Nepal Terai Tension: PM Calls For All-Party Meeting

Jan 21- Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has called for an eight-party meeting Monday (22 Jan) morning to discuss the worsening situation in Lahan, where violence flared up following Friday’s killing of a teenager. The PM called for the meeting at his residence at Baluwatar at 8 a.m. tomorrow, sources said. The meeting will also be attended by Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) leaders. Meanwhile, Siraha District Administration today clamped a 15-hour curfew in Lahan and surrounding areas for the third consecutive day to foil any further violence. A curfew order from 11 this morning till 2 am tonight has been issued. Security was beefed up since the morning in Lahan but sensing an eruption in violence and vandalism again by the demonstrators, the local administration decided to impose the curfew again. (background)

35 Containers For Nepal Army Weapons Storage

Jan 21- 35 additional containers are being brought to Kathmandu by Friday (26 Jan) for the storage of Nepal Army weapons. According to military sources, the arms containers to store NA weapons are being brought in to coincide with the ongoing registration of Maoist fighters and weapons as per the agreement between the Maoists and the government, reports eKantipur. The containers will be housed at Chhauni barrack in the capital, sources said. As per the government-Maoist agreement signed on November, the weapons of the PLA and NA will be stored in the containers in the seven different areas across the country, which will be monitored by the United Nations.

Hi Hi America, Hi Hi Hillary

Hillary Clinton

So Hilary Clinton has decided to take part in the 2008 United States presidential race. What does that mean to us, the people in Nepal who are far away from the US? But hey how far can you be from America if you are living in this world? If life is a meal, America is the chatni (pickle) without which the food becomes tasteless. You get your daily dose of pickle in your life via countless mediums. Internet is America, TV is America, Film is America, Coca Cola is America. Heck, I am not typing Nepal is America and the world is America. Does that really matter? A small event in America is BIG for the world and makes it to our living room in an instant. Why go for other, take this (the Hilary Clinton announcement) as an example. Hillary has just disclosed her intention of entering into the presidential contest, she hasn’t even secured the nomination from her party (Democratic) yet. The election is months away and God only knows if she will win or not, first the Democratic nomination, then the United States presidency.

I can’t believe I wrote a blog in November 4, 2004 titled “Congratulations President Bush! Hillary, are you ready?” While congratulating George W. Bush for his reelection (“Though I endorsed Senator Kerry’s effort for the White House…,” I wrote) I had ended my blog with these lines:

“Let me end this blog with a hopeful note. I genuinely expect Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to run for the 2008 Presidency. That can be possible. She should be prepared for that race. The US needs a female president which will create history on its own. Hillary, are you ready?”

Did Hillary read my blog post and decide not to disappoint me? ๐Ÿ™‚

Whatever is the case, I am sure the time has changed and there is a brand new competitor for Hillary: Senator Barack Obama. Ever since I learned about this guy, I have been thinking about the possibility of the United States with a black President. Obama is not just a black; he is indeed a talented fellow with a charismatic personality. This year too my support goes to the Democratic candidate (as if that mattered to the Democratic Party!) but who will be the lucky one (Hillary or Obama) is still not decided. [After all as a citizen of this world, I think I must have my say over the American politics, economy, culture and many other things because whatever happens there definitely affects us.] Both Hillary and Barack Obama will create history in the US if they become successful in their aspirations. So for the next few weeks, I will play neutral and, for now, extend my best wishes to Hillary Rodham Clinton.

>> Pics above, taken from Hillary Clinton web site, show phuchhi Hillary and Lady Hillary.

[UWB Note: This blog was originally posted on Wagle Street Journal. Click for the original post and the discussion: Hi Hi America, Hi Hi Hillary

Again Nepal Banda: Bus Wallas Protest

For the record (22 Jan): The Banda continued. Two boys killed in Lahan.
nepal banda chakka jam

Normal life in the city was disrupted and people had to walk, like these women with a kid in Koteshwor, because of banda. Pics by Wagle

In an IM conversation yesterday afternoon, an American girl who was here in Kathmandu a few weeks ago had asked me the latest from the city. “Everything is fine,” I had replied. “Traffic is okay. No rallies.” I went to New Baneswor half an hour after that and saw a protest rally of Madhesis. Traffic was disturbed but not as badly as today. Yes, after posting these lines, I will have to walk to office, a job that I don’t really like though I love walking.
The National Federation of Nepal Transport Entrepreneurs have called an indefinite traffic strike (chakka jam) today to protest the torching of public vehicles in Lahan on Friday (19 Jan). Once journalist Bijay Kumar talked about difficulties in predicting Nepali politics. As the editor of Nepal Magazine that had to be in press almost a week ahead of publication date, he faced a peculiar challenge: to make the magazine seemed like produced just a day before by writing in such a way that even if the context is changed, the write-up remains fresh and up to date. He became successful in almost all issues but it’s indeed hard to predict the political and other developments in today’s Nepal. The trend of creating anarchy and take advantage of such situation has increased over the past several months. There is a kind of planned competition to exploit the situation. You never know what’s going to happen when. Anyone can call a Nepal banda any time. General public has to face the difficulties caused by such prompt and unnecessary decisions. Public have always become the victim of such bandas in the past. What can they do other than quietly suffer? –Wagle

nepal banda chakka jam

There were hardly any four wheelers on the street today but I saw several motorcycles. Bikers faced assault and foul words from arrogant drivers and other staffs of buses who were supporting the banda and were active in disrupting the vehicular movement in key sections of different streets. Bus staffs, like the man on right, were particularly unhappy with young motorcycle riders. โ€œYou guys ask too much money if our bus hits you,โ€ said an angry man. โ€œAnd now you are disobeying our call for banda and riding bike? Return to where you came form or I will blow the tires of your bikes.โ€

The organizers/supporters of today’s traffic banda were rude and assaulted the motorbike wallas. Here is what I saw in Koteshwor. After all, every dog has his day.

In previous Nepal bandas, these transport entrepreneurs and bus staffs were one of the most affacted groups. Today, they were one who were stopping vehicles from playing on the street.