Browsing articles from "January, 2014"

Koirala vows first draft within 6 months, statute within a year

Jan 31, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   News from Nepal  //  Comments Off on Koirala vows first draft within 6 months, statute within a year

Nepali Congress (NC) President Sushil Koirala has said that the draft of the new constitution would be ready within six months and a democratic constitution would be promulgated within a year of the formation of the new government.

“After I become the prime minister, be assured that the constitution will be promulgated within a year,” said Koirala addressing a programme of Nepal Civil Servants’ Employee Union at Narayangadh on Friday, “The constitution will be forged in consensus of all.” He said that the only aim of the government would be drafting the new constitution .

Koirala said that efforts were underway to form a consensual government. The NC President made it clear that he would leave no stones unturned for the constitution drafting as it was almost certain that the upcoming government would be led by his party even if the parties went for majority government.

“Majority government is also an example of democratic practice,” said Koirala, “My effort will be to move ahead taking all the parties in confidence.”

He expressed confidence that NC would lead the next government with support from all. “Most of the parties have been positive about forming a government under NC’s leadership,” he said.


Posted on: 2014-01-31 06:59

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Courts to remain closed on Sunday to mourn former CJ’s demise

Jan 31, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   News from Nepal  //  Comments Off on Courts to remain closed on Sunday to mourn former CJ’s demise

Supreme Court has decided that all tiers of courts will remain closed on February 2 (Sunday) to mourn the demise of former Chief Justice (CJ) Biswonath Upadhyay .

A full meeting of the Supreme Court chaired by acting Chief Justice Damodar Prasad Sharma on Friday decided to close all types of courts, Special Court and tribunals, across the country to mourn the passing away of former CJ.

The meeting also expressed grief over the irreparable loss incurred to the nation from the demise of a true nationalist and democrat and accorded high respect to Upadhyay for his substantial contribution to consolidate independent judiciary and rule of law in the country.

Upadhyay, who has been acclaimed as a noted legal drafter, constitutional law expert and well-versed judicial personality, will be remembered forever for his qualities, concluded the meeting.  

Former CJ Upadhyay passed away at National Institute of Neurological and Allied Sciences late on Thursday night in Bansbari, Kathmandu. He was 84.


Upadhyay, who took charge as the chief justice during a crucial turning-point in Nepal’s political history, came to the limelight after the apex court bench led by him reinstated the parliament dissolved by then Prime Minister Manmohan Adhikari in August 28, 1995.

Born on October 13, 1930, in Malangwa Sarlahi, Upadhyay started his career in government service as legal officer in Nepal Rastra Bank in 1955 and later entered the Ministry of Law.

Upadhyay, who headed the constitution drafting committee of 1990, is also credited for his role in evolving Nepal’s judiciary as separate institution. He assumed the role of chief justice from Dec 8, 1991 to September 22, 1995.

Meanwhile, Vice-President of Nepali Congress, Ram Chandra Poudel, expressed deep sorrow on the demise of former CJ Upadhyay and extended heartfelt condolence to the bereaved family and his relatives.


Posted on: 2014-01-31 08:31

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Maine Court Rules In Favor Of Transgender Pupil

Jan 31, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Maine Court Rules In Favor Of Transgender Pupil

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — School officials violated state anti-discrimination law when they would not allow a transgender fifth-grader to use the girls’ bathroom, according to a ruling by the highest court in Maine that’s believed to be the first of its kind.

The family of student Nicole Maines and the Maine Human Rights Commission sued in 2009 after school officials required her to use a staff, not student, restroom.

“This is a momentous decision that marks a huge breakthrough for transgender young people,” said Jennifer Levi, director of the Boston-based Gay Lesbian Advocates Defenders’ Transgender Rights Project after the Maine Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling on Thursday.

The court concluded that the Orono school district’s actions violated the Maine Human Rights Act, which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, overturning a lower court’s ruling that the district acted within its discretion.

The ruling is the first time a state high court concluded that a transgender person should use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify, according to GLAD. Federal courts haven’t taken up the issue.

Students at the southern Maine high school Nicole now attends stood up and cheered when news of the ruling was announced, said her father, Wayne Maines.

School administrators across the country are grappling with the issue.

Colorado officials said last year that a suburban Colorado Springs school district discriminated against a 6-year-old transgender girl by preventing her from using the girls’ bathroom.

In California, there’s an effort afoot to try to repeal a law that allows public school students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their expressed genders.

In the Maine case, Nicole Maines was using the girls’ bathroom in her elementary school until the grandfather of a fifth-grade boy complained to administrators. The Orono school district determined that she should use a staff bathroom, but her parents said that amounted to discrimination.

Nicole is a biological male who identified as a girl beginning at age 2.

Nicole, who’s now 16, said after arguments before the high court last summer that she hoped the justices understood the importance of going to school, getting an education and making friends without having to be “bullied” by other students — or school administrators.

Nicole’s father said all he had ever wanted was for his daughter to be treated just like her classmates. He said he was overcome with emotion when he learned of the decision.

“It sends a message to my kids that you can believe in the system and that it can work,” Wayne Maines said. “I’m just going to hug my kids and enjoy the moment, and do some healing.”

Melissa Hewey, lawyer for the school district, said the ruling provided clarity not just to Orono, but to schools around the state.

“The court has now clarified what has been a difficult issue and is more and more common in schools, and the Orono School Department is going to do what it needs to do to comply with the law,” she said.

In the 5-1 ruling, the court had to reconcile two separate state laws, one requiring separate bathrooms based on gender and the other prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In this case, in which the child had a formal diagnosis of gender dysphoria, “it has been clearly established that a student’s psychological well-being and educational success depend upon being permitted to use the communal bathroom consistent with her gender identity,” Justice Warren Silver wrote.

The Supreme Judicial Court pointed out that its ruling was based on the circumstances of the case in which there was ample documentation of the student’s gender identity. “Our opinion must not be read to require schools to permit students casual access to any bathroom of their choice,” he wrote.


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Intrawest Resorts Falls In Debut On The NYSE

Jan 31, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Intrawest Resorts Falls In Debut On The NYSE

NEW YORK (AP) — Intrawest Resorts’ stock is falling in its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Shares of the mountain resort and adventure company declined 30 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $11.70 in midday trading Friday. They had fallen as low as $10.80 earlier in the day.

The IPO of about 15.6 million shares priced at $12 per share, below the projected range of $15 to $17 per share.

Intrawest Resorts Holdings Inc. raised approximately $187.2 million from the offering.

The Denver company is selling about 3.1 million shares. An entity controlled by certain private equity funds managed by a Fortress Investment Group LLC affiliate is selling approximately 12.5 million shares.

The stock is trading under the “SNOW” ticker symbol.

The offering is targeted to close on Wednesday.

Labrador Retrievers Set Popularity-Ranking Record

Jan 31, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Labrador Retrievers Set Popularity-Ranking Record

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s puppy love for the record books: The Labrador retriever was the nation’s most popular dog breed last year for a 23rd year in a row, the American Kennel Club announced Friday.

That’s the longest any breed has been top dog since the organization’s 1884 founding.

German shepherds, golden retrievers, beagles and bulldogs are holding steady in the top-five pack, with Yorkshire terriers, boxers, poodles, Rottweilers and dachshunds continuing to round out the leading 10, which mirrors last year. But the comical French bulldog is newly on their heels after a decade-long popularity spurt.

Surpassing the poodle’s 22-year reign some decades ago, the Lab has proliferated as a congenial, highly trainable dog that was developed to fetch game but has readily taken on other roles: search-and-rescue aid, therapy dog, competitor in canine sports and all-around family pet.

“They’re a very versatile dog. They’ll adapt to just about anything,” says Michael Wiest of Warren, N.J., who has bred them for 45 years.

The rankings reflect newly registered dogs, mostly puppies. The AKC doesn’t release exact numbers but estimates its registry has included more than 40 million purebred dogs over its history.

The top 10 remains a testament to the variety of purebreds, from the pert, portable Yorkie to the muscular, purposeful Rottweiler. But overall, the AKC has logged some leaning toward larger dogs in the past decade.

Shih tzus and Chihuahuas have dropped out of the top 10, while Rottweilers and bulldogs have marched in. Such big breeds as the Doberman pinscher, the Bernese mountain dog and even the great Dane have made double-digit gains on the popularity ladder.

But no breed has rocketed up the rankings quite like the French bulldog, now the nation’s 11th most popular purebred after its numbers more than quadrupled in the last 10 years. The Frenchie was 14th last year – and 58th in 2002.

With foreshortened faces, large pointed ears and an attitude that’s been described as “a clown in the cloak of a philosopher,” French bulldogs were in vogue in the U.S. around the turn of the 20th century. Then their popularity waned until recent years, when they’ve gotten exposure in such venues as Martha Stewart’s chic-domesticity empire, TV’s “Modern Family” and a 2012 Skechers Super Bowl commercial.

Some people flock to Frenchies because they’re compact and don’t need a lot of exercise or elaborate coat care.

After 15 years of breeding cocker spaniels, Gale Golden developed tendinitis in her elbow and had difficulty brushing them, so she decided to try the short-coated Frenchie. Now she has eight.

“They have so many funny and endearing qualities,” including being people-oriented, said Golden, of Marlborough, Mass. “A Frenchie is everyone’s friend.”

Still, popularity causes some consternation for aficionados, who fear demand can drive irresponsible breeding.

To be sure, dog breeding in general has critics who feel it’s more focused on human tastes than canine health and draws dog lovers away from mixed-breed pets that need homes. Purebred fans counter that conscientious breeding aims to create healthy dogs with somewhat predictable traits, helping people and dogs make lasting pairings.


Reach Jennifer Peltz on Twitter @jennpeltz.

Wal-Mart Lowers 4Q, Full-Year Profit Expectations

Jan 31, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Wal-Mart Lowers 4Q, Full-Year Profit Expectations

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Wal-Mart said Friday that key earnings figures may come in at the low end or below its prior forecasts for its fourth quarter and full fiscal year. It also said a widely-watched sales metric for the fourth quarter which includes the holiday season will be lower than its previous forecast.

The news initially sent Wal-Mart shares lower but they were up by early afternoon.

The world’s biggest retailer said the lower earnings outlook reflect accounting for some Brazil-related charges and other items. Chief Financial Officer Charles Holley said in a statement that these items were not anticipated when Wal-Mart previously provided its forecasts.

The lowered outlook for sales at stores open at least a year was due in part to eight winter storms that resulted in some store closings, Holley said. He added that its Sam’s Club locations were hurt by weather throughout the quarter.

The sales performance was also hindered by a bigger-than-expected impact from the federal government’s reduction in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits that went into effect on Nov. 1, Holley said.

Wal-Mart didn’t provide specific numbers to go with its revised forecasts.

The retailer only said that its fiscal fourth-quarter and full-year adjusted earnings from continuing operations may come in at or slightly below the low end of its prior forecasts. It previously projected fourth-quarter adjusted earnings from continuing operations between $1.60 and $1.70 per share. Its 2014 guidance was for $5.11 to $5.21 per share.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet predict fourth-quarter earnings of $1.65 per share and full-year earnings of $5.16 per share.

It also said sales — excluding fuel — at Walmart and Sam’s Club locations in the U.S. open at least a year would be slightly below its prior forecasts. The chain previously expected the key sales figure would be relatively flat at its namesake locations in the U.S. and that it would be between flat and 2 percent at Sam’s Club. Sales at stores open at least a year is a closely-watched indicator of a retailer’s health.

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. had fallen as low as $73.64 in morning trading on the news but were up 16 cents to $74.91 in afternoon trading Friday.

The revisions came less than a week after Wal-Mart announced that it was eliminating 2,300 workers at its Sam’s Club division. The layoffs, which cut 2 percent of the membership club’s U.S. employee count of about 116,000, mark the largest since 2010 when the Sam’s Club unit laid off 10,000 workers as it moved to outsource food demonstrations at its stores.

Wal-Mart, which has 11,096 stores, said that it will provide detailed fourth-quarter and full-year financial results as well as guidance for fiscal 2015 on Feb. 20.

RPP-N not ready to adopt old CA pacts

Jan 30, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   News from Nepal  //  Comments Off on RPP-N not ready to adopt old CA pacts

The national conference of Rastriya Prajatantra Party- Nepal (RPP-N) concluded here in the capital on Thursday by releasing a 12-point Kathmandu Declaration, pledging party’s constructive support to draft the constitution within a year by remaining in opposition.

The RPP-Nepal has said that owing up the achievements of the erstwhile Constituent Assembly (CA) was constitutionally, politically and morally inappropriate.

Organising a news conference, the RPP-N said the conference reiterated the party’s demands for a Hindu nation, democracy with constitutional monarchy, strong local-self governance and liberal economic policy, among others.

On the occasion, RPP-Nepal Chairman Kamal Thapa said that fresh election to the President, Vice President, Speaker and Deputy Speaker should be conducted though his party has no claim for the posts.

The party has demanded that the election to the local bodies should be conducted within six months.

Posted on: 2014-01-30 07:40

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More lawmakers demur ‘controversial’ ordinances

Jan 30, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   News from Nepal  //  Comments Off on More lawmakers demur ‘controversial’ ordinances

Seven more lawmakers on Thursday registered their reservations over some ordinances tabled by the government in the Legislature-Parliament.

According to the Bill Section of Parliament Secretariat, three lawmakers filed formal objections on the ordinance on commission for truth and reconciliation (TRC) and enforced disappearance; ordinance for facilities of ex-officials; and the Civil Service Ordinance-2013 (third amendment), respectively. Similarly, two lawmakers each filed reservations on the ordinance concerning mutual legal assistance and the ordinance on health services.

    The secretariat had already received four objections on the ordinance on TRC and enforced disappearances and the ordinance on civil services. The ordinance on health services had also received two demurrals before this.

The ordinance on TRC and enforced disappearance and the ordinance on anti-money laundering are expected to take a considerable attention of the parliament. With the first ordinance, lawmakers have been demanding that the January 2 order of the Supreme Court must be upheld for the formation of two separate commissions for TRC and enforced disappearances. The former government led by Baburam Bhattarai had merged the ordinances on TRC and enforced disappearances with a provision of blanket amnesty, even for those accused of serious crimes like rape.

As for the ordinance on anti-money laundering, if it is eventually enacted into a law then the financial status of political class including politicians and bureaucrats would come under more scrutiny.

The secretariat has received complaint on 10 ordinances tabled. Provision has it that a lawmaker can file reservation on an ordinance demanding that it be scrapped within two days of it being tabled by the government. Sixteen out of 24 ordinances , including the ordinance on the removal of constitutional difficulties which were endorsed by President Ram Baran Yadav on the recommendation of Khil Raj Regmi government in the absence of parliament has been tabled for the final approval.

Posted on: 2014-01-30 11:59

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Mirren Honored With Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Award

Jan 30, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Mirren Honored With Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Award

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Helen Mirren is being honored as woman of the year by Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals.

The 68-year-old Mirren was in Massachusetts on Thursday for a parade and roast, and to receive her ceremonial pudding pot.

She won the 2007 best actress Oscar for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in “The Queen” and has been nominated on three other occasions. She also appeared in “Age of Consent, “Gosford Park” and “The Madness of King George.”

Hasty Pudding Theatricals is America’s oldest undergraduate drama troupe. Its awards are presented annually to performers who have made a lasting and impressive contribution to entertainment. Emmy Award-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris has been named man of the year. He’ll be honored Feb. 7.

Last year’s winners were Marion Cotillard and Kiefer Sutherland.

NYC Agrees To Monitor And Reforming Stop-And-Frisk

Jan 30, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on NYC Agrees To Monitor And Reforming Stop-And-Frisk

NEW YORK (AP) — The new mayor on Thursday delivered on his promise to reform stop-and-frisk police tactics, agreeing to the appointment of a monitor and seeking to end a 14-year court fight that culminated in a judge’s ruling that New York City had discriminated in carrying out the crime-reduction program.

“We believe these steps will make everyone safer,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told a Brooklyn news conference shortly after city lawyers asked the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to return the case to the lower court “for the purpose of exploring a full resolution.”

He added: “This will be one city where everyone rises together, where everyone’s rights are protected.”

He said the city agreed to the appointment of a monitor for three years to oversee the creation of reforms aimed at ending discrimination. The monitor will oversee a process in which those communities most affected by the stop-and-frisk tactics will provide input on the reforms.

“I can’t wait to get started,” said Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has represented plaintiffs in the lawsuits. “We will have a collaborative reform process. We’ll have a court monitor to ensure these reforms move forward.”

Police Commissioner William Bratton said the policy as it had been carried out for years had left too many people who were frisked asking, “Why, why me?” while police officers being pressed to make ever more arrests even as crime rates fell dramatically were wondering, “Why more?”

He said the policy had torn the fabric between the police and the population. “We need to repair it,” he said.

A judge ruled last year that the New York Police Department had discriminated against blacks and Hispanics when stopping, questioning and sometimes frisking people on the street. The judge ordered major reforms to the department’s implementation of the policy.

Then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg appealed the decision. But de Blasio, who took office at the beginning of the year, had made settling the stop-and-frisk issue a major component of his campaign.

Bloomberg was a staunch advocate of the policy. Stops had soared under his 12-year tenure to more than 5 million in the past decade, mostly of black and Hispanic men. About 10 percent of the stops result in arrests or summonses, and weapons were found about 2 percent of the time.

Four men sued the department in 2008, saying they were unfairly targeted because of their race. U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin presided over a 10-week bench trial in which she heard testimony from a dozen New Yorkers who said they were wrongly stopped. She agreed and imposed a court-appointed monitor to oversee reforms, but her ruling has been on hold pending the appeal.

The federal appeals court also had taken the unusual step of removing Scheindlin from the case, saying she misapplied a related ruling that allowed her to accept it to begin with and had inappropriately spoken publicly about the case.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Jonathan Moore said the city’s decision to drop the appeal “vindicates the findings by Judge Scheindlin and provides the opportunity for the NYPD to reform policies and practices that the district court found unconstitutional.”

De Blasio and Bratton have said the policy has created a rift among New Yorkers who don’t trust police and made morale low for officers who should be praised for stellar efforts reducing crime to record lows.

The stop-and-frisk tactic itself was not ruled unconstitutional, but the way the department was using it violated civil rights, the judge said.



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