From English-language Kathmandu newspapers and other media, December 2001-March 2002 VII-3

These are excerpts from a bi-monthly publication. Subscription price for the full version is US $15 per year sent to NEWS FROM NEPAL, 4621 SW Kelly, Portland, OR 97201. Further information available through our e-mail address:



How Goes the Battle?  Almost every day a new incident of violence is reported somewhere in Nepal.  Occasionally, it is civilians - usually party workers - who have been murdered by terrorists.  Sometimes it is banks or homes that are attacked and robbed or buildings or vehicles burned.  But most of the news is of Maoists who have been killed by security forces, who have been arrested or who have surrendered.  The reports come from all parts of the country: east and west, north, south and central.  Forces in "the People's War" have clashed in nearly every district. The numbers are not always precise, yet if press reports are to be believed, Maoist casualties since late November run in the several hundreds and several thousand have either surrendered or been arrested.  Other than in such highly-publicized incidents as that in Mangalsen (see below), security force losses appear to be minimal.  Yet no-one seems to be claiming anything more than modest progress in Nepal's war on terrorism and no clear picture has been presented that reveals the shape of the battle.  One reason for this is the traditional secrecy in which military operations are normally conducted.  Another is the restrictions that have been imposed on news media under Nepal's declared state of emergency (see under “Human Rights“).  In any case, this is a shadowy war in which insurgents, for the most part, appear seemingly from nowhere, attack, and then disappear, and the forces opposed to them don‘t want anyone to know exactly what they are doihat local people dared to leave their homes.  Much of the city was in flames.  Fifty-one police had been killed and all army personnel but one had died in their barracks.  According to eye-witnesses, the rebel force numbered in the thousands, with units of 10 to 15 men carrying out specific tasks "in a coordinated manner."  They were armed with sophisticated weapons captured in earlier raids on army installations.  Besides the police post, army barracks and government buildings, they destroyed the nearby airfield of Sanfebagar, killing another 27 policemen in the process.  The stunned nation was left with unanswered questions, the most important of which was why the base was not better prepared for the attack.  The Maoists had made no secret of their intentions.  They had distributed pamphlets, organized rallies and put up posters in the area, all containing the promise of violent action.  The chief of Achham's Intelligence Department had sent warning reports to the government, army headquarters and the palace.  The Nepali Congress MP from Accham says he informed the prime minister and home minister of the build-up but nothing seems to have been done.  As the Chief District Officer (who was killed in the raid) had commented at an all-party meeting a few weeks earlier, "It looks like Kathmandu will send reinforcements only for our funerals."  (Nepali Times, Kathmandu Post, Rising Nepal, February 22)


Possible Rift in Maoist Leadership.  When the Maoists walked out on peace talks and at the same time launched one of the most violent offensives of their "People's War," Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and many others seemed genuinely baffled.  "I just cannot figure out what happened suddenly," said the PM.  "What made them walk out of the talks overnight and resume their terrorism?"  The answer may be that the Maoists do not speak with one voice.  While the movement's most prominent leaders, Comrade Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai, were willing to enter into discussion with the government, it is believed that a third leader, Rambahadur Thapa, was strongly opposed.  It is possible that, as military commander, he decided to act unilaterally not only to force the government back into combat but to demonstrate that he, backed by his loyal troops, is the man who is calling the shots in the rebel movement. The move would have forced the hands of the Maoists' political wing by attacking and directly involving the Nepalese army for the first time.  (The Indian Express, December 2)


The Long View.  Both the Maoists and the Nepalese government seem dedicated to carrying their struggle to some kind of ultimate military solution, yet there are those who are asking themselves whether the answer to Nepal's current turmoil lies in military action.  "The real seeds of Maoism," says Rabindra Nath Sharma, a senior leader of the conservative Rashtriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) "lie in underdeveloment and the exploitative old order.  If that is not corrected, Maoism will not go away."  Bishnu Gurung, a spokesman for the Nepal Peasants' and Workers' Party (NPWP) on the other end of the political spectrum, maintains that "you do not have to work too hard to turn people against the political order here... The poor in the countryside are the real Maoists because they are the ones this system does not care for."  There are even some members of the ruling Nepali Congress (NC) party who recognize that the solution to Nepal's troubles lies in development rather than suppression.  "If you cannot tackle the cause," says a senior party man, "you will never finish off the disease."  That will not be easy.  "To finish off the Maoists," says RPP's Sharma, "you actually have to finish public disaffection and that is the real war on the government's hands, not the military operation."  One problem is that those to whom the task of reform would fall are themselves a part  of the same entrenched feudal establishment that they would be trying to dismantle.  (The Indian Express, December 7)


Bringing the Country to a Standstill.  The Maoists have other ways besides murder and arson to get their fellow citizens' (and the world’s) attention and at the same time throw the normal state of things into disarray.  In late February, they declared a two-day general strike, or bandh, that temporarily paralyzed transportation, schools, government and business.  Now they are promising a longer one - from April 2 to 6.  They have some apologies.  “We deeply regret the inconveniences likely to be caused to you all,” they say.  (nepalnews and other media, February 22, 23; Baburam Bhattarai, "Open Letter to Foreign Tourists...")



Two Communist Parties Re-unite.  Not all Communists in Nepal are Maoists.   In partnership with the Nepali Congress, Communists were an active force in bringing democracy to Nepal and have since participated in its government, even briefly leading the country.  Four years ago, some of members of the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML) broke away and formed their own party, Communist Party of Nepal-Marxist-Leninist (CPN-ML).  They were  unhappy with the main party’s stance with regard to India and the USA.   Now, after negotiation, the two parties are back together again.  When announcement of this was made at City Hall, the scene of the earlier split, "all present inside and outside the premises... burst into spontaneous applause."  Some members of the now-defunct CPN-ML will be included in the UML's central committee.  Others will join its National Council and leaders of the returning group will be given a place on UML's Standing Committee.  The new unified party considers itself an alternative to the extremism of both left and right.  It makes clear that it in no way supports the Maoist insurgency.  According to General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal, left extremism has become the greatest barrier to the political, economic and social development of the country.  (Kathmandu Post, February 16)


Two Ministers Resign After One Accuses the Other of Bribery.  Things became too hot for everybody after an argument between two cabinet ministers expanded to include most of parliament and threaten to topple the government. After consultation with the prime minister, the two ministers agreed to resign.  Deputy Minister of State Surendra Hamal had accused his colleague, Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation Gopal Man Shrestha, of accepting a Rs 200,000 (roughly US $2,600) bribe "to upgrade the capacity of an industry in Nepalgunj."  After he had made the charge public, lawmakers - particularly of the opposition party - demanded that both ministers resign.  Members of the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML), parliament’s main opposition party, felt so strongly about this that it forced the House of Representatives to close for a day by surrounding the Speaker's platform and shouting slogans for four hours.  Others joined in the fray, recognizing this as a chance to criticize the Prime Minister and his party.  The leader of the Rastriya Prajantantra Party (RPP), Surya Bahadur Thapa, announced that the dispute just showed that "a mentally and courageously weak Prime Minister could not drive the nation the right way."  It is likely that his mind did not change after Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba's read Minister Shrestha's letter of resignation to parliament.  Minister Hamal submitted his own letter.  In it, he made plain that he thought it was "opportunist members of the cabinet" who had engineered his downfall.  His enemy, Minister Shrestha, blamed his ouster on the "Timber Mafia." (Kathmandu Post, March 11)


Too Busy to Party.  If you had been thinking of asking Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to dinner, or to give a talk at your book club -- forget it!  He has been spending too much time at social events in a time of crisis and now his office is requesting that people hold back on the invitations while the PM “is busy handling emergency matters." (nepalnews, February 26)



Domestic Violence Said to be "Rampant"  No statistics are offered, yet press reports indicate a "rampant rise" in domestic violence.  There are allegedly thousands of women in Nepal who are regularly beaten by their husbands.  One of them, Laxmi Sunar, showed up recently at the offices of The Kathmandu Post with a swollen face and numerous bruises on her body.  "As I could not bear my husband's atrocities on me," she told the people there, "I came here to save my life."  She had endured his beatings silently during a 17-year marriage.  Last August, relatives had tried to help her seek refuge with a religious organization, yet its people sent her back home on the grounds that "it was not wise to separate her from her family."  They admitted that she was only one of nearly 100 women suffering domestic violence who had come to them seeking help.  (Kathmandu Post, February 15)


Phones Cut Off  Some 20 district-level government offices in the far southeastern district of Jhapa suddenly discovered that their phones had been cut off.  This time it wasn't the Maoists who were responsible.  It was the telephone company, exasperated because they hadn't paid their phone bill.  The company had waited five years for payments that now total something close to Rs 2 million (US $26,000).  "We will reconnect all the telephone lines immediately after the offices pay back their dues," promised the office chief.  (Kathmandu Post, January 29)



State of Emergency Robs Nepalese of Many Rights.  In late November, after peace talks broke off and the Maoists launched a major new offensive, the government declared a three-month state of emergency.  In late February, parliament, by a two thirds vote, extended it for another three months.  Under this ruling, many rights previously guaranteed by Nepal's constitution have been suspended.  Freedom of the press and the expression of opinion has been restricted, along with freedom of assembly.  The right to move throughout the country, to privacy and to constitutional remedy have been removed in certain cases and preventive detention is allowed for suspects.  Police can conduct searches without warrants, bank accounts can be frozen and passports taken away.  Suspects can be arrested and held in jail for up to 90 days without charges - with an extra 90 days if this is approved by the Home Ministry.  As many as three dozen journalists have been arrested for crimes no more serious than printing photographs of Maoists or articles that contain quotes from prominent insurgents.  (Americans may understand: shortly after September 11, the US government got most American media to agree that they would limit any direct quotes from Osama bin Laden).  Three newspapers that have been openly sympathetic to the Maoists have simply been shut down, their staffs arrested and their files confiscated.  The government does not allow any news that supports the Maoists, or anything that creates hatred and disrespect for the royal family, the army, police and civil servants.  Amnesty International is one of the agencies that has protested the ban, along with the Human Rights Organisation of Nepal (HURON), Reporters Sans Frontiers (Reporters Without Borders), and the Committee to Protect Journalists.  (Nepali Times, December 27; Pacific News Service, February 7; Kathmandu Post, February 12)



Nepal "Should Stop" Arresting Journalists.  After Gopal Budhathoki, editor and publisher of a pro-left weekly, had been missing for four days, it turned out he had been taken into custody by security forces.  Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba explained to parliament that this was necessary because he had published stories that "encouraged and raised the morale of Maoists."  The PM was quick to declare that the arrest did not represent any attempt to curtail press freedom in the country.  Yet he urged the media to support the government's action against the Maoists.  Budhathoki joins some 70 other journalists arrested after the state of emergency was declared in November. The detentions are "damaging democratic Nepal's image in the international arena," says a spokesman for Nepal‘s National Human Rights Commission.  "It is unbecoming of the government to continue arresting journalists.  It should stop!"  (Kathmandu Post, March 17; Spotlight, March 16)


New Law May Help Women Jailed for Abortion.  Nepal's mortality rate of 539 deaths per 100,000 live births gives it a place near the top of the world list for high infant deaths.  Experts say that most of these are the result of illegally performed "back-street" abortions.  Now parliament has passed a bill that among other things guarantees women equal rights to parental property and also to conditional abortion.  No-one yet knows what this means for the hundreds of poor Nepali women who are languishing in dingy prisons throughout the country for what has previously been considered the crime of abortion.  Women’s rights activists are prepared to "knock on doors" for their release but admit that there may be "a lot of work" to be done before this happens.  It is believed that around 25 percent of all women now in jail are there after undergoing operations for abortion.  Even if abortion is no longer considered a crime in Nepal, abortion foes in the United States may be able to limit its practice there.  Two years ago, President George W. Bush reinstated a policy that prevents non-governmental organizations (NGOs) funded by the US government from campaigning for abortion reform or providing abortion-related services within a year after receiving the funds.  Since such services are mainly provided and paid for by NGOs, this places a severe limit on any kind of abortion reform in Nepal.  (Nepali Times, March 15; Kathmandu Post, March 16)


Supreme Court Denies Citizenship to Children Whose Only Nepalese Parent is Mother. Nepalese women (and others) have claimed that the 1990 Constitution, which bases citizenship only on a father's nationality, is discriminatory.  They brought their case to the Supreme Court but that body turned down their appeal.  It may have been influenced by the fact that if citizenship were granted to children with Nepalese mothers and foreign fathers, an estimated 3.5 million people along the border with India could become citizens.  (Agence France-Presse, reported in The New York Times, February 8)



China Does Not Support Maoists, says Ambassador.  China will not provide shelter to Maoist rebels if they cross the border into Chinese territory, says the Chinese Ambassador to Nepal, Wu Cong Yong.  He makes it plain that although the insurgents have named themselves after the Chinese leader Mao Tse-Tung, "neither China nor any Chinese organization has any links with the Maoists in Nepal."  The Maoists may, in fact, have stronger connections in India than they do in China.  A senior British diplomat is said to have expressed concern about the presence of Maoist networks in India, as have  American officials.  Maoists are believed to have opened bank accounts in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi and to have used their connections with such Indian extremist groups as the Naxalites, ULFA and People's Power Group to smuggle arms and ammunition across Nepal's porous border with its large southern neighbor.  It is believed that this is one of the subjects that Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is bringing up on a visit to India in March.  (Kathmandu Post, December 20, February 22; KOL, March 1)



A Visit from the US Secretary of State.  America and Nepal are now both engaged in wars on terrorism.  There may be large differences.  Nepal's terrorists are home grown insurgents with stated political objectives, while America's are shadowy figures operating out of caves and other faraway locations with no apparent goal than disrupting and humiliating the world's currently greatest power.  Yet there is enough in common for Secretary of State Colin Powell to make a 19-hour visit to Kathmandu in January, where he "fully acknowledged the government of Nepal's right to protect its citizens and institutions from territorial attacks."  He said he recognized the government's need for increased military hardware to fight the Maoists and would discuss the possibility of US help in meeting it.  At the same time, he seemed to recognize that military action alone would not solve the problem, urging the government to protect human rights during the emergency and to find a "solution to the disaffected young people... who can't find jobs, who believe there is no hope or future for them, and are attracted to this kind of radical cause."  Effective government policies, he said can help "dry up the swamp that produces terrorism."  The American government, perhaps learning from the consequences of its long neglect of Afghanistan, is now thought to be more interested in helping small countries.  Powell said he was going back to his own country "with a better understanding of the needs of Nepal," and promised to give attention to what the US might be able to do to help Nepal's garment industry and to study the effect of State Department pronouncement on travel in Nepal.  He was glad to note that "in this time of emergency, none of the violence so far seems to be directed against Americans or tourists."  Other American officials have confirmed that the US is interested in providing military advisors and special training to Nepal and other countries deemed to be suffering from terrorist activities.  An official of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency explains that  such efforts “are predicated on the idea that if we get together, US values will be transferred and US interests will be served.  Right now, our interest is in curbing terrorism." (Kathmandu Post, January 19-21; Los Angeles Times, March 12; Spotlight, March 15)



Sending Money Home.  Other countries export minerals, wool or manufactured goods.  Nepal's primary export may be human beings.  One hundred eighty thousand of them are known officially to be working in southeast Asia, Korea and the Gulf countries, and most people believe the real number is at least twice that.  Even this does not include workers in Europe or America nor the million or so who are constantly coming and going across the Indian border to engage in seasonal work.  No-one knows for sure how much money all these people are sending back into the country, although it is fair to say that it is enough to make a large contribution  toward propping up Nepal's economy.  One estimate of foreign earnings is US $850 million, but there is probably quite a bit more that enters through informal channels.  With the dramatic drop in tourism and the decline of the garment, carpet and pashmina industries, the money sent home by workers in foreign countries now accounts for a substantial part of Nepal's foreign exchange.  But there are drawbacks.  Most of the money that comes in is spent in cities and towns, whereas most of those who go abroad are from rural areas.  A possible long-term consequence of this imbalance could be the creation of a shortage of farm labor and the gradual decline of agriculture and the rural economy.  (Nepali Times, 15 February)


Still in the Slammer.  Once more we call your attention to Govinda Prasad Mainali, the Nepalese worker who had been arrested in Japan four years ago on suspicion of murder and is still being held in detention there even after he had been acquitted of the charge by the Tokyo District Court in April 2000.  The Tokyo High Court, however, decided to keep him in detention rather than deporting him.  They said he has an invalid visa.  Without any new evidence, they have reversed the lower court and sentenced Mainali to life imprisonment.  The case is now awaiting ruling by the Supreme Court, but this is something that may not happen for a few years.  In December, Mainali was given the chance to see his wife for the first time in eight years.  In their 20-minute meeting, they did not talk about his plight.  He asked about his two daughters, one of whom was born shortly after he left Nepal.  "Knowing everything about him as his wife," said Mrs. Mainali, "all I can say is that he did not do it."  Even Japan Times comments that the case "raises serious questions about Japan's judicial system."  (Japan Times, Kathmandu Post, December 15)


Cyclist Attacked. With the slogan "Peace and Love," Pushkar Shah, a Nepalese cyclist, was hoping to demonstrate something about world unity and peace in his bicycle trip around the world.  In late February, an unsympathetic drug addict attacked and mugged him in Barbados, leaving him slightly injured.  He had already covered 38 countries and is continuing his trip.  It was not his first experience with violence.  He had earlier been robbed in New Zealand.  (Kathmandu Post, December 20;, February 27)


Shot Outside a Boston Cookie Shop.  It took 13 years before a Suffolk County grand jury indicted an American, Carl Odware, 31, for the murder by stabbing of Naveen Giri, a Nepalese citizen, outside Mrs. Field's Cookies Shop in Boston.  Giri, who had moved to America with his wife about a month before his death, was a clerk in the shop.  Authorities, who have been sifting evidence since the incident, believe that Odware was attempting to rob the store. It is not the only time he is believed to have killed someone outside an eating establishment.  He is currently serving a life sentence for shooting two men, one fatally, outside a Lynn, Massachusetts, pizzeria.  (Kathmandu Post, March 16)


Malaysians Plan to Use the Whip on Illegal Immigrants.  The worst fear that people without proper papers in the USA have is that they can be caught and deported.  But for people found working illegally in Malaysia, it is not merely deportation and a "huge" fine that they face. The Malaysians promise that they will get whipped.  There are some 28,000 Nepalis currently working in that country, of which 7,000 are believed to be illegal.  They are only one small part of the nearly half million illegal workers there from Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, China, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.  Keshar Karki, President of Nepalese Forum, claims the Malaysian government is "mostly rude" to Nepalese immigrants.  If it is "preparing to whip the illegal workers, then the condition of illegal Nepalis working there is sure to worsen."  (Kathmandu Post, December 12)



Still Possible to Get a Breath of Fresh Air in Kathmandu (but for a Price).  For those who have not been in Kathmandu recently, there may be some indication of what the air there is like in the news that the city now has a new oxygen bar.  "This is for normal people," says its proprietor.  "It will help to decrease stress, clear up the mind, improve stamina and calm nerves by releasing headaches, hangovers, and all sorts of tensions."  Although the earth's atmosphere contains 21% oxygen, Kathmandu's air has only 16%.  The new bar offers 94%.  Yet you do not simply enter the bar and find yourself bathed in in oxygen.  It comes to you in re-usable flexible plastic tubes with an outlet to each nostril while you sit on "big and comfortable sofas with stretched legs" and listen to relaxing background music.  If plain old regular blah oxygen does not appeal to you, you can select something more exciting.  The bar offers five different flavors: yiang yiang, lemon grass, eucalyptus, orange, and sandal wood.  (Kathmandu Post,  January 25)


Villagers Attack Brick Kilns.  The people in Madhyapur Thimi Municipality near Bhaktapur feel that the brick kilns in their neighborhood are seriously lowering the quality of their lives.  They are tired of dealing with the layers of black soot that rest not only on their roofs but in their fields and gardens.  Many of them suffer from respiratory ailments and cannot keep their clothes clean.  "The washed clothes get black layers even before they are dry," claims one of them.  They have tried repeatedly to get someone to do something about the problem but without success.   After submitting a petition to various government agencies and getting no response, they took matters into their own hands.  In mid-December, a number of them attacked the kilns themselves, destroying around six million bricks, dismantling five kilns and badly damaging a machine used in making bricks.  It seemed to be the only way “to get rid of the unhealthy smoke that has been the cause of different diseases seen among the children and elder people," explained a spokesman.  Only 13 of 18 kilns have licenses and none are in compliance with a regulation that they should be located at least two kilometers from the jungle.  (Kathmandu Post, December 17)


Protest Closes Businesses on New Road.  It was not a bandh that prompted stores and shopping complexes on New Road to close down on January 30 but anger directed against the Internal Revenue Department.  The latter had sent out teams that afternoon to make sure that the shops were complying with VAT (Value Added Tax) billing requirements.  The Department suspected that store owners were evading the tax, its officials said.  After the teams had completed investigating seven businesses, the larger shopping centers and most of the smaller shops in the area closed their doors in protest.  According to a trade group representative, the owners felt that officials had "misbehaved" with its members.  (Kathmandu Post, January 31)


Silent Night in Thamel.  A forced 10 o'clock closing of bars and restaurants that was imposed with the state of emergency has changed the night scene in Kathmandu's tourist district of Thamel.  The Kathmandu Post offers a description of life there after 10: "It's 10:30 on a wintry night... Barring a few cops near their van, the streets are dead.  No loud drunken tourist gangs wobbling their way to the next bar, no music blaring out from the restaurants, no 'excuse me!' vendors, no 'hello!' rikshaw men.  Thamel is unusually quiet, almost hibernating."  The night spots are hanging tough for now but if the curfew is not lifted soon, a predicted third of Thamel's restaurants and bars face closure.  No-one seems happy about the situation except the police.  Not a single criminal case has been reported from Thamel in the last two months, and the cops are now hoping for an indefinite curfew extension. Things are not too lively in Thamel even during the day.  With tourism way down, the restaurants now are having to rely on locals for business.  They are not used to this.  Many Nepalese customers complain that they are treated badly in the tourist restaurants.  "Why don't you guys just have dal bhat?" one diner, who had asked for a menu, reports a waiter demanding.  "The restaurant was empty and they could have made some money from us but they don't seem like they want to do business with Nepalis."  (Kathmandu Post, January 14, February 7)


"Lost in a Concrete Jungle"  The 5th century great stupa at Boddhanath is one of Nepal's oldest and best-known monuments.  Until recently, it stood out prominently above its surroundings, offering welcome not only to people on the street but to arriving air travellers for whom it was a prominent landmark near Tribhuvan International Airport.  Now, according to some observers, the 1500-year-old structure is "lost in a concrete jungle," hidden behind a mass of illegally-built houses.  "The number of illegal houses around the main Stupa has alarmingly increased in the past one decade," reports one man who runs a shop in the vicinity.  Although the Department of Archaeology (DOA) has pointed out a number of houses that should be demolished immediately, nothing much has happened.  An example is a house that, after being fingered by the DOA, was destroyed by order of Kathmandu's Chief District Officer.  The house owner immediately rebuilt it without interference or apparent notice of authority.  But he “constructed the house with a traditional look," he says proudly.  Although UNESCO, which has declared the Stupa one of the seven protected monument zones that made Kathmandu Valley a World Heritage Site, has expressed concern about uncontrolled development and warned of a possible de-listing, the DOA seems reluctant to take action.  "DOA does not have any plan to control these illegal constructions," one of its officials has announced. "For now, we are not taking any action."  There are those who think this may be because the Department has a "special relationship" with the house owners involving some kind of "give-and-take."  The president of Nepal Heritage Society is hoping for government action.  "All the monuments of the Kathmandu Valley are, in fact, the gifts of the past generation to the present-day people and the people have to preserve them for the sake of their future generation," he says.  (Kathmandu Post, Dec. 26)



No Longer a “Lost Kingdom” .  Taking the Lo Road in this part of the country does not imply any moral or cultural depravity. Until this road was constructed, Lo, which is otherwise known as Upper Mustang, had long been isolated.  Once described as "the Forbidden Kingdom" and later, "the Lost Kingdom," it was closed to western travelers until recent years and today seems to retain a character of its own that speaks more of the Middle Ages than the modern world.  But this may be changing.  Two years ago, its citizens combined the resources of several of their village governments to finance the construction of a road that now takes trucks loaded with Chinese goods 20 kilometers from the Tibetan border to the outskirts of the walled city of Lo Mantang, where traders set up camp and do up to 6 million rupees (around US $78,000) worth of business.  Since Lo has little to export, they return largely empty.  About five trucks make the trip each week, bringing a variety of goods but mostly cement and lumber in quantities large enough to create a building boom in the city.  (It is believed that much of the lumber actually originated in the Manang and Larkya districts of Nepal and was smuggled over the border for subsequent return to its home country.)  Local people, including businessmen and politicians, are happy about the road and are now eager to build a southern extension that would connect with one coming up the Kali Gandaki to Jomson.  But there are others, including the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) which has been active in protecting the area at the same time it has helped develop it, who worry about what the roads can do to this unique parcel of the Himalayan landscape.  Besides environmental destruction and the kind of over-development that roads usually encourage, they are concerned that easy access will change the tourist scene from its present "low volume, high spending" level to one that brings masses of tourists for short visits that leave little money behind.  They also predict that businessmen from Lower Mustang will be able to use the road to drive local traders out of business.  One proposal is to bring the southern road only as far as the city of Charang and build a cable lift to carry freight and passengers from there to Lo Manthang.  (Nepali Times, February 8)


Stored Pesticides Prevent Expansion of Highway.  This particular pesticide is banned world-wide yet there are 43 metric tons of it stored in a place called Amiekhgunj in the south central district of Parsa.  Its presence there is enough not only to prevent the widening of Tribhuvan Highway, one of Nepal's main arteries, but on another front is slowing down the grant of an important Asian Development Bank loan.  The offending substance was put where it is a decade ago on the understanding that it would eventually be taken back to the producing countries for disposal.  This has not happened.  Nepal has been left with 76 metric tons of the stuff, 60 percent of which is stored in Amiekhgurunj.  An earlier effort to dispose of the offending material by burying it in a nearby ditch resulted in the death of dozens of animals and "wounds" to some humans, never mind a strong protest by local agriculturists.  Another idea was burning it in a cement factory in nearby Hetauda but workers there refused to accept it, even though, as the authorities pointed out, the lethal material was bundled in safe packets "specially brought from India."  The Agriculture Equipment Corporation, which officially owns the  material, claims no-one has asked it to get rid of it.  "So we will think after they officially ask to demolish it," they say.  (Kathmandu Post, January 24)


Punished for Marrying Outside His Caste.  This is not the first case of a family being upset because they thought their child was marrying someone beneath their station.  But this family went beyond mere disapproval.  The father of the bride and four others "brutally" beat up the bridegroom and his family.  Afterwards, the victims complained to the Chief District Officer.  He considered the matter and decided that because of their age, the couple was legally unfit to be married.  But in spite of everything, the newlyweds wanted to stay together.  Their only choice then was to leave the community.  But if they ever come back, says the bride's father, they and the groom's whole family (who happen to be close neighbors) will die.  (Kathmandu Post, January 3)







12 Injured in Scuffle.  A dispute between two brothers over land ended with a scuffle that caused injuries "on the head and to other parts of the bodies" to 12 persons "of both parties."  Participants had gathered with arbiters, who included the local Village Development Committee Chairman, to settle the matter.  It is not known whether any settlement was reached.  (Kathmandu Post, January 12)


Embassy Guard Shot.  There was probably nothing political behind the shooting of a US Embassy security guard in mid-December, yet the incident was enough to give the Embassy jitters.  He was shot at close range by two young men at mid-day near the USAID compound and Lincoln International School .  The murderers escaped. Motivation for the killing was not clear; yet it inspired the Embassy once again to urge American citizens to "exercise special caution at this time."  (US Embassy Security Announcement, December 15)



Policeman Shoots Girl.  What this 14-year-old girl might have had to tell the superiors of Kabindra Bohara, a policeman in the village of Chaumala of Kailali district in western Nepal, we do not know.  Yet it was supposedly fear of what she might say that brought him to kill her.  According to her family, he shot her in the chest while she was combing her hair.  He then threatened his senior officer but the latter persuaded him to give up his gun by telling him the girl was not dead but only injured.  He was taken into custody.  (Kathmandu Post, February 28)


Is the Head Constable Father of Bhagwoti's Child?  Bhagwoti Karki has been in jail for the last 18 months on a murder charge.  In January she gave birth to a child.  The father, she claims, is Head Constable Pradip Shah, who took advantage of her when she was earlier moved from her cell for treatment.  "She should file a petition in court for proving the relationship with the head constable," stated the head of a committee formed to investigate the incident.  So far, no birth ritual has been performed for the infant since the father's identity is still in question.  (Kathmandu Post, February 15)



In the Footsteps of Their Fathers (and Grandfathers).  Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of Mt. Everest.  Yet this year's warm-up events may be more interesting.  Peter Hillary, the son of one of the two original climbers, Sir Edmund Hillary, is planning to meet Tashi Tenzing, grandson of the other, Tenzing Norgay, on the summit this spring.  "It's like a birthday party," says the younger Hillary of the proposed event.  He will be a part of a predominantly American team led by Pete Athans (who himself has been to the summit six times) that will include another second-generation Everest climber, Brent Bishop, son of Barry Bishop who reached the summit as part of the first American Everest Expedition in 1963 .  The son will be attempting the West Ridge, a route that was first successfully climbed on that expedition.  Another member of this team is Jamling Tenzing Norgay, son of the original climber, who reached the top in 1996 and was featured in the Imax film Everest.  Yet he has promised his wife he will never climb a high mountain again and will stay in base camp.  His nephew Tashi will be tackling the mountain with a different team, the Geneve Everest Expedition, that will include Yves Lambert, the son of Raymond Lambert, who came close to being the first on Everest on a Swiss attempt in 1952.  Another member of this team is Appa Sherpa, who has been 11 times to the summit and hopes to rack up his 12th this year.  It is not easy to schedule events on Mount Everest with pinpoint accuracy, so no-one is guaranteeing that Peter and Tashi will actually get a chance to stand on the summit together and shake hands, but that is the hope.  (Yahoo News, Everest News, March 12: Rising Nepal, March 20)


Aiming to be Oldest on Everest Summit.  Al Hanna of Chicago has tried three times to scale Mt. Everest.  Each time he got a little higher on the mountain (on his last climb, within 300 feet of the summit) but each time he had to turn back. Now, at the age of 72, he intends to go all the way and become the oldest man to do this.  He will be helped by a team of seven Sherpas working through Alpine Ascents International, a Seattle-based guide service.  Yet he hopes he may not need much help.  Night after night he has been getting up at 1 am to carry a 60-pound pack up and down a hill near his home, the kind of "day-in-and-day-out rigorous training" that usually only a professional mountaineer would engage in, according to one mountain guide.  He reports occasionally being stopped by curious, flashlight-wielding police officers, and admits that his nocturnal training program sometimes throws him into the company of the "night crazies" who treat the hill as "kind of an open-air saloon" during the warm-weather months.  Yet, he says, with his big pack, they seem to be more afraid of him than he is of them.  (Kathmandu Post, January 3 and private communication)


Government Revises its Charge for Climbing Peaks.  As part of its drive to attract tourists and revive the ailing tourism industry, the government has announced a major revision in royalty fees for mountaineering expeditions for 60 peaks.  For this March, royalty fees for 40 peaks have been reduced as much as 75%.  No fee at all is being charged for 20 peaks in Nepal's far west.  Aspiring mountaineers who are interested in specifics can obtain a list of peaks from News from Nepal.  (Spotlight, February 15)



Havoc on the Highway.  Early in March, a Sarlahi-bound bus carrying 60 passengers veered off the Prithvi Highway in the neighborhood of Charaudi, 90 kilometers (56 miles) west of Kathmandu, and plunged 150 feet into the Trisuli River, killing 11 and injuring 35.  Not 24 hours later, some 300 kilometers (186 miles) west of Kathmandu in Gulmi district, another bus went off the road and landed in a river. This time 13 people died and 30 more were injured.  Only two weeks before these two accidents, a bus headed for Dhangadi from Pokhara dropped into the Trisuli River near Mugling, 125 kilometers (78 miles) from the capital with a staggering loss of 40 human lives and injuries to 14.  There were common features in all three accidents: namely poor equipment and the failure of the drivers to take proper account of speed in overloaded vehicles under difficult road conditions.  Passengers on the Sarlahi bus claimed they had pleaded with the driver to slow down.  He ignored them and was unable to slow the bus when it encountered another coming from the opposite direction on a sharp turn.  The Gulmi accident was thought to be caused by a mechanical problem.  The vehicle failed to generate enought power to move up a hill "and fell into the river."  The drivers of both buses were said to be inexperienced.  One explanation for the fact that Nepal has the highest rate of deaths from road accidents in South Asia may lie in the absence of restraining forces on the highways.  After the upsurge in the Maoist insurgency, police have abandoned checkposts in many areas.  "There is virtual anarchy on the road," claims a transport entrepreneur.  "The local people, drivers and armed robbers can do anything at any point."  (Spotlight, March 8)



RNAC Seeing Last Days as National Airline?  Nepal's government-run airline, Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation (RNAC) is on the verge of collapse, according to the recently-released report of a high-level committee.  It is losing some 200 million rupees (roughly US $2.6 million) a year and the government has no more money to bail it out.  "There has been just too much political interference, mismanagement and corruption," according to one member of the committee.  Its vulnerability to political influence is suggested by the fact that the airline has had 17 Chief Executive Officers since 1990, during which period its directors have been shuffled 23 times.  Even under the present government with its avowed dedication to eradicate corruption, the current Minister of Tourism has replaced the chief executive and company directors with his own friends and allies.  Auditors are still trying to finish with a backlog of book-keeping, yet it would appear that without some action, the end is in sight.  The plan that the Ministry of Tourism has presented for cabinet endorsement is for the government to divest a part of its share of the airline to a strategic partner, namely a foreign airline that would then assume full managerial control and autonomy, including the hiring of personnel.  The cabinet may find this difficult inasmuch as RNAC has traditionally acted as what some describe as "an employment agency for party activists."  Yet there is some reason for optimism.  In his last term as prime minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba had come close to approving the privatisation of RNAC.  Just days before he would have made the decision, he was ousted from power.  (Nepali Times, 22 February)


PIA Discontinuing its Nepal Flights.  Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has indefinitely suspended flights to Nepal after the Indian government's decision to deny it overflight rights in India.  PIA would normally conduct five flights a week during peak tourist season.  (Spotlight, January 11)


Another Bird-Plane Accident. It is not the first time that birds have disputed the airways with flying craft in Nepal but, according to Bhairahawa airport officials, this incident was "the biggest."  A Buddha Air beechcraft on its regular flight from Kathmandu to that city, which is district headquarters for the central Terai district of Rupandehi, suffered a major collision with a bird as it was coming in for a landing.  The pilot sustained minor injuries and the plane's windshield was damaged, but otherwise the aircraft and its 20 passengers escaped unhurt.  "There was no time to avoid it, said the plane's captain with what is described as visible relief, "but still we managed to land safely."  (Kathmandu Post, March 16)



Tourism Declines Sharply. Tourist arrivals continued to drop in February.  According to the Nepal Tourist Board, the number of foreigners coming to Nepal during this month was almost half of what it had been a year ago.  The statistics echo a similar drop in January.  India, Nepal's largest source of tourists, came up with only 41% of its normal quota.  US tourists declined by a whopping 60%.  The only market showing growth was China's.  With China’s announcement of a new Nepal tourist policy, some 17% more travelers arrived from that country than last year.  The most obvious reason for the drop in tourism is the highly publicized war with the Maoists and its suggestion that travel in Nepal will not be safe.  People may also have been made nervous by the palace shootings and news of repeated bandhs paralyzing the country.  Other nations have their own problems.  Fewer Americans have been boarding planes since September 11.  The world economy is unsettled and Japan, one of Nepal's largest tourist sources, has been particularly hard hit.  (Xinhua, March 6, Kathmandu Post, February12)


Simplification of Visa Process. There are now only two types of visas for people entering Nepal instead of three.  Single-entry visas cost $30 and multiple-entry visas $50.  Before July 15 of this year, there will be no fee at all for one-day visas.  Things are also being made easier for professional photographers.  They will have to deal with only one agency, The Ministry of Information and Communications, for permission to make documentary films in Nepal, and will no longer be charged "huge fees" for the privilege.  In the hope of attracting more tourists, the government has opened up some restricted areas in Taplejung and Manang districts for tourists travelling in groups.  (Kathmandu Post, December 29) 


Trekking Permits Required for Certain Areas.  Trekking permits are not needed for most popular trekking routes, such as Everest Base Camp, Annapurna, or Langtang.  But if you plan to go farther afield, you may have to make a trip to the Department of Immigration at Bhikuti Mandap and pay for a special permit.  The price you pay depends on where you go.  If it is lower Dolpa or Kanchenjunga, the fee per person is the equivalent of US $10 per week for the first four weeks.  If you want to stay longer, it goes up to $20 per week.  To trek in Humla you pay US $90 for the first seven days and $15 per day for anything longer than that.  Upper Mustang and Upper Dolpa will cost you US $700 per person for a 10-day visit (or anything less than 10 days).  If you are still there after that, you pay US $70 for each extra day.  The Department reminds you that there are also entrance fees for national parks (Rs 650) and a required donation to the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACAP) for travel in its domain.  You cannot trek in Dolpa, Upper Mustang, or the Kanchenjunga and Makalu areas except under the auspices of a registered trekking agency.  (Kathmandu Post, February 18)


A Hazard Not Covered in State Department Bulletins.  It is not so much Maoists that foreign trekkers need to worry about when they come to Nepal.  According to The Kathmandu Post, there is a much greater danger that they will be ambushed by Cupid.  Out of the thousands of people who come to Nepal from other countries seeking adventure, the newspaper reports, there are scores who end up with a Nepalese spouse.  Last year, the Department of Immigration issued more than 158 marriage licenses for couples in which one party was a foreigner and one a Nepali.  The visa allows the foreigner to stay on in Nepal from a minimum of three months to a maximum of one year.  There are probably many more marriages registered in foreign countries such as the US where the Nepalese spouse is allowed to stay indefinitely with a partner who is a national of that country.  The Post reports that it is most usually the woman who is the foreigner, and adds that "the Nepali men are not complaining."  A member of one of the Nepalese tour companies speculates that it is Nepali warmth that foreign women succumb to.  "The warm treatment that the tourists get here attracts many women who are fed up with the Western dating scene."  There is also the extended proximity that members of mountain and river treks experience.  Yet not all liaisons last beyond the trip itself.  "Most of the girls are simply out here to have a good time," says one of the guides, "and sometimes our poor guys fall for it."  (Kathmandu Post, December 19)



Maoist Leader Welcomes Tourists.  “Foreign tourists are most welcome in the country and will be so in the future as well,” says Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, one of the chief leaders of the Maoist movement.  “Nothing could be farther from the truth” than that the Maoists are “against the tourism industry in general and foreign tourists in particular.”  Tourism, in fact, “obviously comes high on the priority list of the future economic development policy.”  Yet that does not mean that tourists should not “take special precautionary measures while traveling during the period of war.”   They would be wise “not to venture into areas where active fighting is going on,” yet they would be “most welcome” in revolutionary base areas now under the firm control of the Maoists.  (Baburam Bhattarai, “Open Letter to Foreign Tourists Visiting Nepal,” March 21)


State Department Warning Downgraded.  Following Nepal's declaration of a state of emergency, the US government issued a warning advising Americans to defer travel to Nepal because of the fighting.  Later, after Nepal discussed the ban with Secretary of State Colin Powell and its effect on tourism, the State Department softened its warning. In an announcement dated January 24, it merely advises caution for Americans traveling or living in Nepal.  The Embassy has "significantly limited" travel outside Kathmandu Valley by Americans who are in the country in an official capacity, and it suggests that others who are planning travel should first contact it for updated information.  It has a website,, a fax number, 977-1-419963, and a phone number, 977-1-411179. (US Embassy Security Announcement, December 5 and January 24; Kathmandu Post, January 26)


Lukla Raid Worries Tourists.  Most of the thousands of people who come to the Everest area each year to go on treks arrive there by air, landing at a 9,200-foot-high airstrip at the village of Lukla.  Because of its importance to tourism, there was particular concern when a small group of Maoists entered the village on the night of February 3 and broke into a local bank to loot Rs 2.2 million (around US $28,380). "No-one was hurt or harassed," reported the village chairman, and the only property damage was to an airport control tower that is no longer used.  Flights in and out of Lukla were briefly cancelled during which time the army, which has now increased its presence in the town, airlifted eight stranded trekkers to Kathmandu. Things have now returned to normal, although the effect of the incident on the trekking industry may linger.  (Nepali Times, 8 February, et al.)


Headless Maoists at the Foot of Mt. Everest. The Defense Ministry itself confirmed the bizarre news: 200 headless bodies of Maoists had been found lying at the foot of Mt. Everest.  There was no attempt to explain what 200 Maoists, with or without heads, would be doing in such a place or how they had lost their heads, yet the news was given circulation by the internet news agency, (which added it had no independent confirmation), and was picked up and repeated in American publications.  The alarming report probably came out of an ignorance of Nepalese geography, forgivable for Americans but a bit astonishing in one of Nepal's own important government ministries.  Salleri, the capital of Solukhumbu district, had been the scene of a large-scale massacre in November that had left 200 Maoists dead in a nearby jungle (as reported in our last issue). According to some reports, the bodies had afterwards been beheaded by fellow Maoists supposedly to conceal their identities.  To many people, especially in the United States, "Solukhumbu," a political district, is synonymous with Mt. Everest and the Khumbu area.  It is possible that this story started with someone who did not bother to look at a map to discover that Salleri is many miles (and days travel) away from Mt. Everest or to learn that, to date, there have been no reports of Maoist activity near the world’s highest mountain or anywhere in its area.  Yet the story may have contributed one more blow to tourism.  For those who may have been scared away, we are glad to report that there have been no further reports of headless bodies up there and no Everest clean-up expedition has dedicated itself to ridding the mountain of their gruesome presence.  ( and other media, December 5)



Waiting Outside the Airport.  People in the US and other parts of the world are adjusting to the problems of increased security at airports after September 11.  But for some of those in Kathmandu who have come to Tribhuvan International Airport either to greet their loved ones or see them off, "airport officials have gone too far with this security thing."  People who have are there to meet arriving passengers may understand and accept the the rule that they have to remain outside the doors until the passengers emerge.  But they are upset that, out there, they have no information about whether or not the flight has arrived, is late or has been cancelled.  After waiting a while, some can use their cell phones to call people in the city to ask what is going on at the airport, yet airport lines - they claim - are always busy.  They share their frustration with others who have come to see friends and family off.  "I am sad I didn't get to see my son off properly," says a mother who had to make her goodbyes to a son leaving for three years from outside the airport.  "God knows when this airport will meet international standards."  People like this lady might not feel quite as upset if it were not that they can  observe others who are ostensibly in the same boat given free entry.  When asked about this, airport authorities claimed "matters of protocol" forbid them from giving an answer.  (Kathmandu Post, January 24)



Elephants Destroy Houses.  Maoists are not the only terrorists in Nepal.  Around half a dozen wild elephants slipped over the Indian border one winter night and attacked the village of Surunga in the far southeastern district of Jhapa.  No lives were lost, yet seven houses were demolished, crops worth thousands of rupees were destroyed, and villagers were left "panic-stricken."  The village is located on a major elephant corridor.  About a dozen people have lost their lives there to elephants in the past and many families have been rendered homeless.  No-one yet has come up with a plan to cope with the problem.  (Kathmandu Post, December 17)


Man Kills Tiger.  We have heard the "man bites dog" story.  How about a one-hour "wrestling fight" between a 60-year-old man and a tiger that ended in the death of the animal?  This, we are told, took place in a village in the eastern Terai district of Saptari where Murari Chaudhary was guarding his paddy field.  A tiger appeared and pounced on his wife, who was keeping him company, and that was when Chaudhary "came out of his age" and jumped on the beast.  He was able to hold onto the tiger's mouth and eventually hack him to death "with the help of a sharp weapon." (Kathmandu Post, December 12)


Transporting Rhinos - Don't Try This At Home.  It is not an easy thing to transport two tons of live animal anywhere, let alone a distance of 200 miles.  Moving ten such animals is even more of a challenge but that is what the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation (KMTNC) has successfully done in taking ten rhinos out of Royal Chitwan National Park and placing them in Royal Bardiya National Park.  It was one element in a program for restoring Nepal's dwindling rhino population.  The number of rhinos in the Chitwan park had grown to where they were getting in each other's way, damaging the environment and coming into increasing contact with the local human population, which, generally speaking, takes a less sympathetic view than Park officials toward the welfare of the large (and potentially valuable to poachers) animals.  Authorities also would like to establish as many rhino population pools as possible.  So how do you go about moving a rhino from one park to another?  First you take 40 elephants to help you drive the rhino into an open space.  Then you sedate it with darts.  After you are sure it is asleep, you drag it onto a special sled with the help of three dozen laborers.  They and the elephants take the sled to an enclosed wooden pen where heavy dockyard equipment is employed to move the rhino into a cage that is then lifted onto a truck for the 15-hour journey to Bardiya.  Rhinos had seemed headed for extinction in Nepal a decade or so ago but conservation efforts such as this have reversed the trend.  Nepal now has 612 rhinos, 83 more than it did two years ago.  In 1966, there were only about 100.  (Nepali Times, March 15) 



Teachers' Life a Dangerous One.  More teachers have become victims of Maoist terrorism than all party workers put together, according to the Minister of State for Education and Sports, N. P. Saud.  "Teachers cannot speak out the truth fearing Maoist atrocities," admits one of them.  Their choice, they say, is either to make the Maoists happy or to "run for their lives to district headquarters."  Many complain that they receive threats from the government as well as the Maoists.  "We have no escape from this complicated situation."  Minister Saud admits that the government is not doing what it can to help the teachers.  "Teachers and terrorism are two contradictory philosophies which never meet each other.  They are like the sea and the sky and have no chance of union."  (Kathmandu Post, March 14)


Fighting About a Clock Tower.  Construction of a clock tower on a college campus might seem to be a relatively benign project, yet the mere idea of it has inflamed students at Mahendra Morang Adarsha Multiple Campus to the point of riot.  A number of them sustained injuries in a scuffle with their teachers and administrators when the latter attempted to lay its cornerstone.  The students are upset because they think the money (Rs 3,400,000, or around US $44,000) should go to more useful projects, such as modernizing the library.  Yet the Campus Chief claims he has a consensus of approval from the various political parties, including prominent national leaders, and the project will be carried out.  This may not be easy.  "We will not at any cost let the construction of the tower go on," say the students.  (Kathmandu Post, December 10)



Wedding Process Speeded Up in West Nepal.  Wedding ceremonies in the far west of Nepal used to last two days, but ever since a state of emergency was declared in Nepal, one-day weddings have become the rule.  "It's quick and cheap," says a recent groom, and "it's a lot easier."  The older custom involved music, lights and decorations, but its longer duration presumably put participants in greater danger from acts of terrorism.  Not everyone is happy about the speeded-up process.  Priests complain that it is not possible to perform all the religious parts of the marriage in one day.  And those who make their living playing musical instruments at special ceremonies find themselves cheated out of a large part of their income.  "We used to earn 20 to 30 thousand rupees (up to about US $390) in a year, but we haven't had any calls this year and the season is about to finish."  (Kathmandu Post, March 14)


Competing with Computers.  Modern civilization has struck one more blow to traditional life in Nepal.  This one is in the form of computerized fortune-telling machines.  More and more of them have been appearing in Kathmandu where they have been taking business away from roadside palmists.  The latter regard them as a "21st century fad" that is no way as accurate in predicting futures as they are.  "The science of palmistry will continue to survive," they say.  Some call attention to the fact that the machines, which cost around 400,000 rupees (about US $5,200) each but rather quickly return a profit, will sometimes offer different predictions to the same person.  The palmists, on the other hand, claim perfect accuracy as long their clients tell the truth about themselves.  "Those who don't tell me the whole truth end up getting all the wrong predictions and then they call me a fake," complains one of them.  (Kathmandu Post, February 14)


Back Street Theaters Feature Porn.  Movies are big in Kathmandu.  There are already more than 56 cinema halls in the Valley and more are opening all the time.  This has created a problem for the smaller houses.  "With more and more halls coming up," explains the president of the Nepal Film Development Board, "the smaller ones are forced to show erotic stuff to keep afloat."  Posters in the narrow back streets of the city lure film-goers with titillating pictures promising "scenes," as nude shots are known to the faithful.  The dozen or so theaters that show these films are nearly always packed by audiences that are largely made up of day-wage earners, rickshaw pullers, street children and "loafers."  There has been no serious attempt by Nepal's Censor Board to censor the films or close down the houses.  Perhaps that is because, as one porn center manager claims, "the movies are not as explicit as the posters."  (Kathmandu Post, December 15)



NEWS FROM NEPAL 4621 SW Kelly, Portland, OR 97201 - subscription (6 issues, possibly more) $15

Previous issues of News from Nepal
Back to
Trekking in Nepal Trek to Mt Kailas Bhutan Ladakh AT Logo