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Life continues to remain crippled as strike enters 3rd day

News4u-News Desk- Schools and market places remained closed and transport services were disrupted as normal life was crippled across Nepal for a third consecutive day due to a general strike called by several ethnic groups to press for more rights and representation in the new constitution.

The three-day strike was called by Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities, representing various ethnic groups, demanding ethnicity based names and demarcation of federal states in the new constitution.

All academic institutions, market places, shops and industries remained closed and transportation services were brought to a grinding halt due to the strike.

Mostly Maoist affiliated ethnic groups are backing the general strike, which has caused hardship to the general public and hit country’s tourism industry.

Meanwhile, twenty five youth leaders belonging to the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have issued a joint statement raised serious objections to the remarks made by Maoist chief Prachanda, who called the agitating ethnic groups to counter those going against federalism, saying “such statement only disturbs communal harmony and leads to confrontation among various ethnic groups”.

Despite the assurances given by the agitating ethnic groups not to obstruct movement of press vehicles and ambulances, media vehicles and ambulances were also vandalised by the groups while enforcing their strike.

On Sunday more than a dozen press vehicles were vandalised by the agitating groups.

Yesterday, the agitators vandalised at least two vehicles in Jhapa and Rupandehi districts.

They vandalised a vehicle belonging to the newspaper Repulica Daily in Kerchha area of Jhapa district while it was returning after distributing newspapers.

They also torched a passenger bus at Manahara village of Rupandehi district.



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13 Indians among 15 dead in Nepal plane crash

News4u-News Desk- Thirteen Indian pilgrims were among 15 people killed when a private plane crashed in northern Nepal after hitting a hill top while trying to land at high-altitude Jomsom airport on Monday.

The Dornier aircraft belonging to the Agni Air went down when it hit the top of a hill while landing at the Jomsom airport in northern Nepal, said an official at the Rescue Coordination Committee of Tribhuvan International Airport.

Six people on board, including a crew member and five Indians, have been rescued alive from the crash site, he said.

The injured people were taken to a hospital in Pokhara where condition of the three Indians were critical.

There were altogether 18 passengers including 16 Indians and three Nepali crew members in the ill-fated aircraft.

The aircraft was heading towards Jomsom in the morning from Pokhara when it hit the hill, the official said, adding that there are possibilities of a technical fault.

The passengers had chartered the flight to take them from the central tourist hub of Pokhara to Muktinath, a famous Hindu pilgrimage in Jomsom near Tibetan border at the foot of the Thorong La Himalayan mountain pass, the official said.

The high-altitude Jomsom airport, about 200 km northwest of the capital, is a gateway to a popular tourism and trekking destination situated more than 2,600 m above sea level.

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Kailash Mansarovar yatra route to be cleared by May 25

News4u-News Desk-Pithoragarh, District authorities today claimed to get the Kailash Mansarovar route cleared by May 25 for the religious voyage to begin from June 1.

The track route up to Nabhidhang inside the Indian territory will be cleared of all obstacles by May 25, district magistrate CMS Bisht told reporters here.

Bisht today held the first review meeting for the Kailash Mansarovar yatra, attended by district and police officials representatives of KMVN, ITBP, BSNL, and BRO. This year, the yatra from June 1 to September 25 will be in 16 batches, he said.

The DM instructed SDM Dharchula Abhishek Tripathi to inspect the route. For communication during the religious trip, BSNL will provide five satellite mobile set each to KMVN and ITBP, he added.

“We will install a wireless control room at base camp Dharchula besides providing satellite sets to all policemen on security duty,” said AS Takwale, superintendent of police pithoragarh district.

The services of 18 doctors and same number of pharmacists will be made available to the pilgrims during the yatra this year, Chief medical officer of the district SC pant informed. PTI

Indian pilgrims to Mansarovar

 

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13 killed, 60 missing in glacial lake burst in Nepal

News4u-News Desk-  A glacial lake burst on Saturday in the high Himalayan region in northwestern Nepal sweeping away houses, farms, cattles near the tourist resort of Pokhara, killing at least 13 people and leaving 60 missing, including three foreign trekkers.

The lake waters flooded the Seti river in the remote Kaski district, 300-km away from capital Kathmandu, sweeping away parts of Sardikhola village located on the foothills of the famous Machapuchare peak.

The army and police officials said so far 13 bodies have been recovered from the banks of the swollen river.

“The waters have risen so high that they are touching bridges,” they said.

Official said though the bodies were badly scarred and swollen, most of them appeared to be of local villages.

Army spokesman Ramindra Chhetri said army helicopters and rescue teams had been rushed to the spot and five people buried under deluge were rescued.

He said the fury of the river waters had also swept away trucks and buses.

Fast-flowing floodwaters from the swollen Seti River smashed into two buildings and a number of shacks in Kharapani village, in the shadow of Mt Annapurna.

Though incidents of glacial Himalayan lake burst have been reported from parts of Tibet in China, this is the first such major tragedy in Nepal.

Nepalese experts have warned of such catastrophic happenings triggered by climatic change and melting glaciers.

Chhetri said sixty people were still missing, including three Russian tourists who were part of a trekking team.

The names of the Russians were immediately known.

The flooded region is a major draw for foreign trekkers as the area has three more than 8,000 metre peaks, including Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri, but as the trekking season is yet pick up, the number of mountaineering teams is less in number.

Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has ordered the authorities to conduct the rescue operation without any delay.

He is monitoring the incident and is in touch with the authorities in Pokhara.


 

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India keen to set up bio-technology based industries in Nepal

News4u-News Desk- KATHMANDU: India today said it was keen to invest in bio-technology based industries in Nepal.

Indian entrepreneurs are willing to invest both capital and technology for setting up of biotech based industries in Nepal, the country’s Ambassador to Nepal Jayant Prasad said.

He said “bio-technology can be a part of the growing bilateral development partnership between India and Nepal”.

The unique biodiversity of Nepal and its favourable climate as well as large number of labourers make it an ideal location for establishing high-quality, cutting-edge biotech industries, Prasad said at the Nepal-India Natural Products Conference here.

Conference was organised by Indian Embassy here in collaboration with Centre for Molecular Dynamics Nepal.

“There is the need for an enabling environment, peace, stability, predictability in investment policies, and Nepali technologists and entrepreneurs as partners, to make a success of these ventures,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion as chief guest Minister for Science and Technology Kalpana Dhamala said, “Nepal can benefit a lot if we can utilise the unique natural herbs and medicinal plants at our disposal through the use of advanced technology.”

There are many micro-organisms found in Nepal which can be used as natural anti-biotic and boost our agriculture, she said, stressing the need for conducting further scientific research and development to get maximum benefit from these natural products.

Nepal is home to more than 10,000 species of plants, including 500 indigenous species.PTI

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India, Nepal to ink double taxation avoidance pact today

News4u-News Desk-

India and Nepal will sign the key Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) during the day-long visit of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in Kathmandu on Sunday, a move which will help create better investment climate for Indian businesses in this country.

 

Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, who arrived in Kathmanduon Saturday to prepare ground for Mukherjee’s visit, said the Finance Minister and his Nepalese counterpart Barsha Man Pun will ink the pact on Sunday.
“India has an abiding interest in the peace, stability and prosperity of Nepal and this motivates our wish to expand the cooperation between our two nations,” he told reporters at the Tribhuvan International Airport upon his arrival inKathmandu.
DTAA, which embodies modern trade principles, will enable Indian investors and traders to enjoy tax relaxation in Indiaonce they pay taxes in Nepal.
During Nepalese Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s recent visit to India, the two countries had signed BIPPA (Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement) to attract more Indian investment in Nepal.
The two sides were supposed to sign DTAA during Bhattarai’sIndia visit, but it was postponed due to some technical reasons.
The agreement will boost the confidence of the investors and help Nepal attract more investment from India, according to experts.
Nepal government has sorted out differences on the text of some of the articles of the agreement, making it at par with that of India.

 

The Nepalese Cabinet some days back endorsed the revised texts of the agreement


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Govt assures FDI in retail sector will not hurt small traders, farmers

 

News4u-News Desk-

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has assured that FDI in multi-brand retail sector will not hurt small traders and farmers. 

 

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi he said that it would give a boost to the economic climate of the country through foreign investment.

 

Anand Sharma added that a number of safeguards have been provided which will ensure that concerns of certain sections are addressed.

 

These include- FDI to be limited to cities with a population of more than 10 lakh and thirty percent of procurement would be through small industries.

 

Guidelines have also been given on minimum investment in backend activities like marinating supply chain and warehouse.

 

Earlier in the day, in a statement, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said both in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha that the policy on single brand retail has also been liberalised, removing the 51 per cent cap on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Allowing FDI in multi-brand retail, which is dominated by neighbourhood stores, will be subject to riders including a minimum investment of USD 100 million (Rs 5,200 crore).

At least 50 per cent of the investment would in the back-end infrastructure like cold storage, packaging and other logistics.

The global retail chains like Walmart and Carrefour will have to source at least 30 per cent of their requirements from small industries. Besides, they will be allowed only in cities with one million people.

Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma

Commerce & Industries Minister Anand Sharma

 

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Nepal awaits Pranab Mukherjee’s visit

News4u-News Desk-KATHMANDU: A month after Nepal’s Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai’s official visit to India, New Delhi is sending its finance ministerPranab Mukherjee to Kathmandu to sign aDouble Taxation Avoidance Agreement, Nepal’s official media said on Monday. 


The pact was to have been signed during Bhattarai’s India visit in October but was held up due to technical reasons. On his return home subsequently, the Nepali premier came under fire, both from his own party and other major parties, for failing to push through the pact and instead having signed a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement.

Mukherjee’s one-day visit will come ahead of a critical constitutional deadline. The Bhattarai government was mandated to unveil a new constitution by Nov 30 but will not be able to meet the challenge due to political complexities, including fighting within the PM’s own Maoist party. Three earlier governments failed to execute the same mandate and had to pay for their failure by making way for a new government.

The ruling parties are now seeking to extend the constitutional deadline by another six months and Parliament is expected to take a call on that on Thursday. Mukherjee’s imminent visit indicates India’s confidence that the deadline will be extended and Bhattarai, who has described his own government as the “last chance” for the new constitution and peace process in Nepal, will remain in power.

Though the Maoists’ former allies, the communists, have been sniping at the Bhattarai government and demanding a new national government, they have not been recently seconded by the other large opposition party, the Nepali Congress. The Nepali Congress is traditionally close to India’s Congress party and New Delhi has been known to persuade the Nepali party to follow its own inclinations during political developments in Nepal.

Ahead of Mukherjee’s visit, the Bhattarai government - under fire for its jumbo cabinet and bid to grant amnesty to a party lawmaker convicted of murder - is however exerting itself to push the stalled peace process forward. As Nepal on Monday observed the fifth anniversary of the peace accord that ended the Maoist insurgency after a decade, government, army and Maoist representatives spread across the 28 Maoist cantonments to begin grouping the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

The nearly PLA 20,000 combatants are being asked if they would like to join the national army, retire voluntarily or seek rehabilitation. So far, the majority of the combatants have sought integration in the army with the rest opting for retirement. Though the PLA was to have been discharged within six months of the signing of the peace accord on Nov 21, 2006 by Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and the then prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala, the task took a backseat due to protracted political turmoil.Agencies


 

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6 killed in plane crash in remote Nepal

News4u - News Desk : KATMANDU: An army plane crashed in a remote mountainous region of west Nepal while bringing a sick person to the capital, killing six people, officials said on Wednesday.

The Britten-Norman Islander plane, flying from the western town of Nepalgunj, was reported missing after it lost contact on Tuesday night in a remote mountainous area about 125 miles (200 kilometers) west of Katmandu.

Nepal army spokesman Rabindra Chetri said the plane crashed in the forested mountainous area and rescuers only reached the site early hours of Wednesday.

All six people on board were killed, he said.

There were two crew members on board, along with a doctor, nurse and a relative of the sick person.

He said the wreckage was in a difficult area to reach because it is an hour-long trek from the nearest village. Rescue helicopters were also not able to land near the site and had to return to the base because of the weather and mountainous terrain.

Initial reports said they have pulled out four of the bodies from the wreckage, he said.

Police chief in the area Uma Prasad Chaturbedi said soldiers, police and local villagers were combing the area where the plane crashed.PTI

 


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10 killed, 6 missing in Nepal landslides

News4u - News Desk : At least ten people have been killed and six others missing due to landslides triggered by monsoon rains in Nepal’s western and central remote mountainous districts on Friday.

 

Three members of a family were killed in the landslide at Thansing Village Development Committee (VDC) in Nuwakot district. Five people, who were critically injured after their house collapsed, have been taken to the capital for treatment. Three others have been killed due to the landslide triggered by incessant rainfall in Purtimkada VDC of Rukum district in western Nepal.

Four members of a family from the same VDC were killed and six others have been missing when the landslide buried their house in Rukum district, according to police.

The police have started massive search operations for the missing people.

 

 

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