Nepal's government has released more political detainees and plans to restore some mobile phone services snapped after King Gyanendra imposed emergency rule last month, officials said yesterday.
At least six politicians or activists, including Prakash Sharan Mahat, a former junior minister of foreign affairs, were released Wednesday in Katmandu after weeks of detention, Chief District Officer Baman Prasad Neupane said. Two others were released elsewhere.
Police have detained more than 500 politicians, human rights activists and journalists since Gyanendra, a constitutional monarch, seized power Feb. 1, suspending many civil liberties. Several leaders of political parties have been put under house arrest.
The house arrest rules for some of the political leaders have been relaxed, the Kathmandu Post newspaper said. Madhav Nepal, chief of the Communist Party of Nepal, was seen traveling in a car in Katmandu, although security officials escorting didn't allow him to speak to reporters, it said. Several politicians were released two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, a senior Nepalese telecommunications official said postpaid mobile phone services would resume next week.
"The process will start from Sunday. The subscribers will have to register again, providing all personal details, before their connections are activated," said Madankaji Shakya, a Nepal Telecom official.
Mobile phone services were shut down, apparently to prevent opposition supporters from organizing protest rallies -- now illegal under the state of emergency -- and alerting each other about police presence. But the shutdown has hurt common people because a third of Nepal's phone lines are cellular. On Wednesday, the country's main royalist party, the Rashtriya Prajatantra Party, urged Gyanendra to lift curbs on political parties, release all detainees and restore fundamental rights.
Gyanendra said he imposed the emergency because the government failed to quash a Maoist rebellion that has killed more than 10,500 people. The rebels, who claim to be inspired by Chinese revolutionary Mao Zedong, have been fighting since 1996 to abolish the monarchy and establish a communist state.
The king's actions have provoked an international outcry, with several nations cutting aid that Nepal needs to battle the rebels and fight widespread poverty.
One of Australia’s two active volcanoes on an island near Antarctica — known as Big Ben — has been spotted by satellite spewing lava. The lava flow on the uninhabited Heard Island, about 4,100km southwest of Perth and 1,500km north of Antarctica, is part of an ongoing eruption that was first noted more than a decade ago. The image was caught by the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite on Thursday, and is a composite of an optical picture and an infrared image. The lava is seen flowing down the side of Big Ben from near the summit, known as Mawson Peak.
SYMBOLIC: The bill sponsored by a cross-party group of lawmakers was hailed as a ‘historic moment’ in the fight for marriage equality, but is unlikely to pass Lawmakers in South Korea have proposed the country’s first same-sex marriage bill, in a move hailed by civic groups as a defining moment in the fight for equality. The marriage equality bill, proposed by South Korean lawmaker Jang Hye-yeong of the minor opposition Justice Party and co-sponsored by 12 lawmakers across all the main parties, seeks to amend the country’s civil code to allow same-sex marriage. The bill is unlikely to pass, but forms part of a trio of bills expected to increase pressure on the government to expand the idea of family beyond traditional criteria. The two other bills relate to
After the sun sets in Harare, the streets of Zimbabwe’s capital suddenly burst to life. Carts, cars and trucks turned into makeshift, unauthorized shops sell anything from potatoes to babies’ diapers on the pavements of the city center. Shopping is best done at night in times of hyperinflation and economic hardship. Cash-crunched Zimbabweans are increasingly turning to informal vendors for their groceries shopping, as, with little or no overheads, street hawkers can afford to undercut big supermarkets. “Everything is always cheaper outside,” Blessing Steven, 23, a taxi driver, said, buying a bottle of juice for US$0.50 at a roadside stall rather than
OUTSPOKEN: Cresenciano Bunduquin, who was killed by motorcycle-riding shooters, hosted a program about ‘hard-hitting’ local issues such as illegal gambling and politics A radio broadcaster was yesterday fatally shot outside his home in the central Philippines, police said, the latest in a long list of journalists killed in the country. Cresenciano Bunduquin, 50, was killed by motorcycle-riding shooters in Calapan City in Oriental Mindoro province, police Colonel Samuel Delorino said. One of the assailants died after Bunduquin’s son hit the shooters with his vehicle as they fled the scene of the pre-dawn attack. “The remaining suspect was able to run off. The hot pursuit operation is still ongoing,” Delorino said. The archipelago nation is one of the most dangerous places in the world for