Howrah, 23 March : New mom Jenny is dog-tired. You would expect her to be after giving birth to 16 puppies, nine males and seven females by Caesarean section last Friday.
Veteran vet N.K. Basu, who performed the Caesarean, says the two-and-a-half-year-old Golden Retriever of Soumen and Soma Santra may have set a local record for the largest litter. “They kept coming and I didn’t count. When someone told me at the end of the delivery that there were 16 pups in all, I thought to myself: ‘that’s absurd’,” Dr Basu told Bengal Newz on Monday.
Jenny was thought to be carrying more than the normal eight to nine puppies because of the size of her belly. But nobody had expected her to end up with a sweet 16. The Guinness world record for the largest litter stands in the name of Tia, a Neapolitan Mastiff that gave birth to 24 pups in 2005. Four of those pups died but Jenny’s litter is doing fine, according to the Santras of Bally. Jenny’s only Golden Retriever rival could be Retro, who gave birth to 16 puppies in the USA last year.
The first thing Basu did after sewing up Jenny’s belly was take a picture of her with her pups. “I was sure nobody would believe me if I told them that I had just helped a dog give birth to 16 pups,” he chuckled. The proud father of Jenny’s pups is Prince, owned by dog breeder Subhasish Chakraborty.
For the Santras, Jenny’s wellbeing is more important than any record she might have set. “Jenny is now feeding the litter once a day, which itself is quite a task,” said Soumen. The Santras are facing a happy problem. “We have not been able to come up with 16 names. Do the Santras intend keeping all the pups? “Offers are coming but we won’t part with them so soon,” snapped Soma.
A Golden Retriever costs around Rs 9,000 in West Bengal.
Mymensingh, 23 March : A case was filed with Senior Judicial Magistrate's Court, Mymensingh, on Monday accusing 13 'rajakars' of killing a man in Gofargaon upazila during Liberation War in 1971. Afaz Uddin Khan, son of slain Taru Khan of Sadua village under Gafargoan upazila, filed the case.
In the case, Afaz stated that the accused, led by Abul Falah Mohammad Faizullah, picked up his father Taru Khan from their house on August 7, 1971 as he was working for country's independence. “They took my father to a rajakar camp at Trimohoni Bazar in Niguari Union of Gafargoan and tortured him. On the night of 14 August, they shot dead my father and then threw the body into the river.”
Accepting the case, Magistrate Farhana Ferdous asked police to take necessary legal actions after proper investigation.
These students, belonging to five streams, were told they had been admitted "under pressure" and would not be allowed to attend classes from next month. Sixty students each of Sanskrit and Bengali departments, 30 from education, 10 from English and six of geography department have been declared "excess".
In fact, all eight colleges in the district apparently face the same problem and have submitted a memorandum to Vidyasagar University. But there has been no response yet. "The colleges had been asked to stop this practice. We cannot bend rules. This case is yet to be discussed," university registrar Ranjit Kumar Kar told Bengal Newz.
Bangladesh Railway to start "SMS" ticketing
< Bangladesh Railway Regional Headquarter in Chittagong
Dhaka, 23 March : Bangladesh Railway will introduce a ticket reservation system by SMS from mobile phones, the top railway official said today. Director general Belayet Hossain told reporters that passengers would be able to book tickets of all 46 inter-city trains, operating from Dhaka and Chittagong, by SMS on 'GrameenPhone' and 'Banglalink' services.
His department has sent a proposal to the ministry of communications for final approval, he said. "We have already taken necessary preparations for the SMS service through our software operator, Computer Network Systems, which maintains the railway's computerised ticketing system. Now passenger would send a message to a particular number, typing the name of the train and the destination. They would then receive a reply on booking availability.
"If the passenger has enough credit on their mobile phone accounts, they will get a confirmation message along with a serial number of the ticket, The passenger will then collect the tickets from the station counter showing the confirmation message and the serial number" said Chowdhury. He said the programme was primarily planned for Dhaka and Chittagong.
Tripura to create employment op'tunity in NGO sector
Agartala, 23 March : Despite Left front`s critical view on NGOs, Tripura government emphasise on creation of additional employment opportunities in non-government sectors to achieve development targets under approach to peoples’ plan in Tripura.
The latest economic review of Tripura government has made it clear that the vision for 11th five year plan was to put the economy on a sustainable path with growth rate of 10 per cent and it targeted to create productive employment at a faster pace than before and ensure annual agricultural growth at four per cent.
The priority was the equitable improvement in the standard of living of all sections by creating opportunities in NGO sectors besides, attaining self-sufficiency in foodgrains and fish production within the plan period.
B'desh, India to renew river transit & trade protocol
။ World Water Day : 22 March : Two monkeys vie for water in a temple on World Water Day, yesterday. Photo : AFP
IANS, Dhaka, 23 March : Bangladesh and India began talks here Monday to renew the inland water transit and trade protocol that is aimed at boosting river-borne trade between the two countries.
Foreign and shipping ministry officials said they hoped to renew the deal, scheduled to expire 31 March, when talks end Tuesday. Bangladesh shipping secretary Masud Elahi and additional secretary of India's road, transport and highways ministry Vijay Chhibber carried out the negotiations.
Officials in Dhaka, however, hinted that the inclusion of Ashuganj as a new port of call to facilitate easy transport of Indian goods from Kolkata to Agartala through Bangladesh, would not be incorporated in the renewed deal.
IIT-Kharagpur director quits after student's death
Injured boy unattended for Three hours after fall
< An overturned car outside the IIT director’s bungalow. Photo : Swarup Mondal
Kharagpur, 22 March : Angry students at IIT-Kharagpur on Sunday forced the institute’s director to resign after a third-year student of electrical engineering died of medical neglect.
Rohit Kumar was left unattended for three hours at the premier institute’s BC Roy Hospital after he sustained head injuries from a fall during a basketball game, the students claimed. A profusely bleeding Rohit was finally referred to SSKM Hospital in Kolkata a three-hour drive away but he died on the way.
The institute director, Damodar Acharya, resigned after angry students ransacked his house and refused to lift the siege till he took responsibility for the death.
3G telephony launched in Kolkata
Kolkata, 22 March : Here's good news for mobile users in the city. Calcutta Telephones launched 3G telephony and 3.5G data services on Saturday, which will allow BSNL subscribers with GPRS handsets to view live television and use a host of services, like mobile broadband internet, video telephony and low-cost surveillance.
Calcutta Telephones, the Kolkata circle of BSNL, launched the service at Salt Lake's Sector V and promised to cover the rest of Kolkata by July at an investment of Rs 60 crore. CalTel will add 3G equipment to 575 base stations to offer the service in the city. >
Puppeteers on World Puppetry Day enthrall people of Tripura
Agartala, 21 March : Puppets on strings, rods and hands enthralled hundreds of enthusiastic spectators at an event organised on the occasion of World Puppetry Day here on Saturday. World Puppetry Day is celebrated with an objective to preserve and popularise the art of puppetry.
Several professional puppeteers and some new artistes in the field participated in the event. The show enchanted the children and adults with interesting stories, endearing characters, colourful sets, lively music, songs and choreography. Besides providing entertainment, the show also projected various socio-economic aspects encountered by the society.
IPL becomes NRIPL and will be held outside India
All matches in England or S Africa, At primetime on Indian TV
PTI, Mumbai, 22 March : Holding the state governments responsible for the decision to shift IPL overseas, BCCI president Shashank Manohar announced that IPL 2 will be held outside India.
The BCCI took the decision in an emergency meeting as the dates of the tournament were clashing with general elections and the government had expressed reservations on providing security for the tournament. "Due to the attitude of the government that it cannot provide security for the tournament, we are forced to take a decision to move the IPL out of India. I apologise to the people of India for moving the tournament out," BCCI chief Shashank Manohar said. "But we're are going ahead with the event so that they can at least watch the event on television. A final decision on the venue will be announced in next two-three days," Mahohar added.
"Dates and timings of the matches will remain the same. The Indian audiences can watch the matches at 4 pm and 8 pm IST as they did in the inaugural season," Modi said.
။ Two more Bengali Knights in Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata, 22 March : Two more Bengali cricketers found their way into the Kolkata Knight Riders fold for the second edition of the Indian Premier League on Sunday when Arindam Ghosh and pacer Sourav Sarkar were named in the 28-member squad. Young all-rounder Sunny Singh and batsman Shoaib Sheikh were also included. The KKR squad was trimmed to 28 from the 57 players named in the initial list last month. Ghosh, Sarkar, Sunny and Sheikh are the latest cricketers to be awarded KKR contracts.
The KKR squad now consists of eight from Bengal, including Ghosh and Sarkar. Last year’s captain Sourav Ganguly, Bangladesh's Mortaza, Bengal captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla, stumper Wriddhiman Saha, batsman Debabrata Das and pacer Ashok Dinda are the others.
Khulna, 21 March : Police recovered 19 brochures and some leaflets of the banned Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) from Hotel Al- Baraka in city on Saturday night.
On information, Sub-Inspector Abdur Rahman Biswas of Sonadanga Police Station went to the hotel and seized the JMB brochures and leaflets from room no 5. The SI in his general diary filed with the police station said two persons identified themselves as Hedayet Ali and Md Shah Alam had rented the room on 19 March and went out of the hotel on 20 March keeping the room under lock and key.
16 dead, 62 injured in Tangail and Faridpur crashes
Tangail, 21 March : At least twelve people were killed and 35 others injured in a road accident on the Dhaka-Tangail Highway in Basail upazila of Tangail this morning, police said. The crash occurred at around 6am.(BDST)
Tangail superintendent of police Mizanur Rahman told reporters five of the dead were identified. Thirtyone of the injured were admitted to Tangail General Hospital. Four received first aid at the accident site. The bus was heading to Gopalpur from Dhaka.
။ 4 killed in Faridpur bus crash
Faridpur, 21 March : Four people died and 27 were injured in a bus accident in Bhanga, Faridpur at around 3:30am(BDST) Saturday, said police.
The Patuakhali-bound bus from Dhaka lost control on the Dhaka-Barisal highway and smashed into a roadside tree, said Bhanga police sub-inspector Nurul Islam. Three people died on the spot and one died at Bhanga Upazila health complex. ။ Photo : STAR
India Bids to Rule the Waves :
From the Bay of Bengal to the Malacca Strait
By Ramtanu Maitra (The Asia-Pacific Journal)
After years of hesitancy, India has now firmly acknowledged the strategic importance of the Andaman Sea. The Indian Navy is setting up a Far Eastern Naval Command (FENC) off Port Blair on the Andaman Islands - also known as the Bay Islands - located midway between the Bay of Bengal and the Malacca Strait - to give it "blue-water" status.
It is evident New Delhi believes that the new strategic command will remain vulnerable unless the entire Andaman Sea is brought under the full control of the Indian Navy.
A variety of factors led to New Delhi's full realization of the Andaman Sea's importance for overall regional security. ။ CLICK TO READ MORE
B'desh Sees Potential Shield Against Sea Level Rise
< In Beel Bhaina, a low-lying 600-acre soup bowl of land on the banks of the Hari River, in Bangladesh, land that was once under water is now full of greenery. Photo : Saiful Huq (The New York Times)
Beel Bhaina, 21 March : The rivers that course down from the Himalayas and into this crowded delta bring an annual tide of gift and curse. They flood low-lying paddies for several months, sometimes years, at a time. And they ferry mountains of silt and sand from far away upstream. Most of that sediment washes out into the roiling Bay of Bengal. But an accidental discovery by desperate delta folk here may hold clues to how Bangladesh, one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change, could harness some of that dark, rich Himalayan muck to protect itself against sea level rise. Instead of allowing the silt to settle where it wants, Bangladesh has begun to channel it to where it is needed to fill in shallow soup bowls of land prone to flooding, or to create new land off its long, exposed coast. The efforts have been limited to small experimental patches, not uniformly promising, and there is still ample concern that a swelling sea could one day soon swallow parts of Bangladesh. But the emerging evidence suggests that a nation that many see as indefensible to the ravages of human-induced climate change could literally raise itself up and save its people and do so cheaply and simply, using what the mountains and tides bring.
Source : New York Times
'UFO' blip leaves Kolkata NSCB airport officials foxed
Kolkata, 21 March : An unidentified flying object blipped on the city radar in the wee hours of Thursday, a little after mysterious objects were photographed hovering in the London sky. The blip that lasted for 15 minutes on the Bay of Bengal left airport and IAF officials foxed. While some suspect an unscheduled aircraft strayed into Indian airspace, others termed it a UFO. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has ordered an investigation.
The unidentified aircraft or object was spotted on the Dum Dum airport radar at 3.45 am on Thursday. Sources said there was only a Cathay Pacific overflight scheduled for the time and in that direction. “But the flight showed a separate blip. What’s more, we had communication problems with the Cathay Pacific pilot during the time the mystery blip was on screen,” said an air controller.
IAF clarified that it had no exercise scheduled over the Bay of Bengal at that hour, and that none of its aircraft in the region were airborne then.Though the blip may have been due to either a snag in the 11year old radar or the reflection of moonlight from a school of fish, what worries security agencies is the possibility of unauthorized aircraft entering Kolkata region. On 17 December, 1995, a Latvia-registered AN-26 aircraft had entered India undetected and dropped arms in Purulia.
“If a foreign aircraft had ventured into Indian airspace, it is IAF’s role to scramble and counter it,” an AAI official said. The London sighting on Thursday has hyped interest in the Kolkata UFO. Given the 5.5 hour time zone difference between India and UK and the 11 hour flight time, science fiction buffs drew a link between London’s ‘flying saucers’ and the mystery blip at the airport.
Tea plucking delayed for poor rainfall in Sylhet
Sylhet, 20 March : Tea cultivation in greater Sylhet region comprising 138 of the country's 160 tea gardens is suffering due to lack of rainfall. Plucking in tea gardens usually starts early March every year but it is being delayed due to the drought-like situation this year, said officials at different tea estates in Sylhet region.
“Tea is a very sensitive crop that needs adequate rainfall and sunshine during March to October. A minimum rainfall is also required during November-December and February-March,” an official of Bangladesh Tea Board said.
“Although we got 30mm rainfall till the first week of March last year, only 0.8mm rainfall has been recorded during the period this year. We could not even start irrigation as the natural water sources have dried up,” said Mohammad Shajahan Akand, manager of Somonbhag Tea Estate. Besides delay in plucking, there are fear of attack by insects like Red Spider on the tea plants as fertilisation will also be delayed. Normally fertilisation requires a minimum of 20mm to 30mm rainfall, said Shahjahan, who is also the circle chairman of Juri Valley.
The 160 tea gardens in greater Sylhet region are under six 'valleys' or zones. An important cash crop of Bangladesh, tea is also one of the largest agro-based industries in the country. In addition to newly established seven small tea holdings, there are 162 tea gardens having a total annual production of about 55 to 60 million kg. About two-thirds of the production is consumed at home while export of the rest earns a good amount of foreign exchange. This year the country's tea production target has been fixed at 60 million kg.
India-Bangladesh trade badly hit by BDR mutiny
Agartala, 20 March : The bloody mutiny of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) in Dhaka last month has knocked off the Indo-Bangladesh border trade by 50 percent, traders here Friday said.
‘The BDR mutiny and reduction of the rate of the Indian rupee against the US dollar have largely affected the Indo-Bangla export-import business during the past few weeks,’ said Habul Biswas, spokesman of the Indo-Bangladesh Trading Organisation.
Bangladesh exports textiles, leather, food and confectionary items, stone, cement and various construction materials, jewellery, and processed food to the northeast. Northeast traders export fertilizers, precious stones, fruits, and automobile parts to Bangladesh. Customs officials here corroborated the report.
Meanwhile, the Agartala-Dhaka and Dhaka-Kolkata bus services are returning to normal. But the number of visa seekers has also come down following the mutiny. ‘Normally we had been issuing 45 to 50 visas everyday. After the BDR mutiny, less number of Indians are coming to us for visa,’ said Mohammad Mosharraf Hossain, deputy head of the Bangladesh mission in Agartala.
According to Tripura Industries and Commerce Minister Jitendra Chowdhury, the export and import business between India and Bangladesh only through Tripura border was expected to reach about Rs.1 billion in the current fiscal compared to Rs.300 million in 2005.
Bangladesh schools boost security over attack fears
< Dhaka : American International School
AFP, Dhaka, 20 March : Police in Bangladesh have stepped up security at English-language schools in the capital amid fears Islamic militants may be planning attacks, officers said Friday.
The measures come nearly a month after a mutiny at a military headquarters in Dhaka, in which thousands of rank-and-file border guards were accused of killing more than 70 people, mainly senior army officers. The government has said Islamic militants are linked to the mutiny.
Dhaka Metropolitan police chief Shahidul Haq said he held a meeting this week with representatives of 94 of the most prominent English-language schools in the city amid rumours of attacks on educational institutions. "There is no specific threat but parents at the schools are worried. We don't know how this rumour started but we're taking it seriously," he said. He added attendance by students was down sharply because parents feared an attack was imminent.
Immigration at "Benapole" now computerised
Jessore, 20 March : The immigration at the Benapole land port has been brought under the internet coverage as part of its modernisation for smooth check of the travellers. Sources said the whole mechanism of the immigration at the land port was now computerised. Passport readable machines have been installed and a high-power generator has been set up. Kazi Anwar Hossain, officer-in-charge of immigration police at Benapole, told newsmen that the immigration activities were going on smoothly with computerisation of the system.
။ Lok Sabha Vote, 2009
UNI, Agartala, 19 March : The CPI (M) manifesto has demanded to include Kokborok, a tribal language of Tripura, in the eighth schedule of the Constitution.
CPI(M)’s tribal front Gana Mukti Parisad (GMP) leader and Commerce Minister of Tripura Jitendra Choudhury told UNI here today that the demand to recognise Kokborok was incorporated in party’s manifesto released recently in New Delhi.
”Kokborok language has developed substantially in the state and it has made considerable progress in all spheres of literary writings and naturally this language deserves a place in the eighth schedule for further development and recognition,” Choudhury said.
။ Lok Sabha Vote, 2009
PTI Jangipur, 19 March : Striking an emotional cord with his electorate, Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday hinted that these Lok Sabha elections could be the last hurrah of his long political career.
"I have been in the Government for a long time. I have been a Parliament member for 37-38 years. I have come to seek your support for one more time," the Congress heavyweight said at a public rally in his Jangipur constituency, 260 km from Kolkata. "I am growing old. I don't know whether this will be my last election," Mukherjee said.
Now, 11.30 AM start for Kolkata Metro on Sunday
Kolkata, 19 March : There is good news for those taking the Metro on Sunday mornings. Authorities are planning to start services from 11.30 am, instead of 2 pm, on Sundays. To find out whether there is sufficient patronage, services will begin from 11.30 am on 22 March and 29 March and trains will run at 10-minute intervals up to 2 pm and at 15-minute intervals later.
"For long, people have been demanding morning services on Sundays. We will run trains from 11.30 am on an experimental basis on two Sundays. Depending on the demand, we may regularize it. Going by people's enthusiasm, we think it will be a success," a Metro official said.
There are no plans though to extend services at night beyond 10 pm. Though people have demanded this, officials are apprehensive that night services will not get much patronage. Also, security is an issue. Moreover, the tracks and other equipment have to be maintained after 10 pm. Plans to start morning services on Sundays come at a time when the extension of services to Garia has already been severely delayed.
45 women elected 'unopposed' to Bangladesh Jatiya Sangsad
Dhaka, 19 March : Bangladesh elected 45 women 'unopposed' to parliament in the reserved seats for women that includes members nominated by the three major parties in the House. Bangladesh Election Commission declared the names of 45 women elected 'unopposed' in the reserve seats after the deadline for withdrawal expired yesterday.
"All the 45 candidates have been declared elected in the reserve seats for women in Jatiya Sangsad," the Commission said in a statement today.
Kolkata police arrest Pakistani terrorist at Fairlie Place
Kolkata, 19 March : A Pakistani terrorist was arrested from the Eastern Railway headquarters in the city by the Special Task Force (STF) of Kolkata police on Thursday. "Shahbaz Ismail, 27, is a member of the terrorist outfit Al-Badar. He confessed that this was his first assignment in India," Joint Commissioner of Police (STF) Rajiv Kumar said.
The terrorist was arrested at 3 pm from the ER headquarters at Fairlie Place, adjacent to the West Bengal secretariat and RBI office in the city.
"Ismail had recently come to Dhaka from Karachi and from there he crossed the Rajshahi border and reached Malda. From Malda he took a train to Sealdah. He confessed during interrogation that he had intention to reach Jammu and Kashmir on a special mission," he said. "A cell phone and a SIM card of Bangladesh has been recovered from him. He didn't have a passport and so it is certain that he infiltrated into the country with an evil purpose. Ismail had joined Pakistan Rangers in 2004 and had joined Al-Badar in 2008 after quitting it," Kumar said. Son of Gulam Farooq, he is a resident of Tousa police station of Dera Gazi Khan province in Pakistan, he added.
NGOs under scanner for 'funding militancy'
Bangladesh Govt to scrutinise activities of NGOs okayed during BNP rule
Dhaka, 19 March : The Bangladesh government will scrutinise activities of the NGOs that got approval during the rule of the BNP-led four-party alliance government to see if those have any involvement with funding militant activities.
"When Mujahid (Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid, Jamaat-e-Islami secretary general and former social welfare minister) was in charge a number of new NGOs popped up," Finance Minister AMA Muhith told reporters at his secretariat office today. "If we look into these NGOs, we might get to know something new," he added.
"There are some investments in the country that patronise militant activities," Muhith noted but did not identify such investors. He said the NGO Bureau scrutinises the sources of foreign funds of the NGOs and from now on the scrutiny would be made more intense. "The government will also see if there are other sources behind these foreign financing sources," he said.
During the rule of the four-party alliance government the NGO Bureau listed 473 local and 25 foreign NGOs. Since 1990 it has approved 2,367 local and foreign NGOs that run on foreign funding. Intelligence agencies had already reported that certain Middle East-based NGOs were funding terrorism, but the government did not take any action against those.
Intelligence reports categorically recommended banning the Kuwait-based Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS) and taking action against a number of other Middle Eastern organisations found to have links with Islamist extremists.
Intelligence had also reported that militant group Ahle Hadith Andolon Bangladesh (Ahab) also receive such funding. Ahab chief Asadullah Al Galib himself talked about receiving funds from NGO Ar-Rib.
Other suspected NGOs include Rabita Al-Alam Al-Islami, Al-Muntada Al-Islami, Society of Social Reforms, Qatar Charitable Society, Islamic Relief Agency, Al-Forkan Foundation, International Relief Organisation, Kuwait Joint Relief Committee, Muslim Aid Bangladesh, Dar Al-Khair, Hayatul Igachha and Tawheed-e-Noor. These NGOs have been operating in Bangladesh since the 1990s.
Threat call to blow up Kolkata NSC Bose airport
Kolkata, 19 March : An unidentified caller on Thursday threatened to blow up the NSC Bose International Airport here leading to the evacuation of the international cargo section.
The call was received at around 4.30pm (IST) by an employee on duty at the international cargo section, CISF commandant Jayati Ghosh told reporters. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel immediately evacuated around 300 employees from the section and launched an intensive search, she said.
Security at the airport was also strengthened, she added.
Mahasweta Devi on Man Booker International list
PTI, London, 19 March : Noted Bengali writer and novelist Mahashweta Devi and V.S. Naipaul are among 14 authors short-listed for the £60,000 Man Booker International Prize that recognises the lifetime achievement of a writer.
The Man Booker International Prize, awarded once every two years, differs from the annual Man Booker Prize for Fiction in that it highlights one writer’s continued creativity, development and overall contribution to fiction on the world stage. The writers shortlisted are from 12 countries and the works of seven have been translated.
Judges for the third edition of the award include Bengali writer Amit Chaudhuri, Jane Smiley and Andrey Kurkov. “Judging the Man Booker International Prize has made us all aware of how unusual and astonishing the literary world really is,” Smiley said.