The News Below is courtesy of Kantipur Online

144 Valley schools directed to vacate for polls

Kantipur Report

KATHMANDU, Feb 6 - Despite protest from schools and UN concern over safety of schools in the wake of polls-related violence, the Election Commission (EC) on Sunday directed the principals of at least 144 schools in Kathmandu Valley to vacate their schools for municipal polls from Monday evening.
Sending letters to all the school principals through District Education Office, the EC has asked the schools to keep all facilities such as desks, benches, telephones, among others intact for the poll officials.

Voting is scheduled for Wednesday. The authorities of the 33 private schools have protested fearing damage to school property.

In the letter sent through the Kathmandu District Education Office, the EC has asked English Preparatory School, a private school in New Baneshwor, to vacate the school by 5 pm on Monday.

There are eight schools in Baneshwor area alone where voting is taking place on Wednesday. These include: VS Niketan, Gyan Niketan, Purna Boarding School and Kamal Netra.

The EC letters states that the schools are to provide their premises for 7 and 8 February.

"We have not given permission to keep booths," a school principal said, requesting anonymity.

Fearing Maoist backlash, PABSON is making last-ditch attempts to dissuade the government from using private schools.

"We'll appeal to human rights organizations and the UN office on the issue," Umesh Shrestha, president of PABSON, said.

On Thursday, UNICEF issued a statement on behalf of the UN System in Nepal, urging the government not to locate polling booths in schools, terming it a new threat to the already beleaguered schools.

On Saturday, Education minister R K Mainali challenged the UN for questioning the government's right to use schools as polling booths.

Votes can be cast without voter’s identity card
Meanwhile, the Election Commission (EC) has directed all polling officers to allow the voters to cast their votes even if they don’t possess a voter’s identity card.

Issuing local election directives by defying the earlier election directives, the EC ordered the polling officers to allow the voters to cast their votes on the basis of any identity card they could show.

Following this order from the EC, most of the employees of EC are said to be grumbling against such contradictory directives.

Bista urges Maoists to return to mainstream politics

KOL Report

KATHMANDU, Aug 12 - Vice-Chairman of Council of Ministers Kirtinidhi Bista has urged Maoists to return to mainstream politics by renouncing violence.
Speaking at a function organized by Lumbini Development Trust in the capital Friday Bista said the Maoists should agree to resume peace process at a time when the peace is the dire need of the nation.

He also said the teachings of the Lord Buddha should be spread at this juncture. (hb)

Minister Thapa says no way out for current crisis

KATHMANDU, Dec 30 - Minister for Information and Communication Kamal Thapa has said current political and constitutional crisis will not be altered even if the government is changed in the current situation.
Speaking during a program in Biraganj Tuesday, Minister and spokes person of the government Thapa said, since there is no possibility of holding a general election to resolve the present constitutional crisis due to security reasons, an understanding and reconciliation among parties is a must.

“The new Prime minister also has to be appointed under article 127 of current constitution and this repeated use of article 127 can render more constitutional crisis.” said Thapa. (hbt)

Two more die of chill weather in Dhanusa

KATHMANDU, Dec 30 - At least two more people have died of chill weather in Dhanusa district following the cold waves in the terai region for the last consecutive three days.
Two old aged people died in Lakshmipur Vagewa ward 2 Tuesday afternoons due to excess of chill weather reported our correspondent.

The children in the region are suffering from cold and Pneumonia due to the increasing cold weather.

Yesterday only four people had died of chill weather in the same district.( hbt)

TIA introduces effective services

KOL Report

KATHMANDU, Dec 16 - In its latest attempt to provide effective service to incoming passengers, Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) has decided to systematise the collection of immigration fees, thereby avoiding the unnecessary hassle that a large number of tourists face.

With the latest decision coming into effect from last Friday, tourists now are not required to queue up for long hours to pay immigration fees. Earlier, tourists had to line up thrice and had to go through long procedures before making the final payment for visas.

The latest TIA decision to systematise its procedures follows the recent directive from Ravi Bhakta Shrestha, Assistance Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation to eradicate managerial hurdles, during his recent visit to TIA.

“Now tourists can pay their fees by queuing up at a single window rather than joining three lines,’ said Suvarna Lal Shrestha, Director General of Immigration Department.

Prior to this, incoming foreigners used to queue up in three different lines for the enquiry of amount, paying the amount and finally to receive visa. (yo)

500 Belgian machine guns arriving in Nepal shortly’

KOL Report

KATHMANDU, Dec 16 - The first delivery of weapons has been made from a Belgian arms manufacturer to Nepal in a controversial deal that led to the resignation of a government minister in August, Belgian media reports say. But officials at the Defence Ministry denied having any knowledge about it.

The consignment of 500 Minimi machine guns, manufactured by Walloon Company FN Herstal is due to arrive in Nepal shortly, according to, a Belgian news portal. Without quoting any sources, the news portal also said that the delivery was made after two groups of observers that visited Nepal recently suggested that the shipment should go ahead because it did not break any Belgian arms sale laws.

The report also said that the shipment is coming in the week when a new weapons law, which tightens existing legislation, is being passed through Belgian parliament. “The law incorporates many of the provisions of the European arms sale code, which stipulates that no arms will be supplied to countries with child soldiers or where military expenditure is higher than social expenditure,” it added.

When contacted for comments, officials at the Defence Ministry and the Royal Nepal Army denied having any knowledge about the shipment that is said to be on its way. But they have been saying that the army desperately needs sophisticated arms not just to fight Maoists but also to protect the nation’s territory from foreign invasion. (yo)

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