The losing streak has continued for the candidates vying for the post of prime minister, with the conclusion of the fifth round of voting on Monday.
Neither of the candidates, UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal or NC Vice President Ram Chandra Poudel, secured a simple majority. Dahal secured 246 votes, while Paudel only managed 124, both well short of the majority vote of 301. The UML and the Madhesi alliance, which have a critical role in deciding who becomes the prime minister, stayed neutral in today's election, as they have done previously. The Business Advisory Committee has scheduled the sixth round for 5 September.
When UNMIN chief Karen Landgren started consulting political parties on the extension of her organisation's term, Nepal Army Chief Chhatraman Singh Gurung met the Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Rakam Chemjong to request him not to extend the mandate of UNMIN on Friday.
Gurung, who is also an ex-officio member of the Special Committee for Management, Integration and Rehabilitation of the PLA, is learnt to have asked the minister to send back UNMIN, saying its role as defined by the Comprehensive Peace Accord has been completed, and recommending alternative arrangements for monitoring and management of the PLA.
A Dornier 228 aircraft of Agni Air, carrying 11 passengers and three crew members, crashed Tuesday morning in bad weather while returning to Kathmandu after being unable to land in Lukla. The airplane crashed near a small settlement in Shikhapur VDC of Makwanpur district, about 15 miles south of Kathmandu.
Preliminary reports indicate the accident was caused by a combination of technical failure and extremely bad weather. Six of the 11 passengers killed in Tuesday's crash were foreign trekkers. The plane was piloted by Capt Lucky Shah and the co-pilot was Sofiya Singh.
Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority on Wednesday has suspended the flights of two mid-western region based airline operators, Makalu Air and Kasthamandap, on charges of carelessness as two consecutive flights had to make emergency landings after their doors opened in mid-air shortly after taking off. Both the planes were transporting food to Jumla.
The locals of Upper Mustang have decided to bar foreign tourists from entering the area from 1 October. The Upper Mustang Youth Society reportedly said that it was forced to take this decision as the government continued to remain indifferent towards the development of the district.
Earlier, the government had promised to invest 60 per cent of the fees raised from tourists visiting Upper Mustang for local development and conservation of the area, the Society was quoted as saying. Till the end of 2009, 15,000 tourists have visited Upper Mustang, and the government has collected over 100 million dollars.