Detainees set free

KATHMANDU: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the release of more than 20 leaders, including some former members of parliament, responding to habeas corpus petitions seeking their release. A division bench of Justices Top Bahadur Magar and Rajendra Kumar Bhandari issued the order. Those set free after the SC order include former lawmaker Sushila Nepal and political activists Radha Humagain, Kabita Paudel and Sabitra Bhushal, who were arrested 16 days ago while they were participating in a demonstration against the government. More than 10 student leaders including Suman Mishra, Hari Narayan Yadav, Phadindra Bhandari, Tekendra Limbu, Bhim Shrish and Bhupendra Thapa were also released.

Peace rally held

BIRGUNJ: The Birgunj Chamber of Commerce and Industry took out a peace rally here on Wednesday demanding the release of the three employees of the Surya Nepal abducted by the Maoists a few days ago. The rally, which began from the chamber building located at Birta, was participated in by the Surya Nepal employees, family members of the abducted employees, human rights activists and businessmen. The participants carried placards and banners that read ‘Keep the Private Sector Free from Conflict’, ‘Release the Abducted Employees’, ‘Restore Peace’ and the like. — HNS

Firing in Sundarijal

KATHMANDU: The Maoists opened fire from a long distance on troops stationed at the Srijung Battalion of the Royal Nepal Army at Sichatar, Sundarijal, on Tuesday evening, security sources said, adding that the Royal Nepalese Army personnel retaliated. The exchange of fire lasted for half-an-hour, the sources said, adding that there were no fatalities and no damages. RNA spokesperson Nepal Bhusan Chand, however, said he had no information about the firing. — HNS

Queen in Pokhara

POKHARA: Queen Komal arrived in Pokhara on Wednesday in connection with the royal couple’s three-week-long informal visit to Pokhara. King Gyanendra is scheduled to arrive here on Friday. The queen came on a special helicopter at 4:55 pm. The Queen will be staying in the Ratna Mandir at Baidam, security source said. The Crown Prince is also scheduled to come to Pokhara on coming Sunday, the source added. — HNS

Envoy calls on Deuba

Kathmandu: German ambassador Franz Ring on Wednesday paid a visit to former PM Sher Bahadur Deuba at the latter’s residence at Budanilakantha to discuss the current political climate of the country. The NC (D) said the two also discussed other matters of mutual interest. Deuba, in turn, visited the Duwakot Armed Police Battalion on Wednesday and met the political detainees. Deuba, however, was barred from meeting the political detainees at the Jawalakhel Women Training Centre on Wednesday. — HNS

BBC Nepali in Dang

DANG: The residents of Dang district will now be able to hear the BBC Nepali service after Radio Swargadwari FM started its broadcast on Tuesday, Lokraj Adhikari, coordinator of the station, said. Swargadwari FM will air the BBC Nepali Service from 8: 45 pm to 9: 15 pm every day through a trunk-call service, he said. — HNS

CPN-UML flays govt

KATHMANDU: The CPN-UML on Wednesday flayed the government effort on Tuesday to arrest its senior leaders. The government was losing its credentials after the damning indictment of the SC concerning its stance, the party said. — HNS

Bus-hit claims kid

LEKHNATH: Nine-year-old Laxman Rana was killed when a bus bound for Baglung from Kathmandu hit him at Gagangaunda of Lekhnath municipality on Wednesday, police said. Angry locals blocked the traffic on the highway following the death of Rana, a Grade I student of the Gogan Secondary School. — HNS