Koirala toughens stand over Terai
With Nepal’s eastern Terai completely paralysed for the last five days, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has adopted a hard line towards the political unrest in the region.
Koirala on Sunday directed the heads of security agencies to “initiate every possible measure” to ensure normalcy. Such a directive is bound to provoke the Madheshi leadership even further.
Any attempt by the security agencies to forcefully ply vehicles on the major highways or open shops will certainly cause lead to a major setback in the political talks between the government and the agitating Madheshi political parties.
“What is the point of this kind of approach?” Rajendra Mahato, senior Madheshi leader said to Hindustan Times on Sunday. “The government should not underestimate the aspirations of the people of Terai.”
The Madheshi political parties are determined not to allow the holding of constituent assembly elections in the Terai till their demands are met. The main demand is declaring the region an autonomous state, one which Koirala has already turned down.
In view of the growing uncertainty, Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Shiv Shankar Mukherjee has been directed by New Delhi to remain in Kathmandu till the constituent assembly elections on April 10. Earlier Mukherjee was scheduled to join as the Indian High Commissioner in London on March 1. “Our government has asked me to stay back here till the holding of the election,” Mukherjee confirmed. The new ambassador, Rajesh Sood will take over after the CA election.
Special ID cards for Indian tourists
Nepal has asked India to consider the feasibility of issuing photo identity cards to Indian tourists arriving by air who do not have either a passport or a voter identity card. “We have requested our government to pursue the matter with the Indian government,” said Nandini Lahe Thapa, Director Tourism Marketing and Promotion of the Nepal Tourism Board.
A prominent Taliban cleric, Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani, was killed in an attack in a seminary in Kabul when the attacker detonated explosives hidden in a plastic artificial leg on Thursday, according to officials and Taliban sources. It was not immediately clear who was behind the blast. Four Taliban sources told Reuters the attacker was someone who had previously lost his leg and had hidden the explosives in a plastic artificial leg.
China on Thursday said it needs more time to “assess” the India-US proposal to list Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) leader Abdul Rauf Azhar as a global terrorist at the UN Security Council, hours after blocking the joint effort. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the 1267 Committee of the UN Security Council has clear provisions about designating terrorist organisations and officials. China had similarly sought time to assess the case.
China has agreed to finance a feasibility study for a cross-border railway with Nepal under the trans-Himalayan multi-dimensional connectivity network, part of the Belt and Road Initiative and pledged $118 million for China-assisted projects in the country, the foreign ministries of the two countries have said. Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, Wang Yi said China will work with Nepal on power projects and also in building cross Himalayan connectivity projects.
Former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa left Singapore Thursday, the city-state's immigration office said, after his social visit pass expired. "The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority confirms that Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa left Singapore on 11 August 2022," the office said in reply to an AFP query. Rajapaksa fled to the Maldives on July 13 and then to Singapore, where he announced his resignation after months of protests over Sri Lanka's economic meltdown.
The total global number of unemployed youths should fall to 73 million in 2022, down by two million from the year before, the United Nations said Thursday. However, the figure is still six million higher than the pre-pandemic level of 2019, with the recovery in youth unemployment lagging behind the bounceback in other age groups, the UN's International Labour Organization said.