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Govt formally invites UDMF for talks

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KATHMANDU —The government on Sunday made a new call to the unsettling United Democratic Madhesi Morcha (UDMF) to come back to the dialogue table, after almost a break in about three months.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa, who heads the government talks team, wrote a formal letter to the UDMF, inviting its constituents for talks.

The date for a meeting, however, would be decided in consultation with the interlocutors of the participating parties.

Thapa also wrote in the letter that the government had already formed a political mechanism to address the question of provincial boundaries.

Stating that the government was committed to addressing the Madhes demands on the basis of dialogue and consensus, he said the first two amendments to the constitution were also made as per the understanding reached during the talks.

The government and the Madhes-based parties have not held talks since February 18, the day the Thapa-led political mechanism was formed. The committee is yet to take shape after the Madhesi parties and the Nepali Congress, the largest party in Parliament, refused to send their representatives to it.

Thapa additionally urged the Madhesi parties to send their representatives to the panel tasked with working out the details for redrawing the boundaries of the provinces.

The Madhes based parties, however, are in no mood to readily accept the call for dialogue. They charge that the government is not serious about resolving the crisis.

Madhesi leaders said that they were not hopeful about a positive outcome of the talks due to the ‘rigid’ stance taken by the government on crucial issues including the revision to federal boundaries, their main demand.

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Nepal ranked 122nd among 180 countries in 2017 corruption perceptions index

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KATHMANDU — Nepal has moved nine position up to rank 122nd in an annual index of countries deemed the least corrupt published by graft watchdog Transparency International.

The country attained a score of 31 in TI’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2017. Nepal was ranked 131th in the Corruption Perceptions Index in 2016.

Countries that took the top positions in the latest index, which ranked 180 countries, include New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Switzerland.

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South African country Somalia ,with 9 score, is the most corrupted countries among 180 countries.

Among South Asian countries, Bhutan is the least corrupt countries where as Afghanistan is the most corrupt countries. India ranked in 85 , Bhutan ranked in 29th, Sri Lanka in 97,Maldives 118th, Pakistan in 123 and Bangladesh ranked in 146 position.

TI, in its index, measures countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. The 2017 index is based on 13 surveys covering expert assessments and views of business people.

Countries are then scored on a scale of zero, for highly corrupt, to 100, for very clean.

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