President intervenes as Nepal’s cash crisis deepens

Updated 19 November 2012
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President intervenes as Nepal’s cash crisis deepens

KATMANDU: Nepal’s president on Monday gave warring political factions three days to avert a budget crisis that could leave 500,000 public workers unpaid, and also to agree a date for elections.
Nepal has not had a parliament or fully functioning government since June and the Maoist caretaker administration has failed to fulfill a pledge to arrange polls, which were due this week.
The Himalayan country’s opposition parties have said they will not agree on a new election date or support the budget without the resignation of Maoist Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai.
Nepal has been surviving on emergency funds but they ran out last week. Teachers, police and soldiers face the prospect of missing out on their pay packets in mid-December if the crisis is unresolved.
President Ram Baran Yadav has insisted he will not sign off on the 450 billion-rupee ($5.2 billion) budget unless it can be agreed upon by all parties.
Yadav — whose duties are normally ceremonial — said he would “step in” and formally request a national unity government if no agreement is reached by Thursday.
“The parties should not take the country toward a vacuum by prolonging a state of indecision,” Yadav said in comments reported by his spokesman.
Yadav does not have the power to disband the Maoist administration. But his latest move is seen as an attempt to apply pressure for political consensus by intervening directly for the first time.
Bhattarai’s caretaker administration was unable to win support for its budget in July. Unless a deal is reached, it may be unable to carry out any functions of government.
“The government has to buy fuel for hundreds of its vehicles. It will face an unprecedented problem,” economic analyst Gokarna Awasthi said.
“Also the health ministry won’t be able to supply subsidised medicines to its health posts across the country.” In May political leaders failed after years of wrangling to meet a deadline to draw up a peacetime constitution and parliament was dissolved.


Two suicide bombers kill three in north Nigeria mosque

Updated 22 April 2018
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Two suicide bombers kill three in north Nigeria mosque

KANO: Two suicide bombers killed three Muslim worshippers in a mosque in a northeast Nigerian town still being rebuilt after virtual destruction by Boko Haram in 2014, sources told AFP Sunday.
The bombers, a man and a woman, detonated their explosives inside the mosque during morning prayers on Saturday in the town of Bama in Borno state.
The pair "blew themselves up in a mosque while people were praying, killing three people," said Baba Shehu Gulumba, Bama local government chairman.
A senior military officer in Bama confirmed the death toll, adding that nine people were also injured.
"Some of the injured are in a critical condition and may hardly make it. They have been transferred to Maiduguri for better medical care," said the military officer, who asked not to be named.
The attack came two weeks after residents began returning to the town which was destroyed by Boko Haram four years ago.
Bama, a major trading hub on the road to Cameroon and home to 270,000 people, was captured in September 2014, forcing residents to flee to Maiduguri, the state capital.
When it was retaken by the Nigerian military in March 2015, 85 percent of the town had been demolished by the jihadists.
Borno state officials said it would require 40 billion naira (94 million euros, $111 million) to rebuild the town, a staggering amount in the impoverished region.
According to officials 11,000 homes had been rebuilt which residents said represent one-third of those destroyed.
On April 5 the state's information commissioner Mohammed Bulama said 1,200 people had returned to the town in a phased resettlement of the 100,000 displaced residents living in camps in Maiduguri.
Boko Haram has been notorious for suicide attacks on civilian and military targets in response to army offensives that have put pressure on the militant group.
Recent days have seen a lull in such attacks.
However on Friday 10 people including four militia fighting the militants were injured when two female suicide bombers attacked Amarwa village in Konduga district, 38 kilometres from Maiduguri, according to militia sources.