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Monthly Archives: July 2014

Nepali women

This file photo shows members of the First Nepali Women K2 Expedition.

A three-member team of Nepali women reached the summit of Mt K2 (8,611m) – the second highest peak on earth – on Saturday afternoon.

This is the first time Nepali women have reached the summit of K2. Similarly, this is also the first successful women’s expedition on K2.

Maya Sherpa (35) of Okhaldhunga, Dawa Yanjung Sherpa (25) of Dolakha and Pasang Lhamu Sherpa (29) of Solukhumbu, who were the members of ‘First Nepali Women K2 Expedition-2014’conquered the mountain at 3:35 local time, according to a statement issued on Saturday.

The expedition was supported by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment. The ministry had even organized a farewell program for the mountaineers who were climbing the peak with the motto ‘women climbing for change’ to raise awareness on global warming.

Himalayan Women Welfare Society had coordinated the expedition. Similarly, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Nepal Mountaineering Association, Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal and the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMO) had supported the expedition.

 

Tourism

This file photo shows the office of Tourism Industry Division in Bhrikutimandap. (Photo Courtesy: myrepublica.com)

The government has decided to revive tourism department after finding works of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) unsatisfactory.

The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) had scrapped the department with the formation of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) 16 years ago under the public-private-partnership model.

With the formation of the board, the tourism ministry had assigned the tasks related to domestic and international marketing and promotion of Nepali tourism products and services to NTB. The department was looking after these tasks before NTB was formed.

But the tourism ministry has decided to re-open the department after concluding that NTB failed to perform its tasks effectively.

Recently, regular works of NTB was affected for nearly two months due to protest against alleged financial irregularities at NTB by different tourism associations led by Joint Tourism Coordination Committee (JTCC).

The administration committee of the cabinet has already approved the tourism ministry’s proposal to open tourism department.

According to tourism ministry officials, a joint secretary will lead the department as the director general. Similarly, another joint secretary will work as the deputy director general. In the initial phase, the ministry is preparing to transform its Tourism Industry Division into tourism department.

It is learnt that the department will gradually take over activities being carried out by NTB.

At present, the Tourism Industry Division has 58 employees led by a joint secretary.

Malaysia AirlinesHONG KONG (AP): Hit by two astonishing tragedies in quick succession, the Malaysia Airlines brand may become the airline industry’s equivalent of asbestos or News of the World: toxic to the public and, experts say, impossible to redeem.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was downed over eastern Ukraine on Thursday with 298 people aboard by what American intelligence authorities believe was a surface-to-air missile. Just four months earlier, a Malaysia Airlines jetliner carrying 239 people disappeared about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur. The jet has still not been found, a source of profound unease for travelers and the aviation industry.

“I can’t comprehend of anything they can do to save themselves,” said Mohshin Aziz, an aviation analyst at Maybank in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

“Perception-wise it really hits home,” Aziz said. “It’s very difficult to fight against negative perception.”

Even before the Flight 370 mystery, state-owned Malaysia Airlines was in serious financial trouble. In an industry infamous for impoverishing shareholders and irking customers, Malaysia Airlines had long stood out for its years of restructurings and losses.

The Flight 370 disaster along with the often erratic response of Malaysia Airlines and the Malaysian government deeply scarred the carrier. Now, the once proud national airline is facing the unthinkable again.

University student Dayne Rodgers, waiting for a flight to Brisbane, Australia at Incheon International Airport in South Korea, said even very cheap fares might not convince him to fly with Malaysia Airlines.

“I don’t know if my Mum would let me,” he said.

Already losing about $1.6 million a day, there will be “no miracles” for Malaysia Airlines, said Aziz, the Maybank analyst. Before the Ukrainian disaster, his opinion was the airline didn’t have the capacity to survive beyond a year.

The airline’s share price plummeted 11 percent Friday. Ukraine has accused pro-Russian separatists of shooting down the plane flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. The rebels denied it.

Unlike Flight 370, the responsibility for which is pinned with Malaysia Airlines, the second disaster appears largely beyond the airline’s control. It may, however, face questions about why it continued with flight paths over eastern Ukraine, which is the heart of a violent rebellion against Kiev, when some airlines were circumventing the country. The flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

For air travelers in Asia, who have a multitude of options thanks to a budget airline boom, the latest incident will make the Malaysian carrier even less attractive. Its brand in the rest of the world, where it became known largely because of the Flight 370 mystery, is now even more closely associated with the worst fears of fliers.

Josh Gokul, a 25-year-old Australian student on a layover at Incheon, said he had flown with Malaysian Airlines before and its service was “fantastic.”

But he is now “very hesitant” about using the airline. “Flying is scary enough.”

Within Malaysia, the shock is palpably raw.

“I was stunned,” said 48-year-old shopkeeper Reezal Mohamed. “It’s unbelievable.”

Malaysia Airlines has been in the red for the last three years. Last year, its losses ballooned to 1.17 billion ringgit ($363 million), nearly three times larger than its 433 million ringgit loss in 2012.

Trekking portersTrekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) and four unions of trekking workers have decided to raise daily wages of trekking porter by Rs 300 and guides/cooks by Rs 250 with effect from October 1, 2014.
Issuing a press statement, TAAN said the hike is based on the understanding that the previous executive committee of TAAN had reached with four worker unions – All Nepal Revolutionary Tourism Workers Union (ANRTWU); Union of Nepal Travel, Trekking, Rafting and Airlines Workers; Nepal Tourism Workers Association (NTWA); All Nepal Tourism Workers Union (ANTWU); and Nepal Tourism Workers Association (NTWA).
According to the statement, the two sides have also agreed to form Workers’ Welfare Fund under Social Security Scheme of the government and deposit Rs 15 million from the TIMS Fund after guidelines for the operationalization of the fund is finalized by the government. The two sides have also decided to lobby with the government to prepare guidelines for operationalization of the fund within a month.
TAAN and worker unions have formed a taskforce under the leadership of TAAN 2nd vice president Kul Bahadur Gurung to look into issues related to trekking workers.
As per the agreement, every company should have to provide identification card to all their field staff. Similarly, the taskforce has decided that TAAN and worker unions will jointly lobby with the concerned agency to implement ‘no trekking without guide/porter’ system. Regarding hike in insurance cover for trekking workers, the taskforce decided to work in cooperation with insurance companies that agrees to provide maximum insurance cover.
Similarly, trekking companies will have to provide festive allowance of Rs 8,000 per person to guides, cooks and Sherpas once a year.
TAAN and workers unions have also decided to allow only the licensed guides to lead trekking groups from January 1, 2015 onwards. The decision means unlicensed guides wont’ be able to lead trekking groups from January 1.

Janakpur

File photo of Janakpur Airport.

BUDGET 2014/15
The government has allocated Rs 7.08 billion for the construction and upgradation of various airports across the country.
Presenting the budget for fiscal year 2014/15 on Sunday, Finance Minsiter Dr Ram Sharan Mahat unveiled the government’s plans to equip necessary infrastructures in Janakpur, Bhadrapur and Surkhet airports so that they support take off and landing of flights during night time. Continue reading

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