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Saturday, February 6, 2010

All-India Gorkha League calls 24-hour Hills bandh on 9 February

Darjeeling, 6 February : All-India Gorkha League (AIGL) has called a 24-hour bandh in the Hills region and the Dooars on February 9 to protest against the state government's "apathy towards the demand for a separate Gorkhaland".
"The government is conspiring to thrust the Sixth Schedule on us. We will not accept it and have decided to call a 24-hour bandh on 9 February," said Madan Tamang, AIGL president. "We appeal to people to stay indoors for a day. We don't believe in causing inconvenience to people, but this agitation will send a loud and clear message to Kolkata and Delhi," said Tamang.
Tea gardens, government offices, milk and water carriers and NH-55 have been brought under the strike purview. Vehicles belonging to the police superintendent and district magistrate as well as NH-31 and NH-31A have, however, been exempted.

'5th Amendment verdict' to put secular education in action
Dhaka, 6 February : Bangladesh Law Minister Shafique Ahmed on Saturday said the Supreme Court's verdict in the fifth amendment case has cleared the way for reintroducing the non-communal and indiscriminatory education system in the spirit of Liberation War.
The Supreme Court judgment nullifying the fifth amendment of the constitution has not hurt the religion, but established it, he said. Shafique was speaking as chief guest at the inaugural session of seventh conference of Bangladesh College-University Teachers Association at Teacher-Student Centre (TSC) auditorium on the Dhaka University campus.

Jhumpa Lahiri in US President Obama's arts committee
PTI, Washington, 6 February : Bengali-American Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri has been appointed as a member of US President Barack Obama's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, along with five others.
"I am proud that these distinguished individuals will serve in my administration. The arts and the humanities enhance the vibrancy of our society, inspire us and strengthen our democracy," Obama said in a statement. "I look forward to working with them in the weeks and months ahead," Obama said.
A fiction writer, Lahiri's debut collection of stories, Interpreter of Maladies, received the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Addison M Metcalf Award and the New Yorker magazine's Debut of the Year. Her novel, The Namesake, was a New York Times Notable Book, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was selected as one of the best books of the year by USA Today and Entertainment Weekly. Her latest story collection, Unaccustomed Earth, won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and the Vallombrosa-Gregor von Rezzori Prize.

Overseas Bangladeshi jobseekers to get smart card
Dhaka, 6 February : The Bangladesh government is introducing smart card, a tag with computer chip, for overseas jobseekers from tomorrow to ease the immigration process and help them more effectively while they are abroad.
The card will contain all the information furnished in the passport, a jobseeker's fingerprints and the name and licence number of the recruiting agency so that the authorities can identify all the parties involved in the migration process and take prompt actions when needed. "With a smart card a migrant will not have to fill up embarkation form at the airport. The form will be automatically furnished when the smart card is inserted in a card reader," said Khurshed Alam Chowdhury, director general of Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET).
This will greatly reduce their initial hassles at the airport, he said.

Legal notice served to protect sanctity of "Shaheed Minar"
Dhaka, 6 February : A legal notice was served on Saturday on the BD government and the Dhaka University vice chancellor, asking them to protect sanctity and honour of the Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka.
Human Rights and Peace For Bangladesh (HRPB) served the notice asking them to set up a museum on the Shaheed Minar premises so that the visitors can know the history of Language Movement. The HRPB also asked them to inform this organisation within 48 hours on what step they will take in this regard.
The notice stated that the 21st February is observed every year as International Mother Language Day and the sanctity and honour of Central Shaheed Minar are maintained for that day only.

'Milan drill' worries China's People's Liberation Army Navy
Port Blair, 6 February : The biggest ever naval build-up in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea under the ongoing Indian Navy-led Milan multilateral exercises is believed to have fed China’s concerns. At least three nations taking part in these maneouvres and China have overlapping sovereignty claims to Spratly islands in the South China Sea.
The Bangladesh, Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia, among the 12 participating countries, are competing with China to grab their share of oil and natural gas reserves in the Spratly region. Senior navy officials said the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) could be monitoring the six-day exercise.

WB speaker Hasim Abdul Halim hospitalised in Singapore
IANS, Kolkata, 6 February : West Bengal legislative assembly speaker and senior CPI(M) leader Hasim Abdul Halim was admitted to a hospital in Singapore Saturday after he suffered respiratory trouble, party sources in Kolkata said.
Halim was on his way to London and was taking a stopover in Singapore. CPI(M) state secretariat member Rabin Deb told IANS, "Halim suffered respiratory problem while he was taking a stopover in Singapore on way to London. He went to Kuala Lumpur to participate in a programme organsied by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association." He said.

Halim, a legislator from Kolkata's Entally assembly constituency, was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. "He will be under medical observation for the next 24 hours. The doctors said his condition is now stable," Deb said.
Want a figure like Bipasha Basu ?
PTI, New Delhi, 6 February : When some one like Bipasha Basu promises a definite weight loss and an enviable figure like hers, one has to be all ears. Showing off a svelte figure, the Bengali girl was in the city to launch her workout DVD and promises that with just 25 minutes of daily workout one could own a chiseled physique like her.
Basu's DVD, 'Fit and Fabulous', based on her personal workout regime, is targeted towards women but the star says men can also try her tricks to be fit. "Today everybody wants to be fit but what I am trying to focus is not just on physical training but mental as well. My mantra is to love yourself and work out for your heart and soul. It has done wonders for me," Basu said. And that is not all as the 31-year-old actress has pulled in Bollywood bigwigs like Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Akshay Kumar and Priyanka Chopra to endorse to her promise.
Basu gushed that her beau, Bollywood heartthrob John Abraham has also tried her workout DVD and swears by its effects. "It helps to have a fit partner. John is a fitness freak just like me so his comments about the DVD were vital. He has tried the workout and he simply loves it," Basu said.

'Biman Bangladesh' resumes Dhaka-London flight
Dhaka, 6 February : After a break of about 12 years, Bangladesh Biman restarted Dhaka-London-Dhaka direct flight Saturday morning, .
The Boeing 777-200ER left Zia International Airport for London with 297 passengers at about 9:00am(BDST), reports ATN Bangla. Biman authority said initially the flight would operate twice a week - Saturday and Tuesday. It will take 11 hours to reach London.

Bangladesh launches drive against piracy in Sundarbans
Dhaka, 6 February : Bangladesh has launched a special drive to check piracy in the Sundarbans and the coastal belt in the Bay of Bengal along India's West Bengal state.
Foreign fishermen who infiltrate the Bay of Bengal falling within the jurisdiction of Bangladesh territorial waters are allegedly involved in looting fish and other belongings from Bangladeshi fishermen. Bangladesh Coast Guard, police and forest guards have launched the special drive named "Operation Sandhan".
Bangladesh and India, which share the dense forests of Sundarbans that are home to the Royal Bengal Tiger, are currently in the process of negotiating their international maritime boundary. The 710 km of coastal belt in Khulna and Bagherhat and the Sundarbans have been brought within the purview of the special operation, said a Coast Guard official coordinating the operation that started last Monday.
The main aim of the operation was to arrest pirates, recover their arms, curb their activities in the Sundarbans and the sea, stop infiltration of foreign fishermen and thus restore a sense of security in the area, said Lt. S.M. Waliur Rahman, chief coordinator of the operation.
Top brass of 4Maoist-hit states hold strategy session
Kolkata, 6 February : Ahead of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram's meeting with chief ministers of four Maoist- affected states next week, top bureaucrats of these states yesterday held a strategy session here on the roadmap for dealing with the menace.
While Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal were represented by their chief secretaries, Jharkhand was represented by its home secretary, officials sources said.


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