The Nepal Digest - June 9, 1994 (29 Jestha 2051 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Thursday 9 June 94: Jestha 29 2051 BkSm Volume 28 Issue 2

Today's Topics:
   
         Note: Apology for no headers due to time restrictions.

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********************************************************************** Date: Thu, 02 Jun 1994 11:52:36 EDT To: The Nepal digest Editor <nepal-request@cs.niu.edu> From: "Pramod K. Mishra" <pkm@acpub.duke.edu> Subject: library in Nepal

Dear Readers of The Nepal Digest:

I'm delighted these days that some people both in Nepal and here in the United States are beginning to take keen interest in talking about the need of libraries. Just the other day, I read an article by an acerbic but quite frank writer Fanindra Upadhyaya in The Rising Nepal about the libraries in various colleges in Nepal. Fanindra, as usual, has looked into the whole issue with a Fanindrasque eye; that is to say, with an eye to pin point the deficiencies and inadequacies of those academic libraries. And very recently, I think in Nepal Update, a publication a section of Nepali community from Washington, D.C., I read an excellent piece in a long time in that magazine about some people, the writer of the article among the primary ones, trying hard, cutting through red-tape and all that, to found public libraries in the remote mountains. As many of us are aware, there are many projects, fine and healthy ones, going on in the mountain regions of Nepal with the assistance of the writer of article and the legendary Edmund Hillary. But those efforts, laudable as they are and their founders and organizers, awfully inadequate if we want the whole of Nepal to benefit.
        There are many things I don't like about the United States, including the escalating crime rate and junk mail. But this nation has become what it has, in spite of the red-necks and the KKK, because of its emphasis on books. To tell you the truth, I hadn't learned to read a thick book from cover to cover until I came to this country some five years ago. And my six and eight years old children, now in Nepal for a long vacation, find themselves bewildered when they see that the books that the big bagful of books they could get for free from the public library here in a small town, they can't find even in the second largest city of Nepal, Biratnagar. Of course, in Kathmandu we have the graceful presence of the British Council Library that caters to the need of the Kathmandu readers, but what about the rest of Nepal?
        It's not always that the former colonial powers would do their charity service by providing libraries to a few privileged ones happily educated and situated in Kathmandu. It is people like us who live abroad and claim to have great affection for the land of our birth and origin who will have to come up with some substantial plan to found library in every Village Development Committee, not affiliated with some schools but free from such affiliation, especially founded and run as part the administrative framework of the VDC to cater to the needs of the general populace, who otherwise spend a major chunk of their time either playing cards and drinking and brawling or sitting idle. As for the poor, they have hardly any hope, because they don't even know if there is life beyond hungry stomach and tattered clothes.
        Now, we now know that the United States, in spite of its crimes against the African-Americans and the native Indians, strove to realize the best society in human history. And one of the first condition the founders realize for a humane and dynamic society was the establishment of personal and public libraries.
        In my opinion, more than dollers as foreign aid to run the bureaucracy in Nepal, we need dollars to establish a solid ground for widespread reading public by founding libraries in every village. It was only six or seven years ago when I had asked the head master of the local high school in my village that he should subscribe to Gorkapatra but also Saptahik Bimarsh, he had taken it as an insinuation of some sort and had refused to do so. The rulers of Nepal have for long kept the Nepali people in the dark ages. Now is the time for the educated young Nepalis and well-wishers of Nepal to join hands with whoever offers help and shows the way to found libraries every where in Nepal, both in the Terai and in the mountains. Otherwise, in the absence of libraries, which would educate the public in myriad matter, all our talk of doing good to Nepal would vanish in thin air.
        Now the problem is: How can one go about doing anything in that direction. I don't know. This piece I'm writing for my co-readers of the Nepal Digest to offer ways to realize this goal.

Sincerely, Pramod Mishra pkm@acpub.duke.edu

*************************************************************** Date: Tue, 31 May 1994 08:08:39 EDT To: a10rjs1@cs.niu.edu From: rajendra@coos.dartmouth.edu (Rajendra P. Shrestha) Subject: News etc.
  Source: The Independent, May 18th

News in Brief

King Birendra initiated the centenary celebrations of the Janaki temple at the northern courtyard, where 111 Ramayani Baisnavs began recitation of the Ramayana, written by Tulsidas, for nine consecutive days starting May 11.

Current Foreign exchange reserves in Nepal, totalling Rs. 38.83 billion, are enough to cover imports for nine and half months. Total foreign exchange reserves grew by Rs.5.65 billion as of April 29,1994, compared to the month of Asar (June-July) last year, according to Nepal Rastra Bank

Syangja district unit of the Rastriya Prajantra Party gheraoed the District Education Office, Nepal Electricity Authority Office, Revenue Office and the District Administration May 9. The gherao was organised to protest increases in land revenue and electricity tariffs, and the congressization of education.

Tittle-Tattle

You are in for an electric shock. Credentials of the key players in Nepal's water resources management go like this: minister has a degree in Civil Engineering, the secretary in International Law, and electricity boss in Chemical Engineering. Hare Ram, Ke garne?

Nepal has never been a fully sovereign state...thus Indian police raid in Baneswor can't be considered interference in Nepal's internal affairs, says Gajendra Narayan Singh.

Shot in movie Mahadevi requires hero (Bhuvan) to kiss heroine
(Karishma). Repeated retakes of the scene brought wrath to the heroine's actual husband, who thought more than one kiss too many and bashed up the director.

Vehicles used by Doctors Ram Prakash Yadav and Surya Man Shakya, both members of top-heavy and slow-moving Environmental Protection Council, miserably failed emission-control tests.

Sikkim-based doomsdayer Ram Chandra Paudel predicted the world would come to an end May 16. Now hear Paudel hospitalised due to burns received from a sacrificial fire. Well, for him the world nearly came to an end, bur for the rest it was just another humdrum day.

Seems the visa authorities were careless in not stamping the date on an Australian lady's passport. It was noticed by the authorities as she was about to board a plane on departure. Eventually whe had to spend the whole day explaining to officers, and pay a 500-buck fine. Her embassy sympathised, reportedly telling her that such things happen frequently here.

Quote of the Week:

This war is not an ideological one. It is between those who want stability and those who want to bring in instability. You may be sure that the Nepali Congress will not split. The confusion will be solved by discussions within the party.
        PM Girija Prasad Koirala, in Suruchi.

Source: The Independent, May 11th Headline: Alien Powers at Work

Some alien powers are pressurising Nepali Congress (NC) President Krishna Prsad Bhattarai to retain Girija Prasad Koirala in the premiership hot seat, ostensibly for the political stability of Nepal, according to Ganesh Man Singh, the disgruntled 78-year old NC supremo. Talking to The Independent May 10 at his Chhetrapati residence, the man who steered the pro-democracy movement to a successful conclusion four years ago said, "The proponents of so-called stability in Nepal are motivated by interests not beneficial to this country. If the NC is beaten in the next vote, which is certain if Koirala stays in power, I wonder what their stand will be."

Headline: "Trade War"

German TV network ARD aired a programme titled Nepal Teppich Von Kinderarbeit Profitieren April 20, alleging that 90% of Nepali carpets are woven by children aged 5 to 13 in "factories with iron fences."

Headline: Give information, says Court

The Supreme Court ruled May 8 all documents - treaties, agreements, memoranda of understanding, notices and other papers - relating to the much-talked-about Arun III hydropower project be made available to Inhured International's Gopal Shivakoti and human rights activist Dr. Rajesh Gautam.

Quotes of the Week: The people of the Kathmandu Valley are now going around with empty water pots in search of water, just as they were going around with empty jerry cans in search of kerosene during the 1989 trade.
        Assosthama Kharel in Dibya Chhakshu

I am prepared to give in writing my prophesy that, the day the Nepali Congress ceases to exist, that very day democracy will also end.
        Ganesh Man Singh in Nepalipatra

The activities within the party and government have depressed me. The government has proved a total failure, and the main cause of this is the power struggle within the ruling party.
        Nepali Ambassador to India Chakra Bastola in Bimarsha

Brief News:

The ministry of foreign affairs has made arrangements for providing passports by the third working day after the formal application forms are registered, it is stated by the Foreign Ministry.

Australian Ambassador to Nepal Leslie B. Douglas presented 30,000 Australian dollars to the Department of National Parks for the Musk Deer Research Project under implementation in Godawari, Lalitpur, and for the establishment of a veterinary clinic at the Elephant Breeding Centre, Chitwan.

Nepal and the government of People's Republic of China signed a bilateral road transportation agreement in Beijing May 6. The agreement envisages operation of passengers, goods and mail services between Kathmandu and Lhasa.

Tittle-Tattle:

Gossip overheard on the cocktail circuit: those wishing to invite Mangala Bhauju to functions should never ever tag her along with the Supremo. They have separate identities and designations, thus must receive separate invitations. Even her entry at functions is timed differently to that of the Supremo. Prospective inviters be warned.

Chakra Bastola, our man at Barakhamba Road, while talking to Bimarsha, lambasted his government for its inefficiency and failures. How undiplomatic, or is it democratic? Remember panchayatiraj-appointed envoy to UK reportedly rumoured to have been called for his constructive criticism of the present government. Let's see if Bastola will be recalled too.

**************************************************************** Date: Tue, 31 May 1994 08:09:56 EDT To: a10rjs1@cs.niu.edu From: atuladhar@vax.clarku.edu Subject: RE: News etc.

Alien Power wanting "Stability" for nepal and Girija on the PM seat
===================================================================

The May 18 news posting from The Independent contributed by Rajendra Shrestha quoted two intriguing statements of Girija{and Ganesh man Singh.

Girija is quoted as saying, "Nepali Congress will never be split. The congress problem is between those who desired stability and those who desired instability for the country" implying of course that stability meant Girija in power.

Ganeshman put a different take on this statement, saying that "an alien power was responsible for desiring Girija as the stability symbol. If Girija stays in power , it is sure Congress will lose the next election and without Congress there will be no democracry and what sort of stability will there be?

Question 1: What or who is the "alien" power. Is he Chandra Shekhar the ombudsman behind Congress family quarrel who makes sure they keep together and who makes sure any injustice meted out to them as in the last days of the Panchayat is reaised in the Indian Parliament and media. Or is it the West, notably US, whose mouthpience newspapers The Washinton Post have favoured Girija?

Question 2: Congress i]may be damn unpopular with Girija in power for the next election but how can Ganesh Man forget the power of the incumbent to mobilize State machinery to stay in power. History teaches us that one needs massive massive dissatisfaction before the people can vote a determined incumbent, which Girija has proven he is, to stay in power. Look at Raoul Cedras who stays in power despite 67% of the people voted for Aristide or Burma where the democratically elected govt of Aung San has still not got power. Of course, Girija has the convenient advantange of being a democratically elected Member of Parliament.

Question 3: If Ganesh man thinks this alien power is so effective in decinding matters of Nepal, what happened to the sovereing power of the nepal electorate, something they fought for valiantly for half century? Is Nepali voting public periphereal to Nepali politics?

Wonder , wonder wonder.

Amuly{ Clark Univeresity

*********************************************************************** Date: Tue, 31 May 1994 08:11:22 EDT To: a10rjs1@cs.niu.edu From: sshakya@lynx.dac.neu.edu (Sunil Shakya) Subject: News from Nepal

Headline: Contract imminent in Nepal Dateline: KTM, May 28,1994 Source : Xinhua

Nepali legal professionals and businessmen urged the government to make a contract law to promote liberal economy in the country. In a seminar entitled "contract law, present problems and expected recommendations" which opened Friday, the legal professionals and businessmen said that foreign investment could not be promoted as the existing company law was unable to give full protection to foreign investment and was not capable of meeting the challenges of the time, local press reported today. They felt that the government has shown negligence in improving the company law since the law has not been amended after it was first enacted in 1992. They stressed the need to modernize the company law in the context of expanding international economic relations and trade contacts. They also pointed out that the contract law should be effective for both private and public sectors and should not differ in general principles. The seminar was organized by Nepal Law Society and a draft of the contract law has already been submitted to the government.

Headline: IFAD promises loan assistance to Nepal Dateline: KTM, May 27, 1994

The international fund for agricultural development (IFAD) has promised to give loan assistance of 484.2 million rupees (9.88 Million U.S. dollars) to Nepal. The loan would be used to launch the country's ground water irrigation and flood rehabilitation projects to help increase production through diversification and promotion of cash crops, food crops, horticulture and animal husbandry, local press reportted today. The world food program will also provide a grant assistance amounting to 93.1 million rupees (1.9 million U.S. dollars) to undertake a flood rehabilitation program under the planned projects.

***************************************************************** Date: Tue, 31 May 1994 08:13:34 EDT From: sshakya@lynx.dac.neu.edu (Sunil Shakya) Subject: News from Nepal

Headline: Pakistan, Nepal to enhance cultural cooperation Dateline: Islamabad, May 26, 1994 Source : Xinhua

Pakistan and Nepal signed a cultural exchange program for 1994-1996 in accordance with the bilateral agreement on cultural cooperation during P.M Benazir Bhutto's three-day visit to Nepal. The program comprises details of cooperation in the educational, scientific and cultural fields, according to a joint communique issued here today at the end of Benazir Bhutto's visit. To promote greater cultural interaction between the people in the two countries, both sides would provide assistance for the teaching of Nepali and Urdu in their respective educational institution, the communique said. The two sides also agreed to step up joint efforts to increase cooperation in the fields of civil aviation and tourism.

Headline: Nepal to take action against employing child labor Dateline: KTM, May 25, 1994

The Nepali government has taken action against the carpet industries found employing child labor in contravention of existing labor act. The Labor Ministry has warned the carpet industry entrepreneurs not to engage children below the age of 14 in carpet industries in violation of existing rules and regulations, according to a press release issued here on Tuesday by the Ministry. The Labor Ministry has urged the units concerned of the government to take stern action against the carpet industries found employing child laborers and to intensify its works on inspection of carpet industries to check employment of child labor.

Headline: Returning Gurkha heros find little waiting for them at home Byline : London Observer Dateline: Pokhara, Nepal, May 25, 1994

When enemy troops advanced toward his trench in Burma during World War II Lacchi Man Gurung dug in. Gurung, a Gurkha rifleman in the British army, staved off 200 enemy soldeirs by tossing grenades at the approaching tanks and troops. For his efforts, he was awarede the Bictoria Cross, Britain's highest military honor. Now, at age 75, all Gurung has to show for his valor is a certificate nailed to the adobe wall of his thatched-roof home in central Nepal and a missing right arm, which was blown away during the attack. A naive man from a small, mountain village, he gave away his Victoria Cross medal in 1951 and hasn't seen it since. He rarely collects his pension because it would take him 8 hours to walk from his village to the nearest road and another four hours to drive to the pension office in Pokhara. Although he has fallen on hard times, Gurung's heroics haven't been forgotten completely. Last month, Gurung and 6 others Nepalese VC recipients were treated to a civic ceremony in KTM to honor their service to the British army. While the legend of the Gurkha soldier lives on, Gurung and thousands of others have returned to Nepal in recent decades to find that there's little waiting for them after serving the British and Indian armies, the two largest Gurkha recruiters. Valinat service in foreign battles has not translated into prosperity at home for the Gurkhas, whose martial skills are of little use in tranquil Nepal. " These people are lost," Baral said. "They always served the British. They can't go back to the village." In 1991 the British army announced that it would cut its Gurkha force from 8,000 to 2,500 in the next five years. This threatens to displace thousands of Nepalese families who no longer fit into traditional village life and can't find jobs in Nepal's scattered cities.

Headline: NC committee formed to investigate by-election defeat Dateline: KTM, May 24, 1994 Source : Xinhua

The ruling Nepali Congress (NC) has formed a three-member high level committee to investigate the cause of the defeat of the party in the by-election held in constituency no. 1 of Kathmandu district in February this year. The high level committee was constituted under the chairmanship of NC general secretary and M.P. Mahendra Narayan Nidhi, local press reported today. The committee was formed by the NC president Krishna Prasad Bhattarai in accordance with the decision taken by the Nepali Congress Central Working Committee meeting held on April 1 after consultations with M.Ps of both the houses of the parliament and other distinguished members of the ruling party. In the parliamentary by-election in February of this year, NC presidnet Bhattarai lost to the candidate from the communist party of Nepal (UML) and 56 legislators from the ruling party attributed the electoral defeat of NC president Bhattarai to "conspiracy" within the party. These legislators demanded the NC leadership take disciplinary action against those involved in the conspiracy which led to the NC president's failure in the by-election of Kathmandu district.

********************************************************************* This article and the follwing Review Article on Little Buddha I found by gophering.

                               LITTLE BUDDHA
                       A film review by Michel Hafner
                        Copyright 1994 Michel Hafner

- Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
- Screenplay: Mark Peploe, Rudy Wurlitzer
- Camera: Vittorio Storaro
- Costumes: James Acheson
- Editing: Pietro Scalia
- Music: Ryuichi Sakamoto
- Cast:
        Keanu Reeves: Siddhartha/Buddha
        Ying Ruocheng: Lama Norbu
        Chris Issak: Dean Konrad
        Bridget Fonda: Lisa Konrad
        Alex Wiesendanger: Jesse Konrad
        Sogyal Rinpoche: Kenpo Tensing

     LITTLE BUDDHA is Bernardo Bertolucci's new movie (following THE SHELTERING SKY and THE LAST EMPEROR). The story is rather simple. The spiritual master of Tibetan Lama Norbu (Ying Ruocheng), Lama Dorje, has died and ever since Lama Norbu is looking for his reincarnation. Kenpo Tensing, a Tibetan monk living in Seattle contacts him. In dreams the late Lama Dorje revealed him where he has been reborn. It's in the house of the Konrad's, Seattle, USA! So a few days later the Konrads, Lisa (Bridget Fonda) a math teacher, Dean (Chris Issak), an architect, and their son Jesse (Alex Wiesendanger) get a visit from Lama Norbu, his companions and Kenpo Tensing. The idea that Jesse might be a reincarnation of a late Lama is first hard to swallow for the sober scientific minds of the parents. Yet they allow the monks to introduce Jesse with the help of an illustrated book for children to the story of prince Siddhartha, who became known to the world as Buddha. To be sure the monks want to take Jesse back to their convent, but this is only possible after Dean Konrad has an experience he wasn't prepared for. He, Jesse and the monks leave for Bhutan....

     LITTLE BUDDHA consists of two "universes." There is Seattle standing for the western world, dominated by technology and presented in sterile looking blueish shades. And there is the world of prince Siddhartha, 2500 years ago and today, colorful and juicy, a paradise, but also a place of suffering, decrepitude and death. The gorgeous images by Vittorio Storaro, telling us the story of Siddhartha every time Jesse looks into his book, are the main attraction of LITTLE BUDDHA. They have to be appreciated on a big cinema screen. Don't wait for the LD or tape. Especially the scenes with Siddhartha leaving his palace for the first time and Siddhartha fighting the demon Mara before enlightenment are breathtaking.

     Keanu Reeves as Siddhartha gives an acceptable performance. Physically he fits the role quite well with his exotic looks, enhanced by suitable make up. For the ascetic scenes he went on a strict diet to become skinny enough. Ying Ruocheng as Lama Norbu is the emotional center of the story. His fine performance helps the movie a great deal. Bridget Fonda is competent in her role, but there is really not much she can sink her teeth into. Chris Isaak's role offers more possibilities, but the actor turned singer keeps his facial and other expressions to a minimum. Little Alex Wiesendanger looks a bit uncomfortable at times, yet he pulls it off quite successfully at the end.

     Bertolucci gave up the idea of a realistic and detailed Buddha biography in favour of a more fairy tale like approach with "pretty" pictures providing a crash course in Buddhism. The movie is supposed to be accessible to children and capture the attention of grown ups at the same time. I'd say it does, but at the cost of simplifying things and, sometimes, even provoke laughter where laughter is not appropriate
(especially in the scene of Siddhartha's birth).

     Ryuichi Sakamoto's music is an asset to the movie. There are two main themes, one for Siddhartha (majesticly descending 12-note motive) and one general theme standing for the movie as a whole (I guess, but it's also related to Jesse). Strings, Indian instruments and synthesizer are the main ingredients. Musical highlights are (again) the scene of Siddhartha meeting "the world" and Siddhartha achieving enlightenment. The final scene features a soprano singing in a style very reminding of Gorecki's third symphony.

     Bertolucci doesn't shy away from (ultra-modern) special effects
(morphing and other digital tricks ). With varying success, going from embarrassing (lotus flowers growing in baby Buddha's footsteps) to near perfect (Siddhartha fighting Mara in the form of Siddhartha ).

     LITTLE BUDDHA is all in all a bit disappointing. From Bertolucci more can be expected. This movie is no LAST EMPEROR and all it can hope for at Oscar time is a nomination for best cinematography and costumes/production design. And for these a trip to the nearest big screen cinema is worth its costs.

Sidhartha M. Tuladhar tuladhar@titan.ucs.umass.edu

***********************************************************************************************

*********************************************************************************************** Date: Tue, 31 May 1994 08:18:27 EDT To: a10rjs1@cs.niu.edu From: tuladhar@titan.ucs.umass.edu (S TULADHAR) Subject: Little Buddha

                                   LITTLE BUDDHA
                        A Film Review by James Berardinelli
                         Copyright 1994 James Berardinelli
  Rating (0 to 10): 5.6
  Date Released: 5/25/94 Running Length: 2:03 Rated: PG (Mature themes)
  Starring: Ying Ruocheng, Alex Wiesendanger, Keanu Reeves,
           Chris Isaak, Bridget Fonda Director: Bernardo Bertolucci Producer: Jeremy Thomas Screenplay: Mark Peploe and Rudy Wurlitzer Music: Ryuichi Sakamoto Released by Miramax Films

     At the core of LITTLE BUDDHA lie questions of belief. Can you acknowledge reincarnation as a viable solution to what lies beyond death? Can you believe in the search for Cosmic Oneness as a central mystery of life? And, most importantly, can you accept Keanu Reeves as the Buddha dude?
 
     LITTLE BUDDHA has two stories to tell. The first follows the quest of a group of monks, led by Lama Norbu (Ying Ruocheng) to seek out the reincarnated spirit of a great Buddhist teacher, Lama Dorje. Norbu and his fellows believe they have found Dorje's spirit residing within a Seattle boy named Jesse Conrad (Alex Wiesendanger). While Alex is enchanted with the monks and their way of life, his parents, Dean (Chris Isaak) and Lisa (Bridget Fonda) are wary, and that wariness turns into near-hostility when Norbu announces that he would like to take Jesse back with him to Bhutan to be tested.
 
     The second tale is the fable of how a prince named Siddhartha (Keanu Reeves) became the great spiritual leader Buddha. Framed within the modern-day portions of LITTLE BUDDHA, this segment is presented as a children's story told to Jesse, with the telling simple and fairytale- like.
 
     The strength of LITTLE BUDDHA is the ideals that it presents, and the way it forces us to confront questions of spirituality and existence. Director Bernardo Bertolucci (THE LAST EMPEROR, THE SHELTERING SKY) has never been one to avoid probing themes, and the subject matter of LITTLE BUDDHA is no different. There's a fair amount of material in this film to stimulate the intellect.
 
     Unfortunately, it's really just the intellect that is stimulated. As beautifully photographed and intelligently-written as the movie is, it has no emotional depth or appeal, and is often as cold and clinical as its gray depiction of Seattle. Perhaps the problem is the twenty minutes cut from the final print (there's a sequence involving the bankruptcy and death of a friend of the Conrads that has been trimmed significantly). Or maybe it's the use of a wooden Chris Isaak in a key role. Whatever the reason, however, the characters never connect with the audience, causing LITTLE BUDDHA to test the viewer's attention span when it should instead be soaring.

     There's also a question about LITTLE BUDDHA's intent. At first, the center of the picture seems to be on young Jesse's spiritual enlightenment as he comes to understand the monks' way of life. This, after all, is the whole point of his learning Siddhartha's story. However, as the film progresses, the focus wanders as Jesse's presence becomes less critical. Deans own crisis of the soul, which forms a minor subplot, is resolved in an oblique and unsatisfactory manner.
 
     So what about Keanu Reeves? Choosing one of today's least able (but most popular) actors in such a critical role might at first seem bizarre
(to say the least), but in a weird way, it sort of works. This isn't because Reeves has suddenly learned how to act, but with his part of the story nestled in the cozy frame of a fable, his stilted style isn't harmful. All that he needs to do is look nice - which he does - and not flub his lines. His failed attempt at an Indian accent is a bit distracting, however.

     With ragged transitions and a too-long running time, the editing of LITTLE BUDDHA is suspect. Considering the otherwise-impeccable production standards, it's odd that this portion of the project should have been handled so imperfectly. Conventional wisdom indicates that if you're aware of something, it's a problem, and that's the case with the cutting and pasting in LITTLE BUDDHA.

     For those who can get past Keanu Reeves and Chris Isaak, and who don't mind viewing a film that opens an emotional gulf between itself and its audience, LITTLE BUDDHA has themes and images worth exploring. And while no one will debate the impressiveness of cinematographer Vittorio Storaro's work, as far as I'm concerned, there are too many problems for this film to be considered more than a mediocre attempt to present a multi-layered spiritual and temporal picture.
 
- James Berardinelli (blake7@cc.bellcore.com)

************************************************************************ Date: Fri, 03 Jun 1994 09:34:29 EDT To: a10rjs1@cs.niu.edu From: bale@acs.ucalgary.ca (Bhakta Ale) Subject: Arun 3

This is an article about Arun 3 published in Calgary Herald. May be somebody will enjoy reading it.

CALGARY HERALD: MAY 27, 1994
----------------------------

DAM FLOODS NEPAL WITH PROMISES OF PROSPERITY - By Janet Bell, Kathmandu

          Just around the Nepalese corner from Mount Everest is the Arun Valley. This is the land where dogs jump from first-floor windows at the sight of a westerner, where orchids grow like daisies - and where mega-development is about to strike.
        If the world Bank can agree - and it is expected to soon - a dam will be built in one of the most culturally and environmentally sensitive places in the world.
        Arun 3 is the first of a series of large hydroelectric schemes planned for the far east of Nepal. Picked out in 1987 by the World Bank as the "least- cost" option from a now-controversial power-sector study, the project is taking its last painful steps toward final approval.
        It will cost $764 million US (1.5 times Nepal's annual national budget) and be the largest project ever in the coutry. "Arun" means dawn, and the government envisages the project catapulting Nepal into modernity and a golden age of hydro-dollars. The intenstion is to bring electricity to Kathman- du and eventually sell power to India from ever more ambitious schemes.
        Nepal's patience with the World Bank is running out. Water Resources Minister Laxman Ghimire said: "Their bureaucracy's worse than ours.
        "As soon as the donors approve Arun 3, we will go at it on a war footing."
        That's what worries dam's opponents. Arun, they say, means overall economic decline, cultural disruption and environmental devastation for one of the most bilogically rich valleys in the Himalayas.
        There are no street-wise environmental crusaders here, no co-ordinated opposition from intellectuals. People are naive to the realities of World Bank-style development and dazzled by the glimpses of the promised land.
        "Cars? Yes, we've seen cars ... floating down the river from China," laughed one villager from a hamlet next to the powerhouse site. These were the gifts of a recent flood overlooked in the planning documents, one of many incidents.
        Locals will not get a sniff of Arun's power, which is destined for the urban elite. To build the dam means building a road away from settlements and through pristine forest. It will be built in only three years, requiring gangs of 1,215 workers to be set up at 10-kilometre intervals along the valley floor, wreaking havoc.
        Washington continues to wobble as successive dates for Arun 3 presenta- tion to the World Bank's board slip by. Narmada's ghost hangs heavy, and many Bank staff are concerned about Arun 3's high cost and Nepal's ability to manage a project this size, when it cannnot even keep Kathmandu's street clean.
                                      (Bell is a writer with The Guardian)

***************************************************************************** Date: Mon, 06 Jun 1994 06:22:23 EDT To: a10rjs1@cs.niu.edu From: <C31CC@CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU> Subject: The Young, the Smart, and the Serious!

A couple of months ago, and then again a month ago, I had posted about the whereabouts of a certain SAV benefit concert. I could figure that most of us under pressure from final examinations or otherwise, could not inquire more or attend the particular show. However, I am glad to report that the fabulous show went on applauded for many a minutes last Saturday (may 28).
  The entire show, consisting of Indian dances, Irani dances, and of course Nepal i medlies, were choreographed and directed entirely by the dancers: seven young Nepali girls (approx. ages 10-17) and a young boy.
  What is even more fascinating is the fact that the entire proceeds from the sho w (yes, all of it) is going to the Social Action Volunteers, a NGO based on Kanti Childrens' Hospital in Kathmandu, which assists on medicinal needs, food needs, clothing, support for the family etc. for those unable to afford. The show, as will be confirmed by the 80 so people that attended it, was a tremendo us success. The dances were all professional quality and very hard-worked upon. Wah-wah's could be heard throughout in the background from the audience.
  The fact that these young Nepalis are so devoted to the benefit and development of their country should send a clear message to all that the Nepali Generation X is no joke. The very fact that they could, on top of their studies, close to the period of their final exams, put up such an innovative performance is definitely something that deserves a standing ovation from all of us. Their care, love, and devotion for their motherland goes unparallelled so far. They have taken the Nepali pride one step higher at such an early age. Their effort I am sure, will be appreciated by Nepal, by SAV, and definitely by the children that will be receiving such warm support.
  The program was held in Riverside, Connecticut (as all of the performers lived close to it) and the program lasted three hours in all: two hours of dances, an d a intermission in which the parents of these performers had volunteered to bring in some snacks (samosas, chips, soda, etc.). They called themselves the SA, RE, GA, MAs after the notes of "classical indic music" as the MC informed us. After the show, there were discussions on if the show could be brought to a place where a larger audience could be involved (New York, of course). That however, is up to the girls, since it was clear that their only motive would be to raise more funds for SAV, and since three of them would be going away to college.
  It was definitely a historic occassion, and as an audience there pointed out, it could be a start of a new revolution in fund-raising by those that have been residents of other countries (as the US) towards their home-country.
  The following cast of the show, without any question, deserve great mentions in television, newspapers, magazines, and of course, SCN:
-JYOTSNA GAUTAM -SARAREH BAJRACHARYA -BINA GUBHAJU
-APARNA BASNYAT -SEPIDEH BAJRACHARYA -LINA GUBHAJU
-ARJOO BASNYAT and the sole male representative: -AVEET BASNYAT
  If you require further information on how you can help SAV, please call one of the following numbers:
(203)637-8486
(203)629-2069
(203)661-6549
  My hats off to all the performers!!
 
--Pradeep Bista, CCNY
 
******************************************************************* Date: Mon, 06 Jun 1994 06:24:29 EDT To: a10rjs1@cs.niu.edu From: International Rivers Network <irn@igc.apc.org> Subject: ANTI-WORLD BANK DAM DECLARATION

Dear Friends,

We are writing to ask the support of your organization for the attached Manibeli Declaration, calling for a moratorium on World Bank funding for large dams around the world. International Rivers Network's goal is to submit this declaration to the World Bank, the member governments, and the world's media with 1,000 signatory organizations as part of the campaign on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Bank. It is called the Manibeli Declaration in honor of the heroic resistance of the people of India's Narmada Valley to the Bank-funded Sardar Sarovar Dam, who today are facing forced eviction from their homes and lands as the waters rise behind the dam.

We are asking that you add the name of your organization (but not the names or titles of any individuals) to the list of signatories to the Manibeli Declaration, and that you contact other organizations in your country who may support this position and be willing to sign on as well. In addition to listing the endorsing organizations we would like to state how many people these organizations represent. If appropriate, please indicate how many people or members of the community are represented by your organization.

We plan to release the declaration Wednesday, June 15, so please respond before then. There are a number of ways you can communicate your response to this appeal directly to Leonard in the Berkeley IRN office:

by fax to 1-510-848-1008;

by telephone to 1-510-848-1155;

by Email to "leonardirn@igc.apc.org";

and by post to IRN, 1847 Berkeley Way, Berkeley CA 94703 USA.

If you would like more information on the positions taken in the Manibeli Declaration IRN would be very glad to provide detailed background materials.

Thank you for considering this appeal, we look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Leonard Sklar Research Director

MANIBELI DECLARATION* Calling for a Moratorium on World Bank** Funding of Large Dams June, 1994

* In honor of the heroic resistance by the people of the village of Manibeli and others in India's Narmada Valley to the World Bank-funded Sardar Sarovar Dam, and of the millions of reservoir refugees around the world. At this moment the people of Manibeli face forced eviction and flooding of their lands.

** "World Bank" includes International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), International Development Association (IDA), International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).

WHEREAS:

1 The World Bank is the greatest single source of funds for large dam construction, having provided more than US$50 billion (1992 dollars) for construction of more than 500 large dams in 92 countries. Despite this enormous investment, no independent analysis or evidence exists to demonstrate that the financial, social and environmental costs were justified by the benefits realized;

2 Since 1948, the World Bank has financed large dam projects which have forcibly displaced on the order of 10 million people from their homes and lands. The Bank's own 1994 "Resettlement and Development" review admits that the vast majority of women, men and children evicted by Bank-funded projects never regained their former incomes nor received any direct benefits from the dams for which they were forced to sacrifice their homes and lands. The Bank has consistently failed to implement and enforce its own policy on forced resettlement, first established in 1980, and despite several policy reviews the Bank has no plans to fundamentally change its approach to forced resettlement;

3 The World Bank is planning to fund over the next three years 18 large dam projects which will forcibly displace another 450,000 people, without any credible guarantee that its policy on resettlement will be enforced. Meanwhile the Bank has no plans to properly compensate and rehabilitate the millions displaced by past Bank-funded dam projects, including populations displaced since 1980 in violation of the Bank's policy;

4 World Bank-funded large dams have had extensive negative environmental impacts, destroying forests, wetlands, fisheries, habitat for threatened and endangered species, and increasing the spread of waterborne diseases;

5 The environmental and social costs of World Bank- funded large dams, in terms of people forced from their homes, destruction of forests and fisheries, and spread of waterborne diseases, have fallen disproportionately on women, indigenous communities, tribal peoples and the poorest and most marginalized sectors of the population. This is in direct contradiction to the World Bank's often-stated
"overarching objective of alleviating poverty;"

6 The World Bank has prioritized lending for large dams which provide electricity to trans-national industry and to urban elites, and irrigation water supply for export-oriented agriculture, neglecting the most pressing needs of the rural poor and other disadvantaged groups. The Bank has provided $8.3 billion (1992 dollars) for large dams through the International Development Association (IDA), the
"soft" credit window which is supposed to aid the poorest populations in developing countries;

7 The World Bank has tolerated and thus contributed to gross violations of human rights by governments in the process of implementing Bank-funded large dams, including arbitrary arrests, beatings, rapes, and shootings of peaceful demonstrators. Many Bank- funded large dams projects cannot be implemented without gross violations of human rights because affected communities inevitably resist the imposition of projects so harmful to their interests;

8 The World Bank plans, designs, funds, and monitors the construction of large dams in a secretive and unaccountable manner, imposing projects without meaningful consultation or participation by the communities affected, often denying access to information even to local governments in the areas affected;

9 The World Bank has consistently ignored cost-effective and environmentally and socially sound alternatives to large dams, including wind, solar and biomass energy sources, energy demand management, irrigation rehabilitation, efficiency improvements and rainwater harvesting, and non-structural flood management. The Bank has even convinced governments to accept loans for large dams when more cost-effective and less destructive alternative plans existed, as may be the case again with the Arun III project in Nepal;

10 The economic analyses on which the World Bank bases its decisions to fund large dams fail to apply the lessons learned from the poor record of past Bank- funded dams, underestimating the potential for delays and cost over-runs. Project appraisals typically are based on unrealistically optimistic assumptions about project performance, and fail to account for the direct and indirect costs of negative environmental and social impacts. The Bank's own 1992 portfolio review admits that project appraisals are treated as "marketing devices" which fail to establish that projects are in the public interest;

11 The primary beneficiaries of procurement contracts for World Bank-funded large dams have been consultants, manufacturers and contractors based in the donor countries, who profit while citizens of the borrowing countries are burdened by debt and the destructive economic, environmental and social impacts of the large dams themselves. The Bank has consistently failed to build local capacity and expertise, promoting dependency instead;

12 World Bank-funded large dams have flooded cultural monuments, religious and sacred sites, and national parks and other wildlife sanctuaries;

13 In its lending for large dams the World Bank has tolerated and thus condoned theft of funds supplied by the Bank, often by corrupt military and undemocratic regimes, and has often made additional loans to cover cost-over-runs brought on by what the Bank refers to as "rent seeking behavior." Examples include Yacyreta Dam in Argentina and Chixoy Dam in Guatemala;

14 The World Bank has consistently violated its policy on environmental assessment, and has allowed environmental assessments to be produced by project promoters and used to justify prior decisions to proceed with destructive large dam projects.

15 The World Bank has never addressed in policy, research, or project planning documents, the decommissioning of large dams after their useful lifetime has expired due to reservoir sedimentation and physical deterioration;

16 The World Bank has never properly assessed its record of funding large dams and has no mechanism for measuring the actual long-term costs and benefits of the large dams it funds;

17 Throughout its involvement in the Sardar Sarovar Dam in India's Narmada Valley, a world-wide symbol of destructive development, the World Bank has consistently ignored its own policy guidelines regarding resettlement and environmental assessment, and attempted to cover-up the conclusions of the severely critical official independent review, the Morse Report. With the ongoing forcible evictions and flooding of tribal lands, the Bank bears direct legal and moral responsibility for the human rights abuses taking place in the Narmada Valley.

THEREFORE, the undersigned organizations:

* CONCLUDE that the World Bank has to date been unwilling and incapable of reforming its lending for large dams; and

* CALL for an immediate moratorium on all World Bank funding of large dams including all projects currently in the funding pipeline, until:

1 The World Bank establishes a fund to provide reparations to the people forcibly evicted from their homes and lands by Bank-funded large dams without adequate compensation and rehabilitation. The fund should be administered by a transparent and accountable institution completely independent of the Bank and should provide funds to communities affected by Bank-funded large dams to prepare reparations claims;

2 The World Bank strengthens its policies and operational practices to guarantee that no large dam projects which require forced resettlement will be funded in countries that do not have policies and legal frameworks in place to assure restoration of the living standards of displaced peoples. Furthermore, communities to be displaced must be involved throughout the identification, design, implementation and monitoring of the projects, and give their informed consent before the project can be implemented;

3 The World Bank commissions, reviews, and implements the recommendations of an independent comprehensive review of all Bank-funded large dam projects to establish the actual costs, including direct and indirect economic, environmental and social costs, and the actually realized benefits of each project. The review should evaluate the degree to which project appraisals erred in estimating costs and benefits, identify specific violations of Bank policies and staff responsible, and address opportunity costs of not supporting project alternatives. The review must be conducted by individuals completely independent of the Bank without any stake in the outcome of the review.

4 The World Bank cancels the debt owed for large dam projects in which the economic, environmental and social costs are found to outweigh the realized benefits;

5 The World Bank develops new project appraisal techniques to assure that estimates of the costs and benefits, risks and impacts, of large dams under consideration are rigorously based on the actual experience with past Bank-funded large dams;

6 The World Bank requires that any large dam under consideration be a necessary part of a locally -approved comprehensive river basin management plan, and that the project be a last resort after all less damaging and costly alternatives for flood management, transportation, water supply, irrigation and power supply are exhausted;

7 The World Bank makes all information on large dam projects, including past and current projects and projects under consideration, freely available to the public;

8 The World Bank requires independent monitoring and evaluation of preparation of large dam projects and systematic monitoring and auditing of project implementation, by persons outside the Bank and with no stake in the outcome of the project;

9 A formal decision is taken by the Bank to permanently halt all funding of large dams through the International Development Association (IDA), funding which is inconsistent with the IDA-10 donor's agreement.

Endorsed by: -----------------------------------

*********************************************************************** Date: Tue, 07 Jun 1994 15:26:08 EDT To: a10rjs1@cs.niu.edu From: sshakya@lynx.dac.neu.edu (Sunil Shakya) Subject: News from Nepal

Headline: Nepal, Japan air accord comes into effect Dateline: KTM, June 2, 1994 Source : Kyodo News Service

Nepal and Japan announced on Thursday that the air service agreement signed by the two countries in Feb. 1993 has come into force, after fulfillment of all legal requirements. Notes on the accord were signed and exchanged here on Thursday by Nepalese Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Ramhari Joshi and Japanese ambassador Shigenobu Yoshida. The accord allows Nepal's national flag carrier, Royal Nepal Airlines, to start regular flights between KTM and Osaka from this October. At the signing ceremony, Joshi lauded Japan's contribution to promoting tourism and civil aviation in Nepal. Yoshida said direct air services between Nepal and Japan will greatly contribute to strengthening ties between the two countries by facilitating transport of personnel as well as of goods and commodities.

Headline: Kyodo news summary Dateline: Tokyo, June 2, 1994

Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, will not move from his home in a northern Indian hill town to elsewhere in the country following clashes between Tibetans and a local youth last April, a release from Dharamsala said.

Headline: Nepali P.M. calls for unity in ruling NC Dateline: KTM, June 2, 1994 Source : Xinhua

Nepali P.M. Girija Prasad Koirala called for complete unity within the ruling Nepali Congress which has been suffering from serious internal party conflicts since February this year. The P.M., during his Wednesday meeting with party workers from different constituencies of Jhapa district in eastern Nepal, said that "we knowingly or unknowingly have been engulfed in a grand design of the forces of instability in the country which has led the Nepali Congress and its leaders to many differences," official daily "The Rising Nepal" reported here today. Koirala said that "complete unity in the party is a must to overcome the
'grand design' by the forces of instability." "The destabilizing forces are trying to weaken Nepali Congress and made democracy in the country ineffective," he added. The present differences in the party are also due to the inability to change the mentality and such differences can be overcome if the statute of NC is updated to suit the present need of the party, he said. The party, the government and development cannot move forward if there is no proper coordination between Nepali Congress Central Working Committee, parliamentary party, district development committee and the cabinet, he pointed out. Likewise, the judiciary, the legislative and the executive branches should have clear demarcation because in the absence of such a demarcation, confusion arises due to overlapping while executing their powers, he said. NC supremo Ganesh M. Singh in his recent public talks, has strongly demanded for "the resignation of the P.M. to save the party from being defeated in the next general election and virtually split," Singh said, adding "the split remains only to be formalised."

Headline: Nepali government to privatize tourism industry Dateline: KTM, June 2, 1994

The Nepali government has a plan to privatize the tourism so as to strengthen the industry, said Ramhari Joshi, Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, at a current meeting here. While addressing the 28th annual general meeting of the Federation ot the Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) which started here on May 31, the Minister assured the members of the FNCCI that "the government is enthusiastic to solve the problems the Nepalese tourism is facing today". The latest official statistics revealed that Nepal's tourism had suffered a 16% decline of visitor arrivals in 1993, an all-time low in the history of the country. The tourism industry is Nepal's 3rd biggest foreign exchange earner only after carpet and garment industries. Joshi said that the private sectors and government have not been able to exploit all the means and resources of the nation for the promotion of the tourism industry. He assured the participant that the government will provide a
  much relief to the tourism as it can. He informed that a new international airport will be built in order to make the tourism more effective. Some effective steps will also be taken soon to make the environment free from being further polluted, he said, adding an Indian incineration company is initiating its works in the near future to help preserve the environment to some extent.

Headline: Calls for Nepal's leader to quit Dateline: KTM, June 2, 1994 Source : UPI

The unending differences within the ruling Nepali Congress Party have resurfaced with fresh calls for P.M. Girija Prasad Koirala's resignation and a stoning on a senior leader, it was reported Thursday. Koirala loyalists hurled stones Tuesday at the party's supreme leader Ganesh M. Singh at Pachthar, but the septogenarian escaped injury. Singh is on a weeklong tour of East Nepal, including Koirala's hometown, to convass openly for the P.M's ouster. Koirala is following close behind Singh to neutralize the anti-Koirala campaign being waged by Singh. Both leaders are charging each other with attempting to derail the country's 4-year-old democracy. "Wittingly or unwittingly, some within the party are being trapped into a grand design of elements opposed to democracy," Koirala told a rally in Bhadrapur. "This is the reason for differences within the party. "We can crush this grand design only when there is complete unity in the party," the premier said. "Unity is the need of the hour." But Singh has been telling his supporters that the party, which was elected to power in 1991, already has split. He blamed it on Koirala and called for his resignation to revamp the organization. Singh said if the Nepali Congress is going to win general elections in 1996, Koirala, whom he accuses of nepotism and corruption, must be replaced by a person with a clean image.
  Headline: Nepal to move industry from KTM Dateline: KTM, June 2, 1994

The Nepalese P.M. Girija P. Koirala said Thursday he will relocate polluting carpet and garment factories from KTM to make the capital city more attractive to Western tourist. The relocation would lead to an exodus of some up to 100,000 workers, including several thousand under the age of 14 illegally employed in the industries. P.M. said he wants to move the industries to reduce pollution in the capital. "I am committed to this or else, no tourist will ever come to KTM because of pollution levels, " Koirala told business leaders Thursday. He has given such assurances of relocating the industries before but this is the firmest commitment he has made in 3 years. "The decision to relocate the industries will be unpopular. It may mar chances of my party in elections, but whoever is the P.M. has to take such a strong decision," Koirala said. The decision comes when buyers in Germany are boycotting Nepalese carpets after recent publicity alleging that 90% of the labor force in the carpet industry constitute children under the age of 14. The government denies this, saying that the figure is only 6% while real figures are unavailable. "Half of the pollution problem of the city will be eased. The water supply situation will also improve," the P.M. said. The 28th general meeting of the Nepalese Federation of Commerce and Industry Thursday urged the government to announce an incentive package to business to voluntarily relocate the industries to ease the capital's
 problem. "This issue has been discussed at every level but nothing concrete has been done so far," complained President Binod Choudhary.

Headline: Koirala to summoned for clarification of agent deal Dateline: KTM, June 1 Source : Kyodo

Nepalese P.M. G.P. Koirala will be summoned by the Public Accounts Committee to give clarifications on the appointment of a general sales agent (GSA) of the Royal Nepal Airlines in Europe 2 years ago. A parliamentary committee made the decision Tuesday, according to newspaper reports published Wednesday. The decision followed extensive discussions on a report on the case presented by a subpanel. The report said there has been 'abuse of authority and corruption in GSA appointment, and the P.M. is directly involved in it." Earlier, the committee led by the opposition member R.K. Mainali said the Nepalese flag carrier is incurring a loss of more than 11 million dollars annually in its European sector.

***************************************************************** Date: Wed, 08 Jun 1994 08:29:48 EDT To: a10rjs1@cs.niu.edu From: sshakya@lynx.dac.neu.edu (Sunil Shakya) Subject: News from Nepal

Headline: Biggest garment factory inaugurated Dateline: KTM, June 1, 1994 Source : Xinhua

Nepali P.M. Girija P. Koirala inaugurated the Momento Apparels Pvt. Ltd., the country's biggest garment factory, at Bhadrapur municipality in eastern Nepal at a ceremony held today. This is the first joint venture set up in Nepal with an investment of 250 million rupees (3.67 million U.S. dollars) brought by Nepalese and Indian industrialists, in addition to a credit of 86.5 million rupees (1.76 million dollars) provided by the Rastriya Banijya Bank, for the construction of the garment factory. Readymade garments industry is one of Nepal's major hard currency earners. Speaking on the same occasion, State Minister for Commerce and Supplies S.P. Chaudhari said that in the past 3 years, the exports of garments and carpets have increased by 53%. Raw materials for the factory which employed a total of 1,200 to 1,500 Nepalese women workers, will be brought from India, China, Hong Kong and Singapore and the readymade garments produced will be exported to North America. The daily output will range from 10,000 to 15,000 pieces.

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