Cricket, the "gentleman's game", has been hit by a series of gambling-related scandals in international matches in recent years. But S.Sreesanth's case is the first time allegations of "fixing" in the IPL are being heard in a court of law, despite a huge, illegal betting industry that has grown up around the tournament. Full Article
Small blasts as Nepal prepares to abolish monarchy
KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Suspected royalists threw three small, homemade bombs in Nepal's capital on Wednesday only hours before political parties were due to abolish the country's once-revered Hindu monarchy at a special assembly session.
Two people on a motorcycle drove up to the venue where politicians gathered to vote on the future of the 239-year-old monarchy and lobbed a small bomb. No one was injured, police said.
Another bomb exploded nearby, and earlier in the day another exploded in a park, injuring one person. Three other small bombs exploded earlier in the week, but no one was killed.
Activists of the royalist militant group Ranabir Sena threw pamphlets at the site of one of Wednesday's blasts, demanding that Nepal remain a Hindu kingdom.
A special assembly elected in April started its first meeting on Wednesday to declare a republic. Many Nepalis hope it will be the final chapter of a peace process ending a decade-long war that killed more than 13,000 people.
"Let's celebrate the dawn of a republic in a grand manner," one loudspeaker blared from the top of a taxi.
Thousands of Maoists, now members of the assembly's biggest political party, marched in the capital carrying hammer and sickle flags and pumping their fists in the air as they shouted "Down with the monarchy!".
Thousands of others Nepalis gathered in the historic parts of Kathmandu and near the site of the assembly, ringed by riot police.
Unpopular King Gyanendra is expected to vacate his pink pagoda-roofed palace in the capital Kathmandu soon after the vote.
He has made few comments on his future plans, except to say he wanted to remain in Nepal.
The government has given him a fortnight to leave the palace but warned said he could be forced out if he refuses.
It has been a dramatic decline and fall for a king once waited upon by thousands of retainers. Many Nepalis revered the monarch in majority-Hindu Nepal as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the god of protection.
Now, his portrait has been wiped off bank notes and his name has disappeared from the national anthem. He has been asked to pay his own electricity bills.
"The king will be given 15 days to leave the palace and the palace will be turned into a historical museum after he leaves," Peace and Reconstruction Minister Ram Chandra Poudel said.
The assembly motion on the change to a Republic is expected to be approved.
Although some royalists may oppose the move, they are heavily outnumbered by mainstream political groups and Maoist former rebels, who emerged as the largest party in elections to the 601-member assembly.
"This is the people's victory," said Kamal Dahal, a 22 year-old former Maoist guerrilla. "With today's declaration of a republic we have achieved what we fought for.
Nepalis say much of the mystique of the royal family was destroyed by the 2001 palace massacre in which popular King Birendra and eight other royals were killed by then Crown Prince Dipendra, who then turned a gun on himself.
The royal image was further tarnished after Gyanendra fired the government and assumed absolute powers in 2005 only to be humbled by weeks of anti-king protests a year later.
Political parties and Maoists say a new president will step into the king's place as a head of state after the end of the monarchy.
The head of the U.N. mission warned on Tuesday that Nepal still faces many challenges, including political violence and a Maoist army of thousands which has yet to be fully demobilised.
"The Constituent Assembly election was a milestone, a major achievement, in that (peace) process, but it does not represent the completion of the process," Martin told reporters.
But ordinary Nepalis in the streets of Kathmandu were happy to focus on the present.
"I think it is good that the king is going," said taxi driver Niranjan Shrestha, 36.
"He hasn't done anything for the people except amassing money for himself and his family."
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this