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R&D Economic Research & Business Development

Date: October 16, 2009

Highlights

Amid speculations that the suspicious Chinese regime would not manage a meeting between the Nepal Maoists’ Party high powerful delegation with the Chinese President Hu Jin Tao, the Janadisha Daily, on the contrary, reveals that the “meeting” has been confirmed. The Maoists’ Party mouth piece claims that the meeting will take place today, October 16, 2009.

Dr. Shekhar Koirala, a Surgeon turned politico addressing a gathering in Lamjung, took the Maoists to task during his tentative one hour long speech. He said, “To abide by the Constitution and Rule of Law is what we call Civilian Supremacy.”

Lawmakers at the meeting of the Constitutional Committee (CC) of the CA demanded "easy and flexible provisions" to make amendments in the new constitution except those concerning its basic tenet and spirit.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in a letter to Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has congratulated him for his leadership on healthcare.

In a bid to find a way out of the political gridlock, the UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-UML formed a three-member panel on Thursday. The move came after the Maoists rejected the NC-UML proposal on ending the crisis.

One of the Unified Maoists’ Central Committee member has hinted that since the utility of the Indian regime had finished upon signing of the 12-Points Agreement with the main stream political parties of Nepal and thus he says in a direct manner that the Maoists’ Party will work in tandem with the Chinese regime for the overall benefit and development of the country.

The government will be leaving no stone unturned for the security of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is arriving here on Oct. 29 on a two-day visit.

The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has “drawn serious attention” to nine senior police officers, including Inspector General of Police, Ramesh Chand Thakuri, with reference to their dealings in the controversial Parka Deal.

The United Nations said Thursday it had been forced to cut food rations to 90,000 Bhutanese refugees living in camps in Nepal due to a severe funding shortage.

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The World Poverty Reduction Day is being marked on 16-18 October in Nepal.

Gorkha Development Bank (Nepal) opened its 12th branch at Shankhadhar Chowk of Madhyapur Thimi Municipality on Thursday.

Although inflation continue to gallop at a double-digit rate, it has moderated to 10.4 percent in the first month of 2009/10, compared to 13.1 percent of the same period last year, says Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB).

The Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology, the national standards agency, has scrapped the Nepal Quality Certificate (NS) mark of six products produced by five manufacturers during the last fiscal year 2008/09. According to the department, the vegetable ghee and soybean oil produced by Arun Banaspati Ghee Udyog, the beer of United Brewery, the noodle of Multi Food Industries, the mustard oil of Saurav Oil Mill and the Portland cement produced by Dynasty Industry have lost the NS mark.

Nepal Telecom has sold 29,000 SIM cards over the six days till Thursday, as students rush to enjoy 50 percent discount that it offered to them on Namaste, its pre-paid mobile service. The company unveiled the scheme on Sunday.

Hotel entrepreneurs located inside Chitwan National Park (CNP) said that the parliamentary Natural Resources and Means Committee (NRMC) had made an attempt at character assassination of the hoteliers in a premeditated manner.

With an aim to create investment-friendly atmosphere for Non-Resident Nepalis (NRNs) the government has decided to amend the Industrial as well as Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Act.

Devman Hirachan, a Japan-based entrepreneur, has become the president of the Non-Resident Nepalis Association (NRNA) unanimously, as the two other contenders - Ram Pratap Thapa and Bhim Udas - quit the race, backing him.

The Nepal Stock Exchange (NEPSE) surged 10.05 points on Thursday. The NEPSE index settled at 609.55 points when trading closed. All the sub-indices except for hydropower rose on Thursday. The banking sector was the biggest gainer on the floor as it rose 11.34 points followed by the development bank sector which grew 6.21.

Tihar is not just about worshipping Goddess Lakshmi, firecrackers or sharing sweets and gifts. It is also about decorating houses and flowers top the list to decorate houses to attract deities that are believed to be active in the atmosphere during festive seasons.

At least five persons have been killed and about 5,000 have fallen ill due to a disease that is similar to viral fever in Chitwan in central Nepal in the past one month, Nagarik daily reported Thursday.

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A Nepalese teenager revered by many as a reincarnation of Buddha has asked organizers to stop a Hindu festival where thousands of animals are typically slaughtered, his followers said Thursday.

Eight more cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 (A) known as swine flu have been detected in Nepal, the Health Ministry said Thursday.

POLITICS: Chinese Prez to meet Nepal Maoist delegation today Amid speculations that the suspicious Chinese regime would not manage a meeting between the Nepal Maoists’ Party high powerful delegation with the Chinese President Hu Jin Tao, the Janadisha Daily, on the contrary, reveals that the “meeting” has been confirmed. It was speculated that the Maoists’ Party chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s presumed double speak had already irritated the Chinese regime. The Maoists’ Party mouth piece claims that the meeting will take place today, October 16, 2009. The meeting will take place in the Jinan, the economic capital of Sandong province. “Our team is scheduled to meet the Chinese President tomorrow afternoon, October 16, 2009”, the Janadisha daily quotes Prakash Dahal, Prachanda’s heir apparent and the self-declared and employed private secretary of the Party chairman. “We are heading to Jinan to meet the President”, added Junior Dahal. The Maoists’ Party vice Chairman Mohan Baidya Kiran, Prachanda’s heir apparent Prakash Dahal and Mr. Krishna Bahadur Mahara are also a part of the delegation. “Our meeting with the President will focus on enhancing bilateral ties between the two countries and the two communist parties”, Prakash told Janadisha. Source: www.telegraphnepal.com Date: 2009-10-16 Don’t drag Nepal Prez into Political Controversy: Dr. Shekhar Koirala Dr. Shekhar Koirala, a Surgeon turned politico addressing a gathering in Lamjung, took the Maoists to task during his tentative one hour long speech. He said, “To abide by the Constitution and Rule of Law is what we call Civilian Supremacy.”

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“The notion of Civilian Supremacy should not become a ploy to grab power only”, Dr. Shekhar said. “We are lagging behind to fulfill our prime duties, drafting constitution on time and to bring logical end to the peace process”, Dr. Koirala added. Ridiculing the Maoists’ proposal to correct the unconstitutional decision of President made May 3, 2009, said Dr. Koirala, “The Nepali Congress will not allow the Maoists to drag the President into political controversies.” Source: www.telegraphnepal.com Date: 2009-10-16

Parties agree on flexible constitutional amendment procedures, but differ on national symbols Lawmakers at the meeting of the Constitutional Committee (CC) of the CA demanded "easy and flexible provisions" to make amendments in the new constitution except those concerning its basic tenet and spirit. At the discussion on the constitutional amendment in the CC Thursday, lawmakers said that the flexible provisions will ease amendment procedure in the constitution except clauses pertaining to fundamental rights and press freedom. The lawmakers representing the spectrum of political parties said that a referendum can be held if any amendments needs to be made in the constitution regarding those two issues (fundamental rights and press freedom). Speaking at the meeting, Unified CPN (Maoist) leader Dev Gurung argued that the new constitution should not be drafted "very loosely" assuming that it should be flexible and not "very rigorously" also maintaining that it should be a precise document and hence unalterable. However, Nepali Congress vice-President and Parliamentary Party leader Ram Chandra Poudel said that his party won't tolerate provisions for amendments on the issue of republicanism, rule of law and independent judiciary in the constitution. But we are in favor of easy provisions to make amendments in other issues pertaining to the constitution except these three, he said. On the other hand, CPN-UML's leader Bhim Rawal said that the rights of the people should not be strictly regimented and that it needs to be defined anew with the changes of time. He further warned that the constitution might be a victim of 'status-quo' if a rigorous procedure is put in place for making constitutional amendments.

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On Wednesday, political parties differed over the issue of whether to retain or change the national flag, national song and national emblem. While the NC and CPN-UML were in favor of retaining the current national flag, the UCPN (Maoist), Rastriya Janamorcha Nepal including few other small parties wanted to change it. Maoist leader Gurung was quoted in the media as saying that the current national flag should be changed so as to reflect the nationalities in the country. Gurung claimed that the current flag represented the royal dynasty and hence would be inappropriate in the changed political context. NC and UML leaders, however, differed with the Maoist view and said that the current flag is known the world over for its uniqueness and should be given continuity by redefining the symbols -- the sun and the moon. They also argued that the current flag should not be linked with monarchy. Source: www.nepalnews.com Date: October 15, 2009

British PM congratulates PM Nepal for his leadership on health British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in a letter to Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has congratulated him for his leadership on healthcare. British ambassador Andrew Hall met PM Nepal Thursday and handed over the letter from British Prime Minister Brown. "Your leadership and support for free health services and maternal and child health in Nepal was a crucial part of the event," Brown said in the letter, thanking PM Nepal for his participation in a high-level UN meeting on health. DFID Minister Mike Foster also wrote to PM Nepal to welcome the launch of Nepal's campaign to end gender based violence. Noting the link between political stability and economic development, he wrote, "Without consensus between the parties little progress is possible, and this threatens the efforts your government is making to improve the lives of poor people across Nepal." Foster further said, "Many elements of the CPA are outstanding. If the peace process stalls, development will not be possible, and without development, any peace will be fragile." Nepal had met the British PM in New York on 23 September at the UK-organised maternal and child health event. On the same day, UK, Australia and World Bank had

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made a joint pledge of US$190 million for a new five-year health sector programme in Nepal, which will focus on achieving results for the most poor. British aid agency, DFID, made an investment of $100m in the last 5 years on Nepal's healthcare sector. Source: www.nepalnews.com Date: October 15, 2009

Another panel to untie knot In a bid to find a way out of the political gridlock, the UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-UML formed a three-member panel on Thursday. The move came after the Maoists rejected the NC-UML proposal on ending the crisis. The three-member panel comprises Dev Gurung from the UCPN (Maoist), Arjun Narsingh K.C. from the NC and Yubraj Gyawali from the UML. UCPN (Maoist) Vice Chairman Baburam Bhattarai insisted that the joint proposal must make mention of President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav’s move reinstating the then Army Chief Rookmangud Katawal. “The panel aims to create an amicable environment for consensus through a middle path,” said K.C. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: October 16, 2009

India’s utility over, China’s stable partner could be Nepal Maoists One of the Unified Maoists’ Central Committee member has hinted that since the utility of the Indian regime had finished upon signing of the 12-Points Agreement with the main stream political parties of Nepal and thus he says in a direct manner that the Maoists’ Party will work in tandem with the Chinese regime for the overall benefit and development of the country. Hari Bol Gajurel opines that while the Maoists’ party worked in tandem with the Indian regime at time of the drafting of the 12-Point Agreement, now it was time the Maoists’ party looked for cooperation with China in the larger interest of the country. “When Nepal was a Monarchy, China had good links with the Royal Institution”, Gajurel says adding, “China is now looking for a stable partner in Nepal, and with the absence of monarchy now, the Maoists’ party could cooperate with the Chinese regime.” Mr. Gajurel who is a member of the High Level Commission for Land Reform also raveled that with the return of Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda from a weeklong trip to China, Nepal’s political turmoil will settle down for sure.

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“China and Maoists’ party of Nepal share the common interests”, Gajurel said adding, “We could prove to be a good partner of China.” Mr. Gajurel, however, did not disclose what the common interests were which both China and Nepal Maoists’ share? Mr. Gajurel made these somewhat perplexing but yet straight remarks at a press meet organized by Revolutionary Journalists Organization in Ghorahi of Dang District, October 15, 2009. The Himalayan question is: Will China trust the Nepal Maoists as expected by Mr. Gajurel? Source: www.telegraphnepal.com Date: 2009-10-16

High security cover for Sri Lankan prez The government will be leaving no stone unturned for the security of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is arriving here on Oct. 29 on a two-day visit. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a special security arrangement will be put in place for the Lankan president, whose itinerary includes a visit to Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. “Given security sensitivities, there will be a four-layer security cover--higher than Zplus cover--for the Lankan president,” a senior official at the ministry told the Post. Rajapaksa had to cut short his visit to Nepal on the first week of March after gunmen fired at Sri Lankan cricket players in Pakistan. Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Nepal Thosapala Hewage said itinerary of the president’s visit would be unveiled in a few days. According to the senior official, Rajapaksa will meet President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and Deputy Prime Minister Sujata Koirala on Oct. 29. He will fly to Lumbini the next day, unveil a statue built with Lankan aid and return to Colombo the same day. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: October 16, 2009 CIAA points finger at senior cops The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has “drawn serious attention” to nine senior police officers, including Inspector General of Police, 7


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Ramesh Chand Thakuri, with reference to their dealings in the controversial Parka Deal. Acting chief of the CIAA Lalit Bahadur Limbu said, “The CIAA did not recommend any action against the guilty for the tender under question has already been withdrawn.” However, the police have been instructed to call for a new tender as per the existing law. CIAA's two-month-long investigation has found irregularities in the present tender, which was previously awarded to the highest bidder, Ananda Traders Concern. The investigation also found nine senior police officers, including IGP Thakuri, to have been directly involved in awarding the tender illegally. Earlier, CIAA had interrogated IGP Thakuri and the officers to provide clarifications. The police had admitted to awarding the tender to Ananda Trade Concern “in haste”, as the fiscal year was drawing to a close. Terming these clarifications “weak”, CIAA has said that those involved in the process were found to be guilty of violating the law and abuse of authority. After the investigation, CIAA scrapped the tender that had been awarded by Nepal Police to the company to supply nearly 57,000 parkas for police personnel. CIAA had said that it scrapped the tender as the selection had not been made as per the Public Procurement Act and Public Procurement Regulations Act. The Act states that a party must develop a procurement plan before awarding the tender to procure anything that costs over Rs. 100. Nepal Police awarded the tender to Ananda Trade Concern, ignoring the lowest bidder, New Siddha Deurali Traders, who had quoted a price of Rs. 839 per parka. Ananda Trade had set a price of nearly Rs. 1,100, which, when inclusive of VAT, amounted to about Rs. 2,400 per parka. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: October 16, 2009

POLICY: UN cuts food rations for refugees in Nepal The United Nations said Thursday it had been forced to cut food rations to 90,000 Bhutanese refugees living in camps in Nepal due to a severe funding shortage. The UN's World Food Programme provides rice, lentils and other food to the refugees, who fled Bhutan when ethnic tensions flared nearly two decades ago and came to eastern Nepal, where they have lived ever since in camps.

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The move, which comes after the UN warned on Wednesday that the global economic crisis had led to declines in foreign aid and investment in poor countries, marks the first time rations have been cut in the camps. Nepal country representative Richard Ragan said the WFP was "extremely concerned" about the consequences of reduced rations on the refugees' health, and that further ration cuts may be necessary in the coming months. "The Bhutanese refugees have no legal right to own land or work, leaving them almost entirely dependent upon WFP food to meet their basic needs," the organisation said in a statement. A representative of the refugees told AFP it would be hard to live on the reduced rations. "I don't know how I'm going to survive for 14 days on 2.8 kilos (six pounds) of rice. I will have to eat very little so I don't run out of food," camp secretary Tek Bahadur Gurung said by telephone from the Beldangi camp. Bhutan has refused to allow the refugees to return, but more than 20,000 have now left Nepal for Western countries under a resettlement programme launched in 2007. The UN said the programme could take up to five years to complete, and called for urgent funding to allow it to continue feeding the refugees. Source: www.google.com/hostednews Date: October 16, 2009 Nepal marks World Poverty Reduction Day KATHMANDU, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- The World Poverty Reduction Day is being marked on 16-18 October in Nepal. The UN Millennium Campaign has set the three-day campaign with the slogan, "Commit to Poverty Reduction for Durable Peace" this year. On the occasion, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has given a message that "we could achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) if we work in a creative manner regarding the challenges and problems as food crisis, epidemic, recession, and climate change." The Prime Minister pointed out the need of policy and programs with common understanding citing the rest 6 years to 2015, the final year of the MDGs. He made it clear that the policies and program Nepal government brought for this fiscal year makes it clear that Nepal is committed to eradicate poverty, achieving the millennium goals. Source: news.xinhuanet.com Date: October 16, 2009

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BANKING: Gorkha Development Bank in Thimi Gorkha Development Bank (Nepal) opened its 12th branch at Shankhadhar Chowk of Madhyapur Thimi Municipality on Thursday. DB Bamjan, chairman of the bank, inaugurated the new branch, states a press release issued by the bank. The bank has the total paid-up capital of Rs 600 million. The bank´s total deposit has reached Rs 3.36 billion till the end of the fiscal year 2008/09. Likewise, the bank´s total investment and loan disbursement stood at Rs 100 million and Rs 3.4 billion respectively during the period. The bank earned a net profit of Rs 50 million in the fiscal year. The bank has been providing modern banking services including SMS Banking, Online Banking, ATM Services and Any Branch Banking Service.

Guheshwari Finance opens two branches Guheshwari Merchant Banking and Finance opened its second and third branches at Kantipath in Hetauda and Chuchchepati in Kathmandu. The financial institution has so far collected deposit amounting to Rs 720.8 million and disbursed loan amounting to Rs 693.9 million. It earned a profit of Rs 8.8 million. Source: www.myrepublica.com Date: 2009-10-15

BUSINESS / ECONOMY:

Inflation softens despite food price rise Although inflation continue to gallop at a double-digit rate, it has moderated to 10.4 percent in the first month of 2009/10, compared to 13.1 percent of the same period last year, says Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB). However, the central bank has attributed this ease in inflation to a drop in the prices of non-food items and services only. The prices of food items continued to soar during the period as well, adding financial burden to general consumers. “Mainly the prices of sugar and sugar related products increased by a whopping 49.6 percent during the period,” NRB said in its statement. The prices of vegetables and fruits too went up by 47.2 percent during the period, whereas the same had declined by about 11 percent in the same period last year.

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Similarly, the prices of meat, fish and eggs also increased by 32.8 percent and pulses soared to 31.7 percent during the first month of the current fiscal year, compared to the same month last year. The prices of grains and cereal products also witnessed an increment of 5.8 percent. Region-wise, commodity prices recorded biggest rise in the Kathmandu Valley, followed by Tarai and Hills. Last year, the respective rates were 13.5 percent, 13.1 percent and 12.4 percent. However, inflation during the period created little problems for the salaried employees and wage earners this time round because during salary went up by some 33 percent and wages too grew by 18.9 percent during the period. According to the central bank, wages of agricultural, industrial and construction laborers increased by 20.5 percent, 15.8 percent and 20.1 percent respectively during the period. These growth rates were higher than that recorded in the same period last year. Source: www.myrepublica.com Date: 2009-10-15

6 products lose NS quality mark The Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology, the national standards agency, has scrapped the Nepal Quality Certificate (NS) mark of six products produced by five manufacturers during the last fiscal year 2008/09. The manufacturers can no longer display the NS quality mark on their products or use it for any purpose related to their goods. According to the department, the vegetable ghee and soybean oil produced by Arun Banaspati Ghee Udyog, the beer of United Brewery, the noodle of Multi Food Industries, the mustard oil of Saurav Oil Mill and the Portland cement produced by Dynasty Industry have lost the NS mark. "They did not meet the criteria for continued use of the NS mark," said Sita Ram Joshi, director general of the bureau. He said that the bureau conducted tests every three months by collecting samples directly from the market instead of the factory. Till the end of last fiscal year, the department provided the NS mark to 126 manufacturers for 55 products. Meanwhile, the Nepal Bureau of Standards marked the 40th World Standard Day on Thursday under the global theme "Tackling Climate Change through Standards" amid a function. Addressing the ceremony, director general Joshi said that the bureau lacked funds for laboratory accreditation and the infrastructure for a laboratory. Products tested at an accredited laboratory get quality recognition in the international market.

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Kush Kumar Joshi, president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) said quality production and brand establishment were major factors for industrialisation and increasing exports. "But the national body which provides the NS quality mark has no advanced lab to test the products and make them internationally competitive," he said. He underscored the need to develop the Nepal Bureau of Standards first. "Until this body is strengthened, no industrialisation and quality production is possible," he said. \Speaking on the same occasion, Minister for Industry Mahendra Prasad Yadav said that the new industrial policy which would be endorsed soon, had a special provision for the bureau to make it a competent government body. "We will also allocate the necessary budget for its advancement in the next budget," he said. The Nepal Bureau of Standards hopes to get lab accreditation for a chemical, microbiology, food and metrology lab within one year. It maintains more than 16 1abs and provides lab facility to the general public too. On the occasion, the bureau awarded the NS Quality Award 2009 to Asian Paints (Nepal). Similarly, Hulas Wire Industries and Jagdamba Steels received a Letter of Appreciation 2009 for producing quality products. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: October 16, 2009

NT sells 29,000 SIM cards in six days Nepal Telecom has sold 29,000 SIM cards over the six days till Thursday, as students rush to enjoy 50 percent discount that it offered to them on Namaste, its pre-paid mobile service. The company unveiled the scheme on Sunday. “The response is quite good,” said Prakash Man Pradhan, chief of the NT branch, adding that the company expects the sale to cross over 35,000 by Friday, when the scheme ends. Despite huge sales, NT officials said that the business was still low compared to their initial anticipation. They had targeted to sell as much as 50,000 SIM cards under the scheme. Of the total sales, more than 16,000 SIM cards have been sold in Bharatpur municipality and about 14,000 cards have been sold in Ratnanagar municipality, according to the NT´s Chitwan branch. The number of pre-paid mobile users in Chitwan, where NT has capacity to distribute 160,000 prepaid SIM cards, was already over 111,000 prior to the scheme. With the scheme adding at least 35,000 new subscribers, consumers, who have long been complaining of network problems, expressed fear that the quality of NT´s mobile services might further deteriorate. 12


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Pradhan, however, maintained that the addition of new subscribers will not impact its service quality. Under the scheme, students can buy a pre-paid SIM card at Rs 510, whereas the regular rate stands at Rs 1,135. Source: www.myrepublica.com Date: 2009-10-15

Chitwan hoteliers condemn ‘character assassination’ bid Hotel entrepreneurs located inside Chitwan National Park (CNP) said that the parliamentary Natural Resources and Means Committee (NRMC) had made an attempt at character assassination of the hoteliers in a premeditated manner. At a press meet in Bharatpur on Thursday, they challenged the government to take strict action against them if it had any evidence that they were involved in rhino poaching. They said that they were facing such a serious accusation for the first time and that it had killed the morale of the entrepreneurs who have been involved in tourism for more than three decades at CNP. "We will not operate our hotels for now," said the owner of Machan Wildlife Camp. Earlier, the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had also made a field study about the impact of the hotels inside the national park; but it did not make any charges of involvement of the entrepreneurs in rhino poaching. In a series of interactions about the hotels here, there was only speculation about the negative impact on the biodiversity of CNP. "We have been made victims of the tussle between the two committees," said Dwarika Shrestha, owner of Chitwan Jungle Lodge. The hoteliers said that the army, the administration and other organisations related to conservation had also been monitoring illegal poaching. "There are cases where dead rhinos have been found near the CNP office and security posts," said Basanta Mishra, a hotelier. "If so, even the conservationists are poachers." Gaida Wildlife Camp is located in a community forest near Sauraha. According to the NRMC, this is also the area where most incidences of poaching take place. But the entrepreneurs said that there were more than 65 hotels near Gaida Wildlife Camp. "No accusations have been made against these hotels. Why only us?" said an entrepreneur. They said that three rhinos had been killed near the sector office of CNP at Sauraha four months ago. Narendra Man Pradhan, chief conservation officer of CNP, said that the seven hotels inside the national park were located 6-7 km from the main habitat of rhinos. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: October 16, 2009

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Govt to amend industrial, foreign investment policy With an aim to create investment-friendly atmosphere for Non-Resident Nepalis (NRNs) the government has decided to amend the Industrial as well as Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Act. The draft of industrial policy was forwarded to cabinet on February 14 and the Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Act was prepared on June 17. According to officials at the Ministry for Industry and Commerce, the industrial policy will be amended by giving priority to such provisions which will facilitate NRNs to invest in Nepal. Even though the ministry has not constituted a separate task force to amend the two different policies, it has assigned some officials to look after the amendment issue. The ministry has also initiated necessary discussion with stakeholders to determine the amendment module. It is understood while modifying the industrial policy, subjects like investment-friendly environment for NRNs, labour problem and small and medium scale industries will be accentuated. During their ongoing fourth global conference in Kathmandu, the officials of NonResident Nepali Association (NRNA) have ascribed the lack of related acts and legal provisions to low volume investment of NRNs in the country. Source: www.nepalnews.com Date: October 15, 2009 Hirachan is unanimous choice for NRNA president Devman Hirachan, a Japan-based entrepreneur, has become the president of the NonResident Nepalis Association (NRNA) unanimously, as the two other contenders Ram Pratap Thapa and Bhim Udas - quit the race, backing him. NRN leaders were in negotiations for several days to select the NRNA president unanimously. Born in Pokhara, Hirachan, 56, did his graduate studies in radiology from Japan University. He runs several travel agencies in Kathmandu and Japan. He will replace Upendra Mahato for the two-year term. Mahato, a prominent businessman based in Belarus, was the founding president, leading the Association for three consecutive terms. Since the NRNA constitution does not allow 4th consecutive term for the president, the global body of 1.3 million NRNs had to select its president from its global conference in Kathmandu that ends today. The conference, which started on Tuesday, will wind up this evening issuing the Kathmandu Declaration.

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Source: www.nepalnews.com Date: October 15, 2009

MARKET:

NEPSE surges 10pt The Nepal Stock Exchange (NEPSE) surged 10.05 points on Thursday. The NEPSE index settled at 609.55 points when trading closed. All the sub-indices except for hydropower rose on Thursday. The banking sector was the biggest gainer on the floor as it rose 11.34 points followed by the development bank sector which grew 6.21 points and the finance sector which went up 1.84 points. The share market witnessed a total turnover of Rs. 62.13 million with 138,221 shares being traded. Shares of 56 companies changed hands on NEPSE. Among the 18 commercial banks present on the trading floor, Everest Bank posted the biggest growth with its stock rising by 184 points while DCBL Bank lost the most by shedding 5 points. Similarly, among the 13 development banks whose shares were traded on NEPSE on Thursday, Triveni Bikas Bank witnessed the highest increase of 68 points. Among the 16 finance companies on NEPSE, Merchant Finance Company was the highest gainer with an increase of 29 points in its share price. United Finance lost 30 points. The top five winners on NEPSE were Triveni Bikas Bank with a 9.9 percent rise in its stock price followed by Merchant Finance Company, International Leasing and Finance Company, Nepal Development and Employ-ment Promotion Bank and Siddhartha Bank. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: October 16, 2009

GENERAL: Flowers for Tihar Tihar is not just about worshipping Goddess Lakshmi, firecrackers or sharing sweets and gifts. It is also about decorating houses and flowers top the list to decorate houses to attract deities that are believed to be active in the atmosphere during festive seasons. 15


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But the skyrocketing prices of daily commodities can be a pain in the neck for people preparing to celebrate the festival. With the prices of daily commodities shooting up in the market, flowers cannot be an exception. “Since we are celebrating Tihar much earlier this time, we are likely to see shortage of flowers. Flower prices may go through the ceiling this year as compared to past years,” says Arun Chhetri, President of Floriculture Association of Nepal (FAN). The Valley is likely to see short supply of flowers like Chrysanthemum (Godavari), marigold and Gomphrena Globosa (Makhamali) that are widely used during Tihar. According to FAN, the country needs more than 500,000 marigold garlands during Tihar. To meet the demand, we have imported more than 300,000 flowers from India and around 100,000 are being collected from local farms, added Chhetri Florists import flowers for Tihar from Indian cities like Kolkata, Siligudi and local farms in Kavre, Dhading, Sindhupalchowk and areas close to the Valley. While flowers like marigold are imported from India, Makhamali that is the most for Bhai Tika, the fifth day of the festival, is supplied by local farms. “We are importing marigolds from India as local marigolds tend to wither out soon,” Chhetri added. Since Indian sellers have increased flower prices, this is likely to show its effects in local market, he added. He also said marigold garlands, which are being sold in the range of Rs 40 to Rs 200, are likely to be dearer than previous years. Sitaram Pant, owner of The Fresh Flower Shoppe in Jawalakhel, also said flower prices could rise this year. “The price of almost everything, including transportation fares, goes up during festive seasons. It is obvious for the flower prices to swell up,” Pant said, adding garlands that are sold at Rs 24 a unit on normal days could be priced as much as Rs 50. Pant targets to sell more than 1,500 Makhamali garlands during the festival. He has also ordered more than 5,000 marigold garlands from India. Though flower business fares well during festive seasons, the unmanaged sales on the streets by seasonal sellers act as a hindrance for flower shops, according to Pant. Chhetri echoed Pant and said that FAN has not been able to forecast flower prices due to such unmanaged sales. “People buy flowers regardless of the price. That is why there is no uniformity in prices in the market,” rued Chhetri. Whatever the flower business be, people will have to dig deep into their pockets to arrange flowers for this Tihar festival. Source: www.myrepublica.com Date: 2009-10-15

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5 killed, 5,000 suffering from viral fever in central Nepal KATHMANDU, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- At least five persons have been killed and about 5,000 have fallen ill due to a disease that is similar to viral fever in Chitwan in central Nepal in the past one month, Nagarik daily reported Thursday. Although, doctors had initially suspected the disease to be viral fever and used medication for the same, the symptoms shown by the patients are quite different to most cases of viral fever, the report said. Patients have shown symptoms like body ache, high fever, vomiting, reduction of White Blood Cell in blood, and swelling of chest and gall bladder. The disease was mostly seen in women at the age of 18-35. According to Dr Shital Adhikari of Chitwan Medical College, thenumber of new patients has decreased lately, but the threat still persists as the disease has not been identified. Epidemiology and Disease Control Division has collected samplesfrom the patients and sent them abroad for further tests as tests conducted here could not establish the reason of the illness. Source: news.xinhuanet.com Date: October 15, 2009

Nepal's Buddha boy asks to stop sacrifices of animals, birds during Hindu festival KATMANDU, Nepal — A Nepalese teenager revered by many as a reincarnation of Buddha has asked organizers to stop a Hindu festival where thousands of animals are typically slaughtered, his followers said Thursday. Ram Bahadur Bamjan made the appeal in connection with the Gadhimai festival, which is celebrated every five years in southern Nepal and attended by people from both Nepal and India. There are plans at this year's festival on Nov. 24 for some 200,000 buffaloes, pigs, goats, chicken and pigeons to be slaughtered. Raju Shah, a member of the committee that runs Bamjan's affairs, said Thursday that the spiritual leader - who rarely meets visitors - held a meeting with organizers of the festival and made the request. When they refused, Bamjan decided he would visit the area during the festival and appeal directly to the people to stop the sacrifices. Bamjan's followers believe he has been meditating without food and water since he was first spotted in the jungles of southern Nepal in 2005. Believers say he spent months without moving, sitting with his eyes closed beneath a tree.

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Buddhism, which has about 325 million followers, teaches that every soul is reincarnated after death in another bodily form. But some Buddhist scholars have been skeptical of the claims that Bamjan is a reincarnation of Siddhartha Gautama, who was born in southwestern Nepal roughly 2,500 years ago and became revered as the Buddha, or Enlightened One. Source: www.google.com/hostednews Date: October 16, 2009

Eight more cases of swine flu detected Eight more cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 (A) known as swine flu have been detected in Nepal, the Health Ministry said Thursday. Ministry officials told journalists at a press conference organised in the capital that the flu has been detected in eight persons undergoing treatment in Kathmandu. Five of them are residents of Kathmandu, while three are from Chitwan. The samples were collected from patients undergoing treatment for flu in Bir Hospital, Patan Hospital, and Kanti Children’s Hospital. This is the first time swine flu has been seen within the community. Although, 36 swine flu cases were detected earlier, all of them were found in persons returning from foreign country and all of them have recovered fully. Health Ministry secretary Dr Sudha Sharma said the government would introduce special wareness programmes to check the flu from further spreading to the community. Source: www.nepalnews.com Date: October 15, 2009

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