Nepali Times Asian Paints
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Showing a red flag to a bull

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Now that the birth of a grandson to Emperor Akihito has defused a succession crisis in Japan, we couldn't help thinking how far ahead Nepal is, because our parliament has already decreed in favour of female succession. It's just that we may not have a monarchy by the time a female comes around. Our female royals don't have it easy these days given the kind of commoners they are married to. The First Daughter has scars in her scalp and clumps of hair missing and no prizes for guessing whodunit. Given the CP's reputation for roughing up people in discos you'd think he'd take it upon himself to defend his sister from the misogynist she seems to be married to. But with much more serious stuff at stake, no one at the palace seems to have time to think of petty matters like wife-battering.

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And at the rate Daddy is attending ceremonies these days, it does seem like he is growing into his ceremonial role. Despite uncertainties and rumours, King G and Queen K managed to make it to the balcony of Hanuman Dhoka on Indra Jatra and toss coins at the Kumari in a ceremony that dates back to his ancestor's conquest of the Valley on this very day 237 years ago. Come to think of it, in terms of political power, there is now really very little difference between the living goddess and the king. So why not keep them both as tourist attractions? NTB must seriously consider recruiting the king as a roving ambassador or even a mascot for tourism promotion. At least he'd have something to do.

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Even before the autumn tourist season gets underway Kathmandu hotels are already chock-a-block full. Many lodgings in the Thamel area are reporting 100 percent occupancy because of Maoists who are in town this week for a series of conventions. And thank heavens for that, because without the comrades our domestic convention tourism would be in bad shape. The Maoists are low-budget tourists, though, and have an ingenious way to get dramatic discounts by playing around with ominous-looking sockets while bargaining with the manager on room tarriffs. With hotel rooms all booked, thousands of comrades are also staying as house guests in homes on the outskirts of Kathmandu and Patan.

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Someone must do something before Nepal's ex-majestic seven-party government becomes known as a rubber stamp body. Even as reports pour in of Nepalis being detained in airports around the world for carrying suspected forged passports because of the spelling mistakes on the rubber stamps, we now hear that the deputy-prime minister's office doesn't just need a spell checker- it needs its head examined. A rubber stamp bearing the coat of arms of the Government of Nepal (with cow, danfe, soles of a pair of feet, two flags and still topped off by a bird-of-paradise feather crown) says: 'Personal Secretariate of Deputy Prime Minister & Primeminister of Health & Population Ramshahapath'. Being an ex-headmaster, we are glad to note that Amikdai can still spell 'secretariate' and that his address doesn't say Prachandapath. But the rubber stamp does prove what we knew all along, that the good comrade has ambitions.

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Speaking of comrades, we've just been perusing Vol 1 No 1 of the new political tabloid 'Rato Jhanda' weekly in which every article is a vitriolic tirade against Prachanda. Sample headlines: 'Prachanda meets secretly with Indian intelligenc&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;', 'Prachanda silent on Indian expansionis&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;', 'Prachanda soft on king', and a hard-hitting editorial titled 'Onward with the Proletarian Revolution, Our Pledge'. The debut issue also contains a major chunk of the 9,000 word interview by Comrade Azad of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), in which he tears apart our own Prachanda for selling out to the reactionaries. It all becomes clear who is behind Rato Jhanda if you flip to page 3 which contains a lengthy op-ed by Rabindra Shrestha titled 'Lessons of Neo-Prachandapath, Khruschevism, Trotskyism and Brezhnevism'. Gulp. If you want to delve into the inner workings of the Maoist mind, this weekly paper is highly recommended. The Awful One told a visiting International Media Mission this week his party would do nothing to curb the freedom of press. May be he will make an exception for Rato Jhanda?


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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