Nepali Times
Nepali oil

A Scottish company that hopes to find oil in the Tarai has given a cautious vote of confidence to Nepal. Cairn Energy has announced it is ready to resume operations in the country following an improvement in the security situation. The decision will pave the way for the company to start exploration in the south of the country in earnest almost five years after putting operations on hold. Traces of oil have been found in the Tarai, but little exploration work has been done. Cairn Energy was awarded a license for five blocks of land covering a large area of southern Nepal in August 2004.

Burglar alert!
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Trendy slim
Toshiba's Computer Systems Division announced its new Slim series of Portege Notebook PCs. The ultra-thin Notebook PCs are said to have a battery life of 11 hours, are less than an inch in thickness, and weigh just 1.58kg.

Banking boom
Life Insurance Corporation opened its 15th branch in Ghorahi, Dang, Nepal Investment Bank opened its 34th branch in Krishnanagar, Kapilvastu, and Global Bank opened its 25th branch in Bhairahawa.

Gadgets Nepal, the sole authorised representative for Ningbo Bird company, launched four models of GSM handsets: Humming S168, Flamingo S230, Kingfisher K105 and Lovebird S308.

Helping hand
The Government of Japan agreed to extend a grant of close to Rs 538 million to the Nepali government for the execution of the Project for Introduction of Clean Energy by Solar Electricity Generation System. Under the 'Cool Earth Partnership' initiative the effects of global warming will be mitigated by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This project is being implemented in response to the request made by the Nepali government for a sustainable and uninterrupted power supply to Dhobi Ghat reservoir, which will be used to pump groundwater to the Sundarighat waste water treatment plant.

Planes ahoy
It's been a busy week for the airways. The Singapore government has signed a new air services agreement with Nepal, under which Singaporean and Nepali air carriers will be entitled to operate 28 weekly passenger services between the two countries. The carriers can also operate 14 weekly cargo services. Currently, Singapore Airlines' regional carrier SilkAir operates six weekly passenger services between Singapore and Kathmandu.

Etihad Airways commenced operations to Japan with the launch of its Nagoya-Abu Dhabi service, and Nepalis can now travel easily to Japan on this route. Flights will increase from four to five flights a week from 29 March, using two Airbus A330s.

Qatar Airways, too, has expanded its operations. Its Singapore route now has new Boeing 777 aircraft, flights from Kuala Lumpur to Doha were increased to 11, and there are now non-stop direct flights from Jakarta to Doha.

Meanwhile, Fishtail Air, a Nepali helicopter company, has received delivery of its second AS 350 B3 Helicopter. Fishtail Air's fleet now includes two AS 350 B3, one B2, one AS 350 B and a Bell Jet Ranger B III aircraft.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)