Maoist ministers make public code of conduct

Maoist ministers make public code of conduct

Kantipur Report

KATHMANDU, April 9 - Expressing their commitments not to collect private property, the Maoist ministers in the interim government on Monday unveiled their code of conduct.

The Maoist ministers at their party secretariat in the capital also today promised to make public their property details while remaining in the government and after leaving their jobs. They claimed that they have no private property and that all property possessed now was that of their party.

They said that they handed over their property while joining the party in 1996.

The Maoist minister also said they would not indulge in corruption and irregularities.

Holding timely CA polls top priority in govt's CMP

Holding timely CA polls top priority in govt's CMP

Kantipur Report

KATHMANDU, April 10 - The newly formed interim government Tuesday said that holding the elections to the Constituent Assembly by the stipulated time was its primary policy. Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Ram Chandra Poudel made the remarks while presenting the government's Common Minimum Program (CMP) including the annual programmes and policies at today's sitting of the Interim Legislature-Parliament. Minister Poudel presented the government's policies in the absence of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala owing to the latter's ill health. The CMP, which was finalised by a meeting of top eight parties, has primarily laid great stress on holding independent and free elections to the constitutional assembly. The programme has also given top priority to the promotion of national interest, loktantra and progression; improvement of security situation; change and reforms in all state systems and immediate relief for conflict-hit people. The major points in the CMP include, promotion of competitive politics, human rights and press freedom, strict implementation of the peace accord and formation of peace and rehabilitation, truth and reconciliation, and state restructuring commissions. Similarly, the CMP has also suggested an action plan to democratize the Nepali Army, a special cabinet committee to oversee, integrate and rehabilitate Maoist combatants in addition to stressing on a proper management of Maoist cantonments. The program plans to end all sorts of red-tapism, strikes, bandas, corruption and implement the eight party decision to nationalize royal property. Similarly, the government's annual plan also includes reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure, declaration of education and health institutions as peace zones, creation of an investment-friendly environment, and initiate strong action against willful defaulters in addition to tying up the loose ends in acting against those found guilty of suppressing the April uprising by the Rayamajhi Commission.

CPN-M donates Rs 500 to NC in Bhojpur

CPN-M donates Rs 500 to NC in Bhojpur

Kantipur Report

BHOJPUR, April 6 - In an odd departure from its donation drives that has drawn criticism from all sides, the CPN-M, for the first time Friday, extended financial assistance to another political party.

CPN-M in Bhojpur donated Rs.500 to Nepali Congress (NC), which has started a formal donation collection from Thursday.

In a press conference held on Thursday, NC Chairman Bhojpur Nanda Mani Rai informed that the party was starting a donation drive not only to raise funds but also to foster goodwill with all other parties.

District CPN-M Secretary Dinesh donated Rs 500 to the NC cadres who had gone to the CPN-M party office to ask for donations.

Dinesh also urged NC to put the sum to “a good use” stating that it was a donation and not an investment into the party.

NT prepaid SIM-card distribution draws overwhelming response

NT prepaid SIM-card distribution draws overwhelming response

Kantipur Report

KATHMANDU, April 6 - Thousands queued up at various Nepal Telecom (NT) offices in the valley on Friday as the NT began distribution of pre-paid mobile SIM-cards through its offices in all three districts in the valley.

Customers could be seen thronging telecom offices— sometimes in queues upto 8 kilometres long— since early morning following the announcement that pre-paid cards would be distributed through NT's Kathmandu regional directorate in Tripureshwor.

Meanwhile, police intervention became necessary in Bhaktapur and Kirtipur where minor scuffles broke out among customers waiting in line for their turn.

The overwhelming rush also owes to the new provision that makes the SIM-cards available immediately after the forms are registered.

Managing Director of NT Sugaratna Kansakar said that he has requested people to stop queuing after 2pm, as sim-cards would only be distributed to those customers who have been in queue before 2pm.

Kansakar informed that over 60000 prepaid SIM-cards were distributed today itself.

Sim-cards are being given out from various NT braches including those at Bhadrakali, Teku, Chhauni, Bhaisepati, Balambu, Gongabu, Patan and Bhaisipati, among others since 10 this morning.

Meanwhile, an emergency meeting was held at the NT head office after the number of people thronging NT offices for sim-cards exceeded all expectations.

According to Kansakar, the meeting will decide on issues like the total number of sim-cards to be distributed and basic distribution procedures.

The customers who have been in queues before 2pm will either be given the cards today itself or will be given cards later through coupons which will be issued to them today.

According to the Metropolitan Traffic Police Office, Ramshah path, the rush disrupted morning traffic in the capital. Traffic management has been disrupted as the queue in front of the NT main office, Bhadrakali extended upto Thapathali.

Meanwhile, telecom costumers in Dhading also had lined up at the Dhading NT office since midnight, our correspondent reported.

The NT however, refused to reveal just how many SIM-cards the Dhading office would be able to distribute.

Third day of SLC goes smoothly; one arrested with fake ID

Third day of SLC goes smoothly; one arrested with fake ID

Kantipur Report

KATHMANDU, April 6 - The third day of School Leaving Certificate (SLC) examinations went on smoothly without any obstructions on Friday.

Students took test of their Social Studies test today.

According to Deputy Controller of the Office of the Controller of Examination (COE) Sundar Shakya said that although in some districts question papers were supposedly leaked, they were later found to be fake.

Shakya further informed that today’s exam was conducted normally nationwide.

Meanwhile, in Gaushala Primary School, Sarlahi, a youth was arrested while attempting to sit for the exam with a fake admission card.

According to our local correspondent, action was being initiated against 17-year-old Rajnish Mishra of Malangawa, who had tried to sit for the exam by sticking his photo in the admission card of one Anuj Kumar Jha of Saraswati Primary School, Sonam.

Prachanda, Martin discuss second phase of arms registration

Prachanda, Martin discuss second phase of arms registration

Kantipur Report

KATHMANDU, April 6 - Maoist Chairman Prachanda Friday held discussions with chief of United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) Ian Martin regarding the second phase of arms registration.

The duo also discussed the Maoist leaders' security details.

According to sources, Prachanda had told Martin that all the issues should be addressed at the same time.

Sources added, the second phase of Maoists' arms registration and camp management will begin once the registration of the Nepal Army's weapons and its personnel is over. As per the agreement reached among the government, CPN-M and the UN, the Nepal Army also has to store an equal number of weapons in the containers kept at the Chhauni barracks.

The registration process of the Nepal Army is set to begin in a day or two.

Maoists and UNMIN have agreed to begin the second phase of registration after holding consultations with Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala.

US adds $2 million more for Nepal peace process

US adds $2 million more for Nepal peace process

Kantipur Report

KATHMANDU, April 6 - USAID will provide an additional $2 million to support Nepal’s peace process, stated a press release issued by the Embassy of the United States in Kathmandu on Friday.

"This commitment of new funding follows a six-day visit to Nepal by two senior USAID officials -- Michael Hess, Assistant Administrator for the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, and Robert Jenkins, Acting Director of the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI)," stated the press release.

The USAID officisals had visited USAID-funded projects and consulted with U.S. Mission officials, donor partners, and others.

US ambassador to Nepal James F Moriarty welcomed the increased assistance and he was quoted as saying, “This new funding underscores the commitment of the U.S. Government and people to support the peace process during this historic transition period. USAID plays a central role in our efforts to help Nepal.”

USAID/Nepal is the humanitarian and development assistance arm of the U.S. Mission to Nepal.

According to the release, the new funding will support additional activities, such as dialogues and trainings, to assist the peace process in Nepal, including by helping address the increased tension in the Terai.

The new funding is in addition to $6.25 million already committed to help Nepal by USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives, and is part of OTI’s total programme of up to $15 million over two years to help the peace process.

USAID’s current budget for Nepal in 2007 is projected at $40 million.

Kahane congratulates PM Koirala

Kahane congratulates PM Koirala


KATHMANDU, April 6 - United Nations Resident Representative in Nepal, Matthew Kahane has congratulated Girija Prasad Koirala on his re-appointment as the Prime Minister of Nepal. Kahane also wished the PM a succesful and fruitful time in office. Similarly, Ambassador of Egypt to Nepal, Abdelhamid Mahmoud Soleiman also congatulated PM Koirala on being appointed Prime Minister. The Egyptian Ambassador also wished the PM a successful time in office.

Smiling little girls bring back lovely gifts from PM

Smiling little girls bring back lovely gifts from PM


KATHMANDU, April 6 - Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala gave presents to the Panchakanyas who were waiting to welcome him with garlands in hand, at Tribhuvan International Airport upon his arrival after participating in the 14th SAARC Summit in New Delhi, India.

The Prime Minister had asked the Panchakanyas what presents they would like to have when he left Nepal last Sunday for New Delhi, India to take part in the SAARC Summit.

"You are standing out in the hot sun, tell me what gifts would you like when I come back," the Prime Minister had asked the five little girls standing at the airport to see him off.

The Panchakanyas who had answered the Prime Minister's question only with smiles on Sunday were all exhilarated today when they got the gifts.

It is a longstanding tradition for Panchakanyas to bid farewell and welcome back the Head of State or Government when he/she goes abroad.

It is believed in Hindu religion that all the obstacles are cleared when the Panchakanyas greet or see off anyone by garlanding the person.

This is possibly the first instance that any VVIP has publicly given presents to the Panchakanyas.

14th SAARC summit, a chance for member nations to mutually benefit, says PM Koirala

14th SAARC summit, a chance for member nations to mutually benefit, says PM Koirala

Kantipur Report

KATHMANDU, April 6 - Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala on Friday said that the 14th SAARC summit was a huge success and that it provided an opportunity for member nations to find ways to mutually benefit from each other.

PM Koirala, who had left for New Delhi on April 1 to attend the 14th SAARC summit, made the comments while talking to media persons upon his arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport this afternoon.

PM Koirala expressed his happiness that the other member nations had conveyed their full support to the proposals made by Nepal during the meet. The PM had forwarded Nepal's proposal on issues including flood control in areas along the Indo-Nepal border, efficient use of resources and poverty alleviation.

PM Koirala also said that the member nations during the two-day SAARC summit reached a consensus on such issues as flood control, energy utilization and poverty alleviation, among others, in a bid to make SAARC a more effective body in the days to come.

During his visit to India this time around, PM Koirala had held separate meetings with Indian Prime Minister Dr Man Mohan Singh along with holding meetings with his other counterparts from participating nations.

The PM opined that the introduction of observer nations and Afghanistan into the SAARC has served to strengthen the South Asian body.

Stating that SAARC will become active within six months, PM Koirala said that the significance of SAARC has grown in the wake of the interest from powerful nations towards this South Asian body.

However, PM Koirala opted to keep mum on queries related to monarchy. A day earlier, talking to Nepali journalists in New Delhi, PM Koirala, in a roundabout way, had hinted at the republican set up. PM Koirala had taken a shot at the press when he answered a question with, "Are you talking about Gyanendra or king Gyanendra?"

Minister for Foreign Affairs Sahana Pradhan, Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat and other government officials who had accompanied the PM also returned to the capital today.

Foreign Minister Pradhan commented that the international community had attached importance to Nepal because of the example Nepal had set through its peace process.

Informing media persons regarding the discussions about the Bhutanese refugee crisis with her Indian counterpart, Pradhan said that the Indian government had given its word that it would look into this matter.

She further said that India was positive in regards to cooperation in controlling crime in the border region.

On the eve of his departure from New Delhi, PM Koirala also held meeting with former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Bajpayee. PM Koirala and Bajpayee discussed issues like the peace process in Nepal, recent Terai unrest and monarchy among others.

Similarly, PM Koriala’s meeting with Bhutanese Prime Minister Khandu Wangchuk was said to be quite fruitful as the Bhutanese PM gave his assurance that the issue would be resolved during the next bilateral ministerial-level meet.

EC calls ministers for discussion

EC calls ministers for discussion

Kantipur Report

KATHMANDU, April 5 - Chief Election Commissioner Bhojraj Pokhrel and other Election Commission (EC) officials Thursday held meeting with the State Affairs Committee (SAC) members of the Interim Legislature-Parliament to discuss the Constituent Assembly Candidate Election Bill.

During the discussion, the EC said that the political parties needed to be clear about the proportional electoral system.

According to Hridayram Thani, a member of SAC, a nine-member committee comprising representatives of all political parties was formed to give suggestions regarding a proportional electoral system.

The EC is scheduled to hold another discussion regarding the same issues with the committee this Sunday.

Meanwhile, the EC will hold discussions with the Council of Ministers today regarding the issues pertaining to the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections that were yet to be finalised.

Sources have said that the EC had called on the ministers for a discussion as it has been facing problems in election preparations because the election dates are yet to be finalised.

According to an EC official, although all ministers had been invited for the discussion, Minister for Local Development Dev Gurung and State Minister for General Administration Ram Chandra Yadav would not be attending the programme as they were out of valley.

Likewise, Foreign Minister Sahana Pradhan and Finance Minister Dr Ram Saran Mahat — who are currently in New Delhi for the SAARC Summit — will also be absent at the discussion.

CPN-M to issue Code of Conduct for party ministers

CPN-M to issue Code of Conduct for party ministers

Kantipur Report

KATHMANDU, April 5 - Maoist spokesperson and Minister for Information and Communication Technology Krishna Bahadur Mahara Thursday said that a new Code of Conduct for the Maoist ministers is being prepared.

The Maoist Central Secretariat will soon make public the Code of Conduct, which will contain work performance of the ministers and also "financial discipline".

Meanwhile, Mahara said that he plans to change the total outlook rather than just individual perspective in government media.

He also said that he would prioritise issues of national importance.

Furthermore, he also said that Maoist ministers would embrace pro-public transformation, trying to end anti-people traditions.

CPN-M has five ministers in the current coalition interim government.

NC will decide on monarchy before CA elections: Koirala

NC will decide on monarchy before CA elections: Koirala

Kantipur Report

NEW DELHI, April 5 - Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala Thursday said that the Nepali Congress (NC) will come up with a final decision regarding the king before the CA elections are held.

Talking to Nepali reporters in New Delhi — where he went to attend the 14th SAARC Summit — PM Koirala, albeit in a roundabout way, said that there was no chance of king Gyanendra being active during the CA elections.

When asked "What will you do if king Gyanendra tries to disrupt the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections?", Koirala replied with a question of his own, "Do you mean ‘king Gyanendra’ or ‘Gyanendra’?"

Koirala also said, "Forget the king, let's talk about Gyanendra."

"I can not talk about the issues of CA right now; we need some “spice” to create an environment for the CA and NC will provide the “spice”."

When asked about NC unification, Koirala said that in the present condition, unification was necessary, not only of the two Congress parties but among all the eight parties.

He also revealed that talks were being held with NC-D President Sher Bahadur Deuba regarding NC unificaiton.

"When I managed to get united even with the Maoists, of course unification with NC-D will happen," said Koirala.

The PM also said that Nepal's prestige among the international community had increased as the peace process was moving ahead positively.

Stating that the peace process was yet to reach a conclusion, Koirala expressed his commitment that he would make it (peace process) reach a final destination within his tenure.

Answering to a query regarding the Terai problems, PM Koirala said that he was ready to hold talks with concerned groups to resolve the Terai problems and would begin the needful consultations with all concerned as soon as he returns to the capital.

PM Koirala, who is scheduled to return to Nepal tomorrow, met Bangladesh's provisional government's Chief Advisor Fakrudhdhin Ahmed this morning.

Koirala is also scheduled to meet Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee and former Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee later today.

SLC begins with few glitches; 4 supervisors suspended

SLC begins with few glitches; 4 supervisors suspended

Kantipur Report

KATHMANDU, April 4 - The first day of the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) examinations Wednesday was carried out smoothly, except hitches in one of the exam centres.

According to Deputy Examination Controller Sundar Shakya, two were arrested by the police in Dhanusha while they were trying to enter the examination hall here in Dhanusha on the pretext of examination supervisors.

Laxman Prasad Shah and Ranjit Kumar Jha — who had entered the examination hall in of Kanya Primary School with the identity card of Raj Kishore Yadav — were discovered by the district examination monitoring team and were handed to the police, said Shakya.

Similarly, four examination supervisors have been suspended for acting against the rules of SLC examinations.

Among the suspended supervisors, two are from Shishu Gyan Nikunja Primary School and one each from Kanya Primary School and Aurahi Primary School.

According to our local correspondent in Sankhuwasabha, a student and a security guard have been suspended there.

The SLC examination — also known as the ‘Irongate” — began Wednesday at 7:30 am this year. Altogether 178,952 girls and 189,726 boys are appearing for the exam monitored by 33,225 teachers, officials and security personnel. Of the examinees, 292,287 are regular and 76,391 are exempted students.

The Ministry of Education and Sports informed that 1,186 centers have been set up across the country.

Of the total examinees, 102, 207 are from the eastern, 119, 216 from central, 77, 472 from western, 38,989 from mid-western and 30,794 from far western regions respectively.

Deputy Examination Controller Sunder Shakya said that all the centers are fully prepared for the examination. "All necessary materials have reached the respective centers and so have the resource persons, including 11,860 security personnel," he said. Earlier, SLC questions used to be prepared from class nine and 10 courses.

'SLC Guideline 2007' issued by the ministry said that though the examination is three hours long, differently-able students will get additional 90 minutes.

Over 50 businessmen arrested in Nepalgunj

Over 50 businessmen arrested in Nepalgunj

Kantipur Report

NEPALGUNJ, April 4 - Police Wednesday arrested more than 50 local businessmen who were in a protest programme, demanding compensation for the loss during the Nepalgunj incident.

The businessmen, who took to the streets, claiming that the government had failed to provide compensation in accordance with its earlier commitment, were arrested this morning.

The police arrested them while they were trying to gherao the revenue office.

According to our correspondent, after the arrest, the business community in Nepalgunj called for shut down of the marketplaces today.

Koirala -Wangchuk meet: Bhutan vows to resolve refugee crisis soon

Koirala -Wangchuk meet: Bhutan vows to resolve refugee crisis soon

By Gopal Khanal

NEW DELHI, April 4 - Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Bhutanese Prime Minister Khandu Wangchuk Wednesday discussed ways to find solutions to the Bhutanese Refugee problems.

In the 20-minute long discussion, both the prime ministers — who are currently in New Delhi, India to attend the 14th SAARC Summit — concluded that both parties need to be more “serious” in finding a long-term solution to the refugee issue.

During the meeting, Bhutanese PM Wangchuk vowed to resolve the refugee crisis by the next ministerial meeting of the two countries.

Koirala and Wangchuk also agreed to hold a secretary-level meeting soon.

The Bhutanese PM was positive at resolving the refugee imbroglio by the forthcoming ministerial meeting, PM Koirala’s foreign affairs advisor Dr Suresh Chalise quoted Koiaral after the meeting as saying.

PM Koirala also urged his Bhutanese counterpart to finalise the issue before 2008, when Bhutan would attain full democracy.

Koirala said that if the issue was resolved before the instatement of democracy in Bhutan, the refugees could also participate in the Bhutan democratization process and that it would also improve Bhutan’s image in the international committee.

Wangchuk assured Koirala that the upcoming ministerial level meeting between the two countries would find a concrete solution to the problem.

Moreover, Wangchuk also expressed commitment on behalf of Bhutan that his government would be more “serious” regarding the issue, Dr Chalise said.

Chalise added Koirala, who discussed the process of repatriation and third-country settlement of the Bhutanese refugees with Indian and US leaders, today talked to Wangchuk only on the repatriation process.

Meanwhile, PM Koirala met Sri Lankan President Mahindra Rajapaksa this afternoon and is scheduled to meet Maldives’ President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in the evening.

Likewise, a meeting of foreign ministers of the SAARC countries is underway in New Delhi to prepare a memorandum regarding the agreements made during the summit and previous ministerial meets.

In the memorandum, issues like formation of a common mechanism against terrorism, Open University, regional food store and commitment to help – made by the observer nations – will be included, a foreign ministry source said.

After the closing ceremony for the summit, at 5pm today, the memorandum will also be made public.

14th SAARC Summit ends adopting 30-point declaration

14th SAARC Summit ends adopting 30-point declaration

By Gopal Khanal

NEW DELHI, April 4 - The 14th SAARC Summit held in the Indian capital of New Delhi Wednesday concluded adopting a 30-point declaration, which includes formation of a modality to fight against terrorism in the South Asian region.

Stressing the need to collectively overcome the challenges of poverty, disease, natural disasters and terrorism, the Heads of States or government during the Summit confirmed that countries of South Asia must work together to deal with these challenges in order to secure the region’s collective prosperity.

The SAARC members also underlined that terrorism is a threat to peace and security in the region. They reaffirmed their commitment to implement all international conventions relating to combating terrorism, to which SAARC Member States were respectively parties, as well as the SAARC Regional Convention on Suppression of Terrorism and the Additional Protocol to the SAARC Regional Convention dealing with the prevention and suppression of financing of terrorism. While urging continued efforts to combat terrorism, the Heads of State or Government also called for urgent conclusion of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, the Declaration says.

The SAARC members also expressed satisfaction at the launching of 2007 as the 'Year of Green South Asia.'

The leaders of the SAARC nations also expressed appreciation over the offer of the Maldives to host the 15th Summit Meeting of the Heads of States or Governments of the South Asian Association for the Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

The South Asian regional members also welcomed the People’s Republic of China, Japan, European Union, Republic of Korea and the United States of America, to be associated as Observers to SAARC.

Recognition to the full benefits of an integrated multimodal transport system in the region was also agreed. The SAARC members emphasized that this would not be realized unless physical infrastructure and matters relating to customs clearance and other facilitation measures, including multimodal transport operations, were addressed comprehensively. They called for an extension of the SAARC Regional Multimodal Transport Study (SRMTS) to include Afghanistan as well.

Stating that the SAARC Development Fund (SDF) was an important pillar that would bring concrete benefits to the people of the region, the members directed that the SDF be made operational at the earliest. They also agreed that the resources for SDF would be mobilised both from within and outside the region.

CIAA grills ex-army chief Thapa

CIAA grills ex-army chief Thapa

Kantipur Report

KATHMANDU, April 3 - The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Tuesday interrogated the former Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Pyar Jung Thapa on charges of misappropriation of funds.

Thapa had gone to the CIAA office this afternoon in answer to a summons by the CIAA.

Earlier, Thapa had been issued a summons letter on March 28 which ordered him to report to the CIAA within eight days of issuance of the letter.

The High-Level Probe Commission (HLPC) formed under the coordination of former Supreme Court justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi to investigate atrocities and corruption committed during the royal regime had recommended action against Thapa, finding him guilty of misappropriating funds worth around Rs 20 million during his tenure as the CoAS.

Formation of interim govt beginning of a new chapter: PM Koirala

Formation of interim govt beginning of a new chapter: PM Koirala

The 14th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit has kicked off in New Delhi Tuesday.The summit was inaugurated by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this morning.Speaking at the programme Singh stressed the need to increase multilateral assistance between the SAARC countries.

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