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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Government can’t disclose information on black money: Pranab

PTI, New Delhi, 25 January : Unfazed by opposition attacks and questions from Supreme Court, India Government today maintained that it cannot disclose information received from foreign entities on black money held by Indians abroad because of absence of legal framework.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, however, dismissed opposition criticism that it was not disclosing information because such disclosure could result in the government's fall.
"Let us understand the issue. No information can be made available unless there is a legal framework. No sovereign country is going to share information unless there is a legal framework," he told a press conference explaining the reasons why the government was not in a position to part with information it has obtained some foreign entities on black money stashed away abroad.

35th edition of Kolkata International Book Fair inaugurated
Kolkata, 25 January : The 35th edition of the annual Kolkata International Book Fair, the largest of its kind in the country, got underway today in the presence of award winning author Richard Ford and US Ambassador Timothy J Roemer.
Ford, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist from America, inaugurated the 12-day fair with a wooden plaque as Roemer looked on. West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, also present on the occasion, said it was a rare opportunity for residents of the city to buy books on science, sociology and US literature at the fair, with the principal theme of 'America', this year.

Bangladesh government to probe Stock Exchange crash
IANS, Dhaka, 25 January : The Bangladesh government Tuesday formed a three-member committee to probe into the causes behind the collapse of its stock markets twice in this month.

The committee headed by Khondkar Ibrahim Khaled, chairman of the Bangladesh Krishi Bank and former deputy governor of the Bangladesh Bank, was announced by Finance Minister A.M.A. Muhith. Names of the other two members and terms of reference of the committee will be announced Wednesday, The Daily Star reported.
"The committee was formed hurriedly on Tuesday with the approval of the prime minister as she will leave the country in the evening for a five-day visit to Britain," said Muhith. Sheikh Hasina left for London on a six-day visit earlier in the day.
The two stock market crashes, that brought investors to the streets, fighting pitched battles with the police, are widely believed to be the caused by individual operators and firms with links with the opposition, a speculation that has been denied by the government.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suspended six parties last week, and the High Court Tuesday upheld the SEC's action. A bench of Justice A.H.M. Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Justice Sheikh Mohammed Zakir Hossain rejected writ petitions filed by five stockbrokers - Dhaka Bank Securities, NCC Bank Brokerage, PFI Securities, Alliance Securities and Management and IIDFC Securities.
The court decided to hear another petition filed by Al Arafah Islami Bank's brokerage unit challenging the SEC's order later. Photo : AP

96 per cent people have got Voters ID in West Bengal : EC
Kolkata, 25 January : Electors Photo Identity Cards (EPICs) have been given to as many as 96 per cent of voters in the poll-bound West Bengal, a top election official said here today.
At a function to observe the first 'National Voters' Day', state Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta said though the voters' list had been released, additions can be made to it before election to include those whose name was left out.
Tripura oppo demands proclamation of financial emergency
UNI, Agartala, 25 January : Leader of the Opposition Ratan Lal Nath today criticised Chief Minister Manik Sarkar for demanding a CAG audit on state finance and proclamation of financial emergency in Tripura.
Addressing the media here, Nath said the Left Front government was reeling under a financial crisis and that the state had a debt burden of Rs 5,311 crore now.
''The Centre has been allocating huge funds for the development of the state but a good amount of money has been diverted to party funds. Rs 270 crore have been sent to Politburo since 2008 so far,'' Nath said, adding that the party leaders were worried about the future of comrades in Tripura who had already started taking shelter here from West Bengal.
Republic Day : No night trains in Assam till 30 January
Kolkata, 25 January : Night-time movements along the Guwahati-Lumding section of North East Frontier Railway in Assam have been suspended till 30 January to prevent any possible subversive activity in view of Republic Day Wednesday, a railway release said.
Intelligence sources said there were inputs about threats from different militant groups, including the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). In a media release, the railways Tuesday said night running of mail/express trains in the entire Assam portion of North East Frontier Railway has been suspended between 5 pm and 5 am The restriction implemented on 24 Jan evening.

Home minister holds meeting with GJM on "Gorkhaland"
PTI, New Delhi, 25 January : Indian Home minister P Chidambaram today held a meeting with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on the demand for statehood to Gorkhaland and is understood to have deliberated on setting up of a regional authority for Gorkhas in Darjeeling.
"We had a detailed discussion on our demand with the home minister. The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere and was very positive," GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told reporters after the hour-long meeting.

Giri refused to divulge what transpired, but said the Central government should clear its stand on GJM's demand. Sources said the meeting deliberated on the possibility of setting up of the proposed Darjeeling regional authority comprising the districts of Darjeeling and adjoining areas but no decision has been taken.
However, it was not clear whether the interim authority would be set up before the West Bengal assembly elections a few months away. BJP leader and Darjeeling MP Jaswant Singh was part of the delegation.
During the last tripartite political level talks, key issues, including territorial jurisdiction, were sorted out. The Central and West Bengal governments have earlier worked on the subjects and departments which are expected to be handed over to the interim authority.
Sources said both Central and West Bengal governments favoured limiting the proposed authority to just the hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong.
Since its inception in 2007, the GJM has been demanding a separate Gorkhaland state that includes the Siliguri sub-division of Darjeeling district in the plains and contiguous areas in neighbouring Jalpaiguri district.