Subir Bhaumik, BBC News, Kolkata, 22 December : The West Bengal state assembly has passed a resolution backing Bangladesh's call for Bengali to be made an official UN language.
Bangladesh's parliament made its call in April. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina argued in support of the motion before the General Assembly in September. Bengali is spoken by more than 250 million people around the world. The UN has six official languages - English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Arabic. English and French are the daily working languages of the organisation, although English is more frequently used than French.
The West Bengal state assembly resolution was adopted unanimously on... READ FULL STORY
IANS, New Delhi, 22 December : If 2009 was bad, 2010 would be "bloodier" if the government goes ahead with its planned offensive against the Maoist jungle bases, a top Maoist leader has vowed while warning of more retaliatory violence in the months to come.
"Home Minister P Chidambaram is a liar. At one level he says the offensive is a media creation but at the same time he is pumping in more troops in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. I understand there is going to be a major crackdown in March," said Koteshwar Rao alias Kishanji, a politburo member of the CPI(Maoist). "If they (security forces) begin their operations, I promise you 2010 will get bloodier. There will be no respite from violence," Kishanji, in charge of operations in eastern India, told IANS in a telephonic interview from an undisclosed location in West Bengal.
Till 15 November this year, over 770 civilians and security personnel were killed in Maoist violence, the largest number of casualties in four years. In Jharkhand alone-one of the worst affected states - there have been 1,885 incidents of violence since 2006.
Dhaka, 22 December : The five convicts of Bangabandhu assassination case who are now in condemned cells have got the certified copy of the Supreme Court judgment on Tuesday.
The lawyers for the convicts received the copy in the afternoon for filing review petitions with the apex court against its 19 November judgment. They will get 30 days from Tuesday for filing the review petitions.
PTI, Mumbai, 22 December : Private air carrier, Jet Airways, today said it will launch a direct air-service between Mumbai and Bangladesh's capital Dhaka from tomorrow.
This would be Jet Airways third flight from Bangladesh to India, and will connect Dhaka with several destinations across North America, Europe, as well as eight destinations across the Gulf and the Middle-East, over the airline's Mumbai hub, a company release here said. The airline currently flies daily from Dhaka to Delhi and Kolkata.
The new Dhaka-Mumbai flight will initially operate 6-days a week, with the exception of Tuesdays, the release said, adding the service will be converted into a daily one from 29 March next year.
Upon return from Copenhagen, State Minister for Forest and Environment Hasan Mahmud told this to journalists at a briefing held at the ministry on Tuesday. "A successful climate diplomacy has been achieved under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for which Bangladesh has able to draw attention of the global community," he said. It cannot be said that Bangladesh is fully satisfied with the outcome of the conference, but which is most important is that major economies of the world have reached the consensus to work for curbing the temperature of the world, the minister said.
He further stated that Bangladesh demands the world leaders to sign a legally binding convention at the next Mexico Summit next year.
Kolkata, 22 December : The Indian cricket team sans Yuvraj Singh, who has been ruled out of the series due to a finger injury, and the Sri Lankan side arrived here this evening for the fourth One-day International on Thursday.
The dashing left-hander has been advised rest and hence he will not play in the fourth and fifth ODIs against Sri Lanka to be played here and Delhi on 24 and 27 December. Sachin Tendulkar was also not with the team as he had flown to Kolkata in the morning for attending a program here.
Kolkata, 22 December : Food prices, that are currently ruling at 10-year high, will start easing from next month, Indian Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said here today.
The situation suggests dysfunction in distribution as retail prices have shot much more than wholesale prices and import cannot be done without subsidy as international prices are higher, Ahluwalia said. "It's a complex situation and cannot be corrected with monetary polices ... prices built up is on speculation post drought. Stocks of cereals are adequate and prices can be moderated and it will be from January," he said.
Police sources attribute this to the strong security presence in Belpahari and Lalgarh. There are seven camps of the joint security forces in Lalgarh and nine in Belpahari while there are only three camps in Jhargram and one in Jamboni. Quoting statistics, the sources said, that around 50 CPI(M) local leaders and supporters were killed around Jhargram in the last two months, while there was no casualty in Lalgarh, considered a Maoist stronghold and which had been wrested by the joint forces earlier this year. "As there are many camps of the joint forces in and around Belpahari and Lalgarh, Maoists are not able to operate there and are shifting to areas around Jhargram," a senior police officer said.
However, top maoist leader Kishenji told Bengal Newz over phone, "We are not shifting base anywhere. We are always with the people.We will stand by the people anywhere."
"We have already engaged 25 farmers' club as business correspondents and engagement of 20 retired bank officers as business facilitators is under process," TGB chairman Nilmani Gangopadhyay told reporters. "The TGB has already issued 1,000 biometric cards to disburse wages under the NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) and pension under NOAP (National Old Age Pension)," he said.
"The beneficiaries would receive the payment at their locality (without coming into the bank) using the biometric cards and with the help of the business correspondents, who would also carry a small device to use the biometric cards."
Jhargram, Kolkata, 22 December : The Dohijuri area in restive West Midnapore district, under the seige of nearly 2,000 PCPA supporters since last night, was freed today after the arrival of Central forces and the police.
The joint forces had to wait till morning as four police personnel including Inspector-in-Charge of Binpur police camp Kushal Mitra were injured in a directional mine blast somewhere between Dohijhuri and Binpur last night. In the morning the joint forces recovered and diffused four directional land mines on the approach roads to Dohijhuri. "We were going on foot when one of the two land mines placed under a culvert exploded injuring four of us," a police officer told to Bengal Newz.
"The wage commission would mean to ensure minimum wage of the labours, their welfare and social protection," the minister said at a seminar at the BIAM auditorium. He also said the government would implement the Labour Act-2006 after an amendment. Asia-Pacific region and Bangladesh Committee of World Federation of Trade Union, WFTU, organised the seminar on 'Right at work social protection in the Asia-Pacific region and evaluation of social dialogue in these countries.
Local trade union leaders including the trade union representatives from India, Pakistan, Australia, Nepal, Vietnam and Sri Lanka were attending the seminar.
Officials said the incident took place late Monday near Rathbera of Dahijuri locality in the district. A police team was on its way to a trouble zone to rescue a family allegedly attacked by the Maoist when the blast occurred. "Four policemen, including the inspector-in-charge of Binpur police station, were injured in the landmine blast," West Midnapore District Magistrate N.S Nigam told IANS.
"Police recovered three fresh landmines between Binpur and Dohijuri area this morning also," Nigam said. He said the joint forces had been sent to the area Tuesday morning to bring the situation under control.
IANS, Kaziranga (Assam), 22 December : Two endangered one-horned rhinos were killed by poacher gangs at the famed Kaziranga National Park in Assam, taking the toll of the giant pachyderms slaughtered so far this year to 14, officials said Tuesday.
A wildlife official said the latest killings were reported Monday from inside the sanctuary, 220 km east of Assam’s main city of Guwahati. ‘The two rhinos were killed using automatic weapons in separate locations and their horns gouged out. It could be the same poacher gang involved in both the attacks,’ a park ranger told IANS.
The trial court will also ask the senior jail super of the Dhaka Central Jail to take necessary steps to execute the death sentences of the convicts, court sources said. Judge (vacation) Abdul Majid of the District and Sessions Judge's Court, Dhaka will passed the order, the sources said. The Dhaka court on Monday received the copy of the verdict and after scrutinising the documents of the verdict, it decided to pass the death warrants against the convicts on Wednesday, the court sources added.
The five convicts are Lt Col Syed Farooq Rahman, Lt Col Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Maj Bazlul Huda, Maj (Lancer) AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed and Lt Col (Artillery) Mohiuddin Ahmed.