Wasted chances make 2009 Nepal's annus horribilis

Wasted chances make 2009 Nepal's annus horribilisKathmandu, Dec 30 - Begun on a high note after a historic election consolidated peace and the former Maoist guerrillas led Nepal's first ultra-left government, 2009 saw the nascent republic plunge into chaos with the political parties squandering opportunities of stability.

Nepal's annus horribilis affected India as well with diplomatic and even cultural ties souring.

The Maoists, who had become newsmakers since they started their "People's War" in 1996 to overthrow Nepal's royal family, dominated 2009 too, though for negative reasons.

Nepali mum arrested for killing, burning infant

Nepali mum arrested for killing, burning infantKathmandu, Dec 29 - A 40-year-old Nepali woman has been arrested for allegedly killing her newborn child and trying to burn it to remove all evidence, police said.

Penu Sunuwar was arrested Sunday from Baglung district in western Nepal after allegations that she had killed the infant born of illegitimate relations with a youth half her age.

The 40-year-old woman from Pokharidanda village formed an unlawful relationship with Om Bahadur BK, her 20-year-old tenant, police said.

Powerless Nepal loses lustre as New Year destination

Powerless Nepal loses lustre as New Year destinationKathmandu, Dec 29 - Slapped with a 51-hour weekly power outage from Wednesday and a warning that next month it could go up to 12 hours a day, Nepal has begun to lose its lustre as a holiday destination, especially for the budget tourist from India who crosses over the open border by bus.

The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) Tuesday announced that due to the power-generating rivers drying up and the demand for energy increasing, it would enforce between seven to eight hours of blackout daily.

In the coming days, NEA warned that it could rise to 12 hours daily.

3 killed in Nepal blast

3 killed in Nepal blastKathmandu, Dec 28 - Three people, including two women, were killed while two men were seriously hurt after a bomb went off in southern Nepal along the border with India Monday.

The bomb went off around 10.30 a. m. in the Sunderbasti area of Chitwan, a popular tourist destination in Nepal's Terai plains now in the headlines due to sports like elephant races, polo and football.

The bomb was hidden in a toilet in the house of Sukh Bahadur Rai, police said.

The three people killed by the blast have been identified as Januka Rai, 45, Ramumaya Rai, 18, and Dev Bahadur Rai.

Nepal Army in fresh row

Nepal Army in fresh rowKathmandu, Dec 28 - Nepal's controversial army, which tarnished its image by siding with deposed king Gyanendra during his bloodless coup four years ago, finds itself in a fresh row with three torture victims filing a case against a general, accusing him of gross human rights violations.

Nepal Maoists ask India to clarify army chief's remark

Nepal Maoists ask India to clarify army chief's remarkKathmandu, Dec 28 - Terming a recent remark by the Indian Army chief as "naked intervention in Nepal's internal affairs", this country's former Maoist guerrillas, who are seeking to get back to power, have asked the Indian government to clarify its position.

During a visit to India earlier this month by Nepal's army chief Chhatraman Singh Gurung, Indian Army chief Deepak Kapoor was reported as saying that the Maoists' guerrilla force should not be merged with the Nepal Army as it would lead to the politicisation of the national army.

'Holy amulets' land Indian in unholy row in Nepal

'Holy amulets' land Indian in unholy row in Nepal  Kathmandu, Dec 26 : An Indian has been arrested along with his Nepali partner for

selling products described as amulets having supernatural powers in the Himalayan nation after complaints from some local astrological and religious organisations.

Madhav Vikram and his Nepali partner Hriday Jung Shah were arrested from Kathmandu on Christmas eve for illegally selling amulets known as 'Shivashakti kavach' manufactured by an organisation named Saptarishi Sansthan, which sold its products online and via the telephone.

Nepal PM arrives in China

Nepal PM arrives in ChinaLhasa, Dec 26 - Nepal's Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal arrived here Saturday afternoon, kicking off a six-day visit to China at the invitation of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

This was his first official visit to China since he became prime minister of the Himalayan nation in May this year.

Besides Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, Nepal will also visit Xi'an, Beijing and Shanghai cities, Xinhua reported. (IANS)

Nepal PM begins China visit

Nepal PM begins China visitKathmandu, Dec 26 - Accompanied by three ministers, Nepal's Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal Saturday left for his first official visit to China, pledging it would create a new high in economic ties.

During the five-day trip, Nepal will meet Chinese President Hu Jintao, his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao and senior officials of the Communist Party of China.

He will also speak on Sino-Nepali relations at Tsinghua University and tour Lhasa, Xian and Shanghai cities.

UN concern at tainted Nepal general's promotion

UN concern at tainted Nepal general's promotion  Kathmandu, Dec 25 : The UN has expressed concern at the Nepal government's decision to promote an army officer whose brigade ran a secret torture camp and who is alleged to be responsible for the disappearance of 49 prisoners, saying he and others should not be promoted until a transparent and unbiased enquiry was conducted.

Sobhraj spends bleak Christmas in Nepal

Sobhraj spends bleak Christmas in NepalKathmandu, Dec 25 : For the last two years, Charles Sobhraj, yesteryear's sensational crime maestro, had looked forward to Christmas, hoping to be released from Nepal's biggest prison, where he is doing time for murder, and be reunited with the apple of his eye, his little daughter in Paris.

But this Christmas, there's no such joyful anticipation for the 65-year-old with a protracted legal battle having just begun.

On Wednesday, Sobhraj's lawyers doggedly started a new trial in Nepal's Supreme Court, hoping to get their man acquitted of two charges that are interlinked.

Nepal promotes army officer with tarnished human rights record

Nepal promotes army officer with tarnished human rights recordKathmandu, Dec 24 : Ignoring calls by the UN and human rights organisations at home and abroad, Nepal's communist-led government Thursday decided to promote a senior army officer under whose command soldiers ran a torture camp during the Maoist insurgency and executed dozens of people secretly detained under the suspicion they helped the guerrillas.

Secular Nepal still awaits Christian leaders

Secular Nepal still awaits Christian leadersKathmandu, Dec 24 : Three years after it abolished Hinduism as the state religion to become a secular nation, Nepal is still awaiting its first Christian leaders.

"We need a Christian party to make our voices heard," says Rev Anthony Sharma, the first Catholic bishop appointed by Rome in Nepal in 2007.

"However, Christians are still lacking in education and opportunities. There is a dearth of leaders to take part in national politics."

Prachanda accuses India of interfering in Nepal’s internal affairs

Prachanda accuses India of interfering in Nepal’s internal affairsChairman of Nepal’s main opposition party Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ on Tuesday warned India not to interfere in the country’s internal affairs and also threatened to launch an indefinite strike from January 24 to restore ‘civilian supremacy’.
Addressing a rally to mark the end of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) called three-day general strike, the former prime minister blamed India for its role in Nepal’s politics and sought a relook at relations.

Prachanda accuses India of meddling in Nepal''s affairs

Prachanda accuses India of meddling in Nepal''s affairsKathmandu, Dec 23 : Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias ''Prachanda'' has accused India of meddling in Nepal''s affairs.

Addressing a victory rally to wrap up a three-day nationwide general strike here on Tuesday, Prachanda accused the Indian Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor of opposing the merger of the Maoist People''s Liberation Army with the Nepal Army.

Nepal Maoists backtrack on challenge to New Delhi

Pushpa Kamal Dahal PrachandaKathmandu, Dec 23 : Within 24 hours of Nepal's Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda throwing a challenge to the Indian government, the former guerrilla party Wednesday backtracked on the dare, saying it was simply a jibe at the parties.

Prachanda had said he would hold negotiations directly with "master" New Delhi instead of Nepal's ruling parties, who were its "servants".

Nepal to tell its story on 10th anniversary of IA hijack

Nepal to tell its story on 10th anniversary of IA hijackKathmandu, Dec 23 - A decade after the stunning hijack of an Indian Airlines (IA) aircraft on way to New Delhi from Kathmandu and the brutal killing of a passenger by terrorists, Nepal, whose economy was devastated by the incident, is ready to narrate its own version of the disaster.

Dhaka offers Kathmandu port facility for more trade

Dhaka offers Kathmandu port facility for more tradeDhaka, Dec 23 - After a nod from India, Bangladesh is moving to open a new land route to Nepal and offer it the use of its Mongla port for export of goods to a third country.

Dhaka has sent the draft of a deal to Kathmandu, ahead of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to India next month, to activate a 1976 transit treaty that would allow landlocked Nepal the use of Mongla port in the Bay of Bengal.

Nepal has so far been exporting its goods through Indian ports.

Maoists end three-day strike in Nepal

Maoists end three-day strike in Nepal Kathmandu, Dec 22 : The three-day general strike called by Nepal's former Maoist guerrillas ended formally Tuesday with a "victory meeting" in the capital.

After paralysing the country for two days and a half and shutting down transport, industries, markets and educational institutions, protesters Tuesday brought out "victory rallies" from different parts of the capital that converged in front of the interim parliament.

Maoists warn of more protests as Nepal strike continues

Maoists warn of more protests as Nepal strike continuesKathmandu, Dec 21- Defying the government's call to withdraw their three-day general strike, Nepal's Maoist party Monday closed down the country for the second day amidst warnings of more disruptions if its demands were not met.

As the ruling alliance amassed riot police to guard the constituent assembly building in Baneshwar, the area in the capital that was the venue of fierce clashes between protesters and security forces Sunday, Maoist deputy chief Baburam Bhattarai held a street rally before the august building, declaring the protest would run its course till Tuesday.

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