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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Five years on : Andaman Islands remembers Tsunami victims

UNI, Port Blair, 26 December : Thousands of people of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands paid homage to Tsunami victims on its fifth anniversary here today.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands Lt Governor Bhopinder Singh led the islanders in paying floral tributes at the Tsunami memorial at 0600 hrs where the commemoration of Tsunami was marked by prayers and tears. A solemn function was also held this morning at the precincts of Tsunami memorial at Water Sports Complex of Aberdeen here. Among others the function was also attended by the lone Member of Parliament Bishnu Pada Ray, Chief Secretary of A and N administration Vivek Rae, Commander in Chief of Andaman Nicobar Command, Vice-Admiral DK Joshi, senior officials from the defence and civil administration.
An all religion prayer marked the occasion. A two-minute silence was also observed as mark of respect to the departed souls. Deputy Commissioner T Sreekanth, Chairman of Tribal Council Aberdeen Blair and other tribal leaders also offered floral tribute to the departed souls.
A large number of villagers from adjoining villages visited the memorial and paid obeisance by offering flowers and by lighting candles. Similar functions were also held at Campbell Bay and Nancowry to mark the occasion. Photos : AP

Dhaka, 26 December :
Migratory birds are seen in the lake of Jahangir Nagar University at the advent of winter. Photo was taken on Saturday.
Photos : Mustafiz Mamun
Terror alert in Kolkata
New Delhi, 26 December : The Indian Government issued a terror alert in the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai. This comes after several militants claiming to be the Taliban alledgedly sneaked into India to conduct suicide bombings.
This alert comes after another alert a few weeks ago after a tipoff by the FBI. That alert was issued because Taliban-trained ‘fidayeen’ (suicide squads) had reportedly entered the country to carry out attacks at specific iconic structures.

Ershad meets PM Sheikh Hasina, praises government
UNB, Dhaka, 26 December : Bangladesh Jatiya Party would be happy if it is given another ministerial appointment, JP Chairman HM Ershad, said amid rumours of a cabinet reshuffle.
He made the remark talking to reporters after an hour-long meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official residence Jamuna in the evening. The former president said they however would not be unhappy if that does not happen. Currently, only GM Quader represents JP in the Hasina cabinet as civil aviation and tourism minister.

Vietnam eyes Bangladeshi mobile operator : Tele minister
AFP, Dhaka, 26 December : Vietnamese telecom company Viettel wants to tie up with Bangladeshi state-owned mobile firm Teletalk and join other foreign entrants in the fast-growing South Asian market, a minister said Saturday.
The Vietnamese government-owned telecom company would invest around 300 million dollars in Bangladesh government-owned Teletalk, Bangladesh Telecommunications Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju told AFP. "We've got a proposal from Viettel for a partnership with Teletalk," Raju said, adding that the two sides still had to begin negotiations.
PM, Buddhadeb discuss law and order in West Bengal
Agencies, New Delhi, 26 December : West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee discussed with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh the law and order including Maoists violence in the state.
Some of the developmental issues also came up for discussion during the 30 minutes meeting Bhattacharjee had with the Prime Minister at 7 RCR in the capital. Bhattacharjee is here to attend CPI(M) Politburo meeting. Party sources said yesterday that the Chief Minister would take up with the Prime Minister the issue of appointment of a new governor in place of Gopalkrishna Gandhi whose term was already over.
Bhattacharjee is also likely to meet Home Minister P Chidambaram. Photo : PTI
BNP questions special security need to Dhaka's Indian HC
Dhaka, 26 December : Bangladesh's main opposition BNP has expressed concern over the news that a 50- member team of Indian special security force is arriving to provide security to Indian high commissioner in Dhaka.
"We think it is unusual and unprecedented," said BNP secretary general Khandaker Delwar Hossain on Saturday at a press briefing at the central office of his party at Naya Paltan. He demanded an explanation from the foreign ministry and the government on the matter. This kind of act is a threat to the country's independence and sovereignty, he said.
Chittagong ship-breaking yard blast kills 3 workers
Chittagong, 26 December : At least three workers died and nine others were injured on Saturday in a ship-breaking yard explosion in Sitakunda of Chittagong.
Officer in-Charge of Sitakunda Police Station Monirul Islam confirmed the deaths of three workers but could not provide the names of two others deceased. The explosion took place at Rahim Steel Ship-Breaking Yard at Madambibirhat at about 10:00am(BDST) when the workers were cutting the oil tank of the ship, leaving the three dead on the spot. The injured were taken to Chittagong Medical College Hospital.
With today's death, around 17 workers died in accidents at ship-breaking yards this year, sources said. A total of 18 workers were killed in 2006 and 2007 while 15 in 2008 itself, which shows increasing number of casualties. Photo : Zobaer Hossain Sikder
'GJM' starts relay hunger strike in Darjeeling hills
This hunger strike will continue till our demand for Gorkhaland is met : H Chhetri
Kolkata, 26 December : Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) activists Saturday started a relay hunger strike at four places in Darjeeling district in an apparent attempt to keep up the pressure for creation of a separate Gorkhaland state.
“This relay hunger strike will continue till our demand for Gorkhaland is met,” GJM's media secretary, Dr Harka Bahadur Chhetri told Bengal Newz over phone this morning. The GJM, which is spearheading the agitation for Gorkhaland to be carved out of the entire Darjeeling and parts of Jalpaiguri districts in northern West Bengal, has also given a call for a shutdown of all government offices in the hills from 28 December. Banks, LIC and post offices have been exempted.

Burn Standard's units may soon get govt nod for sale
Kolkata, Howrah, 26 December : The government is to shortly consider the recommendation to sell three units of Burn Standard Company Ltd, an ailing public sector undertaking.
The Board for Restructuring Public Sector Enterprises (BRPSE) has, as reported earlier, approved the sale of its wagon units at Howrah and Burnpur in Burdwan dist to Indian Railways, and that of its refractory unit at Salem to Steel Authority of India (SAIL). “A note regarding this is being prepared and should be placed before the Cabinet in the next 15-20 days,” said BRPSE Chairman Nitish Sengupta.
Burn Standard is under the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, and has been making losses for years. However, the real estate value of the units for sale is expected to be substantial.
CPI(M) leader shot dead by Maoists in Bankura dist
Bankura, 26 December : A local CPI(M) leader was shot dead by suspected Maoists at Barikul area in Bankura district today, police said.
Rameshwar Murmu, a CPI(M) local committee secretary, was forcibly taken away from his home at Bhulagara village in wee hours by an armed group of 15. They told his wife and son that Murmu deserved as he is a "police informer", they said. Shortly afterwards, Murmu's bullet-riddled body was recovered by security forces from a nearby jungle, police said, adding that they suspect Maoists, active in the belt, could be behind the attack.
Four political activists, three of them from CPI(M) and one from Jharkhand Party (Aditya), were killed and another suffered bullet injury in Maoist attacks in neighbouring West Midnapore district earlier this week.

29 'Rohingyas' held in Bangladesh-Myanmar border
UNB, Cox’s Bazar, 26 December : Ukhia police in separate drives on Thursday and Friday arrested 29 Rohingyas for illegally entering the country through different Bangladesh-Myanmar border points.
Police said they arrested the intruders while they were going to the district town by different vehicles. They said Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), however, pushed back 10 Rohingyas into Myanmar and 19 others are waiting to be pushed back. Meanwhile, Police in their on-going special drive in last 24 hours arrested 15 miscreants after raiding different areas of the district town and its suburbs on various charges, including murder and robbery.
What Bengal paints today....
HT, New Delhi, 26 December : It must be a rare assembly of more than a dozen Bengalis that does not have its own Durga Puja. But that’s because the group Bengalis in Delhi and NCR (BDNCR) was formed on social networking site Orkut, not around a chai stall. And though they do not have a puja, this weekend they will have their own exhibition, the Bengal Art Show.
Of the more than 3,500 members of the Orkut group that came into existence three years ago, 70 members came out to register the offline society. Their aim is to promote Bengaliana in different forms. The latest expression of that intent is an art show comprising 50-odd works by 16 Bengali artists at Delhi’s Habitat Centre. They have nothing much in common except their Bengaliness. So, is their art ‘Bengali’ in any way?
Niloy Roy (35), CEO of worldart.in and co-organiser, says, “When new artists enter the field, they find the old guard of the so-called Bengal School well entrenched. Most think it wise to stand apart from the older order. So we have a range of styles today.” File Photo : AFP
Eight 'National Liberation Front of Tripura' insurgents held
Agartala, 26 December : Eight National Liberation Front of Tripura insurgents, including one woman, were apprehended by Assam Rifles in North Tripura district, officials said on Saturday.
During a search operation by Assam Rifles at Hamshapara village in the district on Friday, the security personnel nabbed eight insurgents and recovered one pistol, a carbine, a revolver and live cartridges from their possession, they said. According to the officials, the apprehended ultras used to exhort money from villagers.

Earthquake strikes North Andaman islands onTsunami anniversary day
UNI, New Delhi, 26 December : An earthquake of slight intensity hit the North Andaman islands early today, the Indian Meteorological said. According to a release by the Met department, the quake, measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale had its epicentre at 14.2 degrees north lattitude and 92.9 degrees east longitude.
No loss of life or damage to property was reported so far, the release added.
Census in Cox's Bazar : 12286 wetland birds spotted
Cox's Bazar, 26 December : About 12,286 wetland birds of 39 species have been spotted in Maheshkhali, Sonadia and Shahparir Dwip in Cox's Bazar, shows a recent bird census.
The Directorate of Environment, and Marine Life Alliance, a research and nature conservation organisation, jointly conducted the three-day bird census from 18 December. Zahirul Islam, executive director of Marine Life Alliance, said a number of Spoonbill Sandpiper (Calidris pygmeus), an endangered species of bird, had been recorded. Of them, six were spotted on the Sonadia and Mokam sea beach. Only a few hundred pairs of the 14-15 centimetre long bird now remain throughout the world.
The census area falls under the East Asian-Australasian Flyway of migratory birds. A team led by German ornithologist Dr Christoph Jauckler has been working for conservation of the endangered birds across the globe.
Zahirul Islam, Md Faisal, member of Bird Club and student of the biology department at the Jagannath College, DoE officials Md Bashir Uddin and Md Hasibur Rahman conducted the census with the help of volunteers from Sonadia, Maheshkhali and Shahparir Dwip.
Both Sonadia and Badar Mokam beach have been favourite spots of migratory birds. Spoonbill Sandpiper has been spotted in the two areas since 2006. Migratory birds make a stopover there to collect food before flying to further south. Some species of migratory birds even spend the whole winter there.

Zahirul said the sandy beaches, wetlands and coastal mangroves adjacent to Sonadia are very crucial for these wetland birds.
Migratory birds fly at least 7,000 kilometres to get shelter and food there. About 40,000 to 50,000 migratory and local wetland birds stay in the coastal areas of Sonadia and Maheshkhali in the winter, said Zahirul.
He said although Kaladia, Paikdia, Alordia and Belekerdia near Sonadia are well-known bird sanctuaries, the Bangladesh government has moved to set up a deep seaport in the area much to the frustration of environmental activists.

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