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UN council to meet on North Korea rights abuses, nuclear program in December

Thompson Reuters

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UNITED NATIONS — United Nations Security Council ministers will meet on December 15 to discuss North Korea’s nuclear and missiles programs and the body will also meet separately this month to discuss human rights abuses in the North Asian country, an annual meeting that its ally China has tried to prevent for the past three years.

Japan’s UN Ambassador Koro Bessho, president of the 15-member council for December, said several ministers were confirmed to attend the Dec 15 meeting. He also said the meeting on human rights in North Korea could be held on Dec 11.

China has unsuccessfully tried to stop three previous human rights meetings by calling a procedural vote. A minimum of nine votes are needed to win such a vote and China, Russia, the United States, Britain and France cannot wield their vetoes.

This year’s meeting has the backing of nine members – the United States, France, Britain, Italy, Japan, Senegal, Sweden, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Last year, the United States angered North Korea by blacklisting its leader Kim Jong Un for human rights abuses.

A landmark 2014 UN report on North Korean human rights concluded that North Korean security chiefs – and possibly Kim himself – should face justice for overseeing a state-controlled system of Nazi-style atrocities.

Michael Kirby, chairman of the UN Commission of Inquiry that drew up the report, said at the time that the crimes the team had catalogued were reminiscent of those committed by the Nazis during World War Two. “Some of them are strikingly similar,” he told Reuters.

North Korea has repeatedly rejected accusations of human rights abuses and blames sanctions for a dire humanitarian situation. Pyongyang has been under UN sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missiles and nuclear programs.

“Despite persistent sanctions and pressure by the US and other hostile forces, my government concentrates all its efforts on improving people’s livelihood and providing them with a better future,” the North Korean Permanent Mission to the United Nations said in a statement on Nov 14.

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Economy

Govt decides to award Budhi Gandaki Hydel project to Chinese firm again

Gorkha Post

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KATHMANDU — The government has decided to award contract for the construction of the 1,200-megawatt Budhigandaki hydropower project, a national pride project, to China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) once again.

A Cabinet meeting on Friday has decided to award the contract for the project to CGGCL reverting the erstwhile Sher Bahadur Deuba government’s decision to develop the 1200MW project with internal resources.

The Cabinet meeting has directed the Energy Ministry to initiate the process to award the project to the Chinese company.

Following the government decision, the Energy Ministry will now invite the Chinese company for talks and prepare a draft of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) before signing it, according to multiple sources at the ministry.

As per the Cabinet decision, the ministry has been asked to hold talks with the Gezhouba, prepare a proposal, and strike a deal to execute the $2.5 billion reservoir project.

Earlier on May 15, 2017, the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government had awarded the contract to construct the Budhigandaki project to CGGCL, juat nine days before he was to resign from the PM’s post.

The Dahal-led government had awarded the contract to CGGCL at a cost of Rs 260 billion as per a study carried out by a French company, Tractebel Engineering.

The agreement, however, invited controversy as the project was handed to the Chinese company without initiating a competitive bidding process.

The Budhi Gandaki hydel project has been touted as a key project to resolve the perennial power crisis in the country. The government has allocated Rs18 billion for compensation payments and operational expenses for this fiscal year.

The Gorkha and Dhading district administration offices are currently distributing compensation to owners of the land taken over by the project.

More than 8,000 households will be affected by the project, according to the latest report.

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