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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bangladesh to undergo makeover with more HWs, Bridges

Dhaka, 29 December : The Bangladesh capital will be transformed into a modern metropolis as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina unveiled plans to undertake major infrastructural changes in the city and elsewhere by cleaning up the rivers and building more highways and bridges.
Sheikh Hasina Tuesday reaffirmed her pledge to upgrade the four centuries-old national capital to a modern, beautiful and hassle-free city ensuring smooth communications both on roads and waterways in and around the capital.
She unveiled the plan while inaugurating the third Buriganga Bridge at Basila in Mohammadpur area. The bridge has been named in the memory of those who were killed by Islamist militia in the run-up to nation's freedom in 1971. Photo : Firoz Ahmed

At least 14 killed,30 injured in Kishoreganj road crash
UNB, Kishoreganj, 29 December : At least fourteenpeople were killed and over 30 injured after a bus crashed into a roadside ditch at Shimulhati in Tarail Upazila Tuesday evening.
Witnesses said a Tatarail-bound bus from the capital skidded off the road after hitting a tree and fell into a ditch at about 5:00pm(BDST), leaving 10 people dead on the spot. Police and local people retrieved 10 bodies from the bus. Three of the deceased were identified. The injured were rushed to Tarail upazila health complex and Kishoreganj Modern Hospital.
Tremor jolts Bangladesh
Dhaka, 29 December : A moderate tremor measuring 5.7 on the Richter Scale was felt in Dhaka, Rajshahi and Khagrachhari districts on Tuesday.
The quake was felt at 4:01:52pm(BDST) in the districts and their adjoining areas, Mohammad Shahidul Islam, an official of the Bangladesh Meteorological Department, told reporters. The epicenter of the tremor was near India-Myanmar bordering region and 416 km east from the Dhaka Seismic Centre at Agargaon. Rajshahi residents felt that the moderate tremor lasted for three or four seconds.
UNB Adds : A tremor was felt in Khagrachhari district town on Tuesday. Met Office sources said an earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter Scale took place at Indo-Myanmar border at 16 hours 01 minute BST time.
The distance of epicenter was 416 kms from the Meteorological Department office at capital's Agargaon. No causality was reported. There were no immediate reports of casualties and damage across the country, said the Met office.
GJM resumes blockade agitation...
Darjeeling, 29 December : The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), fighting for a separate Gorkhaland state, today resumed its agitation after a brief Christmas break enforcing an indefinite strike in government offices in Darjeeling while its student wing blocked national highways connecting Darjeeling, Siliguri and Sikkim.
Alipurduar Additional SP Anup Jaiswal told PTI that over 250 GJM supporters were arrested for blocking roads at Dalsinghpara in north Bengal’s Dooars region connecting Bhutan, but were released on personal recognisance bond.
Jaiswal said the arrested included the party-backed Independent MLA from Kalchini constituency in Jalpaiguri district William Champamari and several of those belonging to GJM student’s wing Gorkha Janmukti Vidyarthi Morcha.

Myanmar govt to repatriate 9000 Rohingyas refugees
Dhaka, 29 December : Myanmar has identified 9,000 Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh and decided to take them back to their own country, Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Mohamed Mijarul Quayes said on Tuesday.
The announcement came at a press briefing after the first day talks of the two-day secretary-level meeting between the neighbouring countries. Bangladesh asked the Myanmar authorities to repatriate the identified refugees as soon as possible, Mijarul said. BD government had earlier handed over a list of 28,000 Rohingyas who came from Myanmar and now in two refugee camps in Cox's Bazar. Myanmar authorities verified the list and found 9,000 people on the list as its citizen, the foreign secretary told reporters. Settling maritime boundaries, importing rice and gas from Myanmar, and setting up power plant at Rakhain state of Myanmar by Bangladesh were also tabled at the meeting.
Myanmar Deputy Foreign Minister Maung Myint arrived in Dhaka on Monday to lead his country's delegation at the talks. Photo : Bayazid Akter (DrikNews)
Bangladesh to send home thousands of Burmese refugees : READ BBC STORY
Kolkata children operate mobile library for rural kids
Kolkata, 29 December : In a unique initiative, children in Kolkata, are distributing books free of cost to children residing in rural areas to help educate them, and inculcate the reading habit in them. Surojit Das, Shintu Das, Subha Das, Ayush Chettri and Gaurav Das, all of whom are young school students, have taken the responsibility of delivering books to poor children. "There are many children in my locality who want to study but due to their financial difficulties, they are not able to go to school. This mobile library has given them an opportunity to read many books, so that they can do well in future," said Surojit Das. These children fill up a cycle van of second-hand books and take the van to several rural areas. Every Wednesday they drive their mobile library, aptly named 'Boi Gari', (Books Van), and distribute the books to children in the rural areas. 11 Pally Unnayan Samity, a local club, started this novel service in 2007.The club engaged local children to take the responsibility of spread literacy to other children in the area. The club bought the cycle-van and stuffed it with around 150 books to create a free mobile library.
Strike in Bajitpur in Kishoreganj for a new 'district'
Kishoreganj, 29 December : The people of Bajitpur upazila in Kishoreganj on Tuesday observed an eight-hour strike to press their demands for upgrading the upazila to a district and protesting inclusion of the upazila in the proposed Bhairab district.
In Bajitpur, shopkeepers kept their shutters down and education institutions remained closed during the strike called by Bajitpur Zilla Bastabayan Committee from 6:00am to 2:00pm(BDST). Attendance at banks and government offices was also thin. Vehicles were off the roads and bus services from upazila headquarters to other parts of the country remained halted since the morning. The leaders of the committee urged the government to declare Bajitpur a district and drop its name from inside the proposed Bhairab district. Otherwise, they will go for a tougher agitation programme, they said.
Earlier, the people of the upazila observed a half-day strike on October 28 to press the same demands. Photo : STAR
PCAPA calls for two-day shutdown in West Midnapore dist
Midnapore, 29 December : The Maoists-backed People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) has called for a two-day shutdown in West Midnapore district here.
PCAPA members forced thirty-one supporters of the CPI(M) to join them. The event took place at Salboni, where the PCAPA members held a kangaroo court and compelled the CPI(M) members to change sides. The shutdown has been called to demand the removal of the security forces from the area.

Bangladesh to raise Teesta issue in 3 January talks
Dhaka, 29 December : Bangladesh will raise the issue of water sharing of Teesta River with India at the upcoming secretary-level meeting of Joint River Commission (JRC) on 3 January next year in Dhaka.
In reply to a question Tuesday morning, Water Resources Secretary Shaikh Md Wahid-uz-Zaman told reporters after inaugurating a workshop at the capital's Brac Centre Inn. Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) organised the workshop with financial assistance from the embassy of the Netherlands on dissemination of a five-year strategic plan. Asked if Teesta issue will be on the agenda of prime minister's ensuing visit to India on 10 January, the secretary said he was not aware and that "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs could say this."
BWDB Director General Md Habibur Rahman chaired the workshop. A number of technical persons and engineers from BWDB and other organisations took part in the meeting.
Stir against proposed Haripur nuclear plant intensifies
Tamluk, 29 December : Protest against the nuclear power plant at Haripur in Midnapore East district took a significant turn today as the Matangini Mahila Samity, which was once declared a Maoist-wing by state police and had played a pivotal role in consolidating the people's movement in Nandigram, took out a rally in Haripur.

Bangladesh government tries to save Coral Islands
AFP, Dhaka, 29 December : Bangladesh has ordered a building freeze on its lone coral island in a bid to save its wildlife and natural beauty from a boom in construction fuelled by tourism, its environment minister said Tuesday.
Hasan Mahmud told AFP his government had declared the eight square kilometre (three square mile) St Martin's island an ecologically critical area and had banned new buildings there. "We have also ordered an inventory of the existing infrastructure that threatens the island's ecology," he said, adding that any buildings that harm the environment would be demolished. St Martin's island, situated 400 kilometres (250 miles) south of the capital Dhaka, is Bangladesh's lone coral island and attracts tens of thousands of tourists during holiday periods.
The island is home to some rare flora and fauna, including 182 wildlife species. In recent years, the island has witnessed a building boom due to a huge rush of tourists. Photo : AFP

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