18 confirmed dead in Nuwakot mini-truck accident (Update)

    Post Report, Dec 14 2018
    At least 18 people were killed after a mini-truck met with an accident in Ghyangphedi of Nuwakot district on Friday evening, police said.
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    Growth forecast revised upward to 6.5 percent

      BIBEK SUBEDI, Dec 14 2018

      The International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised Nepal’s economic growth forecast for the current fiscal year sharply upward to 6.5 percent from its earlier estimate of 5 percent on expanding post-earthquake reconstruction and the services and manufacturing sectors.

      “Following a prolonged period of subdued growth, economic activity in Nepal has picked up in recent years supported by greater political stability and a more reliable supply of electricity,” said Greet Almekinders, head of the IMF’s Article IV mission to Nepal.

      The IMF cautioned the government that the current growth can be unsustainable as the economy is growing beyond potential, and has advised it to go slow on the stimulus—both fiscal and credit policy. “The current economic expansion also comes with some challenges that need to be carefully managed,” Almekinders told journalists on Thursday.

      “The growth above potential has led to strong domestic demand, and such demand has contributed to a sharp increase in Nepal’s current account deficit which has reached 8.2 percent of GDP in the last fiscal year, and has led to some outflows of foreign currency reserves.”

      The IMF also showed concern over the rate of credit expansion by Nepali banks and financial institutions and recommended macro-prudential measures to temper excessive credit in order to reduce risks to the economy. Credit expansion by banks and financial institutions increased 25 percent within a year, as per the central bank’s statistics released in mid-October. Credit demand from the private sector is still high, and banks are keen to lend more despite a majority of them reaching the regulatory threshold for lending.

      The Nepal Bankers’ Association—the umbrella association of commercial banks in the country—even asked the central bank to increase the credit to core capital-cum-deposit (CCD) ratio so that banks and financial institutions can lend more. Nepal Rastra Bank has fixed the CCD ratio at 80 percent. This means banking institutions cannot extend more than 80 percent of the deposit and core capital as loans.
      The central bank rejected the bankers’ demand outright and the IMF team supported the decision.

      “The visiting IMF team supports the authorities’ intention to maintain the 80 percent limit on the CCD ratio,” said Almekinders. “Pressures to make changes to the calculation of the CCD ratio to expand room for credit growth should be resisted.” The IMF also asked government officials to encourage banks to build additional capital and provision buffers against potential losses.

      The visiting officials recommended increasing foreign direct investment, strengthening governance and institutions, and enhancing access to finance, particularly for the underserved population outside major cities, as top priorities.

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      ICYMI: Here’s a look at today’s top stories

      Post Report, Kathmandu, Dec 14 2018
      Here is a compilation of some of the top stories from the Post that you might have missed on Friday.

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      Seven dead, 12 injured in two separate road accidents

      Post District Bureau, PALPA/UDAYAPUR, Dec 14 2018
      Seven persons died and 12 others were injured, some of them critically, in two separate road accidents in Palpa and Udayapur districts on Thursday night.

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      Media persons barred from House committee meeting

      Samuel Chettri, Kathmandu, Dec 14 2018
      The State Affairs Committee of the Federal Parliament on Friday barred journalists from covering its meeting citing it as confidential.

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      Main News

      3 children dead in Dang house fire

      DURGA LAL KC, Dec 14 2018
      Three children of a same family died when their house caught fire at Guranse in Bangachuli Rural Municipality of Dang district on Thursday night.
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      Dr Khadga set to become new director of TU Teaching Hospital

      NAYAK PAUDEL, Dec 14 2018
      The Tribhuvan University Executive Council is likely to appoint Dr Prem Krishna Khadga as the new director of the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) at Maharajgunj, Kathmandu.
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      Indian security refuses to return Chitwan rhinos

      Narayan Sharma, Dec 14 2018
      Indian security personnel have refused to repatriate three one-horned rhinos swept across the border from Chitwan National Park (CNP) during floods six months ago.
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      Money

      World

      A powerful earthquake that struck in the southern Pacific Ocean on Wednesday sent jitters around the region after authorities warned of possible tsunamis, but there were no initial reports of destructive waves or major damage.

      The magnitude 7.5 quake hit in the afternoon near the French territory of New Caledonia at a shallow depth, where earthquakes are generally more damaging. It was felt as far away as Vanuatu, about 630 kilometers (390 miles) away

      Tsunami sirens blared across New Caledonia minutes after the quake. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said tsunami waves of between 1 and 3 meters (3 and 10 feet) were possible along some coasts of New Caledonia and Vanuatu, before later lifting the warning.

      Local authorities in New Caledonia ordered residents to evacuate coastal zones on the eastern edge of the archipelago, including the Loyalty Islands and the island of Ile des Pins. The evacuation order from the regional police said western islands didn’t need to evacuate but should remain vigilant.

      While residents of the region are familiar with tsunami warnings and evacuations, the quake startled tourists, including communications consultant Eugenie Kerleau, 30, vacationing on the island of Lifou from her home in mainland France.

      “It was really surprising, I had a feeling of vertigo, the curtains were moving. We were immediately evacuated from the hotel to a calmer point at higher altitude,” she told The Associated Press.

      No damage was immediately reported, according to Vincent Lepley, crisis coordinator for the Red Cross in New Caledonia.

      Judith Rostain, a freelance journalist based in New Caledonia’s capital, Noumea, said there was no damage to the city. She said the situation remained unclear on the east coast and scattered outer islands.

      In Vanuatu, Dan McGarry said he heard only of three small wave surges hitting the southern island of Aneityum. McGarry, the media director at the Vanuatu Daily Post, said the waves traveled only a couple of meters (7 feet) beyond the normal tidal waves, and that everybody was fine on the island.

      McGarry said he felt the quake where he is based in Vanuatu’s capital, Port Vila, as a mild shaking.

      “We get a lot of earthquakes every year,” he said. “The tsunami warning was what was different this time, though.”

      The warning center said there was no tsunami threat to Hawaii.

      According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake struck about 168 kilometers (104 miles) east of Tadine in New Caledonia at a shallow depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles). At least six aftershocks also hit, ranging in magnitude from 5.6 to 6.6.

      The populations of Vanuatu and New Caledonia are similar, with just over 280,000 people living in each archipelago.

      Last month, voters in New Caledonia elected to remain a territory of France rather than becoming independent. Both New Caledonia and Vanuatu sit on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where most of the world’s earthquakes and volcanic activity occur.

      Entertainment

      Photo-feature

      Singha Durbar, the major administrative hub of the country, is converting into a junkyard of old and abandoned government vehicles. Almost every ministry premises inside the government complex has at least one vehicle that’s been left unused for a prolonged period.

      The parking space inside some ministries and offices are littered with high-end vehicles—once purchased for millions of rupees—that are simply collecting dust. Officials say a number of these abandoned vehicles can still be used if they are provided with proper maintenance. The government could also generate some revenue by selling such old vehicles. But the ministries have been piling these old vehicles while completely clueless over whether any of the vehicles could be reused with minimal maintenance work.

      Even as hundreds of expensive vehicles lay in ruin, the government has continued to purchase new vehicles every year for newly appointed ministers, government officials and other dignitaries. Earlier this week, the government was criticised for its decision to purchase a luxurious fleet, at a cost of Rs 180 million, for President Bidya Devi Bhandari.


      Last month, the Prime Minister’s Office formed a panel to revive the abandoned vehicles inside Singha Durbar. The panel, led by Amar Bahadur Thapa, Senior Divisional Engineer at Ministry of Urban Development, has been asked to inspect the vehicles and clear the ones that can be reused for maintenance. A portion of the repaired vehicles is expected to be deployed at local levels, where officials have been demanding vehicles for months.

      Sports

      Banepa Cricket Academy and Sports Centre is organising the School League Cricket from January 19 to February 2 at the Pulchowk Engineering College in Lalitpur.
      A total of 10 teams will be participating in the tournament and will be divided into two pools of five side each. The top two teams from each group will enter the semi-finals. The semi-finals and final matches will be of 25-over-a-side, while the league matches will be a Twenty20 affair. 
      The champion will get Rs 71,000 with the runner-up side getting Rs 21,000. The man-of-the-series will get a kit bag, while prizes are also set aside for the best batsman, bowler and every man-of-the-match,” informed the organiser during a press conference in Kathmandu on Thursday.
      Ritesh Singh, the event co-ordinator, said the tournament will help to identify talent from the grass root. “We always complain of not having a good pool of cricketers for the future so to get that we need to work ourselves. We are hopeful that this tournament will help in identifying future prospects for Nepali team,” said Singh. 
      According to the organiser, any student studying upto Grade X from the participating school can participate in the tournament irrespective of the age. “It doesn’t really matter because its a tournament for school students. Even if the student is 20 years old, he can participate representing his school,” said Singh.
      Arun Aryal, former U-19 and women’s national team coach, added the tournament will involve more kids into the game. “If more and more school participate in tournament of this kind, the number of kids involving in this game will increase. This will at least lay a foundation for them to continue playing cricket in coming days and same will be the case with their schools too,” said Aryal. 
      Former U-19 team captain Prithu Baskota, who led Nepal in the 2012 ICC U-19 World Cup in Australia, has been named the brand ambassador of tournament.

      Health & Style

      Fiction Park

      Love that Refuses to Die

      KESHAB SUBEDI, Dec 09 2018
      This is not a love letter, but a synthesis of realisation. And obviously a futile attempt. This is simply a review of that mysterious communion and an anecdote of that divine but yet toppled history.
      full story »

      Saturday Features

      Inspired by reality

      Usha Sherchan is a poet, lyricist and fiction writer who has published three poem collections, Najanmeka Asthaharu, Akchhyarharuka Shibirma and Sarbakaalin Peedara Jagritiko Sankhaghosh, one short story collection, Tesro Rang, and five albums containing her lyrics.

      Speechless in Baluwatar

      Guffadi
      When Oli became our Prime Monster for the first time, he promised us many things. He left Baluwatar without fulfilling any of the promises made. We are still waiting for our government to pour some money to promote wind energy. We are still waiting for our homes to be connected to cooking gas pipelines. We are waiting for everything Oli promised us then.

      The things we throw away

      MOHAN GURAGAIN
      Waste is a sign of prosperity—the more you earn, the more you dump. It is only the wealthy that throw things away, the poor have little to discard. This rag, that piece of wood, a length of pipe, crooked nails, lids of jars—they could all be of some use some day.

      Bearing witness

      NIRANJAN KUNWAR
      Can a pamphlet be a poem, a poem be the story of a murder, the murder be recalled as a ballad and the ballad then become an argument?” — Amar Kanwar.

      Bhaktapur in a trance

      In Bhaktapur, time seems to have stopped. The spectre of modernity and gentrification might have pushed other districts to a point of no return but it has left this ancient city untouched—so its labyrinthine streets evince as you take a walk around.

      Video on demand

      ABANI MALLA
      A collection of landscapes perfectly syncs with the melody of a flute and smoothly transitions to extreme long shots of a valley that all come together to beautifully narrate the story of one courageous girl and her big dreams.

      Lives lost, loves regained

      Richa Bhattarai
      In my childhood, I was known as the boy whose mother had run off with an Englishman,” the narrator of All the Lives We Never Lived, a sexagenarian horticulturist, begins his tale. It is intriguing,

      NO REBEL

      Shuvechchhya Pradhan
      “I had no dreams,” was my mother’s response when I asked her what her dream was while growing up. “Why?” I asked, puzzled by the answer. “Because I didn’t have the privilege to dream as you do now.”

      We are all migrants

      Anand Vijay Gurung
      The call of a solitary pied cuckoorings above the brookthat gurgles over the rocks.Its black and whitewing patterns and spiky crest,stark against the monsoon greenof its momentary tree perch.