Monday, September 16, 2019

Nepal bans North Korean investment, gives 1.5 months to close existing businesses

Kathmandu, September 16

The government of Nepal has banned the operation of businesses operating with investments of North Korean nationals in the country. The government says the decision was made following a UN sanction on the country.

The Department of Industry says currently nine businesses in Nepal have North Korean investments and they have been ordered to close by the end of October.

The department’s director, Prem Luintel, says some new businesses had recently registered with the government and were preparing to launch their operation soon.

Earlier, the government had requested the North Korean Embassy in Kathmandu to take back the investments. The embassy officials had also agreed on the request. However, upon their failure to implement the agreement, the government issued the ultimatum, according to him.

The government had extended visas of foreign workers working for the nine companies up to October 31 only.

North Korean investors were engaged in hospital, restaurant and software businesses in Nepal.

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ICC, NSC agree to hold CAN election on September 27-28

Kathmandu, September 16

The election and special meeting of general members of Cricket Association of Nepal has been delayed by a week after discussions between the International Cricket Council and the National Sports Council. The general assembly will now be held on September 27 and 28.

Previously, an independent committee formed by the international cricket governing body has scheduled the election for September 20 and 21. However, the meeting was put in limbo after NSC Member Secretary Ramesh Silwal called the independent committee member Rasjeshwor Shrestha, asking him to stop the AGM.

According to a source, Silwal had told Shrestha to stop the AGM citing a previous NSC decision stated that any sports committee should issue a notice 21 days before such election. Silwal had also stated that NSC should appoint an election committee to conduct the poll.

But, all problems have been resolved after ICC’s vice-president Imran Khawaja and NSC’s Silwal held talks with one another, the sources say.

The ICC has suspended the membership of CAN since 2016 citing political interferences. It is expected that the suspension will end after the AGM will elect a new committee. The ICC is organising a board meeting on October 13 which is expected to discuss the issue.

 

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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Robbers shoot dead Rupandehi man

Butwal, September 15

An unidentified gang of robbers killed a man in Rohini rural municipality of Rupandehi district on Sunday afternoon.

The victim has been identified as Mahendra Kurmi, a permanent resident of Omsatiya rural municipality-5, according to police. Chief of the District Police Office, Hridaya Thapa, says the attackers also robbed the victim of Rs 500,000 before shooting him. Kurmi died on the spot.

He was returning home after withdrawing the cash from the bank. It has been suspected that the robbers were following him from the bank.

Police have launched a manhunt to find the suspects.

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Airline companies announce 10% discount on fare for six Dashain days

Kathmandu, September 15

Private airline companies of Nepal have announced that they will give 10 percent discount on the airfare of domestic flights during six key days of Dashain.

The Airlines Operators Association of Nepal says the customers will get discounts on the tickets they buy for the flights between September 29 to October 4. They can get discounts on the tickets regardless of the dates they buy them, but the purchase must be made at counters, according to the association. The association’s member Prajwal Thapa says discounts may not be available on the tickets bought via travel agencies or online platforms.

A meeting of the association made the decision today. The companies say they may announce similar discount offers for upcoming festivals like Tihar and Chhath.

They have assured that the passengers will not face any hassle in getting the tickets due to the increased number of flights.

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District Court sends Bal Mandir director to custody

Kathmandu, September 15

Director of Nepal Children Association, the organisation that runs an orphanage named Bal Mandir in Kathmandu and many other parts of the country, Bal Krishna Dangol has been remanded in custody.

The Kathmandu District Court issued the order recently, according to police.

Dangol was arrested on charges of child trafficking on August 14. Police have accused Dangol for assisting a British national in unlawfully ‘purchasing’ a Nepali child and assisting her in obtaining fraudulent documents to claim the baby as her own.

According to Metropolitan Police Range spokesperson DSP Hobindra Bogati, Dangol was sent to central jail upon orders from the District Court.

Dangol was arrested after British national, Dina Smith,  confessed that she had received help from Dangol in obtaining the infant and said she paid Dangol Rs 1.1 million.

Smith was detained by immigration officials at Tribhuvan International Airport when she tried to leave the country with the infant in August.

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Nepal Police action against 1,800 own staffers in one year; 256 fired

Kathmandu, September 15

Nepal Police says it took action against around 1,800 staffers of the national police organisation after they were found involved in various illegal and unethical activities in the last fiscal year, from mid-July 2018 to mid-July 2019.

Of them, 256 have been fired. Seven among them have been disqualified for any government job in the future whereas 249 can join other government services if qualified.

The highest-ranking official to get fired is SP Dilli Raj Bista who lost his job for his failure to properly handle investigations into the notorious Nirmala Pant rape and murder case.

Besides Bista, two inspectors, five sub-inspectors, 11 assistant sub-inspectors, 24 head constables and 115 constables lost their job, according to the Nepal Police headers. Eleven staffers below the constable level were also fired.

The national police organisation in this period took departmental actions against 1,544 staffers. The ‘departmental actions’ include warnings, demotions, halting promotions, keeping records and suspension among others.

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Changing sunflowers into tulips: Tricks for taking care of Mother Nature’s children

Which flower do you think is more beautiful: marigold or rose? Marigold is known as the ‘herb of the sun’ and is important in the Hindu festival of light, Deepawali. Rose is equally important on Valentine’s Day. It symbolises love, faith, and passion. We cannot say that one flower is better than another. If someone likes marigolds and someone else loves roses, it is simply their personal preferences.

Kids are like flowers in a garden. Like flowers, we cannot compare one child to another and conclude that one is good, talented, genuine, obedient or more disciplined than the other. Each child is unique: a child could be a great person like Allah, Buddha, Durga, Jesus or Krishna. Every child has endless potential.

Parents, hurt due to their failures in life, might hope that the children can fulfill their dreams. Such parents teach their kids accordingly from the very beginning. Once guests visit their home, parents tell their guests to ask their daughter what she will become in the future. Parents are happy when their small child replies that she will be a doctor in future- apparently a reply parroted.

All the children are beautiful flowers, creatures of nature. Some children are like lily and some are like lotus. Let us imagine that a child has the potential to bloom like a sunflower. We, the parents, force her to be a tulip instead. What will be the result?  The child will never bloom like a tulip and her ability to become a sunflower is destroyed completely. It means that if a girl has the potential to become a painter but if the parents want her to be a doctor, she can become neither a good doctor nor a good painter.

Paras Khadka, the captain of Nepal national cricket team, has played a vital role to make cricket popular in Nepal despite several adversities. What would have happened if his parents forced him to be a doctor? What if journalist Rabi Lamichhane had tried to become a writer and the first female chief justice of Nepal Sushila Karki had tried to become a journalist? What would have happened if great artists Madan Krishna and Haribansha were pressured to become engineers?

Rajesh Hamal, a superstar of the Nepali film industry, was brought up in a rich family. Hamal’s father wanted him to be a medical doctor but Hamal rejected his father’s proposal. For the rest of his life, his father never spoke to him again. Hamal has made a great contribution to the industry. Most of Nepalis recognise him today.

Adolf Hitler enjoyed painting in childhood. He tried to join the Vienna Academy of Fine Art. He wanted to be an artist, but the academy rejected him.  He started to sell his paintings to meet his basic needs. Hitler was in love with a lady, however, she rejected him because he was uneducated and unemployed. Later, he joined the German Army. The rest of his life is notorious in history.

What would have happened if Hitler had been admitted to the art academy? Maybe, we could have connected his life to creativity instead of destruction. Maybe, there would not have been World War II.

Children seek support from you. They need your love. They want proper nourishment from us. They want to learn from parents. But in the name of helping children, we are asking them to become ourselves. Instead of letting they be what they are made for, we are forcing them to become what we want them to be.

Every kid has tremendous natural potential that is unknown to us. If you do not know about the inherent capacity of a child, how can you help them rightly?

If you want to make your children happy, do not interfere with their choices. We need to provide love and support to our children. Children require proper care from their parents. Proper care provides freedom. Freedom gives independence. Independence enhances confidence. A confident child can flourish with their full potential.

There are four important things in a child’s life. The first is safety; children should always feel safe.  Secondly, trust; children should trust their parents and vice versa. Security enhances trust; children who feel secure know that they can trust their parents.  Third, dignity; a child should always be respected. Finally, the fourth and the most important thing for a child is love.  If we can create an environment where kids can live with security, trust, dignity and love, their tremendous capacity will flourish.

Do we believe that children can do better than adults? A six-year-old girl was taking an entrance exam to get admitted to a private school. The instructor showed a plastic elephant and asked her what it was. She said it was a toy. But she failed the exam because the answer was wrong! Surprisingly, the correct answer, for the examiners, was an elephant! Later, the girl said that elephants would be much bigger than that, and if it could not walk, it could not be an elephant, but a toy. Whom do you think was more truthful?

This is a reality of our time. If you find it okay, okay. But, if you find it problematic, you need to take initiatives to change it, all the way from your home.

Subedi is Executive Director at Child Development Society, a child rights NGO.

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Password movie review: Mediocre cinematography spoils the show

An ‘item dance’ by Bollywood star Sunny Leone is not the only thing that you should look for in this week’s release Password. This movie has an interesting story that unfolds a crime taking place outside Nepal. Further, it is completely shot in posh locations in London and gives a lot of screen to time foreign faces. Hence, this action thriller offers the audience a different taste from what they usually get in Nepali cinema, most of which can be classified either as a love story or a comedy. However, thanks to mediocre cinematography, the movie is unlikely to stand out.

Interesting plot

The movie opens with a TV reporter saying that Nepal police have failed to nab a man accused of, not only killing his own father, but also and stealing the prized Lord Shiva statue from Pashupatinath. Immediately after that, reporters gather around a police officer who leads the investigation department of Nepal Police. Under pressure from the public and the media, the police officer commissions a three-member team, comprising notoriously incompetent officers, to nab the suspect who is believed to be in London.

In the beginning, the audience is given three key questions to follow during the movie: first, why did the suspect kill his father ?; second, is the murder related to the burglary?; and third, why did the department chief employ ‘incompetent’ officers for the mission?

Mostly, the movie is successful in keeping the answer-hungry audience hooked as the conflict rages. You are introduced with new characters and their pursuits. In the process, the movie frequently confuses you, but clarifies again; this regular switching serves as a good way of keeping the viewers engaged.

When you learn about the animosity between the ‘most-wanted’ suspect, Bikki (Bikram Joshi) and another Nepali criminal in London, Jojo (Anoop Bikram Shahi), your interest in the movie piques. You get confused about who is the hero and who is the villain. Throughout the first half, it looks as if both are villains. Then, you also wonder who the hero is.

The triangular love story involving Bikki and two Nepali women he meets in London is another part of the story. But, it is really formulaic here–and it is based on mere chances than logical possibilities.

Average acting

The two key men of the movie–Bikki and Jojo–receive applauds from the audience for their realistic acting. However, the director fails to train his women well. Perhaps it was a wrong decision on the director’s part to assign an experienced Chhultim Gurung to play a supporting role and give space to the debutante Pari Rana as the lead. Whereas Gurung does justice to her role, Rana not only looks naive, but is also confused most of the time. Another lady of the movie, Lisa Sunar is okay–after all, faking things is not a problem in her role because she is required to act phoney.

Now to the supporting cast. Buddhi Tamang and Rabindra Thapa, expectedly, fit in to add comic elements to the project. Towards the end, the director gives them relatively serious jobs; and they do justice to it. This shows that if required, the duo can also do different roles.

Prabin Khatiwada plays his role well, but he is more present in his dialogues than in his acting. Bikram Basnet does not make any impression. Likewise, yesteryears’ established face Dhiren Shakya looks bold in his appearance, but his dialogue delivery lacks substance. If Shakya is looking for a comeback, Password will not help his cause.

Shortcomings

The pitfalls are not only limited to acting but extend to the way in which the movie is presented. For example, the director sandwiches key flashback scenes between conversations. He pays little attention, if any, to the significance of flashbacks in the movie. They are given shorter slots without good connectors. It is more apparent in the second half. More artlessly, at once, you hear that the investigation mission’s leader pronounces the same sentence before and after a flashback scene.

While the movie unfolds most components of the mystery, it misses many. Who is the injured man who told the heroine, Sanju (Rana) that Bikki is innocent? If Bikki was innocent, why didn’t he stay in Nepal and tell the truth to the investigators? What is the connection between the fight that happens while the initial credits are shown and the main plot? Finally, what does the end suggest? What is the next mission that the investigation leader and his lady staffer talk about? It is suggested that the police officers, except one, do not return to Nepal, but why the movie does not tell it clearly?

Cheaply enough, like many other Nepali movies of late, Password also uses sex as an easy way to seek attention. Making the lady police staffer disguise herself as a sex worker to connect to Nepalis in London is logical in no way. Of course, London has a few red-light districts, but Nepali workers are rarely frequent them. Instead of making her a fake prostitute, the writer and the director could have made her a restaurant waiter, who could access even a bigger Nepali population to broaden the scope of her investigation.

Portraying Nepal Police as a group of corrupt officials who work in cahoots with criminals is stereotypical. After all, if the story had picked some external character to facilitate the exit of the smugglers, that would not have made any difference in the overall effects of the story. In other words, the movie could have been equally interesting if the DIG had been projected as an honest police officer.

Verdict

For a section of the audience, Password already has a big turn-on with Sunny Leone’s dance. But, the movie is also bearable for people who do not know anything about this item lady. Nonetheless, Password does not help the Nepali cinema industry unlock its next phase.


Password

Genre: Action

Runtime: 125 minutes

Director: Samrat Basnet

Screenwriters: Mahesh Dawadi and Samrat Basnet

Cast: Anoop Bikram Shahi, Bikram Joshi, Buddhi Tamang, Rabindra Jha, Prabin Khatioda, Dhiren Shakya, Pari Rana, Bikrant Basnet, Lisa Sunar, Chhultim Gurung

2.5/5

 

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My “Five Books” for Financial and Life Improvement

In last week’s Dozen Pieces of Inspiration, I made a reference to the website Five Books, where people in various fields recommend five books related to that field.

Since then, I’ve been tossing around that very idea in my head over and over again. If I were to recommend five books in an appropriate category for The Simple Dollar, probably “Financial and Life Improvement,” what five books would they be?

One book was very easy to pick. Two others came pretty quickly on their heels. With the two other slots… I had to struggle a little bit, but I think I came around to some wonderful choices.

So, without further ado, here are the five books I would choose if I were to select “five books for financial and life improvement.”

Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin

This was the “no brainer” book on this list, as it would be the one book I would recommend to almost anyone who found themselves struggling financially. This book was the essential book for me when I started to turn my financial life around, and it’s had a similar profound impact on many readers.

In a nutshell, this book is about the relationship between your finances and the other aspects of your life that you care about, particularly your time. The book introduces a ton of concepts that are really powerful in terms of evaluating your money use and the real impact that has on your life as a whole.

I’ll mention two that really stand out for me.

One is the idea of your “real hourly wage.” Most people think of their jobs in terms of their salary or in terms of the amount of money they make per hour. This book instead focuses on how much money you actually get to keep in exchange for an hour of your life. You might work for eight hours, but are you also including the hour of commuting that you have to do and the hour you sit in your chair at home slumped over because you’re burnt out after your workday? You’re really handing ten hours over to your job. What about time spent doing things like buying work clothes or going out with coworkers or traveling for work? That adds up. On the other hand, you might know how much you “make,” but have you subtracted out taxes? Have you subtracted out the cost of eating out with coworkers? Have you subtracted out the cost of your wardrobe? As you start subtracting work-related expenses from your income and adding in all of those extra hours you devote to work or thinking about work or getting to work, your hourly wage drops precipitously. That resultant number is your real hourly wage, and it’s very useful to use that as a comparison point for everything you spend money on. You might nominally make $15 per hour, but once you add in the extra hours devoted to work and subtract out the money spent on things related to work, you’re actually only keeping $8 an hour. If you spend $20 going out for a meal at Applebee’s versus spending $4 making a meal at home, you’re basically trading two hours of your life for the privilege of Applebee’s versus your meal at home. Is that really worth it?

Another idea that’s really impactful is the fulfillment curve. Basically, the idea is that once you get past a relatively low level of purchasing, additional purchasing in that area leads to diminishing returns and can actually even lead to a decline in your enjoyment. There’s a “peak” where you get the most pleasure for your dollar, and it is very easy to overshoot that peak, often without realizing it. We aim for that peak and very, very often wind up on the far side, spending too much and getting too little overall value and pleasure out of that expense.

This book is loaded with concepts like this and yet manages to fit them all into a clear overall picture of your finances and how they relate to getting what you want out of life. To me, it’s the essential personal finance read.

While I’m going to name some alternate choices for all of the other books on this list, I can’t really think of a book that I would recommend as an alternative to this one. It deserves to be read and thought about by anyone who is struggling with lining up their finances with what they want out of life.

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

If you’re struggling with debt and with getting the very basics of your life in order (like keeping the bills paid), this is likely the best book on the market for you. Dave Ramsey offers a very straightforward plan for getting out of debt and couples it with a coaching style that serves as a powerful motivator to carry through with that plan.

Ramsey’s plan centers around seven “baby steps” that people should take to move from a disastrous personal debt situation to debt freedom (or close to it). They are, in a nutshell:
+ Baby Step 1: $1,000 to start an emergency fund
+ Baby Step 2: Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball
+ Baby Step 3: 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings
+ Baby Step 4: Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and tax-advantaged retirement accounts
+ Baby Step 5: College funding for children
+ Baby Step 6: Pay off your house early
+ Baby Step 7: Build wealth and give!

For those unfamiliar, a “debt snowball” means that you make a list of your debts from the smallest balance to the largest, then strive to make the largest possible extra payment on the debt with the smallest balance while making minimum payments on all of the others. When that debt is gone, move on to what is now the smallest debt and hit it with a hammer.

While I might have minor quibbles with the absolute specifics of this plan, I completely agree with the broad strokes of it, I admire its simplicity and straightforwardness, and it will work. Couple that with Dave’s coaching style, which will be a home run for some people, and this book gets a high recommendation from me.

A couple of alternate choices for a good book about getting out of debt and getting started on your financial journey include You Need a Budget by Jesse Mecham and I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. You Need a Budget focuses on a simple way of developing an actual budget that works for people, while I Will Teach You to Be Rich offers good practical advice on the foundational big financial moves people should make early in their professional lives.

The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing (2nd Edition) by Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer, and Michael LeBoeuf

This is the single book I would recommend to anyone who needs to invest for goals like retirement or for a child’s education but isn’t exorbitantly wealthy. The book does a fantastic job of carefully laying out a plan for doing those things that doesn’t require a financial advisor or obsessive study of finances with a thoughtful philosophy behind all of it.

In short, the Bogleheads recommend investing in index funds, which are a low cost type of investment that aims to match the overall market rather than trying to beat the market. For example, if you are buying a very broad based stock index fund, that fund’s goal is to match the growth of the overall stock market by including tiny amounts of all available stocks and doing that as inexpensively as possible. You won’t get huge returns with this model, but you will get very good returns with a much higher level of consistency and you won’t lose it all, either.

The book guides you through why you should do this and the mechanics of how you can do it through your retirement plans at work, an IRA you might set up for yourself, or plans for your child’s education, aiming to maximize the tax benefits for you. While a bit dry in places, it does a very good job of spelling out in very clear language the “how’s” and “why’s” of investing for the average person in a way that’s logically consistent and balances reasonable risk with pretty good returns without spending a lot of time managing all the details.

Basically, at the point at which The Total Money Makeover begins to become less relevant to your financial life, meaning you’ve paid off your debts and are starting to save for retirement and other goals in earnest, this is the book to pick up. The two books cover almost none of the same ground in personal finance, but complement each other perfectly.

Another well rounded book about investing that I would highly recommend as an alternatives to this book is The Simple Path to Wealth by J.L. Collins. Collins covers much of the same material as the Bogleheads’ book above, with many of the same principles, but uses a more conversational style. If you found the Bogleheads’ book to be a little dry, this might be a better read, but I find that the Bogleheads’ book serves as a great reference book and I turn to it more often (perhaps out of familiarity). However, both books remain on my shelf and I suspect that the authors would all laud the other book and would have a lot in common if they sat down for a conversation.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Regardless of what stage you’re in on your personal finance journey, you’re going to eventually realize that a lot of your success in terms of both improving your income and keeping your spending habits under control comes down to having good routines in your life and being able to make good decisions in the moment. Controlling your impulses and having a daily set of routines that guide you toward your big goal is absolutely fundamental. If your ordinary days don’t guide you toward where you want to be, you’ll never get there.

I considered a lot of books on developing better personal habits and routines, but I think the best all-around book I’ve read in terms of making sense and providing good tools for actually applying the ideas inside is Atomic Habits by James Clear.

Clear’s core idea is that, if you have a sense of what your big goals are, at least in terms of the direction you want to go in life, the best way to get there is a systems-based approach, where you essentially have a handful of tiny habits that you do as a routine on a daily basis that will naturally guide you toward your goal. In terms of personal finance, those tiny habits would be oriented around reducing the overall spending in your average day by doing things like preparing meals at home, taking leftovers, filling your time with low-cost activities, and so on. If you make each day into a system of those habits, you’ll gradually move in a much healthier financial direction. Ask yourself, “what would a financially successful person do today?” and stick to that, making an effort to carry out the habits and routines that a financially successful person would have.

I would strongly point toward Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith as a complement to this book. They are both essentially tackling the same issue – how do I become the person I want to be? – from different angles, with Triggers focusing on behaviors and Atomic Habits focusing on tiny habits and routines. Both are great approaches, with one angle working well for some changes and the other working well for other changes.

Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl

The problem, of course, is that many people don’t know who they want to be or where they want to go.

My view is that personal finance success for anyone who is not exorbitantly wealthy is practically impossible without some level of inner contentment. Inner contentment is different for everyone, but it’s heavily tied to really understanding what you truly care about and value and having a life that supports those things, recognizing that even the difficult things are a part of life and that you can’t appreciate the good without some challenges along the way.

That journey toward inner contentment, to me, is an absolute fundamental part of financial success. Your financial state, particularly in terms of your personal choices and spending decisions, are just the surface of what’s going on underneath. We often use money to chase desires and chase away bad feelings that even we don’t understand, and modern marketing is really effective at nudging those underlying feelings. Having some level of inner contentment is absolutely key for resisting those urges and feeling naturally content with your life.

I thought about a lot of different books that could express this idea well. A Guide to the Good Life by William Irvine is certainly one of them, as is Why Buddhism Is True by Robert Wright and How to Be a Stoic by Massimo Pigliucci, among many others. However, I felt like each of those books really just described one particular path to inner contentment, whereas Man’s Search for Meaning is about the idea of that path as a whole.

Part of me wants to recommend this book first rather than last, but the reality is that many people are in an urgent place with their personal finances and going down a path toward internal contentment is not going to be the fix to their finances that they’re seeking. Rather, there’s a realization point with almost any personal change – finances included – that the changes they’re trying to make aren’t fixing what they want from life and a different approach is warranted.

In the end, one’s finances are just a big part of the expression of what we want out of life. When we’re unsure what we want and aren’t content with things, our finances tend to be a mess. It’s only when we’re more sure of what we want and are on a path toward contentment that we can get our finances in line with what we really want.

And, believe it or not, that brings us right back in a circle to Your Money or Your Life, the first book I recommended in this list.

Final Thoughts

My recommendation is that, if you’re struggling with your finances, at least one of these books will deeply speak to you, depending on where you’re at, and that Your Money or Your Life is probably the best jumping-in point by default, followed quickly by either The Total Money Makeover if you’re struggling with debt or The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing (2nd Edition) if your debt is under control and you’re wanting to understand investing basics. The other books follow in almost a cycle, from purpose to plans to routine and back to purpose again, as we all need a helping hand at different points in that cycle at different times.

The amazing part is, many of the principles you’ll pick up from these books apply just as well to other aspects of your life – yes, even the more financially-focused ones.

It’s worth noting that many of the books in this article that I haven’t written about individually on this site before will eventually be discussed in detail, offering a detailed summary so you can know the high points of the book before deciding whether to read them yourself. Many of them have already been discussed before, and here are links to those earlier discussions:
+ Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin
+ The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
+ You Need a Budget by Jesse Mecham
+ Atomic Habits by James Clear
+ Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith

Good luck, and happy reading!

The post My “Five Books” for Financial and Life Improvement appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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Friday, September 13, 2019

When Do You Need Life Insurance?

When I graduated from college, a thoughtful relative of mine gave me a letter she had typed out on her computer. It was about twenty pages of material that she had typed out over the course of a number of years, and she printed out a version of it for every relative of hers who graduated from college or trade school or high school, given at the point where it was clear that they were about to enter the workforce.

The letter mostly contained a ton of different practical life advice and suggestions about how to navigate life as an adult. I don’t have it any more – it was wiped out when my apartment flooded at some point in the mid-2000s – but I do remember much of the advice.

One piece of advice that I remember stewing over was the suggestion to get life insurance. She said to get a big thirty year policy that would cover me through the years when I would be raising kids and to get it young so the premiums were cheap. It’s really good advice, but I didn’t really internalize it and never bothered to get a policy.

Instead, I waited around until my firstborn was a couple of years old and then I got a 20 year policy, which would cover the loss of my income during the period when we would have kids at home.

Looking back, I clearly understand why I didn’t get a policy at first and why I did get a policy later. At first, I really didn’t have anyone depending on me, so what was the point of having a big life insurance policy? Later on, people were depending on me, so a life insurance policy made sense.

In the end, that’s the key answer to whether or not you need a life insurance policy. Is anyone else depending on your income in order to maintain their quality of life? If you disappeared, would the void of a lack of income create hardship in the lives of people that you love? If the answer is no, then you (probably) don’t need life insurance. If the answer is yes, then you should probably get a policy.

Let’s look at a few specifics.

First of all, if you’re single with no plans to be in a long-term relationship and no plans for children, a life insurance policy is probably not a very high priority. You almost definitely have financial priorities in your life that greatly supersede a life insurance policy, so take care of those things. Things like debt repayment and retirement savings take a much higher priority here.

On the other end of the spectrum is people with children, who should have some significant form of term life insurance to help provide for those children should an unfortunate event happen. The term of that policy should last into the adulthood of your children so that if something happens to you at any point during their growing years, they’ll be financially taken care of. It is a very good idea to couple this action with a clearly-stated will that identifies who is to become the guardian of your children in the event of your untimely death. This is a decision we wrestled with greatly, but when we made our decision, it was clear that it was the right decision, and it’s one that we wanted to spell out in legally binding terms.

The challenge comes with situations that are in the middle, and you’re likely to get a lot of contradictory advice. Here are some principles I recommend.

If you don’t have any life insurance and have at least some realistic chance of having a child in the next ten years, you should get a thirty year term policy now rather than later. The reason is simple: getting such a policy now, when you’re in relatively good health and as young as you’ll ever be, lowers the overall risk of the policy and thus lowers the cost of it. In general, a 30 year term policy starting today will cost less in total than a 20 year term policy starting in ten years, simply because of the risk of medical issues cropping up in those intervening ten years.

If you are in a long term relationship with someone and your partner would be financially unstable without your income but children are not planned or expected, consider a shorter term policy. You’ll want to be sure to cover the years in which you expect that your partner would be in financial difficulty without your income, and the benefit for that policy should be enough to make up for that financial shortfall in your partner’s life.

Another valuable principle to follow: as soon as you realize that your situation has changed and you’re now in a situation where life insurance is important, get a policy now rather than later. The reason is that the younger you are, the less expensive term life insurance will be, plus you run the risk of experiencing a loss of life or a serious health issue between now and when you get the policy. The sooner you get it, the better.

The truth is that life insurance is about having a good grasp as to where you’re trying to go with your life as well as having a sense of responsibility for those choices. I am financially responsible for my children because we made the decision to bring them into this world and they’re not capable yet of earning an income of their own, thus I need to do all I can to help shepherd them to that point. I am also financially responsible for my wife, to an extent – she’s quite capable of earning a solid income on her own, but there would be financial impact if my income were to suddenly disappear, and my financial planning needs to take that into account.

What should you buy if you determine that you need life insurance? My general recommendation is to get a term policy with a term long enough to cover the period in your life where you have dependents whose lives would be very adversely affected by losing your income and a benefit large enough to replace your income for ten years. As for who to buy from, the market changes frequently, so I’ll point you to The Simple Dollar’s guide to life insurance companies for help in your decision. In general, I recommend shopping around amongst well-established and reputable insurance providers before choosing a policy, and I would make sure to look at providers who cater to specific groups you might be a part of, such as veterans or teachers or members of a particular faith.

The key thing to take home is this: life insurance is merely a tool that takes care of people who depend on you in the event of your death. Term life insurance is the most cost-efficient way of taking care of this. Buy a term policy that will cover the people who depend on you for as long as they’ll depend on you, and that will help you figure out the term that you need and the benefit that you’ll need.

A final note: having a healthy life insurance policy that will take care of my wife and children is a notable stress reliever. It takes care of that worry that many people who have long-term partners and also many people who have children have, that if something were to happen to them it would have a catastrophic impact on their family. There’s nothing you can do that will replace your presence, but this is a part of the equation that you can control, and it’s one that, when you do take care of it, brings genuine peace of mind.

If you’re in a situation where a life insurance policy does make sense, it is a very responsible use of a surprisingly small amount of money, and making that move will bring you some peace of mind as well.

Good luck.

The post When Do You Need Life Insurance? appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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Rolpa landslide kills six

Kathmandu, September 13

Six persons of one family died after a landslide buried their house in Thabang village of Rolpa district in Province 5 on Thursday night.

The District Police Office says Shree Kumari Budha (28), her four-year-old son Asal, her brother-in-law Jaya (38), Jaya’s wife Jyoti (36), Jaya and Jyoti’s children Devaki (9) and Karishma (2) died after their house in Chherlobang Jharne of Thaban rural municipality-2 got buried.

The DPO’s information officer Lila Ram Acharya informs that the locals had learned about the incident only this morning.

While two bodies were taken out from the debris in the morning, the four other bodies were recovered in the afternoon.

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Police arrest some Indra Jatra revellers, claim they were planning a protest

Kathmandu, September 13

Police have arrested some people who came to attend the Indra Jatra festival in Basantapur. Those arrested include former DIG Bijaya Raj Bhatta and former Nepal Army major Keshav Basnet.

“Narayan Hari Gajurel and I were at Bhugol Park. That is when police came and arrested us saying they received an order from the higher authorities. We are being kept at Nepal Police Club,” informs former DIG Bhatta.

He further adds that the police were arresting people walking on the road and sitting in the park.

Metropolitan Police spokesperson DSP Hobindra Bogati, however, says that those persons were arrested because they were involved in ‘undisciplined’ activities.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari is due to visit Basantapur to observe the Indra Jatra rituals this evening. Police sources say the arrestees were planning a protest in front of the president.

Meanwhile, police say they confiscated 248 black t-shirts from them.

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Investigation team blames ‘human error’ for Lukla crash

 

Kathmandu, September 13

An investigation team has concluded that ‘human error’ caused an aircraft accident at Lukla Airport which took the lives of three persons on April 14 this year. The investigation team, which submitted its preliminary report to Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai recently, states that the accident happened due to the pilot’s negligence.

According to the report, the pilot failed to control the aircraft’s power lever which is why the aircraft turned towards the right. The team found that before the pilot could think of taking control of the power lever, the aircraft had already crashed.

According to a source at the Tourism Ministry, there was nothing wrong with the aircraft. The investigation team also said that had the runway not been steep or been a bit wide, the accident could have been avoided as the pilot would have had more time to control the aircraft.

The Summit Air 9N AMH (L410) plane had collided with a parked (Manang Air) helicopter on the day of Nepali New Year. Three people had died and two others were injured in the incident. After the incident, the government had formed an investigation team under the leadership of CAAN’s former director general Rajesh Raj Dali.

The preliminary report will now be sent to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the aircraft manufacturers, CAAN and Summit Air asking for suggestions. The report will be made public in roughly two months.

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Police arrest three for attacking on NC Banke president Koirala

Banke, September 13

Police have arrested three persons for their alleged involvement in assaulting Nepali Congress Banke president Kiran Koirala.

Police Inspector Poshan Thapaliya, chief of Dhanauni Area Police, shares that police are searching for other three involved in the incident of assaulting NC district leader.

A group of cadres of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) attacked Koirala and other cadres, claims Sushamshu Koirala, an NC cadre.

However, NCP Banke chair IP Kharel has refuted his allegation. “We do have no policy to disrupt the NC’s programme. It is an unpleasant incident occurred due to personal vengeance between an NC cadre and our youth supporters”.

An unruly group of youth had attacked NC Banke president and other cadres while participating in the second edition of NC’s nationwide awareness drive at Red Cross meeting hall in Sitapur of Banke on Thursday.

President Koirala had her hand fractured in the incident. Her treatment was undertaken at Western Hospital in Nepalgunj.

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One killed, four injured after car gets buried under landslide in Palpa

Kathmandu, September 13

A man was killed and four others have been injured after a car was buried under a landslide on the Sidhababa road section that connects Palpa and Butwal.

The deceased has been identified as Kamal Pariyar of Gulmi, said police adding that the incident took place as at around 10:30 am near Tinau Rural Municipality in Palpa. District police officer SP Dipendra GC told Onlinekhabar that the people injured in the incident are stable and have been rushed to Lumbini Zone Hospital, Butwal.

Similarly, a Scorpio (Lu 2 Cha 5938) was also buried under the landslide. However, everyone walked out safely, informed police. Traffic on the road was disrupted for over an hour after the incident, informed SP DC.

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Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Challenge of Seeing Progress

Monica writes in (with a bit of editing and a link added so you can jump straight to the article she’s mentioning):

I’m in the “boring middle” that you wrote about the other day. Been trying to articulate what I’m struggling with and I think it’s that I don’t see any progress. It’s just a day in and day out grind toward my goal of retiring early. My life isn’t really getting better in any tangible way that I can point at, as having 5 years of living expenses socked away is much the same as having 10 years of it. It’s that endless repetition without visible change in my life that is wearing me down.

This is a challenge with almost every long term goal that people face. Once you start down the long journey of that goal, it can become very difficult to actually detect any sort of forward progress on that goal in your day to day life. You are making progress, but it doesn’t feel like you’re making any progress, and that can go on and on and on.

While much of the advice for handling the “boring middle” works well in terms of developing a sustainable pattern of behavior so that you can keep on moving forward even when it’s boring, it doesn’t help much with this very real issue. The only suggestion that really touches on this at all is developing milestones along the way and celebrating those milestones in a non-disruptive way.

What exactly can you do when you’re a third of the way or halfway to your big goal, the day to day progress is dreadfully boring, and you don’t actually notice any significant change in your day-to-day life, even after months and years of effort?

Here are some things that work well for me.

Make Your Overall Progress Visual

Sarah and I have a target number at which we can withdraw 3% of that amount each year for the rest of our lives and live a lifestyle similar to what we do now, plus with some freedom to do some low-cost travel without worry (as part of our retirement plan is to see a great deal of America and do some traveling around the world). We’ve already adjusted that target number for inflation and it’s roughly what we’d need if we reach that goal in about 2030-2032. That number is in the $2.5 million range, so let’s use that as a round number.

I took a piece of graph paper and counted off an area of 80 squares by 125 squares and drew a big box of that size on the graph paper. This contains 10,000 individual tiny squares.

Since our goal is $2.5 million in retirement savings, each one of those squares represents $250 in retirement savings.

Each month or so, I calculate the total balance of our retirement accounts and compare it to our previous all-time high. For every $250 that our current number bests the previous all-time high, I fill in a single square on that grid.

This is actually a very enjoyable ritual. On a really good month, where we socked away money and the stock market did well, I might fill in a whole bunch of squares. There are months, however, where I don’t fill in any at all (generally those are months when the stock market took a significant dive).

Another benefit of this is that I can see our overall progress by just glancing at that picture, which I have hung unlabeled in a place where I see it frequently. Over time, I can’t help but see how that grid is getting filled in.

Over time, the grid as a whole becomes darker. You can fill it in one square at a time, line after line, or you can come up with your own pattern, or you can just fill it in at random based on how you feel at the moment. You can use a color you like or even multiple colors. No matter how you do it, you’ll see that grid darkening over time, creating a visual reminder of your progress.

Compare Your Current State to Your Starting State

Whenever I start on a big goal, I usually make some kind of opening statement, usually in the form of a rather difficult entry in my daily journal. I outline the state of my life as it is right now, focusing in particular on all of the elements of my life that I’m wanting to fix by adopting a big goal. I didn’t do this in particular with my own financial goal right when I started it, but I could definitely find elements of this in things I wrote right around the time of my lowest financial point. On the other hand, I have done this with many other goals since then.

When I find myself in the “boring middle” and getting disheartened, I pull out that “opening statement” and read it. I read about the state that my life was in before I made changes to it, and I compare that to the state my life is in right now.

That simple act makes me feel incredibly good about what I’ve achieved so far and often fills my sails with a great deal of desire to continue that forward progress. Mostly, this is due to a desire to not revert back to the way things were, but instead move forward to the way things should be.

For example, when I started this financial journey, Sarah and I had a negative net worth, we had a total amount of student loans in the high five figures, we have more than $10,000 in credit card debt, we had two car loans, and we lived in a tiny apartment. We were struggling mightily to keep the bills paid and we were both upset that many of our lifetime dreams were slipping away from us. We didn’t see a clear path to owning a home of our own and we were very worried about the future for our child (and future children).

Flash forward to right now, where we have no debt at all, own our home with the mortgage completely paid off, have substantial retirement savings and a very healthy emergency fund, three children with an abundance of college savings put away for each of them, and a pretty clear plan for the future.

I have zero interest in going back to where we started from, or even moving in that direction at all. There’s almost nothing I can think of that I could add to my life that would make me want to move back in that direction.

That feeling adds a great deal of motivation to stay on my current path. It’s a powerful antidote to the mild negativity that can crop up along the “boring middle” of the path.

You can do essentially the same thing for any goal. Just look at where you were when you started, and you can make that easier by writing something of an “opening statement” when you launch a new long term goal, making it clear where you are right now and how you feel about it (probably not very good). It will be a powerful motivator for you going forward and a very powerful comparison point, as it makes it abundantly clear that your life has improved a ton, even if you don’t see it.

Sketch Out Your Destination in Detail – and Revisit It Regularly

While the previous strategy centered around looking back to the past, this one is all about looking forward to the future.

What exactly will your life be like when you achieve the goal you’re heading towards? What will improve with regards to your life, both on a daily scale and on a broader scale? What will a typical day be like for you once you’ve achieved that goal?

Think about things such as reduced stress levels, reduced worries about finances (or whatever your goal is about), and the elements of your life that will actually change if you achieve your goal.

For example, when Sarah and I achieve our overall goal, our professional stress will basically vanish, as will pretty much any remaining concerns we have about day-to-day finances. Both of our careers will shift drastically, with Sarah moving into a volunteer position and me transitioning into writing opportunities with a very low guarantee but a very high upside. Our day to day lives will be a lot more flexible, due to both the financial stability and our children growing up and moving out. We’ll have the ability to easily visit our children and any grandchildren and to be able to help when needed.

When I think about that picture, I find myself drawn to it in a very deep way. That’s the life I want, very strongly. It’s simply a substantially improved version, in many ways, of the life I have right now.

Revisiting this picture regularly reaffirms my commitment to a lot of the choices I’ve made that define my day to day life right now, as I realize that if I undo those changes, not only will I slip back toward that initial state that I was unhappy with, this vision for the future will slip away, too. Doing things like we’re doing them right now makes that future grow slowly bigger and that past shrink away slowly; changing what I’m doing will achieve the opposite, and I desperately don’t want that.

Reflect Deeply on All Spheres of Your Life

Often, when a person gets the sense that their life isn’t going anywhere, it’s because on some level they’re unhappy with some aspect of their life. Without digging in a little deeper, it is incredibly easy to misattribute that sense of unease to some other aspect of one’s life, particularly something that seems very front and center… like, perhaps, a big goal you’re working on.

The problem is that if you take an axe to that front and center aspect of your life, you’ll often find that things have become worse, not better. You’ve damaged something that was actually good while leaving something that wasn’t good untouched, compounding the difficulties in your life.

A much better approach, when you feel a sense of boredom or vague unhappiness with your life, is to spend some time really assessing your life in detail.

One thing I do every so often, perhaps every six months, is to go through each of the spheres of my life – physical, mental, spiritual, intellectual, marital, parental, social, professional, financial, and leisure/avocational – and ask myself, within that sphere alone, what are five things I’m happy with and five things I’m not happy with.

After that’s done, I gather up all of the things I’m happy with and all of the things I’m unhappy with and spend some time with each list. My goal is to identify ten things I’m truly happy with in my life – the best of the good stuff – and ten things I’m most unhappy with in my life – the worst things.

When I have those lists, I usually ask myself why about each one of them. Why does this particular thing make me happy? Why is that answer so important? I dig down to five levels of why’s. I do the same with the negative ones. Why does this particular thing make me unhappy? Why do I feel that way about my answer to that? Again, I try to go five levels deep with the why’s.

What I find, every time, is that the good things in my life are the result of me living life in accordance with what I most value, whereas the bad things in my life are the result of me living life out of whack with what I most deeply value. Often, reviewing the good things in a deep way reveals those values, and then understanding those values makes it clear that many of the bad things are because I’m out of whack with those values.

The thing is, this kind of exploration will take you in unexpected directions, every time. Quite often, the things we try to do to improve our lives are attempts to address surface issues without digging down into what’s really going on.

Before you take action, make sure that your sense of feeling “worn down” by your goal is really being caused by your goal, and this is a practice that has almost always helped me find answers when I’m struggling.

Change Significant Aspects of Your Life That Won’t Derail the Big Goal

As I noted above, a person’s life is made up of a bunch of different spheres – physical, mental, spiritual, intellectual, marital, parental, social, professional, financial, and leisure/avocational, and perhaps even more. Quite often, a big goal is really only relevant to one or two of those spheres. For example, a huge financial goal is usually only causing significant changes in the financial sphere of your life, with only minor effects in other areas.

Thus, when you’re looking around your life for the big changes you want to see and your eyes pass over the physical and mental and social and marital and professional and avocational spheres, you probably don’t see much change at all. That’s because that big goal, as life-changing as it might be, really isn’t affecting those other spheres much at all. It’s changing one axis of your life and leaving all of the other axes alone.

What can you do about that? Find ways to make changes in the other spheres.

This is something I suggested in the earlier “boring middle” article when I suggested coming up with other major goals. Inherently, those other goals would begin to alter other spheres in your life, creating more of a constant sense of change throughout your life. You might not sense much is changing if only one sphere is shifting, but if five are?

However, you might not necessarily have big goals in other spheres. You might just have a sense that things are old and stale.

The solution, then, is to simply try new things in lots of different spheres in your life without derailing the progress you’ve made in the financial sphere.

With your physical sphere, try new exercise routines. Check out what your local parks and rec department has to offer and get involved in some of that stuff. Try a completely new sport or a completely new kind of physical fitness. Start doing yoga at home, for example. Reboot your dining habits and try eating a bunch of new kinds of foods. Try to do a grocery trip based on meals that are new to you with lots of ingredients that are new to you.

With your mental/spiritual sphere, try reading books about different spiritual traditions and explore some of the practices of those different traditions. Dig into things like mindfulness meditation and journaling.

With your intellectual sphere, dig deep into a new subject or a new skill that you know little about and make an effort to learn about it. Check out a book on World War I from the library, or teach yourself how to knit using some yarn, a few needles, and Youtube.

With your marital sphere, try spicing up your life with your partner. Change up the routines of your relationship. Hold your partner more often and tell your partner that you love them. Plan a surprise “staycation” and do some things together that you don’t regularly get to do together.

With your parental sphere, just try doing whatever it is that your kids are into at the moment, with your full attention and heart. Put aside 30 minutes or an hour each day and just engage with them directly. Find some windows for one on one time and don’t push conversation, but see if it happens.

With your social sphere, intentionally go to social events that you might have otherwise skipped. Plan a big dinner party at your house and invite some people over. Make a daily habit of getting ahold of an old friend for a meaningful conversation.

With your professional sphere, try taking on a new kind of project at work that’s different than what you were normally working on. If you find your workplace stale, polish up your resume and do some job searching.

With your avocational/leisure sphere, try spending a full day this weekend devoted to a hobby that you really care about, turning off as many distractions as you can. Make this a regular habit once every few weeks, just giving a day over to going fishing or reading a book or whatever you deeply enjoy.

There are lots of ways to change up the tired patterns of your life without adopting a huge new goal. Often, those little change-ups can breathe a lot of new life into a life that seems to have become “boring” and repetitive.

The interesting part is that, if you start diving into those other spheres like this, you often see the shadow of your progress in the main sphere of your life. You find that things that used to cause you stress no longer cause it. You find that you’re no longer distracted by things in your life. You’ll often find that the life concern that drove you to this big goal had a really negative impact on other spheres in your life, and that negative impact is receding and opening up paths that you thought were closed. Look for that, and you might be shocked at what you find.

Final Thoughts

The “boring middle” is a part of almost every major change and major goal we set in our lives. Even if we have tools with which to help us keep up with our goal through that “boring middle,” it can be really hard to see that progress as we’re going along.

That doesn’t mean the progress isn’t there, we just don’t know where to look. Find places to look. Make a visual indicator that shows your overall progress. Compare your life now to your life as it was when you started, and to your life as you want it to be in the end, and note how your life is moving away from that starting point and also toward that closing point. Dig into the other areas of your life to see if there’s something wrong. While you’re at it, try out lots of new things in each other sphere in your life, both to freshen things up and to see how much impact your change really has made.

Seeing progress can be really difficult when your life is in a fixed routine, but if you know where to look, you can see real change.

Good luck.

The post The Challenge of Seeing Progress appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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Nepalis’ labour migration to Malaysia likely to resume as two countries sign fresh pact

Kathmandu, September 12

Labour officials of Nepal and Malaysia have signed a new agreement that is expected to resume the labour migration of Nepali workers to the Southeast Asian country.

Though Malaysia remained one of the most favourite destinations for Nepali workers, the migration process was suspended for over one year after the Nepali government objected to the involvement of private agencies in the process arguing the agents cheated the workers.

Following that, ministers of the two countries signed an agreement in October last year. However, aspiring workers could not receive work permits after that also due to different reasons.

Now, joint secretaries of the concerned ministries of the two countries have signed another agreement that states the halted process would resume immediately and the Nepali workers could join Malaysian jobs at zero cost. In effect, the government would issue labour permits to the workers now onwards, according to an official of the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security.

A Nepali delegation was in Kuala Lumpur for the past three days to discuss the issue.

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CAN election in limbo again after NSC’s ‘interference’

Kathmandu, September 12

The National Sports Council has told an independent committee formed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to stop Cricket Association of Nepal’s annual general meeting and convention scheduled for September 20 and 21.

The convention was called in order to elect a new executive committee of the country’s cricket governing body and stakeholders have expected that it would end the ICC suspension on CAN imposed since 2016.

With the NSC directive, the future of CAN has been put in limbo again. Some have feared that the ICC would take even stronger action against Nepali cricket as similar political interferences had resulted in the suspension three years ago.

NSC Member Secretary Ramesh Silwal recently called the independent committee member Rasjeshwor Shrestha asking him to stop the AGM. According to a source, Silwal told Shrestha to stop the AGM stating that a previous NSC decision stated that any sports committee should issue a notice 21 days before such election. Silwal also stated that NSC should appoint an election committee to conduct the poll.

However, the ICC’s advisory committee had made a statute which states that the independent committee can call the meeting giving advance notice of seven days. This statute was endorsed by the NSC itself. The statute further states that the independent committee itself can form the election committee.

Following the statute’s endorsement, ICC’s independent committee has already held elections in all seven provinces. The independence committee members also claim the NSC cannot form the election committee.

Since CAN’s suspension, the ICC itself has been looking into Nepali cricket. The new statute was also drafted in consultation with the ICC.

The independent committee has reported NSC’s objection on the eve of the AGM.

Meanwhile, ICC’s Deputy Chairman Imran Khawaja has said that he will personally speak with Silwal over the issue, according to an independent committee member. “The talk between Silwal and Khawaja should solve this problem. But you never know,” the member states.

The ICC is organising a board meeting on October 13 which is expected to discuss the CAN suspension. However, the agenda of the meeting is yet to be finalised.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Nepal Olympic Committee to get new leadership this Saturday

Kathmandu, September 12

Nepal Olympic Committee says it is holding an election to elect the new executive committee this Saturday.

The committee’s outgoing chairman Jeevan Ram Shrestha says the election will be held at its central office in Satdobato of Lalitpur from 8 am this Saturday, Whereas Shrestha is filing his candidacy for the next term, Umesh Lal Shrestha is challenging him.

Nilendra Raj Shrestha and Purendra Bikram Lakhe will vie for the general secretary’s position supporting Jeevan Ram Shrestha and Umesh Lal Shrestha respectively.

Earlier, the committee had decided to conduct the election on September 6. It was postponed owing to an interim order from the Supreme Court in response to a writ filed by an executive committee member, Kamal Bahadur Chitrakar. Last Sunday, the apex court consulted both the sides and ordered that the election needed not to be postponed.

The outgoing chairman says the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic Council of Asia will observe the poll.

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Nepal summons GMR for talks as the company failed to move Upper Karnali hydro project ahead

Kathmandu, September 12

After India’s GMR Group failed to move ahead with implementing the Upper Karnali Hydropower Project contract it was awarded 12 years ago, Nepal has summoned the company for a meeting to discuss next steps of the project.

Stakeholders have complained that the company held the ambitious project hostage as it has not even generated funds for the project. Hence, the Investment Board Nepal, the government authority formed to govern big infrastructure projects, has taken fresh initiatives for a meeting.

The board’s Chief Executive Officer Maha Prasad Adhikari says the company has been summoned for a formal meeting next week.

Around five years ago, the government had signed a project development agreement to implement the contract signed with the company whereas it extended the term given to collect funds twice. The extended time given for the financial closure expired last year. Since then, no progress has been made.

The company has been lobbying for the extension of the period for the financial closure, but the government has not agreed. Neither has it cancelled the PDA.

The government officials expect that the company will ask for another extension during the meeting to be held next week. Adhikari says the next course will be decided based on the progress to be reported by the company.

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Govt tabling Passport Bill at House a year after President returned

Kathmandu, September 12

Nearly one year after it first endorsed, the House of Representatives is beginning a fresh discussion on the controversial Passport Bill on Thursday.

Though the House endorsed the bill on September 26 last year, it has not been enacted by President Bidya Devi Bhandari. On May 22 this year, President Bhandari had returned the bill citing the House of Representatives ‘unilaterally’ forwarded the law draft while the National Assembly was yet to endorse it.

Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara had forwarded the bill to the President after the National Assembly could not make any decision on the bill after two months of discussion. The Upper House was stuck as a few lawmakers objected to key provisions of the bill.

The Federal Parliament Secretariat informs that Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali will table the bill for a discussion at the Lower House this afternoon. Once the Lower House approves it, the bill has to be sent to the Upper House before forwarding to the president.

The House meeting has been scheduled for 1 pm today.

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On “Living For Today” or “Living Each Day Like It’s Your Last”

For a long time, I found myself frustrated by the sentiment of “living for today” or “living each day like it was your last.”

If today was my last day on earth, I’d eat my favorite meals and spend pure leisure time with the core people that I love the most. If today was the only thing that mattered, I wouldn’t do things like clean the house or do my job or anything like that.

In short, I viewed statements like that as encouragement to lead a purely short-term hedonistic lifestyle, which is great if the world was going to end tomorrow. Just do whatever feels good because the consequences don’t matter. However, in the real world, there are a lot of consequences for living like that. You can’t sustain an income, for starters. Your health will probably fall apart, depending on what you choose to do. Your living areas will fall into a pretty bad state before long. If you live solely for today, then tomorrow will end up being pretty terrible.

Over the last few years, however, I’ve come to take a much different approach on this advice, and I’ve found that it’s actually incredibly good advice.

Rather than looking at the advice as simply an encouragement to ignore all consequences for your behavior, treat it as an encouragement to live each day as though it defined who you are as a person.

In other words, live for today in the sense that when people think about you as a person and your eulogy is written, it’s based upon your behavior today. What do you want said about you when you pass away? What do you want people to remember about you when you’re gone from this world? That’s what you should fill today with, not the other stuff you waste time and energy on.

Or, for another way of looking at it, live today in a way that, when you look back on it in twenty years, today will be a day you’re really proud of.

In other words, “live for today,” to me, means nothing else matters other than making today a day you’re incredibly proud of.

So, what exactly does that mean for me?

It means a day where I didn’t waste money and energy on things that aren’t meaningful for me. If I’m spending money just for a little burst of pleasure, or if I’m spending time and energy on something that I’ll just forget in a day or two and for which there will be no positive residue in my life, then I’m probably not living for today. When I live for today, I don’t waste resources on things that aren’t really meaningful.

It means a day where I planted a lot of seeds for the future. A really good day means a day where I go to sleep knowing that there are a lot of things to look forward to in my life, and to have that means that I have to invest time now in things that won’t pay off for a while. That can mean investing in myself, as I discussed yesterday. It can mean putting aside money for the future instead of spending it on something meaningless today. It can simply mean taking a real step forward on a big project that won’t be finished up for a while. If I plant several seeds like this each day, then there will come a point in my life where lots of seeds are sprouting each and every day, making my life into a lovely garden. When I live for today, I move forward on big projects and do some things that won’t pay off for a while.

It means a day where I go to bed genuinely tired from physical and mental exertion and sleep comes easily. A good day is a day when I exerted myself, where I used my body and my mind and my “social batteries” to do something useful, draining them such that when I go to bed, sleep is a meaningful recharge. I also know that if I used my body and my mind and my “social batteries” thoroughly, I probably did some worthwhile things. When I live for today, I fully exert my mind, my body, and my social batteries.

It means a day where I built or sustained positive relationships rather than damaging them. That doesn’t mean every single interaction has to be happy and positive, but that they do have to be full of love and care. I can provide lessons for my children that aren’t necessarily positive ones while still maintaining the understanding that I love them deeply, and they’ll know that too and it can actually strengthen our bond. There are also infinite possibilities for positive bonding, too. The key thing is to have those interactions be meaningful, not just empty babble, because it’s the meaningful things that build bonds. Have conversations where you say worthwhile things. Do active things together. Those are what sustain and build relationships. When I live for today, I build up relationships and don’t tear them down.

It means a day where I laughed, I thought, and I cried, and I shared those experiences with someone. I’m a big believer in Jim Valvano’s idea of a great day, in which a person laughs, cries, and thinks deeply about something. If you do those three things, you’ve had a pretty good day. If you can share those experiences with others, then that’s even better. (This is part of why I enjoy board game nights so much; they almost always involve laughing and thinking with others.) When I live for today, I laugh, I cry, I think, and I share those things with others.

It means a day where I don’t feel like I missed opportunities. Life hands you opportunities all the time. Your wife is standing there at a table doing something and you have an opportunity to put your arms around her and kiss her neck. Your son looks bored and you have an opportunity to do something meaningful with him. A great idea flickers in your head and you have an opportunity to write it down and maybe eventually take action on it. You see a great bargain at a yard sale and you have the cash to immediately take advantage of it. Good days are ones where I take advantage of lots of those opportunities; bad days are ones where I lay in bed thinking about opportunities lost. When I live for today, I don’t let those opportunities pass.

It means a day where I share the good things I feel. If I feel love for someone, I let them know. If I see someone do something I think is great, I tell them that the thing they just did is awesome. If I appreciate someone, I get ahold of them and tell them that I appreciate who they are or what they did for me. I’ve learned, over the years, that there is only upside to this, and you’re almost always better off saying something, even if you’ve said it many times before. You can never tell your wife you love her too many times. When I live for today, I say the good things I feel about others and about the world around me.

It means treating my body and mind as things that I want to last for a very long time. This is probably the part that I struggle with the most. Living for today doesn’t mean hurting my body and my mind; rather, it means the opposite. It means treating them as things that I want to be able to rely on for many, many more years, so that I don’t feel completely worn out after relatively little exertion, so that understanding complex things doesn’t feel overwhelming. I am to eat well, to exercise well, and to be observant of the world around me and to think clearly about what’s happening. This doesn’t mean I don’t go out for a nice meal with friends; it just means I try to avoid putting junk in my body. This doesn’t mean I don’t engage in silly things; it just means I try to enjoy the moment. When I live for today, I do and eat healthy things and aim to be present in the moment as much as possible.

It means doing everything in accordance with the values I hold dear. I’m not going to get into a lot of what I think is morally right or wrong or what my own values are, other than to say that I do think some things are right and wrong in terms of personal behavior and there are clearly some best practices for being a good person. The closer I stick to those values and practices, the better the day is. When I live for today, I try to live as closely as possible to my own core values in everything that I do.

For me, that’s what living for today means. It means that if my entire life were to be judged by a single day on this earth, it would be today. It means that if I could design a day that I live right now that, if I were to repeat it, would lead to a truly amazing life in the future, that’s the kind of day I want to lead today.

Living for today doesn’t mean binging on junk food, buying a bunch of stuff online, and watching a bunch of Netflix while barely moving from the couch. It doesn’t mean partying all day and all night, either. It means simply living a truly great day that’s in line with everything you want out of life, and that includes health, financial stability, good relationships, and everything else.

Go out there and live for today. As John Wooden put it, “Make each day your masterpiece.”

The post On “Living For Today” or “Living Each Day Like It’s Your Last” appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

An effect of rising deforestation in Brazil, Amazon fires turn into a global crisis

In December 2017, while receiving an honour medal from the Brazilian government, Cacique Raoni, an indigenous Kayapo chief, said: “We must be united, because they want to reduce our lands”. Raoni Metuktire became an internationally recognisable face thirty years ago when he toured with British musician Sting through 17 countries to denounce deforestation in the world’s largest rainforest. Raoni was born in Mato Grosso, a state in Brazil’s central west region where large swathes of the Amazon have been burning for the past week.

The Chapada dos Guimarães National Park is one of those areas; it burned for 10 days before the fire could be controlled on August 19. According to newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, in 2019 alone 12 per cent of the park’s area was consumed by wildfire. Brazil has had a record-breaking year in the number of wildfires, and the state of Mato Grosso is the Brazilian state that recorded the highest amount of blazes.

Mato Grosso, a major farming state in Brazil, shares a border with Bolivia, where wildfires affected an area equivalent to approximately 745,000 football fields. After overseeing the region from a helicopter, Brazil’s environment minister, Ricardo Salles denied he had performed budgetary cuts in inspection operations, and blamed the dry weather and criminals for the situation (without presenting evidence).

The events described above capture the current scenario in Brazil, which has recently drawn the attention of the whole world. For the past two days, hashtags such as #PrayForTheAmazon and #ActfortheAmazon have been trending on Twitter. It is a scenario with activists who have long denounced deforestation and crimes against the Brazilian environment, usually committed for the sake of expanding cattle ranches and farms. The effects of the dry season, the lack of state action, and a government who refuses to take responsibility have all contributed to the plight of the Amazon region.

According to many experts interviewed by several Brazilian news outlets this week, the fires have more than just one cause. “Deforestation, seasonal burnings, lack of funding and inspection” are among those listed in a story gathered by news site UOL.

President Jair Bolsonaro has in more than one occasion blamed NGOs for the fire, without presenting evidence — he says he has “a hunch” that those groups are starting fires with the objective to harm his government and his image abroad. Bolsonaro says he has cut 40 per cent of the budget destined to NGOs in Brazil.

Germany and Norway have both frozen donations to the Amazon Fund, which bankrolls recovery projects and monitors deforestation in the region. Both countries, which are the fund’s biggest donors, have justified their decisions on the grounds of the rapidly increasing deforestation during the Bolsonaro government.

In this current crisis, the Amazon Fund is a major funder of water trucks and firefighter’s gear to combat the ongoing fires.

The Amazon under Bolsonaro

Between January and August 19, 2019, Brazil has seen 72,843 fires, an increase of 83 per cent compared to the same period in 2018, according to data by Brazil’s National Space Research Institute (Inpe). A report by the Amazon Environment Research Institute (Ipam), quoted by El Pais, says that 60 per cent of the blazes started inside private properties, 16 per cent in indigenous lands and one per cent in protected areas.

The 10 towns within the Amazon region with the highest numbers of fires are also the ones with the highest rates of deforestation, according to both institutes. In addition, 52 per cent of the fires identified in Brazil this year happened in the Amazon. Nasa has also declared that the fires “bear the signature of deforestation.”

When Inpe showed in July that deforestation in the Amazon was growing, the government protested. Brazil’s Environment Minister Ricardo Salles said the data was inaccurate and that they would hire another firm to present alternative numbers. The Minister of Institutional Security, General Augusto Heleno, said the numbers were “manipulated”. And President Bolsonaro himself suggested Inpe’s director could be working for an NGO. He also said, “If all the devastation that you accuse us of doing now and in the past [were true], the Amazon would be extinct already.”

Finally, in August, the government fired Inpe’s director Ricardo Galvão for publicizing the data on deforestation.

Amazon is a frequent topic in Bolsonaro’s diatribes. During his presidential campaign, he frequently advocated for the area to be open to mining. He has echoed a view that dates back to the Brazilian military dictatorship period, which says that the Amazon should be “integrated” to the country through development in order to avoid it being “delivered” to foreign nations. Journalist Rubens Valente writes:

To summarise, this theory states that NGOs and indigenous people intend, in collusion with foreign countries, to divide the region through the independence of a few areas. The external attacks “on Brazil”, meaning, to the Brazilian government, would hide a secret international plan to take over those rich and exuberant portions of land.

From the 1980s on, those ideas began to be spread even more intensely in military circles (…)

Such fiction finds a fertile soil in the government of Jair Bolsonaro, a reformed captain, who has set the agenda on the relationship of the Brazilian government with the Amazon and the foreign countries that encourage the region’s preservation.

Bolsonaro’s minister Salles defends that the solution for Amazon’s problems is “to monetize” the region by opening areas for commercial development. Under Salles’ tenure, fines for crimes against the flora have dropped 23 per cent.

Online commotion

An estimate by professor Fabio Malini published on August 22 pointed that in only 14 hours, more than 2.5 million tweets about the fires were sent: 949,445 in English, 698,943 in Spanish and 593,873 in Portuguese.

10.2 million tweets on the Brazilian Amazon in the past 7 days. 4.3 million just yesterday. The data is similar, in terms of volume, to the commotion seen after big terrorist attacks. This network has 2.1 million RTs, captured during 14 hours, until 7 pm yesterday, Brasilia time.

Many celebrities who tried to show support ended up using images that were either old or not from the Amazon. That includes the Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen and France’s President Emmanuel Macron, who both posted an image from the 1990s when speaking on the matter.

Macron, who met Cacique Raoni this year, called a G7 meeting to discuss the situation. Bolsonaro reacted by saying that the French president was trying to use a domestic issue in Brazil for his own political gains in France:

I’m sorry that president Macron seeks to weaponize an internal issue of Brazil and other Amazon countries for his personal political gains. The sensationalist tone with which he refers to the Amazon (even appealing to false pictures) does not contribute in any way to the solution of the problem.

The Brazilian government is still open to dialogue, based on objective data and mutual respect. The suggestion of the French president that the Amazon issues should be debated by the G7, without the participation of the countries of the region, evoques a colonialist mentality in the 21st century.

But there are signs that the criticism is producing effects. The Novo Party, of libertarian leanings, has been attempting to distance itself from Salles, its most prominent member. Calls for EU sanctions on certain Brazilian products are gaining strength. With protests around the world against his government, Bolsonaro decided to send the army to fight the fires and broadcasted the announcement on national TV and radio. Several cities registered people banging pots and pans while he was on air and protests took the streets in Rio de Janeiro, Brasília and São Paulo.

Indigenous congresswoman Joenia Wapichana and her party colleagues, also formally asked for the impeachment of the environment minister for crimes of responsibility.

This article was first posted on Global Voices. 

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