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Friday, December 18, 2009

Traders urged to stabilise essentials prices in Andaman islands

Port Blair, 18 December : The Andaman and Nicobar administration today urged the local business community to do all the needful for the stabilisation of essentials' prices, including onion and potato, in these far-flung islands.
''Contributions from the members of business community to stabilise the prices of essentials will benefit the customers in these remote islands at large,'' Department of Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs (CS & CA) Secretary G G Sazena, heading the crucial meeting of Price Monitoring Committee (PMC) here, said.

18 December : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrives at the morning session of United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen.
World leaders worked through the early hours to try and beat a Friday deadline for a deal on cutting emissions and helping poor countries cope with the costly impact of global warming.

Photo : Reuters
Khulna under grave risk
Climate report sees it among 15 most threatened cities in world
Pinaki Roy, Copenhagen, 18 December : Khulna, the southern metropolis of Bangladesh, has been identified as one of the 15 most vulnerable cities under climate change impact.
The report "Climate Change and the Urban Poor: Risk and resilience in 15 of the world's most vulnerable cities" published recently by International Institute for Development and Environment termed 12 cities from Africa and three from South Asia most vulnerable to climate change. However, the report did not rank the cities, as their problems differ. Rather it divided the cities into three categories - coastal, highland and dry land. Khulna is included in the report as one the most vulnerable coastal cities. The city is home to around 1.3 million people. The report says the major concerns for Khulna are frequent and increased level of floods, storm surges, intensity of cyclones, water logging, saline intrusion, sedimentation and river erosion.
According to the report, the most vulnerable coastal cities are Khulna of Bangladesh, Maputo of Mozambique, Dar Es Salam of Tanzania, Mombassa of Kenya, and Cotonou of Benin.
The dry land cities are Nouakchott of Mauritania, Diourbel of Senegal, Bamako of Mali, Khartoum of Sudan while the highland cities are Thimphu of Bhutan, Kathmandu of Nepal, Harare of Zimbabwe, Kampala of Uganda, Lusaka of Zambia and Blantyre of Malawi.
Meanwhile, Bangladeshi expatriates in Europe and members of parliament yesterday formed a human chain at Bella Centre urging to save Bangladesh.

Chidambaram appeals GJM to withdraw "fast-unto-death agitation"
Agencies, New Delhi, 18 December : Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram on Friday appealed to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) to call off its fast-unto-death agitation and create a conducive atmosphere for the 21 December tripartite talks.
In a statement, Chidambaram said as the tripartite talks between the Centre, West Bengal government and the GJM were scheduled to be held on 21 December, there was no need to adopt an agitational approach on the eve of such dialogue. "It is necessary that a cordial and conducive atmosphere is created on the eve of the talks," he said.
The Home Minister said the GJM's fast-unto-death was still continuing and he was saddened to learn that several people observing the strike were suffering from dehydration and some were hospitalised.

Indian 5 Rs coins being turned into razors in Bangladesh
PTI, Shillong, 18 December : Five rupee coins are being smuggled into Bangladesh from India to be melted down for making razor blades.
Six razor blades can be made from a single Rs five coin. Each blade sells for Rs 2, police sources said. "This has been going on for quite some time now. We are looking into it," RBI Executive Director H R Khan said, when asked to comment. According to police reports, the coins were initially smuggled into Bangladesh for being made into coins, but now the same thing is being done on this side of the border as well. Khan said the metallic content of the 5 rupee coins are now being changed.
"We are now changing the metallic content of the Rs 5 coin so that the new ones will not be lucrative for melting. The new metallic content of the cupronickel coin will reduce its the attractiveness for smugglers," the ED said.

B'desh President asks to prevent overseas jobseekers' harassment
BSS, Dhaka, 18 December : Bangladesh President Zillur Rahman on Friday asked the expatriate welfare and overseas employment ministry to be more vigilant and check harassment and fraudulence to workers seeking jobs abroad.
He said many overseas jobseekers are often harassed either before or after leaving the country and have to lead miserable life after losing all assets. "I hope the concerned organisations and individuals will play more responsible role along with the government in this regard," he said at a function marking the International Migrants Day-2009 at Osmani Memorial Auditorium in city. Labour, Employment and Expatriate Welfare Minister Engineer Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain chaired the event which was also attended by Finance Minister AMA Muhith and Telecommunications Minister Raziuddin Ahmed Razu.
The president said more initiatives needed to be taken for increasing the skill of the workers, seeking jobs abroad in view of expanding the country's opportunities in the international labour market.

Grameenphone remains cricket sponsor, also to sell tickets
Dhaka, 18 December : Bangladesh Cricket Board has signed an agreement with Grameenphone to continue official sponsorship of the national men's and women's team for the next two years.
The contract, commencing from 1 December, is worth Tk 100 million, with BCB receiving Tk 90 million in royalty fees and the rest will be spent for other expenses of the teams, Aziz Al Kaiser, head of BCB marketing, said at a press briefing. GP will also start selling tickets for international matches played in Bangladesh, which were earlier sold by banks, BCB's media chief Jalal Younus told reporters.
For ticketing rights, GP will pay Tk 10 million to BCB for the next two years. The agreement in this regard will be signed soon, Younus said. Grameenphone has been the national team sponsor since 2003.

Ritwik Ghatak recalled in Rajshahi
Rajshahi, 18 December : Ritwik Kumar Ghatak, the Bengali master filmmaker was born in Dhaka on 4 November, 1925 and stayed in Rajshahi for several years. He and his family moved to Calcutta (now Kolkata) in West Bengal in the 1940s. Partition (1947) had a major impact on Ghatak and is a recurring subject in his works.
Ghatak's films are now celebrated in India and beyond. His stature among Bengali film directors is comparable to that of Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen. Nevertheless, he is rarely remembered ceremonially in Bangladesh.
Starting from yesterday, Rajshahi Film Society has begun a three-day Ritwik Ghatak Film Festival at Rajshahi Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital at Ghoramara. Ghatak used to stay in the house that was later turned into the medical college.
Three CPI(M) men shot dead by suspected maoists
Midnapore, 18 December : Three CPI(M) members were shot dead by suspected Maoists in Lalgarh area of West Midnapore district, police said today.
Around 500 people, including suspected Maoists, barged into Bandhgara and Chandra villages late last night and shot dead Anil Chalak, ex-panchayat pradhan of Chandra, Daya Chalak of Bandhgara and Amol Patra of Bainda. Ganesh Hansda, a gram panchayat member of Chandra, was shot at and admitted to Midnapore Medical College Hospital, they said.
The Maoists also burnt the house of Manik Jana, a CPI(M) zonal committee member, after not finding him last night, police added.
Monopoly of private airlines hurtingAndaman Tourism
Port Blair, 18 December : Growing monopoly of some airlines companies is hitting hard the Tourism industry of Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) Islands.
Island tour operators allege that due to merger of low cost airlines with high value airlines companies, the airfare in Andaman sector is sky-rocketing everyday, affecting the tourist arrival. ''Earlier tickets were available at a nominal rate, sometimes even below Rs 4,000 but now one has to pay more than Rs 10,000 for one way as airfare to reach the Islands.'' ''Sometimes tickets cost exorbitant which is too much for the middle class to afford,'' M Vinod, president of Association of Tour Operators (ATO). Tourists often prefer to visit South East Asian countries rather than visiting the Islands as the complete package tour to those countries are often cheaper than one way airfare of the Islands.
Two years back, more than 14 flights of nearly six airlines companies were operating daily in Port Blair-Mainland sector but now due to mergers and changed marketing strategies only three to four flights are operating in this sector resulting in greater demands and soaring airfare.

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