The Ass has no idea how they did it, but reporters at the new newspaper Naya Patrika scored quite a scoop by translating a detailed itinerary of Jimmy Carter's 96 hours in Kathmandu in the tabloid\'s Thursday edition. Its a directory of the mobile numbers of Nepal\'s movers and shakers. We now know the cell numbers of everyone from Carter Centre Field Director Darren Nance to COAS Gen Katuwal, from Ian Martin to Election Commissioner Bhoj Raj Pokhrel. From Chief of Protocol Gopal Thapa to Peter Burleigh.
This is an amazing treasure trove and the Ass is certain they and Suresh Chalise, Bhekh Thapa, Sapana Malla, Prachanda and our very own CK Lal will soon be changing their SIM cards. All thanks to Jimbo.
.....If any of you Nepali college students home on summer holidays is looking for a subject for a master's project, the Ass has one for you: banda psychology. Tuesday's non-bund was a case study on how rumours about an impending shutdown go viral and turn into mass hysteria. The Ass researched it and found rumours of a bund are first disseminated through an early warning network on the expat-NGO listservs and then move beyond that thorough SMS and word-of-mouth. That is why even if media doesn\'t cover a bund call, everyone stays home.
Tuesday's half-assed bund was called by squatters who had their houses bulldozed last week. They had a genuine cause, but the strike failed miserably because they didn't follow the SOP for making a bund successful: rent the Thamel Gang to burn tyres at six strategic interlocutions on the Ring Road at about 7:00 AM. You see the same gang lead by a fat fellow who is always on a mobile phone at all bunds, no matter who calls them.
To deter future forced bunds, never repeat a rumour either verbally, electronically or telepathically.
.....It's boomtime for doomsdayers as Nepal's astrologers fall over each other to predict various calamities in the coming weeks. The first date to watch out for is 22 June when the sky will reportedly fall. This forecast by Trisuli Baba has been hotly contested by the Astrologer General's office, but that hasn't deterred tens of thousands of Nepalis from deciding to stay indoors that day. Then there is 4 July when soothsayers say Great Floods will strike the region because it is Girijababu's birthday (many happy re-runs!) as well as America's Independence Day. After that we have 7 July, which is Kingji's 61st birthday, and many are congregating at 7AM on the seventh day of the week on 07-07-07 at the palace despite predictions of an apocalypse.
Seven being a lucky number is probably why KingG has been looking bright and chirpy despite parliament passing a bill that makes it possible to impeach him through a two-thirds majority. Is there something the Majestic One knows that we don't? Those who have met him recently say the sedentary lifestyle has made G slightly overweight. But reports of his poor health could be a palace leak to prod Baluwatar to give him the green light to go abroad to get a checkup. The Ass's advice: Kingji and PMji go for a checkup together to Bumrungrad.
.....The two items of news may not be related, but the government is about to lift a ban on textiles with camouflage prints on the same week that the UN is to begin its second phase of the process to verify if there are any Maoists in the contentments who are above 18 years of age. Now, if only CAAN can first finish its mysteriously extended safety inspection of the UN's de Havilland Dash-7 turboprop that is still sitting on the tarmac.
There is one other complication: the ceasefire between the UN and the Nepali media has broken down because the peacekeepers have resumed poaching journalists. Gloves have come off as us hacks are no more bound by an earlier commitment not to verify verification in return for a moratorium on UNMIN stealing staff.[email protected]