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Nepali asylum seekers opt to return home after 19 months on a Micronesian island

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At least seven Nepali men have decided to return home after 19 months of detention in a Micronesian island while they were attempting to reach Australia, New Zealand or the United States unlawfully.

Sixteen Nepali men and 18 Indian men were detained at a wharf in Yap since the boat they were travelling on was detained in November 2014, ABC Online reported.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said seven of the Nepalese men would now return home.

According to the reports, when they landed on Yap, one of the Federated States of Micronesia in the north-western Pacific Ocean, they told local police they were hoping to reach Australia, New Zealand or the United States.

They have been detained ever since on a Yap wharf in conditions described by locals as “dire”.

A local clam farmer, Australian citizen Phillipe Dor, said at the time the boat’s crew said they were sent there, with the guidance of GPS, by Indonesian people smugglers who assured them they would be taken from Yap to Australia or elsewhere.

Philip Raffilpiy of the IOM’s office in Yap said the Nepali men who had opted to return home had done so of their own will.

“It appears they’re in a very clear state of mind, they know what they’re doing,” he told Pacific Beat.

“I would not say more on that because they have been here for over a year and maybe they’re stressed and tired of being here and it may have helped them make the decision.”

Mr Raffilpiy said the rest of the Nepali men were reluctant to leave.

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The process of determining whether the Nepali men were genuine refugees was still ongoing, he said.

He said moves were also underway to repatriate the Indian men, with the assistance of the Indian Government, which was providing passports and coordinating travel arrangements with Micronesian officials.

“It is the Government of India’s [will] that all those from India should go back,” Mr Raffilpiy said.

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New govt likely to have 18 ministers

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KATHMANDU — The new government is likely to have 15 to 18 ministries in total as Prime mInister KP Sharma Oli is preparing to give his cabinet a full shape.

As per discussion between Prime Minister Oli and CPN-Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the government may include Madhes-based parties to make the government inclusive and have two-thirds majority in the Parliament.

According to Article 76 (9) of the constitution, the number of ministers cannot exceed 25 in the federal Cabinet. With the new constitution limiting the size of Council of Ministers to 25, the new governing team could be limited to 18 members including three state ministers. A formal decision on the matter is yet to be taken.

Speaking at a program organised in Kathmandu on Tuesday, UML leader Pradeep said: “Cabinet expansion is likely to take place on Wednesday. A few Maoist ministers will be joining the Oli government.”

“Our taskforce has recommended that the government form a 15-member Cabinet. Some of the ministries will be integrated and others scrapped.”

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Ishwor Pokhrel, Pradeep Gyawali, Rabindra Adhikari, Raghubir Mahaseth, Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal and Padma Aryal are the probable ministerial candidates from the UML.

Like3wise, Maoist chair Dahal and senior CPN-MC leaders Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Ram Bahadur Thapa have been given the responsibility of selecting ministers from their party.

Probable ministerial candidates from the Maoist Centre include Ram Bahadur Thapa, Matrika Yadav, Pampha Bhusal, Devendra Poudel, Lekhraj Bhatta, Chakrapani Khanal, Pun, Girirajmani Pokhrel and Dev Gurung, according to the sources.

Thapa may lead the CPN-MC in the government as deputy prime minister. Yadav is being considered for appointment since he represents Madhes, Bhusal as a woman while Poudel is one of the leaders who joined the party lately. Poudel had left the Baburam Bhattarai-led Naya Shakti Party to join the Maoist Centre just ahead of unification talks with the UML.

Leaders involved in discussions said the Maoist Centre could appoint up to eight ministers if the Cabinet size does not exceed 18.

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