Page last updated at 2014-11-24 19:54:14 RSS
On The Brink
Constitutional process
As Nepal is caught up in SAARC celebrations, there is a distinct possibility that the country could slide back into conflict. UCPN (Maoist) leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal has of late been threatening of another ‘revolt’ post SAARC if the NC-UML coalition tries to walk the ‘majority path.’ On Monday, CPN-Maoist Secretary Netra Bikram Chand ‘Biplab’ announced that he had severed all ties with “the leadership of Chairman Mohan Baidya”, thereby paving the way for the formation of a new political outfit that threatens to be even more extremist than Baidya’s CPN-Maoist. Biplab has announced that he would start Maoist revolution anew, this time by cracking down on the ‘corrupt elements’ in the society. On the right, the likes of Kamal Thapa and Khum Bahadur Khadka have kick-started their campaign to restore the Hindu state. The extreme polarization of Nepali polity, instead of narrowing in the final few months left in the constitutional process, seems to be increasing instead. It is now certain that there will be no constitution by January 22—at least not through legitimate means.
Making It Work
Jay Nishaant
Keeping true with illustrious South Asian custom of procrastination and then making a hasty last-minute arrangement, finally Kathmandu is all decked up to host 18th SAARC Summit with fresh blacktopping of major road systems, overnight transplanted green patches and blooming flowers and a hurriedly manicured City Hall for the conference venue. A life span of three decades, seventeen summits, eleven regional centers, nine observer countries, eight major agreements, at least six notable conventions and a comprehensive charter comprising ten articles definitely make SAARC look adequately experienced and properly structured with all the required instruments in place and fully functional as a professionally managed regional unit.

However, despite having some of South Asia’s best brains the performance review of this largest regional grouping in the world with 1.6 billion population leaves a lot to be desired. SAARC portrays a gloomy image compared to other regional groupings and trading blocs such as Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), European Union (EU) or MERCOSUR on the basis of their intra-regional trade, collective export or a share of global FDI flow.
Whose Water?
Kamal Devkota
Who is the authorized body to make decisions for the provision of water to both upstream and downstream communities? Is it the central government, local government, local people, or so-called experts? What is the widely accepted and legitimate process to address the needs of up and downstream communities? These questions were raised by the local leaders from Dhulikhel in Kavre district during a recent program on water security, ecosystem services and livelihoods.

Questions emerged after upstream villages affected by Asian Development Bank-supported Kavre Valley Integrated Drinking Water project put forth several demands to project implementers in 2014. The locals’ efforts at engaging with management decisions and donors are welcome. The questions are important also because water distribution issue will prove problematic in federal structure that Nepal is going to adopt.
School Reform
Jayash Poudel
The impending bill to amend the Education Act, with a significant focus on transferring the ownership of private schools to respective communities, has aroused a vibrant debate on the future of public-private partnerships in education. While the government appears eager to launch a massive public discourse on effective policy design, lawmakers lobbying on behalf of the private education sector have raised serious objections regarding the proposed change. However, there remains an emergent need to evaluate the grounds for a potential policy amendment and its repercussions in education field.

Five months back, the government hinted at possibility of amending the Education Act while announcing its policies and programs. Vague promises outlining ambitious goals are made every year. However, this specific agenda regarding private school ownership drew more attention because the official document explicitly mentioned that “necessary amendment will be made to prevailing Education Act”.
Geography Of Terrorism
Kathy Gilsinan
Of the 17,958 people who died in terrorist attacks in 2013, 82 percent were in one of five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Syria. That’s one finding from this year’s Global Terrorism Index report, published by the Institute for Economics and Peace. The report is based on data from the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database, which has information on more than 125,000 terrorist attacks between 1970 and 2013.

It’s also striking where terrorism didn’t occur. Much of the increase in terrorism-related fatalities in 2013 took place in Iraq, where terrorists claimed nearly 4,000 lives—a 168-percent increase over 2012. Worldwide, Iraq was the worst-affected country, accounting for 34 percent of terrorism-related fatalities in 2013, with Afghanistan ranked next with 17.3 percent. Meanwhile, between 2000 and 2013, the report found, around 5 percent of terrorism-related fatalities occurred in the 34 wealthy countries of the OECD. In 2013 specifically, there were 113 terrorism-related deaths in OECD countries—0.6 percent of the worldwide total. Six of these took place in the United States.
More Headlines:
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  • Land of Buddha
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