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Thursday, April 29, 2010

SAARC summit ends, pledges 'green and happy South Asia'

UNB, Thimphu, 29 April : The 16th SAARCsummit ended on Thursday with the adoption of a statement called Thimphu Statement on Climate Change, expressing a determination to make South Asia a world leader in low-carbon technologies and renewable energy.
The statement, adopted on the concluding day of the summit, emphasized the importance of reducing dependence on high-carbon technologies for economic growth, and that promotion of climate resilience will promote both development and poverty eradication in a sustainable manner. The separate statement was issued as Climate Change was designated as the key theme of the 16th SAARC Summit, in the wake of the vulnerability faced by member states from global warming.

Expressing deep concern over the adverse effects of climate change, the statement called for the commissioning of a SAARC Inter-governmental Climate-related Disasters Initiative, on the integration of Climate Change Adaptation with Disaster Risk Reduction. The statement said the SAARC member states face the dual challenge of addressing the negative impacts of climate change and pursuing socio-economic development. It noted that South Asia is especially prone to the ill-effects of climate change and related disasters, making the need for a regional response to meet the challenge more urgent and compelling.
It said South Asia could benefit from cooperative regional initiatives and exchange of knowledge, as well as transfer of technologies to address the challenges. It recognizes that the preservation of the environment and mitigating the impacts of climate change are mutually reinforcing.
The Thimpu Statement on Climate Change also agreed to review the implementation of the Dhaka Declaration and SAARC Action Plan on Climate Change, with a view to ensuring its timely implementation. The SAARC leaders agreed to establish an Inter-governmental Expert Group on Climate Change to develop clear policy directions for regional cooperation as envisaged in the SAARC Plan of Action on Climate Change.
The leaders directed the SAARC secretary general to commission a study aimed at accreditation of SAARC with the Kyoto Protocol’s Adaptation Fund as a regional entity for undertaking adaptation projects in South Asia. They also decided to commission a study on Climate Risk in the region to find ways to comprehensively address the related social, economic and environmental challenges. Photos : AFP

Maoists may launch another Shilda-type attack : IB reports
Jhargram, 29 April : Security has been beefed up in West Midnapore district following intelligence reports that Maoists could launch another Shilda-type attack soon.
An intelligence report submitted to the state government last Tuesday has warned of the possibility, top police sources said. Aimed at shoring up battered morale of Maoists in the face of consistent anti-Naxal operation, the attack is likely to be led by Maoist leader Kishenji's brother Venugopal Rao who has entered forested regions of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts, collectively known as Jangalmahal, the report said.

3 grenade attacks in Assam's North Cachar, no casualties
IANS, Guwahati, 29 April : Militants on Thursday lobbed grenades on police in Assam's North Cachar Hills district but there were no casualties, police said.
All the attacks took place in Haflong, the district headquarters. Two grenades were lobbed at a police station while another was hurled at a police team patrolling near a school. "There were no casualties. All the grenades missed their targets," a police official said. The identity of the attackers was not immediately known.

Charge framing hearing against 256 mutineer 22November
Dhaka, 29 April : The Special Court-6 on Thursday fixed 22 November for hearing on charge framing against the 256 mutineers of the Bangladesh Rifles Pilkhana hospital unit.
In the morning, the 256 mutineers were produced before the court set up at the Darbar Hall in BDR Pilkhana headquarters. During his submission, prosecutor of the case Lt Col Dr SMA Al-Muid gave an elaborate description of the offences of BDR jawans before the court. Of the accused, 84 mutineers, including JCO (Junior Commanding Officer) medical assistant Subedar Major Hafizuddin, were present at the Darbar Hall during the 25 February mutiny and they took part in the carnage defying the order of then director general Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed, he said.
A group of jawans, including medical assistants Nayek Subedar Torab Hossain Khan and Monoranjan Sarkar, were involved in removing bodies from the Darbar Hall and its adjacent areas on 25 February, the prosecutor added. Photo : Sk Enamul Huq

5 killed, 11 injured as lightning strikes in across the Tripura
Agartala, 29 April : Five people, including two children, were killed and 11 injured in lightning strikes in different parts of Tripura, officials said Thursday.
Eight-year-old Rajiv Bhoumij and his six-year-old sister Sunimalal died on the spot and their parents suffered burns in the incident in west Tripura district's Bishalgarh block Wednesday night. The family was sleeping when lightning struck, an official said. Besides, a woman was killed in Teliamura in west Tripura and two youths died in Kanchanpur in north Tripura. Nine more people were injured in these incidents. Lightning and thunder, accompanied by high velocity winds, have lashed Tripura over the past several days, damaging crops and uprooting electric poles and trees.

Asiatic Society to award Sk Hasina, Suchitra Mitra & others
Kolkata, 29 April : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed, noted Rabindrasangeet singer Suchitra Mitra and renowned scientist Prof Yash Pal are among the 24 people to be awarded by the Asiatic Society here on 3 May for their rich contributions in respective fields. Informing this, Asiatic Society sources today said the annual awards of the three hundred-year-old renowned educational and research institute would be handed over to the recipients at a colourful function here by West Bengal Governor MK Narayanan after the Society's 226th Annual General Meeting next Monday.
Besides the Bangladeshi Prime Minister, Suchitra Mitra and Prof Pal, other eminent personalities who have been selected for the prestigious awards include president of Bangladesh Asiatic Society Professor Sirajul Islam, Deputy Director General of Indian Council for Agricultural Research Professor Swapan Kumar Dutta, noted Geologist C Leelanandam, noted neurologist Pritam Nasipuri, well-known social scientist Dileep Nachane, renowned Persian scholar Azarmi Dukht Safavi and well-known writer and journalist Nirendranath Chakraborty.
In addition, Dr Somendra Chandra Nandy would receive Honorary Fellowship of the Asiatic Society for his unmatched contribution to the field of history and historical studies, the sources informed. The award would comprise a shawl and a citation besides some cash prizes.
Indo-Bangla border to be sealed for Tripura Tribal coun poll
Agartala, 29 April : To ensure smooth conduct of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) elections on 3 May, the 856-km long Indo-Bangla border would be sealed from tomorrow.
Prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC would be clamped in the border areas of the four districts while the international boundary would be sealed as a precautionary measure to ensure elections to the 30-member tribal council went off peacefully, official sources said. The BSF has also been asked to keep tight vigil to ensure no unwanted element could cross over to the state from the neighbouring country.

Halud Gachh Gokul, new species in BD's animal kingdom
Dhaka, 29 April : A new animal has been added to the list of species in Bangladesh when a yellow-throated marten was spotted for the first time by a young banker in Lawachhera forest.
The yellow-throated marten - a distant relative of civet, mongoose, badger and otter - was spotted by banker CM Reza about two kilometres inside the Lawachhera forest very early in the morning on 13 March. This beautiful animal in yellow and black coat was so far thought not to exist in Bangladesh.
“It is no doubt a great find for the nation,” Dr Reza Khan, a wildlife expert, said. “It may well be called in Bengali as HALUD GACHH GOKUL”. The discovery created quite a ripple among the wildlife lovers in Bangladesh. “It is a big surprise for us who visit Lawachhera frequently,” said Ronal Halder, a bird photographer. “We never even imagined this animal could exist in Bangladesh. It's a big find for us.”
CM Reza spotted the marten on a 40 meter tall tree. It was searching for food and was in sight for about two minutes after which it hid in the forest. Largest among the Himalayan Martens, this yellow and black coated species is known to live in the Himalayas from below the tree line to 160 meters above the sea level. “So the Lawachhara population of the animal would represent the lowest elevation in its distributional range,” Dr Khan said.
IUCN considers its world population as not in danger of extinction and as such categorized it as "Least Concerned", added Dr Reza. “But as it has so far been sighted only once in Bangladesh and that too in a small patch of forest 'island' encircled by heavily populated villages and tea estates, it must be considered as the most highly endangered or critically endangered Marten population,” Dr Rexa said.
The animal measures up to 60cm from the tip of the snout to the base of the tail. Bushy black tail is longer than its cousins' at about 40cm when weight varies from 3lg to 3.5 kg. Its nearest Indian population lives in Assam. Photo : CM Reza
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