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Saturday, May 25, 2019

May 25, 2019

Japan welcomes Trump with a charm campaign, golf and sumo

TOKYO: Under the threat of potentially devastating US tariffs on autos, Japan is ready to roll out the newest phase of its charm offensive targeting President Donald Trump as it welcomes him on a state visit tailor-made to his whims and ego.

Offering high honours, golf and the chance to present a “Trump Cup” at a sumo wrestling championship, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, arguably Trump’s closest friend on the world stage will continue a years-long campaign that so far appears to have spared Japan from far more debilitating US actions.

The stakes are high. US tariffs could cripple Japan’s auto industry, while North Korea remains a destabilising threat in the region. But this trip, the first of two Trump is expected to make to Japan in the next six weeks, is more of a social call meant to highlight the alliance between the countries and the friendship between their leaders.

“In the world of Donald Trump, terrible things can happen if you’re an ally, but no major blows have landed on Japan,” said Michael Green, senior vice president for Asia and Japan chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Trump, who departed Washington for Tokyo on Friday, has the honour of being the first head of state invited to meet Emperor Naruhito since he assumed power May 1 after his father stepped down, the first abdication in about two centuries. Naruhito will welcome Trump to the Imperial Palace on Monday for a meeting and banquet in his honour.

“With all the countries of the world, I’m the guest of honour at the biggest event that they’ve had in over 200 years,” Trump said Thursday.

Abe will host Trump on Sunday for a round of golf and take the president to a sumo wrestling match, a sports Trump said he finds “fascinating.” Trump is eager to present the winner with a US-made trophy.

It’s all part of a kindness campaign aimed at encouraging Trump to alleviate trade pressures, said Riley Walters, a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center, who said the personal relationship between Trump and Abe is probably the best of any two world leaders.

Abe made a strategic decision before Trump was elected to focus on Japan’s relationship with the US The courtship began when Abe rushed to New York two weeks after the November 2016 election to meet the president-elect at Trump Tower. Last month, Abe and his wife, Akie, celebrated first lady Melania Trump’s birthday over a couples’ dinner at the White House.

Trump plans to return to Japan for a summit of leading rich and developing nations in Osaka in late June.

Behind the smiles and personal friendship, however, lurks deep uneasiness over Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on Japanese autos and auto parts on national security grounds, a move that would be far more devastating to the Japanese economy than earlier tariffs on steel and aluminium.

Trump recently agreed to a six-month delay, enough time to carry Abe past July’s Japanese parliamentary elections.

“On the surface, it’s all going to be a display of warmth, friendship, hospitality,” said Mireya Solis, a senior fellow at the Brookings Center for East Asia Policy Studies. But, she said, “there’s an undercurrent of awkwardness and concern about what the future might hold. … We’re coming to a decisive moment. This is, I think, the moment of truth.”

Also at issue is the lingering threat of North Korea, which has resumed missile testing and recently fired a series of short-range projectiles that US officials, including Trump, have tried to downplay despite an agreement by North Korea to hold off on further testing.

“The moratorium was focused, very focused, on intercontinental missile systems, the ones that threaten the United States,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a recent television interview. That raised alarm bells in Japan, where short-range missiles pose a serious threat.

“That is not an acceptable American position for Japan,” said Green.

Speaking to reporters Saturday ahead of Trump’s arrival, national security adviser John Bolton called the series of short-range missile tests a violation of UN Security Council resolutions and said sanctions must be kept in place.

“In terms of violating UN Security Council resolutions, there is no doubt about that,” he said, adding that Trump and Abe would “talk about making sure the integrity of the Security Council resolutions are maintained.”

His comments came a day after North Korean official media said nuclear negotiations with Washington won’t resume unless the US abandons what Pyongyang describes as unilateral disarmament demands.

Japan, which relies on the US for its defence, has also been largely cut out of negotiations with North Korea, even as Kim Jong Un has met with other leaders in the region, including China’s Xi Jinping. That leaves Abe to rely on the US as an intermediary, said Sheila Smith, an expert on Japanese politics and foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“Abe has to rely on Trump to advocate,” she said. Abe recently offered to meet Kim without preconditions in an effort to restore diplomatic ties.

With Trump’s relations with the leaders of the UK, Germany, Canada and other allies strained, Abe has worked more than any other leader to try to keep Trump engaged with international institutions, Green said, adding that it is critical for Japan’s survival.

And while leaders across Europe and elsewhere might take heat for cosying up to Trump, analysts say Japanese voters see Trump more as a curiosity and understand the pragmatic importance of good relations, which they say has paid off for Abe.

Indeed, while Trump has rejected Abe’s invitations to re-join a sweeping trans-Pacific trade deal and keeps the threat of tariffs in place, Trump walked away from his last meeting with Kim without a deal, which some had feared would include a declaration to end the Korean war and a vow to pull US troops from the peninsula.

“I would argue that Abe has been so good at maintaining the relationship that maybe things could be worse,” Walters said.

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from World – The Himalayan Times http://bit.ly/2HFn7ND
May 25, 2019

British health minister Hancock joins race to replace May as prime minister

LONDON: British health minister Matt Hancock said on Saturday he would enter the contest to be the next leader of the Conservative Party, the fifth candidate to say they would run to replace Theresa May as prime minister.

Hancock follows former foreign minister Boris Johnson, who is seen as the favourite, current foreign minister Jeremy Hunt, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and former work and pensions minister Esther McVey in joining the contest.

“I’m going to run to be the next prime minister because I believe from the bottom of my heart we need a leader for the future not just for now,” Hancock told BBC radio.

“Of course we have to deliver Brexit and I will.”

May said on Friday she would step down as Conservative Party leader on June 7 after admitting defeat in her bid to get parliament to pass a divorce deal she agreed with the European Union (EU).

The opposition Labour Party said it wanted an election as soon as possible. Labour’s finance spokesman John McDonnell confirmed on Saturday the party would bring a vote of no confidence in the government if it looked like it might pass.

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May 25, 2019

Japan trade a problem for Trump, but not as bad as China

TOKYO: When President Donald Trump visits Japan, he’ll be able to point to Tokyo’s streets to drive home a sore point in trade relations between the allies: the absence of made-in-USA vehicles.

The $70 billion Japanese trade surplus with the US is dwarfed by China’s $379 billion surpluses, and the trade tensions between Washington and Tokyo are far less contentious than the tariffs war with Beijing.

But the disputes between Japan and the US are longstanding and also intractable: the bilateral agreement with Tokyo that Trump has been seeking since pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement two years ago is still far down the road, say analysts and politicians on both sides.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has carefully courted Trump since before he took office and their cordial, golfing-buddy relationship has helped keep relations on an even keel.

While Trump has complained repeatedly about the trade imbalance, especially in autos and auto parts — the Hondas and Toyotas on US roads are a daily reminder — friction over Japan’s exports has not reached the fever pitch it did in the late 1980s when angry American auto workers smashed Japanese vehicles.

The Trump administration’s tough stance on China, including the tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that recently kicked in, is almost a replay of the “Japan-bashing” of decades ago.

To help alleviate tensions, especially over vehicle exports, Japanese automakers have moved much of their production for America to the US, investing a cumulative $51 billion and building 24 manufacturing plants, many in areas that have little else to count on to vitalize their economies. Those investments have created some 1.6 million jobs, according to the industry group Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Trade remains unbalanced: In April Japan’s exports to the US jumped nearly 10%, while imports of American goods rose 2.3%. Japan’s trade surplus surged almost 18% to 723 billion yen ($6.6 billion).

Trump sees today’s disputes as a continuation of earlier clashes, said Kristin Vekasi, professor of political science at the University of Maine.

She says current negotiations are unlikely to lead to any “miraculous” opening of Japanese markets for American products. Japanese officials have said they would draw the line at concessions made for the sake of joining the TPP, which had been championed by the administration of Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.

“Japan already buys a lot from the United States,” Vekasi said.

Japan’s imports from the US are dominated by food, chemicals, machinery and devices. Cars, not so much.

Detroit-based General Motors Co. sold just 562 Cadillacs, 708 Chevrolets, six Buicks and a handful of its other nameplate brands in Japan in the fiscal year that ended in March. In contrast, Toyota sold 2.3 million of the roughly 5 million vehicles sold in the Japanese market.

Experts generally agree the imbalance reflects a lack of Japanese interest, no significant trade barriers. Trade talks cannot dictate consumer tastes.

The Trump administration has designated auto imports as a threat to US national security, though the government has delayed a decision on raising tariffs on imported cars for six months.

Trump has suggested he will go ahead with the tariffs if US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, a trade talks veteran of the Japan-bashing days, doesn’t manage to wrest concessions from Japan and the European Union.

Apart from autos, Washington is worried that American farm products won’t get a fair deal, as Japan forges trade pacts with Australia and Europe.

While visiting Japan earlier this month, US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue donned an apron and took up barbecue tongs, urging Japan to buy more American beef.

“We’re saying treat us as a prime customer the way we treated Japanese products for many years,” he said after grilling some beef and pork on a Tokyo shopping mall rooftop.

Perdue returned to Washington with a promise from Japan to eliminate restrictions on US beef exports. The move allows all cattle, regardless of age, to enter Japan for the first time since 2003, when Japan imposed limits to guard against bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, also known as “mad cow disease.”

The US Department of Agriculture estimates exports of US beef and beef product could jump by up to $200 million a year, though they do face stiff competition from Australia and China.

Japan still imposes limits on many farm products, seeking to guard its food security and politically important rural constituencies, and Perdue acknowledged that a broader trade deal with Tokyo may take time.

After years of being harangued to open their own markets, Japanese officials and business leaders are ardent proponents of freer trade.

Usually, soft-spoken Toyota Chief Executive Akio Toyoda, who chairs the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, was blunt in expressing outrage over the idea that auto imports pose a security threat worthy of imposing tariffs.

“We are dismayed to hear a message suggesting that our long-time contributions of investment and employment in the United States are not welcomed. As chairman, I am deeply saddened by this decision,” he said earlier this week.

“Any trade restrictive measures would deliver a serious blow to the US auto industry and economy, as it would not only disadvantage US consumers but also adversely affect the global competitiveness of US-produced vehicles and suppress company investments in the US.”

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from Business – The Himalayan Times http://bit.ly/2K3NA8Q
May 25, 2019

Administration moves to revoke transgender health protection

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration moved Friday to revoke newly won health care discrimination protections for transgender people, the latest in a series of actions that aim to reverse gains by LGBTQ Americans in areas ranging from the military to housing and education.

The Health and Human Services Department released a proposed regulation that in effect says “gender identity” is not protected under federal laws that prohibit sex discrimination in health care. It would reverse an Obama-era policy that the Trump administration already is not enforcing.

“The actions today are part and parcel of this administration’s efforts to erase LGBTQ people from federal regulations and to undermine nondiscrimination protections across the board,” said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, a senior attorney on health care at Lambda Legal, a civil rights organisation representing LGBT people.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, said the action shows “utter contempt for the health, safety and humanity of women and transgender Americans.”

The administration also has moved to restrict military service by transgender men and women, proposed allowing certain homeless shelters to take gender identity into account in offering someone a bed for the night and concluded in a 2017 Justice Department memo that federal civil rights law does not protect transgender people from discrimination at work. As one of her first policy moves, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos withdrew guidance that allowed students to use bathrooms matching their gender identity.

More than 1.5 million Americans identify as transgender, according to the Williams Institute, a think tank focusing on LGBT policy at the UCLA School of Law. A bigger number — 4.5% of the population— identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), according to Gallup.

Pushing back against critics, the HHS official overseeing the new regulation said transgender patients would continue to be protected by other federal laws that bar discrimination on the basis of race, colour, national origin, sex, age and disability.

“Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect,” said Roger Severino, who heads the HHS Office for Civil Rights. “We intend to fully enforce federal laws that prohibit discrimination.”

Asked about the charge that the administration has opened the door to discrimination against transgender people seeking needed medical care of any type, Severino responded, “I don’t want to see that happen.”

In some places LGBT people are protected by state laws, said Lambda Legal attorney Gonzalez-Pagan, “but what do you say to people living in a state that doesn’t have state-explicit protections? Do they move their home?”

Behind the dispute over legal rights is a medically recognised condition called “gender dysphoria” — discomfort or distress caused by a discrepancy between the gender that a person identifies as and the gender at birth. Consequences can include severe depression. Treatment can range from sex-reassignment surgery and hormones to people changing their outward appearance by adopting a different hairstyle or clothing.
Many social conservatives disagree with the concept.

“Sex is not subjective, it is an objective biological reality,” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said in a statement supporting the Trump administration’s move. The proposed rule will ensure that federal law “isn’t used as a vehicle to advance transgender or abortion politics,” he said.

Under the Obama-era federal rule, a hospital could be required to perform gender-transition procedures such as hysterectomies if the facility provided that kind of treatment for other medical conditions. The rule was meant to carry out the anti-discrimination section of the Affordable Care Act, which bars sex discrimination in health care but does not use the term “gender identity.”

The proposed new rule would also affect the notices that millions of patients get in multiple languages about their rights to translation services. Such notices often come with insurer “explanation of benefits” forms. The Trump administration says the notice requirement has become a needless burden on health care providers, requiring billions of paper notices to be mailed annually at an estimated five-year cost of $3.2 billion.

The American Civil Liberties Union served to notice it expects to challenge the rule in court when it is final. Louise Melling, ACLU deputy legal director said the potential impact could go beyond LGBT people and also subject women to discrimination for having had an abortion.

That’s because the proposal would remove “termination of pregnancy” as grounds for making a legal claim of sex discrimination in health care, one of the protections created in the Obama years. Abortion opponents had argued that the Obama regulation could be construed to make a legal argument for federal funding of abortions.

UCLA legal scholar Jocelyn Samuels, who oversaw the drafting of the HHS transgender anti-discrimination rule under Obama, said that rule reflected established legal precedent that transgender people are protected by federal anti-discrimination laws.

“This administration has manifested its intent to roll back that well-considered understanding in every context,” she said.

Samuels questioned the timing of the Trump action since the US Supreme Court has agreed to hear three cases this year looking at whether federal civil rights law bans job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The proposed rule change is unlikely to have immediate consequences beyond the realm of political and legal debate. It faces a 60-day comment period and another layer of review before it can be finalised.

HHS official Severino said the Trump administration is going back to the literal text of the ACA’s anti-discrimination law to correct an overly broad interpretation.

The Obama rule dates to a time when LGBT people were gaining political and social recognition. But a federal judge in Texas has said the rule went too far by concluding that discrimination on the basis of gender identity is a form of sex discrimination.

Severino said the proposed rule does not come with a new definition of a person’s sex. Earlier, a leaked internal document suggested the administration was debating whether to issue an immutable definition of sex, as based on a person’s genital organs at birth.

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May 25, 2019

VNY needs to go beyond regular destinations

Kathmandu, May 24

Stakeholders of the tourism industry have recommended the committee of Visit Nepal Year (VNY) 2020 campaign to go beyond the regular destinations. As the country has been selling the same old destinations over the years, this campaign has to promote new destinations in the market, entrepreneurs said during a meeting held today, which was led by Tourism Secretary Mohan Krishna Sapkota.

Visit Nepal Year 2020

Photo: facebook.com/nepaltourismboard

Speaking at the meeting, Ambica Shrestha, chairperson of Dwarika’s Hotel and Resort, suggested the VNY committee to conduct programmes and introduce unique products that could entice tourists to spend more. “Currently, our policies and programmes are more focused on number of tourists than the earnings from tourists,” she said, “It is an apt moment now to go beyond old destinations and bring new products.”

Wildlife tourism, meditation and yoga are some products yet to be promoted as tourism products in our country. So, VNY must promote these products in the international market, she added. Shrestha further suggested the committee to take initiative to preserve the originality of tourist destinations. “A few quality tourists who can feel the true nature of our destinations is a lot better than a huge crowd of people coming to destroy the real identity of the destinations.”

Likewise, Ang Tshering Sherpa, former president of Nepal Mountaineering Association, suggested the VNY committee to work on promoting mountains for climbing and trekking. Rather than commenting on the congestion in the mountains, Sherpa urged the committee to cooperate with the tourism ministry to manage the system and policy. “The VNY committee should not only focus on programmes for 2020. It rather has to go beyond that and work for sustainable development.”

Besides, stakeholders have recommended promoting Nepal as a shopping destination as well as for sports tourism. Meanwhile, entrepreneurs have also said that VNY committee should work with the public so that every individual promotes VNY as their own campaign rather than just as a government campaign.

Responding to the stakeholders, Tourism Secretary Sapkota, assured them that the government would address their suggestions to make VNY campaign successful. “We are putting all our efforts to make this campaign successful. So, we will be improving our works by addressing the suggestions of the private sector,” he said. He further said that the major objective of this campaign is to implement programmes for sustainable development of the tourism industry. Generating jobs and assuring tourist safety and security will be the objective of the campaign, he added.

The soft launch of VNY campaign was held on April 13.


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from Business – The Himalayan Times http://bit.ly/2HXrq5P
May 25, 2019

Customs waiver sought on goods used by hotels, restaurants

Kathmandu, May 24

Hoteliers have sought customs duty waiver on various imported goods used for construction and expansion of hotels and restaurants.

At a time when the government is busy drafting the budget for fiscal year 2019-20, the Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) — umbrella body representing tourist standard hotels in country — has urged the government to give customs waiver facility on import of such products and also give income tax waiver facility for hoteliers for at least 15 years.

Issuing a 14-point recommendation to the government, HAN has sought customs duty waiver facilities on imported products for hotel construction like decorative goods, kitchenware, bathroom fittings, air-conditioners, air-coolers, heaters, televisions, phone sets, beds and curtains, among others.

Similarly, hoteliers have also sought VAT rebate on different food products that hotels and restaurants sell. “Hotels and restaurants consume more than 90 per cent of agricultural products from the domestic market itself for food. Thus, the government should promote hotels and restaurant businesses by giving VAT rebate,” as per Shreejana Rana, president of HAN.

HAN has also urged government to ease casino operation in the country and revisit the current rate of casino royalty.

Likewise, hoteliers have also said that the budget should focus on expanding Nepal’s air connectivity and the capacity of Nepal Airlines Corporation to draw more foreign tourists and boost the tourism industry. “As Nepal Airlines has not been able to expand its fleet and international air connectivity, the government should focus on bringing in more international airline companies to Nepal,” as per HAN officials.

HAN has also asked the government to give cash incentives to travel and tour operators promoting the Meeting Incentive Conference Exhibition (MICE) tourism in the country.

Hoteliers have also sought effective policies and proper programmes to promote the Visit Nepal 2020 tourism campaign and make it successful.


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May 25, 2019

10pc gap on import tax for raw materials, finished goods

Kathmandu, May 24

The government is preparing to maintain a certain gap in import taxes levied on finished goods and raw materials, thereby addressing the long-standing concerns of private sector.

Private sector players have long been complaining that higher import duty on raw materials than on finished goods has been discouraging the country’s manufacturing sector.

Though the exact minimum gap in the import tax on finished goods and raw materials is yet to be fixed, discussion is underway at the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to maintain at least 10 per cent gap in between the import of such goods through the upcoming budget for 2019-20 fiscal year, as per an MoF official requesting not to be named.

“As highlighted by the private sector, higher import tax on raw materials compared to finished products is discouraging domestic businesses. By maintaining a certain gap in such taxes in between raw materials and finished goods, the government aims to promote domestic businesses and production,” informed the official.

In fact, some tax policies of the government have been promoting imports over domestic production. This, as per industrialists, has not only affected growth of the manufacturing sector, but also made Nepali goods less competitive in the local market.

For example, the government levies 10 per cent import tax on cement putty, while 30 per cent tax is imposed on white cement, one of the ingredients to prepare cement putty.

Similarly, resins used in the paint industry can be imported at a lower cost compared to its raw materials. Similar is the case with raw materials for medicine packaging. While pharmaceutical companies can import raw materials for packaging medicines at one per cent tax, Nepali packaging companies are levied 13 per cent VAT and 15 per cent excise duty on domestically produced packaging materials.

Likewise, imported machinery for industrial purpose is levied four per cent import tax, whereas almost 20 per cent import tax is levied on imported industrial spare parts.

Pashupati Murarka, former president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, welcomed the government’s plan to maintain at least 10 per cent gap in the import tax for raw materials and finished goods.

“Higher import tax on raw materials than on finished goods is not just discouraging investors towards production sector, it is also forcing them to choose trading over setting up factories and manufacturing goods in the country,” he said.


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from Business – The Himalayan Times http://bit.ly/2HSwAzY
May 25, 2019

TAC outplay Province-2 in opening tie

Kathmandu, May 24

Tribhuvan Army Club defeated Province-2 by 171 runs in the opening match of the Prime Minister Cup One Day Cricket Tournament here at the TU Stadium today.

Batting first, TAC posted 278-9 in their allotted 50 overs riding on brilliant half centuries from Raju Rijal and skipper Binod Bhandari before the departmental side packed Province-2 for a paltry 107 runs with more than 18 overs to spare.

TAC made a flying start with opener Rijal and Bhandari putting up 121 runs in 21 overs. Bhandari was the first to go, caught behind by Hasim Ansari off Samsad Sheikh, for 66 off 61 balls that included nine boundaries.

Rijal then added 62 runs for the second wicket with Hari Chauhan before being caught by skipper Mehboob Alam off Hari Shankar Shah in the 35th over. Man-of-the-match Rijal struck five fours and two sixes in his 109-ball 90.

Rohit Kumar Paudel scored a quick fire 47 off 36 balls hitting four boundaries and a six, while Chauhan struck two fours in his 44-ball 26. Rajesh Pulami Magar (13), Susan Bhari (12 not out), and Karan KC (11) also contributed in double figures for TAC.

Hari Shankar Shah was the pick of the Province-2 bowlers taking 3-55, while Rashaid Khan, Bibek Yadav, Samsad Sheikh and Bishal Shusling grabbed one wicket each.

In reply, Province-2 lost wickets at regular interval and they were never in contention. Hari Shankar Shah was the top scorer with 21 off 28 balls that included four boundaries. Samsad Sheikh (16), Sudhir Chaudhary (15), Rashaid Khan (14) and Suraj Patel (11) were the other batsmen who scored in double figures.

Shahab Alam of TAC was the chief destroyer for Province-2 as he returned with the figures of 4-29 and he was able supported by Susan Bhari (3-20) and Jitendra Kumar Mukhiya (2-11).

A total of 10 teams — one each from seven provinces and three departmental sides — are taking part in the tournament orgnaised by National Sports Council under the aegis of Nepalaya International. The teams are divided into two groups of five each and top two sides from both the pools after league rounds will advance to the semi-finals. The winners and runners-up will receive two million rupees and one million rupees respectively. The player of the series will get a motorcycle, while the best batsman and bowler will get Rs 50,000 each.

Earlier, Minister for Youth and Sports Jagat Bahadur Sunar inaugurated the tournament. The opening ceremony was shifted to TU after the organisers failed to complete the preparation of the Mulpani grounds on time. According to the revised schedule, Mulpani will host matches from Sunday.


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from Sports – The Himalayan Times http://bit.ly/2QnaMQG
May 25, 2019

Ex-Facebook exec recommends Zuckerberg step down as CEO

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook’s former security chief is disagreeing with calls to break up the social network.

Instead, Alex Stamos believes the way to fix problems is for Mark Zuckerberg to step aside as CEO.

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and other critics contend that government regulators should require Facebook to spin off popular services such as Instagram and WhatsApp.

But Stamos believes that just creates “three companies that have the same fundamental problems.”

Facebook has been grappling with such problems as privacy, fake news and hate speech.

Zuckerberg remains the company’s controlling shareholder, making it unlikely he will be replaced without his consent.

Stamos left Facebook last year as the company dealt with the fallout from bogus information spread on its social network. He spoke this week at a technology conference in Toronto.


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from Science & Technology – The Himalayan Times http://bit.ly/2EwjNSS
May 25, 2019

NPC beat Kirtipur

KATHMANDU: Nepal Police Club defeated ANK Kirtipur Basketball Team 84-60 in the Kwiks Nepal Basketball League here on Friday.

NPC opened up a 23-13 lead and never looked back. The departmental side won 19-16 in the second quarter and both the teams netted 17 points each in the third period.

NPC then won the final quarter 25-14 to register their sixth victory in 10 matches. Bikash Gurung of NPC was named the player of the match for his 22 points along with 10 rebounds, three assists and one steal.

A total of eight teams are taking part in the biggest basketball tournament of the country organised by Play for Deprived Children Nepal under the sponsorship of Chaudhary Group.

The top two teams of the 55-day home-and-away tournament will earn Rs 200,000 and Rs 100,000 respectively.


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May 25, 2019

Great Maya triumph

KATHMANDU: Great Maya won the title of the third U-16 National Basketball Tournament here on Friday. Great Maya defeated South Siders 63-35 in the final match at the Prime College courts in Nayabazaar.

Sagar Tamang top scored for Great Maya with 27 points and he was named the most valuable player of the match that earned him Rs 10,000. People’s came third with a 46-41 victory over Kirtipur. Sanchit Bindu netted 12 points for People’s.

A total of 16 teams took part in the tournament organised by Nepal Basketball Association. President of Nepal Olympic Committee Jeevan Ram Shrestha handed over the prizes to the winners.


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May 25, 2019

NCC, PYC win titles

KATHMANDU: Nepal Commerce Campus and Public Youth Campus won the titles of the SDC Inter-college TU BBA/BIM Cricket Tournament here at the Mulpani grounds on Friday.

NCC defeated St Xavier’s by six wickets in the BIM section final. St Xavier’s were bowled out for 139 runs in 19.5 overs, while NCC reached 140-4 with nine balls to spare. NCC received Rs 30,000, while St Xavier’s earned Rs 10,000.

Dipendra Mainali was named the man of the series, while Awaj Ghimire and Nitesh Wosti were declared the best batsman and bowler respectively.

In the BBA section final, PYC beat NCC by seven wickets. NCC posted 108-9 in 20 overs before PYC raced to 109-3 in 16.3 overs. Top two teams received Rs 70,000 and Rs 35,000 respectively. Irshad Ansari of PYC was named the man of the series, while Biplav Basnet of NCC and Ranjan Prasai of PYC were named the best batsman and bowler respectively.

A total of 26 teams took part in the tournament organised by Shanker Dev Campus and managed by Chand Brothers Pvt Ltd.



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from Sports – The Himalayan Times http://bit.ly/2QpIHYV

Friday, May 24, 2019

May 24, 2019

North Korean missile test violated UN resolution, says Bolton

  • Trump has left “door open” for North Korea’s Kim
  • Bolton urges Kim-Abe meeting to help break nuclear talks deadlock
  • Washington has “deep and serious” intelligence on Iran threat

TOKYO: US National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Saturday North Korea‘s recent missile launches violated a UN Security Council resolution and urged leader Kim Jong Un to return to denuclearisation talks.

It was the first time a senior US official has described the tests as a violation of UN resolutions aimed at halting North Korea‘s nuclear and missile programmes and came ahead of a four-day visit to Japan by US President Donald Trump who arrives later in the day.

“The UN resolution prohibits the launch of any ballistic missiles,” Bolton said at a press roundtable. North Korea‘s test firings included short range ballistic missiles and so there was “no doubt” it was a violation, he added.

Earlier this month, Kim Jong Un oversaw the first flight of a previously untested weapon – a relatively small, fast missile experts believe will be easier to hide, launch and manoeuvre in flight.

Bolton said that the United States was still open to talks with Kim’s regime but that it had not changed its position from the one outlined at the last summit between the United States and North Korea in Hanoi.

“Trump has held the door open for Kim, the next step is for Kim to walk through it,” he said.

Bolton also urged Kim to agree to a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which he said could help restart dialogue on North Korea‘s weapons programmes.

An Abe Kim summit “could be substantive assistance to that”, he said.

Trump, who will play golf with Abe on Sunday before watching Sumo wrestling, is expected to discuss topics ranging from North Korea to China and two-way trade when they sit down for a summit on Monday.

The two leaders will also discuss rising tensions with Iran, Bolton said. Abe is considering a visit to Iran as early as mid-June, public broadcaster NHK said on Friday, the first such trip in four decades.

Washington has said it will stop waivers for countries buying Iranian oil and has designated Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organisation.

The United State is also deploying a carrier strike group and bombers to the Middle East in response to what the Trump administration described as troubling “indications and warnings” from Iran.

Bolton, who has spearheaded an increasingly hawkish US policy on Iran, described recent attacks on tankers off the United Arab Emirates and a pipeline pumping station in Saudi Arabia, as well as a rocket attack in Baghdad’s Green Zone in Iraq, as “manifestations of concern”.

The United States has “deep and serious” intelligence on the threat posed by Iran, said Bolton, who declined to provide details.


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