Dhaka, Kolkata, 27 May : The death toll from Cyclone Aila rose to 121 in Bangladesh as thousands of people in coastal areas of the Bay of Bengal in both Bangladesh and West Bengal were marooned.
The storm that ripped through the south-western coast Monday has left at least 32 people dead in Satkhira, 25 in Noakhali, 20 in Khulna, 13 in Bhola, nine in Barisal, seven in Patuakhali, six in Laxmipur, two each in Bagerhat and Cox's Bazar, and one in Magura, according to reports from the affected areas. Besides, two people in Chapainawabganj and one each in Natore and Lalmonirhat are among the cyclone fatalities, United News of Bangladesh (UNB) news agency said. The food and disaster management ministry, however, put the body count at 91, The Daily Star said on Wednesday.
Cyclone Aila also battered coastal West Bengal in India Monday, especially South 24 Parganas district, uprooting trees, snapping power cables and leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. The cyclone left 82 people dead in West Bengal and affected more than 400,000 others. န Photos : PTI, Indrajit Dutta
BDR mutiny 'due to poor pay' : Official inquiry report
BBC News, Dhaka, 27 May : The ferocity of the mutiny took many Bangladeshis by surprise An official inquiry into a mutiny by Bangladeshi border guards in February has attributed it to years of pent-up anger over ignored pleas for pay rises.
It says that members of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) also wanted better treatment from their army commanders. The report was commissioned by the government and released on Wednesday. READ MORE
Death toll in landslide mounts to 21 in Darjeeling hill
Siliguri, Kolkata, 27 May : Death toll in landslides today mounted to 21 with recovery of five more bodies from the debris by army rescuers in Darjeeling where the hill areas remained cut off from the plains for the second day.
"I have asked Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen to rush to Darjeeling tomorrow to monitor the situation and speed up relief and rescue operations," WB Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee told reporters. 16 bodies were recovered on Tuesday. "A special fund has been released to the district administration, and two teams of BSF's National Disaster Management force rushed to Darjeeling today," the Chief Minister said. Darjeeling, he said, remained cut off from Siliguri in the plains for the second day as all roads were blocked by landslides.
Personnel of the 123 Mountain Brigade who began rescue operations last evening scoured the landslide-affected areas and recovered the bodies, Additional District Magistrate (General) P Zimba told Bengal Newz. Electricity was partially restored and there was no immediate shortage of relief materials, the ADM said.
Newly-elected BJP MP, Jaswant Singh, in a statement urged the West Bengal government to help and send disaster management teams to Darjeeling. န Photos : PTI
European Union supports B'desh war crimes trials
Dhaka, 27 May : The European Union has voiced support for the trial of war crimes perpetrated during Bangladesh's Liberation War and urged the concerned authorities to carry out the trials process to international standards, the Sector Commanders Forum said in a statement on Wednesday.
The EU expressed the view during a meeting of its ambassadors and senior diplomats based in Bangladesh with SCF leaders in Dhaka on Tuesday. The meeting held a detailed discussion on relevant trial issues, particularly on the international Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973.
PTI, New Delhi, 27 May : The poll debacle seems to have heightened the differences between the two leading Left parties. After the CPI national executive last week asked the ‘big brother’ CPI(M) to eschew arrogance, CPI leaders now say that West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee should be replaced before the next assembly election in 2011.
A senior CPI leader told PTI, "Bhattacharjee should not be the face of Left in the next elections." Though he said the final decision on retaining or replacing him would be taken by the CPI(M) alone, the CPI leader said the land acquisition policy has become a bane of the Left Front government. The CPI leader gave the example of how old automobile companies in West Bengal have been operating out of few hundred acres. "Nearly 1,000 acres for Nano was not needed. The state government can easily return 400 acres," he said.
Port Blair, 27 May : Fourteen senior Congress leaders of Andaman and Nicobar Islands were suspended for alleged anti-party activities during the Lok Sabha polls. Party sources said it was found that main reasons for the defeat of Congress candidate were "indiscipline and anti-party activities" of some leaders.
The leaders were suspended on Saturday in a meeting chaired by Andaman Nicobar Territorial Congress Committee (ANTCC) president Kuldeep Rai Sharma, who lost to BJP's Bishnu Pada Ray in the lone Andaman and Nicobar Lok Sabha seat this time. According to the party sources all the suspended Congress leaders were close to former MP Manoranjan Bhakta.
Kolkata, Canning, 27 May : The cyclone Aila has left more than 24,000 people homeless in the Sunderbans on Monday. The most affected islands are Dayapur, Jamespur, Annpore and Lahiripur, lying close to the Sajnekhali forest in the Sunderbans.
Animesh Sinha, who runs an NGO, Sunderbans Environment and Ecological Development Society, said his office opposite the Sajnekhali forest office, had been inundated on Sunday night. "There was inside the room was around six feet deep. The worse is yet to come," he said. The high tide had left most of the villages inundated. The force of the gushing water was so high in the morning that most of the mud and bamboo walls collapsed. "Only the tall trees could be seen, everything else was under water. The embankment has broken at three places, leaving the villages exposed to the river," said Sinha.
The Sunderbans Tiger Reserve field director, Subrata Mukherjee, said most of the camps in the forests were inundated after the heavy rainfall that followed the cyclone. "Boats have sunk. We have taken the help of BSF at some places. Control rooms have been set up at Canning and Gosaba. We have also asked some NGOs to provide relief to the people."
Unpaid garment workers torched factory in Savar
Savar, 27 May : Agitated workers set fire to a readymade garments factory at Savar on Wednesday, said officials and witnesses. At around 11am(BDST), workers of the garment house Mohammadia Fashion 2000 torched its three storey factory in Hemayetpur. By 1pm(BDST), the whole factory was afire.
Fire workers and locals were working to douse the blaze as RAB and police also joined them. Workers alleged that they had torched the factory protesting the owners' non-payment of salaries and overtime allowances due for a month. The Hemayetpur-Shingair road remained blocked up to late afternoon.