CPN (Maoist Center) leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha has been closely involved in inter-party negotiations surrounding the announcement of local elections on Monday. He also visited India last week and met a range of actors, including top Indian government officials. He reportedly informed them on the importance of timely local elections in Nepal.

Coolpad, a Chinese telecommunications company, entered the Nepali market on Monday. The company has been manufacturing telecommunication devices for the past 24 years. Coolpad has already been already launched in North America, South East Asia, South Asia and Europe. Ashim Neupane of Republica talked to Du Jinbiao, CEO of Coolpad Global Sales and Service, and Executive Vice President of Coolpad Group, to know more about the company and its business plans for Nepal. Excerpts:

Moushira Mahmoud Khattab, Ph.D, is Egypt's former Minister for Family & Population, the country's former ambassador to South Africa, the Czech Republic and Slovakia and has also worked for various diplomatic missions. She visited Nepal recently and held meetings with President Bidya Devi Bhandari, ministers and top government officials, seeking Nepal's support for her candidacy for the post of Director General of UNESCO. Khattab also worked as the chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, based at the UN Headquarters in Geneva. During her stay in Kathmandu, she talked to Republica about various issues. Excerpts:

Mani Shankar Aiyar was among the rare Indian politicians who had consistently  spoken against India’s highhandedness during the five months of border blockade. The former cabinet minister in Manmohan Singh government has since been a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s neighborhood policy. The veteran diplomat and writer sat down for a conversation with Republica’s Biswas Baral about PM Modi’s Nepal policy,  India’s concerns over China’s role in Nepal and the future of SAARC, among other issues.

Aniruddha Chatterjee, regional director of Dow Jones was recently in Kathmandu to attend a conference to discuss about solutions to mitigate money laundering and white-collar crimes. Sagar Ghimire of Republica caught up Chatterjee on the sidelines of the conference to discuss about the risks and vulnerabilities in Nepal's financial system, challenges of compliance, and infrastructure and regulatory setup to curb such crimes, among other issues. Excerpts:

A medical doctor and epidemiologist (MD-PhD) by training, Dr Carlos Dora, has a distinguished career in public health and environmental issues. At the World Health Organization (WHO), he is the coordinator of the unit ‘Interventions for Healthy Environments’ which is a part of the Department of Public Health and Environment.

Neel Kantha Uprety, the Chief Election Commissioner during the second Constituent Assembly elections in 2013, believes it is possible to hold local elections before monsoon and the two  remaining elections by January, 2018. But how? And how do we make sense of recent proposed electoral reforms? Uprety shared his insights with Republica’s Mahabir Paudyal and Bhadra Sharma. ​

Jared M Koller is a PhD candidate in the Department of Archaeology at Boston University. Prior to joining PhD program, Koller served as a researcher for the Asian Cultural History Program, which is a part of the Smithsonian Institution's Anthropology Department in Washington DC. US Embassy brought Koller in Kathmandu for a series of cultural preservation and museum management seminars in coordination with major Nepali public museums. In addition to the trainings that focus on usage of new media and technology in museum management, he also discussed potential projects collaborations or partnerships with various institutions in Nepal. Koller spoke to Republica on the sidelines of his seminar on Friday. Excerpts:

Ever since the government of Pushpa Kamal Dahal registered a constitution amendment bill in parliament on November 29th, 2016, the main opposition, CPN-UML, has been consistently opposing the rastraghati (anti-national) bill and asking for its withdrawal. But which provisions in the bill are anti-national? And what is the way out of the current political and constitutional deadlock? UML Vice-chairman Bhim Rawal, who has also served as deputy prime minister and home minister in previous governments, shared his insights with Biswas Baral and Mahabir Paudyal.

Huang Youyi serves as an expert at the Charhar Institute, a prominent Chinese think tank that gives the Chinese government inputs on China’s diplomacy and international relations, including in South Asia. A close student of Nepal-China relations, Youyi was recently in Kathmandu to take part in the ‘China Nepal Think Tank Conference’. Biswas Baral, Mahabir Paudyal and Kosh Raj Koirala met him at the sidelines of the conference to discuss Nepal-China relations and the rivalry between India and China in Nepal.  ​