Backpack Journalist: Kevin Sites In Kathmandu

Kevin Sites in Kailali shooting a Maoist guerilla girl
American war correspondent Kevin Sites points his camera toward an armed Maoist guerilla girl in Kailali, far west Nepal, this week. Pic by Wagle

By Dinesh Wagle
Saturday Blog

A soldier heading for the war zone would carry a loaded rifle along with a bandolier of bullets. What about a journalist who is going to cover that war? Pen and a notebook. A still camera if he is a photo journalist. Video camera for a TV reporter. If that journalist is Kevin Sites then he would carry a pen and a notebook in a small pouch, a still camera in one hand, a digital video camera in another and a backpack containing a powerful laptop computer on one side, Thuraya Satellite phone on the other, a backup digital video camera in between, a satellite modem in a pocket to transfer photos and videos to California from anywhere in the world. Plus, a palmtop mobile phone on a shirt pocket. Welcome to the new world of reporting where a correspondent leads a One Man Band to do audio, visual, text and photo journalism at the same time using high-tech gadgets. Kevin Sites is a renowned American reporter of contemporary world war journalism and is currently observing the effects of war on the streets of Kathmandu. Continue reading Backpack Journalist: Kevin Sites In Kathmandu

King Gyanendra Should Disclose Details Of His Properties

King Gyanendra should dutifully disclose the details of his personal and royal palace properties and proudly pay the tax.

Now that the House of Representatives has declared itself a sovereign and supreme body and people have joyfully welcomed the Proclamation, its time to implement those decisions without any delay. We have seen people at government office renaming HMG to Nepal Government. But there are some more important issues to be dealt with. The Parliament Proclamation says that the king will have to pay tax just like other 23 million citizens of Nepal. Now king Gyanendra should dutifully disclose the details of his properties.

Government of Nepal should bring out a white paper detailing the properties of the royal palace and that of the king. We, the sovereign Nepali people, need to know how much property the king owns and how much belongs to the palace (which is a public institution, not a private property of a king). Properties of the king and the palace are different thing and that should be made clear to Nepali people. We all know he was (and probably is) involved in different business activities. Accounts of those businesses should also be publicized. We need to know what happened with the property of king Birendra and his family. That should be nationalized. It would be even better if the Narayanhitti royal palace is turned into a national museum. Nirmal Niwas could be used as the resident for Gyanendra. We don’t need a big palace in a small country like Nepal. There will be no administrative work for palace anymore. So, occupying a big building is not a good idea. This process shouldn’t be delayed.

The Parliamentary Proclamation didn’t speak about the title of Shree Panch but the cabinet should decide on that this week. No one more other than the king (and may be the crown prince) would be allowed to hold the title until the election of constituent assembly. People will decide the fate of monarchy on that election. If they choose to turn the king into a citizen, that should be accepted.

The proclamation also says that the parliament will decide on the benefits and budgets of the king. That should be decided as per the average household expenditure of Nepali people. The king shouldn’t get more than that.

The five-hundred member Royal Palace Service must be reduced drastically.-Wagle