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Thursday, April 8, 2010

India Govt clears divestment in SAIL, to fetch Rs 16,000 crore

PTI, New Delhi, 8 April : The Indian government on Thursday approved a 20% disinvestment in Steel Authority of India Ltd that would fetch a total of Rs 16,000 crore.
Following the two-tranche disinvestment, the government and the company would get Rs 8,000 crore each, Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. Post disinvestment, the government's equity will fall to 69% from 85.82% currently.
The stake sale will take place in two tranches of 10% each, Chidambaram said, adding that each time 5% will be through further public offer (FPO) and another 5% through sale of government equity.
SAIL shares were trading at Rs 248.25, down by 2.67 percent on the BSE.

Nepal, China governments agree on Mount Everest's height
BBC News, 8 April : China and Nepal have agreed a solution to a long-running disagreement over the height of Mount Everest.
They agreed that the world's highest mountain - which traverses the border of the two countries - should be recognised as being 8,848m tall. The Chinese previously argued it should be measured by its rock height. Nepal said it should be measured by its snow height - this is four metres higher. During talks in Nepal's capital Kathmandu, China accepted that claim.....READ FULL BBC STORY

Maoist arsenal found, top Maoist leader held in Midnapore
PTI, Midnapore, 8 April : Amid stepped up offensive in three Maoist infested districts of West Bengal, joint forces have seized the largest ever cache of arms, ammunition and explosives since they began operations in June last year and arrested a top local Maoist leader.
"So far it is the largest ever recovery of arms, ammunition and explosives, including fireams looted during 15 February Maoist attack on the Silda EFR camp in West Midnapore district," a top police official told PTI here today. The seizures made at Jharnadiha village in Binpur area in West Midnapore district last evening, included AK-47 and INSAS rifles, a large number of cartridges, detonators, gelatine sticks, crude bombs, two computers, CDs and electronic gadgets. The joint forces also found some firearms looted during the Maoist attack on the EFR camp at Silda on February 15 when the Maoists killed 24 personnel, he said. The police official said some police and CRPF uniforms were also seized.
A hardcore Maoist, whom the police declined to name, was also arrested and 27 were detained during yesterday's operations. Police sources said that more raids would be made.

Power crisis continues to plague Kolkata and south Bengal
Kolkata, 8 April : With the temperature hovering around nearly 37 degree Celsius, long power cuts in the metropolis today added to the discomfort of the people as power shortage continued to hover around 900 MW during the evening peak hours.
The deficit was pegged at 80 MW in the afternoon in Kolkata and adjoining areas under Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC), while the State Electricity Board's deficit was around 600 MW. According to a CESC spokesperson, rotational load shedding would continue across the city as the deficit crept up to around 200 MW with the demand touching 1,600 MW since the last few days.
The mercury has soared to over 40 degree Celsius in Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore districts.

PM Hasina asks for load shedding to every alternate hour
Dhaka, 8 April : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday directed the authorities concerned to reduce load shedding to every alternate hour from two hours.
In a special meeting with the senior officials of power and energy division, the prime minister also urged the shopping mall owners across the country to generate electricity on their own initiatives after 7:00pm(BDST), ATN Bangla reports. It will be the third time Sheikh Hasina, also in-charge of power, energy and mineral resources ministry, is visiting the ministry at the secretariat since her government assumed office in January 2009.
The meeting is taking place when PM's Power and Energy Adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury and state minister Enamul Haque are on overseas trip.

9,026MW electricity by 2015 : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
Dhaka, 8 April : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said the government has taken different mid-term and long-term plans to generate 9,026 megawatts of electricity by 2015.
“We have a target to generate 9,026MW electricity by the end of 2015 which will be added to the national grid to ease the country's persisting power crisis,” she said while addressing an inaugural ceremony of the biennial conference of Bangladesh Economic Association at Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the city. Sheikh Hasina also sought cooperation from the country’s economists in implementing the vision 2021, reports ATN Bangla.
GJM to hold talks with Home Minister on Gorkhaland issue
PTI, Siliguri, 8 April : Gorkha Janmukti Morcha would hold talks with the Central Government for an interim set up in Darjeeling hills ahead of the sixth round of tripartite talks in mid-May.
The GJM delegation, which would hold parleys with Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram, would be headed by its leader Bimal Gurung. Gurung, who is leading the party for the first time, would arrive along with party General Secretary Roshan Giri and leaders Dr Harka Bahadur Chhetri, Amar Lama and Amar Rai.
The GJM chief, who left for Delhi today, has made it clear that he would not budge an inch in demarcation of areas to be included in the interim arrangement which was proposed to be in place till 31 December, 2011.

Left Front protests price rise across Kolkata & West Bengal
Kolkata, 8 April : West Bengal's ruling Left Front Thursday staged state-wide sit-ins in front of various central government offices protesting against the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government's policies which they blamed for rising prices of essential commodities.
Thousands of state LF supporters in Kolkata staged picketing in front of the Income Tax office at Esplanade area since 9am, party sources said. LF activists also carried out the protest programme in other districts.
Earlier, state LF chairman Biman Bose said that the UPA government had miserably failed to control the sky-rocketing prices. Bose also urged the central government to strengthen the public distribution system across the country.

Thousands of Left activists court arrest in left-ruled Tripura
Agartala, 8 April : Over 150,000 people, including senior Left Front leaders, Thursday courted arrest in left-ruled Tripura as part of their nation-wide 'jail bharo' (fill the jails) agitation in support of their demands including curbing rising prices of essential commodities.
According to police, an estimated 150,000 men and women led by CPI(M) state secretary Bijon Dhar and party's central committee member and MP Khagen Das and including many Left legislators, heads of local bodies and tribal leaders courted arrest in 55 places across the state, mostly in front of central government offices.

Chimpanzee dies at Alipur zoological garden in Kolkata
Kolkata, 8 April : A full-grown chimpanzee died after falling from a tree trunk at Alipur zoological garden in Kolkata on Thursday, an official said.
According to sources, the incident took place when the chimpanzee tried to jump from one tree to another. It fell from the tree trunk and received a head injury. “It’s a very unfortunate incident. We have already ordered a post mortem examination,” State Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) Atanu Raha said.

India Government sets up probe in 'worst-ever' Maoist strike
Maoists get weapons from across the border: Chidambaram
PTI, New Delhi, 8 April : Acknowledging that "something went wrong" in the worst-ever Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh, Government on Thursday decided to set up an inquiry into the incident that claimed lives of 76 security personnel.
"We have taken a decision to institute an inquiry into what went wrong," Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters on a volley of questions on Tuesday's attack in the jungles of Dantewada district in Chattisgarh. Noting that there would be a time-frame for the inquiry, he said, "I maintain what I said yesterday that something went wrong. We have to find that out." Chidambaram was briefing reporters after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security, but refused to divulge what was discussed there.
Asked whether the Maoist attack figured in the meeting of the Union Cabinet held earlier in the day, he merely said "no". Chidambaram described as incorrect reports about pressure bombs being used in the attack and also that the state police did not know about the CRPF operation for area domination.
He also said, "They buy arms from across the border. There are arms bazars across the border. They bring them clandestinely into the country," citing India's open and porous borders with Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh. "Where do the Northeast insurgents get their arms from? Arms are looted from security forces, procured from across the border, country-made weapons are acquired". Photos : PTI, Chinmoy Roy

Lashkar-e-Taiba links captured by Rapid Action Battalion
Dhaka, 8 April : Bangladesh's Rapid Action Battalion Thursday morning arrested a Pakistani national for suspected links to Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in the capital.
The Pakistani, Mobasser Shahid Mubin alias Yahia, hailed from Karachi had been coordinating LeT operations in Bangladesh, said RAB officials. RAB-10 personnel arrested Mubin, who has been staying here in guise of businessman since 2006, from Chankharpul area. RAB officials told reporters that he got involved with the Pakistani militant group since 1998 and had been working as a messenger here.

Maoists torch tractors, dumper in West Midnapore district
Jhargram, 8 April : Suspected Maoists torched two tractors and a pay loader in West Midnapore district early today during a blockade called by the Maoists-backed People's Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA).
Police said a group of about 15 Maoist reached Asur Geria and forced drivers of the tractors and dumper to move them in the middle of the road. The PCPA called for the blockade demanding withdrawal of joint security force and anti-Maoist operations.

Import & screen of Indian movies upsets Dhaka film industry
IANS, Dhaka, 8 April : The Bangladesh film industry is angry following the government’s decision to import and screen Indian films after lifting a ban imposed in 1965.
“Bollywood films will deliver a death blow to Dhallywood (Dhaka-based film industry),” said actor Miju Ahmed, who is heading an action committee that plans to approach the government to stop this move. While the members of Bangladesh’s ailing film industry are agitated, the cinema owners have been demanding imports after half of the 2,000 theatres closed down countrywide in recent years. The Bangladesh government considered resuming film trade with India after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to New Delhi in January earlier this year.
The Ministry of Information has already made substantial progress in lifting the ban. It has consulted different ministries, including the Ministry of Commerce that looks after issues related to imports. A senior official from the Commerce Ministry told New Age newspaper that they have given their inputs on the basis of the latest import policy that allows import of films in English and other languages with the condition that there should be Bangla and English sub-titles.
The national import policy 2009-2012 also stipulates that screening of imported films should be approved by the censor board.
Actor Masud Parvez Rubel, also a leader of the action committee, said they would organise a human chain in front of the state-run Film Development Corporation to protest the government’s decision. Members of the cinema hall owners’ association, however, said they would not support it as running a theatre has became impossible because of losses due to lack of quality movies and poor footfalls.
The number of Dhaka-based cinema halls has gone down drastically in recent years compared to its peak time in 1980s and 1990s.