THT 10 YEARS AGO: US court orders employer to pay damages

Kathmandu, May 22, 2008

The US Administrative Law Court for the Department of Labour has ordered the hiring company to compensate families of 12 Nepali labourers, who were taken hostage and killed by Islamic militants in Iraq four years ago.

The court has ordered a monthly payment of $233 in compensation to the spouses and parents of each of the 12 Nepali hostages with an additional $75 for the victims who had children. “This has been a hardfought and difficult case, but justice prevailed at the end of the day,” lead attorney for the victims Matthew Handley is reported to have commented over the court verdict.

The court had confirmed on March 25 and April 16 that a US subcontractor had employed the Nepali labourers, who were killed in Iraq in August 2004. Earlier, Jordanian company Daoud and Partners, a subcontractor of American company Kellogg, Brown and Root, refused to pay compensation to the victims’ families, saying it had not employed the 12 labourers.

After months of investigation, Matthew Handley, the lead US attorney, proved that the victims were recruited by the Daoud and Partners through the help of a Nepali labourer, who escaped the jaws of death on that fateful day as he was left behind at a checkpoint.

Five Nepali women scale Everest together

Kathmandu, May 22, 2008

For the first time in Nepal’s mountaineering history, five Nepali women scaled Mt Everest together.

The five women are members of the 10-member First Inclusive Women Sagarmatha Expedition 2008, which comprises members from diverse ethnicities. The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation said Susmita Maskey, Maya Gurung, Nwang Phuti Sherpa, Pemba Diki Sherpa and Poojan Acharya scaled the world’s highest peak at 8.30 am today. “This is the first time we have so many Nepali women on top of Everest on the same day.

Among them, a Brahmin woman (Poojan Acharya) scaled the Everest for the first time. They have indeed made history,” said Ramesh KC, an officer at the ministry. Susmita, the team leader, is from Kathmandu, Maya is from Sindhupalchok, Nwang Phuti is from Taplejung. Pemba Diki and Poojan are from Wards No 3 and 4 of Gaurishankar VDC in Dolakha district. Before their departure, the members had said their main objective was to draw the attention of the world to gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Five High Altitude Workers of the team — Pemba Dorje Sherpa, Kaji Sherpa, Phurba Tenzing Sherpa, Ang Gelu Sherpa and Karma Gyelije Sherpa — also scaled the peak. The team had set out to the Everest base camp on April 14.