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Monday, June 15, 2009

Bangladesh to link with Asian Highway Network
Dhaka, 15 June : The Bangladesh cabinet today decided in principle to connect Bangladesh with Asian Highway Network (AHN).
In a bid to play an important role in selecting the route, the cabinet also decided to become a member of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP). After a three-hour meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office, PM’s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad said this. “We can’t remain aloof in the age of the globalisation. So, we have to go forward with the network for the interest of the socio-economic development of the country people,” Abul Kalam told newsmen quoting Sheikh Hasina.
The proposed three routes are Benapole-Jessore-Kanchpur-Dhaka-Sylhet-Tamabil, Banglabandha-Hatikamrul-Dhaka-Kanchpur-Sylhet-Tamabil and Dhaka-Kanchpur-Chittagong-Cox's Bazar-Teknaf-Myanmar border.

Solar lanterns for Aila-hit Sunderbans by WBGEDC
Kolkata, 15 June : Hundreds of solar panels worth Rs 50 crore have been damaged by the Cyclone Aila in Gosaba, Patharpratima, Hingalganj and Sandeshkhali in the North and South 24-Parganas. To restore the solar power system in those areas, the West Bengal Green Energy Development Corporation (WBGEDC) will send 1,000 solar lanterns to these affected places in the next seven days. The lanterns, named 'Aila', would be distributed free of cost among the villagers of the affected areas.
WBGEDC managing director S P Gon Choudhuri said the first 500 lanterns would be sent on Tuesday and the rest by the end of the week. "A total of Rs 10 lakh has been spent on these lanterns. Each of these lanterns costs Rs 900 and have one year's warranty," he said.
WBGEDC has been working for quite some time to use renewable energy sources like solar, biomass and tidal power in the Sunderbans as much as possible.
Sukhoi squadron in Northeast India formally inducted
Tezpur (Assam), 15 June : Four frontline combat aircraft Sukhoi-30MKI were formally inducted in India's sensitive north-eastern region on Monday, a strategic decision to move advanced assets close to the Chinese border, defence officials said.
A defence spokesperson said four multi-role strike fighter jets at the Indian Air Force (IAF) base in Tezpur, about 185 km north of Assam's main city of Guwahati, would soon be part of a Sukhoi-30MKI squadron comprising of 18 aircrafts. Air Marshal SK Bhan, air officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Air Command, graced the function at the IAF base, although the media was kept out of bounds. Capable of carrying nuclear weapons and tailor-made for Indian specifications.
Tezpur has become the third dedicated Sukhoi-30MKI airbase in the country after Pune and Bareilly. As of now five bases in the eastern and north-eastern parts of the country, including Tezpur, Chabua, Jorhat (Assam), Panagarh (West Bengal) and Purnea (Bihar), are due for upgrades.

Ex-Bangladesh intel chief confirms ISI and ULFA link
Dhaka, 15 June : A long-suspected nexus between Pakistan's ISI and insurgency groups active in India's northeast have come to light with detained former Bangladesh intelligence chief confirming Islamabad's intelligence agency's link to the sensational supply of arms to ULFA in 2004.
The former director of Bangladesh's intelligence agency and a key suspect in the country's biggest ever arms haul case has confirmed that ISI was involved in the aborted smuggling of weapons believed to be destined to the ULFA hideouts in northeast India, a media report said on Monday. Retired Wing Commander Shahabuddin, an ex-director of the National Security Intelligence told investigators that detained suspects of the haul had several talks with ISI officials working with Pakistan's High Commission in Dhaka, Pratham Olo said quoting officials familiar to the probe.
Shahabuddin was remanded last week for the second time to the custody of security agencies, who said they desired further clarifications on the foreign link.
Dhaka, 15 June :
A band of Dhaka University students under the platform 'Students against Repression' take part in a procession on the campus Monday demanding arrest of immediate past army chief Gen Moeen U Ahmed, widely perceived to be a key player in the '1/11 changeover' in 2007, which entailed a state of emergency.

Photos : Nashirul Islam
B'desh new army chief Gen Abdul Mubeen took over
Dhaka, 15 June : General Md Abdul Mubeen took over as the Bangladesh chief of army staff today replacing General Moeen U Ahmed who just ended his four-year tenure of service.
Shortly after taking baton from Moeen U Ahmed at the Army headquarters, Mubeen called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is also in charge of the ministry of defence. Navy Chief Rear Admiral ZU Ahmed and Air Chief Air Marshal SM Ziaur Rahman wore Mubeen the rank badge in presence of the prime minister.
Mubeen was named new chief of the armed forces on 4 June. He was promoted to the rank of general from lieutenant general with effect from today. Gen Mubeen served as GOC in Jessore and Chittagon and was made Principal Staff Officer to the Armed Forces Division on 4 June in 2008.
South Asian Film festival kicks off on 26 June in Goa
< Megher Por Megh : A movie on Historic War of Liberation in 1971
New Delhi, 15 June : With more than 50 films entered from eight Saarc countries and a special screening of 12 Iranian films, the fourth annual South Asian Film Festival starts in Goa 26 June.
The four-day event will feature movies from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and will have the theme 'dissolving boundaries', the official website of the festival said. 'Films are the single most effective medium for improving communication and cooperation within the South Asian region. The influence of films on the psyche of the masses in the region is enormous,' Rahul Barua, secretary general of the South Asia Foundation, said in a statement.
The films have been divided into four categories - classic , short, documentary and mainstream. Some of the notables to be screened are 'Welcome to Sajjanpur,' 'Fashion,' 'A Wednesday', 'Aha!', 'Megher Por Megh', 'The Roots', 'Opium War', 'Ramchand Pakistani', 'Mohabattan Sachian', 'Death on a Full Moon Night', 'The Dark Night of the Soul' and 'In An Iranian Market'. A seminar on Indian Cinema and South Asia with participation from various directors and actors from the SAARC countries will also be held.
Nokia offers Bangla Ovi Mail in Bangladesh with BLink
Dhaka, 15 June : Access to internet can now be easy and affordable for everyone in Bangladesh as Nokia and Banglalink join hands to connect the unconnected with an attractive offer. Consumers purchasing Nokia 2323 classic, Nokia 2330 classic, Nokia 5130 XpressMusic or Nokia 7210 can set up and start using their Ovi email account (
username@ovi.com) directly on their mobile phone.
As part of the offer, banglalink desh subscribers will also get unlimited internet browsing absolutely free for the first month. After the first month, the unlimited access will be priced at BDT 650 per month.
The offer will be launched from Today. READ MORE
Indian Army seeks Guinness entry through Assam forest plantation
Dhubri (Assam), 15 June : Troops of the Indian Army's 21 Jat regiment, also known as the Red Horns Division, are seeking to enter the Guinness Book of World Records by planting 500,000 tree saplings in Assam's Dhubri District.
About 300 army personnel began planting saplings in the bare Shreegram Reserve Forest of Dhubri district in Assam at around 3:00 pm on Friday. They were to complete the task on Saturday afternoon. A report on whether the record was achieved or not is awaited.
Army officials believe that such an effort by the Indian Army will spread awareness about the benefits of planting trees. The aim of this record is to create awareness among people regarding plantation of trees. We have witnessed deforestation, erosion and encroachment taking place here since the last three years. People here do plant trees but they don't fence them, said J.S Sekhawat, an officer of Red Horns Division.

The current record in the category of most saplings planted in 24 hours is held by Durango, city of Mexico, where 348 thousands saplings were planted.

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