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Showing posts from December, 2016

Over to you, Mr Modi

The Republicans are united in their belief that the ‘expansionist’ ambitions of communist China must be checked by empowering China’s rivals like India
The only thing that can be said with certainty about Donald Trump is that no one is sure what he will do when he officially assumes the presidency of the United States on January 20th. The same goes for his foreign policy. But that won’t stop this columnist and his ilk from some self-taught crystal-gazing on Trump presidency.
True to his form, Donald Trump has picked a CEO of a private company to run the State Department. The new Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, who will be the de facto foreign minister of the US, is the CEO of the oil behemoth ExxonMobile. The Texas oilman’s only foreign policy experience (of sorts) is negotiating oil contracts with various dictators, most notably Vladimir Putin of Russia. (Putin has even honored Tillerson with ‘Order of Friendship’ award, a state decoration.) Even his other cabinet picks suggest ev…

Constitution amendment for national consensus, asserts PM Dahal

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has clarified that the constitution amendment bill was registered in a bid to forge a national consensus. Inaugurating the fifth Dhading Festival at Dhading on Thursday, PM Dahal argued that the constitution amendment bill registered on November 29 this year was the same one as registered by the CPN-UML Chair KP Sharma Oli and Nepali Congress (NC) then President Sushil Koirala.
Dahal insisted, "It is imperative to increase wider acceptability of the bill to bring into effect the new constitution." Forewarning of crisis plaguing the country due to the politics of negation, Dahal urged the major opposition, which has been objecting the bill, to seek resolution through parliament.
He shared that the major issues such as constitution amendment, impeachment against the suspended CIAA Chief and elections will be dealt based on a package deal in consultation with the major opposition, Madheshi Front and Rastriya Prajatantra Party.
Reaffirming the non-…

UML trying to create rift between hills and Tarai: Deuba

Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba has accused the main Opposition, the CPN-UML, of trying to create rift between the hill and Madhes communities.
“The government has registered a constitution amendment bill in parliament to establish peace in Tarai-Madhes. But the UML has been obstructing the House in protest of the bill. The UML is thus trying to create a rift between the hills and the Tarai,” said Deuba.
Speaking at a national gathering of Treasurers of NC in the capital on Friday, Deuba said that by obstructing the House, the UML was expressing its anger for having to quit government.
“Parties form and leave government in a democracy. It is a normal process. It is not appropriate to hold the House a hostage just because you (UML) have to leave the government,” he said.
Deuba also claimed that UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli had already given his nod to the kind of constitution amendment bill registered by the government. “But now he is obstructing the bill registered by the …

Three-tier elections indispensable for full statute implementation: NC President Deuba

Nepali Congress senior leaders have made an insistence on holding the three-tier elections with the endorsement of the constitution amendment bill registered in the Legislature – Parliament. At the inaugural ceremony of the Congress District Treasurers' First National Conference here coinciding with NC saint leader, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai's 93rd birth anniversary, NC leaders pointed out that it was mandatory to hold local, provincial and federal level elections by Magh 7, 2074 BS for brining the constitution into practise. On the occasion, NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba said the constitution's full implementation was possible only if the three-tier elections could take place within the timeframe set by the constitution in agreement among all the parties. Accusing the CPN (UML) of moving against the proposal for provincial border demarcation, Deuba lashed out, "For how many days will they continue to obstruct the Parliament? Don't they have any responsibility? Th…

Civic leaders for addressing Madhes issues before elections

Madhes-based political parties did not welcome the constitution promulgated on 20 September, 2015. When the entire country was rejoicing over the promulgation of the first constitution of the Republic of Nepal, people in Madhes protested it by announcing blackout. The reason was - ‘Madhes voice’ was not addressed by the constitution. Differences regarding citizenship provisions, provinces and representation issues, among others, were cited as the reasons behind the dissatisfaction. With the government still struggling to take Madhes based parties in confidence, the constitution has not been implemented yet.
Civil society and political leaders in Madhes state that Madhes is equally worried about the political deadlock and want to see the country moving further. But for that to happen the first thing to be done is to address demands raised in Madhes, they say.
His five decade long experience in Madhes and mainstream politics makes Khushilal Mandal to believe that there is no option other …

UML trying to kill republicanism and federalism: Yadav

Chairman of the Federal Socialist Forum Nepal, Upendra Yadav has accused the CPN-UML of trying to kill pro-change agendas like republicanism and federalism under the pretext of nationalism.
Claiming that the CPN-UML has been actively trying to kill achievements like federalism and republicanism and pushing the country towards a civil war, Yadav said the UML's nationalism was of the Panchayat time.
‘‘CPN-UML is creating a plot by instigating people, asking them to come out on the streets against the constitution amendment bill. This is a plot against federalism and the democratic republic," Yadav said addressing a regional mass gathering at Pakadi, Kapilvastu on Friday. Lashing out at the UML, Yadav accused the party of instigating communal conflict in the country.

Yadav even warned that his party would not let the elections take place if the constitution is not amended as per their demand.

17-12-2016, MyRepublica

Protests, clashes in Province 5 districts over demarcations

With the government bent on tabling the constitution amendment bill in parliament, protests have intensified again in various districts of western and mid-western regions after a gap of few days. Protests that had been toned down earlier in view of the hardships caused to the locals, have now been intensified from Friday with an announcement of a three-day general strike in all districts of Province 5.
'Joint struggle committees' comprising leaders of major political parties in the districts--Nawalparasi, Rupandehi, Kapilvastu, Dang, Banke, Bardiya, Rukum, Rolpa, Pyuthan, Arghakhanchi, Gulmi and Palpa--announced the strike against government preparations to table the amendment proposal in parliament. The strike has largely affected vehicular movement while schools, government offices, factories and markets remained closed. 
Tensions ran high in Gulmi, Nepalgunj of Banke and Rolpa after the protestors prevented locals from using all kinds of vehicles. Over 24 protestors including…

Defeat bill in House, stop obstructing it: PM to UML

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has challenged the main opposition CPN-UML to defeat the constitution amendment bill in Parliament rather than obstructing House business. Stating that the UML can defeat the bill in Parliament by ensuring it has required numbers, PM Dahal said he would readily accept if the bill fails through due parliamentary process. The amendment bill was registered as per the three-point agreement the Maoist Centre, the Nepali Congress and the agitating Madhes-based parties had reached prior to formation of this government, said Dahal. “The amendment bill was registered because the agitating parties were not happy with an earlier amendment to the constitution. Introducing another amendment proposal was necessary because all sections of the society from the Tarai, Hills and mountains must be brought on board for broader acceptability of the charter,” said PM Dahal while interacting with journalists at a programme organised by Press Centre Kaski on Friday. “The amendme…

Talk about keeping constitution amendment bill inactive rumours: PM

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has dismissed talk about government plans to keep constitution amendment bill inactive and go for local level elections as rumours. During a meeting Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party Chairman Mahantha Thakur and Naya Shakti Nepal Coordinator Baburam Bhattarai on Friday evening, PM Dahal said the government would certainly take the amendment bill to the House for discussion.
Thakur and Bhattarai had met PM Dahal to enquire about the government’s official position on the amendment bill after reports that Dahal, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba and CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli on Tuesday agreed, in principle, to keep the amendment bill inactive and prepare for local polls. PM Dahal also said that the government would announce the dates for local elections after consultation with the Samyutka Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha and other agitating forces.  “The government has no plans to keep the bill inactive. And we have no plans to go to elections withou…

India demonetisation move: No remedy for Nepalis as deadline nears

The deadline issued by the Indian government to exchange bank notes in the denominations of 500 and 1,000 is just 13 days away, but no concrete measures have been announced for exchanging these banned Indian notes in Nepal. Nepali migrant workers in India too continue to face a tough time. Nepal’s Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyay said he is in consultation with Indian officials about resolving the problems. Though the concerned authorities of both the countries are in consultation, there is no indication of any solution so far. Indian government on November 8 announced that bank notes in the denominations of 500 and 1,000 will cease to be legal tender after December 30. But Nepalis holding the banned Indian notes in Nepal and Nepalis working in India are increasingly getting jittery, as even if the some provisions are put in place for exchanging these notes, the window period will be too small. Nepal has been requesting India to make an arrangement for up to IRs 25,000. Though the…

'Lifestyles of PM, DPM at odds with property statements'

Might be matter for investigations: ExpertsMembers of the general public and experts concerned have taken the property statements submitted by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and other ministers as unconvincing and at odds with the lifestyles of those leaders. Former bureaucrats said such disparity between the property details  of the leaders and their lifestyle can be a matter for investigations. 
Prime Minister Dahal and all the ministers made public their property details on Wednesday. Much to everyone's surprise, The prime minister stated that all he has by way of property is  one katha (3,645 square feet)of land in his wife Sita's name in Chitwan and 3 tola (34.992 grams) of gold,  while Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Krishna Bahadur Mahara has also stated that he owns very little property. 
Deputy Prime Minister Mahara has stated that he owns a two-storey Nepali style house, a cow shed and seven ropani (one ropani is 5,476 square feet) of land in Rolpa dis…

Ruling parties defer amendment bill

The ruling parties have changed their plan to table the constitution amendment bill in Parliament on Thursday after the main opposition CPN-UML threatened to intensify its protests both within and outside the legislature. Following strong protests by the opposition camp, Speaker Onsari Gharti did not convene the scheduled House meeting on Thursday and informed lawmakers that the next meting will take place Sunday.“We had expected an improvement in the situation but the ruling parties insisted on tabling the amendment bill in the House,” CPN-UML chief whip Bhanubhakta Dhakal told Republica. “We then clearly told them that we wouldn’t allow the government to table the bill.” After UML and other opposition parties warned the ruling parties not to choose the wrong option of tabling the amendment proposal, a meeting of the Business Advisory Committee decided to postpone the House meeting to seek consensus. The House meeting was then postponed till Sunday.
Eight opposition parties including …

UML discussing parliamentary election option

Amid discussions among major parties whether the country should go for local elections under the existing structure or the new federal set-up, the main opposition CPN-UML has floated the idea of skipping local and provincial polls and holding elections to federal parliament. During a standing committee meeting of the party on Thursday, almost all members are learnt to have made a pitch for federal elections, saying it’s already too late for local and provincial elections. As per the constitutional deadline, the country must hold three levels of elections by January 2018. Senior UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal floated the idea of holding the elections to federal parliament by carving out 165 constituencies. “Almost all standing committee members agreed on the proposal,” said UML standing committee member Prithvi Subba Gurung, adding that local elections will not be able to resolve the looming constitutional crisis. The UML’s view on going for federal elections comes just days after a tenta…

Nepal News: 15-12-2016

Four-day shutdown declared in Rolpa and Pyuthan against splitting of Province No 5
The Rolpa-Pyuthan Joint Struggle Committee has announced a four-day general shutdown of Rolpa and Putyhan districts effective from Thursday in protest of registration of constitution amendment bill to split Province No 5.  The meeting of the Committee convened at Bhringu in Pyuthan on Wednesday took the decision to this effect, according to Committee's Rolpa Coordinator Amar Singh Pun Magar who is also President of the Nepali Congress Rolpa Chapter.  The constitution amendment bill registered at the Legislature-Parliament on November 29 has proposed separating the mountainous districts as Palpa, Arghakhachi, Gulmi Rolpa and Pyuthan among others from Province no 5 to 4.  The Committee argued that the Province No 5, which earlier constituted hilly and mountainous districts rich in natural resources and cultural heritage, should not be split from the Province No 5.  Magar said that general shutdown was…

Nepal to discuss new power trade guidelines with India

The Energy Ministry is planning to hold talks with the Indian Power Ministry over its recently issued discriminatory guidelines on cross-border power trade which prohibit private and third country hydropower developers in Nepal from exporting electricity to India with a one-time approval. According to the Guidelines on Cross-Border Trade of Electricity published by the Indian government last Monday, only companies in Nepal which are wholly owned by the Indian government or the public sector, or private companies with a 51 percent or higher Indian stake would be eligible to export power to India. These companies will be given a one-time approval to sell power to India, according to the guidelines. Also, companies owned or controlled by the Nepali government will be allowed to sell power to India after getting a one-time approval from the Indian authorities, according to the new rules. However, private companies owned by Nepali or third country developers wishing to export power to the In…

General strike continues in Gulmi district for 13th day

Gulmi district remained shut for the 13th consecutive day on Monday due to the protest against the constitution amendment bill proposing the split of Province no 5. The joint struggle committee has organised a general assembly in the district today to mark the 13th day of the protest. CPN-UML senior leader Pradeep Gyawali, Nepali Congress (NC) leader Chandra Bhandari, CPN (Maoist Centre) leader Top Bahadur Rayamajhi among other leaders are expected to address the assembly, according to Maoist Centre district in charge Bir Bahadur Karki. NC district president and coordinator of the joint struggle committee Bhuwan Prasad Shrestha said that further programmes of protest will be decided after today’s assembly. Protesters had formed a one kilo metre long human chain yesterday as a part of their protest against the amendment bill. The human chain that was organised at 1pm yesterday stretched through Lakuri Manch, Chidichaur, Old Bank Road, buspark and Balmandir in the district and gheraoed the d…

Hydro Hopes: The Indian trap

Energy experts say new Indian policy will discriminate against Nepal’s private sector and non-Indian investors
The ‘Guidelines on Cross Border Trade of Electricity’ issued by India’s Ministry of Power last week poses a serious challenge to hydropower development in Nepal. The document, which India claims is aimed at facilitating cross border electricity trade with its neighbors, is in fact aimed at discouraging foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Nepal from countries other than India. Some commentators have even gone to the extent of claiming that this move is a trap for Nepal and other countries engaged in cross-border electricity trade with India.
The main objectionable point of the Guidelines is Clause 5.2.1, which considers India’s cross-border electricity trade an issue of strategic, national and economic importance and is aimed at controlling hydropower development in its neighbors including Nepal. Clause 5.2.1 (a) of the Guidelines has paved the way for India to import electricit…

Amendment bill was brought to please India: Rawal

CPN-UML Vice-Chairman Bhim Rawal has remarked that the proposals in the constitution amendment bill are anti-national. Speaking at a press meet here on Sunday, Rawal claimed that the nation will incur a huge loss if changes are made to the constitution as per the bill. 
He further argued that the bill was brought to please foreigners. Rawal was of the opinion that his party was opposing the anti-national act of Nepali Congress and CPN (Maoist Center).He added that only India was pleased of the amendment bill.

12-12-2016, MyRepublica