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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Indo-Bangla border: Fencing forces thousands in no man's land

PTI, New Delhi, 31 January : Fencing at the Indo-Bangladesh border has pushed thousands of Indians in the 'no man's zone', even as the fenced villagers complain of lack of basic amenities and curbs on their movement in the Indian mainland, official documents have said.
Fencing at the border to check infiltration from Bangladesh into India is supposed to be done 150 yards (137 metre) away from the zero line, which is not followed at many places and is done about a kilometre away from it, thus leaving precious Indian land on the Bangladesh side. "It has been brought to the notice, That National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) and National Projects Construction Corporation (NPCC) have been constructing the composite type fencing without taking any care for the distance of the fencing from the zero line," Deputy Commissioner Karimganj M Angamuthu said in a note (dated: 18-05-2009) on the 'Status of Indo-Bangladesh Border Road Cum Fencing in Karimganj district (Assam), citing irregularities adopted in the fencing procedure.
"The existing border cum-fencing was constructed at varying distance of about 900 mts, 700 mts, 500 mts and 300 mts from the zero line of the international border and at some place fencing was constructed at about 400 mts to 1000 mts away," the note added. Photos : Aritro Roy, Sankar Das

3 CPI(M) workers killed in clash at Labpur in Birbhum
Bolpur, 31 January : Three CPI(M) workers were killed in bombing when a clash erupted between activists of the ruling party and rival Trinamool Congress at Kazipara under Labpur police station in Birbhum district last night.
Police today said activists of both the parties clashed and hurled bombs at each other, in which three CPI(M) cadres were killed. The deceased included former member of Birbhum Zilla Parishad Fazlul Karim Sheikh.

'Know Your Army' exhibition concluded at Fort William
Kolkata, 31 January : 'Know Your Army' exhibition for citizens of Kolkata concluded today at 4pm. The Exhibition was hosted to give people an insight into the life in the Army and introduce them to various weapon systems and equipment. This was give the citizens of Kolkata a 'hands on' experience about the various arms and ammunition used by the Indian Army.
The theme of the exhibition is 'Indian Army - Partner in Nation Building'. The aim of the 'Know your Army exposition' is to reach out to the youth of the country and give them a glimpse of the Army. Eastern command's PRO Mahes Upasani told Bengal Newz yesterday, "this exhibition will attract them towards joining the organization. During the exhibition, the Army would be displaying an underground bunker using which the Soldiers guard our frontiers. Apart form this Antitank guided missile, Early Warning Radars, Nuclear, Biological & Chemical warfare equipment would be also on display. The citizens of Kolkata would also be able to see, hold & click photographs of various small arms and helicopter from the Army Aviation corps".
The exhibition was open for public. The entry for the exhibition is from George Gate, opposite to Princep Ghat memorial. Photos : Shankar Mondal

UK suspends 'student visa application's from Bangladesh
BBC Online, 31 January : The UK Border Agency has temporarily suspended student visa applications from Bangladesh, Nepal and northern India after a jump in numbers.
In the last three months of last year, there were 13,500 applications from northern India alone, compared with 1,800 in the same period of 2008. British officials say the system has been overwhelmed and there are concerns that many cases are not genuine. Unscrupulous offers of visas as a way of settling in the UK are not uncommon.
While extra checks take place, visa applications have been temporarily suspended - a decision which will be reviewed at the end of February.... READ FULL STORY

Central team to visit Assam's Bodo areas, to review security
PTI, New Delhi, 31 January : In the wake of unabated violence, a high-level Central team will visit Bodo-dominated areas in Assam on 10 February and review the prevailing law-and-order situation there.
The team, headed by Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai, will visit Kokrajhar and hold a meeting with top officials of Assam government, paramilitary forces and others and review the steps taken to stop violence in Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) areas. Sources said violence in BTC areas has increased abruptly - 74% - in 2009 compared to the previous year, primarily due to the fratricidal clashes among different Bodo groups. In 2008, 110 people were killed in Assam due to insurgency-related violence but in 2009, 194 people - mostly in BTC area - lost their lives due to different violence.
Bangladesh Railway will introduce 'SMS ticketing' service
Dhaka, 31 January : Bangladesh Railway will introduce SMS ticketing service through mobile phone next month to ease sufferings of commuters.
"Initially, the service will be launched on the Dhaka-Chittagong route. If successful, it will be expanded to the countrywide rail network. All necessary technical aspects have been checked and duly completed. We hope to launch the service at the end of February," said BR Joint Director General (operations) M Shahjahan. BR is the first organisation to introduce SMS ticketing in the subcontinent, the BR joint director general said.
Anyone can book seats and transfer credits for buying tickets by sending SMS from anywhere in the country. On completion of credit transfer, the customer will receive an SMS notification with a transaction ID number, said the official. The software used for the service will allow mobile phone companies to check automatically whether the customer has enough credit to his or her cell phone account and deduct the amount of the fare from it.
Before boarding a train, passengers can obtain tickets from designated booths at train stations by showing the notification. The same information will be available on the Internet. The BR online database will be used for the SMS ticketing service.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fugitive killers must be brought back : PM Sheikh Hasina

Dhaka, 30 January : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said the six fugitive Bangabandhu killers must be brought back to the country and hanged subsequently.
She said this while addressing her party Awami League's extended meeting at Ganabhaban. The prime minister called upon the grass-root level activists to strengthen their activities and work sincerely for implementing the election manifesto. "Everybody will have to be alert as conspiracies to destroy the democracy are on," she said.
Highlighting different achievements of her government in the first one year of the tenure, she said everyone has to vow to build 'sonar bangla'. Photo : PID

Tiger & cub escape from Guwahati Zoo, Tranquilised later
Guwahati, 30 January : A tigress and her cub slinked out of an enclosure at Assam State Zoo on Saturday morning, triggering fear among 10,000-plus visitors present. Dibya, the eight-year-old female, had had a taste of human blood two years ago when she mauled a visitor to death along with another tiger.
For an hour and a half on Saturday morning, Dibya prowled around the zoo, covering nearly 400 metres, even as visitors screamed and ran helter skelter. Zoo authorities first deployed five elephants to shield visitors from being attacked by the big cat and then evacuated them. The thrilling drama finally ended around 11 am when the Bengal tigers were tranquilized and put back into the cage.
Divisional forest officer Narayan Mahanta, who is in charge of the zoo, admitted it was sheer luck that no one got injured. "We were worried that if Dibyu had attacked, it would have caused mayhem. Luckily she didn't. The entire incident happened due to lack of coordination between the zoo keeper and cleaners". Photos : Chinmoy Roy

Rail Budget either on 24 or 24 Feb: Mamata Banerjee
Nandigram, 30 January : The Railway budget for 2010-11 will be presented in Parliament either on February 23 or 24, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee said today. "Possibily, the rail budget will be presented on February 23 or 24," Banerjee said while inaugurating the commencement of work for construction of railway lines at Nandigram in East Midnapur district.

Bhutan to export oranges to Bangladesh via NE India
PTI, Shillong, 30 January : Bhutan will export oranges and other horticultural products to Bangladesh through India's northeastern states, officials said here Saturday.
"The first consignment of oranges would be exported to Sylhet in Bangladesh soon through the Dawki land customs station in Meghalaya," a senior Meghalaya government official said. "New Delhi has recently agreed to a Bhutan government proposal to carry out the export to Bangladesh through the northeastern states."
To finalise the modalities and formalities, a delegation from Bhutan comprising a member of the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce, Bhutan export and import association, Indo-Bhutan friendship association and government officials earlier this week had visited the Dawki land customs station.
Bhutan has so far been exporting oranges, ginger and various other crops to Bangladesh through West Bengal. Bhutan has been producing on an average 100,000 tonnes of oranges annually.

Expert suggests modification in Tripura's agriculture plan
UNI, Agartala, 30 January : Country's leading crop scientist has suggested Tripura to make modification in agricultural management approach in implementation of perspective plan to achieve self-sufficiency in food grain production.
Talking to UNI, Deputy Director General(DDG) of Crop Sciences in Indian Council of Agricultural Research(ICAR) Prof S K Datta made it clear that Tripura has failed to trap the full agricultural potential because of improper agricultural land management.
''The state like Tripura should follow an integrated land use and framing practices before adopting any perspective plan, agricultural techniques adopted in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh or West Bengal would not be applicable for hilly states in Northeast,'' Prof Datta said.
Protests for separate Gorkhaland continue in Siliguri
Siliguri, 30 January : Activists of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJMM), who are spearheading the movement for a separate Gorkhaland state, blocked the national highway-55 (NH-55) for around two-hours leading to traffic suspension.
Buzz up!Such road blockade by the GJMM defies the Supreme Court's directive that prohibits any political party or faction from blocking any of the national highways, as a part of the stir or movement with an ultimatum that it would lead to annulling of their registration.

Crucial meeting to reduce airfare in Andaman Sector held
Port Blair, 30 January : Troubled by the high airfares in Port Blair and mainland sector being charged by aviation companies, the Andaman and Nicobar administration organised a meeting here to find out a solution to the problem.
During the meeting yesterday, various short term measures were suggested by officials of Andaman and Nicobar administration and public representatives of these islands which comprised re-balancing the air fares for the benefit of the islanders and the tourists alike by the airline operators, introducing islanders fare at par with the facility available at Lakshadweep Islands and restriction on bulk booking by the airlines

Five die in Comilla road crash
Comilla, 30 January : Five people were killed and 20 others injured in a head-on collision between a bus and a truck at Sujadpur in Chouddagram upazila of Comilla Saturday morning.
Police said a Dhaka-bound bus from Feni collided with a Chittagong-bound truck coming from opposite direction at about 6:00am(BDST), killing five people on the spot. The injured were admitted to Chouddagram upazila health complex and Comilla Medical College Hospital.
Transport movement on Dhaka-Chittagong highway was disrupted for about two hours following the accident. A case was filed with Chouddagram Police Station.

Awami League Central Working Committee sits in meeting
Dhaka, 30 January : Awami League Central Working Committee (ALCWC) Saturday morning sat in a meeting at party president Sheikh Hasina's political office in Dhanmondi prior to holding the extended meeting.
AL presidium member and deputy leader of the parliament Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury is presiding over the meeting. The ALCWC will approve the amended constitution of the country. After around 20 months, the ruling Awami League will an extended meeting in efforts to revamp the organisation. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the meeting at Ganobhaban.

Sunderbans tiger census next month, says SBR Director
Kolkata, 30 January : The much-awaited tiger census in the Sunderbans forest will begin next month and preparations are underway to conduct the exercise with DNA sampling method for the first time.
Pradeep Vyas, director of the Sunderbans Biosphere Reserve (SBR) told Bengal Newz here that the census would be conducted in February. The exact dates would, however, be decided after the field training of staff was over. "Training of the staff is now underway and their field training will begin by the end of this month," Vyas said, adding 200 tiger guards will assist the census staff.
For the first time DNA sampling method would be tried for the tiger head counting in the famous mangrove forest, he said.
Maoists open fire in West Bengal village, 3 injured
IANS, Kolkata, 30 January : Three villagers were injured when armed Maoist attacked a local club in West Midnapore district of West Bengal, police said Saturday.
Eight Maoists opened fire at the villagers late Friday when they assembled to see a folk theatre arranged in the premises of a local club. The incident took place at Dhanshola village under Shalboni police station. "We have got the information about the attack early this (Saturday) morning and immediately sent our force to the spot. We have not registered any case so far as our officers have still not returned from the location," a police officer told IANS. He said no one has been arrested so far.

Akbar died: Population of Lions in Assam state Zoo decline to 7

29 January :
(L) The dead body of Akbar, a 17 years old lion is prepared for cremation by Zoo officials, at Assam State Zoo premises in Guwahati on Friday. (R) Zoo Doctor inspects the dead body of Akbar.The lion was died on Thursday night due to old age and the population of Lions in Assam state Zoo decline to seven, Zoo official said. Photos : Chinmoy Roy
Curtain rises on 11th SA Games
Dhaka, 29 January : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the 11th South Asian Games following a colourful ceremony at Bangabandhu National Stadium Friday afternoon.

The greatest sporting carnival of the region got off to a vibrant start with thousands of spectators from home and abroad crammed into the stadium. Football legend Kazi Salahuddin kindled the torch after some of the country's renowned sports personalities taking part in the torch rally. A cultural ceremony was part of the inaugural gala that included recitation of poems, songs and dance.
The 133-minute opening ceremony has been split into three parts. The first part included march-past, entrance of Games mascot 'Kutumb' - which represents national bird doyel (magpie robin) - and oath taking before Runa Laila rendered the theme song. A display of a riot of colours by some 7,500 performers from different schools, colleges, Bangladesh Army and Ansar and VDP was supposed to take place in the second part. The core and third part of the ceremony would be an acrobatic and laser show, first of its kind in this subcontinent.
State-run Bangladesh Television was airing the ceremony live from the stadium. Photos : Anisur Rahman, AP

Centre gives nod to Rs 5,660 cr worth Flood management projects in WB
PTI, New Delhi, Kolkata, 29 January : The Centre has approved two major flood management projects for West Bengal, including one in the Sundarbans, at a total estimated cost of over Rs 5,660 crore.

A delegation of legislators of all major parties from the state, barring the Trinamool Congress, learnt this when they met Indian Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Friday. After the meeting, state Irrigation Minister Subhas Naskar and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sailen Sarkar told reporters that the Centre had given a techno-economic clearance for the reconstruction of 778-km embankments in the Sundarbans area, which were washed away or damaged in the May 2009 Aila cyclone.
The Centre sanctioned the Rs 5,032 crore financial aid for rehabilitation works in the Sunderbans, said Irrigation Minister Subhas Naskar, adding that Union Irrigation minister Pawan Bansal has also assured to sanction Rs 630 crore for dredging work of Keleghai, Kapaleswari and Baghai in West Midnapore district. File Photos : Indrajit Dutta

Chidambaram convenes meet on Maoists in West Bengal
Kolkata, 29 January : Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram has convened a meeting of Chief Ministers and key officials of four eastern States hit by Maoists extremist activities. The meeting is scheduled to be held on 9 February at the Writer’s Buildings the State Secretariat, West Bengal Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen said.
The meeting will be held two days after a congregation of Chief Ministers in New Delhi, to be held by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The meeting is scheduled to discuss internal security and other common issues.
Sheikh Hasina for pro-people development Mosques
UNB, Dhaka, 29 January : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday said her government wants to establish mosques across the country as center of all pro-people development activities like Masjid-e-Nababi.
She said after inaugurating the newly constructed structure and Minar of Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in the morning. Hasina said there are one or more mosques in each village of the country and there are also Imams and muajjins in the mosques. She said her government wants to utilize these mosques as center for all pro-people development activities like ‘Masjid-e-Nababi’ by relating with all activities of religious matters and human welfare.
The prime minister said the present government is implementing various mosque-based development works and will expand these programmes in the future. File Photo : Focus Bangla

WB's Rural tourism project to be inaugurated 22 February
Kolkata, 29 January : The central and West Bengal governments have joined hands to develop a rural tourism project at Ballabhpur, near Bolpur in Birbhum district, at an expenditure of Rs.70 lakh, state Tourism Minister Manabendra Mukherjee told reporters.
The spot, to be inaugurated 22 February, will provide tourists a respite from urban drudgery with an experience of living in a village ambience. The visitors can relish rural food and live in huts which would, however, have all modern amenities. Mukherjee said the government will play the role of a facilitator and do the marketing. "We will train the locals who will cater to the guests. This will increase rural employment," he said before inaugurating a two-day conference Destination East organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).
West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation (WBTDC) managing director T.V.N. Rao said the tourists can also see for themselves the work of rural artisans making clay models and other handicrafts. The minister said east and north east India received 1.13 million tourists every year.

9 Nepali players participate SA Games, Hurt in lift crash
Dhaka, 29 January : An official and nine players of Nepal, who are here to participate the SA Games, were injured in an elevator crash at a city hotel in the capital.
The injured players were rushed to Square Hospital. The players told reporters that the elevator of the Hotel Imperial fell to the ground tearing its strings. Of the nine athletes, seven are members of Judo team and two others of weightlifting team of Nepal. READ BBC STORY
Six killers stay out of reach
Dhaka, 29 January : None of the remaining six convicted killers of Bangabandhu, now holed up in different countries, could be brought back yet despite Bangladesh government's diplomatic manoeuvres.
The government even does not yet have specific information about the whereabouts of a number of the absconding killers because of their frequent change of location. It already sought assistance from the Interpol in this regard, but for no result. Law Minister Shafique Ahmed, however, yesterday claimed that the government has information about the fugitives and is working to bring them back to face justice.
The six absconding killers are Lt Col (dismissed) Khandaker Abdur Rashid, Lt Col (relieved) Shariful Haque Dalim, Lt Col (retd) Nur Chowdhury, Lt Col (retd) AM Rashed Chowdhury, Capt Abdul Mazed and Risalder Moslehuddin.
Five of the 12 convicted killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman were executed early yesterday at Dhaka Central Jail. Another convict, Aziz Pasha, died in Zimbabwe in 2002.
Sources in the administration and intelligence agencies said the government has specific information about two of the six absconding convicts. Lt Col (retd) AM Rashed Chowdhury now resides in the USA and is trying for getting political asylum in Canada, they said. Another convict Lt Col (retd) Nur Chowdhury, after a long stay in Germany, has also sought political asylum in Canada. No specific information regarding the locations of four others is available, but different sources say they are hiding in Libya, Pakistan, Kenya and Hong Kong.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bangladesh hangs killers of Bangabandhu Sk Mujibur Rahman

People welcome news of execution
Dhaka, 28 January : People of Bangladesh took out processions in the early hours of Thursday at the welcome news of execution of five killers of founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Dhaka's news correspondents say they saw slogan-shouting people celebrating in Old Dhaka and Dhanmondi, Dhaka University campus and Mirpur. Hundreds of people were out on the streets throughout the capital as well as on rooftops near the jail. Students gathered in front of some halls of Dhaka University. Over a hundred others, flashing victory signs and chanting slogans, brought out a rally from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Hall. Photo : Firoz Ahmed
Bangabandhu's assassins hanged
Dhaka, 28 January : Bangladesh has hanged the five ex-Army officers, convicted for assassinating the country's founder Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, almost 35 years after he was killed in a military coup.
The five death row convicts were hanged past midnight (local time), hours after the Supreme Court rejected their review plea, jail officials said. Ex-Lieutenant Colonel Mohiuddin Ahmed (artillery) and ex-Major Bazlul Huda were hanged first as the execution process started late last night while ex-Lieutenant Colonel Syed Faruq Rahman was the third to be executed minutes later. Ex-lieutenant colonels Shahriar Rashid Khan and AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed (lancer) were the last to walk to the gallows.
The entire execution process took just 40 minutes to be completed, though it took 35 years to bring the putsch leaders to justice for the 15 August, 1975 assassination of the fomer president along with most of his family members. Bangabandhu was killed along with his wife and three sons, including 10-year-old Russel. His daughters, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana, survived the carnage as they were abroad at the time of the incident.
The five convicts walked to the gallows after a trial that dragged on for 13 years but six others condemned were still on the run to evade trial even as Bangladesh launched a diplomatic campaign engaging the Interpol to bring them back home. Photos : AP, Reuters

Bangladesh JS offers special prayer, Adjourns until 2 Feb
Dhaka, 28 January : Bangladesh Parliament offered a special prayer of thanksgiving on Thursday for the execution of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's killers, before adjourning until 2 February.
Speaker Abdul Hamid suspended all scheduled business of the day and suspended the session in memory of the country's independence leader and his slain family members. Awami League MP Abdul Awal Saidur Rahman administered the munajat. Prime minister Sheikh Hasina, one of Mujib's two surviving daughters, was present in parliament.

New Coast Guard station commissioned in Little Andaman
PTI, Port Blair, 28 January : Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Bhupinder Singh today lauded the Coast Guard for playing an important role in ensuring the security of maritime zones in and around the islands.
Unveiling a plaque at the commissioning of a new Coast Guard station at Hutbay in Little Andaman, Singh in his speech congratulated Vice-Admiral D K Joshi, commander-in-chief Andaman and Nicobar Command for his contribution. Speaking on the occasion, Joshi highlighted the vulnerability of these islands due to its geographical separation from the mainland and the political, economic and strategic development in the Indian Ocean region.
Setting up of a Coast Guard station at Hutbay will also facilitate effective sea control, he said. File Photo : Ministry of Defence

Journalist detained for cursing at PM Sheikh Hasina
UNB, Rajshahi, 28 January : Police detained a newsman on Thursday for cursing at the prime minister over the executions of five jailed convicts for the murder of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Md Humayun Kabir, Rajshahi bureau chief of the daily Khabar Patra, was heard using abusive language against the prime minister while reading about the executions in the morning, police said. Kabir was picked up from the Rajshahi University's public relations office, Motihar police chief Tofazzal Hossain told reporters.
Trinamool Cong demands immediate ouster of Buddhadeb
PTI, Kolkata, 28 January : With the Trinamool Congress having announced total 'non-cooperation' with West Bengal government, it today demanded the removal of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and fresh assembly elections in the state.
The demand was made by a party's delegation led by Leader of the Opposition Partha Chatterjee to newly appointed Governor M K Narayanan here. "Elections in the state should be held immediately after removing Bhattacharjee," Chatterjee said following the meeting with the governor. He alleged that the CPI(M)-backed goons were attacking people opposed to the Marxist party at places like Salboni, Goaltore in West Midnapore district to gain political footing. He claimed that the bloodshed could not have taken place without the knowledge of the chief minister.
The TMC leader said party supremo Mamata Banerjee had taken up the issue with the central government. File Cartoon, Courtesy The Telegraph

Seven suspected Maoists arrested, one body found
Kolkata, 28 January : Seven suspected Maoist were arrested while the body of one Maoist killed in police firing was discovered in West Midnapore Wednesday, police said.
West Midnapore Superintendent of Police Manoj Verma said the joint forces raided two hideouts of the Left wing extremists, arresting two from Talpukur in Belpahari and five others from Madhupur in Salboni area. A large cache of firearms, ammunition, improvised explosive devices and traditional weapons were recovered from the two spots, he said.
The body of a suspected Maoist was found from Talpukur. "It seems he died in a police shootout," a police source said.
Bird flu spreads to more areas in Murshidabad dist.
IANS, New Delhi, 28 January : While culling continued in bird-flu hit West Bengal, new epicentres have emerged since the government confirmed the virus 14 January, health authorities said here. Nearly 125,751 birds have been culled in the state, authorities said.
Officials also said the avian influenza is spreading to new areas. The government notified the outbreak in Hazrabati and Nagar villages in block Khargram of district Murshidabad 14 Jan and since then more epicentres - Haripur, Ninur, Pathai, Jhajra and Sankarpur - have surfaced in the same block, officials added.

Wriddhiman Saha named in India's Test squad against SA
PTI, Mumbai, 28 January : Ravaged by injuries to key players, India on Thursday infused fresh blood into its Test squad by naming Karnataka pacer Abhimanyu Mithun and West Bengal wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha for the first Test against South Africa beginning in Nagpur on 6 February.
Apart from Mithun and Saha's inclusion, there were no other suprises in the squad announced by BCCI secretary N Srinivasan after a meeting of the selection committee. Dravid, who sustained a face injury in the second Test against Bangladesh, has been advised rest for three weeks while Yuvraj Singh has also been ruled out of the Test series due to an injury to his left wrist.
The South Africans will play two Tests - Nagpur (6-10 February) and Kolkata (14-18 February) and three One-dayers in Jaipur, Kanpur and Ahmedabad during their tour of India.

Mohanti's 'AGP' hints at snapping pre-poll ties with 'BJP'
IANS, Guwahati, 28 January : Former Assam chief minister and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) founder Prafulla Kumar Mahanti has indicated discontinuing the pre-poll understanding with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"We must maintain our secular image and also our regional character. We must understand the desire of the people of Assam in so far as political alignments or re-alignments (are concerned)," Mahanta told IANS. The AGP-BJP alliance suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Congress party during the 2001 assembly elections and also in the 2009 parliamentary polls with the AGP winning just one seat and the BJP in four of the 14 seats in Assam.

Specialised coastal commando force for West Bengal
Kolkata, 28 January : The WB state government is setting up a specialised coastal commando force, one of the very few such police units in the country. The first batch of 120 hand-picked policemen has just returned after quietly training with the elite Marine Commandos of the Indian Navy.
Writers' Buildings is yet to officially christen this elite force, but their area of operation has more or less been laid out West Bengal's coastline and the tough-to-guard riverine areas. It is an indication of the heightened threat perception in West Bengal after the Mumbai 26/11 attack. The state government has been so secretive about this force that no one got wind of a recent visit by a high-level Marcos team to the SAP barracks.
The recruits for the gruelling training course were picked from the State Armed Police (SAP). "The first batch of four teams (30 each) has been training under the Marcos at Vizag since September last year" a senior official at Writers' said. They have been trained in boarding a suspect or hostile craft and neutralising threats.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibu killers walk to gallows by 31 Jan

Dhaka, 27 January : Five convicted killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman would be executed any day before 31 January, Bangladesh Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said on Wednesday.
Five convicts, now behind the bars, are Syed Farooq Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Mohiuddin Ahmed, Bazlul Huda and AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed. After a meeting at the law ministry, Shafique told reporters that the government would execute them as per the jail code. According to law, persons sentenced to death must be executed between 21 and 28 days from the day of issuance of death warrants.
The minister however said two convicts who did not seek mercy to the president could still appeal for mercy. They are Syed Farooq Rahman and Mohiuddin Ahmed. The Appellate Division had earlier dismissed the petitions filed by the five condemned convicts seeking to review the verdict against them. A four-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Md Tafazzul Islam passed the order, clearing the way for the execution.
The Bangladesh Supreme Court on 19 November last year confirmed capital punishment to 12 former army officers including the five. Of the 12 condemned convicts of the case, one has died while six others are on the run.
Shah Rukh Khan says he wanted Pakistani players in IPL
PTI, Mumbai, 27 January : Kolkata Knight Riders have exhausted their quota of foreign cricketers but they would have loved to have Pakistani players in their ranks, co-owner of the IPL franchisee Shah Rukh Khan said today.
"We did have a number of them in the first IPL and in the second, no Pakistani player was allowed to play. This year, we don't have any more slot left. But if we had and they are made available legally, we would have loved to have them," the actor said. "We had one slot this year and we took Shane Bond, because we needed a fast bowler. We would have loved to have any player from any country which would boost our team," Shah Rukh said.

Maoists kill 26-year-old Trinamool man in West Midnapore
Jhargram, 27 January : Suspected Maoists shot dead a Trinamool Congress worker near Jhargram in West Midnapore district.
Police said the bullet-riddled body of 26-year-old Rishi Dolai was found from Barokuria ghat on the Kangsabati river this morning. At least 25 armed Maoists surrounded Dolai's house at Manikpara last night and took him out on gunpoint to the riverside, police said. His hands were tied behind and he was shot on the head from a point blank range. Dolai was an aide of Sk Mintu Ali, a local Trinamool leader, who was killed by Maoists on 7 January.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

MK Narayanan unfurls tri-colour as W Bengal celebrates R-Day

Kolkata, 26 January : Amid stepped-up security, newly appointed West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan unfurled the tricolour and took the salute as the state celebrated India’s 61st Republic Day Tuesday.
Military parades, march pasts, cultural functions and blood donation camps marked the day which was celebrated in cities, towns and villages across the state. The Republic Day parade was held on the arterial Red Road in the city hub with the armed forces showcasing an impressive array of weapons, including F.H. 77 BO2 Bofors guns, Igla 1 M missile and anti-tank guided missile Flame. Smartly turned out armed forces units, police personnel, fire brigade units, schoolchildren and dance troupes regaled spectators during the 90-minute parade in the presence of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, state ministers, bureaucrats, diplomats corps and other dignitaries.
The day was also celebrated at central and state government offices, including the Kolkata Port Trust, South-Eastern Railway and Eastern Railway, civic bodies and educational institutions. Photos : Avijit Mondal

Scholarships to girl students who continue to study after 8
Kolkata, 26 January : The West Bengal government will provide scholarships to girl students who continue to study after Class 8 in a bid to reduce the drop-out rate among girls, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said here Tuesday.
“Most of the girls are not able to continue their studies after Class 8 due to lack of financial support. So, we have decided to provide scholarships to girl students who continue their studies after class 8,” Bhattacharjee said on the closing day of the Vidyasagar fair.

Bangladesh condemns spiralling arms expenditure : Moni
Dhaka, 26 January : Bangladesh Foreign minister Dr Dipu Moni has urged the international community to take genuine steps towards a world free of nuclear weapons, expressing concern at the spiralling expenditure on arms by powerful countries.
Dr Dipu Moni made the call Tuesday addressing the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, of which Bangladesh assumed the presidency this month. The foreign minister referred to "the positive environment prevailing at the global level" and urged the member states "to seize this opportunity to establish a world free from the scourge of nuclear weapons," said a statement by the Bangladesh foreign ministry.
Missing security personnel found dead in Bankura
Bankura, 26 January : An IRB personnel who was suspected to be abducted by Maoists from this district last night was on Tuesday found dead in a nearby jungle while search was on for his colleague, police said.
Superintendent of Police Vishal Garg said Sanjoy Ghosh was found dead in Bhusakana jungle near the Satnala camp. His body has been brought to the camp. Another IRB personnel Ajoy Pande is still missing and suspected to be abducted by Maoists.

Kishenji's laptop has pictures of Maoist groups : DGP
Kolkata, 26 January : Maoist leader Kishenji's laptop, which was seized along with his diary and cell phone in a raid recently, has pictures of the banned group, the state police chief said.
"A lot of interesting things have been found in the laptop of Kishenji. Some information has been retrieved and some remains locked as yet. We are trying to open it," DGP Bhupinder Singh said. The elusive Maoist leader's laptop, diary, mobile phone(+91 9775204358) and SIM card were seized in a raid at a place between Dumurkota and Hatiashole villages in the 'Jangal Mahal' area recently.
"There are video-clippings in the laptop showing pictures of the organisation, personal photos and some details," Singh said, but refused to elaborate.
Hasina announces hefty cash awards for Bangladesh contingent in SAG
APP, Dhaka, 26 January : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday announced hefty cash awards for members of the Bangladesh contingent if they earn “historic” result for the nation in the 11th South Asian (SA) Games to be held in Dhaka from 29 January - 9 February.
Hasina made the announcement in a meeting with players and officials of the Bangladesh contingent for the SA games at the official residence of the Prime Minister. READ FULL STORY
Tripura CPI(M) identifies administrative bottlenecks
Agartala, 26 January : The CPI(M) in Tripura has identified administrative bottlenecks in implementation of government decisions for well being of the common masses while urging party members to intensify mass movements.
Talking to mediapersons CPI(M) state secretary Bijan Dhar said an intensive review was made of the directives of the party central committee on the issues including rectification measures during an extended meeting of the party last week in presence of CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat.
2 'National Liberation Front of Tripura' insurgents surrender in Tripura
Agartala, 26 January : Two insurgents of banned outfits have surrendered to Assam Rifles in Tripura on the eve of the Republic Day, police said today. One of them, Belaram Reang, belonging to the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT), surrendered at Chhamanu in Dhalai district.
He deposited many live cartridges and some documents of the outfit, they said. The other extremist, identified as Pradip Debbarma, a self-styled Corporal of All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) surrendered at Kaikanbai, a tribal hamlet in West Tripura district.
Andaman govt gets permission for acquiring 17new vessels
Port Blair, 26 January : The Government of India has permitted Andaman and Nicobar Administration to acquire 17 new small and medium size vessels for strengthening inter-Island connectivity, Lt Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Bhopinder Singh said today.
Addressing the Republic Day parade at Port Blair, the Lt Governor said shipping services were the lifeline of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and this is the reason why the administration was giving special emphasis on shipping services. ''We have already acquired many vessels and Government of India has now given permission to acquire 17 new vessels, which will be pressed into foreshore sector service,'' he said. The Lt Governor added that one 500 passenger capacity and one 400 passenger capacity vessel will soon join the fleet of Andaman's Shipping Services.
Earlier, the Lt Governor unfurled the National Flag at 8.35 AM at Historic Netaji Stadium after which he presented medals, gallantry awards and distributed LG's Commendation Certificates.

Sachin Tendulkar to attend former Bangladesh cap Ashraful's wedding
Dhaka, 26 January : Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar will top the list of invitees when former Bangladeshi skipper Mohammad Ashraful gets married next year, his father has revealed.
"Sachin will be on top of our invitee list when my son decides to marry. Sachin asked my son what should be brought as a family gift but his visit to our home itself will be the biggest gift for us," The Nation quoted Abdul Matil, as saying. Although several other players have visited Ashraful's house, including former Pakistani player Saeed Anwar and Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh, but Tendulkar's visit stands out in Matil's memory.
28cm sea-level rise to drown Sunderbans : WWF
PTI, New Delhi, 26 January : The increasing global temperature may spell doom for the Sunderban tigers as a WWF study has cautioned that rise of 28 centimetre in sea levels will engulf 96 percent of their habitat.
The findings, though specific for Bangladesh, may be a cause of concern for India as well because the Sunderbans are spread across India and Bangladesh having same ecosystem and tiger population. The increase of 28 cms from the sea levels of the year 2000 will cause 96 percent decline in tiger habitat of Sunderbans in Bangladesh while the number of breeding tigers would be reduced to less than 20, Colby Loucks of WWF-United States said in a paper. "We find that the Sunderbans, and its biodiversity, may be vulnerable to much lower increases in sea level than previously thought," he said.
The researcher say the situation may come in about next 50-90 years if Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimation of sea level rise is taken into consideration. "The Sunderbans are spread across India and Bangladesh with about 5,000 sq kms in Bangladesh and 4,000 sq kms in India. Although the political boundaries define the region, the entire area has similar ecosystem. Any environmental change taking place will have effect on both sides," Joint Director Sunderbans Biosphere Reserve Raju Das told a news agency.
However, some leading tiger experts are not convinced by the study as tides in the area drown considerable part of the reserve in both sides on regular basis. There are estimated 350 Royal Bengal Tigers in the Bangladesh Sunderbans, according to UNESCO. As per estimates of Project Tiger in India, there were 245 striped cats in 2001 census on its Indian side.
On the Indian side, the situation may not be as bad as in Bangladesh as mangrove covers are still safe on Indian coastline in comparison to the other side, experts say.


Monday, January 25, 2010

5 personnel of Joint Forces injured in Maoist attack in Bankura

Bankura, 25 January : Five personnel of the Joint Forces were injured when Maoists attacked two camps in Bankura district tonight, police sources said here. Five personnel were injured when Maoists attacked two camps of the Joint Forces at Chendapathar and Satnala under Barikul police station around 10 PM, the sources said.
The personnel in the two camps retaliated the Maoist firing which continued for around one hour, the sources said. However, IGP(Western Range) Kuldip Singh told Bengal Newz, "he has not received any confirmation about of any injury to any personnel of the Joint Forces from the spot. "Police reinforcements have been rushed to the area, the IGP added. The Joint Forces have been deployed in the area to conduct anti-Maoist operations.

34th International Kolkata Book Fair, 2010 Inaugurated....
Some people are against Kolkata Book Fair : Buddhadeb
Kolkata, 25 January : The shift in venue of the Kolkata book fair from the Maidan, where it had been held for years, to the Milan Mela ground due to environmental concerns was unfair, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said today.
The chief minister was speaking at the inaugural function of the 34th edition of the book fair. Referring to the shifting of the fair to the fair ground on the E M Bypass last year after the High Court had disallowed the 2007 fair, he said it seems that some people are against the holding of the international fair.
"Some people are against the Book Fair in the name of environment. Environment is important, undoubtedly environment is important, but only in the name of environment the book fair was stopped for an year," he said. Photo : Avijit Mondal

Serial explosions in Manipur, Bombs recovered in Assam
IANS, Imphal, Guwahati, 25 January : Serial blasts rocked India's restive northeastern state of Manipur Monday, injuring two police commandos and two civilians, while security forces in adjoining Assam arrested a militant and seized two powerful bombs ahead of the Republic Day.
A police spokesperson said three blasts rocked Manipur in a space of just 20 minutes - two explosions in capital Imphal around 7.30 p.m. Monday close to a police commando housing complex and another at Nambol town in Bishenpur district, 20 km from the capital.
Rangpur made Bangladesh's 7th division
Dhaka, 25 January : Rangpur has been made the Bangladesh's seventh division after Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna, Barisal and Sylhet.
The new division with headquarters in Rangpur comprises eight districts - Rangpur, Kurigram, Dinajpur, Lalmonirhat, Gaibandha, Nilphamari, Thakurgaon and Panchagarh. They were under Rajshahi division before. The announcement came on Monday after a meeting of the National Implementation Committee for Administrative Reorganisation (Nicar) chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
After the meeting, prime minister's Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad told reporters that it was on the election manifesto of the ruling Awami League.
Dhaka Stock Ex keep soaring, Touched new record
Dhaka, 25 January : Dhaka stocks touched new record for a single-day turnover and key index once again on Monday amid concerns of sustainability without supply of new issues.
The premier bourse for the first time crossed the Tk 1.5 billion mark while the benchmark index closed on 5312.44 points, shooting up 3.02% or 155 points. On Sunday, shares worth Tk 14.52 billion changed hands against the earlier record of Tk 14.38 billion, while the benchmark general index or the DGEN closed on 5156.61 points, breaking the height of 5095.21 points in the past session on Thursday. Market experts, however, were sceptical about the sustainability of trend but ruled out a heavy price fall.

Teacher killed by suspected Maoists in W Midnapore
Jhargram, 25 January : A school teacher was gunned down today by suspected Maoists at Jhargram in West Midnapore district.
Guhiram Singh, a CPI(M) member and teacher at Chandabila primary school, was picked up from his house by a group of 40 Maoists and taken to nearby Kadakhota jungle. There he was shot in the head and chest, police said. Passersby noticed the body and informed the police. Posters stating that the teacher was "corrupt" and had been "punished" were recovered from the spot, they said.
This was the second killing in a fortnight under Nayagram police station. Earlier, Bhagwat Singh, a zilla parishad member and resident of Kalmapukuria, was killed by Maoists.
Asia-Pacific maritime navy meet at Andaman on 3 February
Port Blair, 25 January : In a bid to foster bond of friendship across the seas, a biennial conglomeration of Asia-Pacific maritime navies would be organised here on 3 February, Indian navy officials said today.
The six-day event 'Milan', which begins from 3 February, would have participation from Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. The meet assumes significance in view of the increasing maritime trade and security threats, the officials said.
5more BDR men plead guilty
Feni, Dhaka, 25 January : Five more BDR jawans, out of 62 accused, of 19 Rifle Battalion at Joylaskar of Dagonbhuiyan upazila in Feni pleaded guilty on Monday.
They also begged mercy during the second day's hearing on charge framing at the three-member special court, headed by BDR Director General Maj Gen M Mainul Islam. With this, total 58 jawans so far pleaded guilty since Sunday in Feni. Four other accused, however, pleaded not guilty, saying they were not involved with the mutiny. Two other members of the court are BDR officials Lt Col Md Akhteruzzaman and Major Md Maqsudul Alam. Earlier, On 21 December last year, the court fixed 24 January for framing charges in the case and adjourned the trial proceedings till the day.
Some members of the Rifle Battalion under Comilla sector took part in the mutiny by firing blanks and putting up barricades on the road on 26 February following the revolt at the Pilkhana headquarters in Dhaka. Dagonbhuiyan police filed the case against the BDR jawans in this connection.

Indian Coast Guard drops anchor at '10 degree channel'
UNI, Port Blair, 25 January : In order to monitor movement of ships and safeguard the sea lanes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands the Indian Coast Guard is all set to commission a new Coast Guard station at Hut Bay Islands of South Andaman.
Hut Bay Islands, the last Islands of Andaman Group, are situated nearly 100 km away from Port Blair, the capital city and also very close to crucial ten degree channel, which is frequented by hundreds of foreign and Indian cargo ships. ''The new station will help us in strengthening and extending our capabilities in this remote archipelago,'' Public Relations Officer of Andaman and Nicobar Coast Guard Region Commandant Vijay Singh told UNI today.
The Commandant said the new station will help the Coast Guard for better coordination, operation and exercise in South Andaman region. ''This will also minimise the time needed to travel from Port Blair as from the new Hut Bay station our ships can move immediately,'' Commandant Singh added.
The new Coast Guard station has been established under the new coast security norms, in which the Andaman and Nicobar Coast Guard region has got sanction for two new Coast Guard stations. The first among these two is the one of Hut Bay. With this new station the Coast Guard is hoping to build a more strong information network with the local fishermen of Hut Bay for the intelligence gathering. Highly placed sources told UNI that the Coast Guard of Andaman and Nicobar Region is hoping to get more manpower and two ships sanctioned for the Hut Bay Coast Guard station.
The Coast Guard's new station will be commissioned by Lt Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Bhopinder Singh on 28 January, at Hut Bay.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mayankote K Narayanan sworn in as Governor of West Bengal

Kolkata, 24 January : Former Indian national security advisor M K Narayanan was today sworn in as the West Bengal Governor by Kolkata High Court Chief Justice M S Shah at the 'Throne Room' of the Raj Bhavan here.
Speaking about his new assignment after the oath-taking, the former intelligence chief said, "I am a civil servant. So it came as a surprise to me. It is a high point in my career. I am confident of justifying my assignment by the President and the Prime Minister." 76-year-old Mayankote Kelath Narayanan, hailing from Palakkad district of Kerala, succeeds Gopal Krishna Gandhi.
From 1987 to 1990, Narayanan was chief of Intelligence Bureau (IB) before heading the Joint Intelligence Committee. He became the IB chief again in 1991 and retired in 1992. He was also Special Advisor for Internal Security to the PM. Photo : PTI

Siliguri, 24 January : People stand on a broken embankment of river Panchanoi at Sukna village on the outskirts of Siliguri.
A meeting of four of the world's fastest-growing carbon emitters on Sunday ahead of a 31 January deadline for countries to submit their action plans to fight climate change may discuss a climate fund for poorer nations. The meeting would be attended by the environment ministers of Brazil, South Africa, India and China -- the so-called BASIC bloc of nations that helped broker a political accord at last month's Copenhagen climate summit. Photos : Reuters
Forty Feni BDR men pleaded guilty in the mutiny case
Dhaka, 24 January : Forty of 62 BDR jawans of 19 Rifle Battalion at Joylaskar of Dagonbhuiyan upazila in Feni pleaded guilty in the mutiny case on Sunday.
They also sought mercy from the Special Court-3 of Bangladesh Rifles after prosecutor Lt Col Gazi Md Salah Uddin, commander of the 19 Rifle Battalion in Feni, read out the charges brought against the BDR men. Twenty-two others accused pleaded not guilty, saying they were not involved with the mutiny, reports a correspondent from Feni. The three-member court headed by BDR Director General Maj Gen M Mainul Islam began the hearing on the charge framing at the 19 Rifle headquarters at Joylaskar.
Earlier, On 21 December last year, the court fixed Sunday for framing charges in the case and adjourned the trial proceedings till the day.

Assam rail track blown up,2 rebels killed in shootouts
Guwahati, 24 January : Passengers of the Arunachal Express had a narrow escape Sunday as a powerful explosion ripped apart a stretch of the railway track some 30 minutes before the train was to pass that area in Assam, officials said. Two militants were also killed in separate shootouts in the state.
A police spokesperson said the blast occurred early Sunday near Dekamishing village in Dhemaji district, about 370 km east of Assam's main city of Guwahati. "The explosion led to a big crater with at least 10 metres of the railway track damaged in the blast," a police official said.

Supreme Court adjourns hearing review pleas till Monday
Dhaka, 24 January : The Dhaka Supreme Court on Sunday adjourned for a day the hearing on review petitions filed by five death-row convicts in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman assassination case.
The four-member bench of the Appellate Division, headed by Chief Justice Md Tafazzul Islam, fixed Monday morning for further hearing on the petitions. The apex court adjourned the hearing following separate time prayers moved by the lawyers of the convicts --Syed Farooq Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan and Mohiuddin Ahmed. Their counsels Khan Saifur Rahman and Abdur Razzak Khan appealed to the court to adjourn the hearing so that they can take preparations for placing arguments on behalf of their clients.
Meanwhile, barrister Abdullah Al Mamun, counsel for convicts Bazlul Huda and AKM Mohiuddin, prayed to court to give any other punishment except death sentence to his clients.

Somnath Chatterjee hospitalised with chest infection
Kolkata, 24 January : Former Indian Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee has been admitted to a private hospital in south Kolkata with chest infection.
"He is stable. And there is no immediate cause for concern," AMRI hospital Dhakuria medical superintendent Sumon Ghosh told Bengal Newz. The 80-year-old Chatterjee was admitted to a private cabin late on Saturday with fever, cough and cold under the treatment of chest specialist Subhasish Ghosh. "He has been put on antibiotics. He is fully conscious," Ghosh said.
Chatterjee, a former parliamentarian of repute, presided over the Lok Sabha from 2004 to 2009. He was expelled from CPI(M) in 2008 for presiding over a Lok Sabha trust vote in mid-2008 disregarding a diktat from the party to step down from the speaker's post after it withdrew outside support to the Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government over the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

Duty-free cars for B'desh MPs again
Dhaka, 24 January : Bangladesh's lawmakers are getting back the privilege of importing duty-free vehicles.
They will however not be allowed to bring in luxury cars as many legislators in the past did so only to sell those for tidy sums, rendering the privilege controversial. This time MPs will be entitled to cars with engines measuring up to 1800cc, SUVs 3000cc and microbuses 2000cc, officials at Parliament Secretariat said yesterday. They will receive Tk 40,000 a month to pay for chauffer's salary, fuel and maintenance.
The decisions were made at a meeting chaired by Speaker Abdul Hamid on Tuesday. Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shafique Ahmed, establishment and finance secretaries and National Board of Revenue (NBR) officials were present at the meeting.