Cox's Bazaar, 22 January : Most couples of Bangladesh, seeking the perfect honeymoon destination, want an idyllic and romantic location, with privacy, fine food, good weather and a picturesque surrounding. Saint Martin's Island scores high on all of the above. Blessed with a tropical climate with year-round balmy temperatures and numerous easily accessible beautiful beaches, it truly offers newly-weds the perfect location to relax and soak up some sun.
Saint-martin fish and coral lovers will be happy to learn that there are some good restaurants throughout the island. While price levels in general are low, one doesn't have to compromise on quality. Saint Martin's restaurants offer traditional Bengali food, fish, succulent lobster and seafood.
Saint Martin has long been known as the only 'Coral Island of the Bay of Bengal', and driving around the island one comes across spots of breathtaking beauty.
An ideal location for couples new and old, Saint Martin's Island has a diverse range of activities for everyone.
Agartala, 20 January : Flower lovers thronged the Tripura Legislative Assembly Garden in Agartala to witness the annual colourful Winter Flower Show.
The four-day long event has been organised by the Flower Lovers Association, Agartala. It started on Sunday. Flowers those blooms in cold weather were displayed at the show.
"The soil and climate here is very much suitable for floriculture. We feel that if people come up for cultivation of flowers here, then one can realise the potential of this. Even poor people can earn a livelihood out of floriculture," said Narayan, an organiser.
250 varieties of vibrant and colourful flowers like dahlia, gerbera, marigold, rose, chrysanthemum, orchid, and anthodium were displayed at the flower show.
Agartala, 18 January : Bullet proof locomotives and protective jackets for crew members are among the security measures being undertaken for train services in the militancy-hit hill section of southern Assam that links Tripura and Mizoram, officials said here Sunday.
The train services on the Lumding-Badarpur-Silchar-Dharmanagar-Agartala section had been intermittently stopped during the past one year due to rebel attacks, affecting normal train services and transportation of essentials to Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and parts of southern Assam.
"The trains will run with bullet proof locomotives and the drivers and other crew of the trains will wear bullet proof jackets while a huge contingent of RPF would also be deployed soon," said Tripura transport minister Manik Dey.
It also sounded a warning to Chhatra League activists at Jagannath University. "The activities of Jahangirnagar Chhatral League has been suspended for one month," BCL central committee president Mahmud Hassan Ripon told reporters. "The central committee also warned the Jagannath University Chhatra League branch to refrain from any actions that go against the organisation. If they do not obey their activities will also be suspended," Mahmud said.
The central committee took the move in the wake of clashes between BCL and Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal at JU over campus control and between two factions of BCL at JU.
West Bengal to get avian flu detection laboratory
To cater to entire eastern and north-eastern regions
Kolkata, 17 January : West Bengal will soon get a Bio-Security Level III Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, which will considerably decrease the time span to examine avian flu samples and detect the disease.
"The Centre will set up the laboratory within the premises of the West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Science in the city. We have already provided land for the purpose," Anisur Rehman, State's Animal Resources Development Minister, told Bengal News.
To be built on the lines of similar laboratories in Bhopal and Pune, this laboratory will be the first of its kind in this part of the country, catering to the entire eastern and north-eastern regions. The State had suffered outbreak of avian flu in two districts ; Malda and Darjeeling — in the last one month, the second time in a year.
GJM, Adivasi mobs clash in Dooars, 50 injured
Malbazar, 16 January : Malbazar in Jalpaiguri turned into a battlefield as members of Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parshad (ABAVP) and Jana Jagaran Mancha (JJM) clashed with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supporters who attempted to enter Malbazar for their proposed Terai-Dooars march on Friday.
More than 15,000 GJM supporters, who had gathered at Gorubathan for a milan mela' and were heading for Malbazar were stopped near the Toonbarie tea estate and driven back. Police tried in vain to prevent the clash even as stones were pelted from either side, injuring more than 50. Several police officers, including the DIG and the SP, were injured.
The GJM ignored police advice of cancelling their Terai-Dooars march. Over the last four days, GJM had gathered more than 10,000 supporters from Kalimpong, Kurseong and Darjeeling. They were joined by around 5,000 members of the self-styled Gorkhaland Police. On Friday morning, they headed towards Malbazar through Toonbarie.
Higher salaries suggested for Tripura Govt employees
Agartala, 16 January : Tripura government employees are expected to get a 30 to 33 percent salary hike with effect from January, officials said here.
The pay review committee constituted by the Tripura government in August last year to revise the salaries and allowances of the 136,300 government employees and 42,400 pensioners recommended a salary hike.
The recommendations were submitted to chief minister Manik Sarkar late Thursday. 'The committee, while recommending higher pay and allowances of the state government employees, has followed the guiding principles of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations,' said committee chairman A.K. Mangotra.
'After the implementation of the new pay scales, the minimum salary at the entry level of group D employees is recommended as Rs.5,580 and maximum at the level of engineering-in-chief or equivalent is Rs.50,400,' he told reporters.
According to the official, additional expenditure of Rs.7.25 billion would be incurred annually from the state exchequer to provide higher salaries and allowances to the employees and pension holders.
Suprem Court face the Rizwan case :
Key accused Ashok Todi & brother get bail
PTI, New Delhi, 16 January : Kolkata industrialist Ashok Todi and his brother Pradip Todi were on Friday granted bail by the Supreme Court in the Rizwan suicide case.
Ashok Todi and his two relatives have been accused of abetting Rizwan’s suicide in an attempt to break his relationship with daughter Priyanka Todi. The accused have been asked to furnish bail bonds of Rs one lakh each.
The apex court has told the Todis to surrender their passports and not to move out of Kolkata without prior intimation of CBI. They were also warned not to communicate with or influence witnesses in the case.
Predicted growth of northeast likely to be hit
Planning Commission appreciated human index development in Tripura
Agartala, 16 January : Economic growth in the northeast in the 11th Five Year Plan could be hit due to poor infrastructural facilities and global economic meltdown, a Planning Commission official said Friday.
'The projected 9 percent economic growth during (2007-12) might not be achieved as the region is also affected by the world-wide economic meltdown, coupled with weak infrastructure and fragile connectivity,' said Bhalchandra Mungekar, a member of the commission.
Mungekar is in Tripura, leading a Planning Commission team to review the growth and planning of six vital sectors including education. 'Despite terrorism, the growth rate of Manipur (11 percent) and Tripura (8.8 percent) are encouraging,' he observed.
The per capita income in the northeast on an average is Rs.12,918 as compared to the national average of Rs.17,947 at current prices.
The Planning Commission team has appreciated the development of human index in Tripura and few other northeastern states. 'Tripura has done very well among all Indian states in respect to tribal development and reducing school drop out,' Mungekar added.
Bengal lost veteran filmmaker Tapan Sinha
Kolkata, 15 January : Indian filmmaker Tapan Sinha, a master storyteller best known for his children's films, died on Thursday, his family said. He was 84. Sinha, a recipient of India's highest award for cinema the Dadasaheb Phalke award died in a city hospital where he had been admitted 6 December.
A contemporary of filmmaker Satyajit Ray, Sinha's body of work of over 50 films includes adaptations of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore's novels.
Sinha, who began his career as a sound engineer in 1946, made several films based on Tagore's stories, including the award-winning 1956 film "Kabuliwala", a poignant story of friendship between a girl and an Afghan dry fruit seller. Some of Sinha's films were set in the backdrop of the Naxalite movement in West Bengal in the early 1970s and were critical of the political system. Sinha is survived by a son and daughter.
Bangladesh Loko Sangeet Parishad celebrates 11th anniversary
Dhaka, 15 January : Bangladesh Loko Sangeet Parishad celebrated its 11th anniversary today at the Shawkat Osman Memorial Auditorium, Central Public Library.
The event included a colourful rally, discussion and a musical programme. An announcement to collect and publish thousands of folk songs was also made at the event. The organisation has so far published many folk songs by rural bards and lyricists a move which has been hailed by the cultural enthusiasts in the Bengal.
The rally started from the National Press Club and stopped at the Public Library premises with hoisting the National Flag. Seasoned folk singer Kuti Mansur inaugurated the event while several cultural personalities along with the members of Bangladesh Loko Sangeet Parishad attended the rally.
India-Bangladesh to hold first joint military exercise
BBC News, Kolkata, 14 January : The first exercise will be small-scale but a "step forward" India and Bangladesh are to hold their first ever joint military exercise, senior army officials have said.
The move follows the landslide victory of Sheikh Hasina's Awami League in Bangladesh's general election, which was held on 29 December. Officials will meet this month to discuss the small-scale exercise, which will be held in late February.
India has long regarded Bangladesh as a shelter for separatist rebels operating in its north-eastern states. Bangladesh has persistently denied accusations that it is harbouring the rebels. Within 15 days of the regime change in Dhaka , India and Bangladesh have finalised the plans for the joint military exercise.
Indian defence ministry spokesman Group Capt Ramesh Kumar Das told the BBC that the exercise would be held in Jorhat in the troubled north-eastern state of Assam from 22 February to 7 March.
Jadavpur University students fined and suspended for ragging freshers
Kolkata, 14 January : Jadavpur University's Executive Council (EC) has taken a firm stance against ragging by doling out stiff punishments. While three students of the architecture department, prime accused of ragging first-year students last year, have been suspended for three semesters, five former students have been fined Rs 20,000 each. Twenty other senior students of the department have been fined Rs 5,000 each.
On freshers' welcome day last July, first-year architecture department students were ragged in their classrooms by a group of department seniors, which also comprised former students. Outside the classroom, a first-year girl was allegedly abused by a few seniors, who also forced her to chew cigarettes. "The result of such kind of ragging could have been deadly," a university official said.
The EC action came on Wednesday, six months after the incident. "We have also decided to call the guardians of the accused, censure the students on campus and make them give an undertaking that such an incident will not happen again," added pro vice-chancellor Siddhartha Dutta. "The five former students will also have to give a similar undertaking," added Dutta.
"This is the first time that JU has decided to fine students involved in ragging ," said Partha Pratim Biswas, an EC member.
BTRC shuts down ISP Arina for illegal VOIP
Dhaka, 14 January : Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission on Wednesday shut down internet service provider Arina Info Tech Ltd on charges of illegal VOIP operations.
According to a press release, BTRC sealed the ISP's offices charging Arina with engaging in illegal call termination services and violating license conditions and directives. A probe body of BTRC, RAB and other officials found the institute had been operating the outlawed VoIP service from its Gulshan office using most of its licensed 14 MBPS bandwidth.
Kolkata to get NSG unit near airport
Kolkata, 14 January : An NSG unit will soon be located near the airport as part of the Centre's decision to create hubs for the force in metros. Also, the site will help to facilitate the airlifting of commandos in case of an emergency. WB's Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has already written to the Prime Minister, giving consent for the NSG hub in the state.
Moreover, the state would be having two units of special commandos. One for the state police and the other for Kolkata Police, said chief secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti. Already, the commando training centre for the state police has been finalised at Salboni, while Kolkata Police is still scouting land for its own commando training school, he added.
The special commandos would be trained in jungle warfare, anti-hijacking and in fighting against Left extremists. The state government is considering land for the NSG hub in Barasat, Kalyani and Burdwan . State home secretary Ardhendu Sen will finalise the venue for the hub on 19 January.
55 % Subsidy for the farmers Non-Urea Fertiliser price cut drastically for Boro season
Dhaka, 14 January : The Bangladesh government brought down the prices of non-urea fertilisers in a bid to help the farmers in the coming Boro season, Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury said today.
The price of TSP (triple super phosphate) was come down to from Tk 75-80 to Tk 40 per kg, MoP (murate of potash) was fall from Tk 69-70 to Tk 35 and DAP (diammonium phosphate) from Tk 87-90 to Tk 45, the agriculture minister told reporters emerging from a meeting at finance ministry.
The government provided a total 55 percent subsidy for the farmers to reduce their production costs in the Boro season.
Fertiliser supply is the big challenge for the New Government : Bangladesh Industries Minister
Dhaka, 14 January : Bangladesh Industries minister Dilip Barua says supply of urea to IRRI-Boro farmers poses a big challenge for the government.
"Timely supply of fertilisers during the upcoming season will be an "an acid test for the new government", Barua told reporters after a meeting with officials of BCIC, which owns and manages state urea factories. Barua said some 12.1 lakh metric tonnes of urea will be provided during the coming IRRI-Boro season and an additional 2.5 lakh MTs will be kept in reserve.
"The measures will help the farmers get fertiliser at Tk 90-92 per kg, and the additional reserve will be used to meet any unforeseen crisis," the minister said. The minister asked the officials to "Change Your Mindset" now that they were working for a "People's Government".
Howrah slum under hills of filth to be razed
HMC has failed to find an alternative site for the Dumping Ground
Howrah, 14 January : The garbage mounds stand nearly six storeys high and are getting bigger every day. Under its shadow, hundreds of families scavenge and live, unaware of the deadly danger looming overhead. If the worst does happen and the hills of filth cave in, not only these people, but hundreds more in nearby areas including children in schools and kindergartens will be in danger.
Armed with a Kolkata High Court order, Howrah Municipal Corporation is all set to evict squatters from the Belgachia dumping ground on Wednesday and clear space so that garbage can be spread more evenly and not piled on vertically.
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Dense fog disrupts air traffic in Dhaka & Kolkata
Pak flight makes unscheduled landing at Kolkata Airport
Kolkata, 14 January : A Pakistan International Airways (PIA) flight made an unscheduled landing at the Kolkata international airport due to dense fog in Dhaka on Wednesday.
The Karachi-Dhaka flight, which was flying over Kolkata airspace with 200 passengers and crew, was informed by Dhaka ATC about the dense fog conditions there following which it made a landing here at 3.50 am, airport sources said.
Fire tenders were pressed into service to deal with any emergency, the sources said. The passengers have been accommodated at a guest house in Kolkata, the sources said. Dense fog conditions also prevailed with visibility dropping to 50 metres leading to disruption of flight schedules.
While 10 flights could not take off till 7 am, several others could not land.