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Nepal-India panel report awaits Modi’s attention

  • New Delhi ‘reluctant to receive report’ because of its contents and Madhesi representation issue
ANIL GIRI, Nov 15 2018
afp
The much-anticipated report of Eminent Persons’ Group on Nepal-India Relations is unlikely to be submitted to the prime ministers of both countries ahead of the general elections in India next year.
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Provincial Public Service Commission picks up speed

  • Prime Minister’s Office prepares draft law to establish the commission
PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Nov 15 2018

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has prepared a draft law to establish Provincial Public Service Commission (PSC) and set up a panel to prepare the principles of the provincial and local service Acts, a senior official has said.


The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration Joint Secretary Bhupal Baral heads the panel that would prepare the principle and outline of the Provincial Civil Service Act and Local Service Act.


Ministry Secretary Dinesh Thapaliya said the laws are necessary to deploy staff at the provincial and local levels at the earliest along with adjusting existing civil servants. The provinces have urged a federal law on the standards to establish PSC that would enable them to recruit civil staff independently.


According to the constitution, the federal parliament has the mandate to write standards for Provincial PSC as per the constitution.  


The draft of the proposed standards reads, “The three-member PSC including a women member should be appointed from independent experts who are not member of any political party.”


The Provincial PSC shall recruit and fill vacant positions in provincial and local government offices. Government agencies functioning under provincial and local governments should consult Provincial PSC on general principles to follow, while promoting and taking departmental action against any employee.

The proposed standards say recruitment should be based on merit and it should follow the principle of legitimacy that means decisions should be made by first preparing the necessary laws. Further, the Provincial PSC should be unbiased while recruiting.


The standards propose the methodology of examining the candidates’ competence for government jobs through competitive exams and technical knowledge test.


The Provincial PSC would work independently, but it would co-operate with the Federal PSC, the PMO official said.


“The Provincial PSC can receive technical support for this from the Federal PSC to prepare examination system and questions for candidates,” the official said.
After a prolonged delay, the federal government has taken these steps as provincial governments had threatened they would make laws and recruit staff. In fact, Province 2 has registered a Bill on Contract Act in the Provincial Assembly to hire employees on contracts.


Provincial governments have complained about difficulties in delivering services through the staff deployed by the federal government, as they are accountable to the federal government and not to the provincial governments.


Karnali Province Minister for Internal Affairs and Law Naresh Bhandari said, “We have got just one third of the required staff. We have not been able to mobilise them as per our requirements because their accountability rests with the federal government.”

 

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Suspicious object found in Nepalgunj

THAKUR SINGH THARU, NEPALGUNJ, Nov 15 2018
A police sniffer dog walks past the suspicious package at Pushpalal Chok in Nepalgunj.Post Photo: Thakur SIngh Tharu
People in Pushpalal Chok of Nepalgunj were terrorised after suspicious objects were spotted here on Thursday.

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Fed up with dust, locals shutdown Kalanki-Soltimode road section (In photos)

Samuel Chettri, Kathmandu, Nov 15 2018
Locals have shutdown Kalanki-Soltimode road section in the Capital on Thursday, protesting against the authorities’ apathy towards repairing the road section that has been spewing dust putting in risk the health of people living in the area.

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WWF sites have room for more tigers: Experts

ARPAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu, Nov 15 2018
A new study conducted by 49 conservation experts from 10 tiger-range countries suggests that tiger population in 18 recovery sites across Asia, which currently support an estimated 165 tigers, could more than triple to around 585 under ‘optimal circumstances’.

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Niramala’s parents fall ill during sit-in

BHAWANI BHATTA, Kanchanpur , Nov 15 2018
Parents of Niramal Pant, the 13-year-old girl from Kanchanpur who was raped and murdered some three and a half months ago, have fallen sick during their indefinite sit-in.

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Main News

Nepal Airlines to resume Osaka flights, drops Tokyo plan

SANGAM PRASAIN, Nov 15 2018
Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has decided to resume flights to Kansai International Airport, Osaka, dropping its earlier plan to directly connect Kathmandu with Tokyo’s Narita International Airport.
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NSU supporters enforce transport strike in Banepa

Post Report, Nov 15 2018
Vehicular movement along the Araniko Highway and the BP Highway was disrupted on Wednesday after the Nepal Student Union--the student wing of Nepali Congress (NC)--enforced a vehicular strike in Banepa demanding release of its leader Krishna Dhakal.
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Nepal to explore prospects of sending workers to Japan

Post Report, Nov 15 2018
The Government of Nepal is exploring possibilities to send its migrant workers to Japan through a government-to-government deal.
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Money

World

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved parliament on Friday night and called a general election for Jan. 5 in a move that will likely deepen the country’s political crisis.

The dissolution, which is expected to be challenged in court, was revealed in an official gazette notification signed by Sirisena which also set the next sitting of parliament for Jan. 17.

The move comes after an intense power struggle in the past two weeks which followed Sirisena’s sudden sacking of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the appointment of former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, a pro-China strongman, in his place.

Following the sacking, the president suspended parliament in a move which Wickremesinghe said was intended to prevent the ousted prime minister from contesting the decision in the legislature.

Later Sirisena agreed to reconvene parliament on Nov. 14, but that will now not happen.

Wickremesinghe has refused to vacate the official prime minister’s residence saying he is the prime minister and had a parliamentary majority.

Before he signed the papers dissolving parliament and calling the election, Sirisena appointed allies of his and of Rajapaksa to cabinet positions.

“This is a gross violation of the constitution,” Harsha De Silva, a lawmaker in Wickremesinghe’s party, told Reuters in reference to the dissolution of parliament.

Independent legal experts had told Reuters that parliament could be dissolved only in early 2020, which would be four-and-half-years from the first sitting of the current parliament. The only other legal ways would be through a referendum, or with the consent of two thirds of lawmakers.

Given those views, it was not immediately clear how Sirisena can legally dissolve parliament, though his legal experts have said there are provisions for him to do so.

Sri Lanka’s Election Commission was quoted in some local media as saying that it will seek a Supreme Court opinion before conducting the election.

Sirisena also put the police and government’s printing office under his defense portfolio, local media reported.

Ajith Perera, a lawmaker of the Wickremesinghe-led United National Party (UNP) said the party will challenge the decision at the Election Commission first and then may head to the Supreme Court.

Perera said the dissolution was carried out so that Sirisena could avoid defeat in parliament next week.

Keheliya Rambukwella, a spokesman for Sirisena’s government, said the president’s coalition had the backing of 105 lawmakers as of Friday, eight short of a parliamentary majority.

Sirisena has said he fired Wickremesinghe because the prime minister was trying to implement “a new, extreme liberal political concept by giving more priority for foreign policies and neglecting the local people’s sentiment.”

India and Western countries have requested that Sirisena act in line with the constitution while they have raised concerns over Rajapaksa’s close ties with China. Beijing loaned Sri Lanka billions of dollars for infrastructure projects when Rajapaksa was president between 2005-2015, putting the country deep into debt.

A gunman opened fire in a crowded Southern California bar popular with college students, killing 12 people, including a sheriff’s deputy, police said on Thursday.

The gunman, identified by authorities as Ian David Long, 28, was also found dead on Wednesday night in the office of the Borderline Bar and Grill, located in Thousand Oaks, a suburb about 40 miles from Los Angeles, apparently having shot himself.

Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean told a news conference on Thursday morning that Long was a Marine Corps veteran and had apparently fired at random with a .45-caliber Glock handgun with an extra-capacity magazine. There was no known motive.

“Obviously he had something going on in his head that would cause him to do something like this,” Dean said. “Obviously he had some sort of issues.”

He said authorities were obtaining a search warrant for Long’s home.

The Borderline is popular with university students and on Wednesday night was hosting College Country Night. California Lutheran University, located about 5 miles from the bar, canceled Thursday’s classes while Pepperdine University, about 20 miles away, planned a prayer service.

One of the victims was Sheriff’s Sergeant Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the department who died at a hospital, Dean said. Helus and a California Highway Patrol officer were the first to arrive at the bar and went inside just before 11:30 p.m. PST (0730 GMT).

A statement from the sheriff’s office said there would be a procession in honor of Helus, who leaves behind a wife and son, on Thursday morning. “Ron’s selfless, heroic actions will never be forgotten,” the statement read.

SCENE LIKE “HELL”

Asked what the scene inside the bar was like, Dean said, “Like ... hell.” Earlier he had described it as “a horrific scene in there. There is blood everywhere and the suspect is part of that.”

Long first shot a security guard outside the bar, stepped inside and resumed shooting, Dean said. Witnesses said Long had used smoke bombs to create confusion but Dean said that had not been confirmed.

Dean, speaking on his last day before retirement, said he had been told 150 to 200 people were in the Borderline at the time and that “it could have been much, much worse.”

Dean estimated 10 to 15 people, including one with a gunshot wound, had gone to hospitals. He said he thought their injuries were minor, and that most of them were likely injured as they escaped, some by breaking windows.

Dean told reporters that officers had gone to Long’s home in April in response to a disturbance call and had found him to be agitated. Mental health specialists talked with Long and determined that no further action was necessary.

Family members of possible victims or survivors of the shooting gathered at a teen center in Thousand Oaks for news of loved ones. A visibly distraught man was seen entering the building.

President Donald Trump, who has resisted a surge in calls for tougher gun controls since 17 students were shot dead at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida earlier this year, ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at public buildings and grounds.

The Borderline massacre was the fourth mass shooting in the United States in less than two weeks. The others included two women killed at a yoga class in Tallahassee, Florida, two people shot at a grocery in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, and 11 worshippers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh killed by a man shouting “All Jews must die.”

Jerry Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said lawmakers would get to work on legislation including universal background checks when the House of Representatives convenes in January with a Democratic majority.

“We must find a way to stop the senseless, and many times preventable killings that are robbing our country of innocent lives,” he said on Twitter.

“CAN HAPPEN ANYWHERE”

Thousand Oaks, a leafy, sprawling suburb, was named the third-safest city in the United States for 2018 by the website Niche.

“I’ve learned it doesn’t matter what community you’re in,” Dean told reporters when asked if he was surprised this happened in Thousand Oaks. “It doesn’t matter how safe your community is. It can happen anywhere.”

Tristan Appleby, who was at the bar, told CNN that the shooter was dressed all in black and had fired off about a dozen shots, including at those already wounded and lying on the floor.

Witness Taylor Von Molt, 21, who said she was a promoter at the bar, said the gunman wore a black mask with a bandana covering the bottom of his face, and a black hooded sweatshirt.

“I heard what I thought was a balloon pop,” she told CNN. “I was confused because we didn’t have any balloons. I saw him, then I saw him fire his weapon one more time. I ran to the nearest exit and tripped and fell on the way and people kept running on top of me.”

Witness John Hedge told ABC News he was near the front door of the bar when the shooting began.

“I just started hearing these big pops. Pop pop pop,” he said. “There was probably three or four. I hit the ground. I look up. The security guard ... was shot, he was down. The gunman was throwing smoke grenades all over the place. I saw him point to the back at the cash register and he just kept firing.”

Entertainment

Photo-feature

A three-day International Tripitaka Recitation programme commenced at Lumbini, the birth place of Gautam Buddha, on Wednesday.

The programme is taking place for the first time in Nepal and over 500 monks from 18 different countries have arrived here to join the mass recitation of Buddhist holy scripture.

The Buddhist holy book, adorned with special decorations, was carried around the temple of Mayadevi before the programme commenced.

Thai monks led the recitations followed by monks from Myanmar.

The Maya Devi Temple premises in Lumbini has been decorated with banners, garlands and flowers in view of the programme.

The event is being held with the joint initiations of All Nepal Bhikkhu Association, American Buddhist Association, Thai Buddha Vihar and the Lumbini Development Trust.

All photos by: Manoj Poudel

Sports

Defending champion Ratnajit Tamang of Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC) and Dipesh Dhami of Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club advanced to the men’s singles quarter-finals of the eighth Pushpa Lal Memorial National Open Badminton Championships on Wednesday.
The record six-time champion Tamang saw off Sunil Joshi of APF 21-6, 21-17 while Dhami defeated Praful Maharjan of Army 21-5, 21-5 in their pre-quarterfinal matches. Bishnu Katuwal of Nepal Police Club (NPC) defeated Bijit Thapa Magar of APF 21-17, 21-14 and NPC shuttler Nir Bikram Devkota overcome the first set deficit to beat Sudip Sedai of APF 12-21, 21-8, 21-10.
The other shuttlers to make it to the quarter-finals were Rukesh Maharjan and Nabin Shrestha of TAC, Bikash Shrestha of Bhojpur and Prince Dahal of Silk Group. Maharjan saw off Sajan Krishna Tamrakar of APF 21-18, 21-14, Nabin eased to a 21-7, 21-13 win over Jeevan Acharya of NPC, Bikash got the better of Gautam Kathayat of APF 21-17, 21-16 and Dahal defeated Dipak Bohara of NPC 21-19, 21-14.
In the women’s singles, defending champion Jessica Gurung of APF defeated Sita Rai of Bhojpur 21-17, 21-19 to seal a quarter-final berth. She was joined in the last eight by Army players Nangsal Devi Tamang, Anu Maya Rai, Rasila Maharjan, Ranjana Bhatta and Amita Giri. Tamang dispatched Mahima Shrestha of Zest Badminton Academy 21-5, 21-3, Rai beat Safi Khatri of Zest 21-5, 21-10, Maharjan saw off Manisha Khadka of Zest 21-8, 21-4, Bhatta overcome Sima Rajbanshi of Morang 21-18, 17-21, 21-16 and Giri thumped Loktama Rai of Bhojpur 21-2, 21-8. Samjhana Sharma of Banke beat Sunaina Mukhiya of PAF 21-13, 21-19 and Shova Gurung of APF dispatched Tara Ale of Zest 21-18, 21-13. 
Prince Dahal, who won his men’s singles match, went on to beat Suraj Gupta of Dang 21-5, 21-6 while Kailali’s Jay Saud beat Alish Thapa of Chitwan 21-15, 21-12 in the boys’ U-17 event. Priyanshu Singh Chhetri of Zest beat Narendra Thakuri of Surkhet 21-7, 21-17 and Himanshu Kunwar of Dang edged past Anish Khatiwada of Bara 17-21, 21-19, 21-15. Amrit Chaudhary of Kailali, Diwesh Shankar of Army, Himal Chand of Kanchanpur and Pemba Sherpa of Tehrathum also recorded wins in the age-group event.
In the girls’ U-17 singles, Dimona KC and Smriti Rai of Zest, Bina Bista of Kanchanpur and Anjana Rai of Jhapa entered into quarter-finals. While KC enjoyed walkover from Sambhavi Palak, Smriti beat Krishma Bajracharya of Lalitpur 21-14, 21-7. Bista saw off Bidhya Khadka of Zest 21-6, 21-9 and Anjana beat Anusha Neupane, also of Zest, 21-10, 21-8.
Canadian biker Cory Wallace claimed the title of the Yak Attack, the highest altitude mountain bike competition, for the third time in a row. 
The 38-year-old Canadian clocked total of 12 hours 30 minutes 50 seconds to complete the 221km international race which runs through Thorang La, the mountain pass located at 5416m over five stages. Wallace had secured top spot in the 2016 and 2017 editions as well. “It gives me immense pleasure to win the race for the third time in a row,” said the Canadian in Pokhara on Sunday. 
A total of 32 international riders, including four female, from 14 countries had competed in the event. Besides nine participants from Nepal, bikers from Canada, America, Austria, Costa Rica, Colombia, France, Australia, Italy, Spain, Ecuador, Germany, England, Switzerland and South Africa had tried their luck. 
Nepal’s 24-year-old rider Buddhi Bahadur Tamang finished second clocking 13:31:46 and Okesh Bajracharya stood third with timing of 13:35:01. Tamang, who got injured during a training two weeks prior to the event, said that he could have thrown tough challenge for the title had he not got injured. “I got injured nearly two weeks before race began and had to depend upon liquid food for eight days. I felt I was running low on energy,” said Tamang. 
The toughest section and highest altitude route of 27km, which falls in the fourth stage, saw stiff competition between Wallace and Tamang. The former clocked 2:21:03 to finish one second ahead of Tamang in a stage that started from Thorang La Phedi and finished at Kagbeni going through Thorang La Pass. “The fourth stage really was a thrilling competition between Wallace and Tamang,” said Ajay Pandit Chhetri, the race manager and director of Mountain Bike (MTB) Nepal. Chhetri who competed in all 11 previous editions did not compete in the current event as he took the managerial responsibility. 
In the women’s event, Australia’s Karen Hill secured top finish in her debut clocking 17:59:21. “I have not participated much in the international bike competitions though I have raced in India and East Timor. It is my first race in Nepal and I am really pleased with the first place finish,” said the 31-year-old who finished ninth overall. Nepal’s lone female biker Laxmi Magar, also the defending champion, finished the 221km distance in 19:18:25 to secure second position. 
It was sixth participation of Magar in the Yak Attack who was also the winner of the Asian Championship held last year in Sri Lanka. She stood 14th overall. Dutch biker Nienke Oostra was distant third at 26:36:58 and finished 26th overall. 
The top three finishers in both the men’s and women’s category were rewarded with purse of $ 1,000, $ 500 and $ 250. Harka Lama of Nepal secured first position in above 40-year age category and Belgium’s Pierre Castagne took top spot in above 50-year age category.

Health & Style

Fiction Park

Up in the Hills

BIBEK ADHIKARI, Nov 11 2018
The bus that took us to Tansen from Butwal was ancient. We were under the impression that it was kept from falling by a generous use of Sellotape. Every nut and bolt crackled and rattled as it moved along the winding Siddhartha Highway.
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Escalate

You don’t go sell ice on Everest

Nov 12 2018
David Thirumur has been a life coach for the past 12 years, roving across the globe speaking to businesspeople, entrepreneurs and students. A social entrepreneur andleadership speaker, Thirumur was raised in India and was involved in a number of businesses before leaving to become a full-time speaker.
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Saturday Features

Wake up and smell the jamun

Mohan Guragain
Kathmandu sets numerous national records in Nepal. It is the biggest city of the country, most populated and most polluted. As the country’s largest metropolis, its population composition is also hugely diverse. Furthermore, as the Valley holds much of the country’s wealth, it is Nepal’s biggest market.

Tea party

Guffadi
If you want to know how a political party would run this country were they to come to power, attend one of their tea parties. Don’t fall for their hawatari speeches because our netas have promised us thousands of MW of electricity in the past decade and we have not even managed to add a hundred.

Existence small, not shrunken

PRANAYA SJB RANA
For any reader of this country’s English language newspapers, Shradha Ghale is a familiar name. Her non-fiction reporting has appeared in a great many periodicals and newspapers, including this one.

Patronage of publics

PRATYOUSH ONTA
The end of Rana rule in 1951 was an important rupture in the history of public life in Nepal. In an important essay first published in 1970, the scholar of literature and history Kamal P Malla characterised the 1950s in the following manner:

Briquette economy

Small communities in around 25 districts across Nepal are heavily involved in the production of briquette/pellets.

Celebrating type

Abha Dhital
In December 2017, Ratan Karna was descending Muldhai Hill—an off-the-beaten-path destination that’s a day’s trek from Ghandruk—when he stopped at a small village for tea. As he sipped away, he noticed a distinct flat rock right outside the hotel and decided to paint a mantra on it. He took his paint and paintbrush out and wrote “Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah”—may all be happy, may all be free from diseases—in calligraphy.

The birds and the bees

NAYAK PAUDEL
Going to school in Nepal, there is a certain section of a certain subject that many teachers and even students shy away from. At the secondary level, under health and population studies, is a chapter about sexual and reproductive health.

Eat, pray, love (yourself)

Alisha Sijapati
Hemmed in by dozens of garment stores, this small shop at the corner of a street in Khichapokhari would easily go unnoticed on a busy day. But for 62-year-old Maya, this was exactly the store she was looking for.

A home of one’s own

Richa Bhattarai
Home Going, the debut novel by Ghana-born author Yaa Gyasi, begins like distant lore—a myth, a dream even. It is the late eighteenth century in West Africa, when Effia Otcher is born into “the musky heat.”