Nepal update – 21/01/15

1. Mass brawl breaks out in Nepal’s parliament as MPs clash over new constitution
A massive fight broke out in Nepal’s national parliament earlier today after opposing political groups clashed over the government’s attempt to push through a new draft of the country’s constitution.

Chairs were thrown and a human barricade had to be formed by security guard’s in the country’s capital Kathmandu, as opposition members tried to stop speaker and member of the ruling UML party, Subash Nemwang, from proposing a vote for a new constitutional draft in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

A number of guards were injured protecting the speaker, as members of the Party of Nepal Maoists and other opposition parties stormed the parliament and threw projectiles at the Mr Newmang.

 

2. Anti-pneumonia vaccine launched in Pokhara

KASKI, JAN 19 – In a bid to reduce under-five mortality, the government has introduced pneumococcal vaccine (PCV-10) to fight pneumonia -12435.html” style=”border-bottom:1px dotted;”> pneumonia for the first time across the country. The programme to administer the vaccine to children free of cost was launched in Pokhara on Sunday chiefly targeting the western region of the country.

While handing over the vaccine to health personnel, Minister for Health and Population Khagraj Adhikari said that the immunisation programme was not only initiated to reduce child mortality rate “but also intended to ensure child rights”.

“The vaccine will be available for free at different medical facilities and vaccine administration centres,” said Secretary Shanta Bahadur Shrestha of the Ministry of Health and Population. “We hope that the vaccine will help achieve our goal of reducing child mortality rate by 2015.”

 

3. Nepal beat Canada by 7 wickets to register 2nd victory

KATHMANDU, JAN 20 – Nepal registered their second successive victory in the ongoing ICC World Cup League Division 2 beating Canada by seven wickets at Wanderers Cricket Ground, in Windhoek, Namibia on Tuesday.

This is the second victory for Nepal after losing to Uganda in their first game and defeating tournament favourite Netherlands in their second match.

Nepali batsmen achieved the target of 115 runs posted by the Canadian side in just 23.1 overs. After losing the toss and being sent to bowl, Nepali Bowlers bundled out the Canadian batsmen for 114 runs in the 49.2 overs, thanks to debutant Karan KC for claiming five wickets.

 

 

Nepal and the Great Power Courtship
No longer treated as a peripheral concern, Nepal is receiving overtures from both China and India.

By Manish Gyawali
January 20, 2015
Nepal’s first King, Prithvi Narayan Shah, is supposed to have remarked that Nepal was like a yam squeezed between two giant boulders – referring to India and China, of course. The implication was that Nepal needs to carefully balance its relations with its two giant and powerful neighbors to achieve its own ends. But later Nepali Kings and regents tended not to heed those words well, and embarked on adventures that drew in the Chinese and the Indians. His son, the ambitious expansionist Bahadur Shah, got into a scuffle with Tibet that eventually drew in the Chinese. By the time that was over, the Chinese were well within Nepal and only 30 kilometers from Kathmandu. However, Nepalese proved formidable, and the Chinese advanced no further. Still, the adventure was a major drain on Nepal’s resources and as a result Bahadur Shah lost a great deal of face and power. He would spend his last days in prison.

Only a few years later, an even greater catastrophe followed for Nepal as it became embroiled in a war with British India that led to its losing about one third of its territory. The first king’s advice appeared to be correct: Nepal would need to carefully calibrate its relations with its giant neighbors and not rush headlong into confronting or provoking any one of them.

Today, however, Nepal finds itself in a unique position. It is being courted by the very powers, India and China, that for so long had treated it as a peripheral concern. What has changed? For one, internal politics within both India and China are now both quite different. This is especially noticeable in India, with the election of the Hindu conservative Bharatiya Janata Party. The Hindu right in India has long emphasized the cultural and religious links that bind the two countries and had always taken pride in Nepal being the only officially Hindu country in the world. That changed with the declaration that the country had become secular in 2008, a change that many Hindu conservatives in both India and Nepal have never really accepted. Indeed, there is a growing movementwithin Nepal to hold a referendum on the issue.

What is at stake for conservative Hindus is not only the issue of official declaration but what they believe to be a sustained attack on the culture and religion of the majority by outside forces under the garb of secularism. There is evidence that in many parts of the country, proselytizing by zealous Christian missionaries is being carried on unchecked. Recent remarks attributed to the British Ambassador to Nepal to ensure the protection of religious converts drew fire from conservative Hindus, who argued that the West was indeed using secularism as a means to promote Christianity.