Dhaka, Kolkata, 16 December : Bangladesh celebrated 38 years of victory in the Liberation War, 1971, saluting the gallant sons and daughters of the soil who made supreme sacrifices for self-determination and a secular democratic state.
Enthusiastic with the spirit of independence, people of all walks across the country gathered at the memorials of the martyrs. They paid tributes to the war heroes amid calls for the young generation to bring positive changes to the nation. They also demanded a quick start of the trial of war criminals. The day was a public holiday in Bangladesh. The national flag was hoisted atop all government, semi-government and other important establishments. The day was heralded by a 31-gun salute at dawn. The whole country was in a festive mood. The National Mausoleum at Savar drew people of all ages and religions. Thoroughfares and road dividers were decorated with miniature flags and bunting while some government buildings were illuminated. Many vehicle owners also sported the flag on their automobiles.
On this day in 1971, the nation under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman won victory over Pakistani occupation forces after nine months of bloodshed. န Photos : Amar Bangladesh, Firoz Ahmed
Mark Dummett, BBC News, Dhaka, 16 December : Researchers in Bangladesh are in the final stage of testing three new rice varieties which they say will be able to survive the country's annual floods.
In most years more than 20% of Bangladesh goes under water, and millions of tonnes of rice are lost. Whereas normal rice varieties can die after two or three days' submersion in water, tests show that the new ones can survive for longer than two weeks. READ FULL STORY န Photo : BRRI
Reuters, New Delhi, 16 December : Japan's third-largest steel maker, Sumitomo Metal Industries, is considering buying a stake in a steel plant in West Bengal to help tap a rapidly growing market.
"We trust the growth of this country," Hiroshi Tomono, president of Sumitomo Metal, told reporters on Wednesday after signing a production and sales pact with small Indian steel producer Bhushan Steel. READ FULL STORY
Several graves, some of them part of mass burials, are on both sides of the Bangladesh-India border. They include those of intellectuals who were killed by the Pakistani forces or local Islamist militia during the last days of the country's freedom movement. A mass grave with 238 bodies was located at a village near Akhaura on the border with the northeastern Indian state of Tripura, The Daily Star newspaper said Wednesday.
The newspaper quoted government officials and a spokesperson of the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi as saying that Dhaka had sent letters to New Delhi urging that the graves be located and preserved.
Kolkata, 16 December : The West Bengal government on Wednesday passed the controversial Rural Health Regulatory Authority Bill 2009 in the state assembly by majority vote
In doing so, the state government created a precedence in the sense that it over-ruled thereby the collective decision that was taken by the Left Front to send the bill to the assembly select committee in view of the differences that existed over various tenets of the bill among the Opposition. The government’s move resulted in an immediate walkout by the Trinamool Congress and Congress.
"The on-going hunger strike and forced closure of state and central offices from this morning is not conducive to talks. Both cannot go hand in hand...But the tripartite talks, involving the Centre, West Bengal government and the GJM leadership will be held as per schedule," state chief secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty told reporters at the state secretariat here. The GJM, which is leading an agitation in the Darjeeling hills demanding a separate hill state, has upped the ante since the Centre agreed to the formation of a separate Telengana state.
Agartala, 16 December : The 39th victory day was today obrserved in Tripura by garlanding martyrs minars, laying floral tributes, exchange of greetings and distribution of sweets.
Floral tributes were also paid at Shahid minars in various parts of this state in memory of those armed forces jawans, who laid their lives for the motherland during the Indo-Pak war of 1971. At Post Office Chowmuhani here, the main centre of this capital City, where a Pakistani tank was captured by the Indian Army during the war was garlanded and tributes were paid in memory of the martyrs. On Indo-Bangla border, border guards of both the countries exchanged greetings and distributed sweets on the occasion of victory day and Bangladesh’s liberation day.
At the Bangladesh Visa office here, various programmes were also organised to mark the liberation day of that country from Pakistan.
Kolkata, 16 December : In a new stunt to promote '3 Idiots', Aamir Khan dressed up as a young fan of former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly and tried to barge into his house here.
Sporting a black shirt, moppy hair and tattoos, with a bag slung over his shoulder, Aamir looked like any star-struck fan as he tried to enter the Ganguly's Behala residence. Talking with a protruding chin, he kept pestering the security guard at the gate saying, "Dada ghar pe hain? Mere ko dada se milna hai, photo khichana hai. (Is Dada at home? I want to meet him and get a photo clicked with him). The guard failed to recognise the star and did not let him enter the premises.
Port Blair, 16 December : Troubled by traffic jams in city roads, the State Transport Authority (STA) of Andaman and Nicobar Islands today sounded caution against unauthorised parking of commercially run vehicles inside Port Blair city.
In an official caution, the Secretary of State Transport Authority said transport vehicles of all kinds such as buses, trucks, cars, vans, jeeps and autorikshaws are parked on the roadsides of Port Blair city during night time causing traffic problems and inconvenience to the general public.
''Despite issuance of permits to vehicles by the State Transport Authority only after production of parking area certificates, it is observed that such parking areas are not being utilised by many vehicle owners, rather preferring to park their vehicles at public places and roadsides violating the prescribed parking area provisions,'' the Secretary of State Transport Authority said.
Of the 13 being built by the Integral Coach Factory at Perambur, two would arrive by March next year and be run on an experimental basis, a senior Metro official told PTI. "The remaining 11 coaches will arrive by September as a Durga puja gift for Kolkatans," he said. Another 14 AC rakes would arrive by the Durga puja of 2011, with the old rakes in operation since 1984 when the Metro Railway became operational, being gradually phased out, the official said.
Seven rakes, in operation since the early 90s, would be converted to AC and be renovated. They will have advanced fault detection gadgets, air-springs and spacious vestibules with new global swing doors, he said.
"I believe our cherished dream of Great Liberation War will be materialised by the today's youth," he said this while addressing a Victory Day rally of children and adolescents and march past at the National Stadium here in the morning.
President Zillur Rahman said independence is the best achievement of the Bangalee nation, which has brought about a far-reaching and massive change in the mindset of the people. The independence, the President said, has paved the way for way of establishing citizen rights along with ensuring the freedom of politics, economy and expression. န Photo : Firoz Ahmed
"We are striking keeping the merger issue of the State Bank of Indore with the State Bank of India in the front. But in general it is our policy to oppose merger and consolidation of public sector banks," Rajen Nagar, national president of one of the unions - All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) said. Twenty seven state-run banks and around a similar number of private sector banks are keeping their shutters down, he said.
Nagar added : "These mergers are not in national interest. It does not only amount to job loss, it also hampers banking services for small customers like agri business and SMEs (small and medium enterprises)."
“The detailed project report (DPR) of the project would be ready by March next year,” said West Bengal Green Energy Development Corporation (WBGEDC) chairman-cum-managing director Shanti Pada Gon Chaudhuri.
Gon Chaudhuri, who has won Britain’s Green Oscar for his contribution towards development of non-conventional energy in India, said that efforts were on to develop the Sundarbans into a global tourist destination by preserving its rich eco-diversity.Unesco has listed the Sundarbans as a World Heritage site.
The proposed projects include development of embankments along the network of rivers in the delta area, providing housing, energy, road connectivity and drinking water for around 400,000 inhabitants, and developing forestry and livelihood programmes.
Midnapore, 16 December : Two bogies of the Santragachi-Jhargram passenger train jumped the rails near Kalaikunda after running over and killing 14 cows in West Midnapore district today.
The cows were on the tracks when the train ran them down on the Howrah-Kharagpur section of the South Eastern Railway and two bogies derailed, railway sources said. There was no injury to any passenger. Efforts were on to clear the up line which remained blocked since 9.30 am.
Rajshahi, 16 December : Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, eminent Bengali author of the Subcontinent on Monday said any important event in 'epar Bangla' (Bangladesh) always has a big effect on in 'opar Bangla' (West Bengal) and so, Martyred Intellectuals Day is also a mourning day for the people of West Bengal.
He was speaking as chief guest at a discussion on Martyred Intellectuals Day at Shaheed Shamsuzzoha Hall of Rajshahi University. Shirshendu said, the tyrants and autocrats always fear pro-people, freedom-loving intellectuals. For this reason, the intellectuals were killed in Bangladesh by Pakistani occupation forces during the liberation war in 1971. The day is equally mournful for the people of West Bengal, he added.
“I am not on a pleasure trip here. I have come to my motherland only to pay tribute to the martyred intellectuals. I always do so when anything important happens here." Shirshendu Mukho-padhyay was born at Bainkhara village in Bikrampur, Bangladesh.
UNB, Narsingdi, 16 December : Four bombs were hurled at the house of ATN Bangla district correspondent Benjir Ahmed Benu at Shibbagh in Narsingdi early Wednesday.
“The bombs exploded with big sounds and electric cable caught fire, creating panic among the inmates and neighbours,” police and witnesses said in a spot account of the late-night attack launched at 1:00am(BDST). On information, police rushed to the spot and rescued the inmates of the house. A case was filed in connection with the bomb attack.