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The brief on Sunday

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009
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Give and take
The Maoists have agreed to let the parliament resume for three days to pass the budget, even though they had argued that their demands should be met first. “Our consistent efforts to find a solution failed to yield any result due to the ruling parties’ indifference,” the party’s chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal said. “However, as a responsible party to the country, people, security persons and other communities, we have unilaterally decided to let the parliament run for three days to pass the budget.” They also announced a new phase of protests which will last a month beginning Sunday. It includes plans to boycott government functions and a general strike from 20-22 December. They have threatened to strike indefinitely if their demands are not met by 22 December. (Kantipur)

Tough integration
Defence Minister Bidhya Bhandari has contested the bulk integration of the Maoist ex-combatants, stating that, “[the Maoists] cannot lead the government until they are disarmed.” She maintained that integrating them with the Nepali Army (NA) would set an incorrect precedent that would result in other armed groups seeking similar treatment. On Saturday, she announced the recruitment of 5,000 vacant posts for the NA. UNMIN and the Maoist party have both held that additional recruitment in the NA would be a breach of Comprehensive Peace Agreement. (The Kathmandu Post)

With friends like this…
All is not well within CPN-UML as Vice Chairman Bamdev Gautam says Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal should resign if that would help end the current political impasse. He said the constitution would  not be written on time without political consensus and lashed out against the big three party heads, alleging that, despite their pious rhetoric, they weren’t serious about ending the deadlock. (Republica)

Water talks extended
The Nepal-India talks on water resources taking place in Pokhara was extended to Sunday after the two parties failed to reach an agreement on the implementation of the first phase of the Mahakali Treaty. The 14-year old treaty pertains to sharing of water from Mahakali river on the western border. On Friday, the two parties discussed issues relating to the treaty, as well as the Pancheswor multi-purpose project and the controversy over the construction of dams by India in bordering areas. (Nagarik)

Gadhimai mystery
Buddha boy Ram Bahadur Bomjon has disappeared just days before he was supposed to preach and meditate at the Gadhimai temple. He was due to protest the mass animal sacrifice due to take place there beginning 24 November. No one is sure why or where he has gone, but speculation abounds: some say he despaired at the possibility of ending the sacrifice. Others suggest that he was frustrated by a police order forbidding him from meditating in the temple. (The Himalayan Times)

The kicker:
“Please come. Let’s run the government together. Let’s build the constitution together.” – Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal in Kathmandu on Saturday

Must read:
“Nepal’s peace process is in quite a critical phase” – Interview with UNMIN Chief Karin Landgren, Republica

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