PM Oli begins evaluation of his own government

  • Says he does not want to hear any ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ from Cabinet members
ANIL GIRI, Nov 22 2018
Post Photo
In an unprecedented move, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has begun a performance evaluation of his own government starting Wednesday, calling a special meeting of ministers and secretaries following continuous criticism of his administration to deliver on the promises made since coming into office.
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Duhabi Bazaar of Sunsari remains tense for second day over Hussein’s murder

    PRADEEP MONYANGBO , Nov 22 2018
    Duhabi Bazaar of Sunsari remained tense for the second consecutive day on Thursday after locals continued protest against the murder of Mohammad Fida Hussein.
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    President’s motorcade faces red light

      SANJEEV GIRI, Nov 22 2018

      Amid widespread criticism of government’s plan to expand the area of Office of the President by acquiring Nepal Police Academy and purchasing a set of new vehicles for President Bidya Devi Bhandari and her convoy, the Public Accounts Committee of the Legislature Parliament has started preparations to probe the matter.

      The committee on Tuesday decided to probe the government plan, terming it a matter of public interest and having long-term impact.

      Stakeholders from several quarters of the society, including leaders from the main opposition, former bureaucrats and eminent personalities, have raised their voice against the move terming it unnecessary and misuse of taxpayers’ money.

      The previous government of Sher Bahadur Deuba had floated the plan to purchase an armoured vehicle for President Bhandari and additional vehicles for her convoy.
      The President’s Office had sought Rs160 million to buy vehicles last year. The Deuba administration had sanctioned Rs40 million initially. The President’s Office, however, sought additional Rs140 million from the Defence Ministry for the purpose.    

      Prime Minister KP Oli’s government courted another controversy last month following its decision to shift Nepal Police Academy from its current location in Maharajgunj to Panauti. The academy, with a history of 70 years, spreads over an area of 194 ropanis.

      The President’s Office has claimed expansion to be guided by requirement of developing a helipad within its premises to ensure the public does not face traffic congestion whenever the head of state needs to travel as well as the disturbance caused by police training as the two facilities are located next to each other.    

      The Cabinet had also decided to shift the office and residence of Vice President to the Social Welfare Council Nepal in Lainchaur. The council spreads over an area of 28 ropanis and has been built from funds donated by citizens.

      PAC Chairman Bharat Kumar Shah told the Post, “Such decisions have long-term repercussions and hence need to be discussed at length. The committee secretariat is making necessary preparations. We will come up with a verdict after thorough discussions with agencies concerned.”

      It is also necessary to discuss whether the country can afford to spend Rs180 million for the President’s motorcade, he added.

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      New alcohol control law in the offing

      Rajesh Khanal, Kathmandu, Nov 22 2018
      A file photo shows customers shopping for alcohol at a shop.
      The government has followed up a blanket ban on pornography by moving to control sales, consumption and production of alcohol, which it thinks are the main causes behind growing crime and rape cases.

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      War victims demand reforms in transitional justice bodies

      Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu, Nov 22 2018
      Conflict victims have demanded reforms in the two transitional justice commissions that have largely failed to achieve the desired progress.

      full story »

      I never thought I would receive such an honour, says Uma Devi Badi

      ARJUN SHAH, DHANGADHI, Nov 22 2018
      Born to the formerly untouchable Badi community, in Salyan, Uma Devi Badi has always lived in poverty and discrimination. But today, Uma Devi is a well-known human rights activist who has dedicated her life to advocating for the rights of the Badi community, spearheading many rallies and demonstrations for the rights of the Badi community.

      full story »

      Main News

      Local Level Operation Act: Government agencies spar over rights

      PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Nov 22 2018
      As the federal government works on amending the Local Level Operation Act, differences have appeared between the federal government agencies and the local levels.
      full story »

      Duhabi tense after NEA employee shot dead

      DEO NARAYAN SAH, PRADEEP MENYANGBO, Nov 22 2018
      An employee of the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) was shot dead by an unidentified assailant at Duhabi Municipality-9 in Sunsari district on Wednesday morning.
      full story »

      Council plans mental health survey in Nepal

      NAYAK PAUDEL, Nov 22 2018
      The Nepal Health Research Council (NHRC) is preparing to launch the National Mental Health Survey for the first time in Nepal.
      full story »

      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

      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.

      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

      Nepal Boxing Association is all set to organise the first Novice Boxing Championships from Wednesday at the National Sports Council covered hall in Tripureshwor.  

      The four-day event will feature bouts in 24 weight divisions in two age-group categories in both male and female sections, informed Nepal Boxing Association vice president and championships’ coordinator Arjun Bahadur KC on Tuesday. “The tournament basically aims at providing a springboard for the newcomers. We hope that the event will help unearth new talents in Nepali boxing,” said KC adding that they were planning to send 10 best pugalists for abroad training.

      The women’s U-19 category will have weight divisions in 48kg, 51kg, 54kg, 57kg and 60kg while the U-24 age category will have competitions in 49kg, 52kg, 56kg, 60kg, 64kg, 69kg, 75kg and 81kg. The men’s U-19 event will have 49kg, 52kg, 56kg, 60kg, 64kg bouts while men’s U-24 category will feature bouts in 49kg, 52kg, 56kg, 60kg, 64kg, 69kg, 75kg and 81kg divisions.

      In all, 150 boxers are expected to compete in the tournament to be held under the aegis of National Sports Council (NSC). The expected budget of the event is Rs 2.2 million. NSC will provide Rs 1.2 millions while the rest will be borne by the association.

      The Continental Trading Pvt Ltd is organising the Isuzu Open amateur golf tournament at the Gokarna Golf Course on Saturday.

      The one-day tournament will be played over 18 holes under stableford3/4 handicap format. “We have limited the number of participants to maximum 100 including about 8-10 women golfers,” informed Deepak Acharya, the professional golfer and senior golf director of the Gokarna Forest Golf Resort.

      The prizes on offer include overall winner, runner-up, best gross winner, ladies’ winner, senior winner (60-year and above), junior winner (17-year and below), longest drive, closest-to-the-pin and most birdies. Golfers have the opportunity to
      ride home with not just one but two Isuzu pick-up vehicle for Hole-in-One at No 10 and No 16.

      Asian Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (AFBF) is all set to organise the first South Asian Bodybuilding Championships from November 23 to 25 in Kathmandu.

      The event will be participated in by bodybuilders of all eight South Asian countries—Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal—said Lokendra Pariya, the member secretary of Nepalese Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (NFBF). Pariyar, who is also the executive member of the AFBF, informed that AFBF is the organiser of the event and NFBF the local event coordinator.

      “Around 45 international bodybuilders have already registered their names for the event and we are expecting more registration before the deadline closes on Wednesday,” said Pariyar. There will be seven weight divisions in the men’s bodybuilding: 60kg, 65kg, 70kg, 75kg, 80kg, 85kg and above 85kg. The male bodybuilders will also have competitions in physique category, up to 168cm and up to 171cm categories.

      The women bodybuilders will vie in the open fitness and physique category. The physique will have competitions in 162cm and over 162cm category. As the hosts Nepal will have privilege to field at least two players in each category. The organiser is expecting participation of at least 100 players in total. The main event under the championships will be held on November 24.

      The first executive committee of the South Asian Federation of Bodybuil-ding and Fitness will also be picked on the sideline of the championship.

      Health & Style

      Fiction Park

      Colour me you

      Subani Sapkota, Nov 18 2018
      Fear feels strange. It starts with your mind, goes to your heart and travels all the way through your body, making your entire body shake and tremble. It creates a continuous drumming sound, and your heart does nothing to lessen the tension building up inside you.
      full story »

      Escalate

      Wealth of generations

      Bibhu Luitel, Nov 19 2018
      Champa Devi Tuladhar has been knitting socks for over 60 years. In her 76 years, she has given away more socks than she can count—to her family members, friends and just about anyone who would visit her. So when her granddaughters, Lorina and Irina Sthapit, approached her to market her warm handmade socks and sell them, she was hesitant. She had always expected nothing in return.
      full story »

      Saturday Features

      A tiny, delightful morsel

      Richa Bhattarai
      Indian author Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi’s latest offering, The Rabbit and the Squirrel, is likely to baffle librarians and booksellers, for it defies conventional genres.

      Going the extra mile

      Amir Raj Thapa
      At 4am on a chilly autumn morning, a troupe of 23 students and teachers from the Ambika Secondary School gathered in Panauti. The crowd stirred—ready to get on the bus to Kathmandu where the students were to take part in the Kathmandu Marathon set to kick off later that morning.

      Nepaleaks

      Guffadi
      We are done with Tihar and yet, evil continues to rule over good in this land of ours. The only folks who have all the fun during the festive season are our hardworking civil servants, honest contractors and humble politicians.

      Falling in and out of love with words

      Ajit Baral
      When at home and not working, my wife and I usually read books, sitting alongside each other. And when she comes across a word she is not familiar with, she invariably asks me its meaning.

      Mardi mountain madness

      The Mardi Himal trail is an incredible trekking route, where the terrain varies from dense forests to rugged rockscapes and mountain landscapes.

      Art imitates life

      ABANI MALLA
      Ashim Shakya’s artwork is a time machine that merges decades and histories. It takes observers to a surreal Kathmandu, where the cityscape is a platform on which is staged a play where artefacts and deities frolic.

      Movie review: Producer Changa; Storytelling Chet

      ABHIMANYU DIXIT
      Nepali bureaucrats all seem to be under a malaise that invites much criticism—they do their 9-5 jobs without any conviction or any motivation to perform, since at the end of the month, they will be paid regardless. The team behind Changa Chet seems to be afflicted with the same syndrome.

      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.