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Friday, March 27, 2009

Storm Of Hailstones Pelt Over Bengal With Welcome Rain...

Temperature drops in 2 Metros, After thundershower
Dhaka, Kolkata, 29 March : Sunday evening witnessed a spell of rain that led to a sharp fall in the mercury level. "Sunday morning was very hot and humid. The rain, followed by a cool breeze, brought some welcome relief from the hot and sultry weather," said a meteorological department official in Dhaka. A storm of hailstones pelt the capital Dhaka along with welcome rain.
The day's maximum temperature in Kolkata was 34.6 Dig.C. After Sunday's spell of rain 1.75 mm in Kolkata, as recorded by the Alipur Met office there was a sharp fall in temperature, much to the relief of two Metros. After the rain, the temperature dropped to 25.4Dig.C. in Kolkata and 24 Dig.C. In Dhaka.
Despite the sudden rainfall, there were no reports of flights or trains getting delayed in two Metros. Neither was there any waterlogging reported.

Joint patrolling of India-Bangladesh border resumed
Agartala, 29 March : Indian and Bangladeshi frontiers guards have resumed joint patrolling along the border after a brief suspension of the combined vigil following a mutiny by the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) troopers in Dhaka last month, officials said here Sunday.
The joint patrolling resumed last week following talks between the two sides, A.K. Singh, spokesman of the Border Security Force (BSF), said. Some 80 people were killed in the mutiny by BDR troopers.
Five Indian states - West Bengal, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Assam and Tripura share a 4,095 km border with Bangladesh. These include a 2,979 km land border and 1,116 km are riverine. In view of next months Lok Sabha elections, we are also conducting joint patrolling along vulnerable border areas with security forces of the northeastern states, Singh said. According to the BSF official, 21 companies (2,100 personnel) of additional paramilitary troopers have been deployed in Tripura for the elections.

British Airways ends direct flights to Kolkata & Dhaka
Kolkata, Dhaka, 29 March : British Airways ended its direct flights between the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka and London Saturday because the 34-year-old route was no longer profitable, the carrier said. And also will suspend its operations from Kolkata from Monday due to shortage of passengers even as the NSCBI Airport gets ready to take off with a Rs 2,000-crore modernization package under its wings. The last BA direct flight to London from the Kolkata taked off on Sunday morning with 200-odd passengers on board.
The airline suspended the three-times-a-week Dhaka service as it had not made a profitable contribution to our business for some time. The first Dhaka to London service was in January 1975, according to BA, and was operated on a VC10 aircraft. Initially the route was only once a week.

Global passenger volumes in February nosedived 10.1 percent below levels recorded a year earlier, the airline industry association IATA said this week.Airlines in South Asia have been hit hard by the global economic downturn, with Sri Lanka's national airline this week cutting half its flights to India in a bid to reduce losses. Photo Courtesy : ABP
Bangladesh approves SAARC convention to combat terrorism
Xinhua, Dhaka, 29 March : Bangladesh’s Cabinet approved a convention to strengthen cooperation among the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations in combating terrorism, a senior official said.
Abul Kalam Azad, press secretary of Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasinsa, told reporters that the Cabinet approved the proposal SAARC Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, which was adopted during the 15th summit in Sri Lanka last year. A senior official to Bangladesh’s Home Ministry said the Convention seeks to provide the legal basis for mutual assistance in criminal matters, namely investigations, prosecution and resulting proceedings.
“A collective action on dealing with terrorism is a dominant issue for eight member states of SAARC as we are all facing the menace of terrorism,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

'Save Sunderbans to Save Kolkata' a NGO campaign
Kolkata, 29 March : Imagine being caught in a cyclonic storm that floods Kolkata, submerging the length and breadth of the city from Dum Dum to Tollygunge. Giant tidal waves lashing the streets, sweeping away homes and offices, uprooting lamp posts and tossing away vehicles. If this sounds like a post-tsunami scene witnessed in Pataya five years ago, Kolkata could well be heading for a similar disaster in the next 25 years, say marine experts and conservationists.
With the water level rising in the Sunderbans and the forest cover shrinking fast, Kolkata is losing the buffer that has been protecting it from natural disasters for centuries. A threat to the Sunderbans ecology is actually a warning for the city. Unless steps are taken, the city's sub-surface acquifers and the river Hooghly could turn completely saline by 2050. A substantial part of Kolkata could also go under water in the next 40 years, said experts at the School of Oceanographic Studies, Jadavpur University. Water level at the Sunderbans has been rising by 3.14 mm each year. Its impact is already being felt in Kolkata in the form of rising salinity.
To make people aware of the impending danger, an NGO launched a campaign "Save Sunderbans to Save Kolkata" in the city on Sunday.

Campaign on for World's 7 Wonders at Cox’s Bazar

Cox’s Bazar, 28 March : Bangladesh National Front of Teachers and Employees Campaign to voting for Cox’s Bazar and Sundarbans as among the seven natural wonders of the world begins from today morning at Cox’s Bazar.
Golam Mohammad Quader, minister for civil aviation and tourism formally inaugurated this campaign as chief guest. Activate Bangladesh, a non-government organisation organised under the banner of ‘Jago Bangladesh’.
GM Quader said, ‘Bangladesh has a historical background. We are proud of Cox’s Bazar, which boasts the longest sea beach in the world, and the Sundarbans, which is the largest mangrove forest in the world.’ Cox’s Bazar and Sundarban should be at the top of the list in the competition of seven wonders.

Judge me by my work, Pranab Mukherjee tells Murshidabad voter
Jangipur, 28 March : ‘Stating that voters should judge him by his acheivements, senior Congress leader and External Affairs Minister, Pranab Mukherjee said that he does not believe in making tall promises but in result based performance. “I do not believe in making tall promises. I believe in results of efforts made,” Mukherjee told an election rally at Jangipur, his Lok Sabha constituency on Friday night.
Pinning high hope on the Congress-Trinamool Congress seat adjustment in West Bengal, he said a joint campaign by the TC chief Mamata Banerjee and him would be launched after 16 April.

1st Rickshaw Festival in World's Rickshaw capital
Dhaka, 28 March : Dhaka, known as the 'rickshaw capital of the world', saw its first ever rickshaw festival on Saturday. Approximately 400,000 cycle-powered rickshaws run in the capital each day. However, increasing traffic congestion and resulting collisions have led to their ban on many of Dhaka's major roads.
The festival is meant to promote this environment-friendly vehicle, and the rickshaw-pulling community, that caters to a vast majority of people in the Bangladesh. It is also meant to raise the profile of Bangladeshi heritage and culture.
Children and adults thronged the colourful day-long event at New Colony Field in Lalmatia. Two public universities, including Dhaka University, and 15 private universities also assisted in hosting the day-long programme, which included rickshaw-pullers presenting traditional songs and dances and showcased rickshaw painters who are famous for their elaborate and colourful illustrations. It also allowed festival goers to try their hand at rickshaw art and take part in rickshaw races. Photo : Nashirul Islam

Nano launch a conspiracy against me: Mamata on Tv
Kolkata, 27 March : Four days after the launch of the Nano in Mumbai, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Friday alleged that the event was timed with the Lok Sabha elections in mind and was a conspiracy against her.
Participating in an interactive programme aired by a private television news channel (Star Ananda), Banerjee said: "The launch of the Nano was timed keeping in view the approaching Lok Sabha polls. It was motivated. It is a conspiracy against me. "Where is the factory? The car is also not ready. Some parts of cars were bought from malls to make the model cars," she alleged in the programme.
Banerjee claimed that Tata Motors had fled from Singur not because of her party's agitation against land acquisition, but because of the global meltdown. The Trinamool supremo said Tatas' purchase of Corus had brought down the share prices of the company. "Their plants in Jamshedpur are also not running through the week."

Singur people want Nano back : Buddhadeb on TV
Kolkata, 27 March : Global auto major Tata Motors may have moved out its Nano plant from the state but the people of Singur still want the project, says West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. "People of Singur want the factory over there, they are very hopeful and I have conveyed this to the higher authorities of the Tata Group," Bhattacharjee said in an interview to a private Bengali news channel (24 Ghanta) here.
Singur, in the state's Hooghly district, had turned into a battleground for about two-and-a-half years since May 2006 after the WB state government allotted land for the Nano project.
On 3 October last year the TATA company announced it had scrapped its plans to bring out the small car, priced at Rs.100,000, from the Singur facility. The plant was shifted to Sanand in Gujarat.

Investigators identify more 'killers' of BDR carnage

Dhaka, 27 March : Three more "killers" involved in last month's carnage in Bangladesh Rifles headquarters have been identified after investigators examined the CCTV footage and recorded video clips captured during the mutiny, officials said. Three killers of two army colonels were identified on the basis of tapes, the Shamokal newspaper said quoting officials familiar with the investigation even as dramatic pictures of the first few minutes of the mutiny were splashed by several newspapers on Friday.
The pictures, available on a social networking site, showed two armed men failing to fire their guns on the now slain BDR chief Major General Shakil Ahmed as he held a "darbar" or open meeting with officers and soldiers. A BDR soldier is seen rushing out to call in other armed rebels to kill the officers after their initial attempt failed. The rebels, in the first few hours of the mutiny, had claimed that Ahmed first shot at the troops.
Officials earlier said they initially had identified over 300 mutineers, some of them directly involved in the killing, as dozens were remaned in custody for interrogation. Meanwhile, a senior security official said they planned to made public a list of 1800 fugitive soldiers with pictures as several of them were found to have carried out the killings during the rebellion.

New index to help Rabindranath Tagore researchers
Kolkata, 27 March : Two researchers have prepared a concordance an alphabetical index showing contextual occurrence of a word based on 19 volumes of letters written by Rabindranath Tagore published by Visva-Bharati.
This detailed compilation, called Rabindranather Chithipatra : Nirdeshika, was prepared by Sati Chatterjee and Debi Rani Ghosh, city based academics with a passion for Bengali literature. They say their work will help research students to know the literary giant better.
Debi Rani Ghosh said, "It was disappointing that in Bengali literature there was no concordance work, be it of Saratchandra Chattopadhyay, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay or Tagore. While some such research was initiated in the past, it mostly remained incomplete. It was very difficult for the research scholars to look for any particular subject on Bengali literature. So we decided to undertake our research."
To start with, Chatterjee and Ghosh have worked on about 2,500 letters written by Tagore to his friends and family. The Nirdeshika, published recently by the Bengal chapter of National Council of Education, also charts out a map of the poet's developing ideas on moral-spiritual values, literature, music, painting and on several of his own works.

Barapukuria coal mine affected families to get compensation
Coal News, 27 March : The Committee constituted to determine compensation for the resettlement of 406 affected families of Barapukuria in Dinajpur coalmine project in Bangladesh is likely to submit its report this week.
Some 2,000 affected people of 406 families living at seven villages in coal mining areas will be given compensation for their rehabilitation. Read More....

Upgraded 'CAT II' trial run at Kolkata N S C Airport

Kolkata, 27 March : Having faced frequent flight delays due to fog and other extreme weather conditions in the past, the N S C Bose International Airport authorities are holding the trial run of the upgraded CAT II Instrumental Landing System today.
The system, to facilitate plane movement beyond 350 metres visibility, was installed at the primary runway with work completed today on a war footing, airport sources said. However, though the AAI authorities planned to use a pilot aircraft from Delhi to check the efficacy of the new system this evening, it was later postponed to late hours and tomorrow morning due to a squall which broke out at around 6:30 pm.

Though the system could be checked amidst the storm, the authorities did not take any chance and the system was expected to be finally put to use soon, the sources said.

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