July 20, 2007:
Civil unrest is growing. Royalists are now
demonstrating, and fighting those who want to eliminate the monarchy. The U.S.
believes the Maoists still want absolute power, and will continue to list the Nepalese
Maoists as a terrorist organization. American intelligence indicates that there
is a dispute within the Maoist movement, over exactly how to take absolute
power. It's apparently a matter of timing, and how much to cooperate with
democratic parties in the meantime.
Half a dozen bombs recently
went off in the south, but police believe this is the result of criminal gangs
extorting money from businesses. Meanwhile, the government has told separatist
groups in the south to start negotiating by the end of the month, or face a
military and police crackdown. In the capital, criminal gangs are becoming more
aggressive, given the number of police diverted to crowd and riot control.
Despite the unrest, the
tourist industry continues to thrive and grow. For the first six months of the
year, tourist arrivals were up 37 percent, compared to last year. Some 75 percent of the tourists are from
Asia, particularly India.