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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Gorkha Janamukti Morcha calls for total 240-hour Hill shutdown

IANS, Siliguri, 13 May : Political tempers are again running high in Darjeeling hills of northern West Bengal with the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) Thursday calling for a ten-day shutdown next month in support of its demand for a separate Gorkhaland state.
The 12-21 June shutdown call comes two days after the failed tripartite talks in Delhi that saw the GJM representatives staging a walk-out over the alleged reluctance of the central and state governments to discuss the territory of the Gorkhaland state demanded by the hill outfit. The shutdown will cover the 'proposed Gorkhaland territory' comprising the three Darjeeling hill sub-divisions - Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kursenong - the Terai (plains) region and neighbouring Jalpaiguri district's Dooars (foothills of the Himalayas).
GJM assistant general secretary Benoy Tamang told reporters that his organisation was no more keen on participating in the next round of political level tripartite talks slated in Delhi later this month. 'We now want Gorkhaland. We may not participate in this tripartite meet.'

Maoists call for 24-hour bandh in W Midnapore on 14 May
Kolkata, 13 May : Maoists today gave a 24-hour bandh call in West Midnapore district tomorrow to protest against non-production of an alleged cadre before court even three days after her arrest.
Maoist spokesman Akash told Bengal Newz from an undisclosed location that "Soma, a cadre from Jhargram, had been arrested three days ago but was not produced before a court". He alleged that police had been targeting the innocent suspecting them of having links with Maoists and demanded their immediate release.

Bangladesh's water transport strike eases on Sixth day
Dhaka, 13 May : At least ten scheduled launches left Sadarghat Launch Terminal for their respective destinations Thursday morning partially easing the standstill in river communication.
The situation eased a little after Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan’s ultimatum to the strikers on Wednesday to return to work by 5:00pm(BDST) today. Several launches were also seen to arrive at the terminal. Commuters also thronged the terminal since the morning as the countrywide indefinite river transport strike entered into 6th day.
Bangladesh Noujan Sramik Federation enforced the identified strike Friday night rejecting the new wage structure that raised wages of water transport workers by 50 to 100%. In the announced structure, wages of the workers have been raised by 50 to 100 percent, fixing the minimum wage at Tk 2,850. Photo : Internet

Mamata for early Assembly polls in WBengal
Kolkata, 13 May : Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has sought early Assembly elections in West Bengal.
Talking to reporters here, Banerjee said West Bengal could have Assembly polls by this year itself, instead of May 2011 as scheduled. She said she was confident about the Trinamool sweeping them.
However, Left Front leaders say the demand cannot be accommodated for want of Constitutional provisions. "There is no possibility of early elections. The schedule cannot be changed as it does not depend on the whims of a political leader, said CPI(M) leader Benoy Konar.
A section of the CPI(M) leadership believes that all forms of alliance between the Congress and the Trinamool will collapse, if the elections are held as per schedule.

Bangladesh to send female UN peacekeeper unit to Haiti
AFP, Dhaka, 13 May : Bangladesh will send its first all-female contingent of police officers on a United Nations peacekeeping mission, to help with reconstruction in quake-devastated Haiti, police said Thursday.
"A 110-strong battalion of female peacekeepers, will fly to Haiti on May 15," police spokesman Shyamol Kumar Mukharjee told AFP. READ FULL STORY

Suspected NDFB militants kidnap IFS officer in Arunachal
PTI, Tezpur, 13 May : Suspected NDFB militants on Thursday kidnapped an Indian Forest Service officer from a district, bordering Assam, in Arunachal Pradesh, police said.
The IFS officer, identified as Vilas Warkare, DFO of West Kameng district in Arunachal Pradesh and hailing from Maharashtra, had gone to Kamengbari forest in Doimara area to conduct a survey on butterflies, they said. The suspected militants kidnapped him from there. The incident came to light after an anonymous caller informed his office about the abduction, police said. Arunachal Police in collaboration with Assam Police have launched a massive search operation to trace the abducted official, they said.

Huji's Mufti Hannan names AL leaders in plot to kill Hasina
Gopalganj, 13 May : Mufti Abdul Hannan, the prime accused in the attempted murder of Awami League President Sheikh Hasina in Kotalipara, Gopalganj, on Thursday named two Awami League leaders to have been involved in the plot.
The two leaders are AL’s Religion Affairs Secretary Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and Gopalganj District unit’s Joint General Secretary Mahbub Ali Khan. “Quiz this two leaders for the truth. They know everything,” Hannan was shouting at journalists who were waiting outside the courtroom of Gopalganj District and Sessions Judge’s Court.
The Huji leader was brought to the court for his appearance in three cases involving the incident of planting bombs at the venue of a public rally of Hasina in Kotalipara in 2000. He was brought to Gopalganj nine years after the proceedings of the cases started. But the hearing was not held as other co-accused could not be produced before the court.
In a knee-jerk reaction, the Awami League leaders denied the allegations at a press conference at Gopalganj Press Club. File Photo

3 girls die of food poisoning in Howrah dist's NGOrun home
Howrah, 13 May : Three mentally challenged girls died and 69 others took ill after suspected food poisoning in an NGO-run home at Jaipur in Howrah district, police said today.
Doctors said Sabari (18) and two other inmates of a home run by an NGO, Chiranabin, in Parbaksi village, died of food poisoning. While Sabari died this morning, two others died in the past two days, the police said. The sick girls were admitted to Bagnan hospital today where their condition was stated to be stable. The home has 98 girl inmates. Senior police officers and a team of doctors have rushed to the village.

Bangladesh to decide on recognition of Kosovo’s independence after the Intl Court settles : FM Dipu Moni
UNB, Dhaka, 13 May : Bangladesh will take decision on the recognition of Kosovo’s independence after the International Court settles the matter raised by Serbia, Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni said here Thursday.
The question of establishing Bangladesh’s diplomatic ties with Israel would depend on establishment of peace in the Middle East, she said while talking to the members of Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB). The Foreign Minister said: “We stand for peace in the Middle East…We can review the establishment of diplomatic ties after the establishment of Palestine as independent state as well as peace in the Middle East and not before that.”
Dipu Moni, who will visit Moscow 20-21 May, said a framework agreement on the peaceful use of nuclear technology will be signed with Russia. She will hold talks with her Russian counterpart on 21 May.
Bison on rampage in Jalpaiguri tea gardens, SSB deployed
Jalpaiguri, 13 May : Paramilitary units from the Sashastra Suraksha Bal (SSB) have been deployed to control a bison on rampage in the tea gardens of Jalpaiguri on Wednesday.
Officials said that the bison entered the Dharanipur tea garden from nearby Diana forest of the Chapramari forest division. Alarmed on seeing the animal on the loose along sections 22 and 23 of the forest, the villagers immediately contacted the forest officials who rushed to the forest. "A bison was spotted near Dharanipur division early in the morning. Without losing time, we contacted the forest officials, but by then it was already running amok in the tea garden," claimed Narayan Toppo, Assistant Manager of the Dharanipur tea garden.

Kishoreganj's Dhaleshwari river boat victims feared dead
Kishoreganj, Dhaka, 13 May : At least 16 people, who remain missing after a motorboat capsized in the Dhaleshwari river near Bazitpur in Kishoreganj Wednesday night, were feared dead, police said on Thursday.
Office-in-Charge of Bazitpur Police Station Subrata Kumar Saha said he feared that the 16 victims might be dead as there is a little chance of their survival nearly one day after the boat went down in the river. On the other side, local claimed that at least 25 people still remain missing. Two launches of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) have been conducting the rescue operation. Five bodies have been found so far including one of a child after the boat tragedy.
Bangladesh govt to put forward Power price hike proposal
Dhaka, 13 May : Bangladesh government is expected to put forward a proposal within next two months to the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) for a hike in the power prices.
Prime Minister's Adviser for Energy Towfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury hinted the government initiative at a press briefing at city’s Press Information Department (PID) auditorium on Thursday. Power Development Board (PDB) will make the recommendations for raising power rates. BERC will decide on the proposal after holding public hearing on the issue collecting opinions from the consumers and other stakeholders.

High tiger density may result from habitat loss in Kaziranga
Durba Ghosh, Guwahati, 13 May : Conservationists have welcomed the recent finding that the Kaziranga National Park in Assam has the highest tiger density in the world, but warned that it could be an indicator of destruction of habitats in the vicinity and suggested framing of a tiger habitat management policy.
'Aaranyak', an environment watchdog, in collaboration with the Assam Forest Department in a recent survey using the 'camera-trap' method has found that the forest, famous for housing the one-horned rhinos, has a recorded density of 38 tigers in an area of 100 square kilometres. Describing such an unusual increase of the animals in a single protected area can be a dangerous indicator of habitat destruction, conservationist Bibhab Talukdar of Aaranyak recommended regular monitoring of tigers and prey population in the forest. "We like to recommend regular monitoring of tigers and prey population to understand the ecology in such a high density tiger habitat," Talukdar said.
He said the unusual increase of these animals might be attributed to habitat destruction in the surrounding areas as a result of which animals flocked to Kaziranga. Due to the high-density, human-tiger conflict in the fringe areas of the park might go up and both short and long term measures were necessary to minimize such conflicts, he felt.