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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Alert in West Bengal's vital installations, cost till "Republic Day"

Kolkata, 25 December : An alert has been sounded in West Bengal , particularly in its coastal areas and in areas where vital installations exist, till the Republic Day to guard against possible attack by terrorist organisations.
The state's Chief Secretary, Samar Ghosh, said today that the security measure had been taken, acting on warning by central intelligence agencies that there could be terror strikes emanating from the water front, Ghosh said.
Apart from this, there is also a need for strengthening security measures during X-mas and New Year festivities, he said. Police sources said security personnel in the districts bordering with neighbouring countries have been asked to intensify vigil.

Amnesty condemns Sen's conviction, asks govt to intervene
PTI, London, 25 December : Amnesty International today described human rights activist Binayak Sen as a prisoner of conscience and flayed his conviction by a Chhatisgarh court, saying it violated international standards of fair trial.
The prison term awarded to Sen has evoked outrage among social activists in India and warned that the politically-motivated charges could enflame tensions in the country's conflict-hit areas. The international rights body appealed to the Indian government to revoke the charges against him and set him free immediately.
All factors to be considered before diesel price hike: Pranab
Haldia, 25 December : Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Saturday said the government will consider all factors before taking a decision on hiking the price of diesel.
‘It is very hypothetical,’ Mukherjee told mediapersons when asked to spell out the thinking within the government on raising diesel prices. ‘A decision will be taken by the group of ministers and the cabinet. It will be discussed. Even the agenda of the discussion are confidential,’ he said on the sidelines of the dedication ceremony of a new hydrocracker unit and capacity expansion of Indian Oil’s refinery in this East Midnapore district industrial town.
‘When a decision will be taken, it will be taken considering all factors and the situations prevailing at that point of time. Decisions are taken considering all factors,’ he added. Urging the media not to press the panic button, he said the situation was difficult and the government would take whatever steps were needed. Photo : Raghunandan Mallick

'Christmas' celebrated amid enthusiasm, festivity in Bengal
BSS, Dhaka, 25 December : Members of the Christian community in Bangladesh today celebrated the holy Christmas with much enthusiasm, festivity and religious fervour.
Christmas, the biggest religious festival of the Christians. The day was a public holiday in Bangladesh as in many other countries. On the occasion, President Zillur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in separate messages greeted the Christians of the country. The celebration started last night with ringing church bells, carols and midnight gatherings at all churches and some city hotels. Churches and adjoining areas decked out with colourful tiny blinking lights. Illuminated Christmas trees placed with a star standing right on top. Santa Claus was seen handing out Christmas gifts to the children.
The main programme of Christmas Day in the city was organized at Kakrail Archbishop Church where prayers were arranged last night and this morning both in Bangla and English. Archbishop Paulinus Costa conducted the prayers. In Dhaka, the celebrations began on Christmas Eve with Christmas carol in hotel lobbies, restaurants, lounges and other public places.
Christmas was also celebrated in Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Barisal, Sylhet, Rangpur, Gazipur, Narayanganj, Comilla, Habiganj, Chuadanga, Gopalganj and Madaripur with various programmes that included prayers, singing of Christmas carols and banquets. Photos : BSS, Reuters

Olama-Mashayekh Parishad calls off Sunday’s 12hrs hartal
UNB, Dhaka, 25 December : Sammilito Olama-Mashayekh Parishad on Saturday called off the countrywide dawn-to-dusk hartal planned for tomorrow (Sunday) after fruitful negotiations with the government.
”We’ve postponed the program (hartal) for one month as the government has assured us to address our demands. We had fruitful meeting with Prime Minister’s advisor H T Imam,” Mohammad Fahim Siddiqi, member of publicity department of the Parishad, told UNB over phone.

Textbooks printed in India cost "less" : Bangladeshi official
Dhaka, 25 December : Printing of Bangladeshi school textbooks in India cost nearly half of the expense incurred on printing these at home, an official said.
The cost of a book printed abroad was Tk23 ($0.32) whereas the government had to spend Tk44 for a book printed in Bangladesh last year. But the quality of the books printed in Bangladesh is not as good as those printed abroad, said Mostafa Kamal Uddin, chairman of the National Commission for Text Books (NCTB). Kamal Uddin said some 5.7 million copies of primary textbooks, which got stuck on the Indian border due to traffic jam, will enter the country in a day or two, the Daily Star said Saturday.
Rangpur artistes depart to takepart in drama fest in Kolkata
BSS, Rangpur, 25 December : A 25-member team of drama artistes of Rangpur Nattya Kendra (RNK) yesterday departed for taking part in a three-day drama festival to be held in Kolkata, West Bengal from tomorrow.
The artists of RNK will stage dramas `Mukta Dhara' and `Meraj Fakirer Ma' at different venues in the city of Kolkata, RNK sources said here today.

Youth killed in Indian Railway security force firing exercise
PTI, Katihar, 25 December : A youth was killed during a routine firing exercise by the Railway Protection Security Force at Chandmari range in Bihar’s Katihar district adjoining West Bengal, police said on Saturday.
Mohammed Kukhtar, 30, was killed when a bullet fired by the RPSF missed the target and hit him on Friday, District Superintendent of Police P. Karnan said. Mukhtar died on the spot, he said, adding an FIR has been registered against unidentified RPSF men in this connection and further investigation was on.

Bangladeshi border guards bust ULFA hideout, seize arms
PTI, Dhaka, 26 December : For a second time in a week, Bangladeshi border guards claimed to have busted suspected United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) hideout close to the Indian border seizing mine manufacturing equipment, radio sets and documents.
The hideout suspected to be a cache of the Indian separatist groups was busted in the hilly forest areas today in northern frontier area of Sherpur, close to country's border with Meghalaya. This is a second major arms haul from the same area, from where security forces recovered 13,680 bullets, a week back. "BDR soldiers seized mine manufacturing equipments, a grenade, 97 bullets, some computer CDs, 19 (cell phone) SIM cards, five walkie-talkies, Indian rupees and ULFA documents in an abandoned state from hilly forests near Bankakura cluster village in Sherpur," a top police official told PTI over the phone from Dhaka. He said none could be arrested from the scene.

The development came just a day after elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) said they suspected ULFA militants to have left the huge ammunitions, which were seized, from the same area earlier this month. "We now suspect the ULFA operatives had kept the ammunitions as they left themakeshift hideouts in the frontier village," adjacent to India's Meghalaya state, said to be a stronghold of the outfit, a RAB spokesperson told PTI.
Media reports earlier said ULFA were active in the area despite intensive security campaigns by Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies as they preferred the rugged area for their training, installing makeshift hideouts.
RAB's intelligence wing chief Lt Col Ziaul Ahsan, however, said the enhanced security clampdown, in line with the incumbent government's tough policy against the presence of India's separatist elements in Bangladesh territory, nearly destroyed the ULFA network in north and northeastern frontiers, bordering Assam and Meghalaya.
Sherpur police on 18 December seized 13,680 rifle bullets 57 packets, kept in eight jute bags, in an early morning raid at an abandoned village hut while. RAB officials said their investigations revealed that unidentified people had threatened an octogenarian villager against disclosure of the ammo depot as they stored the bullets at that hut at his home during a previous night as he witnessed their activities. File Photos : Reuters