Dhaka, 24 May : An independent United Nations study said Bangladesh emerged as a "role model" for "transforming challenges into success" with its electoral reform process leading up to the 2008 general elections.
"The electoral reform process in Bangladesh leading up to the 2008 national elections supported a number of important building blocks that are now better serving the needs and aspirations of the people of Bangladesh," a UNDP statement said today quoting the independent United Nations study on elections in the South Asian country.
The study entitled, "Elections in Bangladesh 2006-2009: Transforming Failure into Success", found as crucial the three-year period that saw proclamation of state of emergency, installation of an interim government with military supports amid a state of political anarchy and "collapsed electoral process". "The unique events of this period are a valuable reference tool for Bangladesh and other countries and provide important lessons for the future," the UNDP statement said referring to the study.
Kolkata, 24 May : The West Bengal Government said it was not in favour of tripartite talks with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on the Gorkhaland issue, saying it has lost the people’s mandate after the public outcry against it over the killing of AIGL president Madan Tamang.
“After the massive turnout of common people yesterday for the candlelight march against Tamang’s killing and at his funeral today, it is clear that the GJM has lost the people’s mandate. So it is useless to hold talks with them,” Municipal Affairs Minister Ashok Bhattacharya told newsmen here. The minister, who met Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to brief him about the present situation in Darjeeling, said the latter too did not want the GJM in the talks, but had pointed that it was up to the Centre to take a decision on it.
“The Chief Minister told me that the culprits will not be spared. The administration and police are being strengthened. More police forces are being sent. The government will take full responsibility to ensure security of the people in the hills. In keeping with their demand, a high-level enquiry has also begun,” Bhattacharya said.
He, however, ruled out GNLF MLA Shanta Chhetri’s demand for a CBI enquiry, saying that it was not the sole high-level investigative agency.
PTI, Gangtok, 24 May : Sikkim Police is on the lookout for suspects in the killing of All India Gorkha League chief Madan Tamang as they could have fled Darjeeling and entered the state, senior police officials said today.
The West Bengal Police has sent a list of names of suspects in Friday's killing, they said. Further details like physical descriptions and photographs have been sought, the officials said. Police were informed that some injured Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) activists could have been brought to neighbouring Sikkim for treatment, but they ascertained that no one came here, according to the officials.
In a message, the PM said Musa has glorified the image of Bangladesh in the world by hoisting red-green flag of the country on the world’s highest peak. She said, “By conquering Mount Everest Musa has proved that Bangalee is a brave nation, no obstruction is unconquerable to us.” She also wished him all success.
Traffic was stalled on the roads in the area and shops and others business establishments downed their shutters in Jhargram town, police said. Government offices, schools, banks and post offices were either closed or running with a few staff during the bandh.
PCPA leader Manoj Mahato said the bandh was called to protest the murder of Sunil Murmu (16), Gokul Soren (22) and Bankim Mandi (17) by CPI-M activists at Belpal in Bankura district. Bankim and Gokul, residents of Burisal village in Lalgarh, were students of Ramgarh high school.
Judge Kaniz Akter Nafrina Khanom of the Speedy Trial Tribunal-3 returned the case to the Dhaka Metropolitan Session Judge’s Court to dispose the trial. The case was transferred to the tribunal on 18 August, 2009 for its quick disposal. It recorded depositions of 50 out of 84 prosecution witnesses so far. In its order, the tribunal said most of the vital witnesses, including investigation officer, did not appear before the court to give statements within the time. So, the trial of the case transferred to the previous court for further investigation.
The other case filed under the explosive substances act is now pending in another Dhaka court.
PTI, New Delhi, 24 May : Tripura boy Somdev Devvarman rose a rung to career-best 108 while Yuki Bhambri returned to top-400 after a seven place jump to 397th spot in the latest ATP rankings.
Somdev yesterday lost his French Open first round match, a marathon five-setter, to Marco Chiudinelli of Switzerland. Vishnu Vardhan also jumped seven places to be at 355. In the doubles chart, Leander Paes (6) and Mahesh Bhupathi (7) remained unchanged. Meanwhile in the WTA list, Sania Mirza also had her singles ranking (91) intact but lost two positions in the doubles (75) chart.
The officials detected the consignment at about 2:30am(BDST), said Rezaul Sikder, divisional forest officer of Wildlife Division, Dhaka. The wildlife offender was smuggling the rare species of tortoise popularly known as ‘Star Tortoise’ to Malaysia as this species is quite popular in the exotic pet trade across the Asian markets.
Later, the tortoises were brought to the Dhaka Forest office at Agargaon in the morning. န Photo : Anisur Rahman
PTI, Kolkata, 24 May : India’s largest lender, State Bank of India plans to cover 50,000 unbanked villages during the current fiscal as part of financial inclusion drive.
“The bank under financial inclusion initiative has planned to cover 50,000 unbanked villages during 2010-11 which will take total reach to 1,50,000 villages,” a senior official of SBI told PTI. To achieve this, the bank plans to hire 15,000 business correspondents, who will help people in the rural areas to open bank accounts.
“In order to expand our presence in the unbanked areas, the bank intends to hire around 15,000 (business correspondents) in 2010-11,” the official said. It is not possible for banks to open branches in every village, so a business correspondent and business facilitator model would help in taking banking facilities to every part of the country, the official said.
The ministry is also seeking better air connectivity for the islands and is in touch with the civil aviation ministry for subsidised air fares on the national carrier’s flights linking the islands to other parts of the country. The home ministry move comes after a parliamentary committee directed it to apprise the two ministries of the problems faced by 3,56,265 residents of the islands, including central government officials. A senior home ministry official told IANS: “We have already forwarded the committee’s report to the ministries concerned and have asked them to examine the feasibility of implementing its recommendations.”
The ministry asked the health ministry to examine if a super speciality hospital could be set up, and approached the civil aviation ministry to improve air connectivity to the Islands and whether air fare on flights to and from the Islands could be subsidised.
PTI, Imphal, 24 May : Manipur-based Naga leaders today appealed students from the community to call off the month- long indefinite economic blockade of the state's two national highways to end the suffering of common people.
In a joint statement, Naga Leaders Forum of Manipur (NLFM) convener A S Simreiyo and general secretary P A Thokho said common people were suffering due to acute shortage of essential commodities and other items of daily need on account of the economic blockade since 12 April.
PTI, Shillong, 24 May : The birthday boy never cut the cake here, but this ‘rock capital of India’ has never missed the celebrations of music legend Bob Dylan.
Shillong’s very own Bob Dylan - Lou Majaw and his colleagues rendered haunting Dylan numbers at two venues - at Pearly Dew School in the morning and at Khyndailad at the heart of the city in the evening. The programmes showcased Dylan’s songs and the artists own compositions. Among the bands that performed, was a curiously named band called ‘Bad Monkeys’.
“This year has been very good. Students from Pearly Dew School recited poems and sang songs composed by Dylan, while the city rocked and rolled in the evening,” Majaw said. He said the objective of this celebration is to take music as a part of education. “It’s because of the respect I have for Dylan. I respect him as a lyricist, as a writer of songs and poetry. His songs lit up my life and gave it a lot of meaning,” said the 63-year-old rocker.