Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) has warned of resorting to agitation in protest against the government’s decision to go for local election by disregarding their issues and demands.
Banda enforced by the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) affected life in central and eastern Tarai districts on Wednesday. Western Tarai districts, however, remained largely unaffected due to the strike. full story »
Roiled by the government move of announcing local level poll date without addressing their demand of constitution amendment, the Madhes-based parties are considering severing ties with the Maoist Centre-Nepali Congress alliance. full story »
Most of the district agricultural offices in hilly areas of the eastern region are facing severe shortage of human resources, preventing delivery of effective and efficient services to those engaged in the agri sector, which accounts for 33 percent of the country’s economic output. full story »
The number of trekkers visiting the world famous Annapurna Conservation Area totalled 114,187 individuals last year, a 45 percent jump from the 2015 figure when a deadly earthquake and trade embargo dealt a severe blow to Nepal’s tourism industry. full story »
The government will ‘most likely’ build the Kathmandu-Tarai expressway under the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) model to save time and money, said officials of the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport. full story »
The Indian cabinet on Wednesday approved an investment proposal to build the Arun 3 Hydropower Project in Nepal. A cabinet meeting held on Monday morning okayed the plan worth IRs57.32 billion submitted by SJVN Limited, an Indian central public sector enterprise. full story »
National Industrial Goods and Technology Exhibition is slated to open at Bhrikuti Mandap on February 23. The fair, which is in its 28th edition, will showcase goods manufactured by cottage and small enterprises. full story »
Agri offices in East face severe shortage of staff
Trekkers return in droves to Annapurna
Business boom: Development speeds up after Karnali Highway
Ktm-Tarai expressway likely to be built under EPC model
China denied on Thursday that it had increased its troop presence on the border with North Korea after the murder of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Malaysia.
Reports routinely circulate at times of heightened tension on the Korean peninsula of China sending troops to the border, which China always denies.
South Korean and U.S. officials say the North Korean leader's half brother, Kim Jong Nam, was assassinated by North Korean agents. North Korea has not acknowledged his death.
Some Hong Kong media last week reported that China had sent more soldiers to the border after Kim was attacked at Kuala Lumpur airport on Feb. 13.
"As for the reports you mentioned of the People's Liberation Army increasing troops on the Chinese-North Korean border, they are totally baseless and completely fabricated," defence ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang told a monthly news briefing.
He did not elaborate.
Kim had spoken out publicly in the past against his family's dynastic control of the isolated, nuclear-armed state. He had been living in the Chinese territory of Macau under Beijing's protection.
China is reclusive North Korea's most important remaining ally, but China has been angered by its missile and nuclear tests and has signed up for several rounds of U.N. sanctions against North Korea at the same time as pushing for a diplomatic resolution through talks.
Fifty-six Islamic State militants were killed by Turkey-backed forces around the Syrian town of al-Bab and by U.S.-led coalition air strikes in the latest operations on Wednesday, the Turkish military said on Thursday.
Turkish artillery fire also hit 104 Islamic State targets, including buildings and bombed vehicles, the army said in a statement, reiterating it had largely established control in the residential areas of al-Bab.
The Islamic State stronghold, 30 km (20 miles) from the Turkish border, has been a prime target since Turkey launched an incursion with Syrian rebels last August to push the jihadists from its frontier and prevent gains by a Kurdish militia.
Turkey's army said 11 of the jihadists were killed in air strikes by coalition forces, while the rest were killed in artillery fire and clashes during operations in al-Bab.
Actress Kangana Ranaut, whose character in the forthcoming film Rangoon is said to be loosely based on actress-stunt woman Fearless Nadia, says her role is not based on any real-life person. full story »
Rampam Arena Music Video Award 2073 was held at Itahari on Tuesday. The award ceremony, organised by the local television, Arena Television, felicitated a total of 15 artists under various categories. full story »
The Nepal Congress and the CPN (Maoist Center) have agreed to announce the election dates for local level elections in the next Cabinet meeting, taking into account the constitutional requirement that local, provincial, and federal level elections must be held by 21 January 2018. full story »
Bird flu infection rates on Chinese poultry farms may be far higher than previously thought, because the strain of the deadly virus that has killed more than 100 people this winter is hard to detect in chickens and geese, animal health experts say. full story »
Eight countries have joined an initiative to raise millions of dollars to replace shortfalls caused by President Donald Trump's ban on U.S.-funded groups around the world providing information on abortion, Sweden's deputy prime minister said. full story »
Consuming e-cigarettes is far safer and less toxic than smoking conventional tobacco cigarettes, according to the findings of a study analysing levels of dangerous and cancer-causing substances in the body. full story »
Hard to detect, China bird flu virus may be more widespread
Vitamin D pills 'could stop colds or flu'
‘Why munching sounds can make me angry’
Eight countries sign up to counter Trump's global anti-abortion move
Treating complex phobias
Getting specific about dizziness
Study of cancer-causing toxins finds e-cigs much safer than smoking
The flight landed in Kathmandu on November 25, 1:00 am. I had come to Nepal to conduct my psychology research. I looked forward to meeting all kinds of people and learning about their inside-world. full story »
Manchester United skipper Wayne Rooney could miss Sunday's League Cup final against Southampton at Wembley after manager Jose Mourinho revealed that the striker was still struggling with a muscle injury.
Extreme care has to be taken while picking ambassadors
In yet another case of blatant “political bhagbanda” (sharing of posts among political parties), the government on Monday recommended 14 names for 13 vacant posts of ambassadors and the proposed embassy in Spain. Among the nominees, six are from the “quota” of the Nepali Congress, four from the CPN Maoist Centre and three from the Rastriya Prajatantra Party. One is from the Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Loktantrik, which is not part of the ruling coalition.
Foreign Ministry officials have rightly expressed their dismay at the nominations and stated that such political interference would seriously impact the conduct of foreign affairs. Apparently, the ministry was not even consulted about the decision to open a new embassy in Spain. Three top ministry officials accused the ruling parties of taking the decision so as to create enough vacancies that could be shared amongst them for sustaining the coalition.
There is a general understanding regarding political appointments while picking envoys; half of them have to be career diplomats and the rest political appointees. What is worrisome though is that there is ample room to doubt the ability of some of the nominees to conduct proper diplomacy; some have no experience in handling diplomacy. Conflict of interest is also likely to arise as one of the nominees operates a foreign employment agency and another runs an NGO that works on migrant workers’ welfare.
Political meddling in bureaucratic affairs is a long-standing problem in the country. It is arguably a major reason behind Nepal’s ailing and inefficient bureaucracy. Diplomacy, in particular, is a sensitive practice, meant for carrying out state-to-state negotiations and protecting national interest. Its significance cannot be exaggerated for a country like Nepal that not only has a delicate geo-strategic position, but also relies heavily on the remittances sent by its migrant workers. How Nepal can balance the often conflicting interests of regional and global powers and how Nepalis are treated abroad depends considerably on our ability to conduct adroit diplomacy.
As such, extreme care has to be taken while picking diplomats, who are the face and the voice of the country for the outside world. There have been cases where Nepali diplomats have had to be recalled for inappropriate conduct or comments. Not only are such instances embarrassing for the persons involved, but also for the entire country. The Foreign Ministry’s concern that it is ultimately blamed for the “mess” created by the political leadership through haphazard recommendations is legitimate.