Darjeeling, 13 July : Normal life was disarrayed in the three sub-divisions of Darjeeling district on Monday as the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha enforced its indefinite strike in the region after its demands failed to invoke the desired reaction from the CPI(M) government in West Bengal.
The bandh, which was scheduled to come into force at noon, was delayed by an hour to allow people last-minute purchase of essentials. GJM publicity secretary Benoy Tamang told Bengal Newz, movement of vehicular traffic was relaxed to enable stranded tourists and students to leave the hills. Shops and establishments remained closed and employees left offices early, say correspondents in the region citing local police officials. Tamang said the strike would continue till the resolution of its demands and added that people had a sufficient stock of essentials.
Most of the students and tourists have already left the hills. But residential schools in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong have decided to keep their hostels open. The GJM strike is to press for the relocation of three police officials from the region, it blames the trio for ordering a lathicharge on GJM supporters at a rally in Panighata area on Friday. န Photo :Ajay Shah
Bangladesh seal first ever Test victory on foreign soil
BBC Sports, St Vincent (West Indies), 13 July : Bangladesh won its first ever test on foreign soil, and only its second overall, by beating a weakened West Indies team by 95 runs. A superb bowling spell from Mahmudullah saw Bangladesh record only their second ever Test victory with a 95-run win against a weakened West Indies side. Set 277 to win, the home side crumbled to 181 all out as the debutant off-spinner ripped through the batting order with 5-51 in St Vincent. READ MORE
Hasina to discuss controversial dam with Manmohan
Dhaka, 13 July : The prime ministers of Bangladesh and India are expected to meet this week on the sidelines of the 15th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit to discuss New Delhi's plan to construct the Tipaimukh dam in Manipur, a move that has triggered protests in Dhaka.
The 15th NAM Summit will take place 15-16 July at the Egyptian resort of Sharm-Al-Shaikh. Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni had last week stopped over in New Delhi and conveyed the need to talk over the Tipaimukh dam project. Barak flows into Bangladesh's Meghna river system. Tipaimukh is located 200 km upstream of Bangladesh. Dhaka has accepted in principle New Delhi's proposal made in May for sending a team of parliamentarians and water resource experts to visit the dam site.
Wildlife officials seize rare turtles in Siliguri town
ANI, Siliguri, 13 July : Forest officials seized 46 Indian soft shell turtles from two smugglers in Siliguri. Baikunthapur Wildlife-2 department officials intercepted a car transporting the rare turtles after receiving a tip off. The turtles were found hidden in two bags.
Two persons have been arrested in the case. Officials said the accused revealed during the interrogation that they planned to smuggle the turtles to Nepal. "As per the statement of accused, they were bringing those turtles from Bihar. It is for supply to Nepal via Siliguri where it is used as medicine and for eating also," said Manindra Kumar Biswas, a forest conservator. There is a huge demand for rare species of turtles in the international market. They are used as pets and also serve as a delicacy.
India has banned the trade of turtles under the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act, but the huge premium and lax laws are increasingly luring poachers to the trade. န Photo : AP
Agartala, 13 July : CPI(M) Lok Sabha MP from Tripura Khagen Das has urged Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee to introduce a morning train from here and replace old coaches with comfortable new ones.
In a letter to the Railway Minister yesterday, Das said the state government and the people of this northeastern hilly state have been demanding a new train from Agartala at 0630 hrs to Dharmanagar in North district and another from Dharmanagar to Agartala. This new train will be most useful for all sections of people of the state, the MP observed in his letter.
Six killed, 20 injured in East Midnapore bus accident
Chandipur (East Midnapore), 13 July : At least six people were killed and over 20 injured Monday as a speeding bus fell into a water body in East Midnapore district, police said.
The accident took place under Chandipur police station area when the driver lost control of the bus, East Midnapore Superintendent of Police Pallav Kanti Ghosh told Bengal Newz. Ghosh said 10 of the injured were critical. “After preliminary investigation, we have come to know that the driver lost control, and the vehicle fell into the roadside water body,” He said.
He said the bus was plying between East Midnapore’s Pataspur and Chandrakona of neighbouring West Midnapore district. န Photos : Raghunandan Mallik
Sea fishermen get gadgets to thwart hijack attempts
Kolkata, 13 July : Nearly seven months after the terror strike on Mumbai, fishermen along the country's eastern coast have started receiving a gadget that will scuttle plans by terrorists to hijack small boats and trawlers at sea and launch attacks on major cities. In the first phase, the Chennai Coast Guard has distributed 63 of these gadgets known as Distance Alarming Technology (DAT) to fishermen in West Bengal.
The DAT has been developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and is meant for fishermen who can't afford marine radio sets. All the fishermen will have to do, in case of emergencies, is press a button to send a signal to a satellite. Within minutes, the SOS will reach the Coast Guard control room in Chennai with location of the stricken craft. The Coast Guard will immediately send aircraft or vessels (from Chennai, Paradip or Haldia) to investigate.
The first lot of 18 DATs were distributed free of cost to fishermen at Kanthi, East Midnapore, on 23 June. Two days later, 36 DATs were handed over to fishermen at Diamond Harbour. The remaining were distributed at Kakdwip, Raidighi, Namkhana, Fraserganj and Sagar, said Sadhan Chakraborty, executive officer, Coast Guard station, Haldia.
Bhairab to be elevated as 65th district of Bangladesh
Bhairab, 13 July : Bhairab an upazila of Bangladesh's Kishoregonj district, would be elevated as the 65th district of the country soon.
Bangladesh President Zillur Rahman today said he would keep up his all-out efforts to turn Bhairab into a district to fulfil the long-cherished demand of the local people. “I promise I’ll carry on my efforts to upgrade Bhairab into a district,” he told a civic reception on the premises of Bhairab Haji Asmat College.
His assurance came as local people in their ‘Address of Honour’, given to the president, put forward their nine-point demand for the development of Bhairab.
Jyoti Basu's health condition stable, undergo CT scan
Kolkata, 13 July : Veteran CPI(M) leader and former West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu, who was admitted to hospital here after he fell unconscious on Sunday, is stable and making satisfactory progress, hospital authorities said. He is to undergo a CT scan of the brain.
The 96-year-old leader, who was rushed to the AMRI hospital near his Salt Lake home 'Indira Bhavan' Sunday after he became unconscious, is being treated in an Intensive Cardiac Care Unit, hospital officials said. A seven-member medical board comprising specialists from cardiology, neurology, gastroenterology, surgery and geriatrics - examined Basu Monday morning and decided to conduct the brain scan.
"The board is satisfied with Basu's progress. Overall, his condition is stable. All parameters are okay," hospital medical superintendent Debasish Sharma said.
Mild quake jolts northern Bangladesh
Rangpur, 13 July : A mild quake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale jolted the Bangladesh's northern districts on Monday, with no immediate report of damages or casualties, officials said.
The quake shook Rangpur, Kurigram, Nilphamari, Lalmanirhat and Gaibandha districts for around 15 seconds at 2.39pm(BDST).
The epicentre of the quake was at the Bangladesh-India border in Bhurungamari Upazila, Kurigram, said Rubayet Hossain of the Bangladesh Meteorological Department.
Landmine blown up Army vehicle in Assam; 2 killed
IANS, Guwahati, 13 July : Two army soldiers, including a colonel, were killed in a powerful landmine explosion in Assam on Monday. A defence spokesperson said the army vehicle hit the landmine near the Balipara reserve forest area in Sonitpur district, about 210 km north of Assam's main city of Guwahati.
"The impact of the landmine was severe with the vehicle blown up, killing the colonel and his driver on the spot," an army commander said. The remaining vehicles in the convoy were safe as they stopped the moment they saw one of the vehicle hit by the landmine. Army and police teams have since cordoned off the area and launched a hunt. Police blame the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) for the attack. "It could be possible it was the handiwork of the NDFB," a senior police official said.
Additional police superintendent SM Akhteruzzaman said the Sherpur-bound cement-laden truck carrying people on top of its cargo was coming from Dhaka. As the vehicle overturned, the passengers were shaken off and crushed under the loosened and falling cement sacks, he said. The police and firefighters along with the locals initiated a rescue operation immediately after the accident and recovered the 13 bodies including three women.
Traffic movement on the highway remained suspended for a little more than half an hour, the police official added. န Photo : Narayan Deb