Sunday, December 17, 2006

Kalam tells nations to focus on rural development

New Delhi, December 15 :
President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam today urged ministers and experts on housing development from 35 countries to stress on the development of rural areas, if they want to make their countries free from urban poverty.
“If you want to reduce pressure on urban areas bring more support and development in rural areas,” he said. President Kalam was addressing the inaugural session of the first Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Human Settlements today. Minister of state for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation of India Kumari Selja said that the countries must accept "inclusion" of the poor as part of core policy in all urban programmes. She said that the secretarial meeting held during the last two days has focused on four major themes -- pro-poor urban governance and planning, slum upgrading, delivery of Millennium Development Goals for water and sanitation and financing sustainable urbanisation in the Asia-Pacific.
Anna Kajumlo Tibaijuka, the under-general -secretary of UN and executive director of the UN-HABITAT assured that the new UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon is ready to offer the Asia-Pacific region all support in the field of water and sanitation.
"We are now at a significant turning point in history. The year 2007 will be the year in which for the first time, half of human population will be living in towns and cities. It makes the beginning of a new urban area," she said.
MoU signed
NEW DELHI: A memorandum of understanding between the government of Nepal and UN-HABITAT was signed on Friday. Kishore Thapa, the director general of Department of Urban Development and Building Construction, and Dr Anna Kajunmulo Tibaijuka, the under-secretary-general of UN and executive director of UN-HABITAT, signed the document, which will provide a grant of $2.5 million till the end of 2010. The money will be spent on development of infrastructure. Also present were Minister of Physical Planning and Works Gopal Man Shrestha and the advisor to UN-HABITAT Nepal Office Dr Ros-han Raj Shrestha. - HNS

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Rescued pangolin dead; one held

Kathmandu, November 30:
Officials of the Central Zoo, where a pangolin rescued from a taxi driver in Balkhu yesterday was kept for conservation, said today that the mammal had died.
Volunteers of the Wildlife Conservation Nepal and District Forestry Office had rescued the animal from Kiran Syangtang Lama, 25, of Hetauda.
“Our men saw the man walking with the mammal in a bag and caught him. He was probably trying to take it to the client,” said Chandra Man Dangol, the assistant forest officer at the Thankot Area Forest Office. The scaly mammal, which is found in Nepal and South East Asia, is in the protected list of 27 mammals in the country. Traditional healers use its scales for medicinal purposes and as pendants, believing that they protect the people wearing them from evil spirits.
Lama was seen with a friend and a client in a taxi, Dangol said, adding the two fled from the scene. “The mammal was found alive, but was suffering due to rough handling and consumption of contaminated food. Pangolins roam in jungles. Since the animal was in wrong hands for over a week, it suffered severely,” he said.
According to Dangol, since the animal is included in the “protected animal’s list”, the one who caught it can be slapped a penalty of Rs 100,000 and imprisoned for 15 years.
Lama, the convicted taxi driver in handcuffs, said he bought the animal from one Prem Bahadur Thokar for Rs 5,000 “without any concrete idea”.
“I came in contact with Thokar, who said he had brought the animal from Phaparbari of Makawanpur and had kept it in Chapagaon for a week. I kept the animal for three days,” he said. During three days, the animal drank water and ate nothing, he said.

Published: December 01, 2006 12:00 am On: Kathmandu

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