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R&D Economic Research & Business Development

Date: October 6, 2009

Highlights

Nepal has slipped two positions to 144th spot among 182 countries on the global Human Development Index as compared with the position last year.

As if fresh visit of Unified Maoists’ Chief Prachanda to Hong Kong was not enough for Indian mandarins, now, adding fuel to the fire, Prachanda is leading yet another high powered Maoists’ Party delegation to mainland China.

Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal said on Monday that he has not pledged support to Nepali Congress (NC) President Girija Prasad Koirala to be the next prime minister.

Pretty worried looking Prime Minister of Nepal, Madhav Kumar Nepal in a bid to save the current coalition government from going to the dogs quickly arranged a meeting with the Maoists’ Party Chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda.

The government´s much-hyped plan to set up Integrated Administrative Service Centers in various parts of the 75 districts has remained in a limbo due to government apathy.

A Constituent Assembly (CA) task force on Monday decided to recommend CA chairman Subas Nembang to declare CA membership of Matrika Yadav and Jagat Prasad Yadav, void.

Nepal is eying to formalize bilateral trade treaty with India on October 28, when the Indian commerce minister Anand Sharma is scheduled to visit Kathmandu to attend SAFTA Ministerial Council (SMC).

The government has expressed willingness to accept the World Bank (WB) offer for support for the construction of 45km power supply line on the Nepali side of the Dhalkhebar-Muzaffarpur power transmission line. The bank will also initiate a discussion with the Indian side in this regard.

After losing the battle to prevent all retired Gurkha soldiers from settling in Britain, the Gordon Brown government Monday announced the opening of a Gurkha Settlement Office (GSO) in Kathmandu to assist British Gurkha veterans and their eligible dependants to relocate to the UK.

To compete with Far Eastern region, SAARC countries are developing regional concepts to boost intra-tourism with South Asian regional tourism cooperation.

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The Department of Transport Management (DoTM) has launched digital record system which will enable driving licence holders to check the legal status of their license online in its website: www.dotm.gov.np

The government has initiated investigation against 16 manpower agencies that have been accused by Israel of overcharging Nepali workers seeking greener pastures there.

A Dutch airline will connect Amsterdam with Kathmandu, ending a long dry spell of over five years.

The government is working on drafting a new bill for the proper management of higher education sector in the country.

Minister of Commerce and Supplies Rajendra Mahato at the head of a team of four representatives on Sunday left to participate in the Single Country Fair of Nepal at Copenhagen, Denmark.

Ganapati Community Forestry (GCF) located in Matehiya of Banke district has decided to fine Constituent Assembly member Mohammad Istiyak Rai for instructing his party cadres to clear the forest for cultivation, Nagarik daily reported.

A two-day international workshop on climate change and its impact on Asian agriculture began here in Kathmandu Monday.

Just days after almost 80 Tibetans were arrested in the Nepali capital of Kathmandu, the country has announced the deployment of a number of police along the Tibetan border, the AFP reported.

Sellers and users of firecrackers during this Tihar festival season will be tried under the Public Offense Act in an attempt to curb the increasing use of firecrackers.

Over 100 Armed Police Force (APF) personnel of Chhinnamasta Police Battalion, Bardibas were admitted to hospitals after they suddenly fell ill Monday. Doctors suspected food poisoning to be the cause of the illnesses.

The latest death and increasing number of diarrhoea patients contradict the government claim that it has brought the outbreak under control.

Recently, demanding job opportunities for women, a group from Chatre Deurali Village Development Committee-6 in Dhading had threatened to obstruct the waste disposal at Aletar landfill site.

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POLITICS: Nepal slips two notches on HDI Norway best place to live Nepal has slipped two positions to 144th spot among 182 countries on the global Human Development Index as compared with the position last year. In the international Human Development Index Report 2009 made public by UNDP here on Monday, Nepal has been put on the list of countries with middle income among the four categories of very high, high, middle and low income countries. Norway, Australia, Iceland, Canada and Ireland are on top of the list of the countries in HDI. Niger, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Mali, Burkina Faso and Congo are at the bottom of the list. Nepal´s neighbor China is on 92nd position and India on 134th position. In South Asia, the Maldives is on 95th position, Sri Lanka on 102nd, Bhutan on 132th, Pakistan on 141th, Bangladesh on 146th and Afghanistan on 181th position. China moved up seven places on the list to rank as the 92nd most developed country due to improvements in education as well as income levels and life expectancy. The United States ranks 13th, down one spot from last year. Making public the HDI report, vice chairman of National Planning Commission Dr Yuvaraj Khatiwada said migration of people for health, education and jobs has helped in transfer of skills, knowledge and remittance. He said global migration has not only resulted in brain drain but also drawn skilled manpower. At the program, UNDP resident representative Robert Piper said remittance comprised 20 percent of Nepal´s GDP but economic situation of the country was far from satisfactory. He said there was a gradual improvement in political condition, human rights, health and education sectors in the last three years. Sociologist Ganesh Gurung said though migration and global mobility has contributed to the country´s economy through remittance, it is not a solution. The UNDP has been preparing the global HDI report regularly for the last 20 years. The report helps the countries to prepare their future strategies to tackle with the problems they are facing. Source: www.myrepulica.com Date: 2009-10-05

Nepal: Prachanda to lead high powered delegation to China As if fresh visit of Unified Maoists’ Chief Prachanda to Hong Kong was not enough for Indian mandarins to suspect the India friendly credentials of their former close chums, now, adding fuel to the fire, Prachanda is leading yet another high powered 3


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Maoists’ Party delegation to mainland China. A month back Prachanda leading a low profile delegation had met with some Chinese leaders in Guangzhou via Hong Kong. The visit of the Unified Maoists’ party delegation to Beijing is set for October 10, 2009. Party vice chairman Mohan Baidya Kiran, International Bureau Chief Krishna Bahadur Mahara and Prachanda’s heir apparent Prakash Dahal will comprise the delegation to China. The invitation to visit China has been forwarded by the Chinese Communist Party. The delegation is expected to meet the Chinese President Hu Jintao and some more key Chinese officials in Beijing. Surprisingly though, Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai, another powerful vice chairman of the major communist Party of Nepal has not yet been invited to visit China. Earlier, Sujata Koirala, Nepal’s foreign minister who visited China in midSeptember, 2009 was not allowed to meet the Chinese President and the Chinese premier for unknown reasons. Source: www.telegraphnepal.com Date: 2009-10-06 Dahal denies supporting Koirala for PM Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal said on Monday that he has not pledged support to Nepali Congress (NC) President Girija Prasad Koirala to be the next prime minister. “During my talks with Girija Prasad Koirala on Sunday, we did not talk anything about supporting him to be the next prime minister,” said Dahal referring to some news reports which stated that he offered Koirala to be the next prime minister. He was speaking at a function at Maoist party headquarters in Perisdanda, Kathmandu, to welcome some 50 new entrants to the party. Sources said that Dahal, who had a one-hour long meeting with Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal on Monday, assured Nepal that he was not working with Koirala to change the government. A source close to Nepal told myrepublica.com that Nepal had inquired Dahal about moves to form a new government under Koirala´s leadership. In response, Dahal said that changing the incumbent government is the least priority of his party. “Changing government is the fourth priority,” the source quoted Dahal as telling the prime minister during the meeting.

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The meeting, first of its kind since Dahal stepped down on May 4 as prime minister protesting the president´s move over the army chief row, has been taken as politically meaningful in view of the Maoists already taking to street against the Nepal-led government. The Maoist party terms the current government as a “puppet” government. The Maoists have been showing black flags to Nepal in public functions. During the meeting, the source further said, Dahal assured Nepal that the present government would not collapse due to the Maoists. Dahal further told Nepal that correcting the president´s move is the first priority of his party. According to Dahal, peace process and constitution writing are the third and the fourth priority of his party. Their talks were also focused on forming a high-level political mechanism and ending other political deadlock, said an aide to the prime minister. Earlier on Sunday, top leaders of the three major political parties -- Dahal of UCPN (Maoist), Girija Prasad Koirala of Nepali Congress and Jhala Nath Khanal of CPNUML and the prime minister -- had underscored the need of immediate formation of such a mechanism at a tea party organized by CPN-UML. Speaking at the function, Dahal also said that the current political deadlock will not last long. “The eclipse in Nepali politics will not last long. The ongoing negotiations will lead to consensus.” He argued that as the largest political party, the Maoist party should have the right to head the government. Earlier speaking at a different function in Kathmandu, Maoist politburo member Netra Bikram Chand said that the draft of the resolution motion prepared by the ruling NC and CPN-UML is unacceptable to his party as it suggests that the presidential move reinstating the then army chief Rookmangud Katawal was correct. The Maoist chairman had stepped down as prime minister following the presidential move. He said the Maoists are also preparing their own draft of a resolution motion and discussed with the NC and the UML. While arguing that the largest political party should lead the government, he said that the political parties should seek consensus in package in order to write a new constitution and take the peace process to its logical end. Source: www.myrepulica.com Date: 2009-10-05

Shaky Nepal PM meets Maoists’ Captain Prachanda Pretty worried looking Prime Minister of Nepal, Madhav Kumar Nepal in a bid to save the current coalition government from going to the dogs quickly arranged a meeting with the Maoists’ Party Chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda. Prachanda had just the other day offered President of the Nepali Congress Party Girija Prasad Koirala to head the next government that will be participated in by the Maoists Party thus ending the current political dispute.

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Prachanda later denied to have made this proposition to Koirala. Meeting between the two, PM Nepal and ex-rebel leader Prachanda, took place in Koteshwor Kathmandu, Monday October 5, 2009. The meeting was held at the personal residence of Mrs. Kayo Devi Yami, the elder sister of Hisila Yami-the illustrious and rich wife of Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai. It is learnt that during the meeting the Prime Minister requested the Maoists’ chief to promptly divulge official views of the Maoists’ party over the draft of the joint resolution proposal prepared by the Nepali Congress and the UML. In reply, said Dahal his party will comment on the proposal by Tuesday, October 6, 2009. Bishnu Rijal, the PM’s press advisor told the media that the PM was of the opinion that there was no alternative than the political parties unite to reach their common goals. The meeting between the two lasted for over 45 minutes. Prachanda after meeting the Prime Minister while addressing a program in the capital said that “after meeting the PM, I have become even more hopeful that the current political deadlock will end soon”. He however ridiculed the media reports that he had offered Congress President Koirala to lead the country. Prachanda was of the opinion that the Maoists’ led government was the best alternative to end current political dispute. Source: www.telegraphnepal.com 2009-10-06 Integrated service centers in limbo due to govt apathy The government´s much-hyped plan to set up Integrated Administrative Service Centers in various parts of the 75 districts has remained in a limbo due to government apathy. The government had decided to set up such centers five months ago in a bid to provide basic government services to the people in a hassle-free manner. The plan aimed at established such centers at places where the people from remote places can easily avail themselves of the government services. Officials said the process had to be stalled following protests in Bardibas of Mahottari district and some other parts of the country. Locals had protested the government decision saying that transferring government offices to other places would be unacceptable to them. Back then, the government had to withdraw its decision to set up such centers in Bardibas at Mahottari.

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"Though there is a demand for such centers, the process has stalled due to lack of government priority for the idea," said Sharada Prasad Trital, spokesperson at the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM). "The government should revise Service Centers Directive-2065, if needed, and should bring clear provisions about the deployment of civil servants, allocation of budget, jurisdictions of such centers and mobilization of resources," Trital added. The government also failed to allocate budget for such centers in the new budget for the new fiscal year. "No budget has been allocated under the heading of Service Centers in the Red Book of the current fiscal year´s budget and this shows that the government is no more serious about the idea," a source at the Ministry of Finance (MoFA) told myrepublica.com. The Ministry of Home Affairs, which is to handle such centers, has neither asked for budget from the MoFA nor made any preparations to resume the process. "We directed the District Administration Offices to forge consensus among political parties in districts and finalize the places for setting up such centers," said Jaya Mukunda Khanal, spokesperson at the Ministry of Home Affairs, adding, "We have yet to receive progress report from the chief district officers so the process has been delayed." The idea to provide basic services to the people in hassle-free manner had been welcomed from various quarters of society. The services to be provided by such centers include issuing citizenship certificates, passports, health services, food distribution, monitoring of schools, issuing route permit to vehicles and handling land survey, registration, purchase and sell among other things. Source: www.myrepulica.com Date: 2009-10-06

Once-over Membership void Kathmandu: A Constituent Assembly (CA) task force on Monday decided to recommend CA chairman Subas Nembang to declare CA membership of Matrika Yadav and Jagat Prasad Yadav, void. The task force led by CA member Pushpa Bhusal recommended canceling the membership of the duo. Earlier, the UCPN-M had written to the CA chairman to cancel the membership of the former members for they had formed a new party, CPN-Maoist. The report is to be presented to Nembang, on Tuesday. The task force comprises of CA members, Sarita Giri, Yam Lal Kandel, Eknath Dhakal and Brijesh Kumar Gupta. — HNS

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President reciprocates KATHMANDU: President Dr Ram Baran Yadav has extended his note of thanks to all the Nepalis home and abroad who poured in messages of greetings to him on the occasion of Vijaya Dashami- 2009, a statement released by the President’s secretariat stated, on Monday. Source: www.thehimalayantimes.com Date: 2009-10-05 POLICY: Signing likely on Oct 28 Nepal is eying to formalize bilateral trade treaty with India on October 28, when the Indian commerce minister Anand Sharma is scheduled to visit Kathmandu to attend SAFTA Ministerial Council (SMC). If the Indian side responded positively, the revised trade treaty with special extra-duty and non-tariff barrier concessions for Nepal will come into effect from the same date. So far, India has continued to show apathy to Nepal´s call for signing the treaty that was signed during Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal´s visit to New Delhi about six weeks ago. "India has not given any particular date for signing the treaty yet. Hence, we are preparing to do so when the SMC convenes in the capital," said a senior official at Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS). Nepal and India had put initials on the treaty amid mess and after removing a contentious provision of re-export of third country to each other´s territory on August 22. However, for the treat to come into effect, the commerce ministers from two countries need to officially sign the document. Officials at MoCS believed that India might have pushed the signing ceremony down in its priority because the southern neighbor is intensively engaged in multilateral trade talks in recent weeks. The revised treaty is an outcome of two-year long negotiations between the technical committees of the two countries. It provides additional facilities for Nepal, which, traders say, will give impetus to country´s export trade to the largest trading partner. For instance, India, in the new treaty to be valid for seven years, has agreed not to impose extra-customs duty and non-tariff barriers on Nepali goods. This is expected to boost Nepal´s exports to India. Imposition of non-tariff and extra-customs duties, which debilitated Nepal´s competitiveness, has been badly affecting Nepal on the exports front. Sharp rise in consumption, on the other hand, has caused its trade deficit to widen to more than Rs 108 billion.

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Likewise, the treaty also provisions India to support Nepal upgrade its laboratories and recognize standard certification -- something which will mainly relieve agrotraders. In the absence of standard accreditation, Nepali exporters were required to take their samples to Kolkata and wait for certification for at least a week. This used to affect exports of perishable items. "The delay (in signing the treaty) has continued to cost our export trade dearly. This situation must end immediately," said Kush Kumar Joshi, the president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI). SAFTA Ministerial Council to meet this month Commerce ministers from seven South Asian countries are convening in the capital on October 28 to address problems faced in implementation of regional free trade area. While the ministers are expected to guide the technical committee to slash sensitive lists, which are impeding meaningful integration of trade in the region, officials said SAFTA Ministerial Council (SMC) is also hopeful of getting the regional accord on trade in services endorsed during the meeting. To materialize this goal, the SAARC Committee negotiating on the accord is meeting in Kathmandu prior to the SMC meeting. "There are fewer issues to be hammered out. So we are hopeful that the accord will be finalized during this round of negotiation," said a source. The technical team´s meeting will be followed by the meeting of Committee of Experts on October 26 - 27, which will also discuss on non-tariff barriers existing in the regions and ways to eliminate them. If the negotiators finalized the accord on trade in services, the SMC will endorse it and forward it to the SAARC Summit, the highest body of the bloc, for approval and implementation. Source: www.myrepulica.com Date: 2009-10-06

Govt willing to accept WB aid The government has expressed willingness to accept the World Bank (WB) offer for support for the construction of 45km power supply line on the Nepali side of the Dhalkhebar-Muzaffarpur power transmission line. The bank will also initiate a discussion with the Indian side in this regard. A bank team, which met with the government officials on Monday at the Ministry of Energy to express the bank´s interest in extending assistance for the construction of the 400 kv transmission line between Nepal and India, discussed the modalities of a regional package to support the project.

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“We are more than willing to accept the assistance to complete the construction of the line on our side. The bank will discuss it with the Indian side soon,” a ministry official present in the meeting said, adding, “The bank can also extend private loans to the two companies set up for this project.” The bank can provide separate loans to the government or to both the joint-venture companies -- Power Transmission Company Nepal and Cross-border Power Transmission Company of India. The team also sought progress status of the Kabeli and Kali Gandaki upgrading project, and multi-fuel upgrading projects, among others. Nepal has also sought the bank´s assistance in other sectors like the proposed line on Kathmandu-Upper Tamakoshi section. “The meeting was positive and the modalities will be jointly worked out between the government, Nepal Electricity Authority and WB,” an NEA official said. India proposes Nov 8-9 for JCWR India has proposed November 8-9 for holding the meeting of the Joint Committee for Water Resources (JCWR) in Kathmandu, an official at the Ministry of Energy said. The JCWR will be followed by the ministerial-level meeting, the Joint Ministerial Commission on Water Resources (JMCWR), within a week in India. Source: www.myrepulica.com Date: 2009-10-06

Britain moves to settle veteran Gurkha soldiers KATHMANDU: After losing the battle to prevent all retired Gurkha soldiers from settling in Britain, the Gordon Brown government Monday announced the opening of a Gurkha Settlement Office (GSO) in Kathmandu to assist British Gurkha veterans and their eligible dependants to relocate to the UK. The GSO will provide essential information to prepare Gurkha vets, who want to move to the UK, for life there, including answering questions on life and support arrangements that would be available once they have migrated from Nepal. The GSO, located within the British Gurkhas Nepal camp in Man Bhawan Jawalakhel, Lalitpur will also provide guidance on the visa application process. The British Embassy in Kathmandu said the services and information will be provided free of charge. The move comes after an association of Gurkha vets that had fought a series of legal battles against the British defence ministry to wrest equal rights for Nepali soldiers serving in the British Army, took the initiative to advise veterans wishing to settle in the UK. The Gurkha Army Ex-Servicemen’s Association (Gaeso) has also employed British lawyers to fight further legal battles for retired soldiers whose applications for resettlement were rejected.

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The move comes after the British government was forced to ease immigration regulations for Gurkha vets. Till summer, only those who had retired after July 1997 were eligible to make the UK their home. However, a high-profile campaign led by British actress Joanna Lumley, whose father had been in the British Army and had been saved during the war by a Nepali soldier, led British MPs to vote against the government. Finally, in May this year, the British home secretary announced new guidelines according to which British Gurkha servicemen who retired before 1997 and their eligible dependants will also be considered for resettlement. Gurkha servicemen who served in the British Army prior to 1 July 1997 and completed four years’ service can apply to settle in the UK with their spouses and dependant minor children. It is estimated that nearly 100,000 Nepali soldiers and their families could migrate to the UK, which will cost the British government over 1.4 billion pounds in healthcare, education and other expenses. Most Gurkha families say they would like to live in the UK for advanced healthcare facilities available there as well as education and job prospects for their children. Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com Date: 5 October 2009

BUSINESS & ECONOMY: Intra-tourism promo bid To compete with Far Eastern region, SAARC countries are developing regional concepts to boost intra-tourism with South Asian regional tourism cooperation. The SAARC region alone has a population of 1.5 billion which itself is a huge market for intra-tourist movement. "During a meet organised at Dhaka, we have come up with a regional concept of tourism promotion within SAARC countries," said Ram Kaji Koney, president of Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA). According to him, the Dhaka declaration has been made and its draft is prepared which will be sent to all SAARC members to get approval for operation. After the approval, the regional concept will be declared during the NATTA Himalayan Mart that will be organised in Nepal. Far Eastern region with Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore has a broad tourism market and is a tough competitor for the South Asian region. The region is having economy tour and travel packages with number of tourism promotions. "If the regional concept gets declared, SAARC region will be able to compete with the Far East region's huge tourism market which is giving us tough competition," said Koney. According to him, along with the regional concept Nepal can also get its tourism promotion.

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"Once the tourism cooperation gets established, we are confident there will be overwhelming increase in tourist arrivals to Nepal too," Koney said adding that Nepal is centrally located according to the flight distance among the SAARC countries. The average flight distance is only one-and-a-half hours which is a plus point for Nepal, he said. "We have to forward positive messages regarding peace and stability here. We have diverse products and other tourism products like pilgrimage, trekking, tour, mountaineering, adventure tourism products and many more, which will definitely help increase tourist movement," he added. While intra-tourism cooperation will increase tourist movement, tourists may still face visa problems. So, there must be facilitation from the government's side for the SAARC region and cooperation between the public and private sectors. It can be either be economy tour and travel packages, development of sustainable tourism and eco tourism. Source: www.thehimalayantimes.com Date: 2009-10-05

Digitisation to the rescue The Department of Transport Management (DoTM) has launched digital record system which will enable driving licence holders to check the legal status of their license online in its website: www.dotm.gov.np The department launched this facility under the e-governance initiative for the public after the number of people holding fake driving licenses went up. License holders can now check the validity of their driving licenses simply by entering the license number, citizenship number and the district from where they obtained their citizenship certificate. If the licence is fake, no details will be displayed. In the initial phase, DoTM has only kept the records of licenses issued by Bagmati Zonal Transport Office. The office has issued around 200,000 licenses till July 16, 2009. “Details of 1.2 million license holders throughout the country will be available online within the next four months,” said Anil Gurung, director at DoTM. He said DoTM officials have been sent to all 14 zones to collect necessary data in this regard. Digitisation will facilitate employees while renewing licenses as well. “Now, we don’t have to search for stored necessary papers for the renewal process,” said Gurung. “We can simply check the details online and renew them.” Besides, the facility will also discourage people involved in issuing fake licenses as the originality of the licenses can be verified easily on the website. According to DoTM, it is working to digitise its offices across the nation through a digital networ-

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king system under the e-governance initiative. The department expects to complete the task by mid-2010. The department will be able to issue and renew driving licenses and register vehicles through digital technology. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: Tuesday, 06 October 16 manpower agents under govt scanner The government has initiated investigation against 16 manpower agencies that have been accused by Israel of overcharging Nepali workers seeking greener pastures there. Clearly mentioning the name of those manpower agencies, Israel also asked the government to take strong action against those companies as a precondition to lift six months long restriction of Nepali workers for Israeli jobs.“ "We have almost completed the first phase of investigation against 15 manpower agencies and one more company is currently under scanner," Kashi Nath Marasini, director of Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE), told myrepublica.com on Monday. The manpower agencies under the DoFE scanner are High Lander Employment, Kathmandu International, Alpha-Sigma Overseas, Blue-Sky International, Galiment Manpower, Nepal Gulf Manpower, Sigma International, Sunaulo Prakash Manpower, Neel Kamal Human Resources, Ishan Employment, Everest International, Worldwide Human Resources, Life Line International and other two manpower agencies the names of which are being verified. Marasini, who is also coordinator of investigation panel formed by the Ministry of Labor and Transport Management, said the panel has gathered information about the fees levied by those manpower agencies, labor contracts and their past track record in dealing with jobseekers. However, a source said establishing proof of overcharging by those manpower companies is technically difficult as most of the victims are working in Israel. Israel has stopped issuing fresh work visas to Nepali workers for the last six months, raising serious objection over rampant practice of levying excessive charge -- which is more than thrice the government-fixed rate - by Nepali manpower agents, increasing trend of Nepali workers doubling as manpower agents in Israel, increasing trend of Nepali workers landing in Israel on flying visa -- a work visa without guarantee of jobs -- and lack of skilled workforce among others. The government has allowed manpower agencies to collect Rs 240,000 each from jobseekers for arranging Israeli jobs. However, the agencies were collecting as much as thrice the amount fixed by the government from the jobseekers.

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Labor Minister Mohammad Aftab Alam visited Israel in August to put diplomatic pressure on Israel to reopen lucrative Israeli job market for Nepali workers. However, the Israeli officials had repeatedly raised the malpractices in the process of sending Nepali workers to Israel. Israel -- home to more than 12,000 Nepali workers -- is one of the most lucrative labor destinations for female migrant workers in terms of security and remuneration. Most of the Nepali workers work as house maid in Israel. Source: www.myrepulica.com Date: 2009-10-06

Arke Fly to link Nepal with Europe Come Wednesday, a Dutch airline will connect Amsterdam with Kathmandu, ending a long dry spell of over five years. Arke Fly is scheduled to land at Tribhuvan International Airport at 2.30 p.m., according to Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoTCA). It’s Boeing 737 will fly once a week initially. There has been no direct flight between Nepal and Europe since Nepal Airlines — which has no aircraft for long haul flights - suspended its flights to Europe five years ago, according to officials. Other European Airlines such as Austrian Airlines also suspended their direct flight to Kathmandu during the same period. Ram Prasad Bhattarai, assistant spokesman at the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, said Arke Fly was starting Nepal flight as per the air service agreement (ASA) between Nepal and the European Union (EU) about a decade ago. Earlier, Nepal's national flag carrier flew to Moscow, London and Frankfort on and off, but suspended all flights to these destinations five years ago. The ministry sources said Bhutan's Dragon Air is planning to increase its Thimphu-Kathmandu flights to five from three now. China Eastern Air has recently started three flights a week between Quinmin and Kathmandu. Qatari airlines can increase its passenger flights to 28 every week as per ASA agreement between the two countries signed in September. In addition, there will be seven cargo flights as per the ASA, according to the ministry. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: Tuesday, 06 October

Bill to regulate universities in the offing The government is working on drafting a new bill for the proper management of higher education sector in the country.

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Talking to The Himalayan Times, Prof Dr Tirtha Khaniya, member, National Planning Commission, today said that discussions were on to drafting the bill to properly guide the higher education sector. “At a time when a number of universities have been established and some new universities are in the pipeline, a new bill is a must to maintain uniformity among the universities.” Half a dozen universities have already been established in the country. All of them are functioning with their own rules and regulations due to the lack of common regulatory law. According to Prof Dr Khaniya, the new bill also aims at changing the provision of having the Prime Minister as the chancellor of the university. “Anyone such as professor, legal expert or any education expert can be the chancellor as per the draft of the bill,” he revealed. “PM being chancellor in all the universities is not possible when there will be many universities. Therefore, we are going to bring some changes in it,” he said Bhoj Raj Kafle, chief of higher education at the Ministry of Education, said that they were in the final stage to this regard. “According to the new bill, academic council will be set up under the chairmanship of PM which will decide the name of vice-chancellors of respective university,” he said. He suspected that the final draft might come up with certain changes because they were yet to give it a final touch. “As soon as we complete working on the draft, we will send it to the Ministry of Law before it goes to Cabinet for approval,” he added. Source: www.thehimalayantimes.com Date: 2009-10-05

BIZ BRIEFS Minister of Commerce and Supplies Rajendra Mahato at the head of a team of four representatives on Sunday left to participate in the Single Country Fair of Nepal at Copenhagen, Denmark. According to a ministry statement, the five-day exhibition will have woollen carpet, readymade garment, woollen products, pashmina, gold and silver jewellery, Nepali handmade paper products and handicrafts. The exhibition will be held from October 5-9 and has a participation of 13 entrepreneurs from seven different industries of Nepal. — HNS Satellite phone off GORKHA: Satellite telephone service in a rural VDC of Gorkha district has halted. Locals of Chumling at Chumchet VDC-9, northern Gorkha, had been using uninterrupted satellite telephone service since more than a year. According to former VDC chairman Gopal Lama, the telephone based in the VDC has ceased to

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function, depriving villagers of telephone service. Currently, locals are forced to walk for hours to make phone calls. Source: www.thehimalayantimes.com Date: 2009-10-05

GENERAL: CA member Rai fined NRs 5 million Ganapati Community Forestry (GCF) located in Matehiya of Banke district has decided to fine Constituent Assembly member Mohammad Istiyak Rai for instructing his party cadres to clear the forest for cultivation, Nagarik daily reported. GCF users' group decided to fine Rai as compensation to the loss of millions of rupees caused due to the forest clearance steered by Rai on September 30, according to Rajendra Dixit, chairman of the group. The users group has urged CA secretariat, Election Commission and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) party office to help collect the fine. Rai was elected CA member from Banke constituency - 2 representing the MJF. GCF users' group executive committee has accused Rai of instigating some 250 users of the same group to clear the forest for cultivation. However, Rai has denied the charges of the GCF users' group saying he did not instigate the people to clear the forest. I only assured I would raise the issue with concerned agencies after some flood victims said they had remained landless for years, Rai said. Source: www.nepalnews.com Date: Tuesday, 06 October Int'l workshop on climate change begins in Nepali capital A two-day international workshop on climate change and its impact on Asian agriculture began here in Kathmandu Monday. Agriculture and climate experts from across Asia will present their papers in the workshop on several issues including climate change and its impact on agricultural productivity, food security, seasonal farming, use of improved seeds and modern equipment and establishment of regional food store. The workshop, organized by the International Federation of Agriculture Producers and the Federation of Nepal National Cooperatives, will also share experiences on global warming, snow melting, flooding of productive land, rise in water level of 16


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rivers and oceans, loss of agricultural productivity, loss of biodiversity, loss of quality of agricultural produce due to excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and loss of soil fertility. Representatives from 12 countries including Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Japan, Israel, the Philippines and Thailand are taking part in the workshop. Source: news.xinhuanet.com/english Date: 2009-10-05

Nepal Deploys Police on Tibetan Border Just days after almost 80 Tibetans were arrested in the Nepali capital of Kathmandu, the country has announced the deployment of a number of police along the Tibetan border, the AFP reported. The 80 Tibetans in question had gathered in the capital to protest the Chinese celebration on the 60th anniversary of the Communist government. Nepal supports the Chinese view that Tibet is now a part of China, and has come under increasing Chinese criticism in recent months over harboring anti-Chinese activists and Tibetan exiles. The Nepali Home Minister, however, denies allegations that the move has anything to do with pressure from Beijing, citing the armed police presence already deployed along the Indian border as evidence. As many as 2500 Tibetans per year have traditionally made the attempt to move out of Chinese-controlled Tibet and into India, using the Nepali border as an escape route. Source: www.tothecenter.com October 05 2009 Selling, using firecrackers now public offense Sellers and users of firecrackers during this Tihar festival season will be tried under the Public Offense Act in an attempt to curb the increasing use of firecrackers. “We have issued directives to the police and administration to tackle the issue seriously and it is coming under control. The offenders could face maximum penalty under the Public Offense Act,� said the spokesperson at the Home Ministry, Jaya Mukunda Khanal. But the capital is witnessing extensive use of firecrackers since the onset of Dashain. Chief of the Metropolitan Police Range Kathmandu Navaraj Silwal also claimed that the police have greatly controlled the entry and sale of firecrackers in the Valley this year.

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“They may be using old stock from the past year,” Special Superintendent of Police Silwal reasoned when asked why the instances of explosions have not gone down. Silwal said police have already seized around 2,000 kgs of firecrackers this season. “We have only been able to seize abandoned firecrackers and have made arrested only a few suppliers and sellers,” Silwal said adding that no arrests were made last year. He also admitted that police have not arrested any users of firecrackers so far because according to him the focus is to check the supply of firecrackers. Silwal said the police are undecided about what to do with the large quantity of seized firecrackers. Source: www.myrepulica.com Date: 2009-10-05

Over 100 policemen suffer from food poisoning in Mahottari Over 100 Armed Police Force (APF) personnel of Chhinnamasta Police Battalion, Bardibas were admitted to hospitals after they suddenly fell ill Monday. Doctors suspected food poisoning to be the cause of the illnesses. Initially nine persons were taken to Integrated Rural Hospital, Bardibas at around 10 am Monday, after they complained of headache, stomach ache, dizziness and vomiting. More APF personnel fell ill during the day and in the evening. Although some reports say the number of patients is more than 200 with some of them critical, Ajaya Chhatkuli of APF headquarters said only 87 persons had fallen ill, out of which at least eight had fully recovered by Monday evening. Medical personnel were dispatched from Kathmandu and Hetauda after the incident. Source: www.nepalnews.com Date: Tuesday, 06 October Diarrhoea in Rukum again RUKUM - Dhanu Maya BK of Gotamkot VDC-9 died of diarrhoea recently, pushing the three-month toll from a diarrhoea outbreak in the district to 66. According to the District Police Office Rukum, some 700 residents of Gotamkot are suffering from the disease. The latest death and increasing number of patients contradict the government claim that it has brought the outbreak under control. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: Tuesday, 06 October

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Garbage woes spill over Garbage disposal has been frequently disrupted as the locals of Sisdole come up with demands every now and then. Recently, demanding job opportunities for women, a group from Chatre Deurali Village Development Committee-6 in Dhading had threatened to obstruct the waste disposal at Aletar landfill site. However, the demand of the group was addressed in a dialogue, preventing the valley from stinking again.“Talks held today have reached an agreement,” said Rabin Man Shrestha, chief, environment management, KMC. “The garbage disposal will resume from tomorrow,” he added. Earlier, an 11-point ultimatum that included carrying out development works, providing an ambulance, establishing health post, among others, was submitted by a local, Bhavana Karki to the Solid Waste Management and Resource Mobilisation Centre (SWMRMC). Shrestha, however, maintained that an agreement to that end had already been reached. The garbage disposal site came into operation in 2005 but the dumping has been disrupted 55 times (32 times by the locals) since then. According to the KMC, about Rs 100,000 is spent daily to dispose the garbage at the site. The SWMRMC had agreed to address the demands raised by the Sisdole locals regarding the development works seven weeks ago. According to KMC, the Chatre Deurali case is just a recurrence of similar incidents earlier. Source: www.thehimalayantimes.com Date: 2009-10-06

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