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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bangladesh frees 1,000 prisoners to ease overcrowding in Jails

BBC News, Dhaka, 19 August : About 1,000 long-serving prisoners in Bangladesh have been released in a bid to ease overcrowding in jails.
Officials say it is the first time that so many prisoners serving life terms have been freed. Normally, prisoners sentenced to life for violent crimes have to serve at least 30 years in jail. Campaigners say Bangladesh's 67 prisons are notoriously overcrowded - holding 75,000 inmates - and living conditions inside them are appalling. They say that the country's jails are holding three times more inmates than their capacity, and are filthy, unhygienic and almost without medical facilities.
The campaigners warn that the situation has now reached a critical point. Officials admit that overcrowding is a major issue, but say they are releasing these prisoners because they have served more than 20 years. READ FULL STORY Photo : AFP

Massive landslides cut off Sikkim & parts of Darjeeling dist
IBNS, Siliguri, 19 August : Sikkim and parts of Darjeeling district were cut off from the rest of the country on Thursday, the second time this week, after massive landslides washed away a major portion of road at Likhuvir on 31A National Highway near Teesta Bazar, official sources said.
The damage of surface road led to suspension of all transport services linking Sikkim and Kalimpong sub-division in the hills with Siliguri, the nearest railhead, said police and Border Roads Organisation (BRO) officials. The landslides, triggered by heavy rains, washed a good chunk of surface at Likhuvir forcing the authorities to close roads for all vehicles for indefinite period, according to BRO, which maintains the strategic roads linking landlocked Sikkim.
Barring road transport, Sikkim has no other alternative mode communication to be linked with the rest of the world. The BRO has deployed bulldozers to clear the debris and then will take up restoration of the road. Earlier on Tuesday, landslides at Sevok severed the Sikkim-Kalimpong link.
Photo : Courtesy : Kalimpong Online News
EU happy over human rights, political situation in B'desh
UNB, Dhaka, 19 August : The European Union (EU) is happy over the current human rights and political situation prevailing in the country.
EU Ambassador to Bangladesh Dr Stefan Frowein revealed this when he paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Thursday morning. Briefing newsmen after the meeting, Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad said the EU envoy praised the “wise and prudent” leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

Left govt mobilising illegal arms in West Bengal: Trinamool
PTI, New Delhi, 19 August : Trinamool Congress MPs on Thursday staged a protest in the Parliament House complex alleging that the Left government in West Bengal was mobilising illegal arms fearing defeat in the state Assembly elections. Senior party leader Sudeep Bandopadhyay said they will also meet Home Minister P Chidambaram on the issue.
Shouting slogans and carrying placards against the West Bengal government, the Trinamool Congress MPs demanded that central forces should be sent to check mobilisation of illegal arms in the state. "CPI(M) is procuring illegal arms from Bangladesh, China and Nepal borders. After defeat in the Lok Sabha elections last year, they now fear to meet the same fate in the assembly elections and hence have begun mobilising illegal arms," Bandopadhyay said.
File Photo
Tripura Journalists' Forum to start a media coaching center
Agartala, 19 August : For the development of professional skills of mediapersons, United Journalists’ Forum, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) of the media persons is going to start a media coaching center at Agartala press club on Friday (20 August), at 11am.
At this center, senior journalists will share their knowledge and experience with the juniors every Sunday for one hour (11am to 12pm). Reporters and camerapersons from print, web and electronic media can take the advantage of this project free of cost. They have to apply to the general secretary of United Journalists’ Forum in the prescribed form for enrolling their names.
General secretary of the organisation Prasenjit Chakraborty has cordially solicited the active presence of the media persons in the said programme in a press meet.

Maoist squad member arrested by Joint security forces
Jhargram, 19 August : Joint security forces and the police on Thursady arrested a Maoist, Haren Pal from a forest at Damajori in West Midnapore district and seized a gun from his possession, police said.
The Joint Security Forces and police raided the Damajori forest where the Maoists have a camp and arrested Haren Pal, the Maoist squad member, they said. They seized a gun looted by the Maoists from the police from the possession of Pal, they added.
Bangladesh govt shuts gas filling stations for 'Ramadan'
AFP, Dhaka, 19 August : Energy-starved Bangladesh has shut natural gas filling stations in Dhaka for six hours a day to ensure enough household fuel for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, officials said Thursday.
Bangladesh's gas supplies are massively overburdened - with demand of 2,400 million cubic feet of per day but supply of 1,900 million cubic feet. "We need to divert the gas to household supplies for cooking during Ramadan," said Saiful Hasan Chowdhury, Bangladesh's Power Development Board spokesman, adding that gas-guzzling fertiliser plants had also been closed. The afternoon station closures is one of a host of energy-saving measures aimed at ensuring a sufficient supply of gas for Bangladeshis to prepare meals - known as Iftar - to break their traditional fast.
Government-run schools and colleges nationwide have already been shut, decorative lighting in shops and houses banned and millions of low-energy lightbulbs have been distributed in a bid to ease the chronic blackouts. The closure has angered Dhaka's fleet of 50,000 auto-rickshaws run on compressed natural gas-powered (CNG) and caused long tailbacks. Photo : AFP

Mediator for talks with Maoists has to be neutral : CPI(M)
Kolkata, 19 August : CPI(M) yesterday virtually ruled out accepting Trinamool Congress (TC) chief Mamata Banerjee as a mediator in talks with the Maoists saying an arbitrator has to be neutral.
"If anyone wants to become arbitrator in any talks, one has to be neutral. An arbitrator should be acceptable to all. We do not have any objection to Mamata Banerjee becoming the mediator, but her utterances are in support of Maoists," CPI(M) central committee member Mohammed Selim told reporters in Kolkata. "Maoists and TMC have contacts and they have interaction at different levels," he said.
Assam, Arunachal minister meet to resolve border tension
PTI, Guwahati, 19 August : Assam and Arunchal Pradesh today decided to take immediate steps to resolve tension prevailing along the border of the two states following firing by suspected NSCN(IM) cadre.
Assam Law Minister Pranab Gogoi and Arunachal Pradesh Home Minister Tako Dabi met at Bimalapur along the border in Assam's Sibsagar district to resolve the tension after NSCN(IM) militants set ablaze several houses and attacked police pickets in Charaipung and Bimalapur area since the night of 14 August. Official sources said that there was an exchange of fire in Charaipung between the militants and security forces.

Dhunseri Petrochem & Tea launches PET project at Haldia
Kolkata, 19 August : Dhunseri Petrochem & Tea Ltd has announced that the EPC Contract in respect of the expansion of the new PET Project of 2,10,000 tpa at Haldia, has been made effective and zero date of the project has commenced.
The project is expected to achieve commercial production within 21 months in Q1-2010 of FY 2012-13, from 16 August. Earlier in July, plans were announced to invest around Rs 370 crore to augment capacity of the 200,000 tpa Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) resin unit at Hladia in two years. Under its expansion plan, the company has added 45 acres to its present site along with this it is also having an EPC (engineering, procuring and construction) contract which has been signed with a German firm.

Durga Puja in Delhi may be scaled down affair: Organisers
PTI, New Delhi, 19 August : Even as civic officials race against time to spruce up the national capital in time for the Commonwealth Games, the Bengali community here is apprehensive about the event jeopardising their celebration plans for Durga Puja which happens to coincide with the sporting event.
The biggest festival of the Bengalis starts on 14 October, the last day of the Games extravaganza, which commences on 3 October. There has already been reports that the administration has asked organisers of Durga Puja in various parts of the city to keep it low key. However, organisers say they have not been handed over any formal guidelines and there is also a possibility that some organisers would not be allowed to host the Puja this time. "Things will be clear only after a meeting with the administration...so far I've not attended any such meetings", says Swapan Ganguly, an official of the New Delhi Kali Bari, one of the oldest Durga Puja organisers in the city and the nodal point for hundreds of Puja committees here.
In Delhi, there are approximately 400 registered committees which celebrate pujas in various parts of the city, specially in Bengali dominated areas like Chittaranjan Park. Some of the big puja organisers are making their plans and programme schedules keeping in mind the Games.