Bickering leaders drive Nepal to brink of disaster

KATHMANDU: Even with just 72 hours remaining between the country and disaster, Nepal’s bickering politicians failed to rise above self interests on Tuesday, pushing the fledgling republic further on the brink of disaster.

The two major ruling parties and the main opposition, the Maoists, held yet another meeting in a series of interminable negotiations that have continued almost for two years and have consistently failed to see any progress. While the Maoists stuck to their demand that Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal should resign first, the premier continued to parry the attack, secure in the support shown by its ruling ally, the Nepali Congress, and the Indian government.

While the wrangling has been holding parliament and the country hostage, the government incredibly continued making grandiose plans for future, including announcing an award to honour the Buddha when the cards predicted the dissolution of the government from Friday midnight. A new constitution was to have come into effect on that day. However, since the major parties, deadlocked in a one-track dispute for power, failed the deadline, parliament and with it the government stands to be dissolved once the deadline expires.

Though the ruling coalition has tabled a proposal in parliament to extend the deadline and on Tuesday asked lawmakers to vote for it, it is clear the motion will fail unless the Maoists support it since they are the largest party with nearly 40 percent seats in the 601-member parliament. The former guerrillas have already tabled a veto on the government’s extension proposal and a battle is imminent on the floor of the house.

The government’s strategy seems to be to prolong the dispute till Friday midnight and then declare a state of emergency and President’s rule, a dire constitutional provision available in case the country is facing civil war or a calamity. Nepal met the President, Dr Ram Baran Yadav, on Tuesday. Yadav, who played a decisive role n Nepal’s politics last year by causing the fall of the Maoist government could yet again take centre-stage from Friday midnight.

Uncertainty and fear gripped Nepal with conjectures about military rule and the possible snapping of the peace accord. While the moderate Maoist leaders have been saying their protests would be peaceful, the hawks in the party have been advocating a return to the armed revolution. With nearly 20,000 trained combatants at their disposal, the former guerrillas who fought a 10-year war are still feared for the damage they might inflict if pushed to the brink.

May 26, 2010 at 4:53 am Leave a comment

Nepali summiteer draws world’s attention to save Himalayas

Nepali summiteer Apa Sherpa, world record holder for 20 ascents of Mt. Everest (also known as Mt. Qomolangma) articulated his contentment over unfurling a climate change message from top of the world.

Popularly known as “Super Sherpa”, Nepali hero Apa, 50, conquered Everest for the 20th time again on May 22, breaking his own world record.

“I had sumitted Everest many times for personal sake but since 2008, I’m climbing for social cause. Carrying the message of climate change and biodiversity conservation to the world, I’m climbing Everest,” said Apa on Tuesday.

Apa, who is also the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)’s “Climate for Life” campaign ambassador and climbing leader of Eco Expedition 2010, was speaking at a press meeting Tuesday organized by WWF after he returned from conquering the Everest.

Apa first reached the summit of Everest on May 10, 1990 with a New Zealand team led by climber Peter Hillary, son of Edmund Hillary.

Before heading on his daring and noble mission this year to draw the attention of world to pay attention to melting Himalayas as a consequence of climate change, Apa told Xinhua that he was climbing Everest to raise global awareness about impact of climate change over Himalayas.

“As far as I can, I will continue to contribute my country by any means whether creating awareness or collecting garbage,” said Apa, who is a goodwill ambassador for climate change for South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

Nevertheless, he said he encourages young summiteers to work for the nation and save the Himalayas.

Apa carried the national tourism campaign “Nepal Tourism Year- 2011″ flag and WWF banner written with “You Heard Our Voice, Now Raise Yours-We Can Stop Climate Change at the top of the world in his 20th ascents.

“I am thankful to have been able to climb Mt. Everest for the 20th time. I climbed this year to raise awareness about the Apa Sherpa foundation, which is dedicated to increasing educational opportunities for people in the Himalayan Region. I also climbed to bring attention to the damage done to the Himalayas because of global climate change,” Apa mentioned in his official website right after conquering Everest

May 26, 2010 at 4:53 am Leave a comment

Nepal concerned over attacks on Nepalis in India

There is growing concern in Nepal over the attacks on Nepalis and Nepali-speaking people in north-east India that are reported to have left 17 dead and forced thousands to flee their homes.

Nepal’s foreign ministry has asked the Nepal Embassy in New Delhi to inquire into reports that more than a dozen Nepalis were beaten to death in a coal mine and two more were torched alive in India’s Meghalaya state after clashes between ethnic communities on the border between two Indian states.

The opposition Maoist party has also taken note of the reports of violence targeting Nepalis and people of Nepali origin and condemned the incidents.

The central committee of the formerly underground party, which held four-day discussions to draw up its future strategy, said at the end of the parleys Monday that it regretted and condemned the attacks on Nepalis and Nepali-speaking people in India.

The ethnic tension flared up in India after communities from two north-eastern states, Assam and Meghalaya, clashed over the ownership of disputed border villages.

Four members of Meghalaya’s indigenous Khasi community were killed when Indian police fired on the mob, triggering retaliatory attacks by the community.

The victims of the retaliation were Nepali blue-collar workers and Indians of Nepali-origin living in Meghalaya and working in the coal mines.

Between 12 to 17 people are reported to have been killed in the violence, two of whom were burnt to death.

Though the attacks stopped after the state government beefed up security, thousands of Nepalis and Nepali-speaking people are reported to have fled their homes and taken shelter in camps in Assam.

Many are said to have left India to take shelter in Nepali villages across the border.

May 26, 2010 at 4:53 am Leave a comment

Nepal Maoists not involved

KATHMANDU: The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has condemned news reports published in India and Kathmandu about its hand in the killing of Madan Tamang, president of the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League.

Maoist spokesperson Dina Nath Sharma said in a statement: “Our party strongly denounces these ill-intentioned, hypothetical and baseless charges and news articles. The murder of Mr. Tamang, a good friend of Nepal, who was leading a just movement against national oppression and for national identity, has shocked our party immensely.”

According to news reports, Bimal Gurung, chairperson of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha, accused the government of West Bengal for murdering Tamang, hiring Nepalese Maoists. Mr. Sharma has urged the concerned governments to guarantee the Nepali-speaking Indian citizens’ safety and their right to life.

May 26, 2010 at 4:53 am Leave a comment

Jordan Romero on Everest

When Californian Jordan Romero reached the summit of Everest on the 22nd May he become the youngest person to do so: whether he should have been climbing the mountain in the first place has led to widespread debate.

Romero is the 10th person to establish the record as the youngest summiteer. Hillary, of course, started the ball rolling when he was 33 years and 313 days old. Over the next 20 years younger summiteers whittled down statistics, until in May 1973 Shambu Tamang reached the top aged 17 years and 179 days, a record that would stand until 2001.

In that year Pema Chiring reached the summit on the 22nd May aged 17 years and 156 days. However, his record lasted less than 24 hours, as on the 23rd Temba Shiri was only 16 years and 17 days old when he stood on top.

Significantly, Nepal bans attempts on Everest for those under 16, so in May 2003 Mingkipa Sherpa, with her older sister Lhakpa who had already summited the mountain, travelled to Tibet for a successful climb via the North Col

Whilst Mingkipa’s exact age is not known, it is certain she was between 15 and 16 at the time of her ascent.

Romero too had to climb from the unrestricted Tibetan side, a rather harder proposition than tackling the original route via the South Col from Nepal. Previously, he’d also had to negotiate a special permit from Argentinean authorities to climb Aconcagua. Permission to climb South America’s highest mountain is not normally granted to anyone under 14.

So how safe is it to climb high mountains at such a young age; 13 years and 314 days in the case Romero on the 22nd May, when he topped out on Everest.

Jordan Romero’s specific quest is to be the youngest to climb the Seven Summits. He climbed his first, Kilimanjaro, in July 2006 and now has only to summit Antarctica’s Vinson to complete the set.

Understandably, there has been much talk of recklessness, and irresponsibility on the part of his guardians. His father, Paul Romero, and stepmother, Karen Lundgren, are both mountaineers and accompanied Jordan on Everest. Lundgren is a personal trainer, while Paul Romero is a paramedic, who has been trained in high altitude medicine and rescue.

“So he”ll know that his child shouldn’t be there”, said the BMC’s Medical Advisor, Dave Hillebrandt, quoted in a Guardian newspaper report. And the fact that Ramero seems to have safely climbed and descended Everest certainly does not mean that Hillebrandt is wrong.

British medic Hugh Montgomery confirms that anecdotally younger climbers are less able to cope with altitude, but when pushed to comment on whether high altitude climbing is harmful to 13-year olds stated, “no one really knows”.

The UIAA guidelines for taking children to high altitude note, ‘the particular risks of exposure of children to high altitude have not been thoroughly studied and much of the advice must necessarily be extrapolated from adult data with due considerations of the influence of growth and development. So far as is known, children are not under more restrictions to acute exposure to altitude than adults’.

The well-known Chamonix-based doctor, Jean-Pierre Herry, from Ecole Nationale de Ski et d’Alpinisme (ENSA: the French National Ski and Mountaineering School) sides with Hillebrandt but goes further, stating his belief that it is not advisable for children under the age of 16 to ascend Mont Blanc.

May 26, 2010 at 4:52 am Leave a comment

European parliamentary team visits Nepal

An European parliamentary delegation is in Kathmandu May 25-29 to participate in an inter-parliamentary meeting, EuAsiaNews reported Tuesday.

The six-member delegation is led by British member of European Parliament Jean Lambert.

During the visit, the EU parliamentarians will meet various political figures, including Nepalese president, prime minister and foreign minister to discuss new proposed constitution for Nepal that is due to be announced May 29.

The delegation will also address issues of climate change and the refugee situation.

‘It is an honour to be leading this delegation to Nepal and I am pleased to use this opportunity to build on our already existing relations during this time of great political change for the country. This new constitution marks a really important point for Nepal on its path to democracy and the European Parliament is keen to offer whatever assistance to that process we can,’ said Lambert in press statements.

May 26, 2010 at 4:52 am Leave a comment

Manisha’s nuptials in Nepal, party in Mumbai!

Manisha Koirala will wed Samrat Dahal in Kathmandu, the reception’s in Juhu

Manisha Koirala’s marriage to Nepali businessman Samrat Dahal will be a close family affair. The engagement will take place on June 18 and the nuptials will happen on the 19th in Kathmandu.

The wedding won’t have any B-Towners in attendance — save for her close friend Deepti Naval — as Manya plans to invite her industry friends for a reception in Mumbai at a later date.
A source offers details, “The wedding, a traditional Nepali affair will span three days and will include the customary swyambar.”

The source continues, “Something called duradai will take place in stead of the usual mehndi. Manya’s mother and brother Siddharth are overseeing the wedding preparations.
Designers Sabyasachi Mukherji and Anna Singh will design the outfits for the pre-wedding ceremonies.
The to-be bride will wear a red sari with diamond-and-gold work on her big day. Samrat will wear traditional Nepali wear picked out by his US-based sister.

The reception venue is yet to be decided, but sources claim that it will most likely be at a five-star hotel in Juhu, Mumbai. A source adds, “Manisha, a recluse a few years back, has now come out of her shell. She has begun socialising with her old friends and has started making new ones.”

A source reveals details about Manya’s to-be in-laws, “She met Samrat in US. He’s in the process of setting up an alternative energy company in Nepal. He is the youngest of three siblings. While his eldest brother Suraj heads the Kathmandu Academy, his sister Shuvashree is doing her PhD in the US. He has houses both in the US and in Nepal.”

Manisha recently finished shooting for Dipendra Khanal’s Nepali film titled Dharma. The film marks the return of the actress to the Nepali film industry nearly two decades after she left for Bollywood.
She is presently in Cochin shooting for a Telugu film.

May 26, 2010 at 4:52 am Leave a comment

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