Govt sends talks invite; CPN-M undecided
KATHMANDU, AUG 01 – Expressing satisfaction over the contents of a second talks offer from the government, the CPN-Maoist on Wednesday said it would ‘soon’ take a decision after holding consultations with its allies in the 33-party alliance. Home Minister Madhav Ghimire, who also coordinates the government’s talks team, on Wednesday sent a letter to the CPN-Maoist-led alliance for the second time, requesting the poll-opposing parties to sit for talks.
Separately, the High-level Political Committee (HLPC) has sent two letters to the poll-opposing CPN-Maoist and its allies, offering dialogue. Wednesday’s talks offer came in response to a letter sent by CPN-Maoist General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa to the government on July 26. In the letter, Thapa had said that the contents of the government letter, especially the ‘pre-conditions on the November elections’ and ‘lack of recognition of the fringe parties’ had barred them from sitting for talks . “Today’s letter is very positive, in a sense that it has properly identified the fringe parties in the (33-party) alliance and omitted the pre-conditions.
As for now, the letter has addressed all our earlier concerns,” said CPN-Maoist spokesperson Pampha Bhusal. She said her party will now hold a fresh meeting with its allies. The government has been putting forth two pre-conditions to holding talks with the poll-opposing parties—the non-partisan Khil Raj Regmi will not be replaced by a party-led one, and elections scheduled for November will not be postponed. The alliance also sent a reply to the HLPC on Wednesday, accusing the four major parties in the committee of using ‘politically indecent language’ and putting forth ‘pre-conditions’ in its two letters sent to the poll-opposing bloc.
The letter criticises the four parties for “disturbing the environment of talks by disgracing the fringe parties.” “In the letters, the HLPC has not even identified us as political parties. Moreover, they have been insisting that the whole idea behind the talks is to make the November elections successful,” said Pasang Sherpa of the Social Democratic Party. The 33-party alliance has so far been saying that it will not hold talks with the government until and unless the non-partisan government goes and the polls are deferred.
Hard-line party warns poll supporters
MANOJ BASNET KAVRE Those who retaliate against the CPN-Maoist’s anti-election agitation will face action, warns the hard-line party. Such a threat comes four days after UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal directed cadres of YCL, his party’s youth wing, in Kavre to chase those who try to disrupt the upcoming CA elections from villages. A Kavre district meeting of the CPN-Maoist held from July 26 to 28 took a decision to this effect. The meeting also directed party sub-ordinate committees to collect names of those who tried to retaliate against their anti-poll protest and send the list to the party district committee. District in-charge of CPN-M Dipak Devkota said once they prepare a name list, an investigation will be launched before taking “action against the guilty based on the nature of their crimes”.
Limbuwan announces protests
DAMAK: Federal Democratic National Front-affiliated Federal Limbuwan State Council has announced a series of protest programmes against the upcoming Constituent Assembly election scheduled for November 19. The council, made public its protest programmes at a press conference in Damak of Jhapa today. Earlier, the council, as a party to an alliance comprising CPN-Maoist and other political parties, had disrupted the Election Commission’s voters’ name list updating campaign at many places in the east. FLSC general secretary Phaktanglung Yonghang made public the five point work plan to foil the election.
As per the council’s protest programmes, the council will organise protest meetings in all nine districts east of Arun River, claimed as the Limbuwan region in its first phase of protest. Likewise, the council will hoist black flags and paste and distribute pamphlets in all districts from August 17. The council has also announced it will padlock all VDCs, municipalities and election offices in all the nine districts from October 2. “We’re set to disrupt the election at any rate, either by launching suicidal attacks or by capturing booths. We’re ready even to die,” said Yonghang, adding that the council will train Limbuwan Volunteers for the same. The council has long been demanding that nine districts, including Taplejung, Panchthar, Ilam, Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Dhankuta, Sankhuwasabha, and Terhathum, that lie east of the Arun River be declared as Limbuwan state.
Brazil: Protesters Invade Rio Council Chamber
Demonstrators have managed to enter a council building in Rio de Janeiro during clashes in the Brazilian city. About 50 out of 700 people accessed the building through a side door as they protested against state governor Sergio Cabral. The demonstrators, who accuse Mr Cabral of corruption and are calling for his impeachment, were moved off by police using tear gas and pepper spray. More protests are planned with one set for the biggest shanty town in Rio’s tourist area, Rocinha, where 42-year-old construction worker Amarildo de Souza has been missing for two weeks since he was allegedly picked up by police. “Where is Amarildo?” is a chant that observers say is often heard. Last month, more than one million Brazilians took the streets across the country to demand better public services and an end to endemic corruption.
Water protest turns violent
A protest over contaminated water in Gampaha turned violent this evening when the army was deployed to disperse the crowd blocking the Colombo – Kandy main road. The protesters objected to the army presence and even attacked some journalists who were covering the incident. Earlier the porters blocked the Colombo – Kandy road at the Belummahara junction preventing the vehicles from going by. As the protest continued and traffic was affected the army was deployed to disperse the protesters and the situation then turned violent. Earlier today a black flag protest was staged in Weliweriya, Gampaha over the contamination of drinking water as a result of chemicals released from a factory.
The factory however insists it has nothing to do with the contamination. Shops in the area were closed while a monk who protested and called for the factory to be removed, resumed the protest today after suspending it earlier. From Weliweriya the protesters moved to the Belummahara junction blocking the traffic movement between Kandy and Colombo. The chief incumbent of the Galoluwa Buddhist Temple, the venerable Siridhamma Thero had launched a fast unto death on Monday after talks held with the authorities to resolve the issue had failed. The drinking water in the area is believed to have been contaminated from chemical waste released from a gloves factory in the area. A five kilometer area is said to be contaminated and one resident told the Colombo Gazette that he even uses filtered water to have a bath.
Families of Jordanian prisoners in Saudi protest detention
AMMONNEWS – Families of Jordanian nationals detained in Saudi Arabian prisons held a sit-in in front of the Saudi Embassy in Amman on thursday to plea the prisoners’ release. Head of the National Committee for Jordanian Detainees Abdul Karim Shraideh told Ammon News that Jordanians detained in Saudi Arabia are suffering from harsh imprisonment conditions amidst overcrowded cells. He noted that 24 Jordanians detained in Anbar 2 prison in Tabuk province in southern Saudi Arabia are held on charges of smuggling, but have not stood trial for months. Some of them have been detained for nearly a year and half without standing trial, Shraideh added.
“Some of the detainees were imprisoned based on uncorroborated accounts,” Shraideh told Ammon News, adding that some of the prisoners were detained over false allegations made by others. Jordanians imprisoned in Saudi are betting on the prisoners’ exchange agreement between Jordan and Saudi Arabia for their release. Preliminary information, however, indicate that the agreement may only cover prisoners who have been convicted, which applies to only 4 of the 24 Jordanians detained in Saudi Arabia. The detainees have been in contact with the Jordanian Embassy in Riyadh, which in turn promised to send attorneys and defense teams to defend their cases before Saudi courts.
Residents block road: protest ‘police abuse’
RESIDENTS of Pleasantville, San Fernando, blocked roads with burning debris yesterday, claiming police were brutalising youths in the area. Some three dozen residents blocked the South-bound lane of the San Fernando By-Pass and Cassia Avenue in Pleasantville for over two hours, causing traffic gridlock in the surrounding city streets. The protestors claimed police officers had arrested residents over the last week without reason.
They said the fiery protest was sparked by the wrongful arrest of a Pleasantville man, who had just returned from a medical appointment but was detained on suspicion of possession of marijuana. Police have defended the detentions, claiming parts of Pleasantville were known crime hotspots. Police officers of the Southern Division Task Force and fire officers of the Mon Repos Fire Station responded to the scene and restored order.