The UN Secretary-General will visit Nepal latter this month, is spokesperson said Thursday. While in Nepal, the Secretary-General will meet with the President, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and members of the Constituent Assembly. The Secretary-General will also visit Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, the spokesperson said.
Ian Martin, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Nepal, held a press conference at the Reporter’s Club, Kathmandu today. Here is the transcript as provided by the UNMIN. (Note: the questions in some cases are summarised)
Ram Kumar Kamat, The Himalayan Times: I read in today’s newspaper that Girija Prasad Koirala asked you that if Maoist army is integrated into Nepal Army, it will tarnish its image internationally. Apparently you agreed to this when he asked you. Do you want to say anything on that?
Ian Martin: First, let me say that neither I nor UNMIN have ever been an advocate for or against integration. We have never taken a position on this issue. We have always made clear that like other aspects of the peace process, this is for Nepalis to decide and the political actors reached agreements as to the process by which they would decide it. And that’s the special committee that I have referred to and that’s the place where the discussion about integration and re-integration has to take place. And if the United Nations is asked to make international experience available to the special committee then we will be happy to do so, but not with any United Nations proposal or any United Nations model to offer from elsewhere. Continue reading
A press statement issued by Nepal Rastra Bank said that food and beverage prices shot up by 13.4 percent while non-food and service rates were up 12.7 percent.
Propelled by a remarkable rise in the prices of food and non-food commodities, the rate of inflation during the first month of the current fiscal year climbed to an alarming 13.1 percent from 6.3 percent recorded during the same period last year. A press statement issued by Nepal Rastra Bank said that food and beverage prices shot up by 13.4 percent while non-food and service rates were up 12.7 percent. Of the items showing a double-digit price rise, the price indices of oil and ghee increased by a whopping 36 percent in mid-August 2008 compared to an increase of 11.4 percent a year ago, said the release. Likewise, the sub-group of grains and cereal products witnessed a rise of 23.5 percent in mid-August 2008 while the prices of rice and rice products increased by 27.8 percent compared to an increase of 7 percent a year ago. Continue reading
By Bishnu Pathak and Neil Horning
The reactions to the budget from the nation’s policymakers and critics are often guided by four motives. Those who made the budget in the past regard it as imbalanced and untenable and heap praise on their own budget. Others who suffered defeat in the CA polls from the Maoists are scared of the perpetual marginalization that stares them in the face and wish to see their Maoist rivals failing and faltering on all fronts and to stand thus vindicated. Another group of intellectuals, those affiliated to political parties other than the Maoist, appear inordinately critical in expounding their techno-statistical expertise on the budget and dub it as overtly ambitious and populist. The Maoists and the intellectual professionals close to them, however, claim the budget as a historical document, regarding it to be achievable, pro-poor, and growth-oriented, and blame their critics as feudal-minded. The donors, in general, remain neutral, at present, and the people are waiting for the budget to deliver in the field. For, that is where its ultimate test will lie. Continue reading