THT 10 YEARS AGO: Maoists never were a terrorist group: US

Indo-Asian News Service

Washington, May 15, 2008

The US now says CPN-Maoist had never been designated a “foreign terrorist organisation” and the basis of its relations with the new government in Nepal will depend on the actions of individuals there. “First of all, the Maoists in Nepal have never been a ‘foreign terrorist organisation,’ as designated.

That is one category under law,” State Department spokesperson Tom Casey said, indicating a rethink in Washington’s Nepal policy following the party’s victory in last month’s elections there. “They have, however, been on the ‘terrorist exclusion list’.

That is something that applies to consular issues, visas and other kinds of matters,” he told reporters yesterday, for the first time making a subtle distinction between the two categories. “You have two separate issues here,” he said when asked to comment on Washington’s position with the former guerrillas now poised to head the new Nepali government. “But you know, ultimately, the basis of our relations with the government of Nepal will be based on the actions of the individuals there.”

The spokesperson acknowledged that US Ambassador to Nepal Nancy Powell had met Maoist chief Prachanda on May 1. But this first formal US contact with a party still on US “terrorist” list, he said, was essentially intended to get an assurance that US humanitarian programmes will continue.

Though the United States accepted the April 28 election verdict that favoured the Maoists in Nepal, Washington remains doubtful about the former guerrillas.

Infuriated docs blacklist six pharmaceuticals

Himalayan News Service

Dharan,May 15, 2008

Doctors associated with the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) department of Dharan-based BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences have blacklisted six pharmaceutical companies on the charge of not cooperating with their department.

Copies of the list have been pasted on the gate of the Department of ENT and at the office of the department chief Dr Sangeeta Bhandari. The blacklisted companies are: Aristo, Quest, Merck, Asian, Novartis and Time.

In a notice attached with the list, the doctors have told representatives of the blacklisted companies not to enter the hospital. It may be noted that only the Ministry of Health can blacklist companies if their products are sub-standard or if the products are sold/distributed without registering them with the authority concerned. “Nobody has the authority to blacklist any drug unless there is concrete proof that the drugs are sub-tandard,” chief at the regional office of the Department of Drug Management in Biratnagar Sangeeta Shah said.

All ‘blacklisted’ companies have been registered and no complaint has so far been lodged against their products, the DDM said.