By Gopal Sharma
KATHMANDU (Reuters Life!) – A car said to have been a gift from Adolf Hitler to a Nepali king will be repaired and used to drive visitors around the grounds of a palace museum, a government official said on Thursday.
The 1939 Mercedes Benz was presented by the Nazi leader to King Tribhuvan, grandfather of Nepal’s last King Gyanendra, deposed two years ago.
By Gopal Sharma
KATHMANDU (Reuters Life!) – Nepal’s Supreme Court on Friday upheld a life imprisonment sentence for “bikini killer” Charles Sobhraj for killing an American backpacker in 1975.
French national Sobhraj, 66, has been accused in a number of Asian countries of killing over 20 Western travelers in the 1970s and his exploits have spawned two books, a movie and many news articles.
By Gopal Sharma
KATHMANDU (Reuters Life!) – Perhaps divine intervention helped.
A Nepali girl revered by many as a “living goddess” has become the first sitting deity to pass the high school leaving certificate exam, setting her on course for a career in banking.
Chanira Bajracharya, 15, called Kumari, was among nearly half a million children who took the exams in March. The results were declared late on Friday.
By Gopal Sharma
KATHMANDU (Reuters Life!) – Nepal has increased the monthly stipend it gives its “living goddess” by a quarter, a top official said Thursday, to help the schoolgirl revered by thousands of Hindus and Buddhists beat double-digit inflation.
The girl called Kumari is considered holy and is an attraction for the many tourists who visit the Himalayan nation every year.
KATHMANDU (Reuters) – Nepali Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has resigned in a move aimed at resolving a political crisis which had imperiled a 2006 peace deal when the Maoists ended a decade-long civil war that killed thousands.
The move came after pressure from the former rebels who are demanding a return to power at the head of a unity government to oversee the drafting of a new constitution, a major condition of the peace deal.
KATHMANDU (Reuters) – Nepali Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned on Wednesday in a move aimed at resolving a political crisis and saving the peace process more than three years after the end of a decade-long Maoist civil war.
“I have decided to resign with effect from today to clear the way for a political consensus,” Nepal said in a televised address.
KATHMANDU (Reuters) – Nepal’s fledgling peace process that ended a decade-long civil war is in “danger”, a top Maoist leader said on Thursday, amidst a political crisis that has gripped the Himalayan nation.
The Maoists gave up arms in 2006 to participate in elections. They emerged as the single largest political party and briefly led a coalition government that abolished the 239-year-old monarchy.
KATHMANDU (Reuters) – Nepal’s parliament gave one more year on Friday to a special assembly tasked with drafting a new constitution, reinforcing hopes for an acceleration of a stalled peace process after a decade-long civil war.
The Constituent Assembly was elected in 2008 to prepare a new constitution, a key demand of the Maoist former rebels who ended their civil war under a 2006 peace deal. Its term had been due to expire at mid-night local time on Friday.
KATHMANDU, May 28 (Reuters) – Nepal’s parliament is due to vote on Friday on a government proposal to extend the deadline of a special Constituent Assembly giving the Himalayan republic more time to draft a new constitution.
The assembly, elected in 2008 to prepare a new constitution, a key demand of the Maoist former rebels who ended their civil war under a 2006 peace deal, is due to expire at mid-night on Friday. [ID:nSGE64B0KQ]
Below are some questions and answers about the vote and what the risks are to the country’s fragile peace process:
WHO ARE KEY PLAYERS IN THE VOTE ?
The Maoists, who hold 40 percent of the 601-seat assembly that also doubles as parliament, hold the key to the passage of the proposal to extend the deadline. Members from the coalition government lack the required two-thirds majority to extend the term. Maoists say they will support the extension only if Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal quits to pave the way for a unity government headed by them. The prime minister refuses to do so.
HOW WAS THE CRISIS CAUSED?
Nepal is currently governed under an interim constitution.
The Constituent Assembly failed to prepare the new draft by the deadline because of squabbles and deep mistrust between the Maoists and the main political parties.
The Maoists say parties propping up the coalition government are reluctant to introduce a federal system and give rights to traditionally marginalised and minority groups, pet Maoist issues. The government says the former rebels are not committed to democracy and are unwilling to dismantle camps still housing 19,000 Maoist former fighters.
IS THERE A RISK OF A RETURN TO CONFLICT?
The Maoists and political parties are under tremendous public pressure to extend the deadline that will immediately ease tension and revive hopes for the imperiled peace process.
The Maoists say they will not return to the jungles even if the efforts fail, but would organise street protests to press for their demand for a unity government.
This could lead to prolonged periods of shutdown of the capital Kathmandu. Failure to renew the term could produce political confrontation and effectively take Nepal to a ceasefire-like situation, but a return to full scale war is highly unlikely.
HAS ANY PROGRESS BEEN MADE AT ALL?
Politicians say 70 to 80 percent of the work on preparaing the constitution is over. But political parties are still deeply divided over key issues such as whether to adopt a presidential or British-type parliamentary system and over the control of the judiciary.
They must also resolve the issue of rehabilitating the Maoist former fighters who now remain in U.N.-monitored camps. The Maoist combatants must be integrated, as demanded by the former rebels, or rehabilitated, which is key to the stability of a nation tucked between Asian giants China and India. (Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee and Ron Popeski)
KATHMANDU (Reuters) – A 13-year-old American boy on Saturday became the youngest climber to conquer Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain, a climbing website said.
Jordan Romero from Big Bear, California, scaled the 8,850 metre (29,035 feet) summit from the Tibetan side, on the same day a Nepali man broke his own world record for the most number of successful Everest attempts.