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Friday, January 15, 2010

Kolkata witness 76% of millennium's longest Solar Eclipse

PTI, Kolkata, 15 January : As the millennium's longest celestial event unfolded today, the metropolis witnessed a partial solar eclipse with the sky remaining clear and 76 per cent of the sun obscured by the moon.
The partial phase began at 12.07 pm here and ended at 3.29 pm. "The solar eclipse was visible for the maximum phase of 1 minute 57 seconds in the city and elsewhere in the vicinity. The day temperature dipped to some extent and sun rays dimmed," Positional Astronomy Centre (PAC) director S Sen told PTI here. According to Regional Meteorological Centre, there was no report of fog spoiling the sighting of the partial eclipse anywhere in West Bengal.
The partial phase was visible in Guwahati (73 per cent), Coochbehar (69 per cent), Raiganj (68 per cent) and Siliguri (66 per cent), he said.

Solar eclipse watched in B'desh
Dhaka, 15 January : Thousands of sun-watchers gathered Friday in southern Bangladesh to observe the annular solar eclipse as it passed across the region.
The spectators were concentrated on the island of Saint Martin off the south of the country and at the nearby beach resort of Cox's Bazar. These locations were the only sites in Bangladesh to witness the full eclipse, which started around 2:30 pm (0830 GMT) and lasted eight and a half minutes. The Bangladesh Astronomical Association set up several observation camps across the country, including in the capital Dhaka where a partial eclipse was visible.
In Dhaka people gathered to catch a glimpse of the partial eclipse, many defying health warnings by viewing the astronomical event with their naked eyes. Others made use of the solar view goggles provided by the astronomical association and the National Science Museum. Photos : Nashirul Islam

Mamata offers to facilitate Maoist-government talks
Jhargram, 15 January : Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday urged the Maoists to shun violence and join the mainstream of society, offering to take up the responsibility to facilitate talks between the rebels and the government.
“I asked the rebels to shun firearms and participate in the democratic process. They should join the mainstream. If they (Maoists) want, I can take the responsibility to mediate the talks between them and the central government,” she said at a political rally at Jhargram in West Midnapore district.
She urged the villagers of West Bengal’s Maoist affected districts not to be scared and put up “mass resistance” against the rebels who are triggering violence in the region. She also promised to run daily two local trains from Medinipur station to Jhargram. File Photo

Lothar Mathhaus unveils FIFA World Cup trophy in Kolkata
Kolkata, 15 January : German football legend Lothar Mathhaus unveiled the FIFA World Cup trophy 2010 amid much fanfare here Friday.
The authentic FIFA World Cup trophy made of solid, 18-carat gold being brought to India by Coca-Cola for the first time will provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to the football enthusiasts across India to catch a glimpse of World Football’s greatest prize. The Coca-Cola FIFA World Cup Trophy 2010 is 36.8 cm high and weighs 6,175 grams. The base contains two layers of semi-precious malachite while the bottom side of the Trophy bears the engraved year and name of each FIFA World Cup winner since 1974.
The three day extravaganza of soccer mania will witness an exclusive showcase of the FIFA World Cup Trophy at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday (16 Jan) essaying the extraordinary journey of the world’s greatest football spectacle. Additionally, on Sunday (Jan 17) at the stadium, German Football legend Lothar Mathhaus would lift the original Coca-Cola FIFA World Cup Trophy once again, reminding his fans in Kolkata about Germany’s historic World Cup win in 1990. Photo : Indrajit Dutta

4 People's Liberation Army of Manipur men held in Tripura
Agartala, 15 January : Four suspected militants of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of Manipur were arrested in the Tripura capital after they sneaked into the northeastern state from Bangladesh, police said here Friday.
Acting on a tip-off, the Tripura police detained the four in the capital city Thursday night after they illegally crossed over to western Tripura from Bangladesh and attempted to leave for Guwahati in Assam in a hired vehicle. 'We are interrogating the suspected terrorists and collecting information about them from Manipur,' said Deputy Superintendent of Police (central) Harimohan Das.

Move to 'restore '72 constitution' protested Islamic agitators
Dhaka, 15 January : Several thousand people on Friday brought out a procession in the capital protesting the government's move to restore the Bangladesh's constitution of 1972.
The protesters, under the banner of national committee to protect the Islamic and religion-based politics, also held a rally on Bijoynagar Road and demanded immediate removal of the law minister. Earlier on 4 January, Bangladesh Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said religion based politics will be banned if cancellation of the fifth amendment to the country's constitution is finalised by the Supreme Court (SC). But, he added that the words Bismillah-Ar-Rahman-Ar-Rahim in the preamble of the constitution and its declaration of Islam as the state religion will remain intact.
The agitators brought out the procession from Baitul Mokarram National Mosque after the Jumma prayers and paraded through National Press Club, Paltan before terminating at Bijoynagar Road.

Veteran leader Basu showing signs of 'multi-organ failure'
Kolkata, 15 January : Veteran CPI(M) leader Jyoti Basu is showing signs of multi-organ failure, his personal physician Dr AK Maity said today. The veteran leader, who underwent a two-hour haemodialysis last night, will again undergo the process today if his health permits, he said.
"The 95-year-old leader will also undergo a tracheotomy if his condition permits", Dr Maity, who is also on the Medical Board of the AMRI Hospital where Basu is admitted, told reporters here. Last night's dialysis succeeded to some extent in reversing the toxins in his blood, he said. His urine output has, however, decreased to 10 ml per hour against the normal 40 ml, he said. Urine output usually decreases after dialysis, he added.
"There is neither any further improvement nor deterioration in his condition," he said. Dr Susruth Banerjee, another doctor on the Medical Board, also said that the former chief minister was showingsigns of multi-organ failure. File Photo

India focused on Bangladesh series, Not ranking : Dhoni
Reuters, Chittagong, Bangladesh, 15 January : India are focused on winning a two-test series against Bangladesh, not maintaining their place at the top of the world test rankings, said skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The tourists climbed to the top of the test rankings for the first time in December after winning a three-test series against Sri Lanka. They begin the first test in Chittagong on Sunday. READ FULL STORY
Buffaloes battle it out on 'Bhogali Bihu'
IANS, Syed Zarir Hussain, Ahatguri (Assam), 15 January : The mood was festive, but the atmosphere tense as hundreds of people gathered for an annual event that had all the elements of a full-scale battle - 50 huge buffaloes locking horns and fighting it out in an arena.
The stakes are not high, but still the matadors goaded and cajoled their tame nearly one-tonne buffaloes to fight and win the prize - a trophy and Rs.5,001 in cash. The village of Ahatguri, 80 km east of Assam’s main city of Guwahati, buzzed with activity Friday with the locals organising the annual buffalo fight - a tradition dating back to centuries. For the villagers, buffalo fights are an entertaining sport organised during Bhogali Bihu, the weeklong Assamese harvest festival where traditional games accompanied by feasting mark the celebrations.
“It is nothing but pure entertainment,” said Abani Das, a community elder. For the locals, it is a matter of pride to bring their buffaloes to the fighting ring. “Locals prepare for the event for months together by feeding their buffaloes and looking after their health,” said Nabin Das, a buffalo owner. Photos : Chinmoy Roy

Singur land-givers back to cultivation in West Bengal
PTI, Singur, 15 January : With an industry at the abandoned site of Tata's Nano car project at Singur yet to come up, most of the land-owners who had willingly parted with their fields are now back to what they had been doing - cultivation.
For a long time the land-owners had held back switching to their age-old occupation hoping that something positive would turn out after the dramatic October 2, 2008 announcement of Nano's pullout by Tata group chairman Ratan Tata.
After the Tatas drove away their Nano to Sanand in Gujarat, the government tried to keep back the ancillary units that had come up adjacent to the project site. But once they realised that they would be starved of orders, they left.

Bird flu scare : Culling starts in Murshidabad villages
Behrampore, 15 January : Culling of poultry began today at Khargram and Nabagram areas in Murshidabad district after hundreds of chicken died in the past few days.
District Magistrate, Parvez A Siddiqui, said samples of dead fowl were earlier sent to a laboratory in Bhopal where bird flu had been confirmed. Chief medical officer of the district, Subhas Mondol, said that extra beds had been set up at hospitals in Khargram and Kandi in case if the disease spread among humans.
Sundarbans: Indo-Bangla joint forum to protect eco-system
New Delhi, 15 January : India is considering setting up a joint forum with Bangladesh for protecting the ecosystem of the Sundarbans and dealing with issues related to its eco-management.
After a meeting with West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in Kolkata, Indian Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh on Wednesday said he has started a dialogue to form a join forum to protect the bio-diversity of the Sundarbans. A master plan with estimated cost of Rs 200 crore has been placed with the World Bank for the development and integrated coastal management of the Sundarbans in five years and expecting a report from the World Bank by August-September this year, he said. Meanwhile, the Indian government has sanctioned Rs 9 crore as annual grant for the Sundarbans this year, he added.
Nearly 60 percent of the Sundarbans lies in Bangladesh. Its protection is crucial for both the countries to fight climate change. File Photos : Reuters
11th Dhaka International Film Festival Begins. National film policy soon: Hasina
UNB, Dhaka, 15 January : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday announced that the government would set up a modern film institute and formulate National Film Policy for development of the country's film arena.
“Appropriate steps will be taken for repealing the existing Film Society Control Act, if necessary,” she said at the inaugural function of the nine-day 11th Dhaka International Film Festival 2010 at the National Museum in the city. The prime minister requested filmmakers, cultural activists and people of all walks of life to remain alert so that in no way ill elements can intrude into the Bangalee culture.

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