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Nepal Rebel Chief Rules Out Peace with Government, Predicts Maoists' Victory

Nepal's Maoist rebel leader Prachanda has ruled out peace talks or a cease-fire with the government, saying he has confidence in the rebels' ultimate victory.

Prachanda made the comment in an e-mail statement. He said the rebels are in the last stage of a strategic offensive that began in 1996 to oust the monarchy and replace it with a communist state.

Prachanda's statement comes two months after King Gyanendra assumed full powers and fired the government, saying it had failed to stop the insurgency.

Meanwhile, many private schools in Nepal were closed Monday following threats by the rebels to attack them if they defy the closure call.

The Maoists sent a letter to the schools recently, accusing the government of ignoring its duty to provide equal-quality education for all children.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP, and AFP.