Standing in front almost 500 people, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepal’s maoist leader appeared calm and determined. In black suit and red tie with an oversized knot, the man who once commanded thousands of Nepali soldiers into bloody battles, sported a smile. He read his speech in English with a strong Nepali accent, which was almost comical. But his tone was anything but light-hearted.
Prachanda stressed on economic development and said he will turn Nepal into the ”world’s duty-free country”. In just five years, Nepal will prosper with strict rule of law, he said. He harped about Nepal’s water resources, scenic beauty, its ethnic diversity, and everthing that he said should have made Nepal the most attractive place to live in.
Prachanda’s speech, though full of promises, did not address issues gnawing at the country. But he did not share the relief plan for the Kosi flood victims; did not reveal the federal future of Nepal; did not address the human rights violation; and forgot about people who disappeared during the decade-long war.
But watching the new prime minister ’s confidence, patriotism and promises on Samudaya.org, I almost want to believe I’m looking at a leader who can deliver.
Learning English is not good enough for many immigrants in the U.S. They want to sound just like an American. Some want to be understood better and others are simply tired of being asked where they are from. So many working professionals and students are taking “accent modification” training to do away with their native accent and acquire an American one.
As journalists constantly struggle to seek fair, reliable and relevant sources for their reports, Dhruba Adhikary, a Nepali journalist finds an easy way out. Adhikary writes a report about the country’s future based on an astrologer’s predictions. The world reads it on Asian Times.
Fatalism never dies in Nepal. Excerpts of Adhikary’s report:
It all began when Bhimeshwar (one of the manifestations of Lord Shiva), housed in a temple in the eastern hill district of Dolakha, oozed what looked like beads of perspiration, attracting thousands of villagers. Another inauspicious moment for the monarchy surfaced when the pole of the chariot of the deity Machhindranath fell to the ground while being taken around the Kathmandu Valley a couple of months ago.
Astrologer Gopal Baabaa, in a wide-ranging interview published in Tarun, a Nepali-language weekly, said Nepal is destined to remain in bad shape until mid-March 2010.
People in western Nepal are starving. Elected representatives, meanwhile, are trying to settle the political squabble in Kathmandu.
There’s no government to make administrative decisions, and it’s already too late for people whose crops have died and who cannot afford the steep price of rice and other grains.
Jamauti Kami in Sokat, Accham, southern-west Nepal, was cooking the last cup rice for her starving children when Charles Haviland of the BBC, visited her for his report published on July 10.
Thirteen-year-old Dhirendra Nepali of Kolti, Bajura, western Nepal, had eaten two slices of bread the day before Kantipur interviewed him on July 7.
Ram Chandra Jyoti of Rami Danda, Jajarkot was looking for rice to feed his family, the last week of June, when he talked to Rajendra Karki of Nepali Times.
A woman in her 70′s gave birth to twins in a quest for a boy in Uttar Pradesh, India, reported BBC today. The woman’s husband, a farmer, also in mid-70′s said he wanted a boy to take care of his property. They conceived using the method of In Vitro Fertilization.
On one hand, India is making a mark in the world by its fast paced developement. Ironically, the same advancement is being used (in this case, IVF) to continue its inflated importance on males. A practice that puts an eldery woman’s life in danger to advance a culture that stresses male supremacy, is really sad and a slap in the face of 21st century’s “development”.
India-born millionaire couple in New York was convicted of keeping two Indonesian women slaves for four years, often beating, starving and hiding them in their million dollar mansion that has seven bathrooms, according to BBC and Times of India. The woman received 11 years and prison and $25,000 fine.
This case is similar to those women in India tortured by husbands and families for dowry. But who could imagine a case of slavery could happen in the most modern city of the world?
The divide between the poor and the rich is stark in most developing countries. It is clearly seen in the photographs, taken by Suraj Shakya, of a commuter steamer-boat going from the southern city of Barisal to Dhakka, the capital of Bangladesh.
Boats are often the mode of transportation in a country veined by rivers flowing from Himalayas of the neighboring countries. Waterway is well net-worked and hundreds of passengers traveling from one city to another, do so by paddle-boat steamers. The system is old as the trains in India, both of which were introduced by the British during the Raj.
The luxury room is a double bed, with TV and attached bath. It accomodates up to five people. It sits right above the deck, on which about a hundred Bangalis accomodate themselves. The suite costs up to 3,000 takkas, and the deck, up to 50 takkas.
“Hundreds of passengers accommodate themselves in the deck class of the steamer headed from Barisal to Dhaka, risking their lives as they travel in hazardous conditions,” said Shakya via e-mail. Check for travel reviews.