THT 10 YEARS AGO: US explorer on wanted list

Kathmandu, May 23, 2008

Nepal Police has listed American national Ian Baker (41), who is a famous explorer, a novelist and a feature writer for prestigious magazines like National Geographic and Newsweek, on its wanted list after he was found involved in illegally collecting ancient idols, goods of archaeological importance and skins and bones of endangered wildlife species. Baker was also recognised by the National Geographic Society as one of the top six explorers of the millennium. A team led by SSP Upendra Kanta Aryal at the Metropolitan Police Crime Division seized a vast range of archeological goods kept by Baker in two rented flats — one in Naxal and the other in Baluwatar.

Police arrested the owner of the house at Baluwatar, Rajesh Maharjan (23), who had been working as an accomplice of Baker for the past few days. Police said a manhunt for Baker was on and he was believed to be in Thailand.

The police said 121 kinds of goods of archeological importance were seized from the two flats. “Acting on a tip-off, we raided Maharjan’s house in the presence of officials from the Department of Archaeology and the Department of Forest. We found 29 items, including idols, tundals and thankas. We also arrested Maharjan,” the police said. “Based on information retrieved from Maharjan, we raided the flat at Naxal and recovered nearly 100 more ancient goods of archeological importance and skins and bones of endangered wildlife species,” DSP Sher Bahadur KC said.

CA likely to take full shape by Monday

Kathmandu, May 23, 2008

Political parties’ obsession with the issue of formation of a new government is delaying the appointment of 26 members to the Constituent Assembly.

According to the interim constitution, the cabinet is supposed to appoint 26 people to the CA. The constitution states that people from left-out Janajati communities and popular personalities from different walks of life qualify for such nomination.

First, the political parties were split over whether the existing cabinet or the new cabinet is entitled to appoint the 26 members to the constitution-making body.

After a lengthy debate, the major parties have agreed that the current cabinet with the consent of major players can appoint the 26 members to the CA. Major political parties need to win support of the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities, which has demanded the representation of 28 left-out Janajati groups in the CA. Some backward communities of Madhes who have no representation in the CA, have demanded their representation in the CA.

“During individual meetings, politicians are positive, but they have not been able to discuss this issue in seven-party meetings as they are obsessed with government formation,” NEFIN president Pasang Sherpa told this daily.