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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dhaka, 9 July :
A mother sits with her child on her slum demolished by the Dhaka Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA). Dhaka Water and Sewerage Authority evicted a slum as part of efforts to clear up the 26 canals causing water logging in the city on Thursday. About 200 slum houses have been affected as 400 metres of the canals have been evicted, WASA officials said.

Photo : Reuters
IRCTC to take over Rajdhani, Shatabdi food: Mamata
PTI, New Delhi, 9 July : Indian Railway minister Mamata Banerjee announced that food in Rajdhani and Shatabdi express trains will not be outsourced.
Banerjee's made the announcement in the Rajya Sabha while replying to the debate on the Rail Budget. "Outsourcing of food in the Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains will stop. IRCTC will take over," she said after members complained about the quality of food in these trains during the course of the debate. Admitting that the quality of passenger amenities like on board food service and drinking water at the station has deteriorated, she said "regional and national food" along with Janata food will be introduced in the Railways. In a reference to burger being sold at the stations, she said children like it and she had nothing against it but a poor passenger paying Rs 200 on fare cannot spend Rs 60 on a burger. "They need Janata food," she added. When members raised questions about regional food in lighter vein, Banerjee said, "what people like should be there. People like chilly chowmein. I eat dosa..." she said.
She also admitted that there was problem of drinking water at stations.

India, Bangladesh discuss Dam row, Hasina visit
New Delhi, 9 July : In the first high-level contact between the two countries since the United Progressive Alliance government here began its second tenure, Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Thursday held talks with visiting Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni on bilateral issues, including the row over a proposed hydel dam in India's north-east.
Moni arrived here Thursday morning on her way to Sri Lankan capital Colombo to attend the fourth SAARC ministerial conference on children. Moni handed over a letter from Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Krishna, conveying Dhaka's desire to buttress relations with New Delhi that had tended to drift over many sticky issues under the previous dispensation.
The two ministers also discussed Sheikh Hasina's visit to India later this year. The visit is expected to take place in another 3-4 months, sources said, saying dates are being finalised. The recent row over the construction of the Tipaimukh dam in Manipur figured in the discussions, sources said. The two sides agreed to resolve issues through dialogue and consultations, sources said.

Law amended for war crimes trials in Bangladesh
Dhaka, 9 July : Bangladesh Parliament passed the International Crimes (Tribunals) (Amendment) Act 2009 on Thursday for upcoming trials of war crimes, amid calls to ensure the new law conforms to international standards.
Law minister Shafique Ahmed had presented the bill to the House the previous day, with the speaker urging quick passage before the end of the current parliamentary session. The bill was sent to the parliamentary standing committee on the law ministry for overnight scrutiny.

Bangladesh to host eight 'World Cup cricket, 20011' matches : Ahad Ali
Dhaka, 9 July : Bangladesh will host eight matches of World Cup cricket in 2011, the state minister for sports told parliament on Thursday.
The opening match will take place in Bangladesh and the final in India, Ahad Ali Sarkar said in response to a written query from the MP for Dhaka-8, Rashed Khan Menon. Bangladesh Cricket Board is preparing for making venues and arranging diverse training programmes for the extravaganza, he said, replying to another query from woman MP Salma Islam.
Bangladesh will also host two quarter-finals, a tournament's organising committee decided in Mumbai after the International Cricket Council removed Pakistan from the list of co-hosts for 'uncertain political situation.'

Explosive and one landmine recovered in Bankura
Kolkata, Bankura, 9 July : Police today recovered one landmine during their routine search in Bankura district. The district police recovered the explosive from Bikrampur village under Sarenga police station this morning, a top district police source said. The explosive was later diffused.
There has not been any fresh operations in Lalgrah though the police are keeping close watch on the development activities going around the area. "Police are trying to consolidate their position but routine checks and raids are going on," Superintendent of Police (West Midnapore), Monoj Verma, told Bengal Newz.


Bangladesh to develop two

ports as regional trade hubs
Dhaka. 9 July : Bangladesh will offer Chittagong and Mongla ports for use to its South Asian neighbours, developing them as regional trade hubs, a minister has said.
“There is no reason why cotton from Pakistan could not be directly brought or trucks laden with goods from Nepal could not directly be imported to Bangladesh or why north east Indian states will remain landlocked when we have the Chittagong port,” Commerce Minister, Col.(retd.) Faruk Khan said Tuesday. He reiterated the government’s stand and the ruling Awami League’s poll promise made last December in the face of “nave and negative mindset” being displayed by the opposition parties. Photo : AP

Naxal arms supplier arrested with huge consignment
PTI, Ranchi, 9 July : Two persons, including an alleged arms supplier to Naxals, were arrested and large quantities of ammunition, explosives and Maoist literature seized from two Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV).
Official sources said, based on specific information, the CRPF 133 Batallion and local police intercepted a Chevrolet Tavera and a Mahindra Bolero bearing Bihar registration two days ago. On inspection they found bags containing about 403 rounds of ammunitions, explosives and also Potassium Nitrate, a chemical used for making Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). The personnel also seized a computer CPU, CDs and cassettes from the two vehicles.
The arrested persons were identified as 35-year-old Sanjay Singh, the alleged arms supplier who was travelling along with his wife Vima Minch. Sources said Singh was earlier arrested by the Jharkhand police in 2008 for Naxal activity but he got bail in January this year.

NF Rail link along India-Bangladesh border proposed
PTI, Shillong, 9 July : The North East Frontier Railway has proposed a rail link connecting key trading points along the Bangladesh border in Assam and Meghalaya. The Rs 16,000-crore proposal, for setting up the rail tracks from Jogighopa in Goalpara district of Assam to Silchar in south Assam via some key trading points along Bangladesh border like Dawki, Shella and Baghmara, has been submitted to the railway ministry.
"The length of the proposed rail track is around 437 km and it intends to run through the southern hill slopes of Meghalaya," Chief Secretary of Meghalaya, Ranjan Chatterjee said after a meeting with railway officials here. "The state is engaged in a lot of business activity with Bangladesh. Once the rail track comes up, roads connecting the stations would also have a face-lift. Besides, it would provide an alternative and cheaper mode of transport," Chatterjee said.
Meghalaya Chief Minister D D Lapang, who is scheduled to reach New Delhi today, is likely to take up the project with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee. The railway line proposes to connect the plains falling under Indo-Bangladesh border, Chatterjee added. Meghalaya does not have rail connectivity.

Global warming behind Malaria in Kolkata : WB min
Kolkata, 9 July : With malaria cases in Kolkata rising alarming, a West Bengal minister named global warming as one of the major reasons. Health Minister Surya Kanto Mishra, who is a doctor himself, said global warming was one of the reasons for the rising cases of malaria in the city.
Even in cooler climes like Kalimpong in Darjeeling district, the disease has struck with a vengeance all because the snowfall has stopped there due to the warming of the climate, he said. Replying to a calling attention on the subject of malignant malaria in Kolkata, Mishra told the state assembly that compared to 93 cases last year, already 843 people have tested positive this year. From January to June the malaria parasite has been detected among 10,608 patients.
He said Kolkata Municipal Corporation had taken a number of steps to combat the deadly disease. These include opening of more malaria clinics and massive campaign for blood collection in the malaria-prone areas, besides creating public health awareness.

Let me return to Bangladesh, says Taslima Nasreen
IANS, Dhaka, 9 July : Controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen has petitioned Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to be allowed to return home 15 years after fleeing death threats by Islamic militants. She has not yet received any response.
She is unhappy with all regimes in Dhaka and with India, where she lived for some years, but had to leave in 2007 following threats from Muslim extremists. "The problem of all political parties in India is that they tend to appease the Muslim fundamentalists," Nasreen, who holds a Swedish passport and lives in Paris, told Blitz, a Dhaka weekly. "Muslims comprise 25 percent of Indian population, this section generally relies on their religious leaders to choose the politician or party to vote. So, all political parties try to win the hearts of these religious leaders, who are often fanatics. Calling herself "truly secular", Nasreen however says she is not against Taliban who seek to enforce an extremist form of Islam. She wants the 'system' that produces Taliban to be destroyed.

She has disputed Bangladesh foreign minister Dipu Moni's description of Bangladesh as a 'secular' nation, pointing to numerous religion-based laws in force. Rather than being 'secular', which is an ideal situation, she would prefer Bangladesh to be a "moderate Muslim state".
Nasreen fled Bangladesh in 1994 to live in exile after death threats over her novel 'Lajja' (Shame) which depicts the life of a Hindu family persecuted in the Muslim-majority country.

BSNL may take two weeks+ time to be back online
Kolkata, 9 JKuly : At least 64,500 phone lines and 12,000 broadband connections have gone dead in the heart of the city following the fire at BSNL's Circus exchange on Hungerford Street on Tuesday night.
Worse, it may take BSNL nearly a fortnight to restore all the connections. The sphere of disruption touches Park Street in the north; AJC Bose Road, Bondel Road and Picnic Garden in the south; EM Bypass in the east and Jawaharlal Nehru Road in the west. Calcutta Telephones chief general manager S K Chakrabarti said critical lines like hospitals and banks would be restored in 24-36 hours, followed by major corporate networks within a week. However, it could take 12-14 days for the entire network to go online. In the meantime, BSNL has provided wireless telephone connections to key subscribers like chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and police commissioner Gautam Mohan Chakrabarti.

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