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Friday, May 22, 2009

New Delhi, 22 May :
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, takes oath as Prime Minister for a 2nd term from the President Pratibha Patil in New Delhi today. Patil, dressed in an elaborate white green and gold sari, administered the oath of office to Singh and his core Cabinet in a formal ceremony in New Delhi's imposing red-stone presidential palace. Seated front right to left are the ruling United Progressive Alliance leaders A.K Antony, P. Chidambaram and Mamata Banerjee, who were later sworn in as Cabinet Ministers.
Photo : AP
Mamata Banerjee West Bengal's stormy petrel returns to parliament
New Delhi, 22 May : For years the face of the opposition in communist-ruled West Bengal and now the architect of the Left debacle in the state, the feisty Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee makes a comeback to the union cabinet after five years.
A gutsy agitationist and leader with mass appeal known for her humble lifestyle, the 54-year-old 'didi' of Kalighat in south Kolkata, becomes union minister for the fourth time.

S Korea offers to set up N-power plant in Bangladesh
Dhaka, 22 May : South Korea offered to set up a nuclear power plant in Bangladesh to meet the country’s growing demand for power. The visiting South Korean deputy foreign minister Lee Yong-Joon made the proposal when he called on state minister for foreign affairs Hasan Mahmud at the latter’s office.
‘As we have various proposals [for setting up of a nuclear power plant], we will examine which one suits the country best,’ Hasan Mahmud told reporters after the meeting. Yong-Joon told reporters that his country wanted to set up a nuclear power plant in Bangladesh as Korean Electric and Power Company had constructed such plants in some 20 countries and six more projects would be implemented overseas.
The deputy foreign minister of South Korea arrived here on Thursday on a two-day visit.

Tripura gets new chief secretary, Sudhir Sharma
Agartala, 22 May : Barely a week after the Lok Sabha election result, the Left Front government in Tripura Friday appointed a new chief secretary, officials here said. Tripura-Manipur cadre Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of 1975 batch Sudhir Sharma will replace incumbent chief secretary Shashi Prakash, who will join as adviser of the inter-state council under the union home ministry.
A senior official told reporters here that Sharma, who at present is the secretary to the governor, would join his new assignment 1st June. Several other important administrative changes were also ordered.

Mamata likely to settle for Rly ministry, 5 MoS berths
New Delhi, 22 May : Having arrived in Parliament with a bloc of 20 MPs, including one from SUCI tagging on, Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress has settled Mamata Banerjee for a single Cabinet berth, which she will keep for herself. Initially, the offer from Congress negotiators Pranab Mukherjee and Ahmed Patel was for two Cabinet and three minister of state portfolios, according to highly placed sources.
Unless there is a last moment twist, Congress has agreed to Banerjee's demand for the railway ministry, it is learnt. The offer to Banerjee, who met Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday and was in touch with Patel and Mukherjee over phone through Thursday, was made in two packages. The first offered two Cabinet and three MoS berths while the second package offered one Cabinet and five MoS slots. Banerjee decided to settle for the second offer since she saw a possibility of accommodating one more MP as minister.
The more important reason, however, is not unknown to those who have followed Banerjee's brand of politics. In a party that she runs single-handedly, she is apprehensive of allowing any other colleague to emerge at par with her or develop their independent relations with the higher-ups. The probables likely to make it as ministers of state from Trinamool Congress are Saugata Ray, Dinesh Tribedi, Sultan Ahmed, Sisir Adhikari and in all probability, TMC's Rajya Sabha member Mukul Roy. While Sultan Ahmed is the Muslim face of the party, Sudip Bandopadhyay missed the bus as the TMC chief is cut up with him for refusing to be chief whip of the party in Parliament. Gobinda Nashkar, an SC MP, has been made deputy leader of the parliamentary party. Two other members, including Chandra Mohan Jatua, are likely to be made chairmen of standing committees that will come the TMC's way.

Her idea for not going in for "attractive" ministries is also that there would be less chances of allegations of corruption against her team before assembly polls in Bengal.
Wild elephant kills two in Darjeeling hills early today
Siliguri, 22 May : A wild elephant killed two people in Darjeeling district Friday, a forest department official said. Sobha Chetri, 60, and Pradip Kishan, 22 were killed by the animal in Garidhura area in Kurseong sub-division of the district early Friday.
“We’ve examined the foot marks of the elephant around both the accident spots. We came to the conclusion that it was the same elephant that killed both the locals. We’re now trying to find it and have increased patrolling in the entire forest area,” Kurseong divisional forest officer (DFO) Y.T. Adden said. He said the elephant seems to have fled into the forest after the incidents.
B'desh Army sending 212 peacekeepers to Sudan
Dhaka, 22 May : Bangladesh Army send two contingents of 212 officers and soldiers to join the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Sudan under the 'United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur'.
An ISPR press release said 107 army officers and soldiers left Dhaka on Wednesday night by an UN-chartered aircraft with major Md Emdad Ullah Bhuyan and major Md Mahfuzur Rahman as commanding officers. The contingents are Reserve Infantry Company and Movecon Platoon-1. Another 105 army personnel will start for Sudan on Friday.

Two BSF jawans injured in encounter with NLFT
Agartala, 22 May : Two Border Security Force (BSF) jawans were injured in an encounter with suspected insurgents of outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) at Omar, a remote tribal hamlet, about 60 km from Kanchanpur police station in North Tripura District, BSF sources said on Friday.
BSF said a contingent of 77 battalion was patrolling the area yesterday in a jeep and when it stopped near the hill top hamlet, the ultras hiding in a roadside bush showered bullets from automatic weapons injuring two jawans, identified as Sitaram and C.D. Das. The jawans also retaliated and the encounter lasted for about twenty minutes following which the insurgents managed to flee into the forest. There is no information of any insurgent being injured in the encounter. However, BSF said, the ultras could not loot any weapon. The injured jawans were airlifted and admitted to Agartala Medical College hospital where their condition was stated to be critical.
State police, paramilitary, Tripura State Rifles (TSR) and BSF have launched a massive combing operation in the area and alerted BDR so as to prevent the ultras from sneaking into Bangladesh.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar opposes TMC's early elections demand for WB
Patna, 22 May : Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday slammed Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee for demanding early assembly elections in West Bengal, saying it was "against the spirit of the Indian constitution".
"I am dead opposed to any move for dismissal of a democratically-elected government. The demand for central intervention in Left-ruled West Bengal is seriously against the spirit of the Indian constitution and an affront to the people's verdict," Kumar told reporters here.

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