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Thursday, April 30, 2009


West Bengal registers 64% polling
Kolkata, 30 April : The Left citadel of West Bengal registered a 64 percent voter turnout in 14 Lok Sabha constituencies by Thursday evening. But the largely peaceful poll was marred by a landmine blast, triggered by suspected Maoists, that injured two security personnel.
'There was around 64 percent polling till 5 pm. But the figure will go up as people were still queuing up to vote' by the closing time, state chief electoral officer Debasish Sen told reporters here, describing the election as 'peaceful and secure'.

Maoists trigger landmine blast in Jamboni, 3 died
Jamboni (West Midnapore), 30 April : A landmine blast triggered by the Maoists claimed the lives of three persons, including two polling officials in West Midnapore district Today.
The blast, which took place at around 6:00 pm in Jamboni region of West Midnapore district of the state, was triggered using a remote device. The blast was aimed at the polling officials returning from election duty under the security of paramilitary personnel. Two polling officials and the driver were killed in the blast.
Bangladeshi nationals dies of swine flu in Mexico
Tripura govt sounds swine flu alert
Dhaka, Agartala, 30 April : The Bangladesh health minister said Thursday the government was on alert after Mexican officials confirmed one of eight foreign nationals who died of swine flu there was from Bangladesh. And in Tripura government has sounded an alert in the state to check an outbreak of the deadly swine flu, official sources said on Thursday.
The decision to issue the alert was taken on Wednesday night at a meeting chaired by Principal Secretary of the Health Department, Yash Pal Singh. Two health directors S R Debbarma and R K Dhar were also present at the meeting. Debbarma said four district level meetings would be organised soon with the chief medical officers and other health officials for making people aware of the disease.
The health director said piggery workers were also being told about the do's and don't's. "People should not panic because adequate drugs for treating swine flu are available in the state," he said. The drugs, he said, were procured by the state during the outbreak of bird flu in the state last year, he said.

Polling fails to kick off in Naxalite hit areas in Bengal
Kolkata, Midnapore, 30 April : The spectre of Maoist violence was literally stalking the first phase Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal today as polling could not start in most of the special booths in Naxal-dominated areas in West Midnapore due to high tension. A large number of cans looking like landmines were recovered from Pirakata forest by the side of the Pirakata special booth. In all, 20 cars and busses carrying Central forces along with polling personnel had been stopped near Laljal by the PCAPA activists not allowing them to proceed further. Polling personnel for Laljal booths had been denied to proceed further towards their booths apprehending greater trouble. The entire tribal belt of Belpahari, Banspahari, Lalgarh, Jamboni, Bhulaveda, Goaltore and Salboni was worst hit by the Naxalite menace.

Ghulam Rahman appointed as new Anti-Corruption Commission chief
Dhaka, 30 April : Ghulam Rahman, chairman of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission, has been appointed chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission, officials said today.
Sources at the cabinet division confirmed the appointment but there was no official announcement. “An order is expected to be issued on the appointment of Ghulam Rahman as ACC chief,” an official of the establishment ministry told reporters preferring anonymity.
Sources said Bangladesh President Zillur Rahman signed the appointment today.
Polling begins in West Bengal amid tight security
Kolkata, 30 April : Polling began in West Bengal for 14 of its 42 Lok Sabha seats amid tight security in the northern and Maoist-hit western regions on Thursday. The polling centers opened at 7 am to enable 16 million voters to choose their nominees to the Lok Sabha from among 134 candidates in the first phase of the polls in a state ruled by the Left Front without a break for 32 years.
The three Maoist-hit districts of Bankura, Midnapore West and Purulia pose the biggest security challenge. Authorities have requisitioned three Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters for constant air surveillance and shortened polling time by two hours in six pockets most affected by Maoist violence in Jhargram, Binpur and Bandwan in Midnapore West and Balarampur, Bagmundi and Jaipur in Purulia.
Tension soared Wednesday as Naxalites posters asking people to boycott polls appeared in various parts of the state, including Kolkata, throwing the adminstration and police into a tizzy.

In Lalgarh block in the Jhargram constituency of Midnapore (West) district, agitating tribals blocked the movement of central security personnel. The securitymen could finally move out of the area, but not before furnishing bonds. The polling officials in the Maoist belt were kept in clusters on Wednesday and moved to the booths early Thursday, ringed by security personnel.
Besides five seats in the three districts, nine constituencies in six north Bengal districts; Darjeeling (where GJM is hoping to realise its dreams of a new Gorkhaland state out of parts of northern Bengal with the help of the saffron party BJP), Jalpaiguri, Coochbehar, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur and Malda - are going to the hustings. Besides Jaswant Singh in Derjeeling, other high profile candidates in this phase include Deepa Dasmunsi, the wife of ailing Congress heavyweight Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi who is contesting from his constituency Raiganj against the CPI (M) Bireshwar Lahiri and a formidable independent Abdul Karim Chowdhury.
West Bengal has 42 Lok Sabha seats. While 17 seats go to the polls 7 May, the other 11 vote 13 May.
Photo : Reuters
2,000 kg 'chemical explosives' seized in Dhaka
STAR, Dhaka, 30 April : Police arrested one person and recovered 2,000 kg of 'chemical explosives' from the city's Jatrabari early this morning.
The arrested was identified as Abdus Sobhan, who claimed the chemical, phosphate, were meant to be used as ingredients for anti-mosquito products. Md Moniruzzaman, officer-in-charge of Jatrabari Police Station told The Daily Star that experts would examine the chemicals to determine whether these can be labeled as explosive.

2 jawans injured in landmine blast
Near polling station at Biramdih
Purulia, 30 April : Maoists exploded a landmine near a polling booth at Biramdih in West Bengal's Purulia district on Thursday, injuring two Central paramilitary force jawans.
The jawans were patrolling the area when the Maoists exploded the landmine at around 7.50 am following which polling was suspended at the booth, Superintendent of Police Rajesh Yadav told Bengal Newz. The SP said security reinforcements have been rushed to the area.
The main contest in Purulia Lok Sabha seat is between Narhari Mahato (All India Forward Bloc) and Shantiram Mahato (Congress) supported by the Trinamool Congress. Photo : Reuters

Abandoned tiffin box triggers panic in W.Midnapore
PTI, Midnapore, 30 April : An abandoned tiffin box stuffed with some crackers triggered panic near a polling booth at Pirakata in Maoist-hit West Midnapore district on Thursday.
As soon as the news spread, police rushed to the area and found some crackers inside the tiffin box that was removed, the state's IGP (law and order), Raj Kanojia, told PTI in Kolkata. Polling was, however, not disrupted, he said.

Monday, April 27, 2009

န 2011 Cricket World Cup :

India will host the final and semi-final
Bangladesh to host two quarter-finals
PTI, Mumbai, 28 April : India will host the final and one semi-final of the 2011 World Cup while Bangladesh will stage eight matches at two grounds, including two quarter-finals, the tournament's organising committee decided in Mumbai on Tuesday, according to cricinfo.com.
Sri Lanka will stage the other semi-final and 12 matches in three venues while India will host 29 matches in eight venues. The quarter-finals will be shared among the three neighbours.
The organising committee, headed by ICC vice-president Sharad Pawar, will include an operations and planning group comprising Bangladesh official Mahboob Alam, Indian board secretary N Srinivasan, Sri Lanka's Duleep Mendis and Shetty. The committee also decided to shift the tournament secretariat from Lahore to Mumbai. The ICC had to decide on the redistribution of Pakistan's 14 matches after it removed the country from the list of hosts because the "uncertain political situation" would have made it difficult to "deliver a safe, secure and successful event" in Pakistan.

India Post plans to reach every doorstep in Andaman
Port Blair, 28 April : Directorate of Post(DoP) recently opened two franchised outlets in South Andaman to offer postal facilities in the outskirts of the city.
Till now, the residents of these areas- Austinabad and Bimlitan had
to go to Garacharma Sub-Post Office in South Andaman to avail postal facilities, an official release of the Director of Post said here today. The franchised outlets will provide postal facilities such as sale of stamps, registered letters, speed post, money order, payment of telephone bills etc. According to DoP’s plan, the range of services available from these outlets will be increased later. The franchise owners will be free to conduct and canvass business round the clock but the outlets will be opened to public for transaction from 9 am to 1 pm from Monday to Saturday, the release said.
Postal department is the second largest department in Andaman and
Nicobar after PWD.
BDR ammunition could reach Indian militants: Dhaka
Dhaka, 28 April : A former chief of the Bangladesh Rifle (BDR) has said the ammunition and explosives that went missing during the troopers' mutiny could have been smuggled to militant groups in northeastern India, fuelling Dhaka's worries.
"The missing weapons could reach the hands of terrorists and other criminals, and could even be smuggled into neighbouring countries' separatists like the United Liberation Front of Assam," Lt. Gen. (retd) Atiqur Rahman, a former BDR chief, told the local newspaper. India has alleged that militants in India' northeast use Bangladeshi soil to stage armed operations, an allegation that Dhaka has consistently denied. Faruq Khan, a minister in Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government, said mostly small arms had gone missing. The minister, a retired army colonel who is coordinating the government's effort to probe the mutiny and related developments, however, did not give details of what all had gone missing, the report said.
Eighty-one people, including 55 Bangladesh Army officers on
deputation to the BDR, were killed during the Feb 25-26 mutiny. The troopers revolted over low wages and poor working conditions.

Army get 'AFSPA' ext in Tripura for six months more
Agartala, 27 April : Tripura government has extended for another six months the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958 (AFSPA), providing special powers to paramilitary troopers to curb separatist activity in the region, officials here said Monday.
“Though militancy has been tamed in the northeastern state of Tripura, the state government is averse to take any chances for some more time,” an official said. “Out of 64 police stations in Tripura, the AFSPA had been enforced in 34 police stations in 1997,” he told Bengal Newz.
Tribal-based parties in the state are against the AFSPA and have been demanding the repeal of the law, which they term “draconian”. “The act gave access to the armed forces to victimise innocent people, especially the tribals, in the name of anti-insurgency operations,” said former minister Rabindra Debbarma, general secretary of the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT).
A number of regional political parties, civil rights groups, NGOs and student bodies in the northeast, especially Manipur, have been demanding the repeal of the act for several years, citing human rights abuses by security personnel.

Advocate Anisul made chief
prosecutor for BDR carnage
Dhaka, 27 April : The Bangladesh government has also appointed Advocate Syed Haider Ali and Advocate Mosharraf Hossain Kajal as public prosecutors for conducting the case.
“The government has appointed me as chief prosecutor and Advocate Syed Haider and Advocate Mosharraf Hossain as public prosecutors for dealing with the Pilkhana carnage case on behalf of the state," Anisul told reporters this afternoon. The case is now under investigation and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has been conducting the inquiry into the incident.
The investigation of the case is going on under the conventional law.

Auto drivers vandalise vehicles to protest harassment
Chittagong, 27 April : Hundreds of CNG-run autorickshaw drivers took to the street today and vandalised several vehicles at different points of the Chittagong city demanding an end to police ‘harassment’.
The three-wheeler drivers slapped a wildcat strike this morning to press their five-point demand. The drivers ransacked a number of vehicles, including a police van, at the city’s Dewanhat intersection, Agrabad and Beparipara area.
In a rally in front of the Chittagong Press Club, the leaders of the Chittagong Metropolitan Auto-rickshaw and Auto-tempo Workers Welfare Union gave the authorities four days to fulfill their demands. They warned the authorities of tougher movement if their demands were not met by the deadline.
Sources said Traffic Department of Chittagong Metropolitan Police launched a drive against the auto-rickshaws plying with faulty traffic meter or without meter on 20 April. Police seized a number of auto-rickshaws and sued many.

Sonia shares dais with Mamata, slams WB's Left Front
We are extremly happy to have Mamata here with us : Sonia Gandhi
Aligarh Muslim University campus in Murshidabad : Pranab Mukherjee
Jangipur, 27 April : Sharing the dais with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee for the first time in eight years, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday launched a scathing attack on the Left parties for failure to support UPA government on the nuclear deal issue. "To meet the growing energy requirement, we went for the nuclear deal, but the Left opposed us saying it was not required," Sonia Gandhi said addressing an election meeting in this key Lok Sabha constituency from where external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee is contesting.
Attacking the Leftists in the Left Front ruled state, she said that the ambitious rural job scheme, NREGA, was not implemented properly in West Bengal. Gandhi accused the Left Front West Bengal government of paying lip service to the poor and downtrodden sections of the society though Leftists swore by their name and claimed themselves to be their 'messiah'.
Taking a dig at the hordes of prime ministerial aspirants, Gandhi said "these days it a fashion to aspire for prime ministership. But the Congress aim is to serve the country and its people." Seeking votes for the Congress-TMC combine, Gandhi said there is a need for secular and stable govt at the Centre. "I am sure you will vote for the combine to ensure a stable and secular government at the Centre," she said. Targeting minority votes in the state, Pranab Mukherjee announced setting up of Aligarh Muslim University campus in Murshidabad district of the state.
The trio will also be touring Lalgola, Murshidabad, Malda, and Jalpaiguri. Gandhi had last shared the platform with Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata during state Assembly elections in 2001 after which the TC supremo had joined hands with the NDA.

Kolkata Schools tweak routine to tackle mercury heat
Kolkata, 27 April : The rise and rise of mercury levels is taking a toll on children who have to spend long days in their schools. They are the hardest hit because schools usually get over when the sun is at its zenith. What's more, frequent power-cuts have added to their woes. With no respite in sight, many city schools have been quick to work out relief measures for their students.
While most schools have rescheduled their routine so that classes can get over earlier than usual, some schools also gave a short heat break last week. Authorities of some schools have decided to wait and watch as the week unfolds before announcing further measures. Some also keep lemonades and electrolytes handy in case a student feels weak or dehydrated. Photo : AP & Indrajit Dutta

Row over revision of school timings in Andaman
Port Blair, 27 April : The Andaman and Nicobar administration is faced with a strong opposition from some sections of the society against revision of the existing school timings in the Islands.
On 22 April, Lt Governor of the Islands Bhopinder Singh had revised the existing school timings except for those institutions which are running shifts. Now, since Wednesday last, all the schools in the islands have been functioning between 0730 hours and 1330 hours.
With the mercury soaring, time to revamp wardrobe
Rina Dhaka's collection beats the heat
Kolkata, 27 April : So when fashion designers Rina Dhaka and Kiran Uttam Ghosh, showed how to beat the heat with cottons, there were takers galore. Models Deepti Gujral and Amanpreet Wahi made quite a statement walking on a makeshift ramp at a city five-star hotel wearing cotton dresses. Kiran Uttam Ghosh’s collection highlighted the and rogynous look through constructed jackets worn over shirts. Rina Dhaka’s spring summer collection was all about Bengal. Rina, who rarely visits Kolkata, confessed her love for the city and how she is planning for a long holiday here with her kids in tow.
The designer said she would love to take a trip to Shantiniketan and the Sunderbans, apart from paying a visit to Mother House, Kolkata. She also admitted that the fashion industry is feeling the recession heat.

Tripura tea garden owners to start Rubber cultivation
Agartala, 27 April : The owners of few tea gardens are reportedly trying to start Rubber cultivation instead of tea plantations causing panic among the tea workers. It may be noted that Tripura is the 5th largest quality tea producing state in India. Rubber cultivation is less labour intensive as a result large scale cut in job is expected.

Notorious Bangla Bhai 'accomplice' held in Naogaon
Naogaon, 26 April : Police arrested a suspected accomplice of notorious militant kingpin Bangla Bhai in Naogaon on Sunday. District CID police inspector Shahidul Islam said: "The accused, 45 year-old Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury, was caretaker at Bangla Bhai's Banshbaria camp torture cell." He was picked up around 12pm(BDST) from Ukilpara Road, said the CID officer.
Siddique ul-Islam, known popularly as Bangla Bhai, was a top commander of banned militant outfit Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). Most active in miltant activities in the northwest, around Rajshahi, Bangla Bhai gained nationwide notoriety for planning and carrying out bombings throughout the country. He was captured in Mymensingh on 6 March, 2006, and hanged as a terrorist along with 5 others on 30 March, 2007.

Pakistan's militants using Bangladesh route for infiltration : BSF chief
Agartala, 26 April : Pakistan sponsored anti-India elements are now using the eastern border with Bangladesh and Nepal for infiltrating into the Indian territory, said Director General of the Border Security Force (BSF) M L Kumawat.The western frontier is almost fully fenced and is better mended because the fencing work started much early, they (Pakistan intelligence sponsored militants) have to find some other ways to come into India, said the BSF head during interaction with reporters here at the BSF Tripura Frontier headquarters.
He claimed that India would further tighten the vigil along the 4,095 km-long international border with Bangladesh by increasing border outposts (BOPs) from 1,411 to 1,882 and deploying more BSF troopers with modern gadgets and devices and flood lighting of the fencing.

Friday, April 24, 2009

န India fully equipped to deal with border infiltration

Director General of the BSF, M.L. Kumawat said
Agartala, 25 April : Indian security forces are fully equipped to deal with any armed infiltration bid from across the border in Jammu and Kashmir, Director General of the Border Security Force (BSF) M.L. Kumawat Saturday said here Saturday.
“Though there are no specific reports of any infiltration of armed Taliban militants, India is fully geared up to give a befitting reply to the intruders,” Kumawat told reporters. “It is a matter of great concern that major militant groups are still active in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and their infrastructures remains intact.”
The head of the paramilitary force is on a visit to Tripura and is reviewing border management strategies with senior BSF officials. “India would further tighten the vigil along the 4,095 km-long international border with Bangladesh by increasing border outposts (BOPs) from 1,411 to 1,882 and deploying more BSF troopers with modern gadgets and devices,” Kumawat said.
He said that the Indian government has sanctioned 29 more BSF battalions to strengthen security along the eastern and western borders of the country.

A & N tourism issues regulation to promote tourism

Port Blair, 25 April : Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) tourism department has issued a fresh regulation to improve the quality of tourism and trade practices in the Islands.
The tourism department has brought out a draft rule titled ‘Andaman and Nicobar Registration of Tourist Trade Regulations and Rules 2009′, which once accepted by stake holders, visiting tourists can expect a fair deal in all kinds of tour packages. "Hoteliers, tour operators, travel agents, scuba-diving operators and general public are requested to go through the draft rules and offer comments thereof," Director of Tourism, Binay Bhushan told reporters today.
However, this step has upset a few tour operators in these islands who run small tourism business and mainly depended upon low value tourists. ”We are small players and will not be able to fulfil all the criteria and tomorrow they will surely throw us out. This is clearly a ploy to help big-players to hijack the tourism industry of these islands,” said an aged tour-operator of the Islands.

All Upazila getting fire stations, told Sahara Khatun
Dhaka 24 April : Bangladesh Home minister Sahara Khatun has said the government has started installing fire service station in 173 Upazila that do not have any. She stressed on the importance of raising public awareness and reducing dependency on fire service at a roundtable discussion organised by Media Initiative for Public Policy on fire-extinguishing preparedness in important cities Friday.
Speakers emphasised keeping firefighting materials and equipment, trained manpower, arranging fire drills and strict enforcement of law in high-rises. The minister said many installations have modern firefighting tools but not the people to operate them and referred to the Bashundhara fire in March.

First-ever successfull liver transplant in Eastern India
Kolkata, 25 April : For the first time in the eastern part of the India, a liver transplant has been successfully performed at the state-run SSKM hospital in Kolkata on an infant whose father donated the vital organ for her.
The marathon 12-hour surgery was done on Friday on seven-month-old baby girl Roushan whose father Rajab Ali, a mason from Burdwan district, donated his liver to save the child born without any bile duct, Dr. Abhijit Roychowdhury of the School of Digestive and Liver diseases, said. Roushan and Rajab are recuperating and under close observation, the doctor said.
Stating that this is the first time such an operation has been performed in eastern India, the doctor said the child's infected liver, which might have proven fatal in the long run, was dissected maintaining the vascular supplies. The liver was then removed and the transplantation was carried out. Detailing the surgical procedures, he said the area of Rajab's liver was dissected after proper identification which was followed by securing the biliary and vascular supplies. "We kept the dissected part in a special preservative for implantation," the doctor said.

First-ever modern Art gallery opens in Sylhet
Sylhet, 24 April : ‘Shah Alam Gallery’, the first-ever art gallery in Sylhet, was opened at Shahjalal Upashahar in the city on Friday. Bangladesh Finance minister Abul Abdul Muhith inaugurated the art gallery, which has been named after artist late Shah Alam. Education minister Nurul Islam Nahid and Sylhet mayor Badar Uddin Ahmed Kamran, also chief patron of the institution, attended the inaugural function as guests of honour. Speakers at the function said a long-cherished desire of the artists and cultural activists in the region had been fulfilled with setting up of the art gallery.
SUMMER SOLACE : Kolkata and Dhaka, 24 April :
(Left) A watermelon seller boy does brisk business in South Kolkata on Friday as temperature keeps soaring in city. (Right) A Magpie bird sits in a tree in a hot summer noon on Friday as temperature keeps soaring in Dhaka.
Photo : Indrajit Dutta & Firoz Ahmed

န Thousands of tribals participated in Kolkata rally

Tribals protest in all over Kolkata on "Lalgarh" issue
Kolkata, 24 April : Nearly 1,500 armed tribals brought traffic to a grinding halt in Kolkata for almost two hours on Friday evening. The tribals from Lalgarh and other parts of West Bengal blocked the traffic at Esplanade area in protest when police stopped them breaching the no-entry zone.
The police allegedly beat up some protestors and damaged their vehicles following a scuffle after the tribals gathered in Kolkata to express solidarity with the people of Lalgarh, where tribals with the help of Maoists have banned the entry of police. Earlier, security forces conducted flag march in the Maoist-hit areas in West Bengal, including Lalgarh in West Midnapore district.
West Bengal's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Debashis Sen said that 27 companies of Central force had already arrived in the state for election duty and many of them had already gone to Maoist-hit and other sensitive areas.
Photo : AP
Pranab rules out support from Left to form govt
Burdwan, Arambagh, 24 April : Two days after saying in Kolkata that Congress was open to Left support to form the next government at the Centre, senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee on Friday ruled out the possibility.

Bangladesh History Confce begins in Cox’s Bazar
Cox’s Bazar, 24 April : Two-day 40th annual conference of 'Bangladesh Itihas Parishad' began in Cox’s Bazar cultural centre conference room on Friday morning. The Chittagong University vice-chancellor, Professor Abu Yousuf Alam, inaugurate the conference as chief guest.
A total of two-hundred members of the organisation are participating in the conference. Sixty topics, including eight on Cox’s Bazar, will be discussed in different session. ‘This conference will inspire the next generation for to write on local history,’ said Professor Abu Yousuf Alam in his inaugural speech. ‘Bangladesh Itihas Parishad can play a vital role in writing the actual history of War of Independence of Bangladesh,’ he added.

Left may ally with Congress after polls : Buddhadeb
PTI, New Delhi, 24 April : West Bengal chief minister and senior CPI(M) leader Buddhadeb Bhattacharya has not ruled out the possibility of the Left parties working with Congress again if the situation warrants after the Lok Sabha polls.
"We are not committing anything.... After elections, when the situation will arise, we will discuss on the concrete situation at that time," he said when asked whether Left parties could again "ally" with the Congress to keep BJP out if the situation demands. He said the Left parties at present are "busy with the task to defeat both the Congress and the BJP."
Asked whether Left parties, like in 2004, would again remain out of government if they get a chance to be part of it, Bhattacharya said "History does not repeat itself. What happened in 2004, I don't think its going to get repeated again." He referred to 1996 when the Left parties rejected the idea of Jyoti Basu becoming the Prime Minister and said "we discussed and decided that if situation demands and if we can play a meaningful role in the Government, then we have to think over and we may join this Government."
On Congress, the CPM leader said the Left parties had no problem with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as an individual but were opposed to his policies.
India concerned over Taliban thrust : Anand Sharma
Kolkata, 24 April : India on Friday expressed grave concern over the progress of Taliban in Pakistan saying it posed a threat to the stability and peace of the entire region, while urging Islamabad to deal effectively with the situation. "The thrust of Taliban is a matter of deep concern and poses threat to the stability and peace of the entire region and, off course, the stability of Pakistan," the Minister of State for External Affairs, Anand Sharma told reporters in Kolkata today. "This organisation poses a threat to civil order and peace in the entire world," he added.

Chittagong port reopens
UNB, Chittagong, 24 April : The movement of ships to and from Chittagong seaport became normal this morning after the channel was dredged following capsize of a clinker-laden lighter vessel.
Sources in the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) today said the channel has been deepened and widened by dredging and as a result nine feeder vessels have already been entered into the port from outer anchorage. Meanwhile, Bangladesh Shipping Minister Afsarul Amin visited the spot of occurrence this morning. Talking to reporters, the minister said they would make arrangements to buy a salvage ship for the port. He also said necessary measures will be taken to remove the capsized vessel as early as possible.
Earlier on Tuesday evening, the lighter with clinker capsized at the estuary of the Karnaphuli River, jamming the shipping channel from Chittagong Seaport into the Bay of Bengal and impeding shipping operations. Among 12 crewmembers of the vessel, 11 managed to swim ashore while its master, Bahar, was found dead.

Two CPI(M) leaders shot dead near in Balarampur
Purulia, 24 April : Suspected Maoists shot dead two local CPI(M) leaders at Supurdih village in Balarampur area, about 40 from here, last night.
Police said Bibhuti Singh Sardar and Baikuntha Mahato were returning from a fair at around 11 pm last night when some motorcycle-borne persons shot at them from a close range. Both of them died on the spot, police said. While the police is yet to identify the assailants, the family members of the victims said the killers raised slogans in support of the Maoists after killing the two.
The CPI(M) has called a 12-hour bandh in Balarampur on Friday in protest against the incident. Security has been tightened in this district headquarter town in view of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's scheduled visit for campaigning.

Tornado kills 1, injures 25 in Haimchar of Chandpur
UNB, Chandpur, 24 April : A tornado swept over two villages in Haimchar upazila of Chandpur Thursday night, killing a man and injuring 25 people. According to a delayed report, the whirlwind hit Jaliachar and Baburchar villages at about 7:00pm(BDST) and lasted about 15 minutes.
A boat capsized in the River Meghna during the storm, leaving Momin Sardar, 22, of Lakshmipur drowned. The tornado also razed 200 dwelling houses to the ground, leaving 25 people injured, upazila youth development officer Abul Bashar Patwary said. Two of the injured were sent to Dhaka for better treatment.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

န Tribal Rage Spreads...

Vote against CPI(M), Lalgarh tribal body tells voters
Lalgarh, 23 April : An influential tribal body in West Bengal's troubled Lalgarh block on Thursday urged people to vote against the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) in the Lok Sabha polls.
Spelling out the stand of the tribal body Peoples' Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), its leader Chhattadhar Mahato said people could support any party other than the CPI(M). Lalgarh is a Maoist insurgency affected area in West Midnapore district. "We wanted a common opposition nominee in our constituency. But since there are several such candidates, people are free to vote in favour of any of them. But we shall not vote for the CPI(M)," Mahato said here.
Angry over alleged police excesses in the past, tribal leaders in the Lalgarh area, which has around 40,000 voters and falls under Jhargram constituency, had earlier said they would not allow the police to enter the area to enable polling 30 April.

80+ percent votes polled in peaceful Tripura election
< Voters await their turn to cast their ballot at a polling station in Ramchandraghat village (Left) and Gamchacobra village (Right) in Tripura today.
Agartala, 23 April : Voting to elect two Lok Sabha members from the northeastern state of Tripura ended peacefully Thursday evening with more than 80 percent people exercising their franchise. “Over 80 percent of the 20.8 lakh voters cast their ballot across the state,” said Dilip Acherjee, additional chief electoral officer.
The prominent candidates are six-time MP Bajuban Reang of CPI(M) from Tripura east while his party colleague Khagen Das contested from Tripura west. Altogether, 19 candidates, including one woman, were in the contest for the two seats, polling for which was held amidst tight security. The total number of voters in the state is 20,82,205, the sources said. DIG (Police control), Nepal Das said not a single untoward incident was reported from any part of the state. “In the wake of possible militants’ violence,
30,000 security personnel were deployed while two air surveillance teams led by senior police officials also keept vigil by two military helicopters,” Das said.
State CPI (M) leader and Tripura Rural Development & Panchayet Minister Jitendra Chowdhury expressed happiness over the peaceful and huge turn out. “We are happy with the (huge turnout) and the polling so far is peaceful,” he told Bengal Newz.
Six central observers, 266 magistrates and 500 micro-observes were appointed to oversee the poll process and ensure free and fair elections, said Sanjeev Ranjan, the chief electoral officer of the state. About 20,000 poll officials escorted by security forces were manning 3,008 polling stations across the state, the poll official said.
Besides sealing the India-Bangladesh international border, night curfew was imposed along the 856-km long territory with Bangladesh, Ranjan said.
Photo : Reuters & Parthajit Dutta
Gates on India-Bangladesh border fence open for Tripura voters
Agartala, 23 April : The gates on the barbed wire fence along the India-Bangladesh border in Tripura would remain open till the balloting ends to enable all voters to exercise their franchise, an official said here Thursday.
"We have asked the Border Security Force (BSF) to open the gates on the border fence for the whole day to facilitate the voters to exercise their franchise," said Dilip Acherjee, additional chief electoral officer. The fence is 150 yards from the actual border, and many Indians have their homes and farms in between. The gates are usually opened 2-3 times day to enable them to move back and forth.
An estimated 45,000 people from 10,000 families were displaced after their homes and farms fell outside the fence. Though a large number of people shifted their houses inside the fencing, several thousand families still live outside.

Barisal medical college will re-opens on 27 April
Barisal, 23 April : The Sher-e-Bangla Medical College in Barisal will reopen on 27 April, 11 days after the authorities shut the college, the principal has said. The decision came from an academic council meeting on Thursday. The five residential hostels will be open to students on 26 April.
The college authorities shut the college following clashes between two factions of Bangladesh Chhatra League on the night of 16 April.

Andaman : Identity proof must for boarding vessel
UNI, Port Blair, 23 April : The shipping department of Andaman has initiated action for verification of documentary proof of passengers while embarkation and disembarkation, the objective of which is to curb black-marketing of ship tickets.
The Directorate of Shipping Services has appealed to the passengers to purchase tickets only in their name and carry documentary proof while traveling and produce it on demand.
Bimal Roy, a leader of Neil Island, described it as a welcome step. ‘We have been demanding for such steps since last several years. Tour operators take away ship tickets in bulk in fake names and we are made to suffer.’ ‘Initially during such checks, the passengers who traveled with tickets in false names were not allowed to board the vessel and their tickets seized, but subsequently, the department made sure that not only the tickets are seized but also cases of impersonation are filed and these are dealt severely as per the provisions of law,’ an official release of Shipping Services said.
www.fakeiplplayer.blogspot.com : Knight Riders hit by mental Blog
Cape Town, 22 April : Shah Rukh Khan has spent a lot of money building up PR for Kolkata Knight Riders. He’s hired the right firms, been out there in the public just about all the time; there’ve been parties, press conferences, cheerleaders, music and almost all the right kind of bytes given by the superstar himself.
Yet, he’s a troubled man. That’s not just because KKR got off to bad start or that relations between ex-captain Sourav Ganguly and coach John Buchanan continue to be strained. It’s mainly got to do with an unknown blogger - who claims to be a KKR team member - bent on letting the cat out of the bag all the time.
The blogger - calling himself Fake IPL Player - is sure he’ll never be a part of the playing XI. "But, there’s one thing I do very well. Serve drinks. And that’s what I am expecting do in South Africa," he writes.
Evidently, he’s doing much more. The day begins with posts on what KKR did at the breakfast table to what Khan had to say to his team, who listened, who smirked, what the coach did the whole day, how’s Ganguly coping with lost captaincy and of course, what the rest of the teams and their players have been up to.

Monday, April 20, 2009

န Salboni : Edge of bloody flashpoint

Salboni, 22 April : The Maoist-affected districts stand on a bloody precipice as guerrillas and state forces battle it out in the run-up to voting day. On Wednesday afternoon, Maoists triggered six back-to-back blasts in the Dudhpatari area of Salboni to scare away CRPF jawans who had entered the area from the Goaltore end to look for a CPM supporter abducted the day before.
The blasts are a continuation of the Maoist offensive in Salboni on Tuesday, in which four CPM cadres were abducted. Two of them were found dead after a few hours, while a third returned in an injured condition. Nepal Sen, the fourth cadre, is still missing. The blasts come close on the heels of similar Maoist attacks in Bihar and Jharkhand on the same day. On Monday, four Trinamool men had been shot at in Keshpur. These incidents have turned the West Midnapore-Bankura-Purulia belt into a battle zone.
Exports to NE India touching $1bn by 2011: IBCCI
Dhaka, 22 April : The Indo-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry hopes to see Bangladesh's exports to the northeastern Indian states touch $1 billion by 2011. IBCCI president Abdul Matlub Ahmad said the export basket would now include products like brick, plastic goods, readymade garment, agro-products and frozen foods.
Bangladesh exported products worth $1.4 billion in 2007-8 financial year, and goods worth $35.8 million were sold to India, he added. The exports to India mainly are frozen foods, processed agro-products, jute and jute products, tea, chemicals and readymade garment.
"We hope to close a deal to supply 40 crore pieces of bricks worth Tk 200 crore with the Tripura state government in the next 10 days," said Ahmad.
Shah Rukh Khan's dreams of victory lap with IPL trophy in Kolkata
PTI, Durban, 21 April : Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan admitted his team Kolkata Knight Riders is under a lot of pressure to perform due to the multiple-captaincy controversy in the second edition in Indian Premier League (IPL).
Shah Rukh said a fan following in a city like Kolkata also adds to the pressure. He hopes to win the IPL trophy this time around for Kolkata and take out a victory march in the city. "I know the team is under a lot of pressure after the multiple captains, the choice of captain and all that. At the moment the team is under a bit of disarray, but we will stick together. We have started doing it," Shah Rukh said after KKR logged their first points, beating Kings XI Punjab by 11 runs via D/L method.
"But I know they understand and they love the team. I am waiting for the day when I will go around Kolkata with the IPL trophy. I am sure the day will come," he said.

On eve of World Earth Day, Elephants kill 3 in Teknaf
Cox's Bazar, 21 April : A group of elephants killed three people, including two children, as they were collecting firewood in the Teknaf hills near the Myanmar border on Tuesday, said a local government official.
"The elephants trampled them after knocking them over with their trunks," said Yunus Bengali, vice chairman of Teknaf Upazila.
Elephant attacks have become more frequent in South Asia in recent years, as their forest habitats shrink due to encroachment by growing human populations and habitats, say conservationists. One of the world's most densely populated nations, Bangladesh's forest cover has shrunk to just 17.5 percent over past decades, with an estimated elephant population of 400, including 100 in captivity. The World Conservation Union says that an average of 40 people are killed each year by stray elephants in Bangladesh.
Prisoners protest against IPL TV ban in Alipore C Jail
Kolkata, 21 April : Hundreds of inmates at a prison in Kolkata have gone on hunger strike after they were not allowed to watch Indian Premier League cricket matches, officials said on Monday.
BD Sharma, the inspector general of West Bengal prisons, said the protest began after guards rejected prisoners' demands to be able to watch the matches taking place in South Africa that are being broadcast on a private channel. "They are free to watch the national channels aired by the state-run network, but we can't allow inmates to watch private channels for security reasons. We have to go by the rules," said.
The protest, by 500 inmates at the Alipore central jail in Kolkata, was continuing on Monday, Sharma said. IPL matches, which star the best Indian and international cricketers playing in the popular Twenty20 format, started on Saturday and finish on 24 May.

Tripura Lok Sabha elections Campaigning ends today
Agartala, 21 April : Campaigning for the second phase of Lok Sabha elections, along with 2 Tripura Lok Sabha seat will come to an end on Tuesday. The polling will be held on 23 April.
In the second phase, the election will be held in 141 Lok Sabha constituencies spread across 13 states and Union Territories of India. The elections would also be completed in the state assemblies of Andhra Pradesh (140 seats) and Orissa (77 seats).
The states going to the polls in this phase include Andhra Pradesh (20 seats), Assam (11), Bihar (13), Goa (2), Jammu and Kashmir (1), Karnataka (17), Madhya Pradesh (13), Maharashtra (25), Manipur (1), Orissa (11), Tripura (2), Uttar Pradesh (17) and Jharkhand (8).

Polling has already been completed in 124 seats in the first phase on 16 April. The 15th Lok Sabha elections will take place in five phases on 16, 22, 23, 30 April and 7 and 13 May throughout the India.

W.Bengal government moves to end Lalgarh impasse
Kolkata, 20 April : Officials of the Election Commission, the West Bengal government and representatives of agitating tribals will hold a meeting Wednesday to end the stalemate at Lalgarh on holding Lok Sabha polls on 30 April.
The meeting will be held in Midnapore town, the district headquarters of Midnapore West. Earlier, the tribal body Peoples' Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) had submitted a 23-point charter of demands and said that it would allow central forces to be deployed for 12 hours on polling day for conducting the polls only if its demands were met.
Confirming the meeting, state home secretary Ardhendu Sen said the charter will be discussed, but the government will not give in to the demand that former police superintendent of police Rajesh Singh apologise to the tribals for alleged police atrocities. Besides state chief electoral officer Debashis Sen, the district superintendent of police, the district magistrate and the central observer for the Jhargram parliamentary constituency will attend the talks.

'Buddhadeb had ordered the Nandigram police firing'
Says Forward Bloc leader Ashok Ghosh in Press meet

Kolkata, 20 April : Forward Bloc leader Ashok Ghosh today seemed to suggest Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had ordered the 14th March Nandigram police firing that left 14 people dead, gifting fresh ammunition to Mamata Banerjee and raising eyebrows in the CPM.
The chief minister has admitted at a Left Front meeting that he had committed a mistake by ordering the police firing,” Ghosh said and went on to laud Bhattacharjee for the admission. The Opposition seized on the part of the statement that referred to the order to fire. Mamata said Ghosh was “right” but “unfortunately, they (CPM allies) become one after saying all this.”
It was not clear whether the 86-year-old Ghosh meant the west Bengal chief minister had personally ordered the firing or that the overall security operation had the approval of Bhattacharjee. Asked, Ghosh did not shed more light.

Kolkata's low crime linked to civilising effect of books
The city I came from, Kolkata, has a huge book culture : Amartya Sen
Amit Roy, Telegraph, London, 20 April : Kolkata has the lowest crime rate in the world because of the civilising effect of books, Amartya Sen said today in his keynote opening address at the London Book Fair.
Even by Sen’s exacting standards, it was by common agreement one of the Nobel Prize winner’s most brilliant speeches when he spoke on
“India in the Modern World”. With India chosen as the “market focus country” at the London Book Fair this year, the economist and moral philosopher examined the possible relationship between a love of books and low crime.
After his speech, Sen told The Telegraph: “I don’t know the answer but it is something worth looking into.” This year the British Council has brought nearly 50 authors from India who, between them, represent 15 languages. Nearly 100 publishers from India have also made the journey to the Earl’s Court exhibition centre in London. It was pointed out that India is now the third largest publishers of English books in the world. This works out to 15,000 titles a year.
Sen, however, did not deal with dry statistics. His speech made Kolkata sound the most exciting literary city in the world. The question he posed was: “Does the culture of books influence the life of the city in any profound way?” He then offered an intriguing theory which even the people of Kolkata might not have considered.
“To consider one remarkable feature, Kolkata has, by a long margin, the lowest crime rate in the world, including the incidence of homicide and murder,” he said. “While the number of murders per hundred thousand people per year varies between 2 and 10 per year in many cities in Europe and America, and between 15 and 50 per year in many cities in Africa and Latin America, the homicide rate in impoverished Kolkata is only 0.3 per cent; a fraction of the rate in any other city in the world.”
B'desh seeks to increase trade with North-East India
Agartala, 20 April : Bangladeshi trade and industry groups have said they would increase trade and economic activities with India's northeast region and urged Dhaka to provide transit facilities to India. 'We have decided to start business and education tourism with the northeastern region,' said Abdul Matlub Ahmad, president of the India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
A 10-member Bangladeshi delegation headed by Ahmad and comprising members of various Bangladesh trade bodies held a series of meetings here over the past few days with Indian businessmen and government officials to chalk out strategies for setting up of joint venture projects and intensifying trade and business between the two countries.
Bangladeshi trade bodies have also urged Indian authorities to open a special counter in the Indian High Commission in Dhaka so that northeast-bound Bangladeshi businessmen, students and tourists can get visas more easily. The Tripura government had earlier set up a seven-member task force comprising officials and trade bodies of the two countries to suggest measures to enhance economic activities between northeast India and Bangladesh. Photo : Reuters
Andaman & Nicobar Command’s approach
To spread message of 'Outreach to Islands'
Port Blair, 20 April : Andaman & Nicobar Command, in its approach to spread message of “Outreach to Islands”, is undertaking a J-24 sailing boat expedition to Andaman Groups of Islands from 20 – 27 April, 2009. The expedition will cover all major harbours i.e. Havelock, Diglipur, East Island, Mayabandar, Rangat Bay and Neil of Andaman Islands. The skipper Cdr Tribhuwan Jaiswal and his crew members will enroute interact with locals and residents of various islands during the expedition.
The Flag Off Ceremony for this event was held at Naval Wharf this morning and the expedition was flagged off by Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar, Commander-in-Chief Headquarters, Andaman and Nicobar Command.
Khaleda asked to leave cantt house within 15 days
Dhaka, 20 April : Former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, widow of slain army-chief-turned-president Ziaur Rahman, was given official notice Monday to vacate the 6 Moinul Road residence in Dhaka Cantonment, said party officials.
Speaking to reporters in the evening, a BNP official dismissed the notice, and questioned its validity. "This has no legal basis," said BNP joint secretary general Nazrul Islam Khan. "This is purely personal vendetta."
Khan said they were consulting legal experts and senior party leaders. Shamsur Rahman Shimul Biswas, private secretary to the BNP chairperson, told reporters that several Cantonment Board officials handed the notice to a household employee at the Moinul Road mansion. He said the former prime minister was with her lawyers at her Gulshan office in the afternoon.
Rizwana wins Goldman Environmental Prize
Dhaka, 20 April : Syeda Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers' Association (BELA), has been awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize 2009 for the Asia region in recognition of her contribution to the conservation of the environment.
As Bangladesh's leading environmental attorney, Rizwana's legal advocacy for tighter regulations for the country's environmentally devastating ship-breaking industry in particular, makes her one of six winners of the world's largest prize for environmentalists this year, says a press release.
Rizwana, who is an advocate of the Bangladesh Supreme Court, will receive the award at a ceremony in San Francisco today and will be honoured at a smaller ceremony in Washington DC on the occasion of Earth Day on 22 April.

Criminal and Fire arms held on eve of Pranab meet
Nadakumar, Tamluk, 19 April : A day before, Indian external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee’s meeting at Mahisadal, the Midnapore East district police today arrested a suspected hardcore criminal at Sridhar More on NH-41 in Nandakumar and recovered a huge cache of sophisticated firearms and ammunitions from his possession.
Superintendent of police, Pallav Kanti Ghosh told Bengal Newz that six sophisticated firearms including three foreign made 9 mm revolvers were recovered from his possession. Police also seized 40 rounds of cartridges and three 9 mm magazines from him. “The arrest would invariably help us to unearth arms and ammunitions which have already been stockpiled in the troubled areas of Nandigram and Khejuri”, Ghosh said.
Meanwhile, the arrest has sparked off fear about the possibility of violence erupting prior to the elections. Though, the district administration convened an all-party meeting for peaceful polls, the political situation is gradually warming up with both the CPI(M) and its rival Trinamul Congress crossing swords with each other in their mass meetings. Photo : Raghu Nandan Mallick

Massive Power crisis shuts down Kolkata and Howrah
Unprecedented Blackout ordeal lasts beyond midnight
Kolkata, Howrah, 19 April : The entire CESC system collapsed on Sunday evening the first time in its history plunging the 2 citys into darkness and distress in the middle of a heat spell. The unprecedented crisis blacked out over 3 million homes in Kolkata and Howrah.
Hospitals were in darkness for at least an hour. Water supply was cut off all evening. There were long queues at the airport as X-ray machines and conveyer belts did not work. About 200 passengers were stuck in an AI plane bound for Delhi as the aerobridge lost power. In crematoriums, bodies piled up as electric furnaces failed. There was chaos all round. Protests erupted across the Kolkata, leading to huge traffic jams. The administration, which had not faced such a situation before, seemed lost for answers.

Though the snag was identified within an hour, CESC officials were tightlipped on whether a systemic loophole caused it or if the problem could recur. The allout failure has prompted a police probe. The shutdown happened around 4 pm, just ahead of the IPL match between Team Delhi and Kings 11 Punjab. Kolkata Knight Riders were to take on Team Hyderabad later in the evening something that the entire city was looking forward to. At 4.40 pm, Metro commuters rushing home were in for a shock the lights went out and even the stations plunged into darkness. Overground, streetlights went off. And houses and shops suddenly went dark.
A frantic search ensued to detect the fault. CESC sources said they traced it to a crash in a West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Co Ltd (WBSEDCL) substation in Howrah, which triggered a fault at the CESC synchronization point, breaching its protection system and creating a domino effect. WBSEDCL officials, however, claimed the fault was in a CESC line between Howrah and Liluah and called for an investigation into how it triggered the system collapse. The failure at the critical synchronization unit the only point where all power supplied by CESC and WBSEDL pass through to undergo a voltage-phase-frequency match cut off power to the entire city and suburbs. CESC power generating stations at Budge Budge, Titagarh, Southern and Kashipur tripped.
Photo : AP & Indrajit Dutta