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The brief on Thursday

Thursday, November 19th, 2009
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Long road to consensus
The three big political parties held yet another round of talks to discuss the content of the proposed joint resolution. The motion was created to meet the demands of the Maoists who have held that the president’s decision to reinstate the army chief was unconstitutional. The ruling parties are pushing to pass the budget in the parliament, which has been stalled since July. Maoists want a package deal. The party’s Vice Chair Narayan Kaji Shrestha said:  “If there is agreement, the political logjam will end, the House will resume, and the budget will be approved.” (Republica)

‘Unnatural alliance’
Upon his return from an unexpected visit to Nepali Congress President Girija Prasas Koirala, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal proclaimed that the current government would collapse soon because it was formed though an “unnatural alliance”. “There will be a new national government soon, and a new political era will begin,” he said. He did not say how or when the new government would be formed, but divulged that he had “discussed a middle path and a win-win solution to the current trouble.” (The Kathmandu Post)

Questionnaire qualms
The last phase of the plan for discharging and rehabilitating combatants has faced obstacles over a questionnaire that is required for profiling the combatants. The Maoists refused to agree to a closed-ended questionnaire that asks the combatants what they expect to do in a year. They are pushing for government and UNMIN representatives to ask either open-ended questions or provide an ‘other’ option. The officials argued that conceding to their requests would result in the disqualified persons seeking cash incentives and shirking the vocational training that the Peace Ministry and UNMIN are offering. They also fear that any allowances would ultimately go to the Maoist party. (Republica)

Justice their way
After a judge delivered a verdict in favour of the defendants in a murder case in Baglung, the plaintiff’s relatives trashed the courtroom, as well as the judge’s residence and broke half a dozen vehicles parked outside.  The plaintiff’s relatives are claiming that Judge Hari Pratap KC solicited a bribe from the defendants to declare them as innocent. They are asking that the verdict in the trial of the murder of Kul Bahadur KC last September be overturned, and have threatened to shut down Baglung Bajar if it remains unchanged. (Rajdhani)

Flu management
The government is preparing a national protocol to deal with an outbreak of swine flu as hospitals report a 30 percent increase of influenza cases compared to last year. On Wednesday a school student from Banepa was reported dead from a suspected case of swine flu while on a field trip with her school. Nine other individuals, including teachers, who travelled with her reported swine-flu like symptoms. Doctors have advised anyone with flu symptoms to seek medical attention since most swine flu cases are moderate and can be treated. (The Kathmandu Post)

The Kicker:
“We’ll have to wait and see how the ruling coalition is dissolved and a new one is formed.” – Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal upon his return from Singapore

Must read:
‘‘Course correction’ will decide when Maoists get into govt’, Akhilesh Upadhyay, The Kathmandu Post

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