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Thursday, December 23, 2010

British training Bangladesh 'death squad' Rapid Action Battalion

BBC News, Dhaka, 23 December : British officials in Bangladesh have confirmed Wikileaks reports that the UK is training a police force in the country accused of being a death squad.
Rapid Action Battalion members have been taught "interviewing techniques" and "rules of engagement" by the UK authorities, said the leaked cables. One message says the US would not offer tactical training to the RAB because of its alleged human rights violations. UK officials told the BBC the focus of the training was on human rights.
Set up in 2004, the 9,000-strong RAB is accused of more than 550 killings. The whistle-blowing website Wikileaks has obtained a cache of about 250,000 US diplomatic cables, which it has released to several newspapers, including the Guardian.
In a cable dating from May 2009 published by the Guardian, the US ambassador to Dhaka, James Moriarty, writes: "The US and UK representatives reviewed our ongoing training to make the RAB a more transparent, accountable and human-rights compliant paramilitary force. "The British have been training RAB for 18 months in areas such as investigative interviewing techniques and rules of engagement." READ FULL REPORT

WB Speaker wonders whether 'dark 1970s' have returned
Kolkata, 23 December : In the backdrop of escalating political violence and campus clashes in West Bengal, Assembly Speaker H A Halim today wondered whether the state was returning to the "dark days" of the 1970s.
Apparently referring to the seventies when the Congress was in power, Halim said "I hope it will not get darker. People are being killed. Youths are getting killed. I do not know whether this is happening because of the approaching elections." "It is a matter of regret that there is no agreement of mind (among political parties). A consensus has to forged," he said.
Meanwhile, Leader of Trinamool Congress Legislature Party, Partha Chatterjee said that it would examine the feasibility of bringing a privilege motion against the Speaker for his comment that "dark days" of seventies were being brought back. The Trinamool was not in power in early seventies in the state, he said. File CPI(M) Cartoon

Bangladesh's Injured Mortaza doubtful for world cup cricket
AFP, Dhaka, 23 December : Bangladesh pace spearhead Mashrafe Mortaza sustained an injury to his right knee during a domestic match, the country's cricket board said, putting his World Cup appearance in doubt.
Tests confirmed Mortaza sustained a near-complete tear of his reconstructed anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the Bangladesh Cricket Board said in a statement Wednesday. The board's statement said Mortaza would rest for 10 days and his condition will be reviewed after three days.