Kathmandu, May 26, 2009 Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal today urged the Unified CPN-Maoist to join the government and help lead the peace process to a logical end. Stating that the UCPNMaoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s resignation from the post of prime minister need not sound the death knell to the ongoing peace process, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, during his first televised address to the nation said, “This is not the time to give up the journey of consensus, cooperation and unity, which began since the 12-point agreement.” Nepal recalled that CPNUML, despite betrayal during the presidential election last year, had cooperated with the UCPN-M for the formation of the government. “I urge the Maoists to join hands with us. We can turn our hostility into friendship if we decided to work together,” the PM said. He stated that formation of a national unity government would be his first priority. Expressing firm commitment to make efforts to accomplish two major goals — writing of the new constitution on schedule and leading the peace process to a logical end — Nepal said, “I want to assure all of you that the constitution would be promulgated by the stipulated time.” The PM expressed gratitude to Nepali Congress president Girija Prasad Koirala for playing a vital role in the peace process by holding the Constituent Assembly polls in the face of all odds. Nepal also thanked Prachanda for leading the nation for nine months. Nepal defended President Ram Baran Yadav, stating that he had played the role of the guardian while protecting the constitution and safeguarding national unity.

Freak weather trouble at Everest base camp Kathmandu, May 26, 2009 A large number of mountaineers in the Everest region have been stranded due to snowfall and inclement weather, which is being attributed to the disturbing trend of climate change. A majority of them are stuck at the Everest base camp, which is located at 5,365 meters. Heavy snowfall started in the region on May 22. “More than 300 people, who were on their way to Lukla, were affected by the snowfall in the Everest region,” said Nishant Shrestha, field officer of Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee at Namche bazaar in Solukhumbu. Arun Pokharel, a senior officer of the Mountaineering Department, said: “Mountaineers failed to proceed to their destinations due to inclement weather in the upper reaches of the Everest region, including the base camp.” Keshav Das Shrestha, senior divisional meteorologist at Meteorological Forecasting Division, which comes under the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, attributed the freak snowfall to climate change. “None of the airlines operated flights to Lukla today due to bad weather. More than 100 people are waiting in Lukla to catch flights back to the capital,” said an official at the TIA.