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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oscar winner A R Rahman to regale music lovers in Kolkata

Kolkata, 13 October : Oscar winner A R Rahman will regale the music lovers here at a concert next month organised to raise funds for liver patients.
"It feels great to be back here," Rahman said when asked about the concert which will be his first in the city after winning the Academy award in February this year for composing music in the Hollywood film 'Slumdog Millionaire'. The musician and singer who has also won several awards for his composition in Bollywood and Tamil films called upon youngsters to be "original" in creativity. "Be original and find your inner voice. And the rest will follow," said Rahman who was here to announce the concert scheduled for 12 November organised by the Liver Foundation.
Rahman said he is yet to explore the classical songs of Rabindranath Tagore.

Controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act to remain in Tripura
Agartala, 13 October : Tripura's Left Front government has extended for another six months the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), a controversial anti-terror law enacted 50 years ago that gives sweeping powers to the security forces deployed in the region to counter insurgency, an official Tuesday said.

"Though militancy has come down in Tripura, the state government is averse to taking any chances for some more time," a state home department official said. Of the 64 police stations in Tripura, the AFSPA is in force in 34 police stations and partially in six police stations since 1997. "The state level coordination committee (SLCC), supervising the anti-insurgency operation in the state, last week reviewed the overall situation and suggested to extend the AFSPA's term by another six months. The state government has accepted the recommendation," the official said. The 1958 act provides unlimited powers to the security forces to shoot on sight and arrest anybody without a warrant.
"Innocent people are victimised by security forces in the name of anti-insurgency operations," former minister and general secretary of the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) Rabindra Debbarma said. Besides Tripura, the AFSPA is also in force in Manipur, Assam, and Nagaland.
US Ambassador TJR presents Obama's books to CM
Kolkata, 13 October : The US Ambassador to India Timothy J Roemer today presented two books written by US President Barack Obama to West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee during his maiden visit to the city after assuming office in New Delhi.
Roemer met the Chief Minister at the state secretariat here and presented him the books -'The Audacity of Hope' and 'Dreams From My Father'- both written by Obama.

Coal bed found below WB's 'Videocon project' area
Kolkata, 13 October : The Videocon Group, which has proposed to set up a Rs.21,000-crore steel and power project at Asansol area in Burdwan district, Tuesday said Coal India has opposed the plant, saying there was a coal bed below the project area.
“We have already done the project details and design for the plants. But now Coal India is objecting saying there is a coal bed below the project area,” group chairman Venugopal Dhoot told reporters here after a meeting with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. The company would require around 4,200 acres for the project, out of which it has got cabinet approval for 3,000 acres. The total investment for the project was pegged at Rs.15,000 crore earlier, which later Dhoot said may be to the tune of Rs.21,000 crore.
“We now want our land to be realigned or relocated elsewhere to further proceed with the project. The chief minister told us that the government will look into the matter,” Dhoot added.

Tripura State Rifles' commandos toped NSG course
"They are indeed Tripura's pride" said Tripura's IGP Amitabha Kar
Agartala, 13 October : Once they had played a key role in counter-insurgency operations in Tripura and earned kudos from the army and paramilitary forces for their sheer grit, determination, discipline and skills. And for their expertise in anti-guerrilla warfare, they were also deployed in the Maoist-hit areas of West Bengal and Chhattisgarh during elections.
Now, the elite combatants of Tripura State Rifles (TSR) have outshone their peers from across the country to top commando courses from National Security Guards (NSG). In fact, the daredevil TSR personnel have bagged all 14 top positions of the 75-day Police Commando Instructor Course held at NSG in Maneswar, Haryana. Earlier in 1991, a TSR contingent had recorded best performance in several events of NSG courses. "This time, personnel from as many as eight states took part in the programme. Among them, rifleman Anish Kumar of 8th Bn TSR was adjudged the best shooter, while rifleman Jagdish Prasad Chawla won the 5-km run. Five of them achieved A-1 grade, while the remaining nine secured A grade," a source in Tripura Police said. DGP Pranay Sahay announced the awards for the TSR combatants.
Incidentally, TSR runs its own counter-insurgency and jungle guerrilla warfare institute at Kachucherra in Dhalai district according to the army's Vairangte (Mizoram) school. TSR was formed in 1984 to counter militancy in the northeastern state with 75 % of its jawans being inducted from Tripura, while the remaining 25 per cent from all over the country, thus giving it a national look. At present, there are 12 TSR battalions, while one more is being inducted.

Bangladesh's first local beer debuts !
Xinhua, Dhaka, 13 October : A local company has launched the first Bangladeshi-brewed beer earlier this month to compete with high-priced imported peers.
The brewer Crown Beverage Ltd, a concern of Bangladesh's leading Jamuna Group - started brewing beer after receiving a license from the country's Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) this year, said a report of the leading English newspaper the Daily Star Tuesday.

Quoting officials of the department, it said the company would be able to sell its beer to off-shops, bars, clubs and hotels that have a permission to sell this as the Muslim majority South Asian country does not allow free sale and consumption of alcohol. READ FULL STORY
Railway comm for toilets in Local, Suburban trains
PTI, New Delhi, 13 October : A Indian Railway committee on passenger amenities has disapproved of the ministry's existing policy of not providing toilets in local and suburban trains and stressed the need to review the rules.
The members were of the view that the present rule that bars toilets on local trains with running time of three hours or less be reviewed for the comfort of passengers on local and EMU trains, a Railways official said. The six-member committee also stressed on forging greater synergy between Railway administration and the GRP and use of modern technology to prevent passengers falling prey to anti-social elements.
During its second meeting in Kolkata recently, one of the members also drew attention to absence of toilets at Kolkata metro stations.

Russia may get W Bengal site for 2nd N-Power plant
New Delhi, 13 October : Russia is likely to get land in West Bengal for a second nuclear power project in the country. The Haripur site in the WB has been earmarked for Russian participation and could house up to eight Russian 'VVER'-series reactor units, official sources said. A second site could give a head-start for the Russians in the Indian nuclear market.
The Russians are already in advanced stages of commissioning the first phase of the Koodankulam project in Tamil Nadu that consists of two "VVER-1000" units of 1,000 MWe each. These are being built with assistance from Russian State-owned firm Atomstroy export, which would be involved in the construction of new units as well, sources said. India had earlier conveyed its readiness to expand its nuclear engagement with Russia beyond the Koodankulam site.
Both sides commenced preliminary discussions on the construction of Russian design reactors on a new site during delegation level talks between the Atomic Energy Commission Chairman, Dr Anil Kakodkar, and the Rosatom chief, Sergei Kiriyenko, earlier last month.

Kolkatans fume at Albania's proposal to take Mother Teresa's remains
Mother Indian citizen, no question of giving 'remains'
Kolkata, 13 October : Mother Teresa was a Kolkatan, part of the city's heritage and one could not give history away - be it intellectuals, Christian organisations or the common person, Kolkatans reacted as one to Albania's proposal that the remains of the Nobel laureate be returned to her country of origin.
Mother Teresa - born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia, on 26 August, 1910, to an ethnic Albanian family made Kolkata her home for 68 years caring for the poor and the infirm. After her death on 5 September, 1997, she was buried in Mother House, the global headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity (MoC) founded by her, AJC Bose Road in central Kolkata. Now, Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha has asked New Delhi for her remains to be returned to Albania by the 100th anniversary of her birth in August 2010. The request has sparked outrage and consternation in the city she made her home.
"She may have been an Albanian. But she became Mother Teresa because of her work in Kolkata. She came to India, and then selected Kolkata as her home and workplace. "She lived here by choice. She also died here. So I think in respect to her memory her remains should be allowed to remain here," Magsaysay award winning litterateur Mahasweta Devi told the news agency. Photo : Reuters
2 ship breakers die inhaling poisonous gas in C'tgong
Chittagong, 13 October : Two workers of a ship-breaking yard died and another fell sick after inhaling poisonous gas in Sitakunda upazila in Chittagong this morning.
The dead were identified as Shahabuddin alias Emran and M Nasir Uddin. They were workers of Pakija Enterprise at Baro Aulia Fultala in Sitakunda. Police said the incident took place when the workers were working at the shipyard at about 10:30am (BDST). Officer in-charge (OC) Nazrul Islam of Sitakunda Police Station confirmed the incident and said that forces were already sent to the spot.
The incident took place five days after three other workers were smashed under an iron-plate at Crystal ship-breaking yard on 8 October. With this, at least 14 workers died in accidents at different ship-breaking yards this year, sources said. A total of 18 workers were killed in the years 2006 and 2007 while 15 were killed in 2008 marking a fresh increase in casualties. Photo : Reuters

Two killed, two injured in bison attack in Cooch Behar
Cooch Behar, 13 October : Two people were killed and two others, including a policeman, were injured when two bisons entered a village in WB’s Cooch Behar district Tuesday and attacked the villagers, forest department officials said.
The incident took place in Ghoksadanga village in Cooch Behar district, when two wild bisons entered the village and damaged a few houses there. Two villagers were killed and two others - a forest department official and a policeman - were injured. “The injured forest official and the policeman have already been admitted with critical injuries to Mathabhanga Hospital nearby. They are undergoing treatment now,” a senior forest department official said.

Babar Ali : The 'youngest headmaster in the world'
Tour of the school set up by 16-year-old Babar Ali
BBC News, Damian Grammaticas, Murshidabad, 13 October : Around the world millions of children are not getting a proper education because their families are too poor to afford to send them to school. In India, one schoolboy is trying change that. In the first report in the BBC's Hunger to Learn series, Damian Grammaticas meets Babar Ali, whose remarkable education project is transforming the lives of hundreds of poor children.
At 16 years old, Babar Ali must be the youngest headmaster in the world. He's a teenager who is in charge of teaching hundreds of students in his family's backyard, where he runs classes for poor children from his village. The story of this young man from Murshidabad in West Bengal is a remarkable tale of the desire to learn amid the direst poverty.
Babar Ali's day starts early. He wakes, pitches in with the household chores, then jumps on an auto-rickshaw which takes him part of the 10km (six mile) ride to the Raj Govinda school. The last couple of kilometres he has to walk. READ FULL STORY

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