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Kathmandu I Vol. XVII No. 30 I Thursday, March 19, 2009 (06/12/ 2065) I Nepal Sambat 1129 I

Printed simultaneously in Kathmandu, Biratnagar and Bharatpur I 12 Pages I Rs.3.00


Julia Roberts raps paparazzi for ruining the glamour Pg 10

Gunners book ticket to Wembley with 2-1 win over Hull City Pg 11

Gyanendra meets Sonia
NEW DELHI: Former King Gyanendra Shah called on Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson of Indian National Congress, at the latter's residence at Janapath on Wednesday. The Shah-Gandhi meeting took place as he prepared to return home from his maiden tour to India some 20 days ago. Both sides have remained tight-lipped about the contents of the discussion, but the ex-king's aide called the meeting “just a courtesy call”. The deposed king, who had come to India on February 25, had also met various senior leaders of the southern neighbour earlier. (PR)

Govt names envoys for India, France
Police stand guard to avert any untoward incident after a row between student groups at Nepal Law Campus, Exhibition Road, on Wednesday. Constituent and affiliated colleges under Tribhuvan University and Sanskrit University are holding Free Student Union elections across the POST PHOTO: BR country, on Thursday.
choice as the ambassador to India. “But I don't know what led to the The government on Wednesday change of heart on the part of govappointed Chandra Kant Paudel ernment,” Maheshor Dahal told and Ram Karki as ambassadors to the Post. India and France respectively. It may be recalled that the govBoth were appointed by the ernment had recommended Unified CPN (Maoist). The Maoist leader Pampha Bhusal, appointees will need to be vetted currently minister for general by parliament. administration, in September Born in Jitadeurali village, 2007. But France rejected the Lamjung district, Paudel, 54, holds appointment because her name a doctorate in economics from featured in the Interpol Red corner Tribhuvan University. He served notice. as headmaster at Birendra Wednesday's Cabinet meeting Secondary School also passed three in Nuwakot for 22 programmes to years before mov- Cabinet meeting tackle the ongoing ing to Kathmandu energy crisis. The where he has since also passed three government will been working as subsidize solar principal of programmes to plant installations Gyankunja College in urban areas, tackle the ongoing at Rabibhavan. expansion of “I have been energy crisis. national power involved in progrid by the private gressive politics sector and installasince student life,” Paudel told the tion of captive power plants. Post. He was arrested in 2003 for According to Minister Dev “involvement in left politics” when Gurung, the government has also the Maoist insurgency was at its decided to promote private sector peak. He served a year-long term engagement in small power projat Bhadragol Jail before being ects. acquitted by the Supreme Court. Another important Cabinet “The relationship between Nepal decision on Wednesday was to ask and India is currently smooth and the people not to enforce shutthat is encouraging,” said Paudel downs of highways, health and when asked to respond to his new academic institutions and public appointment. places. Paudel will replace However, the controversy Durgeshman Singh, a Nepali over the retirement of eight Army Congress appointee. generals did not figure in Karki, ambassador-designate Wednesday's meeting. to France, is a politburo member “The Army generals were of the Unified CPN (Maoist). He given due retirement from was arrested in Delhi in July 2002, Sunday according to law. Since along with journalist Maheshor due process has already been folDahal and extradited to Nepal. lowed, there is no need to take Both were jailed for nine months. additional decision,” Gurung Earlier, Karki was the party's first said.


Valley:Partly cloudy during afternoon with chances of brief thundershower.

SUNRISE 06:09 SUNSET 18:14 MAX 27 -290 C MIN 06 -080 C

Kathmandu Hallmark (per 10 gms) Rs 24,650.00 Worked (per 10 gms) Rs 24470.00

Free Student Union elections today

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Rs 355.00 667.13


CURRENCY Indian Rs (IRs) US Dollar ($) Euro ( ) Pound Sterling (£) Japanese Yen (¥) UNIT 100 1 1 1 10 BUYING 160.00 81.95 106.62 114.47 8.32 SELLING 160.15 82.55 107.40 115.31 8.38

Exchange rates fixed by Nepal Rastra Bank

O Tempora ! O Mores !!
by Sarab

On the eve of Free Student Union (FSU) elections, student union leaders remained busy throughout Wednesday wooing voters. Elections are slated for Thursday at more than 160 campuses under Tribhuvan University (TU) and 13 Nepal Sanskrit University campuses, according to Gangaram Thapa, chief of TU Student Welfare and Sports Department. “Around 250,000 students are expected to cast their votes in the elections,” he said. Elections at Biswabhasa Campus and Saraswoti Campus were postponed due to voters' roll controversy. There were minor clashes among student unions at Padmakanya and Ratna Rajya campuses, he said. With its history of producing leaders in national politics, all eyes are fixed on the elections at TU Central Campus in Kirtipur. Tough competition is expected among contending panels -- Nepal Student Union (NSU), All Nepal National Free Student Union (ANNFSU), and All Nepal Independent Student Union (ANNISU-Revolutionary) -student wings of Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Unified CPN (Maoist) respectively. All student unions have the same election agenda - curbing corruption at FSU and effecting reforms in education.

Maoist heavyweights’ daughter in poll fray
KATHMANDU: Secretary candidate at TU Central Campus from ANNISU-R Asmita Singh has drawn much attention. Daughter of Finance Minister Babu Ram Bhattarai and Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Hisila Yami, Asmita is a student at the Central Department of Political Science. She accepts that her family background prompted her to enter politics, but asserts she will build her career on her own. “Of course, family background laid the foundation for my entry into politics, but you should build your career yourself,” says this diminutive Delhi University-educated lady. People think that as the the only child of Maoist heavyweights she ought to be happy. But this fact has its downside. “As a child I missed the love of my parents, and I still do,” says Asmita, 23. Her family frequently faced problems due to the involvement of her parents in radical politics. “The arrest of my mother in 1989 is deeply etched in my mind. I still remember the incident vividly though I was just three at that time,” she says. Leaving her to the care of relatives, her parents went underground in 1996 to wage the 'People's war”. As the state of her family worsened due to persecution, she was taken to India for school education in 1998. She completed schooling from Darjeeling, and graduated from Delhi University. According to her, she took membership of the then underground CPN (Maoist) when she was in grade 11. She visited Nepal on and off during the insurgency, but stayed in Nepal after the April movement in 2006.

Parties to tighten screws on PM

Is it due to politicisation? They’ve even forgotten to salute.

Ruling coalition partners -- CPN-UML and Sadbhavana Party -- and Nepali Congress-led opposition parties agreed on Wednesday to force Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal to roll back the government decision on Nepal Army generals' retirement. A joint meeting initiated by Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala on Wednesday concluded that the Maoist-led government was attempting to create leadership vacuum in the national army by giving retirement to “experienced and best trained army generals”. CPN-ML, Rastriya Janashakti Party (RJP) and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) also participated in the meeting. During the meeting, Koirala called upon leaders to stand together as the “caretaker” government elected for an interim period was attempting to destabilize the institution of NA. “At any cost, we should not let Maoists do

whatever they want with the Army,” a leader quoted Koirala. Later, Koirala met with MJF Chairman Upendra Yadav and requested him to support reinstatement of the generals. Brigadier Generals Pawan Bahadur Pandey, Kumar Budhathoki, Narendra Rawal, Ramesh Bishta, Shiva Kumar Poudel, Pradeep Bikram Rana, Raju Pratap KC and Nara Bahadur Kandel retired on Monday after Defence Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa turned down the NA request to extend their tenure by three more years. Army Headquarters, however, said it was yet to receive any communication from the Defence Ministry confirming the non-extension of tenure. Unified (CPN) Maoist however says the decision is according to law and won't be reconsidered. “Our common understanding is the government has done a mischief by not extending the term of generals,” Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba

said. “We are all against the attack by the state on the Army.” Deuba said the non-extension of tenure of senior army officials at a time of complex political transition and the peace process is not an “ordinary decision.” UML leaders said at the meeting that they are against the decision of the Defence Ministry and that they came to know of it just a few hours before the term of the generals expired. “The Defence Ministry concealed the recommendation sent by the Army and did not put it forth at the Cabinet meeting,” said UML leader Keshab Badal. “We neither got any prior information nor participated in the decision making process.” He urged the government to consult ruling and opposition parties and take a decision. RJP Chairman Surya Bahadur Thapa and RPP Chairman Pashupati Shumsher Rana said the government had “bad intention” in breaching the tradition of continuing the term of army generals.

After months, finally traces of rain

Wednesday, up from 27 on Tuesday. "The increase means more moisture content in the air, which indicates

After a dry spell of four-months, there were - what meteorologists called traces of rainfall in Okhaldhunga, Taplejung and Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara on Wednesday. Met officials described the thunderstorm, clouds and moisture-laden wind as pre-monsoon activity with the westerly gone. Types of low cloud -- scientifically known as cumulus and cumulonimbus -- swirled around the Kathmandu sky throughout the day, and Valley denizens anticipated rainfall they had not had for months. Meteorologist Keshav Das Shrestha said the Valley's relative humidity (RH) soared to 48 percent on

Valley rainfall data
2008-09 (in mm)
Nov Dec Jan Feb March Normal 7.9 15.1 13.7 17.5 30.3 Actual Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil

chances of rainfall,” he added. “However, the pattern of cloud formation is not continuous and it is

not possible to say that it will rain for sure,” Shrestha said. The Meteorological Forecasting Division has indicated that hill regions could remain partly cloudy with chances of “brief isolated thundershower” Thursday afternoon. The rest of the country will remain fair with clear blue sky. According to Prof. Khadag Bahadur Thapa, head of Central Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, TU, strong winds in the past two days dispersed the haze and smog hovering in the sky. “If it rains, suspended particles in the air will settle down and the sky will appear clearer,” he said. Senior soil scientist Krishna Bahadur Karki said rainfall this time

would be a boon to farmers in the hill regions who are preparing to sow maize. “Rainfall in March may cause upsurge in cases of some diseases malaria and kala-azar - as waterlogged condition will be a hotbed for mosquitoes and other vectors that transmit the causative agents,” said Natural Disaster Management Section official Sagar Dahal. The rainfall, however, will not help in making up for the power shortfall the country is facing. “Land will soak water even if it rains now, and no significant amount will be collected in reservoirs for electricity generation,” said Sher Singh Bhat, director of System Operations Department at Nepal Electricity Authority.