Opposition lambasts Nepal cabinet shuffle
KATMANDU, Dec 8 (AP): Nepal's opposition parties on Thursday called King Gyanendra's Cabinet shuffle meaningless, saying it would not make any difference in the troubled Himalayan kingdom.
The king shuffled his Cabinet on Wednesday, removing eight former members and adding 20 new faces, just weeks after Nepal's seven major political parties signed a pact with communist rebels to step up their campaign to oust the royal government.
"The reshuffle is meaningless. This will not help resolve the situation in the country," said Ram Chandra Poudel of the Nepali Congress, the largest political party in Nepal.
"It just shows that the king is not serious about defusing the situation in the country," Poudel said.
"This is only a continuation of the autocratic exercise. We are fighting for full democracy and these kind of minor changes will make no difference," said Bamdev Gautam of the Communist Party of Nepal.
Rice offers assurances on torture
BRUSSELS (Internet): Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she can give no guarantee that terrorism detainees won't be abused again despite what she called the United States' clear rules against torture.
"Will there be abuses of policy? That's entirely possible," Rice said at a NATO press conference. "Just because you're a democracy it doesn't mean that you're perfect."
She offered assurances, however, that any abuses would be investigated and violators punished.
"That is the only promise we can make," Rice said. She spoke a day after trying to clarify to European foreign ministers the U.S. policy on secret prisons and treatment of terrorism suspects.