The central ministry of science and technology has handed the task of evaluating the risk of earthquakes. The experts from Bengal Engineering and Science University (Besu). For this, the ministry has already sent a highly specialized and expensive seismic accelerograph to the university. This equipment will constantly record and store the details of tremors over a long period in the form of a plot on film. A software will then decode the readings to find out the intensity and duration of earthquakes in the region being tested. In this case, it is only Kolkata and Howrah town (Sadar) area that is being considered.
"The city sits snug between North and South 24-Parganas. The latter two have been demarcated as zone 4' by the Bureau of Indian Standards, which means "highly earthquake prone". Strangely, Kolkata was placed in zone 3 simply meaning "earthquake prone". This is because no microzonation (earthquake mapping) has ever been done in the city. Hence the loose classification. We informed the ministry about the hazardous implications of such complacency. So, we were given the responsibility of doing the microzonation to ascertain if Kolkata should also be placed under zone 4," said Subrata Chakraborty, a faculty member of the university's civil engineering department and an expert in quake-related engineering studies.
"The ground vibration of the city, which seismologists call Peak Ground Acceleration, is extremely high, making it highly' earthquake prone. The alluvial soil, many river channels and proximity to hills add to this," Chakraborty explained.
The university will work in close proximity with the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, which has also been pursuing a similar project for the past few years.
The ACC has also approved four more cases against another nine officials for misappropriation of 8.07 crore Tk citing "transport costs".
Second North America Tagore Conference held
VOA NEWS, Boca Raton,Florida,15 December : A one day Tagore Conference was held at Boca Raton Florida where Tagore fans thronged to enjoy songs, dances, dance dramas and recitations from Rabindranath Tagore. In addition to these creative presentations , analytical discussions on Tagore’s universalism, his national and political thoughts and his contribution to the science of language were also discussed in seminars. This second North America Tagore conference was aimed at unifying the Bengali Diaspora in Tagore’s spirit through his multi dimensional creative works.
The Bengali Diaspora at times misses Tagore and a nostalgic thought of feeling the poet within and without often comes to mind while living abroad. But more importantly this conference also aimed at the younger generation Bengalis in North America to recognize and indeed to realize this genius who has now reached beyond the temporal or the spatial bondage.
The Convener of the Conference Jahanara Khan Bina narrates the reason for holding this conference. She says that Bengalis who live abroad miss their own Bengali culture and hence this conference has been organized to bring Bengalis closer to their cultural heritage . Besides they also want to introduce this great genius of early twentieth century to the new generation as well as to the west.
Kolkata, 15 December : Thousands of birds have been slaughtered in the state of Assam. Authorities of West Bengal say they have identified the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu in thousands of dead chickens.
Tests on poultry from two villages around Englishbazar town in the Malda district have returned positive results, a health official said. He "few thousand" birds in the area will be slaughtered, he said. The H5N1 strain of bird flu is regarded as highly pathogenic and can also cause disease and death in humans.
Bird flu has returned to West Bengal after an outbreak in 14 districts of the state in January this year.
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Airport sources said with visibility reduced to a minimum due to dense fog Air India, Jet Airways, Kingfisher, Lufthansa, British Airways and other airlines changed their flight schedules by two hours on an average. Among the international flights only two arrived three to four hours late. Air India's Kolkata-Port Blair flight was delayed by about three-and-half-hours, the sources said.
Local train services to the metropolis at both Howrah and Sealdah stations were also affected due to the fog but there were no cancellations, railways sources said.
Dhaka, 14 December : Bangladesh observed martyred intellectuals day across the country on Sunday. The nation will remember the best sons and daughters of the country who were brutally murdered two days before the achievement of final victory against the Pakistani occupation forces in the Liberation War of 1971.
Bangladesh President Professor Iajuddin Ahmed and the nation paid respects to the martyred intellectuals today. He layed wreaths at the Martyred Intellectuals' Memorial at Mirpur and offered prayers. The Chief Adviser, Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed follow the President to layed wreaths at the memorial and also offer prayers.
The former Prime Ministers Sheikh Hasina , the Chief of Awami League and Khaleda Zia , the Head of BNP also visited the Maryred Intellectuals’ Mausoleum and paid their tributes to the intellectuals who were killed by Razakars, Al Badrs and As Shams in a fascist way . Thousands of people throughout the day paid their homage to the best sons of the soil.
CISF Marine unit soon in Kolkata & Haldia
Kolkata, 14 December : A marine wing of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) will be raised soon for the security of the Kolkata Port and the Haldia Dock system.
"A marine wing of the CISF will be raised for better protection and surveillance of the Kolkata Port and the Haldia Dock system," Kolkata Port Trust Chairman A K Chanda told reporters on the sidelines of a programme of the Trust Officers' Wives welfare association.
Chanda said that raising of a commando unit was also under consideration. "We will introduce biometric smart card system for entering the port and dock areas and CCTVs will be installed," he said. He added that surveillance will be intensified on both cargo and passenger vessels.
Dhaka, 14 December : Around 3,000 licensed arms have been deposited with 35 police stations in the capital ahead of polls, with Sunday being the deadline, said the Dhaka Metropolitan Police chief on Sunday morning.
"They include 2,386 pistols and revolvers and 600 large arms," said Naim Ahmed. Sunday will be the last day for depositing licensed arms and ammunition ahead of elections," he said.
To maintain law and order ahead of the national vote, the home ministry on 20 November directed licensed arms owners to deposit them by 3 December. Wich was extended to 14 December(Sunday) in a notification, following the deferment of the general election. Gun owners have until 6pm Sunday.
Violators found possessing or bearing any arms after the deadline will be strictly dealt with under the arms act, said the police chief.
Official sources here today said the concerned departments of the state government had already sanctioned the probe into the matter to the vigilance authority, who were asked to speed up investigation. According to a report, allegations against the officials were filed in different occasions since 2006 but the inquiry had not yet been completed in this regard.
A statement issued by the Tripura vigilance authority meanwhile, said investigation was pending against 11 other government employees with regard to corruption and malpractices since 2006, the report further informed.
Malda, 14 December : The avian flu scare is back in Malda, with the death of hundreds of birds in Satgharia village in Englishbazar, a day after an alert over the disease was sounded in Cooch Behar.
The Malda district administration, however, is not ready to press the panic button just yet. Fajlur Ali, a resident of Satgharia, said: "In the last few days, we noticed that our chickens became drowsy, and finally died. We initially thought that it was Ranikhet disease, which is common during winter. Later, similar deaths began to be reported from other villages also."
Villagers alleged that about 200 birds died in the last three days. The administration is not very worried, however. "We have had an experience of bird flu last year and we know how to tackle it," said Malda ADM P C Shit. "After receiving reports of chicken deaths from Satgharia, an animal resources development team was sent there. They collected samples from both dead and live chickens. We'll send the samples to Bhopal for confirmation," he added. No culling will commence before bird flu is confirmed, the ADM said.
The Cooch Behar administration has made arrangements to disinfect vehicles entering through the Baxirhat entry point, which is in the grip of bird flu. WB Animal resources development department officials have also collected at least 10 samples from different areas of Cooch Behar and sent them for tests, said the district's ADM, Pannalal Mahapatra.
The committee put forth the demand at a press conference at the Khulna Press Club on Sunday, ahead of the BNP chairperson, Khaleda Zia’s visit to the region. The committee president, Binoy Krishna Roy, read out a statement at the press conference in presence of the civic leaders, Advocate Firoz Ahmed, Hayder Gazi Salahuddin Runu, Sheikh Jubaraj and Shamim Arefeen. The statement said that the people of the region were urging all the political leaders vying in the forthcoming national polls, including Khaleda Zia, to ensure supply of pure drinking water in the region, which is their basic right.
The committee also stressed the need for leasing out all the water-bodies, excavating ponds for preserving sweet water, proper water management by using knowledge of local and indigenous people and ensuring ownership of water to the state.
Dhaka, 13 December : An organisation of Bangladeshi freedom fighters has said that it will publish a list of 600 people charged with war crimes following the war of independence, within days.
"We will make public a list of 600 people, against whom cases were filed in 1973-74 on charges of war crimes in a week," SM Jahangir Alam of the Bangladesh Muktijoddha Sangsad told a press conference on Saturday. "If there is not time to hold a press conference we will deliver the list directly to the media," he said, adding that he had the necessary case documents in his possession.
He asked his countrymen not to cast a single vote for war criminals in the upcoming general election. He also lauded Awami League president Sheikh Hasina, on behalf of freedom fighters, on the pledges of her party to try war criminals and create scope for children of freedom fighters.
He said the freedom fighters would launch a campaign on 16 December across the Bangladesh asking people not to vote into power the war criminals and "tyrants during the past four-party alliance government".
In the morning, a Tata Sumo carrying CRPF jawans were going to the local market from Gurpana. Near the Latapara village crossing, after a sharp u-turn, it hit a motorcycle on which there were two teachers Rajen Mahato and Bholanath Das. The two teachers were seriously injured and were rushed to the Bandwan Health Centre.
A crowd had gathered at the accident site. Local police, led by the Bandwan OC, reached the spot. All of a sudden, another CRPF jeep from the Kutchia camp reached the site and started beating up the locals, even reportedly firing some blanks. At this, the crowd was scattered. After the jawans had gone away, hundreds of locals torched the ill-fated jeep and pushed it down from a hilly road.
Morcha president Bimal Gurung also announced that a 72-hour general strike would be called in “Gorkhaland” ; the area that it wants as part of the new state if the 54 persons mentioned in FIRs filed in the past 48 hours were not arrested. If the government fails to take action, we may not attend the tripartite meeting,” the Morcha president told journalists in Darjeeling today.
GJM Party general secretary Roshan Giri said the “original inhabitants of Bengal” were not in favour of a “communal” (ethnic) strife. “It is only those immigrants from Bangladesh who came in the late eighties and nineties that are trying to destabilise the region.”
Dhaka, 13 December : The Bangladesh Election Commission has confirmed the allocation of electoral symbols for 1,538 valid candidates for the upcoming general election, an EC official said on Saturday. Of them 1,397 candidates belong to different political parties and alliances and 141 are independents. Some 266 of them are Awami League candidates with boat symbol and 263 are BNP nominees with the party symbol sheaf of paddy.
The symbols for other parties are umbrella (Liberal Democratic Party)-18, bicycle (Jatiya Party)-7, wheel (Samyabadi Dal)-1, gamchha (Krishak Sramik Dal)-46, scythe (Communist Party of Bangladesh)-37, pigeon (Ganatantri Party)-5, hut (Bangladesh National Awami Party)-12, hammer (Workers Party of Bangladesh)–2, winnowing fan (Bikalpadhara Bangladesh)-80, plough (Jatiya Party-Ershad)-46, torch (Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal)-2, star (JSD)-44, rose (Jaker Party)-37, ladder (Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal)-57, flower garland (Torikat Federation)-31, balance (Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami)-39, banyan tree (Khilafat Andolan)-31, lantern (Muslillm League)-4, mango (NPP)-29, date tree (Jamiyate Ulamaye Islam)-5, rising sun (Gono Forum)-45, fish (Gono Front)-14, tiger (PDP)-4, cow (Bangladesh NAP)-7, jack fruit (Bangladesh Jatiya Party)-10, key (Oikyoboddho Nagorik Andolan)-11, chair (Islami Oikya Front)-2, wrist watch (Kalyan Party)-39, dome/ minaret (Islami Oikyojote)-2, rickshaw (Bangladesh Khilafat Majlish)-8, handmade fan (Islami Andolan)-167, candle (Bangladesh Islami Front)-18, hukkah (JGP)-1, spade (Biplabi Workers Party)-5 and axe (Freedom Party)-2.
The two symbols of BJP (cart) and Khilafat Majlish (wall clock) are not being used this time as the parties have joined the electoral alliance. The Election Commission declared valid as many as 1,572 candidates up to Friday afternoon, until final allotment of electoral logo, Rafiqul Islam told Bengal News on Friday.
"But after the allotment of electoral logos among the candidates, the number of total candidates may come down," he had said.
Kolkata,12 December : Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Kolkata has organized a 4-day Bangladesh festival. The festival started today, Friday, showcasing Bangladeshi food and textiles.
There will also be cultural functions with artists singing folk songs. Tourism stalls will guide Kolkata’s citizenry about visit to Bangladesh.
Final IPO application submitted by Grameenphone
Dhaka, 12 December : Bangladesh Grameenphone filed its final
"We are proud of our achievement in having reached this milestone. We remain committed to contributing to the development of the capital markets of Bangladesh and look forward to a successful completion of the largest IPO in the country" the statement quoted Hesjedal as saying. Grameenphone Ltd. also successfully closed the marketing of a pre-IPO private placement of its shares amounting to $60 million (Tk 413 crore) to local institutional investors on Dec 4, 2008, said GP.
Burdwan, 12 December : Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at Burdwan University in West Bengal arranged a one day seminar on Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain on 12th December.
Vice Chancellor of Burdwan University, Professor Subrata Pal, Chief of Bangla Service, Voice of America and chief guest Iqbal Bahar Choudhury and Shaheen Westcombe MBE inaugurated the seminar.Ninth of December is the birth and death anniversary of social reformer and educator Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain.
The army needed the airstrip somewhere in the Dooars to launch unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance of the international border. While some land was already available with the army at the spot, some more would have to be acquired, Sibal said. In the absence of a suitable launching pad, the UAVs were currently being launched from airports that were also used for civilian purposes, but this was facing difficulties.
A lot of defence land is available in North Bengal. There is one view in the army that the airstrip can be set up on any of these, without further acquisition. But Sibal said these were not suitable for setting up an airstrip that would meet the requirement. "We need an airstrip close to the international border. The further away the border is from the launching pad, the lesser payload the UAV will be able to carry. It may not even be able to reach the border," he said.
Bangladesh to lift Emergency on 17 December
Dhaka, 10 December : Bangladesh's army-backed interim government has announced on Wednesday that state of emergency will be lifted from 17 December.
Three cabinet-level advisers told a press conference Wednesday night that restrictions on rallies and processions would also be withdrawn from 12 December, the day campaigning begins ahead of the 29 December election.
Government's adviser and spokesman Hossain Zillur Rahman had said earlier Wednesday that the government had already decided to lift the state of emergency ahead of election, leaving no necessity for "any ultimatum". The comment was a seeming response to the BNP-led alliance's 48-hour deadline given on Monday to meet their two remaining demands, lifting emergency and suspending Section 91(E) of the RPO.
BANGLADESH VOTE :
Angry Ershad says no Awami League alliance
Dhaka, 10 December : An angry Hussein Muhammad Ershad has announced his Jatiya Party is breaking away from the Awami League-led alliance after a day-long drama that included a meeting with Sheikh Hasina and his top colleagues.
"Even if they (AL) offer us 70 seats or 100 seats, there's no going back," the JP chief told reporters Wednesday evening after a meeting of his party presidium. "We have taken a formal decision," he said. "From the way the negotiations were going, it was clear that AL itself did not want us to stay," the former general said. "We are no longer with the Grand Alliance," presidium member Kazi Zafar Ahmed told Bengal News as the party's policymaking body had just ended an emergency meeting.
Bird flu alert follows Assam outbreak
Kolkata, 10 December : The outbreak of avian flu in Assam has prompted the WB state government to sound an alert in Kolkata and the rest of the state.
"A general alert has been issued about any unnatural symptoms or deaths of migratory birds or poultry," WB health services director Sanchita Bakshi told Bengal News on Wednesday. The animal resources development department has asked the city zoo and forest department to keep vigil on migratory birds. "We have asked the forest department to keep an eye on migratory birds that flock the zoo as well as lakes in and around the city," said state animal resources development minister Anisur Rehman.
Experts said migratory birds — hundreds of them flock around the zoo and lakes in Howrah's Santragachhi and other water bodies — are the most common carriers of the avian flu virus.
During the last outbreak, thousands of poultry birds died in several districts of West Bengal following an outbreak of Bird Flu. Rapid reaction teams were set up to cull birds in the affected districts in an attempt to stop the spread of the disease. But the flu came as close as Howrah, sparing the city by a whisker.
"Avian flu spreads very rapidly. Employees of the animal resources development department are being trained to tackle any outbreak on a war footing," said Rehman. "Special checkposts have been set up in the districts bordering Bangladesh and Assam." The minister, however, held out the assurance that the poultry market in the city had not been affected
Dhaka eyes Maitree Express time cut, schedule change
Dhaka, 10 December : Railway officials of Bangladesh and India will sit in New Delhi possibly on 22 December to cut the travel time and change the schedules of the Dhaka-Kolkata direct passenger trains, top railway officials have said. According to Dhaka's proposal, the trains need to reduce travel time by two hours to woo passengers. "Possibly the three-day inter-governmental railway meeting would start on 22 December in New Delhi," Qazi Asadullah, Bangladesh Railway's additional director general (operations), said. He said New Delhi provisionally has agreed to take two hours off travel time if the Kolkata-bound train could reach Kolkata's Chipur Station by 5.00pm Indian time. "If we want to reach Kolkata by 5.00pm, we will have to start the train at 6:00 am instead of the present 8:30am," said Asadullah.
Md Belayet Hossain, Bangladesh Railway's director general, said the schedule of the train must be changed to make it convenient for passengers. "We will propose operating a train from Dhaka on Saturday which will return from Kolkata on Sunday," Hossain said. He said Dhaka would also propose that the train leaves for Dhaka on Tuesday and travel back to Kolkata on Wednesday.
"At present, a passenger must spend seven days in Dhaka or Kolkata if they travel by train. Because, the train runs on Saturday and Sunday every week," Hossain said. As per the schedule, one train leaves for Kolkata Saturday and returns on Sunday. Similarly, one train leaves for Dhaka from Kolkata on Saturday and returns on Sunday.
The Maitree Express, which was hurriedly launched on 14 April this year, took at least 12 hours to travel between Dhaka and Kolkata. Of the 12 hours, five hours are spent on completing the customs and immigration formalities in the bordering stations in Darshana in Bangladesh and Gede in West Bengal. The time-consuming customs and immigration formalities, and inconvenient train schedules force passengers to turn to buses. According to railway figures, on average 100 passengers travel by the 517-seat Maitree Express.
Highways major constraint on power project in Tripura
Agartala, 9 December : Uncertainty looms large over the commissioning of 740 MW-capacity combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT)-based power project in Palatana in South Tripura even though Rupees 600 crore had been spent in this regard during the past three years.
Official sources here today said the ONGC Tripura Power Company Pvt Ltd (OTPC) had faced a serious problem in transporting the turbines due to weak road infrastructure of National Highway 44 and the authority was in the process of preparing another project to strengthen the road.
''A team comprising 12 senior officers of BRO, PWD and OTPC have recently travelled from Karimganj of South Assam to Palatana of South Tripura (about 250 km). They identified the defects of the road and suggested that straight alignment in certain stretches be made and bridges be strengthened,'' Tripura State Power Secretary A K Mangutra told media.
Mr Mangutra said, ''The highest weight carried by the NH-44 was 39 tonnes. But each turbine for the project weighs 36 tonnes. The minimum weight of an equipment is 29 tonnes. They would come from the Haldia port of West Bengal, to Karimganj by an inland waterway via Bangladesh. Thus, transportation of turbines from Karimganj to Palatana emerged has emerged as major problem.'' According to Mr Mangutra, either the turbines would be transported from Karimganj by surface transport on NH 44 or sent to the Chittagong port of Bangladesh.
The 363.3x2 MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant would be developed by the OTPC at Palatana in south Tripura. The initiative of ONGC was expected to transform the power scenario of the India's northeastern region and catalyse rapid economic development, officials said adding the project would attract an investment of around Rs 9,000 crore in the NE states .
Herd of Elephants kill 2 in Bankura
Ranibandh, 9 December : A herd of six elephants killed two men at Ranibandh in Bankura this afternoon.
People were chasing the elephants that had entered their village from a Purulia forest when Dilip Singh, 45, and Biswanath, 17, found themselves in the elephants’ path. Police said the elephants hurled Dilip on the ground while Biswanath was crushed. Dilip died on the spot and Biswanath succumbed to his injuries in hospital.
The villagers said a herd of 22 elephants had entered Ranibandh, Ambikanagar and Rudra two days ago but forest officials did nothing. An employee at the Ranibandh forest range said the herd was being pushed back when it suddenly changed route and entered the villages, triggering panic.
Convict Bangladeshi film actor Dipjol arrested
Dhaka, 9 December : Fugitive, convict film actor and ex-BNP ward commissioner Monwar Hossain Dipjol was arrested by Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in Mirpur in the capital on Tuesday.
"He has been detained in a relative's house in Mirpur at 4:30pm," Col Gulzaruddin Ahmed, additional director general of the elite anticrime unit, told reporters.Dipjol has been convicted for at least 45 years in 12 cases on charges of murder, extortion, tax-dodge and illegal possession of arms.
Dipjol, who played the antagonist in Bangladeshi movies and also directed a few, had been on the run since emergency was declared in 11 January, 2007. Dipjol's wife, Romana Monwar, has been convicted of a raft of changes and released on bail from jail.
Millions Bengali marking Eid with zeal
Kolkata & Dhaka, 9 December : Muslims Bengalwide are celebrating Eid ul-Azha on Tuesday with solemnity and fanfare through sacrificing animals after Eid prayers.
Dhaka City Corporation arranged 361 Eid prayer congregations or jamaats in the city. In Kolkata the main congregation was held at the Red road & Park Circus Maidan and in Dhaka at the Bangladesh National Eidgah. Senior Pesh imams led the prayers.
In Bangladesh, President Iajuddin Ahmed, speaker Jamiruddin Sircar, chief justice Md Ruhul Amin, foreign affairs adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, Dhaka mayor Sadek Hossain Khoka and other distinguished personalities joined the prayers with ordinary people. Awami League president Sheikh Hasina exchanged Eid greetings at her Dhanmondi political office and BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia at Eskaton Ladies' Club with the diplomats and people from all walks of the society.
Bangladesh's largest congregation took place at Sholakia in Kishoreganj, starting at 9:15am.
Women steal the Corporation show in Howrah
Mayor, Deputy mayor and the Chairperson all woman bridge
Howrah, 8 December : Women emerged as natural choice for the top civic posts in Howrah creating a precedence. The new mayor of the Howrah Municipal Corporation is a woman, so is the deputy mayor and the chairperson.
Despite rumours that the top civic post will go to Samir Saha an experienced councillor and leader of the municipal employees' association the Left Front could not just ignore the public mandate that voted 30 women to the 50-seat civic body. Mamata Jaiswal is Howrah's new mayor.
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Kolkata's Old Mint to be converted into museum
Kolkata, 8 December : Indian Home minister P Chidambaram on Monday laid the foundation stone of the Currency and Coins Museum which would be a revamped structure built on the existing Old Mint complex here. The complex built in 1824 was declared as one of the prime heritage structures in Kolkata. It stopped operations in 1972. Chidambaram said that the project would be built on the PPP format at a cost of Rs 147 crore. A consortium of firms constituting Eden Infra Projects Limited, D&F Construction and an architect firm from the US have been identified as the private sector partner.
The project is slated for completion by September 2011. He said that the project would protect the grand colonial structure, which was built on the lines of Greek architecture.
BANGLADESH VOTE :
AL's secretary Obaidul Qader alleges Death Threats
Dhaka, 8 December : Awami League joint general secretary Obaidul Qader has alleged that an unknown caller threatens to kill him if he does not "stay away from the election".
"Someone has been calling my mobile phone and threatening to kill me for the past week. They said my 'blood-reddened body will roll on the street' if I don't keep away from the upcoming election," Qader, a former AL minister, told Bengal News on Sunday.
He added that "no number" is displayed on his mobile phone when calls come. "The caller also threatened 'to teach me a good lesson', for breaking up Pakistan through taking part in the Liberation War," Qader claimed.
The caller termed Qader "India's slave", as he recently underwent medical treatment in the country, the AL leader
Maradona traumatized,Menister's men beat Journalists
Kolkata, 7 December : For the first time in his life, a packed stadium scared Diego Maradona. After the ruckus at Salt Lake stadium on Saturday, there was worse in store on Sunday mediamen were bashed up in front of CPM patriarch Jyoti Basu's house by supporters of WB sports minister Subhas Chakraborty and fans crashed through barricades. The football legend himself has bruises and scars from the pushing and shoving at Salt Lake stadium.
As one of his close aides put it, Maradona was left "traumatized" in the city of joy. He refused to get on stage at the Mohun Bagan ground on Sunday. "No more felicitations. I am ok with spending time with young players and spectators," Maradona supposedly told the organizers.The Argentina coach was left rattled as disaster followed him everywhere. In fact, Sunday morning outside Indira Bhavan (Basu's residence) was worse than the previous night's chaos at the stadium, which forced Maradona to leave in a huff.
On Saturday night, the publicity greedy sports minister who always finds a way to get into controversy had blamed the media for the ruckus and threatened to hit them. On Sunday, his men carried out the threat. Mediamen waiting at Indira Bhavan for Maradona's arrival were thrashed by his supporters suddenly started hitting journalists. Police joined the melee. Black-clad security guards followed. Several journalists were injured, one had to be hospitalized.
All things started going wrong soon after Chakraborty took over the reins of event management on Saturday evening. Maradona's visit to Maheshtala, which was handled by CPM MP Shamik Lahiri, went off like a dream. The rest was a disaster.
Maradona came to Jyoti Basu's house around 3.15 pm and stayed no more than 10 minutes. Maradona described the nonagenarian CPM patriarch as a "friend, since both have a common friend Fidel Castro".
Maradona will left Kolkata tonight at arround 2.55 AM.
Lalgarh tribals call off month-old agitation
Administration reportedly agreed to all tribals demands
Lalgarh, 7 December : Exactly a month after the tribal agitation was launched in West Midnapore's Lalgarh, the Committee against Police Atrocities decided to lift the stir on Sunday. The decision was taken after the state administration agreed to almost all their demands.
Committee leaders Chhatradhar Mahato and Lalmohan Tudu met additional DM R A Israel at Lalgarh police station. After the meeting, Mahato and Tudu announced that the blockade would be lifted and they would accompany district officials when they would go to remove the trees from the roads.
The four-hour meeting ended at 7 pm. The administration reportedly agreed that police would not conduct raids between 6 pm to 7 am and if raids have to be conducted, village chiefs would accompany the policemen. Also, if the inquiry into torture on tribal women being conducted by backward classes welfare secretary R D Meena finds any policeman guilty, then he will have to be punished. The government will also have to pay compensation to the victims. Another demand removal of police camps from the area has already been met.
The administration promised that police would not harass members of tribal organizations, and a block-level monitoring committee would be formed to check torture on tribals. This committee would hold meetings every month. Two demands that the SP should seek forgiveness and the discussions should be held at Dalilpur were not met.
BANGLADESH VOTE :
EC receives total 388 appeals, validates 67
Dhaka, 7 December : The Bangladesh Election Commission validated 37 more nominations after hearing appeals against their cancellation on Sunday, bringing the total to 67 in two days, EC officials said.
The commission received a total of 388 appeals up to Sunday's 5pm deadline.
"Of the total, 307 were against cancellation of nominations and 81 against validation of candidacies by returning officers," EC deputy secretary (law) AKM Salimullah told reporters. A total of 557 nominations were initially rejected by the EC after two days of scrutiny on December 3-4. Hearings on appeals against the rejections began Saturday.Nearly 200 appeals against cancellations were heard over the past two days.
Some 1,899 of a total of 2,456 nominations filed were initially validated by returning officers. The last day for withdrawal of candidacy is 11December. The deadline for submission of nomination papers was 30 November.
Media freedom a human rights benchmark - EU
Dhaka, 7 December : Visiting EU ambassador Stefan Frowein highlighted the freedom of media as a cornerstone in safeguarding human rights on Sunday, which marked 60 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
"We should never forget that journalists are also defenders of human rights," Frowein said Sunday at the inauguration of a human rights jamboree celebrating the anniversary. "The protection of media freedoms and avoidance of intimidation and harassment of journalists is also an important benchmark for human rights values," said the head of the European Commission delegation in Dhaka. "They are often in the frontline when it comes to voicing support for democratic values and reflecting an accurate picture of developments in a given country," said Forwein.
Chairman of the newly formed Bangladesh National Human Rights Commission Amirul Kabir Chowdhury vowed to ensure human rights "without fear or favour", "without being influenced or intimidated", as he opened the jamboree at the Spectra Convention Centre in Dhaka. He repeated a call to the interim government to lift the state of emergency to protect human rights.
"Some sections of emergency power rules are against human rights. Therefore, the sooner the state of emergency is lifted the better for safeguarding human rights," said Chowdhury.
The Bangladesh National Human Rights Commission started functioning from 1 December this year.
First SAARC head Abul Ahsan dies
Dhaka, 6 December : Diplomat and first SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) secretary-general Abul Ahsan died late on Saturday at a city hospital, his family said. He died of cardiac arrest and kidney failure at United Hospital at around 11.45am on Saturday.
Abul Ahsan had been suffering from the ailments for six to seven months, but the problem turned acute 15 days ago. He will be buried at Banani graveyard after the second namaz-e-janaza after Zohr prayer at Gulshan Azad Mosque. His children – a son and a daughter – will come to Dhaka from the United States on Monday. Meanwhile, Bangladesh foreign adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury and foreign secretary Md Touhid Hossain condoled the death of the diplomat.
Ambassador Abul Ahsan was appointed as the first secretary-general of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) on 16 January, 1987 and continued through to 15 October, 1989. SAARC was established in Dhaka in 1985.
Kolkata gears up for Diego Maradona
Red carpet welcome for Maradona
Kolkata, 6 December : Legendary Argentine football legend Diego Maradona greeted with Indian traditions in Kolkata. Diego Armando Maradona finally arrived in Kolkata earlier today morning amidst a rousing reception by thousands of fans. The football capital of the country was awake to welcome the 'Hand of God'.
If Football is religion then Diego Maradona is God. And football crazy Kolkata showed why the Argentinian legend is regarded by many as the best ever. Thousands had thronged Kolkata airport for hours to catch a glimpse of the man who makes football talk with his feet. The madness, the fever pitch only increased as the wait prolonged to catch a glimpse of the Hand of the God. Maradona finally touched down on the City of Joy at 15 minutes past 1 in the morning. Half an hour later the moment arrived Kolkatans had been waiting for. With chants of Diego-Diego reverberating in the air, even Maradona dressed in a black suit could not control his emotions as he got up from his seat to acknowledge the cheers.
A truely historic moment for the football capital of the country. At half past 2 in the morning, Maradona along with his girlfriend Veronica finally checked in at the hotel. The legendary soccer star received a traditional Indian welcome.
With a four tier security ring round him, fans probably could not get close enough to Maradona. But a glimpse of the man would have been enough memory to last a lifetime.
Sachetan Shilpi Samaj renamed as Banglar Sangskriti Andolan
Called up cultural movement across the country to fight against communal forces
Dhaka, 5 December : Bangladesh Sachetan Shilpi Samaj was renamed as Banglar Sangskriti Andolan on Friday to wage tougher movement against the fundamentalists.
Shilpi Samaj leaders announced the changed name of their organisation at a press briefing in the Institute of Fine Arts of the Dhaka University. They said a political identity had been given to Banglar Sangskriti Andolan to effectively fight against the communal forces responsible for damaging baul and Balaka monuments. The fundamentalists, whatever is their form, are working against our culture and empowerment of women in the society, Andolan leaders told the briefing. As part of their evil design of the fundamentalists, the activities of the theatre group Dhumketu Nattya Sangsad at Rajshahi University have been banned. Later, they dismantled baul sculpture in the airport crossing and damaged Balaka monument in the Dhaka city.
The communal forces are now trying to establish their control on all the universities under the banner of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, they said. Despite their continued heinous activities, the government is yet to take any step against the fundamentalists involved in attack on culture, Andolan leaders regretted. They called upon all the cultural activists across the country to join their ongoing movement against the communal forces.
KLO regroups in Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar
Siliguri, 5 December:The Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), which had borne the brunt during the Operation Flushout in Bhutan, has started regrouping with active support from NDFB.
“The two KLO militants arrested in Cooch Behar this year had told their interrogators that the outfit, in a desperate attempt to renew its activity, have resumed training at the Chittagong hill tracts in Bangladesh,” said Manoj Verma, the superintendent of police of Jalpaiguri. “We know that the training for the ninth and the 10th batches, comprising some 25-30 youths from Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts, are in progress.”
Ramanath Roy, one of the two militants arrested in Cooch Behar’s Baxirhat in September, had told police that the training was going on at Chittagong. The rebel’s confession confirmed senior officials’ apprehension that the outfit was inducting cadres again.
Kolkata cyber cafe users to be
photographed & fingerprinted
Kolkata, 5 December : Visitors to cyber cafes in Kolkata and adjoining area will be photographed and fingerprinted under a biometrical system implemented as a check against subversive activities.
"We have introduced the biometrical system in cyber cafes so that fingerprints and photographs of all users are available," deputy commissioner (Detective Department) Jawed Shamim said.
"This system will give us better access to people using computers in cafes as a measure against subversive activities," Shamim said. He said there were nearly 200 cyber cafes in the metropolis and the biometrical system has been implemented fully in central Kolkata and parts of north and south Kolkata.
BANGLADESH VOTE :
Election Commission cancels 557 nominations
Dhaka seats seeing the most cancellations
Dhaka, 5 December : A total of 557 nominations for Bangladesh elections to 300 constituencies have failed to pass scrutiny by the Election Commission, with Dhaka seats seeing the most cancellations.
After the final day of scrutiny on Thursday, the number of valid candidates stood at 1,899, the Bangladesh Election Commission Secretariat's joint secretary Rafiqul Islam told Bengal News.
The largest number of nominations have been scrapped in Dhaka district - 63, leaving the number of eligible candidates at 181. The lowest number of nominations has been cancelled in Thakurgaon, Dinajpur, Rajbari districts, one in each district.
According to the election schedule, hearing of objections against any EC decision on candidature will be held from December 5-7. The last day for withdrawal of candidacy is 11 December. The deadline for submission of nomination papers was 30 November. Scrutiny of 2,456 nominations took place over Wednesday and Thursday.
Hoax call triggers panic in Agartala Govt Medical College
Agartala, 4 December : Agartala Government Medical College and GBP Hospital witnessed a bomb scare following a hoax call received this morning with security being beefed up in the area and other vital public installations of the city.
Police said a phone call was received from a unidentified person that some explosives and bombs were planted in the Medical College campus and the terrorists were in the process of blasting them. Immediately after receiving the call, police launched search in the campus and movement in emergency block and out patient department was restricted.
But after two hours of extensive hunt, police were unable to find out anything and believed that it was a hoax call.
BANGLADESH VOTE ;
Nurul Islam dies, polls in Noakhali-1 seat shifted
Dhaka, 4 December : Ganotontree Party president and Awami league-led alliance's election nominee Nurul Islam (68), who sustained critical burns in a fire at his home, died at the Dhaka Combined Military Hospital on Thursday.
The Election Commission has shelved elections in the Noakhali-1 constituency for which Islam had been nominated and will announce a new date later.
Former prime minister Khaleda Zia, BNP general secretary Khondokar Delwar Hosain, former BNP general secretary Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, mayor of Dhaka Sadek Hossain Khoka and others have mourned the death of Nurul.
Relatives Demand Enquiry:
Relatives of Islam have demanded a proper investigation into the fire at Islam's home on Wednesday. They also alleged at a press conference on Thursday that the fire at Islam's Lalmatia home was lighted "to foil the election".
"We believe the incident occurred in a planned way as part of a conspiracy to foil the national election," said Islam's niece Nazma Kawsar, in a statement at the Dhaka Reporters' Unity office.
It was a pre-planned murder : 14-party
Dhaka, 5 December : The Awami League-led 14-party alliance has said the death of Gonotantree Party president Nurul Islam was nothing but a 'premeditated murder' and asked for a through investigation.
A meeting of the alliance held on Thursday at the office of the AL president made the demand. "Attempts were made to kill Nurul Islam; this is not a natural death but a planned killing," said AL presidium member Abdur Razzak.
Motia Chowdhury, another presidium member, also received a letter from banned militant outfit Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Razzak said.
Six Islamic activists in remand for Balaka sculpture attack
Dhaka, 4 December : Six Ulama Anjumane Al Bayenat activists, who were arrested while vandalising the 'Balaka' sculpture in Dhaka Motijheel, were sent into two-day remand on Thursday. Metropolitan judge AKM Emdadul granted the remand plea of investigation officer SI Jamal Uddin.
Over 100 activists attacked the sculpture on the night of 30 November, claiming it was "un-Islamic". The vandals later retreated in the face of police who filed a case with Motijheel police station.
BTRC published draft policy on submarine cable
Dhaka, 4 December : Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has published a draft policy on the installation and operation of submarine cable by private firms, its chairman said on Thursday.
"For the development of the information and communication technology of the country, we must have an unhindered place on the information highway," Monjurul Alam, a retired major general, said in a statement. "Once the alternative submarine cable is placed, the risk of being disconnected from the rest of the world will be minimal." If two more submarine cables are established then bandwidth will increase along with the speed on the Internet, he said and hoped that this would also create greater employment opportunities.
The draft guidelines have been published on the BTRC website (www.btrc.gov.bd) to elicit opinions to finalise the guideline. Anyone can send opinion on the draft to submarine_cable.btrc.gov.bd by 18 December.
Day after the LF won the Jhargram municipal polls :
Officials held hostage in Lalgarh by tribals
Jhargram, 3 December : The Lalgargh crisis deepened on Wednesday when angry tribals kidnapped two top West Midnapore district officials and held them hostage in forests, just 5 km from Jhargram town. This comes only a day after the Left Front won the Jhargram municipal polls !
The tribals arm-twisted the administration into freeing four agitators detained by police earlier in the day before they released the officials in exchange.
The standoff began in the afternoon after police rounded up four Adivasis trying to block the state highway at Kalabani, between Lodhasuli and Jhargram. In retaliation, members of the Committee Against Police Atrocities started felling trees to block the highway. When SDO Tanmoy Chakrabarty and SDPO Arnab Biswas reached the spot to clear the blockade (under instructions from DM N S Nigam), some agitators provoked them to the wayside, where they were surrounded by men with bows and arrows.
A huge police force was sent to Kalabani in the evening to rescue the two officers, but they decided not to provoke a confrontation with the armed tribals. It was after additional DM (general) Raja Aron Israel intervened that the hostages were freed in exch-ange for the four detained Adivasis.
The incident is enough indication of the simmering tension in Jangalkhand. The situation might reach a flashpoint any day, but it's a situation that WB chief minister Buddhadeb Bhatta-charjee is desperately trying to avoid.
VISA TO LAND OF FOOTBALL :
Brazil Govt. to open resident mission in Bangladesh
Dhaka, 3 December : Pele-Zico's Brazil will open a resident mission in Bangladesh "soon" as bilateral trade increases, says an adviser.
This offer has been made in a note received from the government of Brazil by the ministry of foreign affairs," Bangladesh foreign adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury told Bengal News today over phone from foreign ministry.
"The volume of Bangladesh-Brazil bilateral trade now stands at US $26 million from last year's US $11 million," said Iftekhar. He said the next government could think of opening a mission in Brazil, the largest country in the South America.
"This decision would certainly expand bilateral cooperation. We should also be thinking of reciprocating," the adviser said.
Currently, Bangladesh has no mission in the whole South American countries.
Tata Motors moves HC on Singur land allotment
Kolkata, 3 December : Tata Motors has approached the Kolkata High Court against an RTI application seeking details of its agreement with the West Bengal government on the land allotment at Singur, from where the company has since moved out.
The company on Tuesday challenged before the HC the RTI commissioner's competence to deal with the matter, with its counsel submitting before Justice Dipankar Dutta that the Right to Information Act was not applicable in case of an agreement involving industrial secrets. Justice Dutta has scheduled the matter for hearing on Friday.
The company said in its petition that as the Nano project has been shifted to Gujarat from West Bengal, there was no logic in seeking to know a deal which has fallen through.
The prestigious Nano car project was shifted to Gujarat following prolonged agitation by unwilling farmers demanding return of land.
Port-Oil Bunker-International Flight-More Banks & ATM : Lots Happening @ Bay Of Bengal
Nicobar's Harbour dream comes up with large cargo hub
Port Blair, 2 Dececember : The Indian government is planning an international transhipment port at Great Nicobar.
“When this port comes up, it will compete with Colombo and Singapore, the busiest transhipment ports in the world,” said Vivek Rae, chief secretary of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Great Nicobar is the largest of the Nicobar islands. A transhipment port is one where cargo is unloaded from a ship to be loaded in another ship bound for a new destination. Wapcos Ltd, a public sector unit offering water and power consultancy, will study the feasibility of the project.
“We have also approached Indian Oil Corporation to consider setting up an Oil Bunker (storage facility) at Great Nicobar and the company is currently examining the feasibility of such a project,” Rae said. The bunker, according to Rae, will facilitate the import of crude from Singapore, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries.
International flights may be allowed in the Union territory from next year. “Thai Airways has already got permission from the civil aviation ministry to fly from Port Blair to Phuket,” Rae said. Around 10,000 to 12,000 foreign tourists visit Andaman & Nicobar every year.
The State Bank of India (SBI) has set up a training centre for rural skill development in Andaman & Nicobar. The SBI, the lead bank in the islands, has 18 branches and plans to open four more before March. “We shall also set up nine ATMs during this period in addition to the 11 we have,” said Jayanta K. Sinha, SBI chief general manager (Bengal circle).
2 SIM card from Bengal used in 26/11 Mumbai attacks
Kolkata, 2 December : Is there a Kolkata link to the terror attacks in Mumbai? Reports suggest that at least two SIM cards used by the terrorists were from West Bengal. City police chief Gautam Mohan Chakrabarti said on Tuesday that the details of the SIM cards were still not available with the Kolkata Police. "We are in constant touch with the Mumbai police. We are definitely going to probe the links, if any," Chakrabarti said.
Sources said the possible locations from where the SIM cards were bought are central Kolkata’s Burrabazar and Jorasanko and also Basirhat in North 24-Parganas and Metiabruz in the southern fringes.
Rizwanur Rahman murder case :
Ashok Todi in judicial custody
Kolkata, 1 December : Prime accused in the Rizwanur Rahman death case Ashok Todi on Monday was sent to judicial custody till 12 December after he surrendered before a city court here on the direction of the Supreme Court.
Todi, who had allegedly been evading arrest for some time, had moved the Supreme Court challenging an arrest warrant issued by the metropolitan magistrate at Bankshall Court. The apex court had directed him to surrender before the magistrate.
Todi's counsel Pradip Ghosh prayed for bail plea before magistrate Madhumita Roy claiming that he was ill and had been exonerated of any accusation by Rizwanur, whose body was found beside railway tracks in September last year, a month after he married the industrialist's daughter, Priyanka.
CBI counsel Partha Tapaswi opposed the bail plea submitting that Todi was the main accused and as such should not be given bail.
Appearing for Rizwanur's mother, Kishwar Jahan, counsel Kalyan Banerjee made an impassionate plea opposing the bail petition.
Bangladesh Spinner Razzak banned by ICC
Masud Parvez,Cape Town,South Africa, 1December : Bangladesh Left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak has been banned for illegal bowling action by the International Cricket Council, Bangladesh cricket team manager Shaqul Haq Hira told on Monday in South Africa. He cannot bowl in any form of cricket, Hira said.
Razzak travelled to Canberra for independent analysis of his bowling action after he was reported for a suspect bowling action by Daryl Harper and Asoka de Silva during the two-Test series against New Zealand at home in October. The umpires said they had concerns over Razzak's faster ball and hence requested the ICC to review his action.
He left for Australia on 15 November at the end of the ODI series against South Africa, and returned on 18 November, to rejoin the squad.
This is the second time Razzak has been reported for the same offence in his career. The first instance was during an Asia Cup match against Pakistan in Colombo in 2004 in what was only his second one-day international