THT 10 YEARS AGO: NC, UML, Maoist leaders meet Carter

Kathmandu, November 23, 2007

Leaders of the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist collectively met former US president Jimmy Carter at Hotel Soaltee this evening and “discussed ways to find a meeting point” between the NC and Maoist stands on republic and election system.

Arjun Narsingh KC, Dr Shekhar Koirala and Dr Minendra Rijal of the Nepali Congress, Bharat Mohan Adhikari, Jhala Nath Khanal and Bhim Rawal of the CPN-UML and Dr Baburam Bhattarai and Krishna Bahadur Mahara of the CPN-Maoist collectively met Carter and discussed the ways of finding a meeting point on the contested issues of republic and electoral system. “Carter asked us what can be the meeting point between the stances of the NC and the Maoists. We told him that our party will be flexible provided that the NC agrees on one of the agenda of republic or fully proportional election system,” Maoist leader Dr Bhattarai said after meeting Carter.

Carter is said to have asked the NC leaders why they had objection to the idea of full proportional electoral system of election for the constituent assembly. He said that Carter urged the Maoists and the NC leaders to maintain “flexibility” and find a middle path to pave the way for CA polls within the Nepali calendar of 2064 BS.

Maoist chairman Prachanda and Dr Bhattarai met Carter again separately in the evening.

Titanic redux: Antarctic cruise liner hits iceberg

Agence France Presse

Santiago, November 23, 2007

A cruise ship said to be dogged by maintenance woes slammed into an iceberg off Antarctica today, and other ships rushed to rescue more than 150 people, all of whom were doing well, officials said.

“They are in good condition. There is no hypothermia, they all have food and clothes. Everything is OK,” the captain of the Norwegian ship that carried out the rescue operation, Arnvid Hansen, told AFP by phone. “Everybody is OK. The operation is not finished, so we are not giving more information” at this time, he added.

The 100 passengers and most of the 54 crew from the MS Explorer were picked up safely after the Titanic-style accident on the frigid seas near the South Shetland islands, officials from international coast guard and navy services said.

The captain and another senior officer stayed on board the Liberian-registered Explorer but it was not immediately known if it would sink, the officials said. But problems with the ship’s safety record were immediately highlighted. Susan Hayes, vice president of marketing for Gap Adventures, which ran the tour, said the rescued passengers and crew of the 2,400-tonne ship were transferred to another ship which is in the area. “I don’t have all the details yet of how the accident actually occurred,” she said, but “the ship encountered ice and the result was a hole about the size of a fist.