Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Bravo Moriarty

US starts Bhutan refugees resettlement process Kantipur KATHMANDU, March 7 - With a proposal to set up an overseas processing entity (OPE) here, the United States has finally begun the formal process of resettling over 60,000 Bhutanese refugees in the US over the next five years. ..... the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration floated a request February 13 for grant proposals to establish the OPE in Kathmandu. The OPE is expected to begin setting up operations on July 1. .... According to the embassy official, Nepal has already given the green light to the U.S. government to begin planning for a resettlement program based on the assumption that third-country resettlement will be an integral component of a comprehensive solution for the Bhutanese refugees. Over 100,000 Bhutanese refugees have been languishing in seven camps in eastern Nepal for the last 15 years. ...... The embassy official also dropped hints that setting up the OPE will be useful for repatriating other refugees living in Nepal, mainly Tibetans. "Even though the OPE is being set up for the Bhutanese refugees, it could be used to help process other refugees, if cases so warrant," said the official. Around 25,000 Tibetan refugees have also been living in Nepal.
Moriarty Should Take His Offer Directly To The Bhutani Refugees
Tek Nath Rizal And The Bhutani Hostage Crisis
Solve The Bhutani Refugee Crisis: Send Them West

This is an amazing piece of news. I am very happy for the Bhutani refugees. And I hope this also works out for the Tibetan refugees. I hope they all come over to New York City.

I recently met S K Pradhan here at the Ian Martin event (Ian Martin). He is a Bhutani democracy leader. I have been told he was big even before Tek Nath Rizal emerged on the scene. Pradhan and I are on the same wavelength. He also believes Bhutanis coming over to the US will be a huge boost for the democracy movement in Bhutan.

When I read this Moriarty proposal for the first time, I must admit I was thrown off balance. Because this really is so out of the box. I did not see it coming at all. The Nepali political establishment was also thrown off balance. The Bhutani democracy leaders were also thrown off balance. I got back on my feet pretty fast and immediately and enthusiastically welcomed the proposal. This was more than a proposal, this was a generous gift. And now it looks like the Nepali establishment has come around to it as well.

This is something really groundbreaking. Something similar would do wonders for the Palestinian crisis as well.

And now countries other than the US also need to pitch in. I remember they had already pledged. Australia, EU. All 100,000 Bhutani refugees and 25,000 Tibetan refugees need to be airlifted.

I am glad the repatriated Bhutanis will escape the desolate conditions in the refugee camps. But my interest is greater. I think they can do more for Bhutani democracy from New York City than from anywhere else.

Tibetans organized in New York City can also work towards turning China into a federal, multi-party democracy. Tibet, like Madhesh, has to become its own state.

This is an extremely smart move on the part of Moriarty. This is more than generous. This is shrewd. This will have far reaching consequences. This is a small American investment that will pay huge dividends to America itself.

I am extremely happy right now to be getting this news.

In The News

View Point Moriarty Spotlight as Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has noted: “Under President Bush’s leadership, the United States has embarked on the most ambitious development agenda since the Marshall Plan.” ...... With a potential estimated at more than 83,000 Megawatts, Nepal could become the Kuwait of hydropower, fueling economic advances throughout the country and the region. ...... How effectively will Nepal manage the vast sums when it chooses to develop its hydropower? If this undertaking is managed transparently so that Nepalis understand their government’s plans and decisions, then the money will benefit all Nepalis. ...... If developed wisely, the promise of hydropower for Nepal is high as the Himalayas . ...... . Recent disturbances in the Terai, for instance, suggest the need for greater transparency and inclusiveness to address ethnic groups with long-time grievances who feel excluded from Nepal ’s democratic transition. ...... The formula is simple: Stop intimidation. Stop extortion. Stop violence. Once and for all. ...... I cannot help but notice that Maoist leaders have stepped up their criticism of me and of my government. They charge that the United States is doing everything from supporting the King to fomenting unrest in the Terai, all in an attempt to derail Nepal ’s peace process. Nothing could be further from the truth. ...... Nepalis themselves must make the hard choices and decisions about their future.

All fired up and nowhere to go Meeting a small-time revolutionary in a small town hotel LEO BLAZE in BIHAR Nepali Times Recently we met Paswan in a bare hotel room off a muddy street in small-town Bihar, where everything he and his two companions had could fit into a small holdall. Out of consideration for his guests he left the room to smoke, though he had no compunction about spitting in the corner. He invited us to join him under blankets on the bed and passed around an old studio shot of himself, declining to be photographed as he currently appears. ........ Talking to Paswan is strikingly similar to speaking with a district level Maoist leader ...... He reeled off the short list of killings and attacks he has commissioned with apparent indifference. ..... was vice-president of the Siraha chapter of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists for six years ...... splitting from them in 2004 over the appointment of Matrika Yadav as head of the Maoist-affiliated Tarai Mukti Morcha. He formed the JTMM with Jai Krishna Goit, notionally to fight for complete tarai independence. ...... He still talks about revolution coming from poverty and suppression. But, he says, “the Maoists didn’t have a clear vision of madhesi rights. We don’t want to be devotees or partners of pahadis. If we do that, there won’t be any liberation of the tarai.” ...... Paswan soon parted ways with Goit who, he says, “was already 80, always sick, he couldn’t remember dates.” Paswan says he broke away because “the tarai movement needed sacrifice and youth”, and because it was what JTMM cadres wanted. According to one of his followers about 150 former Maoists are in the group, some with their original weapons. The JTMM-J says it has “full strength” in 13 districts and “agents” in five more. ....... earlier this year hit at least three police posts, killing a policeman called “Karki something” Paswan recalls. .... “Our front has proved that we are brave and revolutionary.” ...... Madhesi Janadhikar Forum’s ‘Uprendraji’ ..... Paswan, who has the weakest profile of the three, immediately accepted the offer. He issued a list of nine demands, and added another the next day as if as an afterthought. The first demand is an independent tarai state, which he insists must run the length of the country. But the second, fair representation for madhesis in the military, politics and administration, suggests that the demand for independence is rhetorical. ........ apparent urge for credibility ..... Our fight is for power and rights,” he says, apparently to the surprise of the two boys sitting with him. .... Paswan smoked another cigarette, explaining that he was under a lot of stress. We left the hotel together and he tramped off down the muddy street, with his two young followers and their little bag.
Not everything matters CK Lal The India-baiters have not yet insinuated that the weapons have gone back to where they believe they come from: the jungles of Chhatisgarh, the ravines of Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand’s hills, and Bihar’s floodplains. ..... a Ramshah Path firm was just awarded a Rs 2 million contract to furnish the residence of the person after whom Prachanda Path is named
Equal opportunity poverty Alok Bohara, Mani Nepal

Parliament defers passage of statute amendment bill for Friday NepalNews
Govt panel to ask royal palace to disclose property details
Normal life hit in Terai as MJF resumes agitation
NSP-Anandidevi threatens to pull out
EC demands 30,000 more hands for CA polls
No immediate action against King: Report
South Asian countries to form ‘energy ring’

Nepal government gears up to break Terai strike Hindustan Times, India Nepal's government on Tuesday started marshalling its forces to break the indefinite strike called in the Terai plains in the south by ethnic Indian protesters, beefing up security on highways to give confidence to transporters. ..... "We are fighting for our rights and our fight will continue till we get them," Upendra Yadav ...... The forum says it will not begin dialogue with the seven-party government till Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula resigns for the deaths and a high-level commission is constituted to bring to task the police officials and Maoists behind the killings. ...... On Monday, the government began a series of moves to out manoeuvre the protesters. ..... Ministers held talks with transport operators and persuaded them to ply during the strike, assuring them of enhanced security and compensation in case of damage to vehicles. ...... The trade unions affiliated to the ruling seven parties threw their weight behind the government, saying they would defy the strike call. ........ decided to withdraw the arrest warrants for the two main armed groups in the plains - the two factions of the Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha ...... the fear of fresh scarcity of food supplies and fuel began stalking the kingdom. ..... rising concern among industries and businesses. ....... An earlier three-week protest in the plains by the forum had crippled Nepal's industries, cutting off the supply of raw material from India and other countries and preventing the movement of finished goods to retailers.
Southern Nepal hit hard by strike BBC News A general strike called by a regional group seeking a federal system of government in Nepal has crippled life across the southern Terai plains. ..... Markets, schools and colleges and industries have remained shut and most vehicles have remained off the road. ..... has already affected goods and fuel supplies across Nepal. ..... "Our street protests and transportation strikes will be peaceful and continue for an indefinite period until the government creates the environment for talks," news agency AFP quoted Upendra Yadav ...... most public transport has remained off the roads and effects of the strike have been felt in most Terai districts. ....... Madheshis make up 33-45% of Nepal's population of 27 million but are vastly under-represented in government and the army, which tend to be dominated by hill-dwellers.
NSP-Anandidevi threatens to pull out Nepalnews.com if the proposal to amend the constitution is not adopted on Tuesday by the interim parliament. ..... Rajendra Mahato warned that any more betrayal against the people of Madhes would be 'final.' ..... Mahato said that once the NSP-A walks out, it will impossible for the party to return.
MJF Strike Cripples Life in Terai Districts Himalayan Times, Nepal MJF has been demanding a federal democratic republic. .... Short and long routes vehicles stayed off the roads in the Terai region. ...MJF activists also staged demonstration in Birgunj.
MJF Activists Torch Two Buses in Nawalparasi
Traders Not to Pay Taxes During Bandh
NSU National Convention Put off Again
MJF strike in Tarai from today
Govt withdraws warrants Talks atmosphere with Terai rebels created Gorkhapatra, Nepal
The cabinet agreed to make public the Rayamajhi report that has recommended to take action against the persons involved in suppressing and misusing the national coffer, powers and posts during peaceful democratic movement in last April.
Nepal Terai cobra strikes, one person killed PeaceJournalism.com, Nepal Activists of Terai cobra shot to death Ram Briksha Raya at Gangapipra VDC of Rautahat district. .... latest among a number of organisations involved in agitation and violence in Terai such as Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF), two factions of Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (JTMM) and Madhesi Tigers.
Connect Asia NEPAL: New rebel groups add to violence Radio Australia, Australia
Roundup: Nepali Interim Constitution amendment bill to be passed People's Daily Online, China guaranteeing the Terai region representation in the constituent assembly in proportion to its population .... the constituencies in the Terai region would be increased in proportion to its population and the seats to be elected through a proportional representation system would also be increased accordingly. .... the 20 districts in the southern Terai plains with 48.4 percent of the country's population will get 49 percent seats in the Constituent Assembly, while 51 percent seats will be divided among the 55 hilly and Himalayan districts that have 51.6 percent of the population. ..... The eight parties also agreed that all the groups in the country including Madhesi, dalits, the indigenous, women, laborers, peasants and backward classes and regions would be included in the state organs on the basis of the principle of proportional inclusion. ..... Many Terai towns witnessed curfews, strikes and widespread vandalism of public and private property in the unrest.
From Chaos to Chaos in Nepal American Chronicle, CA The King referred to the achievements of his most famous ancestor King Prithvi Narayan Shah obliquely in pointing out that "Nepal is a kaleidoscope of diverse peoples." Since the unification of the country by this great king, the Nepalese monarchy has stood for 'unity in diversity' and ethnic and religious tolerance. He pledged his support for democracy on Monday, but also appealed to the countrymen to "respect history", apparently appealing for the monarchy to be retained in some form. ..... The council of ministers has now concluded that the King's statement was "undemocratic, unauthorized and unconstitutional"! ..... the politicians from the Seven Party/Maoist Alliance leave out no opportunity to attempt to put responsibility for Nepal's problems to the monarchy, reactionaries and royalists (for example, during the first flare of violence in Madhesh)
Nepal ethnic group widens strike in the plains Reuters the strike's extension had brought life to a standstill in the eastern part of the Terai ...... "Everything is closed," said Guna Dev Lamichhane, who works in a private firm in Biratnagar .... "I can see some stray cattle and a few people on bicycles." ....... At least 30 people have been killed, most of them Madhesi protesters shot by police.
Nepal government gears up to break Terai strike Malaysia Sun, Malaysia
Transporters to defy MPRF strike Kantipur Online, Nepal Half a dozen associations of transporters and workers Monday announced that they would restart running vehicles from Tuesday, in defiance of the transport strike called by the Madhesi People's Rights Forum (MPRF) in 22 Terai districts. ...... the National Federation of Nepal Transport Entrepreneurs (NFNTE), the Nepal Trucks and Tankers Entrepreneurs Association, the Independent Transport Workers' Association of Nepal (ITWAN), the Nepal Transport Workers Forum, the Nepal Transports Workers' Association (NTWA) and the All Nepal Transport Workers' Association. ..... Speaking at the press conference, Dinesh Bhandari, president of NFNTE said this is a big step towards eliminating strikes forever. ...... the government was positive towards our demands. It has also agreed to provide Rs 150,000 for a deceased transport worker, if any, during the strike," said Ajaya Rai, president of the NTWA. ..... a meeting of the Cabinet Monday has appealed to businessmen, transport entrepreneurs, schools and factory owners to continue their work during the MPRF-called strikes. The meeting asked the Home and Labor Ministers to take immediate steps to ensure smooth operation of businesses, transport and factories across the country ...... "The obstruction in transport service adversely affects poor people the most and restricts access of poor farmers to markets to sell their produce," Lekhak said. "So we have called upon all parties to halt such strikes."
Sunsari-Morang corridor industries defy MPRF strike Kantipur Online, Nepal Industries in Sunsari on Tuesday continued normal operations in defiance of the indefinite general strike announced by the agitating Madheshi people's Rights Forum (MPRF) set to begin from today in 22 Terai districts. ...... Industries manufacturing jute, readymade garments, noodles, soap, ghee, among others, began operating after Trade Unions affiliated to the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, Jana Morcha Nepal, CPN-M launched began making on-site inspections along the Sunsari-Morang industrial corridor to ensure the defiance of the strike. ....... the trade unions had inspected some 200 industries along the Koshi Highway today as per the Trade union workers' strike-defiance campaign. ...... a large number of industries in the corridor have remained shut due to the unavailability of the necessary raw materials languishing at various checkpoints along the Indian border due the customs strike announced by the agitating forum. ....... claiming that such forms of protests have mostly affected the poor masses and laborers. ..... A 13-member committee comprising representatives from five trade unions was formed to implement the decision. G-FONT, D-CONT, All Nepal Trade Union (affiliated to People's Front Nepal) and Maoist affiliated All Nepal Trade Union Federation participated in the meeting held under the initiation of NTUC. ........ a relatively large number of buses, microbuses, trucks and private vehicles could be seen plying the eastern roads.
Nepal ethnic group widens strike in the plains Reuters India, India
Nepal ethnic group widens strike in the plains Reuters AlertNet, UK
Connect Asia NEPAL: New rebel groups add to violence Radio Australia, Australia
Roundup: Over 1 mln Nepalis get citizenship certificates People's Daily Online, China across all 75 districts of the country. ... the Citizenship Certificate Teams mobilized by the Home Ministry are working day and night to issue citizenship certificates to the rightful persons. ...... 540,741 persons dwell in 20 districts of southern Terai plains. ..... The Hilly region in the central of the country witnessed the highest number of citizenship certificate distribution, with 603,647 persons having acquired the certificates. ...... the political parties too showed the tendency to use their influence in the citizenship certificate distribution process so that to consolidate their vote banks for the approaching elections to the constituent assembly scheduled to take place by mid-June.
Indefinite MPRF strike in 22 districts from tomorrow Kantipur Online, Nepal

Eight Parties Should Relinquish Power: Youth Leaders
NSU District Presidents
Statistics On The Terai And Pahad
Lhopse In New York
Madhesis Do Not Want A Separate State: Gachhedar

Girija Warns Prachanda
In Support Of Banda: Pradip Nepal
Non-cooperation With The Home Minister
10 Lakh To Deuba
Green Forests, Maoists' Property
Why Should The Congress Follow The Moaist Dictates? Arjun Nar Singh KC

MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA: Israel and the Arabs Let's meet, maybe Plans for a peace conference on Palestine may founder on the question of refugees .... Condoleezza Rice, having been lukewarm for years, has lately caught peace fever in a big way .... the “Arab Peace Initiative”, a plan inspired by Saudi Arabia's King (then Crown Prince) Abdullah, and adopted by all 22 members of the Arab League in Beirut in 2002 ....... The plan offered Israel peace and normal relations in return for its leaving the territories occupied in 1967 and accepting a “just” settlement for the Palestinian refugees. ........ an “Arab Quartet” of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, all pro-Western Sunni states no less keen than America to counter a menacing Iran. ...... the other Quartet, comprising the European Union, the UN and Russia as well as the United States, that has been steering Palestinian peacemaking in no very obvious direction for the past several years. ...... Israel's foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, seems relatively (and, in the view of domestic critics, madly) relaxed about the reference in the Arab Initiative to the borders of 1967. ...... But she is less relaxed about the refugees. .... Israel is adamant that letting the refugees back into Israel “proper” (ie, within the pre-1967 borders) would swamp the Jewish state, so their right of return should therefore be exercised only in the new state of Palestine that will supposedly arise next door. .... Not for the first time, a chance for diplomacy may be killed by a choice of phrase.

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