Rajan Khanal. Similarly, the government has also agreed to take action against public companies that have not held regular annual meetings on time and are cheating investors and demoralising them. “It will boost the confidence of the investors as there are many listed companies like National Hydropower which have not held their annual meetings since the last three years,” said Thapalia, adding that the agreement has further directed Sebon and Office of the Company Registrar to safeguard the investment of investors whose shares were invested in public companies which have been delisted due to untimely general assemblies or to avoid financial crime. Sebon and Citizen Investment Trust will also formulate a regulation and working procedure within a month regarding institutional investment in the secondary market. Khanal said that the meeting also decided to start the operation of Credit Deposit System (CDS) from next fiscal year. It has been postponed several times. The Office of the Company Registrar and Sebon will act to execute the provision of Buy Back Option, said Khanal, adding that the Finance Ministry and Nepal Rastra Bank will start homework to establish Assets Management Company to manage securities assets. “Sebon will take prompt action to execute the provision of mutual fund to develop and reform the secondary market.” The meeting also agreed for close supervision of companies whose financial health is not good, said Khanal, adding that Nepal Rastra Bank and Sebon will initiate action against such companies if they are found involved in any misconduct. nnnn MPRF-D SEEKS CALRIFICATION FROM SHARAT SINGH BHANDARI Kathmandu, 1 June: Madhesi People’s Rights Forum-Democratic (MPRF-D) has decided to seek clarification from its senior leader Sharat Singh Bhandari accusing him of working against party policy, Gani Ansari writes in Republica. . According to MPRF-D leaders, the disciplinary committee of the party will publish a notice in Gorkhapatra daily on Friday seeking clarification from Bhandari. The party’s political committee after two days of deliberations had decided to seek clarification from Bhandari. The Disciplinary Committee has accused Bhandari of organizing gatherings across Tarai districts unilaterally for the last few months joining the Broader Madhesi Front and standing with NC and UML against the government’s decision to hold CA election on November 22. Bhandari says he has done nothing wrong and just worked for the cause of Madhesi peoples and democracy. “If working to institutionalize achievements of the Madhes movement and democracy is against party policy then I will continue to do so in the future as well,” said Bhandari, adding, “It is my responsibility to work for safeguarding the achievements of the movement.” He stated that leaders and cadres would decide who actually violated party’s policy and said Chairman Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar had unilaterally decided to support CA dissolution. Bhandari, who is also a member of the party’s political committee, said he along with political committee members duo Pramod Gupta and Nilam Berma were not invited to the committee meeting. Gupta also said no one had informed them about the meeting. “In fact, the chairman violated party policy by supporting the Maoists to dissolve the CA so he needs to give clarification,” Gupta said. Speaking at the meeting, committee member Sarba Dev Ojha, who is also a member of the disciplinary committee, had opposed Gachchhadar’s proposal to seek clarification from Bhandari. “Before accusing him of working against party policy, the party should be able to produce evidence. If we believe in democratic system then a leader has every right to protest against the government’s activities,” Ojha told the meeting. According to MPRF-D leaders, seeking clarification from Bhandari is a part of Gachchhadar’s plan to expel him (Bhandari) from the party. “If someone needs to give clarification to the party, then it is Chairman Gachchhadar, who has been making decisions unilaterally, without consulting the party,” fumed a leader, who preferred to remain anonymous. nnnn ________________________________________ ________________________________________ INDIGENOUS LEADERS FOR ALL-PARTY GOVT. Kathmandu, 1 June: Stating that the current fluid political situation should not be prolonged, leaders belonging to indigenous communities have stressed on the need for formation of an all party government comprising intellectuals and human rights activists, among others, Republica reports. A meeting of leaders representing 56 nationalities in the capital on Thursday concluded that a national consensus government must be formed as per the principle of proportional and inclusive representation. "As the country cannot have an elected government, the national consensus government must comprise representatives from political parties, intelligentsia, and human rights organizations," General Secretary of Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (Nefin) Aangkaji Sherpa said after the meeting. The leaders also demanded a legal and political solution to end the fluid political situation. "We concluded that prolonging the situation could pose a threat to national unity and integrity," Sherpa added. The meeting also identified Rastriya Janamorcha, Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), RPP-Nepal, Nepal Workers and Peasants´ Party, Rastriya Janasakti Party as “anti-federalists” while accusing the Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-UML of being against identity-based federalism. They also accused UCPN (Maoist), NC and CPN-UML of being responsible for dissolution of the CA. Nefin Chairman Rajkumari Lekhi said that the meeting also dwelt on preparations for the nationwide mass gatherings on June 3 to expose anti-federalist forces. "We will expose the political parties and their leaders who stood against identity-based federalism" Sherpa said. Nefin has already decided to hold a two-day national political gathering of indigenous peoples starting June 16 to chalk out future strategy on the formation of an alliance of indigenous and other leaders representing marginalized communities and to form a new party comprising indigenous leaders. nnnn ________________________________________

BAJURA HOUSE COLLAPSE AND STORM KILLS FOUR Kathmandu, 1 June: Four persons were killed in house collapses at Piapaldadi of Badhu VDC in Bajura district Thursday night. Kala Sarki, 36, Karishma Sarki, 14, Lokraj Sarki, 12 and Dipendra Lohar, 3. were killed in the storm and collapse. Two others were injured. Nnnn MADHAV KUMAR NEPAL, PRESIDENT DISCUSSIONS Kathmandu, 1 June: UML Chairman and Former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal held discussions with President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav in the current political situation. Nepal briefed the president on the political crisis following call for 22 November CA elections and dissolution of the assembly. nnnn JUSTICE BAM’S MURDER DRAWS WIDESPREAD CONDEMNATION Kathmandu, 1 June: Various political parties and human rights organisations have condemned the killing of Supreme Court Justice Rana Bahadur Bam on Thursday, The Kathmandu Post reports. They have asked the government to bring the perpetrators to book to ensure people’s security and end impunity in the country. Nepali Congress (NC) in a statement said that it was shocked by the murder of Justice Bam. The NC said that the barbaric attack is a direct indication of lax security system and has threatened the independent judiciary. Asking the government to leave no stone unturned to bring the culprits to book, the NC wished for the speedy recovery of the injured. Similarly, in separate statements, the CPN-UML and the Rastriya Prajantantra Party have condemned the murder and expressed condolences to the bereaved family. The National Human Rights Commission has expressed deep concern over the killing of Justice Bam and demanded the culprits be brought to justice. It has asked the government to be serious about the security of its citizens. The Nepal Bar Association has stated that the murder of Justice Bam is an attack on the entire judicial community and it has challenged the security system of the country. Likewise, the Human Rights Peace Society, National Human Rights Foundation, National Human Rights Concern Centre and INSEC have expressed deep concern over the murder and urged the government to ensure people’s security. Likewise, the Constitutional and Judicial Journalists’ Forum has deplored the attack and has asked the government to remain vigilant against attack on the judiciary. Justice Bam had succumbed to his injuries while undergoing treatment while his friend Ramji Giri and bodyguard Mahesh Giri were critically injured when unidentified gunmen shot at them near the crematory at UN Park, Lalitpur. Masked men attacked Bam: Witness A witness to the incident, Rajendra Tandukar, claims to have heard the gunshots that sounded like firecrackers just outside his timber factory. As few locals rushed towards the crime site, he saw Justice Rana Bahadur Bam, his friend Ram Giri and Bam’s personal security officer Mahesh Giri crying for help. Tandukar says that two masked shooters in black outfit fled the scene in a red Pulsar bike after the attack. After the shooting, Bam, his friend Giri and Mahesh sprinted almost ten meters from their car where the shooting occurred. Justice Bam and Mahesh crashed on the street, where Bam fell unconscious. Immediately after the shooting, Bam’s driver abandoned the car and fled away. The side window of the car was busted as the gun shots had been fired from there. After 10 minutes, locals brought a taxi to take the victims to hospital. The bodyguard whose neck was profusely bleeding pleaded to take the justice to the hospital first. Tandukar then knew the victim shot was a justice and loaded him first in a taxi and assigned his uncle to take the victim to Norvic. nnnn. PM TELLS SUPREME COURT NOT TO INTERFERE Kathmandu, 1 June: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai on Thursday said it is not appropriate for the "honourable (Supreme) court" to "interfere" in matters of the parliament, Pranab Khanal writes in The Kathmandu Post.. Bhattarai and the then Law Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula on Thursday furnished clarification to the Supreme Court on their move to register a bill seeking a three-month term extension of the Constituent Assembly. The duo was responding to a May 24 court summon that had asked them to be present in person within seven days of receiving the court order in an application filed for contempt of court. Advocate Kamal Prasad Itani had moved the court on May 23, saying that the move to register the bill was against the constitutional provisions and that it violated the apex court's previous verdict that granted the assembly a final extension. In his clarification, Bhattarai argued that "a mere decision of the government to register any bill in the legislature-parliament cannot be termed contempt of court." He said no one can challenge a government-initiated bill and term it unconstitutional before it is passed by the House. The clarification also said "it is not appropriate for the honourable court to interfere in the aforementioned procedure." With regard to the applicant's claim that the government move violated Article 116 of the Interim Constitution that states all should abide by the order of the courts, Bhattarai argued that the government, by declaring elections for a new CA, has upheld the judgment of the court issued on November 25, 2011 that granted a final extension of the CA. The government had then challenged the decision. However, the apex court had rejected the review application and the court had later upheld its earlier verdict. The apex court had further said that should the CA fail to promulgate a new consitution within the May 27 deadline, the government could go for three alternatives--fresh CA elections being one. Another defendant Sitaula argued that the decision of the government to register the bill came after pressure from various communities mounted and after it was felt that the constitution could no to be promulgated within the deadline. Sitaula argued that since the CA has been dissolved as per the apex court's November. nnnn UML NOT TO JOIN MAOIST-LED GOVT. Kathmandu, 1 June:: The CPN-UML Thursday decided not to join the current Maoist-led government. It demanded a national unity government to end the ongoing political and constitutional crises of the country, The Rising Nepal reports. Speaking at a press meet organized by UML at the party central office at Balkhu after a meeting of the party’s standing committee, the leaders said that the current government had only the status of a caretaker and demanded he should pave the way to form a consensus government. The UML also said that the party would continue pleading for a consensus politics. UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal said that the UML and NC were trying to extend the Constituent Assembly (CA) tenure by following a legitimate procedure, but Maoists dissolved the CA to establish a one-party political system. He said that the UML would start unmasking the reality of Maoists through different protest programmes across the country and stressed that national consensus was the demand of the nation. He said that national unity among the parties was essential to resolve the ongoing political deadlock and clarified that the UML would never join in the current government. He charged that the government was moving ahead with the aim to create a political crisis and instigate conflict. Khanal said, "The government has no political and constitution legality. If the government is not ready to pave the way, all political forces will jointly start protests against the government." The Maoists were trying to put the nation under the shadow and run it without a constitution, he said. UML leader KP Oli said that the prime minister had no right to resign and added, "The caretaker government is not there to give the resignation. As a caretaker prime minister, he should support the parties to form a national consensus government." The UML charged that the Maoists cheated the Nepalese people and added that the UML would never accept any proposal against the democratic justice to people. The party was clear about the need of national unity and national consensus and was ready to continue with consensus politics, UML leader Pradip Gyawali said. The party had tried to establish federalism but Maoists obstructed its moves towards establishing a democratic federal setup in Nepal through the new constitution, he said. The party also stressed that the UML was clear about state restructuring, names for provinces and their numbers in the federal and republican democracy. UML said that the party was not ready to destroy the ethnic-based unity and caste-based harmony of the Nepalese society. Democracy, people’s mobilization, human rights, social security, identity and capacity based federal system, national unity and press freedom were the guidelines of UML, Gyawali said. The UML said that the country was in a critical situation and urged all people to stand in favour of institutionalizing democracy, republic and federal system for Nepal. Nnnn MINISTER PUN HOLDS PRE-BUDGET TALKS Kathmandu, 1 June: Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun on Thursday said that the budget of the next fiscal year 2012/13 will be brought with consensus of all the political parties, The Rising Nepal reports. Organising a press meet at the Finance Ministry, Minister Pun said that the government was effortful in forging consensus among the political parties as there is no parliament at present. The Finance Minister made such remarks one day after he held discussions with the leaders of the business community. The leaders of the business community had suggested that the government should move ahead through forging consensus among the political parties on economic agendas. Minister Pun said budget will be brought by discussing with the in-charges of the major parties looking after economic sector. He said that the country’s overall economy was heading towards positive direction and a better environment for investment was being created. The government would be effortful in bringing the economy on a right track, he added. He informed that Rs. 190 billion of revenue was collected as of April 2012. The amount is 98.62 per cent of the target. The government’s expenditure is Rs. 190.42 billion which is 49.47 per cent of the appropriated amount. He further said that the government is serious about minimising the impact of the present political uncertainty on the national economy. "Through its budgetary measures, the government will encourage the private sector by creating a more investment-friendly environment in the country," he said. nnnn

PM STARTS POLITICAL CONSULTATIONS Kathmandu, 1 June: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai started what he called ‘preliminary’ consultations with President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav and political party leaders to discuss a situation following his announcement Sunday of second elections for a constituent assembly (CA) to draft a constitution 22 November. Premier Bhattarai held telephonic discussions with the president and NC President Sushil Koirala and direct negotiations with UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal who told the government chief there’s no alternative to national consensus to resolve a crisis created out of the declaration that automatically dissolved CA without lpromulgting a constitution in four years. Bhattarai is continuing his political dialogue Friday. Discussions were held Friday with NC President Koirala Friday at the latter’s residence. The CA election will now be for four years instead of two years. Party leaders have given themselves an opportunity to prepare a basic law leisurely in eight years. Although the tenure of the first was for two years; it was repeatedly extended for two more years, Nnnn ANOTHER VICTIM OF JANAKPUR BOMBING DIES Kathmandu, 1 June: Shyam Yadam died Thursday while undergoing treatment for bullet injures in the abdomen in Janakpur died while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Dharan. Nepal Railway Director Suresh Yadav died in a shooting incident over a land dispute this week at Sirsiya in Dhanusha nnnn NEPALI RUPEE SLIPS FURTHER GAIANST DOLLAR Kathmandu, 1 June: The Nepali rupee continued to slide against the US dollar. Nepal Rashtra Bank (NRB) fixed Friday’s Exchange rate at Rs. 90.17 to the greenback. NRB has floated the rupee against convertible currencies but maintains a fixed exchange with the Indian rupee. The devaluation of the Nepali rupee against continued to maintain the cross-country exchange rate as the value of the Indian rupee also continues to slip against the US dollar. Nnnn JAPAN EXPRESS DEEP REGRET Kathmandu, 1 June: Japan Thursday expressed deep regret at the latest political developments that led to the dissolution of the constituent assembly (CA). "The embassy also shares a strong sense of disappointment that has seized the hearts of the Nepali people by this most unexpected unfolding of events. While expressing its deep regret, the embassy sincerely wishes that all political parties, at this critical juncture, recall the age-long aspirations of the people of Nepal and, based on the spirit of compromise and conciliation, make fresh efforts to overcome the historic challenge of writing the Constitution, and thus, launch Nepal into a new era and further towards peace and democracy. “The government and people of Japan are ever ready to assist Nepal's efforts to this end, and are confident that the friendly and cooperative relations that so happily exist between the two countries will be further strengthened in the days ahead,." A statement issued by the Japanese embassy said. nnnn CHINA WATCHING DEVELOPMENTS CLOSELY Kathmandu, 1 June: China is watching developments in Nepal closely and Called for independence , peace, stability and peace. “As a friendly neighbour, China is watching closely the developments in Nepal’s political situation,, “China attaches great importance to developing the friendly cooperative relationship with Nepal, and supports the efforts made by the Nepalese side in safeguarding its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and in striving for peace, stability and prosperity,” a statement issued by the Chinese embassy said. nnnn .

EUROPEAN STATES EXPRESS DISAPPOINTMENT Kathmandu, 31 May: Embassies of EU, Norway and Switzerland expressed disappointment with failure to agree on a constitution. Embassy of Denmark on behalf of the EU missions together with Norway and Switzerland issued a statement Thursday. , the EU has also expressed concern over looming political uncertainty. “We express our disappointment over the failure of the political parties to agree on a new constitution, which resulted in the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly on 27 May. We are concerned by the possibility of prolonged political uncertainty and the effect this could have on Nepal´s socio-economic development.. “We believe that respect of fundamental democratic principle is essential to guarantee that the aspiration of Nepal´s citizens for peace, stability, and prosperity is met,” the statement said Thursday. nnnn.

EUROPEAN STATES EXPRESS DISAPPOINTMENT Kathmandu, 31 May: Embassies of EU, Norway and Switzerland expressed disappointment with failure to agree on a constitution. Embassy of Denmark on behalf of the EU missions together with Norway and Switzerland issued a statement Thursday. , the EU has also expressed concern over looming political uncertainty. “We express our disappointment over the failure of the political parties to agree on a new constitution, which resulted in the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly on 27 May. We are concerned by the possibility of prolonged political uncertainty and the effect this could have on Nepal´s socio-economic development.. “We believe that respect of fundamental democratic principle is essential to guarantee that the aspiration of Nepal´s citizens for peace, stability, and prosperity is met,” the statement said Thursday. nnnn.

LAST TAKE ON SHOOTING Kathmandu, 31 May: Government has given only low priority to investigate the murderous shooting of Supreme Court Justice Rana Bahadur Bam in the capital Thursday, He was shot by two motorcyclists who intercepted his vehicle and shot Bam dead the driver was not injured. Government has formed only a police inquiry team led by AIG Kuber Singh Ranal No arrests have been made until late Thursday night. Nnnn FURTHER DETAILS ON NAIDHAYA MEET Kathmandu, 31 May: UCPN (Maoist) Secretary CP Gajurel, who has sided with Baidhaya, said after the meeting Chairman Prachanda should resign as all hois programmes have failed. Chairman Prachanda has failed to implement his agenda. He should resign immediately,” Gajurel said. nnnn

MAOISTS HEADING TOWARDS POSSIBLE SPLIT Kathmandu, 31 May: Mohan Baidya faction meet of central leaders Thursday has called a meeting 7 June to discuss a possible split with the establishment of Chairman Prachanda and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. The Baidhaya faction met at Kupandole; forty-eight members were present. The Baidya faction blamed the establishment for failure to conclude peace and promulgate a constitution. Rebel woman leader Phampa Bhusal said the 7 June meet would discuss a possible split in the party. Details of the meet Thursday will be make public c Friday. nnnn OPOSITION SPONSORED STRIKE OVER PETROL PRICE HIKE PARALYSES INDIA Kathmandu, 31 May:: India´s opposition parties held a nationwide strike on Thursday, vowing to shut down the country in protest against steep petrol price rises announced last Week. AFP reports from New Delhi.. Political parties and trade unions planned anti-government marches, roadblocks and pickets outside government offices to focus anger on the administration of embattled Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. "We will lodge a strong democratic protest over the petrol price hike," Prakash Javdekar, spokesman of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), told AFP. "People are angry and they want to protest and this is the only legitimate way." The strike called by the BJP and other opposition parties is not a threat to the Congress party-led government, but poses a fresh challenge as Singh struggles with declining economic growth and policy paralysis in parliament. "The price rise is killing us and the government is sleeping but today will wake them up," said Ravikant Sahai, a grocery shop owner in New Delhi, where many roads were quiet on Thursday morning. Sahai, 43, said he would not open his shop and hoped many other traders would join the strike. "Petrol price rises hurt everyone. Our business suffers. Why is this government determined to hurt us?" he said. Last week, Indian state-run oil firms announced the sharpest jump in petrol prices in nearly a decade to offset growing losses caused by subsidised rates, rises in the international oil price and a plunging rupee. Once taxes are included, the price increase of 6.28 rupees (11 US cents) per litre will result in a 7.5-rupee hike for consumers in cities such as Delhi. "It is unjustified and the government only has itself to blame for the present crisis," said D. Raja, national secretary of the Communist Party of India. "Our demand is the oil companies must roll back the hike," Raja told AFP. In 2010 the government deregulated petrol prices in a reform aimed at reducing the massive subsidies it pays to state-run fuel refiners which rely on imported energy. A series of smaller petrol price increases last year caused a major headache for the government with the second-largest party in the ruling coalition threatening to pull out. nnnn ________________________________________

FINAL RITES OF JUSTICE BAM FRIDAY Kathmandu, 31 May:: The body of the Supreme Court (SC) Justice Rana Bahadur Bam, killed on Thursday morning, would be kept on the SC premises from 8-11am on Friday for the final tribute, RSS reports. The plenary meeting of the SC on Thursday paid tribute to the late Justice Bam and extended heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family members. Similarly, the SC Vice-Spokesperson Hemana Rawal said the meeting decided to perform the last rites of the late Bam at Aryaghat with the state honour. Justice Bam was gunned down at Sankhamul in the capital at 11:00am Thursday. Nnnn CHIEF JUSTICE SAYS SHOOTING ATTACK ON JIDICIARY AND RULE OF LAW Kathmandu, 31 May: Chief Justice Khilraj Regmi has said the attack on Justice was the attack on entire judiciary and rule of law, RSS reports. Chief Justice Regmi said this with the office bearers of the Legal Journalists' Forum after an unidentified gang gunned down the Supreme Court (SC) Justice Rana Bahadur Bam on Thursday. The judiciary faced such kind of threat for the first time, he said, adding that such serious incident has questioned the security of the judiciary. Meanwhile, different organisations have expressed grief and vehemently condemned the murder of SC Justice Bam. Issuing separate press releases, they said the attack on Justice Bam was the attack on entire judiciary. They have strongly demanded the government to heed security to every people in the country. Also, they wished eternal peace to the departed soul and extended heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family members. In the press releases, the Civil Servants' Association, Nepal Bar Association, Nepal Democratic Lawyers' Association, Nepal Civil Servant's Union, Appellate Court Bar Association, Patan, Constitutional and Legal Journalists' Forum, Human Rights and Peace Society and the Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal demanded the government to immediately arrest the murder and bring him to book. They also wished the injured security persons speedy recovery. nnnn CIAA ASKS PARLIAMENT NOT TO PAY LAST INSTALMENT TO FORMER LAWMAKERS Kathmandu, 31 May: The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has decided to write to the Parliament Secretariat to not pay the former lawmakers until it concludes investigation, RSS reports. CIAA Spokesperson and Joint Secretary, Ishwari Prasad Paudel, informed media that CIAA meeting on Thursday decided to study how and why the Parliament Secretariat was distributing money to the former lawmakers. The CIAA would study the documents in the Secretariat about the distribution of money, he added. The CIAA came up with this decision after taking stock complaint filed to this regard. Even the newspapers published from the capital had reported that the Parliament Secretariat was distributing bonus to the former lawmakers and squandering Rs 30 million state coffers (Note: But many lawmakers have already collected their dies.) nnnn

PM, UML CHAIRMAN JHALANATH KHANAL HOLD DISCUSSIONS Kathmandu, 31 May: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai held consultations Thursday evening with UML Chiarman Jhalanath Khanal. The premier called the meeting to discuss latest political developments ‘preliminary’. Khanal said he told the premier there was no alternative to national consensus and asked the government to make an appeal which if properly addressed will be effective n breaking a deadlock. Nnnn

MAOIST ESTABLISHMENT FACTION MEET POSTPONED UNTIL FRIDAY UPDATE Kathmandu, 31 May: The Central Committee (CC) meeting of the Unified CPN-Maoist has been put off until Friday, RSS reports. The meeting that took place at party headquarter, Koteshwor, for half an hour today is scheduled for tomorrow at 11am, said the Maoist sources. Maoist Spokesperson Dinanath Sharma said that the meeting has been postponed without entering the agenda due to busy schedule of party leaders. nnnn

NC, UML FOR JOINT ATRUGGLE AGAINST MAOISTS Kathmandu, 31 May: A meeting Thursday of NC and UML decided to condct a joint struggle against Maoists leading the government. The meeting was held at the residence of Prakash Man Singh. The two parties decided to take along other parties with them. NC President Sushil Koirala led the NC team but UML team was led by KP Sharma Oli and Ishwor Pokhrel. nnnn FIRE AT STEEL MILL CAUSES RS.5 MILLION DAMAGE Kathmandu, 31 May: Property worth Rs five million was gutted in a fire that broke out last night at Jagadamba Steel Industry based in Bara district, RSS reports from Kalaiya. . It is said that the fire started due to leakage from a tank of furnish oil of GI Wire Plant. Police personnel and fire engines brought the fire under control after around two hours. nnnn

FURTHER DETAILS OF SHOOTING IN CAPITAL Kathmandu, 31 May: Injured Supreme Court (SC) Justice Ran Bahadur Bam, who was shot by unknown group Thursday, could not be saved due to excessive bleeding, said doctors involved in his treatment. Bam died at 1:30 pm this afternoon while undergoing treatment at Norvic Hospital in the capital. Director at the Hospital, Bharat Rawat said that Bam, who was brought in a very critical condition at the Hospital, died while undergoing treatment. He was shot at Sankhamul while he was coming to the Supreme Court from Kalanki. According to Inspector General of Police Rabindra Pratap Shah, he was shot while he was returning to Supreme Court at Singhadurbar after visiting the Bagalamukhi temple. Two armed persons on a pulsar motorcycle followed the vehicle of Bam and shot at him and his bodyguard Mahesh Giri. The registration number of the motorcycle has not been ascertained yet. Ram Giri, father of comedian Deepak Giri, a childhood friend of Justice Bam, who was in the same vehicle, was also injured in the incident. He has received one bullet injury on stomach and two on hand, but is now out of risk. Bam's bodyguard Mahesh Giri has also received four bullets. His health condition is critical as he received bullets on his neck, said doctors. Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, Chief Justice of the SC, Khilraj Regmi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs, Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar, Chief Secretary, Madhav Ghimire, other justices of the SC, Chairman of the Administrative Court, Kashiraj Dahal, Chiefs of security bodies had visited the Hospital to take stock of the condition of Bam. It is said that search for the culprits is underway. Pamphlet of a party Nepalbad issued by Amar Nepal were recovered from the incident site. nnnn LIGHTNING KILLS THREE IN KHOTANG Kathmandu, 31 May: Three persons died in different places in Khotang district after lightning struck them last night. The lightning occurred with rain struck Balkrishna Shrestha, 20, of Lamidanda-4, Ram Bahadur Rai, 50, of Kharpa-2 and another person of Nunthala VDC, police said. Identity of the one is yet to ascertained as yet, RSS reports from Khotang.. Meanwhile, an unidentified body was recovered at Dubekol in the district. nnnn

FURTHER DETAILS OF SHOOTING IN CAPITAL Kathmandu, 31 May: Injured Supreme Court (SC) Justice Ran Bahadur Bam, who was shot by unknown group Thursday, could not be saved due to excessive bleeding, said doctors involved in his treatment. Bam died at 1:30 pm this afternoon while undergoing treatment at Norvic Hospital in the capital. Director at the Hospital, Bharat Rawat said that Bam, who was brought in a very critical condition at the Hospital, died while undergoing treatment. He was shot at Sankhamul while he was coming to the Supreme Court from Kalanki. According to Inspector General of Police Rabindra Pratap Shah, he was shot while he was returning to Supreme Court at Singhadurbar after visiting the Bagalamukhi temple. Two armed persons on a pulsar motorcycle followed the vehicle of Bam and shot at him and his bodyguard Mahesh Giri. The registration number of the motorcycle has not been ascertained yet. Ram Giri, father of comedian Deepak Giri, a childhood friend of Justice Bam, who was in the same vehicle, was also injured in the incident. He has received one bullet injury on stomach and two on hand, but is now out of risk. Bam's bodyguard Mahesh Giri has also received four bullets. His health condition is critical as he received bullets on his neck, said doctors. Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, Chief Justice of the SC, Khilraj Regmi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs, Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar, Chief Secretary, Madhav Ghimire, other justices of the SC, Chairman of the Administrative Court, Kashiraj Dahal, Chiefs of security bodies had visited the Hospital to take stock of the condition of Bam. It is said that search for the culprits is underway. Pamphlet of a party Nepalbad issued by Amar Nepal were recovered from the incident site. nnnn LIGHTNING KILLS THREE IN KHOTANG Kathmandu, 31 May: Three persons died in different places in Khotang district after lightning struck them last night. The lightning occurred with rain struck Balkrishna Shrestha, 20, of Lamidanda-4, Ram Bahadur Rai, 50, of Kharpa-2 and another person of Nunthala VDC, police said. Identity of the one is yet to ascertained as yet, RSS reports from Khotang.. Meanwhile, an unidentified body was recovered at Dubekol in the district. nnnn

FURTHER DETAILS OF CAPITAL SHOOTING Kathmandu, 31 May: Justice Bam was unconscious when he was rushed to hospital and never recovered his sense. He died without treatment, hospital said. But Ram Giri traveling with Justice Bam and a security are undergoing treatment at the hospital. MORE ADD KRISHNA PRASAD SHITAULA ALSOL FURNISHES REPLY Kathmandu, 31 May: Krishna Prasad Shitaula, who was minister for parliamentary affairs, when the cabinet declared CA elections 22 May also furnished a reply to the supreme court Thursday. Shitaula resigned after a controversy created by the election call. PM Bhattarai said in his written reply he never respected independence of the judiciary. Bhattarai was charged for contempt of court in a writ petition . MORE LOAD-SHEDDING REDUCED BY FURTHR ONE HOUR Kathmandu, 31 May: Load-shedding is being reduced by another one hour from Friday to seven hours a day, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) said. NEA said water level in river had increased to run hydro power plants. Power cuts have been reduced two hours in two weeks. nnnn

SUPREME COURT JUSTICE RANA BAHADUR BAM DIES OF BULLET WOUNDS UPDATE Kathmandu, 31 May: Supreme Court Justice Rana Bahadur Bam died of bullet wounds while undergoing treatment at Norvic Hospital Thursday afternoon. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai visited him at hospital and has convened a meeting of the security council. Home Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachedhar called the judge’s shooting at attackon the independent judiciary. MORE PM FURNISHESWRITTEN REPLYTO SUPREME COURT ON HIS CALL FOR 22 NOV. ELECTION Kathmandu, 31 May: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai Thursday presented a written reply to the supreme court on his reason for calling constituent assembly (CA) elections 22 November. A special bench will her arguments in a case challenging the validity of the fresh CA election and the resultant dissolution of CA without promulgating a constitution. Then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Parliament Krishna Prasad Shitaula was also summoned Thursday. MORE SHARE PRICES STABLE Kathmandu, 31 May: Share price laws stable on the last day of weekly trading Thursday. Nepse gained 0.09 points or 0.35 percent and closed at 373..55 points. Trade volume increased compared to the previous day. Altogether 255,631 shares were traded for Rs.87.303 million through 1747 transactions. nnnn

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

THREE KILLED, DOZEN INJURED IN SINDHUPALCHOWN BUS ACCIDENT Kathmandu, 31 May: Three persons were killed Thursday when a bus veered off Arniko Highway intoe Sunkoshi River in Sindupalchowk. Twelve others were injured. The passengers were heading for Tatopani from the capital. nnnn

BREAKING NEWS SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SURVIVES ASSASINATION BID Kathmandu, 31 May: Supreme Court Justice Rana Bahadur Bam survived at attempt to kill him in a shooting attempt Thursday morning at near UN Park in Thapathali on Thursday morning. Bam is undergoing treatment for bullet injuries at Norvic Hospital. Four bullets were pumped into his chest. Justice Bam was driving to office in his car. Guard Mahesh Giri was also injured. Assailants escaped on a motorcycle. Pamphlets with writing Amar Nepal Jindabaad were recovered from the shooting incident site. nnnn

NORWEGAIN MINISTER COMING AGAINST DURING CRISIS PERIOD Kathmandu, 31 May: A Norwegian Minister is again coming to Nepal during a crisis period. The small but rich Scandinavian nation has been deeply involved in Nepal’s internal politics; Norway has close ties with Nepal’s communists. Frequent visitor during crisis Eric Solheim is not coming this time around though. Instead, Minister for International Development Hickki Holmas [transliterated] is coming for a two-day visit Monday. “He’s coming to study the situation after the dissolution of the constituent assembly,” Naya Patrika said quoting an unnamed official of the Norwegian embassy. nnnn.

SUSHIL KOIRALA SAYS CA DISSOLVED WITH FOREIGN SUPPORT Kathmandu, 31 May: NC President Sushil Koirala said there was foreign hand in dissolution of the constituent assembly (CA), Kul Chandra Neupane writes in Kantipur. “There was foreign interference in dissolution of the CA. Attempt is being made to turn Nepal into Afghanistan pitting powers against each other. You understand this,” a source quoting Koirala at a meeting Wednesday said, according to Kantipur. But most of the lawmakers said at the meeting of NC said the situation was spoilt because the party was a Maoist pawn. Central leader Ram Sharan Mahat said there was foreign hand during the election of Prime Minister Bhattarai but wasn’t sure of such intervention during the dissolution. nnnn .

MAOIST CENTRAL LEADERS MEETING IN SEPARATE SESSIONS Kathmandu, 31 May: Maoist establishment and rebel factions have called meetings of their central committee members Friday following Sunday’s automatic dissolution of the constituent assembly (CA) after Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai ordered assembly elections 22 November. The announcement has divided all parties. The establishment of the UCPN (Maoist) has already asked its support to go to villages and prepare for the vote. The factions are meeting to review Sunday’s automatic CA dissolution while the largest political party is threatened with a split. nnnn UML STANDING COMMITTEE MEETS THURSDAY Kathmandu, 31 May: The UML standing committee is discussing the current political situation after Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai ordered constituent assembly (CA) elections 22 May. The committee is also discussing a mass rebellion in the party by janajatis who have threatened rebellion. Pasang Sharpa announced his formal resignation Wednesday. Brahmin/ cheetris are have been running the party for 40 years, another janati leader who has been with the party four decades charged. Janajatis across party lines have threatened to form a party to contest coming CA elections. nnnn. PEDESTRAIN RUN OVER BY BUS, KILLED Kathmandu, 31 May: A pedestrian died on the spot when a passenger bus knocked him down near the bridge over the Karrakhola stream in Hetauda along the East-West highway on Wednesday night, RSS reports from Hetauda.. The identification of the deceased is yet to be identified, according to the District Police Office. The bus was heading towards Kathmandu from Gaur at the time of the accident. nnnn STUDENTS CONTINUING ANTI-PM PROTESTS Kathmandu, 31 May: Students of 10 unions affiliated with political parties are continuing their hour-long protests against Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai in front of campuses in the Valley Thursday. They are demanding his resignation for calling elections to constituent assembly (CA) 22 November. nnnn DETAILS OF PM’S CONSULTATIONS WITH LEGAL LUMINARIES Kathmandu, 31 May: Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai Wednesday consulted with former attorney generals (AGs) on constitutional and legal provisions in the context of dissolution of the CA and lately developed political situation, The Rising Nepal reports. During the joint consultation held at the Prime Minister’s office in Singha Durbar, most of the former AGs suggested that all the political parties should go for election taking the government’s announcement positively. Saying that the government was compelled to announce the election for Nov 22 at the last hour when the CA was automatically dissolved as per the Supreme Court verdict, the Prime Minister sought opinions of the legal experts on legal and constitutional provisions for such a situation and also on statement issued on Tuesday by the President. Sarvagya Ratna Tuladhar, former attorney general and senior advocate, informed that the almost all the former AGs were of the opinion that the government’s decision to go to fresh mandate of the people when the CA got dissolved was positive. "What was the alternative way than to choose to election as per the verdict of the Supreme Court?" Tuladhar questioned. He said that there was no meaning in issuing the statement by the President on the issue that was provisioned in the constitution. "The issue that the membership of the parliament of the Prime Minister has been automatically ended is in the constitution and it is also stated in the constitution that the present Council of Ministers works until the other is formed," he said. Saying that attempts were made again to draw the President into unnecessary controversy, the former AG suggested that the President and the Prime Minister should work together to find a way out to the nation by holding a new CA election. Tuladhar said that the AGs suggested Prime Minister Dr Bhattarai that the present government had the constitutional basis to hold the election. "The present government which announced the polls should be given a shape of national consensus government and the election should be held. The present government should introduce ordinance and the President should issue the ordinance for the sake of necessary laws for election," he said, adding, "Even in the past the government led by a caretaker PM or interim government had held the election." Tuladhar argued that it would be still more unconstitutional to seek alternative to the present government when nobody was the Member of Parliament. "What is the basis for a consensus government when people talk about that but unwilling to join the present one. It is meaningless to oppose for the sake of opposition." Another former AG Laxmi Bahadur Nirala said that they suggested that it would not be against the constitution if the state was run on the basis of agreement. He said that legal hurdles due to lack of election laws could also be solved through consensus. "The President can amend different legal provisions on the recommendation of the Cabinet. Even the provision of by-election can be taken as a basis to move forward," he said, adding, "However the President should remove all the hurdles as per the article 158 of the constitution." Besides Tuladhar and Nirala, former AGs such as Raghav Lal Baidhya, Mahadev Yadav, Prem Bahadur Bista, Krishna Ram Shrestha, Yuba Raja Sangraula and Badri Bahadur Karki were present in the consultation. Attorney General Mukti Pradhan was also present in the consultation. Nnnn SOCIAL ABUSES TRAUMATIZE SINGLE WOMEN Kathmandu, 31 May: The single women (widowed women) of Solukhumbu district claimed that they were being traumatized with social abuse and family exclusion, The Rising Nepal reports from Solokhumbu. Speaking at an interaction programme organized by The Small World to find out their problems and help them develop skills Wednesday, they said that single women were victimized by the inhuman cultural practices and restrictions. The single women gathered from five VDCs of the district said that single women were still not considered as a human being as they were expelled from different religious and social practices. Sharing her ordeal, Tara B.K, a single woman of Kaku, Solukhumbu, said that her days start with the hateful words of her mother-in-law. Everyday she is accused of killing her husband with her negative supernatural power. B.K said she was two-months pregnant when her husband died. However, her in-laws had been accusing her of having immoral relationship with some other guy. Though she tried to tell them the baby was of their own son, they denied believing it, she added. This is not only the story of B.K. There are many single women in the district who had been traumatized with different forms of social and family abuse. Sukumaya, another single woman of Basa VDC, said that the widowed women were repeatedly victimized due to the ill-practices prevailed in the Nepali society. She said the single women were supposed to be a symbol of unluckiness. "Therefore, people start using offensive words and spit whenever they see her in the early morning," she said. "This is just an example of social exclusion; single women are facing different forms of social and religious practice", she added. Likewise, Muna Ghimire, who has been raising her three little children after her husband died, faced different accusation from her family and society. "People used to say that I would soon get married with another guy and leave my children alone to suffer," she added. During the programme, 85 single women arrived from five VDCs and expressed their frustration and sufferings. They claimed that people and family member themselves remark about their single hood and suspected them of being to be involved into various immoral activities. "They are restricted for social practices and are barred from the access to resources and capital and they are not socialized for dependent life," they shared. During the programme 1/3 women of the district said they lacked access to the properties of their husbands. Kanchi Sherpa of Takkisandu said that her own family member denied her providing power to her husband’s property. Chairperson of The Small World, Karma Sherpa, said that his organization was going to organize various skill oriented trainings for single women so they could live independent life. Nnnn CHINA NEPAL WATCHERS SAY CONSTITUTION A MUST Kathmandu, 31 May: China is concerned about the recent political developments in Nepal and wishes the “Himalayan Republic overcame the jarring crisis by issuing the much needed constitution to ensure political stability, economic growth and prosperity,” two of China’s top Nepal hands have said, Nirmal Shrestha writes in The Kathmandu Post from Hong Kong. They also warned that the protracted transition phase could increase foreign intervention in Nepal. Professor Wang Hongwei of the Institute of Asian Pacific Studies said in an interview with The Kathmandu Post that promulgation of a new constitution was the only option for the country and for that unity among the political parties was imperative. “The parties should continue on the path of finding common ground of understanding to settle disputed issues. Just like they did in the recent past,” said the 78-year-old professor. Prof Wang said he was hopeful that sooner or later the Nepali political leaders would come up with the constitution as wished by the people of Nepal. Hu Shisheng, the Director of South and South East Asian Studies at China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the condition of Nepal could get more fluctuant in the coming days. He, however, suggested the Nepali people not lose their patience. “Even China suffered many problems in different periods of its history before getting to where it is today.” Hu said the failure of the Constituent Assembly of Nepal to issue a new constitution should be taken as a matter of grave seriousness or alarm. “The topic of federalism is very sensitive and a complex one. It would have been very dangerous to take a rather arbitrary and a hasty decision on the matter,” he said, adding that Nepal should take its time and decide what is best for the country and its people. nnnn

US CALLS FOR PEACEFUL SESOLUTION Kathmandu, 31 May: The United States on Tuesday called for Nepal to resolve its political crisis peacefully after the major parties failed to agree on a new constitution, spelling crisis for the country. AFP reports from Washington. “We continue to call for this process to be peaceful. It has been peaceful, so far. “That’s what‘s important as they continue to talk to each other about a foundational document that will meet the needs of all Nepalese,’ the agency quoted State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland as saying. nnnn OUDATED PALM OIL FOUND IN KFC DUBAR MARK OUTLET Kathmandu, 31 May: International food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) was using date-expired palm oil in its outlet in Durbar Marg Wednesday during an inspection conducted by officials of Department of Commerce (DoC). Nanglo Bakery Café, another popular café, was discovered using out-dated spce and tempura flour. “During the inspection, the team found that KFC, run by Devyani International Nepal, was using date-expired palm oil while Nanglo Bakery Café was using date-expired chana masala and tempura flour,” Prem Prasad Paudel, Director of DoC said. The materials were destroyed by the inspection team. Nnnn NEPALI RUPEE DEVALUATION AGAINST US DOLLAR CONTINUES Kathmandu, 31 May: The exchange rate Thursday of the Nepali rupee against the dollar was fixed at Rs.90.04 by Nepal Rashtra Bank (NRB) as the value of the Nepali legaltender against the greenback continued to slip. The rupee slipped by 13 paise in one day. The Nepali rupee is floated against convertible currencies while the exchange rate in fixed with the Indian rupee which has also slipped against the dollar. Nepal devalued its currency to maintain a cross-country exchange with the Indian currency; Nepal maintains an open border with India. Nnnn PRESIDENT CAN’T CALL FOR UNITY GOVT. Kathmandu, 31 May: Despite repeated and strong calls by the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and a section of fringe parties, President Ram Baran Yadav cannot call to form a national unity government willfully, his office has said, Anil Giri writes in The Kathmandu Post. "Constitutionally and politically, the President will not or cannot call political parties to form a national unity government willfully. It is the job of the political parties and the Prime Minister to decide on this issue," Rajendra Dahal, an aide to the President, said on Wednesday. In an absence of the parliament, the President cannot call to form a national government, Dahal added. "On what basis or on what legal and constitutional ground, can he take such an initiative? "It is the responsibility of the Prime Minister and the political parties to arrive at a consensus. The President has not constitutional and political rights to either call to form a national government or to appoint someone as PM," Dahal told the Post. Dahal's comments come amid a subtle turf war between the Prime Minister's office and the President office in the wake of the CA dissolution on Sunday midnight. The perceived power-tussle between the head of the state and the government took a new turn on Tuesday when President Yadav termed Bhattarai's government caretaker. Two different but divergent opinions are offered about the government's caretaker status. Some have seen the caretaker status of the government as "Bhattarai's continuity as head of the government", and some opined it as "cut in his size." If the PM resigns or parties have a common candidate for the PM, the president may urge him to call for a national unity government, as head of the state, he said. He also made it clear that the President will neither uphold PM Baburam Bhattarai's call for fresh elections come November. Although the President is taking advice from various quarters about the contested issue of elections' constitutionality, it is unlikely that he will pass judgment on this issue anytime soon. "Who knows the Bhattarai-led government could itself translate into a national government? So why should the President reject the PM's bid for elections?" said Dahal. On Tuesday, sixteen political parties, including the Congress and the CPN-UML had submitted a memorandum to the President asking him to use his constitutional prerogative to form a national unity government. "Without formation of a national unity government no elections is possible and in this regard, the incumbent PM should step down," the memorandum read. nnnn

BRITISH OFFICIAL SAYS LONDON DISAPPOINTED Kathmandu, 31 May: Simon Fraser, Permanent Under-Secretary at the British Foreign and the Commonwealth Office said Wednesday said London was ‘disappointed with this week’s developments with Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai calling for new elections for constituent assembly (CA) 22 November. The CA was tenure ended automatically Sunday with the election announcement. “We are disappointed. I think many people are disappointed. At the end the agreement was not reached. That is a setback," Fraser told a news conference He was in Kathmandu for a two-day visit. "I hope it is not for the British government to suggest the way forward but I do hope the parties will come together and consider how they can salvage [the country from the present situation]," Fraser added. Nnnn NEPAL PLAYS INDIA IN U-19 ASIA CUP Kathmandu, 31 May:: Nepal plays India 23 June in the opening match of the U-19 Asia Cup cricket tournament in Kuala Lumpurm, Malaysia. The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) published the tournament’s tie-sheet Wednesday. Nepal is in Ggroup A along Malaysia, Pakistan and India The tournament is being held June 23 to July 1 in Kuala Lumpur. Nepal plays Malaysia in its second outing 25 June and Pakistan 26 June. gor Club. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Qatar and Sri Lanka are in Group B.. Top two teams of each group will qualify for the semifinals to take place 28 and 29 June. The final of the tournament will be played on 1 July. nnnn NC CHIEF TELLS LAWMAKERS TO RETURN TO VILLAGES Kathmandu, 31 May: Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala Wednesday directed ex-members of the Constituent Assembly (CA) to return to their respective constituencies and villages to make the party´s position on federalism clear to the people in view of fresh elections for the CA and to explain why the CA failed to promulgate a new constitution, Republica reports. Koirala issued the directive to the ex-CA members during a meeting on Wednesday, according to Nepali Congress leader Shekhar Koirala. At the meeting, the ex-CA members had asked Koirala about their role in the changed political context. Some ex-CA members also asked the party president to work for party unity. In response, Koirala asked them to exert similar pressure on party leader Sher Bahadur Deuba. "Some members asked the president to keep the party house in order," said central committee member Gagan Thapa, "They asked him to resolve the problem within the party." Later, the party also held a meeting of its central committee members to discuss future strategy. At the meeting, the central committee members asked the party leadership to make the party´s position clear on the issue of ethnicity and the rights of different communities in the changed context, according to Thapa. They also stressed the need to dispel misconceptions spread by the Maoist party in regard to federalism and the dissolution of the CA. The Maoist party and the Madhesi alliance have blamed the NC and the CPN-UML for the dissolution of the CA without drafting a new constitution. Some central committee members also suggested the party leadership make the party´s position clear about a constitutional solution to the present impasse. While the NC establishment faction held its meeting at party headquarters at Sanepa, the Deuba faction held a separate meeting of ex-CA members and central committee members close to it at Budhanilkantha. The meeting discussed how the party should move ahead in regard to the issue of federalism and the fresh elections for the CA, according to Bal Krishna Khand, a central committee member close to Deuba. The meeting also discussed party unity. "Party unity is needed for facing the election," said Khand. Nnnn ________________________________________ . ________________________________________ MADESHI LEADERS DIVIDED ON ALLIANCE WITH MAOISTS Kathmandu, 31 May: The United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), an alliance of five ruling Madhes-based political parties, have been divided over an alliance with the UCPN (Maoist) in the November 22 elections, Gani Ansari writes in Republica.. The division surfaced during its first meeting since the announcement of the fresh elections for the Constituent Assembly on Wednesday. The meeting was convened by the UDMF to take stock of the political situation and chart out its strategies. According to leaders who participated in the meeting, Chairman of Tarai Madhes Democratic Party-Nepal (TMDP-N) Mahanedra Yadav was in favor of cooperating with the Maoists while leaders of four other parties were against making a communist party an election ally. According to sources, Yadav, who is also a caretaker minister, said the Madhesi alliance should forge alliance with the UCPN (Maoist) as both forces shared common views on Madhesi causes. But reacting to Yadav´s proposal, Joint-General Secretary of TMDP Jitendra Sonal ruled out the possibility of alliance with the Maoists. "How can we forge an alliance with the UCPN (Maoist) as we have different ideologies?" a leader quoted Sonal as saying in the meeting. He also argued that it was not appropriate to cooperate with the UCPN (Maoist) as people with anti-Maoist sentiment had also voted for the Madhes-based political parties. When the proposal to forge alliance with the Maoist party was outright rejected, General Secretary of Madhesi People´s Rights Forum-Democratic (MPRF-D) Jitendra Dev maintained that the Madhes-based parties should go for new CA election by forming a single Madhesi party. Responding to Dev´s statement, General Secretary of MPRF-Republican Atmaram Sah questioned the basis of forming a single Madhesi party. "Before such talk, we should analyze why the Madhesi parties split in such a way," another Madhesi leader quoted Sah as saying. However, the Madhesi leaders unanimously decided to go for fresh election stating that there was no alternative to it. "We concluded that only the CA can promulgate a new constitution," said Sonal, adding, "We consider the new election for the CA as the legacy of the dissolved CA." He stated that the meeting decided to work together with ´true pro-federalist forces´ in the coming days. "We also decided to work with the pro-federalist forces -- Madhesi, Muslim, indigenous and other marginalized communities," Sonal added. Madhesi leaders claimed that despite their continuous efforts till the last hour, they could not save the CA as some political parties including Nepali Congress and CPN-UML stuck with anti-identity-based federal stance. Nnnn ________________________________________ . ‘MARGINALISED GROUPS’ TO FORM PARTIES FOR NEXT ELECTION Kathmandu, 31 May: Marginalised groups, including indigenous nationalities, feel that the next Constituent Assembly could be a vital catalyst to establish themselves as a new force of the country, much as the Nepali Congress, CPN- UML and the Unified CPN-Maoist proved themselves in 1950, 1990 and 2006, respectively, Ram Kumar Kamat writes in The Himalayan Times . Indigenous leaders believe that there would be a huge polarisation between federalist and non-federalist forces in the next CA elections, and therefore, they need to contest the polls under a new party or alliance to secure a two-thirds majority. Former CA members and leaders of marginalised communities from all kinds of parties — big and small — meet almost daily to discuss their strategies for the next CA elections. “Our aim is to secure two-thirds majority. We want to achieve the goal either through a new party or a broader alliance,” Aang Kaji Sherpa, General Secretary, Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities, told THT. NEFIN is going to hold a broader conference on June 2-3 during which the outfit may declare a new party or a new alliance. NEFIN President Raj Kumar Lekhi said NEFIN itself could be launched as a new party. According to Sherpa, indigenous leaders would see how some of the constitutional questions regarding the next CA elections would be resolved and how the relations between the President and the caretaker prime minister would go before they come up with their poll strategies. “We will devise clear strategies once all the current issues are resolved,” Sherpa added. While indigenous leaders believe that they would gain much from the next CA elections, some Maoist indigenous leaders see little prospect of their comrades leaving their mother party in order to join a new indigenous party. “UCPN-M is the only major party that has fully addressed the concerns of marginalised groups, and therefore, there is no need to form a new party to secure federalism and issues of inclusion,” said Maoist leader Lokendra Bista Magar. Indigenous leaders are also mulling over a nationwide campaign to expose anti-federalist forces and build momentum for genuine federalism. According to Magar, a political party can prove its relevance only on the basis of ideology, and therefore, if a new party of indigenous nationalities emerges and tries to cash in solely on the planks of federalism, it would be seen as a communal force and would lose its significance in the long run. Lekhi countered the argument saying there was the need of a separate party of indigenous nationalities and marginalised communities which can address their concerns about federalism and other issues of inclusion. “Had all the indigenous organisations had full faith on the UCPN-M, all the organisations associated with NEFIN would have joined the Maoist party by now,” Lekhi said. “People want a new party of indigenous nationalities and marginalised groups. If we do not open a new party, somebody else will come forward.” nnnn GOVERNANCE SECTION OF MUNICIPALITIES UNDER LOCAL DEVELOPMENT MINISTRY Kathmandu 31 May: The governance section of all municipalities will remain under the Ministry of Local Development, which has been converted into the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development, The Himalayan Times reports.. However, Solid Waste Management Technical Support Centre (SWMTSC), which was earlier under the MoLD, will be shifted to the Ministry of Urban Development. The Cabinet had restructured the ministries, creating two new ones about a month ago. The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and the Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation (MoCPA) were created. MoUD will look into infrastructure development of municipalities, which was earlier under the Ministry of Local Development. The Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DUDBC) under the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works (MoPPW) and the Municipal Management Division (MMD) of MoLD was expected to be shifted to MoUD. “Municipal management will remain under MoLD as per Terms of References prepared for the new ministries,” said joint-secretary Reshmi Raj Pandey, chief of MMD. “The governance section will be with us though MoUD will be looking into municipal development issues,” he said. “We will keep on looking into the governance and development issues of District Development Committees (DDC) and Village Development Committees (VDC).” The MoLD and MoUD will coordinate with towns and urban oriented places in the country. Pandey further said SWMTSC would be shifted to MoUD. “SWMTSC is entirely related to development issues and not local governance,” he added. The MoPPW has been split and merged with the Ministry of Physical Planning and Transportation and given authority to deal with infrastructure development of village development committees. Earlier, MoLD and MoPPW used to deal jointly with municipals and urban development. nnnn

NC MEET Kathmandu, 30 May: At meeting of the NC Wednesday, activists said they will go village as directed by President Sushil Koirala only after the party is effectively united.. The party met to review the current political situation. nnnn SAMYUKTA MADESH MORCHA LOKTANTRIK HOLDS 1ST REVIEW MEET Kathmandu, 30 May: Samyokta Madesh Morcha Loktanrik, a coalition of Maoists in government, held its first meeting to review the situation after announcement of elections 22 November. The Morcha also discussed participation in the assembly elections. It supported the government decision to hold elections and decided to participate in the November vote. nnnn NEPAL FIGURES IN UN SECURITY COUNCIL Kathmandu, 30 May; Nepal figured in discussions at the UN security council Ruesday. Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs B Lynn Pascoe briefed council on the dissolution of cnstituent assembly (CA) without promulgating a new constitution. a UN body said.. Scretary General Ban Ki-moon earlier voiced disappointment over the CA . Pascoe presented a brief information on the dissolution of the CA and the political and constitutional crisis facing Nepal. nnnn

PM ALSO CONSULTS LAWYERS Kathmandu, May 30: Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai held consultations over the constitutional arrangements and provisions on the contemporary political situation with the former attorney generals on Wednesday, RSS reports. During the discussion held at the Office of the Prime Minister at Singha Durbar, he had also acquired information on the legal provision after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly and constitutional provision for fresh election. Attorney General Mukti Pradhan, Former Attorney Generals, Radhav Lal Baidya, Mahadev Yadav, Laxmi Bahadur Nirala, Prem Bahadur Bista, Sarbagya Ratna Tuladhar, Krishna Ram Shrestha, Yuva Raj Sangraula and Badri Bahadur Karki were present on the occasion. nnnn

PM AIDE SAYS HIS BOSS WON’T RESIGN Kathmandu, 30 May: Leaders of different political parties have said that there was no alternative to go for new election by forging national consensus government of all parties after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly (CA). Speaking at an interaction organized here today, leader of the Nepali Congress, Ram Sharan Mahat blamed that the government had created such a sudden incident in an irresponsible manner on May 27 as there was an alternative of consensus in the constitution writing. He said that the UCPN-Maoist and the government dissolved the CA with bad intention of capturing power as the Dalits, suppressed, women and indigenous nationalities were felt deceived after the UCPN-Maoist and the government discarded the single ethnic based province. Welcoming the press release of the President, Mahat opined that election should be held to choose a small sized parliament and the parliament will draft the constitution. Similarly, Secretary of the CPN-UML, Yubraj Gyawali blamed that the UCPN-Maoist dissolved the CA through unconstitutional and deceptive way to stick to power. He said that a national consensus government should be formed as per the provision in the Interim Constitution. Likewise, political advisor of Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, Devendra Paudel said that charge of political parties that the UCPN-Maoist was to capture the power was wrong and added that it was not right to bring the president and judiciary in controversy. Paudel blamed that the NC and CPN-UML had violated the five-point agreement and added that the Prime Minister will not tender his resignation. Meanwhile, leader of the Madhesi Morcha, Laxman Lal Karn expressed the view that the President had no need to say the government was caretaker, and added that all political parties should take part in election as there was no alternative to it. RSS nnnn UPENDRA YADAV ASKS PM TO QUIT Kathmandu, 30 May: Chairman of the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF)-Nepal, Uprendra Yadav has said that the government led by Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai should resign to pave way for giving the country an outlet, RSS reports. Speaking at an interaction organized by Rafat Sanchar Club in Bhaktapur today, Yadav mentioned that declaring the election of the Constituent Assembly (CA) by the government led by Dr. Baburam Bhattarai was unconstitutional and impractical at a time when the CA was dissolved. He added that resignation of the Bhattarai-led government was only alternative to giving an outlet to the country from crisis saying the country was bogged down in further crisis after the constitution was not promulgated. Yadav further said that there was now no alternative to go for election, and added that it was compulsory to form a consensual electoral government from among the parties for the same. Blaming that the CA was dismissed in a premeditated way due to power equation interests of the UCPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML, he said that the country was headed towards devastation due to the major three political parties. R nnnn PM ASKS FINANCE MINISTRT O PREPARE ANNUAL BUDGET Kathmandu, 30 May:: Caretaker Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai has directed the Finance Ministry to incorporate the aspirations of all political parties and private sectors while making budget for the fiscal year 2012/013, RSS reports. At a meeting held with the high ranking officials of the economic sectors at Singhadurbar on Wednesday, Caretaker Prime MinisterDr Bhattarai directed the Finance Ministry to hold discussion with the concerned experts of each political party and private sector before preparing budget. The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun, Vice-Chairman of the National Planning Commission Deependra Bahadur Chhetri, Commission members, Rastra Bank Governor Dr Yuvraj Khatiwada, Finance Secretary Krishna Hari Baskota and chairmen of Beema Samiti and Securities Board of Nepal. Following the meeting, Finance Secretary Krishna Hari Baskota said the Caretaker Prime Ministergave directives to move ahead by gaining confidence and creating environment for investment in the country. Similarly, Secretary Baskota said the Caretaker Prime Ministerurged the concerned bodies to heed agriculture, tourism, hydropower and industry, and adopt the policy of increasing export. Moreover, the government employees were urged to carry out daily work with high morale, according to Secretary Baskota. On the occasion, Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun had assured the Caretaker Prime Ministerthat target in revenue collection was being met, the increase in capital expense stressed and the environment of gaining confidence of private sectors being built. The upcoming budget will ensure sources for the development projects of national pride, investment increment in the agricultural and energy sectors, comprising the programmes of insurance, said the Finance Minister, underlining the need of developing infra structures to achieve double digit growth in the days ahead. Moreover, Vice Chairman of National Planning Commission Chhetri and Rastra Bank Governor Dr Khatiwada presented separate reports related to the budget preparation and progress on the implementation of the monetary policy. Finance Secretary Baskota apprised the meeting of present economic condition. RSS nnnn

SHARE PRICES COTINUE SLIDE Kathmandu, 30 May: Stock prices continued to slip Wednesday amid political uncertainty after Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai called for constituent assembly (CA) elections termed illegal and unconstitutional. Nepse lost more than 38 points in two day trading. The market lost a hefty 18.69 points or 4.77 percent and closed at 373.2 points Wednesday. Trade volume also fell. Only 96,452 shares were traded in 1421 transactions for Rs.36.909 million. nnnn,

DANG JEEP ACCIDENT TOLL INCREASES TO 12 UPDATE Kathmandu, 30 May: Death toll in Wednesday morning’s Dang jeep accident has increased to12 and another 23 have been injured, police said. The dead are all from Dang. The overcrowded bus fell 500 meters off the road. Nnnn SUPREME COURT ASKS PM TO FURNISH REPLY IN 10 DAYS Kathmandu, 30 May: A single bench of the supreme court Wednesday asked Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to firnish a written reply to the apex court in 10 day days following a writ challenging the legality of the government move to hold CA elections 22 November. A special bench of the court will hear arguments on the serious issue, the Court said. nnnn STUDENTS PROTEST CALL FOR 22 NOV. CA ELECTIONS Kathmandu, 30 May: Students from 10 unions affiliated with parties, including NC and UML, protested in front of campuses in the capital opposing government announcement of constituent elections 22 November. They called the action of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai illegal and said protests will continue until the premier’s resignation. nnnn PRESIDENT CONSULTATIONS WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF CIVIL SOCIETY Kathmandu, 30 May: President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav held consultations with representatives of civil society Wednesday. He consulted lawyers, engineers, doctors, journalists and other professionals following Sunday’s announcement of fresh elections for the constituent assembly (CA) without promulgating a constitution. There’s no provision for a second round of vote for CA in an interim constitution. Premier Bhattarai’s move has generally been called illegal and Unconstitutional. President Prem Bahadur Khadka said society representatives asked the president to end a deadlock by forming a consensus government. nnnn DUES TO FORMER LAWMAKERS TOBE SETTLED THURSDAY Kathmandu, 30 May: Dues of former lawmakers will be settled Thursday, an official of the parliament said Wednesday. The former members of parliament will receive a month’s salary and two air tickets. Altogether Rs 9 billion was spent in courts draft a constitution which was never written. Foreign donors contributed a hefty sum to prepare the assembly hall—just the tip of the iceberg. nnnnt

FORMER POLICEMAN BEHIND JANAKPUR FIRING Kathmandu, 30 May: General Manager of the Jankpur Railway, Suresh Yadav, died in a firing incident last night [Tuesday] at Tarapatti Sirsiya in Dhanusha district, RSS reports from Janakpur. A group of about 10-11 people including a former policeman Shiva Hari Yadav and his brothers are learnt to have opened indiscriminate fire at around 10:30 p.m. when a meeting was on about a pond in the village. General Manager Yadav sustained bullet injuries in the firing and died instantaneously. Four people were injured in the firing. They are 50-year-old Suresh Prasad Yadav, 35-year-old Shyam Prasad Yadav, 65-year-old Rajendra Prasad Yadav and 60-year-old Shree Prasad Yadav. Suresh and Rajendra who were seriously injured in the incident have been taken to Dharan for further treatment while the remaining injured persons are undergoing treatment at the Janakpur Zonal Hospital. General Manager Yadav worked at the Ministry of Labour and Transport Management after he won a court case against him from the Supreme Court. He had come home just some days back. He leaves behind two sons and daughter. Former policeman Yadav, his brother Ajad and other people said to be involved in the firing are absconding. Police have mounted a search for them. The Dhanusha police has initiated an investigation into the incident. RSS Nnnn NC CHIEF DIRECTS WORKERS TO GO TO VILLAGES Kathmandu, 30 May:: Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala has instructed the party cadres to go to the villages. Speaking to party cadres gathered at his residence here this morning, he asked them to go to the villages so as to consolidate the party's base and spread the party's official views, RSS reports . "The party is taking initiation for national consensus and elections can take place at any moment in the country now based on political consensus. I am confident our initiatives will be successful," Koirala said. He also told the party cadres to explain to the people as to why constitution could not be issued and create public opinion in support of the party. The party president told party workers to move ahead according to the decision taken by the party's central committee on Tuesday. The central committee meeting on Tuesday decided to hold protest programmes across the country against what it called the conspiracies to finish off the achievements made through the long struggle and sacrifices of the people. Meanwhile, party president Koirala is scheduled to meet with the members of the now defunct Constituent Assembly and issue necessary directives to them, said Bipul Pokharel, Koirala's press advisor. The central working committee of the Nepali Congress is also meeting at 1 p.m. today at the party office in Sanepa following his meeting with the former CA members. RSS Nnnn ONE DEAD. 33 INJURED IN ACCIDENTS Kathmandu, 30 May: A girl died, while 33 have sustained injuries in separate road accidents which took place in Chitwan and Tanahun district today [Tuesday], RSS reports. A girl died when a bus heading to Narayangarh hit her in Kalikhola, Chandibhanjyang VDC-6 along the Narayangarh-Mugling road section. The deceased is six-year-old Samjhana Chepang of the VDC, police said. Chepang died on the way to Bharatpur Medical College for treatment. Meanwhile, as many as 18 passengers were injured when the bus (Lu 1 Kha 5559) and the truck (Na 4 Kha 1232) collided to each other in Bakulahar Chowk of Ratnanagar Municipality-1, Chitwan. The injured are undergoing treatment at hospitals in Bharatpur now, police said. Likewise, at least 15 passengers were injured in a bus accident in Tanahun district, Tuesday. Of the injured, condition of Masina Gurung, 50, of Pokhari Bhanjyang VDC and Bhim Kumari Thapa, 57, of Kahun Shivapur VDC-8 is critical, according to District Police Office, Tanahun. The bus (Ga 1 Kha 3223) heading to Damauli from Sarangghat of the district met with an accident after it overturned along the road near Kaidimghat Bazaar. The injured passengers are undergoing treatment in Damauli Hospital, according to the hospital. nnnn

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

SIX DEAD, 24 INJURED IN DOTI JEP ACCIDENT Kathmandu, 30 May: Six people were killed and 24 injured Wednesday in a jeep accident at Shantinagar-3 ,Ferchain, Doti. The jeep was going to Silgadi from Achham. Injured are being treated at a hospital in Silgadi. nnnn CAPITAL TEMPERATURE Kathmandu, 30 May: Wednesday morning’s temperature in the capital was 21 degrees Celsius. Mercury is expected to rise to 33 degrees in the afternoon. The summer season is peaking with the approach of monsoon. The capital has recorded the hottest temperature in seven years. nnnn

SUPREME ASKS TO ARREST, CHARGE FORMER NC MEMBER FOR MURDER Kathmandu, 30 May: The Supreme Court Tuesday issued an order to the Office of the Attorney General and the Police to arrest Nepali Congress central member and former minister Aftab Alam and file a case against him over the charge of killing two youths, The Rising Nepal reports.. A joint bench of Justices Sushila Karki and Bharat Bahadur Karki issued such an order. Four years ago, the Office of the Attorney General had decided not to file a murder case against Alam and other four persons. The Court also dismissed the decision of the Attorney General Office, according assistant spokesperson of the Supreme Court Hemanta Rawal. Alam, his brother Mahatab Alam and three others were charged with killing two youths of Saruwata VDC during the Constituent Assembly elections 2008 by burning them alive nnnn. FURTHER DETAILS OF UML DECISION Kathmandu, 30 May:: The CPN-UML standing committee meeting held on Tuesday concluded that the fresh election of the new Constituent Assembly cannot be held without resolving legal disputes surrounding it, The Rising Nepal reports.e. A government that has turned into a caretaker one cannot take major decisions, the UML meet said. The government cannot proceed without taking a national unity shape, it added. "So, we urged to the President to starts immediate process to form a national consensus government as per the provisions in the interim constitution," said a UML statement issued by party chairman Jhala Nath Khanal. "We urge all the democratic forces of the country to expose the unconstitutional move of the prime minister to announce the fresh CA election," the statement stated. It also said the country was heading towards political crisis and stressed that the crisis should be faced with unity. The statement said a National Democratic Unity Alliance would be formed to bring all the democratic and patriotic forces under one fold to face the crisis and maintain social harmony. Nnnn ATTORNEY GENERAL ASKS DRI TO FREE CHINESE Kathmandu, 30 May: The Office of the Attorney General has asked the Department of Revenue Investigation not to prosecute the two Chinese nationals who were arrested with approximately $98,000 from Bhaktapur in January, Shiromani Dhungana The Himalayan Times reports. . “The Department of Revenue Investigation had prepared necessary documents to file a case against them for illegal possession of US dollars,” said director general of the department Janma Jaya Regmi. “But on Friday when we sought an opinion from OAG to initiate legal action against them, OAG asked us not to proceed with the case,” he said. According to him, OAG stated that the case was not related to foreign currency misappropriation and asked the department to return the amount submitted as bail to the Chinese nationals. OAG concluded that the Chinese traders had collected the money from Nepali traders as part of their dues. A department source said the Nepali government has written to its Chinese counterpart to respect legal provisions of Nepal in such cases. OAG, meanwhile, has directed the Finance Ministry to amend the existing mode of payment. A source at the Finance Ministry said if the Chinese were let off it would encourage traders to under-invoice the goods. That, in turn, will lead to a loss in customs duty to the government. Customs duty is the third largest contributor to the government coffers after VAT and income tax. Around 36 Chinese nationals had vandalised the Bhaktapur District Court in January, demanding the release of their fellow countrymen when the investigation officials had brought them to the court to extend their judicial remand. Nnnn PM’S CALL FOR ELECTION CHALLENGED IN COURT Kathmandu, 30 May: A Public Interest Litigation was filed at the Supreme Court today challenging Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s decision to call for fresh Constituent Assembly elections for November, The Himalayan Times writes.. The petitioner has said PM Bhattarai had failed to take constitutional provisions into account before deciding to go for fresh polls, minutes before the CA’s tenure expired on Sunday, and demanded an interim order against the move. “CA polls were held on April 10, 2008. But without the promulgation of the constitution, it was dissolved, and the government has again set a date for elections in an unconstitutional manner,” the petitioner said in his PIL, demanding that the apex court intervene. The petitioner said that there was no provision in the Interim Constitution for holding CA elections again. Article 63 of the Interim Constitution does not allow the government to hold CA elections for a second time, said Advocate Santosh Basnet in his petition demanding the SC order the Office of the President, prime minister, the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers and Election Commission to put the poll bid on hold. The constitution clearly mentions the date of the CA elections and a cut-off age for adult franchise. The government decision to go for polls is unconstitutional as the Interim Constitution was not amended to pave way for the same, said the petitioner stating that Rs 9 billion was spent in the name of now dissolved CA. nnnn

NC ANNOUNCES PROTESTS AGAINST MAOISTS Kathmandu, 30 May: NC and broad coalition of 16 parties together with UML has decided to launch a movement against a’ unlawful and unconstitutional government’. NC leader Arjun Narsingh KC said. The decision was taken after President Dr.. Ram Baran Yadav called the Baburam Bhattarai government a caretaker that has to be replaced by a successor government following consensus and understanding with parties. Parties are developing alliances ahead of a 22 November election for a new constituent assembly. Indigenous Nationalities Joint Struggle Committee has announced struggle programmes for dissolution of CA without promulgation of a constitution as the grouping oushes a federal structure. nnnn SOUTH KOREANS SAY NEPALI WORKERS BEST Kathmandu, 30 May: South Korea has ranked Nepal as the best worker supplying country for 2011 under the Employment Permit System (EPS). This is the second time that the country has been honoured by South Korea, recognising its fast and efficient procedure of sending workers, The Kathmandu Post reports. Earlier in 2009, among 15 countries sending workers to Korea, Nepal was ranked as the best country. “South Korea has honoured with a letter of appreciation and also provided $1,000 for the staff of the section,” said Mahesh Acharya, director at the EPS Section of the Department of Foreign Employment. South Korea is considered as one of the best labour destinations among Nepali overseas job seekers in terms of salaries, safety and perks. As of date, 13,626 Nepali (including 4,064 this year) have left for jobs under EPS, according to the EPS Section. Acharya said Nepal’s efficient work on holding Korean Language Test and fast procedure for sending workers compared to other countries have been recognised. With the impressive record of Nepali workers already working there, Korea also increased the quota for Nepal from 7,100 to 15,678 last year. Korea started hiring Nepali workers under the EPS provision in 2008 after an agreement on 2007. It has also been hiring workers from Vietnam, Mongolia, Thailand, China, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan and East Timor under EPS. Nepali workers in Korea earn Rs 70,000 a month on an average, much higher that what a Nepali worker earns in the Gulf. Recently Korea has decided to extend the term of workers from the basic three years to 10 years. Among the 15 countries, Vietnam and Cambodia are major countries in terms of the number of workers being supplied by them to Korea, according to EPS Section. Nepal is eligible to send workers various fields, including agriculture, fishery, construction, manufacturing and services. A majority of Nepalis working under EPS are in the manufacturing sector. Workers leaving for SKorea under EPS Year No of Workers 2065-66 2,801 2066-67 2,418 2067-68 3,703 2068-69 3,763 (First 10 months) nnnn RECORD FOOD SURPLUS Kathmandu, 30 May: Bumper cereal harvests in the current fiscal year have put Nepal into a record food surplus position. The latest statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture Development (MoAD) released on Tuesday claimed that the country had food reserves of 886,307 tonnes in the fiscal year 2011-12, Sangam Parsain writes in The Kathmandu Post.. The country had witnessed a food surplus in the last fiscal year after two years of deficits. In the last one decade, Nepal had a food surplus position for six years and a deficit position for four years. According to the MoAD, the country had the highest food deficit in 1994-95 of 485,000 tonnes. The country had a food deficit of 330,000 tonnes and 132,000 tonnes in the fiscal years 2009-10 and 2008-09 respectively. The record surplus means a decline in the number of districts having a food deficit. According to the MoAD, the number has declined to 27 now from the earlier 33. In 2009-10, there were 43 food deficit districts across the country with a majority of them in the hills and mountains. “The good news is that the mountain and hills regions have gained a food surplus position for the first time in the country,” said Hari Dahal, spokesperson at the MoAD. The mountain region has a food surplus of 15,774 tonnes in 2011-12 compared to a deficit of 13,000 tonnes recorded in the last fiscal year. The hill region has a food surplus of 92,900 tonnes compared to a deficit of 50,153 tonnes last year. This year, Udayapur, Sindhuli, Kavre, Makwanpur, Sarlahi, Panchthar and Mugu have been declared food surplus districts. However, Chitwan, Manang and Kalikot have been put in the list of food deficit districts. Chitwan, one of the major food baskets, has a food deficit of 18,000 tonnes. “Rapid urbanization and out-migration could be the reason for the food deficit in Chitwan,” Dahal said. As per the MoAD’s statistics, 11 districts in the mountains and 21 in the hills were in food deficit last year. The Tarai region’s food reserve has increased to 777,000 tonnes this year from 506,000 tonnes in the last fiscal year. Despite the number of food deficit districts dropping gradually since the last two years, MoAD officials said that rapid urbanization and migration, among other reasons, have put major Tarai districts at risk of food deficit. According to the MoAD, 9.457 million tonnes of food grain were produced in the current fiscal year. Of the total output, 6.377 million tonnes were net edible production. The rest are used as livestock feed and seeds or are lost to damage during the post-harvest season. The country’s annual food requirement is 5.15 million tonnes based on the consumption rate of 190.28 kg per person per year by 27.072 million Nepalis. Overall food grain (rice, maize, wheat, millet, barley and buckwheat) output grew by almost 10 percent in the current fiscal year. As the country is in a comfortable food position, the adequate supply will help control market prices of food grain that will ultimately bring down the country’s increasing inflation,” Dahal said. “As food prices play a major role in determining inflation, a surplus supply will control the market price ultimately benefiting consumers. However, farmers will not get better prices for their produce.” tion : MEDIA GOOGLE “The ministry is not ware of the meetings of the prime minister with the Indian and Chinese ambassadors.” (Unidentified foreign ministry official m Nagarik, 30 May) Nnnn “Why should we be afraid of going to the people? Go there like Prakashji [Narayan Kazi Shrestha who sobbed while saying a constitution was unlikely.) (Chairman Prachanda, Nagarik, 30 May) nnnn. EC PREPARED FOR CA VOTE Kathmandu, 30 May: The Election Commission has started making preparations for the November-22 election to the Constituent Assembly, a day after the government informed the constitutional body about its decision to hold fresh elections, Gani Anari writes in Reoublica.. On Tuesday, the Election Commission wrote to the government that it was committed to holding the election on November 22 and has started homework to prepare an election code of conduct for the political parties and the government. “The EC pledges to hold a free and fair election on the stipulated date of November 22 set by the government,” reads a confidential letter sent by EC Secretary Shankar Prasad Koirala to Chief Secretary Madhav Prasad Ghimire on Tuesday. Talking to Republica, Election Commissioner Dolakh Bahadur Gurung said they have already responded to the government´s letter. EC officials said they have begun work on drafting an election code of conduct. “The code of conduct for the government will be enforced very soon,” said Gurung, adding, “Once the acting chief commissioner arrives, we will take a decision in this regard.” An EC delegation led by Acting Chief Commissioner Neelkantha Uprety is currently on India visit. An official at EC said the election code of conduct will incorporate the dos and don´ts for the political parties and the government. The electoral body has completed registration of about 10.5 million voters with their photographs and biometrics. Altogether 17.6 million voters were registered during the Constituent Assembly (CA) election in 2008. nnnn ________________________________________ nnnn