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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Law enforcers to ensure security on 'Pahela Baishakh'
Dhaka, 7 April : The government has planned stringent security measures in the capital Dhaka by deploying around 8, 000 security personnel on the occasion of Pahela Baishakh, the Bangla New Year, on 14 April.
A Bangladesh home ministry meeting today also ordered strict surveillance by the intelligence agencies to avert any untoward incidents during the celebration hours, State Minister for Home Tanjim Ahmed Sohel Taj said after the meeting. Sohel Taj also said 32 close-circuit cameras will be installed in and around the main venue of the New Year celebrations; Ramna Batamul and Rabindra Sarobar. The whole security measures will be monitored from Shahbagh Police Control Room.

Home Minister Sahara Khatun , Inspector General of Police (IGP) Nur Mohammad, Director General (DG) of Rab Hasan Mahmood Khandaker were also present at the meeting.

Kolkata, 7 April : The Kolkata Municipal Corporation has sought the help of a British NGO in refurbishing the city's image to promote heritage tourism. "We will depend on the initiatives of British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia (BACSA). If they give us an idea, we can proceed," Mayor Bikas Ranjan Bhattacharya said at a meeting with BACSA's honorary secretary Ewellyn Rosie Jones at the KMC headquarters today.
He said the city had a great deal of resources on heritage tourism and while the KMC was doing a 'lot of work' in conserving the city's heritage, more needed to be done. Pointing out that Kolkata's image witnessed a downslide, he said just as it was making a turnaround with industrialisation and attracting international limelight, the agitation over land acquisition had pushed the city and West Bengal back once again.

Bangladesh JS moves to make 'Bengali' official language of UN
Dhaka, 6 April : The House passed a resolution on Monday to make Bengali as an official language of United Nations. Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal MP Moinuddin Khan put the motion in parliament. Abdus Shaheed, chief whip of the House, later placed an amendment proposal to the resolution.
He proposed to send the motion to United Nations' secretariat for taking necessary steps.

Kolkata Chamber's businesses offer to Bangladesh
Dhaka, 6 April : Businesses from Kolkata have offered to make huge investment in Bangladesh, an aide to the prime minister has said. A delegation from the Indian Chamber of Commerce, Kolkata expressed the interest at a meeting with Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina Monday, said her press secretary Abul Kalam Azad told reporters. The five-member ICC delegation headed by president Sanjay Budhia meet with the prime minister. Hasina urged the Indian businessmen to invest in the under-process specialised economic zone, Azad said.
The meeting, also attended by commerce minister Faruq Khan, the prime minister's economic and commerce adviser Mashiur Rahman and the Awami League chief's investment adviser Salman F Rahman, discussed other business issues and trade balancing. Azad said Hasina told the delegates she would like to see both public and the private sector development.

Process of 'War Crime Trial' kicks off 8 April
Dhaka, 6 April : The process of trying war criminals is expected to begin on 8 April with the appointment of an investigation officer and a public prosecutor. Meanwhile, Bangladesh has accepted a UN offer of sending a team of war crime experts to help Bangladesh try those who were involved in various war crimes during the Liberation War of 1971.
Law ministry officials said the group of UN specialists, having experience in dealing with war crimes that had occurred in different nations, might visit Dhaka shortly. UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Renata Lok Dessallien put forward the offer at a meeting with Law Minister Shafique Ahmed at his ministry. Home Minister Sahara Khatun was also present at the meeting. “We have offered Bangladesh to bring here specialists, who deal with the war crime issues, so that the trial process of 1971 war criminals meets international standards,” Renata told reporters after the meeting.

Third Front certain to win Lok Sabha polls, asserts Karat in Agartala
Agaratala, 5 April : CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat Sunday said it was now “thousand percent confirmed” that the Third Front with the Left parties in the lead would form the government at the centre after the Lok Sabha polls. “While the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) has already broken, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not a single ally in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and many other states,” he said, addressing an election rally in the Tripura capital.
In his 30-minute speech, the CPI-M chief cited the “wrong and anti-people policies” of both the Congress and the BJP and stressed the importance of forming an alternative government at the centre. Karat said as the left parties intervened in the central government’s policies till July last year, the effect of world-wide economic slowdown was yet to impacted on the Indian economy.”
Talking to the newsmen later, the CPI(M) leader, however, refused to predict how many seats the Left parties and other alliance parties of Third Front expected to win. “The Left parties alone are fighting more than 150 seats and if the parties aligned with the Third Front are taken into account, the combine is fighting far more seats than the Congress party,” he said. Photo Courtesy : Desher Katha

UNICEF : About 50 million people affected by arsenic water in Asia
Xinhua, Dhaka, 5 April : A total of 60 million people in the world are exposed to high levels of arsenic in water while more than 80 percent of them live in Asia, said the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) here on Sunday.
Among all Asian countries, according to a statement of the UNICEF released here on Sunday, Bangladesh and India are the most affected with over 30 million people exposed to high levels of arsenic in the water. The UNICEF made the statement as it organized a five-day International Learning Exchange (ILE) conference in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka on Sunday where 53 government and non-government experts from 12 Asian countries are attending to find ways of mitigating the impact of arsenic contaminated water.
"Bangladesh has accomplished a lot in terms of arsenic mitigation during the past decade," UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh Carel de Rooy was quoted as saying in the statement.

Our UPA is very much intact : Pranab Mukherjee
PTI, New Delhi, 5 April : Asserting that UPA is not disintegrating, minister for external affairs Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said that it "was very much intact" while at the same time the NDA is breaking. Addressing a press conference here, Mukherjee said, "UPA is not a political entity and it is very much intact... it is not disintegrating".
The veteran Congress leader said even though there were hiccups in seat sharing talks between Congress and its alliance partners like Samajwadi Party and RJD in UP and Bihar respectively, the alliance was still in place.
He added that at the same time, Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress, Biju Janata Dal and Telugu Desam Party, all these have left the NDA, which is breaking. Referring to BJP's 2004 "India Shining" election campaign, he said that "though we are not using terms like 'India Shining', we have been successful".
B'desh Journalists demand National Media Policy
Dhaka, 5 April : The Bangladeshi journalists and employees of four daily newspapers asked the government Sunday to implement their three-point charter of demands that include a national policy on the mass media.
The Journalists-Workers-Employees Oikyo Parishad (unity forum) at a protest rally also demanded payment of the salary dues of the daily Bangladesh Observer, daily Ittefaq, daily Janakantha and daily Dinkal and the weekly Chitrali. They also asked for reinstatement of the jobs of the retrenched employees and implementation of the Seventh Wage Board in all newspapers and news agencies.
The Parishad leader, Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, called for a four-hour token strike in all newspapers and news agencies from 10am on 12 April. A rally was also called for 11am in front of the National Press Club the same day, he said.

Druk Air to start flights from Bagdogra to Bangkok
Siliguri, 5 April : Royal Bhutan airline 'Druk Air', popular known as the wings of Dragon, is going to launch twice-a-weekly service from Bagdogra to Bangkok.
According to the new schedule, flights will take off from Bagdogra on Tuesday and Saturday and return on Wednesday and Sunday, charging Rs 6,000 one way to Bangkok or Rs 10,000 both ways, excluding Rs 250 and other service charge. The charge for Bagdogra to Paro, Bhutan, would be Rs 2,000 plus Rs 250. Passengers from Bagdogra will get enhanced connectivity from Bangkok to several destinations across North America, Europe, Asia and West Asia. The 114 passengers will fly by A319 Air Boeing with enough cargo space.
According to CEO Tandin Jamso, Druk Air, which celebrated silver jubilee last year has decided to buy one more Boeing aircraft and one at least will be taken on lease. Though they are running seven linkages with India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Thailand, attempts are on to expand Druk Air services to Hong Kong, Singapore and many other places like Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.

Government gearing up for police action in Lalgarh
Kolkata, 4 April : The WB state government is gearing up for a pre-poll offensive in Lalgarh, state home secretary Ardhendu Sen said on Saturday. Reiterating the government stand on Lalgarh, he said: "Police action is necessary for holding peaceful elections in Lalgarh. Without police, there will be no election there and it will appear as if the government is boycotting the polls. We can't allow that."
A high-level meeting was being held at Writers' Buildings on Saturday to formulate the course of police action in Lalgarh. The home secretary said the government's course of action will be made known in the next seven days.
Left Front chairman Biman Bose said on Saturday that the so-called checkposts set up by Chhatradhar Mahato's People's Committee against Police Atrocities at Barabeliachowk and Ramgarg were an assault on democracy. The checkposts have been put up to bar policemen and the ruling party supporters from entering Lalgarh. Reacting to this, Bose said: "This is an infringement on the constitutional rights of citizens."
It is clear that both the Left and the state government are confronted with a huge challenge to conduct elections in Lalgarh, considering that the police and the administration are not being allowed to enter the area. Of the 41 polling stations in the area, police have been able to enter only about 14 of those areas till now. Senior officials are making aerial surveys of the area in helicopters.
Children in Tripura paint faces for 'World Peace'
Agartala, 4 April : Hundreds of students here participated in a face painting show to spread the message of peace. Organised by Don Bosco School, the show's aim was to encourage the students to express their views and ideas to make the world a better place to live.
A number of students came out with many contemporary themes painted on their faces. Some painted their face with the symbols of political parties to stress the need for political harmony as general elections approach.
This is election time, but we want harmony inspite of differences in political ideology. So, we have come out with these symbols to inspire people to be friendly like us even while voting, said Barnika Das, a student.

Bengali film "Dwando" on Databazaar screen
Kolkata, 4 April : US-based Databazaar Group has forayed into Bengali film production with Soumitra Chatterjee starrer 'Dwando'. The film is being directed by award-winner Suman Ghosh under the banner of Suman Ghosh Productions.
Databazaar, which is based in Florida, has picked up a 70 per cent interest in the film.It has multiple lines of business, including Internet retail, wholesale distribution, software development, and legal and business process outsourcing with an annual turnover of around Rs 360 crore. “We are also the underwriter of the project, meaning any overages and incidentals are picked up by us,” Oney Seal, CEO of Databazaar, said.
The film is set for global release during the year. LongTail, the second largest film distribution house in Hollywood, is likely to take up the world distribution rights of the movie.

CPI(M) demands constitution of assembly for Andaman and Nicobar
Port Blair, 4 April : CPI(M) is contesting the only seat of Andaman & Nicobar in the union territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Tapan Bepari, state secretariat member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and former president of the state unit of the All India Kisan Sabha is the candidate for this seat. Tapan belongs to the weaker section of the settlers’ family. He is a lawyer by profession.
This constituency has about 3-4 lakhs of voters. Nicobar group of islands is predominantly a tribal dominated area with about 20 thousand registered voters. The Andaman group of islands is largely populated by settlers. It can be divided into north, middle and southern parts. While Bengali speaking people dominate in north and middle parts, Tamil speaking people dominate the southern part. The southern part of Andaman also has people having Telugu and Malayalam as their mother tongue. The city of Port Blair lies in the south.
Freedom fighters ammunition unearthed by labourers
Chandpur, 4 April : Labourers in Hajiganj, Chandpur, have unearthed a huge pile of ammunition, which police say may have been stashed by freedom fighters during the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war.
"Most of the ammunition was damaged after being underground for so long," said Hajiganj police chief Md Jashimuddin of the 1,500 bullets found at Truckghat on Saturday. The owner of the land, Abu Taher, hired day labourers to dig earth for a construction project. "The labourers felt something hard hit their spades that turned out to be a huge pile of unused bullets," said Jashimuddin.
"Abu Taher informed the Hajiganj police, who recovered some 1,500 bullets and brought them to the police station."
Indonesia, India to intensify security precautions in Andaman Waters
ANTARA News, Jakarta, 4 April : Indonesia and India will intensify security in Andaman`s territorial waters in anticipation of security disturbances in the region.
Spokesman for the Military (TNI) headquarters in Jakarta Rear Marshal Sagom Tamboen said here on Thursday that by doing so, all kinds of threats including those posed by the entry of Tamil Tiger rebels into Indonesia could be prevented.

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