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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wall Street Journal says Bangladesh is no more a 'basket case'

BSS, Dhaka, 30 Septembr : Nearly four decades after US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger dubbed Bangladesh a bottomless basket, the largest circulated newspaper of his country the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has said the South Asian nation was no more a `basket case'.
"For the outside world, much of the country's (Bangladesh) history can be summed up as a blur of political protests and natural disaster punctuated by outbursts of jihadis violence and occasional coup', said a nearly 1,000-word analysis of the world's most read newspaper, which is regarded for its in-depth coverage of international business and politics. It further noted that "Nearly 40-year ago, only the most reckless optimist would have bet on flood-prone, war-ravaged Bangladesh over relatively stable and prosperous Pakistan", read the analysis written by WSJ columnist Sadanand Dhume in the current issue of the journal.
The WSJ comments came days after US President Barrack Obama congratulated Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for the country's MDG (millennium development goal) achievements.

Allahabad HC orders '3-way division' on disputed 'Ayodhya'
PTI, Lucknow, 30 Septembr : The Allahabad High Court on Thursday ruled by a majority verdict that the disputed land in Ayodhya be divided equally into three parts among Hindus and Muslims and that the place where the makeshift temple of Lord Ram exists belongs to Hindus.
In their separate judgements on the sensitive 60-year-old title dispute on Ramjanambhoomi-Babri Masjid structure, Justices S.U. Khan and Sudhir Agarwal said that the area under the central dome of the three-domed structure where Lord Ram’s idol exists belongs to Hindus. The majority in the three-judge Lucknow bench also ruled that status quo should be maintained at the disputed place for three months.
Justices Khan and Agarwal decreed that the 2.7-acre land comprising the disputed site should be divided into three equal parts and be given to Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and the party representing ‘Ram Lalla Virajman’ (the Ram deity).
However, the third judge Justice D.V. Sharma ruled that that the disputed site is the birth place of Lord Ram and that the disputed building constructed by Mughal emperor Babar was built against the tenets of Islam and did not have the character of the mosque. READ BBC STORY

West Bengal parties refuse to comment on Ayodhya verdict
IANS, Kolkata, 30 September : Political leaders in West Bengal Thursday appealed for peace and harmony and refrained from commenting on the Allahabad High Courts Ayodhya verdict.
West Bengal’s ruling Left Front partners said they would comment on the issue only after discussing it with party leaders and legal experts. “I won’t comment on the verdict right now. First we will discuss about the verdict within our party and with legal experts, then we will comment on the issue," senior Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Mohammad Salim told IANS.
“We will speak on the issue after discussion within the party and not before that,” said Trinamool Congress leader Partha Chatterjee.

Wakf Board to move Supreme Court against ALH HC order
PTI, Lucknow, 30 Septembr : Sunni Wakf Board today said it will move the Supreme Court against the Allahabad High Court order dividing the disputed land in Ayodhya among three parties and said they were not going to surrender it.
"We will appeal against the division of disputed land among three parties," Board lawyer Zafaryab Jilani told reporters here. "HC's formula of one-third land is not acceptable to the Waqf Board and it will appeal against it in the apex court," he said.

Northeastern states ask for effective industrial policy pack'
Agartala, 30 Septembr : The northeastern states have sought a time-bound and assured incentive package from the central government for industrial development in the region, Tripura Industries and Commerce Minister Jitendra Chowdhury said here Thursday.
The demand was raised by the northeast industries and commerce ministers in separate meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma in New Delhi Tuesday. The incentive package scheme under the North East Industrial Policy (NEIP), 1997, which was announced by the central government for the northeastern states, was re-introduced as the North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP), 2007.

Soon, solar power will light up billboards, in Kolkata city
Kolkata, 30 Septembr : The West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) has finally decided to take steps against the bill boards and hoardings that are mushrooming in the city. To begin with, from November, the WBPCB will make it mandatory for all the billboards in the city to be put off after 10 pm.
Following this, the WBPCB is embarking on another ambitious plan of minimising carbon emission from the diesel generators, which are used to light up the billboards. The board will make it mandatory for the advertisement firms to switch over to solar power for running the display ads at night. The board has formed a committee comprising representatives from the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), the Urban Development Ministry and the Municipal Corporations of Howrah, Siliguri, Asansol and Durgapur to implement the plans.
The KMC will lead the way in putting up hoardings run by solar power. “The committee has already finalising the new policy on advertisements in the municipal areas, specially in case of hoardings and billboards,” said Biswajeet Mukherjee, Chief Law Officer of the West Bengal PCB.
Sudden outbreak of Hepatitis-A epidemic in Agartala areas
Agartala, Sep 30 : Authorities have issued alert among both health establishments and citizens following spread of Hepatitis A virus in Agartala and its adjacent areas over the past two months.
According to report, as many as 32 positive cases of Hepatitis A were detected among 45 random samples collected from Agartala during the past two months. Experts have advised to drink water after due purification and filtering.
BRRI to release short duration Aman rice variety next year
BSS, Dhaka, 30 Septembr : Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) is working to launch a short duration and draught tolerant Aman variety next year to increase the overall rice production in the country.
"After getting approval from the National Seed Board, the new variety of Aman will reach the farmers across the country by next year", said the BRRI scientists at a press conference at the Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) here today on the eve of celebrating 40 years of the Institute tomorrow. The existing Aman varieties including BR-10, BR-11 and BRRI dhan-30 need 135-145 days to complete harvest and due to its long duration the crop is affected by early drought.
On the other hand, the short duration Aman crop would need maximum 100-105 days to complete the harvest and protect the crop from early drought, they said adding that the variety would bring good results in Jessore, Kushtia, Jhenidah and Rajshahi already identified as the early drought prone area of the country.
detailing the outstanding contribution of BRRI to the country's increased rice production since its establishment in 1970, the Director General of BRRI, Dr Md Abdul Mannan said "BRRI so far has developed 57 high-yielding rice varieties including 4 hybrids having 2-3 times higher yield potential than the traditional rice varieties".
The institute has developed more than 50 improved technologies on soil, water, fertilizer and cultural practice of rice, said the official.

Ayodhya case: Will HC succeed in settling decade-old dispute?

PTI, Lucknow, 30 Septembr : Will the Allahabad High Court succeed in settling the dispute over the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid, which has remained unresolved for decades ?
This is the question on top of several minds as the nation awaits with bated breath the verdict in the six-decade- old legal dispute over the ownership of the land where the 1528-built Babri Masjid once stood. The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court, comprising Justices D V Sharma, Sudhir Agarwal and S U Khan, is slated to pronounce the verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit at 3:30 PM.
The High Court here has been turned into a virtually impregnable fortress and only the parties to the legal dispute and their lawyers will be allowed entry to Court Number 21 where the three judges will pronounce their verdict.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Controversial law "AFSPA" extended for Six months in Tripura

IANS, Agartala, 29 September : Tripura has extended for another six months the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), citing militant activities along the border with Bangladesh, an official said Wednesday.
"Though terrorism has come down in Tripura significantly, the government is averse to taking any chances for some more time," a home department official told IANS. The controversial anti-terror law enacted 52 years ago gives sweeping powers to the security forces to curb terrorism. "In some areas of the state bordering Bangladesh, the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) are active," the official added. Of the 64 police stations in Tripura, the AFSPA is in force in 34 police stations and partially in six since 1997.
"The state level coordination committee, supervising the anti-insurgency operation, reviewed the overall situation and suggested to extend AFSPA's term by six months. The government has accepted the recommendation," the official said. Human rights activists and tribal based political parties describe the act as "draconian" and want its repeal.

B'desh hopes for shooting gold at Commonwealth Games
Dhaka, 29 September : Bangladeshi shooters who win a gold in the Commonwealth Games will get a reward of one million taka (over $14,000). The 10m Air Rifle is Bangladesh’s hope for a gold medal. The shooters will also compete in individual events, The Daily Star said Wednesday.
“Our shooters have put up good performances in training and all of them have improved their scores. Now it is time for them to prove their mettle on the stage,” said shooting federation general secretary Istiaque Ahmed Bablu.

Indian Foundry Association to start foundry park in Howrah
Kolkata, 29 September : The Indian Foundry Association (IFA) would begin production at its proposed foundry park on the Ranihati-Amta Road in Howrah district in the next six to 12 months, a top IFA official said here Wednesday.
"Out of 926 acres, 552 acres has been purchased out of which only 77 acres have been received by the route of acquisition and the balance has been bought by direct negotiation and amicable settlement with the land owners," Pawan Sureka, IFA chairman, said during the 59th annual general meeting of the company. The construction work for setting up foundries is expected to start from December 2010.
Sureka said the lease deed of 77 acres is yet to be received from West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation, without which, "the 67 plots allocated cannot commence setting up of foundries."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Don't send troops to Afghanistan, Talibans warns Bangladesh

Dhaka, 28 September : The Afghan Talibans have warned Bangladesh against deployment of its army to assist the coalition forces fighting them in Afghanistan.
The Times of India, citing the international news agency AFP, on Tuesday ran a report where it said that the Talibans implored the Bangladesh government to reject a US request for sending troops to the war-ravaged south Asian country. The request, which is yet to be accepted by Dhaka, was made by US envoy Richard Holbrooke during his talks in New York with Bangladesh foreign minister Dr Dipu Moni.
The Talibans responded by posting messages in Arabic and Pashto on its website while Jihadist forums called on Dhaka to spurn the US request, the US monitoring service SITE said. File Photo : AFP

Bangladesh govt to prepare ECCO report within six month
BSS, Dhaka, 28 September : Bangladesh with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has taken initiative to prepare the state of environment report of the country focusing on eco-system and adaptation strategies.
The report namely "Bangladesh Environment and Climate Change Outlook" (ECCO) will focus on various thematic areas of environment and climate change as mentioned in the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP). The report will be prepared and submitted to the government within six months.

Junior doctors call off strike
Kolkata, 28 September : Junior doctors of four hospitals in Kolkata called off their four-day strike Tuesday after getting assurances by the police that necessary steps will be taken to beef up security on the hospital campus.
"We decided to call off the strike after we were assured by the police that security inside the hospital campus will be increased adequately," said Gourango Pramanik, a junior doctor and convenor of the Junior Doctors Union at Seth Sukhlal Karnani Memorial (SSKM) Hospital. The junior doctors went on strike Saturday after being assaulted by the relatives of a patient for negligence in treatment. The striking doctors later assaulted reporters at the hospital campus, accusing them of biased reporting. Following the incident, five doctors were arrested but later released on bail.
A meeting of the representatives of junior doctors was held with the officials of Kolkata Police Tuesday, following which doctors at SSKM called off the strike. The junior doctors of Calcutta National Medical College (CNMC), Calcutta Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) and R.G. Kar Medical College and Hospital also followed suit.

BD plans to bring rural people under digital Tele Network
BSS, Sangsad Bhaban, 28 September : Bangladesh government has undertaken a plan to expand digital exchange facilities from upazila to village level to bring rural people under the digital telephone network.
"Outside of the upazila headquarters, many digital telephone exchanges have already been set up at trade centers or growth centers by the Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited(BTCL)," Post and Telecommunications Minister Raziuddin Ahmed told the House today. Replying to a question from treasury bench member Md Shahiduzzaman Sarkar, the minister said the BTCL has also a plan to set up digital exchanges at some growth centers and upazila headquarters, replacing the analogue exchanges.
Mamata's visit to Darjeeling political : Asok Bhattacharya
Kolkata, 28 September : State Urban Development Minister Asok Bhattacharya today dubbed Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee's two-day visit to Darjeeling as political and not connected to development.
Asok Bhattacharya said the existing toy train in the hills was irregular while work on rail connectivity to Sikkim has not begun even six months after laying of the foundation."From this people can imagine how far she is interested in development and committed to keeping her assurances to the hill people," he told reporters.
Government has no plan to scrap caretaker system: Hasina
BSS, New York, 28 September : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said her government so far had no plan to scrap the caretaker government system despite the "bitter experiences" of the past two years of interim regime.
"We have not thought about changing the system," she told a press meet at Bangladesh Permanent Mission in New York yesterday at the fag end of her nine-day tour of the United States to join the 65th UN General Assembly. But, she said, there was no denying the fact that "everybody is annoyed with the bitter experience of the past two years of interim regime in the name of the caretaker government."
B'desh to set up "rubber board" for optimizing production
BSS, Md Enamul Haque, Dhaka, 28 September : State Minister for Environment and Forests Dr Hasan Mahmud said here today that the government has decided to constitute a 'rubber Board' to optimize the production of rubber by streamlining the management of the sector to meet the growing local and international demand of the product.
"Bangladesh is already exporting rubber and its volume is expected to rise in the years to come, as it is an integral part of industrial development. Its use has increased with the development of new technology and applications," Dr Hasan Mahmud told BSS. The government has already undertaken a number of steps including rubber plantation under its social forestry programme. Under the programme, a poor man would be provided with an acre of land where 100 rubber trees and 100 other trees will be planted. It has been estimated that the lessees would earn about Taka 15,000 per month from the sale of rubber alone.
To increase production of rubber, Dr Mahmud said the government is planning to introduce hybrid rubber plants that will produce more rubber than the present ones. A hybrid plant would produce 24 kilos of rubber juice per year, the state minister added.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Mamata to request Prime Minister Manmohan to visit Darjeeling

PTI, Darjeeling, 27 September : Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said she will request Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit Darjeeling and submit a report to him seeking a special package for the Hills but virtually rejected the Gorkhaland demand by GJM.
“I understand you have suffered a lot and have been neglected over the years for lack of development. What you require is a special package, which I would like to request the prime minister to announce for you,” Ms. Banerjee said addressing people at the Darjeeling railway station.
“On my return to Delhi, I will submit a report to the prime minister urging for a special package for the Hill people here which you need most. After the Commonwealth Games, I will talk to him about you,” she said.
Starting her speech in Nepali to wide applause, she said such special packages were also needed for the people of Telengana, Bundelkhand and ‘Junglemahal’ to dispel poverty and underdevelopment.
She said she had held talks with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, but the Gorkhaland demand was not discussed. Photos : AFP
Dhaka to Delhi : Crack down on drug factories near border
IANS, Dhaka, 27 September : Bangladesh has urged India to crack down on factories that make the banned Phensedyl syrup near the border. Two million bottles of Phensedyl were seized in 2009.
Popular with drug addicts, the banned syrup is being smuggled by organised drug peddlers and individuals visiting India. Its consumption and smuggling have increased in the recent months, New Age newspaper said on Monday. The syrup, the ingredients of which include codeine phosphate and ephedrine, has been smuggled into Bangladesh, according to the narcotics control department. In March, Bangladesh Rifles handed over to its Indian counterparts a list of 32 Phensedyl factories on the Indian side of the border and sought action against them.
But BDR sources claim that steps were yet to be taken to address the issue. Senior border guard officials of both sides, who met here Sunday, expressed concern over continued smuggling of different types of drugs, including heroin and Phensedyl, said a Bangladeshi official who attended the meeting. Photo : UNB

Supreme Court issue notice to WB in Nandigram firing case
IANS, New Delhi, 27 September : The Supreme Court Monday issued notice to the West Bengal government on a petition by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seeking to proceed against police officers who were found guilty of the Nandigram firing in 2007.
The Calcutta High Court had ordered the CBI probe which was challenged by the state government before the apex court. The apex court then asked the investigating agency to complete the investigation but not to launch prosecution of the officers prima facie found guilty. The notice was issued by the apex court bench headed by Justice R.V. Raveendran.

B'desh to open missions in 10 cities in different countries
BSS, Dhaka, 27 September : Bangladesh would open its diplomatic missions in 10 cities in different countries of the world in the current fiscal year, State Minister for Environment and Forests Dr Hasan Mahmud told the House on behalf of Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni.
"The Prime Minister has given approval in principle to open Bangladesh missions in Kabul of Afghanistan, Free Town of Sierra Leon, Abuja of Nigeria, Lisbon of Portugal, Port Luis of Mauritius, Beirut of Lebanon, Kunming of China, Milan of Italy, Copenhagen of Denmark and Mexico City of Mexico," he said in reply to a written question from Jatiya Party lawmaker Mujibul Haque.
Besides, he said, the Prime Minister has also endorsed in principle to reopen Bangladesh's missions in Brazil, Algeria, Poland and Romania. "Steps have also been undertaken to open deputy high commissions in Mumbai, Chennai and Guwahati in India and a mission in Vienna in Austria, Mahmud said.

Five junior doctors arrested at city's premier SSKM hospital
Kolkata, 27 September : Five junior doctors were arrested at the city's premier SSKM hospital for allegedly assaulting relatives of patients after denying them admission, police said today.
Cases have been registered under two non-bailable sections of the IPC against the junior doctors of the state-run SSKM hospital late last night after they allegedly assaulted relatives of a few patients, who were denied admission in the emergency wards and other casualty wards on the third day of the medicos ceasework. The authorities of SSKM has called an emergency meeting to review the situation arising out of the medicos ceasework that severely affected hospital services, inconveniencing hundreds of patients.
The medicos strike, which spread to National Medical College and Hospital another state-run hospital, has been continuing without any sign of settlement in sight. The medicos went on a lightning strike and ceased work four days ago demanding security after one of the colleagues was assaulted by a patient party after the patient died due to alleged negligence.
State health secretary has called an emergency meeting of the heads of medical colleges in the city to discuss measures to increase security of junior doctors and other staff. File Photo : PTI

Now CPI also demands new 'Land Acquisition Act of 1894'
Kolkata, 27 September : CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan Sunday said his party wants a new land acquisition act that "will benefit the poor, the farmers and the displaced".
"We want a new land acquisition act. We cannot go ahead with this old act made during the time of British rule. We want an act that will benefit the poor, the farmers and the displaced," Bardhan said. The issue of land acquisition has turned the tide against the state's ruling Left Front and led to a series of electoral triumphs of the Trinamool Congress.
The Land Acquisition Amendment Bill, which seeks to amend the Land Acquisition Act of 1894, provides for mandatory social impact assessment for any acquisition resulting in large-scale displacement.

Reformed hunter Deb battles to save Bangladesh's wildlife
AFP, Srimongal, 27 September : Sitesh Ranjan Deb says his transformation from hunter to conservationist was triggered 20 years ago when he was attacked by a Himalayan black bear while out stalking deer.

Sitesh, from northeastern Bangladesh, stumbled on the sleeping beast. It lashed out, severely damaging his face and one eye, and only emergency surgery saved his life.
During many long months of recovery, Sitesh decided to give up hunting - his family's profession for generations - in favour of saving ill and endangered animals. He has since become the nation's leading conservationist, devoted to saving what remains of the Lawachara forest, a threatened national reserve near his home. “I lost one eye in that attack, but it changed the way I wanted to relate to wildlife,” he told AFP at his home in Srimongal, where he runs a renowned animal rescue centre.
“Many of the species I grew up with - wild boars, leopards - are hardly ever seen now. These animals are in their last days." “Illegal logging has damaged the forest so much there is no food for the animals. Unless we act now, they'll be gone forever in a few years.”Sitesh, 62, nurses injured wild animals brought to him by villagers back to health and also appears regularly on television shows campaigning for better public attitudes towards wild animals. If possible, he releases the animals back into the jungle, while others he keeps in his small zoo – including two hand-raised Himalayan black bears after the mother was killed, a 5.5 metre (18 foot) python and a rare albino fishing cat.
Some 200 kilometres (125 miles) northeast of the capital Dhaka, Lawachara forest was once home to more than 460 species of animal, according to the government. But decades of illegal logging and human encroachment for farming mean only 1,250 hectares (five square miles) of forest now remain, and even there, the tree-cover is not dense enough to support many species.
Experts say it has shrunk by 90 percent as a three-fold increase in Bangladesh's population in the last four decades has taken its toll, turning previously dense forest into small islands surrounded by villages. Photo : AFP


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Centre, WB agree to declare 164km rly line as elephant corridor

Kolkata, 26 Septmber : Indian Railways and the Wildlife officials of both the West Bengal government and Centre today unanimously agreed to declare the entire 164-km stretch between Siliguri and Alipurdiar on the North East Frontier Railway as an “elephant corridor” and put a speed restriction of 45 kmph on all the trains - day and night.
Both the sides formulated and agreed on a number of other steps to prevent recurrence of such animal dashing by speeding trains, official sources said. On Wednesday night as many as seven elephants were knocked dead by a speeding goods train at Moraghat on this stretch.
Apparently, the Railway Board, as directed by Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, sent an advisory to the railway officials in North Bengal to enforce the speed restrictions and also ensure that the drivers running trains on this stretch are vigilant enough to prevent a recurrence. File Photo : PTI

US representative seek Bangladesh troops for Afghanistan
AFP, Dhaka, 26 Septmber : The United States has urged Bangladesh to send combat troops to Afghanistan to help the multinational effort bring stability to the war-torn country, Dhaka's foreign ministry said Sunday.
The request was made during meetings in New York between Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni and the United States Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke. Holbrooke said the US needed the "help of friends like Bangladesh" to ensure security in Afghanistan, according to a government statement released in Dhaka. "He sought for any kind of help like deploying combat troops, providing economic and development assistance or giving training among the law enforcement agencies," it said.
Dr Moni said the government would consider the request. Bangladesh is a major contributor to United Nations peacekeeping missions around the world, but has no troops in Afghanistan. File Photo : AFP

Khairul Haque appointed new Chief Justice of Bangladesh
Dhaka, 26 Septmber : Bangladesh President Mohd Zillur Rahman today appointed A B M Khairul Haque as the country''s new Chief Justice.
66-year-old Haque, a judge of the Appellate Division, will assume office on Thursday following the retirement of incumbent Mohammad Fazlul Karim on Wednesday, an official statement said. In 1998, Haque was appointed as an additional judge in the High Court Division of the Supreme Court and after two years he was elevated as a judge. He became a judge of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on 16 July, 2009.

GJM delegation meets Mamata, submits charter of demand
UNI, Darjeeling, 26 Septmber : A 27-member GJM delegation led by its chief Vimal Gurung and secretary Roshan Giri today met Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is on a two-day visit to this hill station.
Talking to media, after the meeting, Roshan Giri said the GJM delegation discussed various issues pertaining to the development of hills and also urged Ms Banerjee to include Terrai and Doars into interim council. The Railway Minister appealed for peace in the hills and asked the GJM leaders follow democratic means of protest. On the memorandum submitted by the delegation, Mamata said she would look into the matter and discuss the same with Home Minister P Chidambaram as well as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Besides GJM, Bharati Tamang, wife of slain Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League(ABGL) leader Madam Tamang, also meet the Trinamool Chief and urged for an CBI inquiry in her husband's murder case. Ms Banerjee assured Ms Tamang that she will discuss the issue with the Central Government. Photos : AFP

Bangladesh anthrax outbreak hits Beef & Leather industry
AFP, Dhaka, 26 Septmber : Bangladesh's government says it has gone onto a war footing to combat a major outbreak of anthrax that has infected hundreds of people and threatens to wreak havoc on the country's beef industry.
Anthrax does not spread directly from one infected human or animal to another, but is spread through spores. Humans can contract anthrax from handling diseased animals or eating infected meat. A high-level government committee tasked with containing the outbreak before the mid-November Muslim festival of Eid al-Azha, traditionally celebrated with the mass slaughter of animals, has been formed.
North East’s enrolment rate in higher education increasing
IANS, Agartala, 26 Septmber : Enrolment levels in higher education in urban areas of the northeastern region are higher than the national average, University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman Sukhadeo Thorat has said.
The enrolment ratio in higher education in urban areas is 27.58 percent and the national average is 27.08 percent. However, he said, the all-India enrolment rate in higher education in rural areas was 8.40 percent and 5.20 percent in the northeastern region. “Over the years, the northeastern region has made considerable progress in the higher education. Compared with the all India enrolment rate of 13.59 percent, the enrolment rate for post higher secondary education for the region is 9.46 percent,” Thorat told reporters late Saturday.
Pranab launches pension scheme for unorganised sector
PTI, Jangipur, 26 Septmber : Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today launched a new pension scheme for workers in the unorganised sector who do not have access to the social security net.
"I launched the scheme today to coincide with the 78th birthday of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. This scheme will help those who are not covered under any social security scheme," Mukherjee said after unveiling the programme at a function here in Murshidabad district.
Under the scheme named 'Swabalamban', the subscribers would get Rs 1,000 from the government each year for a subscription amount of Rs 12,000 per year. The particular scheme would remain valid for this financial year and for the next three consecutive fiscals. The finance minister had already allocated Rs 100 crore for this scheme in the budget for 2010-11.

Rack panel collapses in Chennai-bound aircraft, no injured
PTI, Chennai, 26 Septmber : An overhead luggage compartment panel in an Indian Airlines flight from Port Blair to Chennai collapsed during landing at the Chennai airport today but no one was injured.
The rack panel in the economy class of flight IC-550 gave in but some alert passengers immediately held the falling panel. A team of journalists from Bangalore were among the passengers travelling on board the A-320 aircraft from Port Blair to Chennai.

Bangladesh discovers gas field with huge reserves in NE'
IANS, Dhaka, 26 Septmber : A new gas field with a possibility of a two to three trillion cubic feet (tcf) reserve has been found in Bangladesh, an official said.
The gas structure in the Sunamganj-Netrakona districts of the northeastern region has been discovered by the state-run Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration Company (Bapex). The company is preparing to drill an exploratory well in the new oil and gas structure determined after a survey, Bapex Managing Director Mortuza Ahmad Faruque told The Daily Star Sunday. ‘This is a high prospect zone. It is located in the Surma basin. The Bibiyana field is located in the eastern part of this basin while this zone is located in the western part. This zone has all the geological characteristics required for oil or gas deposits. The size of this structure can accommodate two to three tcf gas,’ said Faruque.

The structure has been given the name ‘Sunetra’ combining the names of Sunamganj and Netrokona as the structure spreads across both the districts. Bapex is now preparing a high priority proposal for the government to drill one exploratory well in March-April next year at a cost of $11.5 million in Fulor village in Sunamganj by the Monai river.
This could be the biggest find by the lone Bangladeshi exploration company that had over the years discovered 10 small to medium fields. The biggest field discovered by Bapex so far is in Shahbazpur in Bhola that has around 600 billion cubic feet (bcf) reserve, the newspaper said. Gas from this field can be made available to Netrokona or Mymensingh within a couple of years. The energy ministry is already working on a pipeline project on priority basis to transmit the new find.
The structure was discovered through a seismic survey covering a line of 260 km conducted last year and earlier this year. The interpretation of the survey data was completed in July and Bapex submitted it to its parent company Petrobangla. Bangladesh has high gas reserves, but says that it is short of gas and signed a contract with India this year to import it.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

PM Sheikh Hasina raises issue of trial of 'War Criminals' at UN

UNB, New York, 25 September : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday formally raised the issue of trial of war criminals at the United Nations, saying the International Crimes Tribunal has been set up to try persons responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity during Bangladesh’s war of liberation in 1971.
“This action is in accord with the rule of law as reflected in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which we have ratified and which aims at bringing to justice the perpetrators of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity,” she said in her speech at the world body. Hasina said: “I believe that only justice can heal the unforgivable, deadly wrongs of the past.” She also recalled the evil act of terror on 15 August 1975 that took the life of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and 18 members of her family.
She said Bangladesh has been extending support to the UN’s efforts in establishing democracy, human rights, peace and security also by taking effective steps in combating terrorism and external threats worldwide. Photo : AFP, Reuters

Protect, improve traditional knowledge of N-E India : Patil
Agartala, 25 September : President of India Pratibha Patil here Saturday made a fervent appeal for everyone to properly document, conserve and perfect the traditional knowledge of the northeast region of India.
“The northeastern states are known for their reservoirs of traditional knowledge in many areas. Efforts should be made to identify this knowledge, document it, conserve it and improve it,” Patil said here at the eighth convocation of the Tripura University. Appreciating the best traditional techniques in northeast handicrafts, she said: “The universities and others (concerned) across the region can think of new manufacturing methods, design, product development to help artisans.” The president was the chief guest at the convocation, which was attended by Tripura governor, chief minister and University Grants Commission chairman, among others.
Patil said: “The (Indian) government has launched a National Skill Development Mission (NSDM) to create 500 million skilled people by the year 2022.” The president said: “Despite different cultural heritage of different communities and tribes in Tripura, through multifaceted interface they have mingled into a single whole, giving birth to a unique cultural genre, helping to forge a strong nation.” Photos : Parthajit Dutta

Withdraw joint forces from Lalgarh soon: Mamata to Centre
Singur, 25 September : Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee at a meeting in Singur said the party will give the Centre a few days’ time to withdraw the joint-forces from Lalgarh.
“We have decided to give the government 2-3 days’ time to withdraw forces from Lalgarh as the CPI(M) cadres are taking advantage of their presence to kill our workers and recapture Jungle Mahal which I will not allow to happen,” she said while addressing a rally. Banerjee said if the Centre fails to take any prompt action, then Trinamool MPs will start a movement in the Parliament demanding withdrawal of the CRPF.
“The Central forces are used to assist the CPI(M), not to flush out Maoists. They have planned to recapture Lalgarh and hold a victory rally in Lalgarh on 2 October. But we will not sit silent. We will also come on the road and will observe “black day” in the state protesting against the CPI(M) operations,” she said. Photos : Sanjay Bhaduri

CPI(M) welcomes Kashmir package, seeks AFSPA review
PTI, New Delhi, 25 September : Welcoming the government’s eight-point initiative on Jammu and Kashmir, the CPI(M) on Saturday said a review of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) should be positively considered by the Unified Command in the State.
“It is good that the government has taken these decisions, particularly on the release of the youths, review of cases of detainees under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and compensation,” party Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury told PTI here.

Export-import through Benapole Port halted due to "strik"
Benapole, 25 September : Export and import activities Between India and Bangladesh through Benapole land port remained suspended from noon Saturday due to strike by Indian truck drivers.
Kartik Chandra, general secretary of Petrapole C & Agent Welfare Trust, said BSF members assaulted Indian truck driver Ranjan Karmakar when he along with a goods-laden truck was coming to Bangladesh in the morning. Indian truck drivers halted import and export activities through the port at noon protesting the incident.
Kolkata 'mesmerises' Kashmiri youths on peace mission
Kolkata, 25 September : Altogther 25 youths from Jammu and Kashmir on a goodwill mission 'Project Sadbhavana' arrived here on a week-long tour. The mission, being organsied by the Indian Army is aimed at exposing the Kashmiri youths to culture and traditions of West Bengal and neighbouring regions.
The defence sources today said the visit of the youths from Rajouri and Reasi districts, was also intended to instill a sense of awareness and national integration amongst the people of these areas. ''The youths have shown keen interests to know more about Kolkata after visiting its main landmarks like Vidya Sagar Setu, Victorial Memorial, St Pauls Cathedral, Dakshineshwar Temple, Science City, Nakhoda Masjid, Zoological Gardens and rode on the century old tram cars, a legacy of erstwhile British India,'' he said. Apart from these, they also visited various army establishments in the city.
The youths would visit Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Gangtok for the remaining part of their tour.
CRPF man, Maoist killed in encounter; woman shot dead
PTI, Jhargram, Midnapore, 25 September : A CRPF personnel and a Maoist were killed in an encounter, an elderly woman was shot dead by the ultras while the joint forces arrested two rebels and seized a huge quantity of gelatin sticks and detonators during raids in West Midnapore district.
The encounter took place near Jhargram town after the joint forces surrounded Bandarboni, Cheraboni and Tetuldanga areas last night following a tip-off that Maoists had taken shelter there, police sources said. The Maoists fired on the joint forces who retaliated, the sources said. The bullet-ridden body of a CRPF personnel and a Maoist were found from Bandarboni during a search today, the sources said. Arms were also seized from the spot.
FK urges Singapore to import more Bangladeshi products
UNB, Singapore, 25 September : Expressing satisfaction over the existing trade relations with Singapore, Bangladesh Commerce Minister Faruk Khan on Saturday said Singapore could import more products from Bangladesh including apparels and agro-products.
He made the remarks while talking to Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang at his office. The Commerce Minister is on a two-day visit to Singapore on his way back to Dhaka after attending the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China. During the meeting, the Commerce Minister expressed happiness at the current state of trade relations between the two countries and appreciated the development of Singapore.
GJM makes sure Mamata's maiden visit a "success"
IBNS, Darjeeling, 25 September : Indian Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee's proposed maiden visit has evoked much enthusiasm in the Queen of the Hills as roads are being spruced up and welcome arches being erected as the main political party- Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM)- planned to make her stay a memorable one on Sunday.
Banerjee will lay a foundation stone for a multi-functional complex in the historical station of Darjeeling Heritage Railway (DHR) here, and flag off a new "toy train" between Ghoom and Darjeeling town, said Northeast Frontier Railway's chief public relations officer S Hajong. A new coat of paints gave a new look to old brick-colored century-old DHR office, a legacy of erstwhile British rule.
He said the railway ministry has procured a two-coached toy train to popularise loco-motive traveling in the hills since traffic of DHR between New Jalpaiguri station and Kurseong has been suspended for many months now due to landslides at Paglajhora uprooting mini gauge line.
Besides attending the official functions, Banerjee is expected to meet a 25-member GJM delegation led by general secretary Roshan Giri.

Dipu discusses with Indian FM Krishna Indo-Bangla issue
UNB, Dhaka, 25 September : Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni held a bilateral meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna in New York last Thursday discussing follow-up actions on the decisions reached between the Prime Ministers of Bangladesh and India.
She expressed her satisfaction over the Indian government’s measures to facilitate electrification to Dohogram and Angorpota enclaves, according to a message received here Saturday. Dipu requested Krishna to ensure speedy construction of the proposed over-bridge on the Teenbigha corridor to be used by the Indians thereby facilitating unfettered access of Bangladesh citizens to the two enclaves.

UK Minister Alistair Burt calls on FM Dipu Moni in New York
UNB, Dhaka, 25 September : British Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Alistair Burt called on Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni last Thursday in New York and discussed matters of mutual interests.
Dipu praised British DFID development assistance in development processes in Bangladesh, particularly in the education, health and sanitation and in restructuring development sectors and climate change.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bangladesh-Nepal starts joint expedition to discover virgin peak

UNB, Dhaka, 24 September : The first Bangladesh-Nepal joint expedition to the Himalayas is well set for its journey to discover a virgin peak in the Himalayas, which will be named ‘Bangladesh-Nepal Friendship Peak’ after a successful summit.
A six-member Bangladeshi mountaineering team will leave Dhaka for Nepal on 1 October and they will begin a 25-day joint expedition with another six-member Nepali team from Singgati on 3 October to discover a virgin peak of the Himalayas. The announcement came from a flag off ceremony and press conference at the National Press Club in the city on Friday morning.
Bangladesh Mountaineering and Trekking Club (BMTC) organized the press conference. BMTC founder and explorer to Antarctica and North Pole Enam Ul Haque led the session.
All six members of the Bangladesh team earlier received training from mountaineering training institute in India and participated in various mountaineering expeditions. The members of the Nepali team, who will take part in the Bangladesh-Nepal joint expedition, have already won the highest peak of Himalayas, the Mount Everest. Photos : UNB

PM Sheikh Hasina to address UNGA tomorrow in 'Bangla'
BSS, New York, 24 September : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will address the 65th session of the UN General Assembly tomorrow Saturday afternoon.
Like the previous year, she will deliver her speech in Bangla at 3am (BDST). In her speech, Hasina is likely to touch on international issues like impact of climate change, MDGs and UN peacekeeping, making Bangla an official language of UN as well as domestic issues including trial of 1971 war crimes, terrorist acts by BNP-Jamaat axis and her government efforts for socioeconomic development.
Air Force' MiG27 crashes in West Midnapore dist, pilot safe
Kolkata, 24 September : A MiG-27 aircraft of the Indian Air Force crashed in West Midnapore district on Friday, a defence spokesman here said. The pilot ejected safely, and there were no casualties on the ground.
The aircraft, which took off from Kalaikunda airbase on a routine sortie, crashed at 8.30am in Duria village, about 40 km from the airbase, Wing Commander Mahesh Upasani, the defence ministry’s chief public relations officer told Bengal Newz here. “The pilot ejected safely. There were no civilian casualties also,” Upasani said.
Jammu and Kashmir youths visit WB on Goodwill Mission
Kolkata, 24 September : Twenty-five youths from the insurgency-affected state of Jammu and Kashmir are on a goodwill visit to Kolkata under 'Project Sadbhavna' undertaken by the Indian Army to expose them to the rich traditions of the State of West Bengal and to the progress in various fields.
The tour is also intended to instill a sense of awareness and National Integration amongst the youths of these areas. The tour is being organized by No. 66 Rashtriya Rifles of the Counter Insurgency Force (uniform).
These youths, who have arrived in the city on Wednesday belong to remote areas of Rajouri and Reasi districts of J and K. They have so far visited Vidya Sagar Setu, Victorial Memorial, St Pauls Cathedral, Dakshineshwar Temple, Science city, Nakhoda Masjid , Zoological Gardens and rode on the Kolkata Trams and Metro. Apart from this they have also visited various Army establishments in Kolkata. Today, this team met Maj Gen Ravi Dastane, GOC HQ Bengal Area.
The team would be proceeding to Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Gangtok for the remaining part of their tour on Saturday. File Photos : EPA

Elephant Task Force for checks on railways through forests
New Delhi, 24 September : The death of seven elephants on rail tracks in West Bengal has brought to fore the threat the jumbos are facing in the country with as many as 150 of them being mowed down by speeding trains since 1987.
According to the latest report of the Elephant Task Force (ETF) of the Environment Ministry, West Bengal, where the tragedy occurred on Thursday, stands next only to Assam in the number of elephant casualties due to train movements.
Railways officials blames Bengal's elephants for straying
IANS, New Delhi, 24 September : Terming the mowing down of seven elephants by a freight train near Jalpaiguri in West Bengal as "unfortunate", senior Indian Railways officials Friday said the tragic incident occurred in a "denotified area", where elephants are not known to roam and the railways was trying to find a permanent solution to the problem !
Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh Friday said he will take up the matter with the Indian Railways so that such incidents are avoided in future.
The railways said they had no prior information from forest officials about the movement of elephants in what they called 'denotified' area, between Binnaguri and Banarhat stations of Alipurduar division in Jalpaiguri, where the accident took place Wednesday night. In a notified forested area, known as an elephant corridor, railway drivers drive very slowly, at a maximum speed of 50 km an hour, with the whistle blowing constantly to warn the animals, said an official. Photo : AFP (More photos at www.facebook.com/bengalnewz)
26 Myanmares poachers apprehended in North Andamans
Port Blair, 24 September : Twenty-six Myanmarese poachers were apprehended and two motorised boats seized from near Paget island in North Andamans, police said on Friday.
SP (North and Middle Andamans) Karunakaran said that an anti-poaching party, headed by a sub-inspector and two civilians, last Wednesday gave a long chase to the poachers on two boats near the Paget island. The poachers were apprehended after warning shots were fired by the anti-poaching party. At least 37 poachers of Burmese origin were apprehended during three anti-poaching operations in the last 10 days, they said.
Rashtrapati Bhavan inspires Agartala to be energy efficient
Agartala, 24 September : Inspired by the Rashtrapati Bhavan's 'Roshni' project in New Delhi, this Tripura capital also aims to turn eco-friendly with ambitious plans afoot to make it an energy-effiecient and pollution-free 'solar city', President Pratibha Patil was told here Friday.
"Drawing inspiration from your (president's) unique initiative in implementing the 'Roshni' project for the development of the President's Estate as a green and energy-efficient township, we shall endeavour to develop Agartala as a similar city," Agartala Municipal Council (AMC) chairperson Sankar Das said at a reception organised in the president's honour. The President's Estate has become the first urban habitat in India to be awarded a ISO 14001:2004 certificate for environmental management, including pollution control and energy conservation, under its in house Roshni project that was formally launched in July.
Patil, accompanied by her husband Devisingh Shekhawat, arrived here Friday afternoon from Mizoram capital Aizawl. She is scheduled to attend the eighth convocation of the Tripura University Saturday. Photo : Parthajit Dutta

Maoists blow up Krishak Sabha office, fired community hal
Jhargram, Kolkata, 24 September : Maoists blew up the office of a Krishak Sabha (farmers' association), affiliated to the CPI(M), and torched a community hall in West Midnapore district early Friday.
"A group of Maoists attacked and damaged the community hall in Jhargram town of the district and later set it on fire. The Maoists also triggered a landmine blast in the Bandhgora Krishak Sabha office," said superintendent of Jhargram Police district Praveen Tripathi. "No one was injured in the incidents, as no one was present in the building at that time," said the police chief.

Five killed in Manikganj accident on Dhaka-Aricha highway
Manikganj, 24 September : Five people including four members of a family were killed and another was injured as a truck rammed into a private car at Bathuli in Dhamrai upazila on Dhaka-Aricha highway Thursday night.
Sources said the accident occurred when they were going to Saturia upazila from the capital to attend a wedding ceremony. Police said a speeding truck coming from the opposite direction smashed the private car, leaving the driver dead on the spot.

Gorkha torch rally to include more areas in "interim council"
Siliguri, 24 September : The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) staged a torch rally in Siliguri on Thursday demanding the inclusion of Terai and Doars regions in the Interim Council set up by the central government.
They wanted the government to fulfill their demands before the next round of tripartite talks scheduled to be held in New Delhi on 30 September. Shouting slogans, they hit the streets with lighted torches in their hands to press their claim. They threatened to continue the agitation till their objective is fulfilled.
Export of Bangladeshi citrus fruits yet to get momentum...
UNB, Dhaka, 24 September : Export of citrus fruits from the Bangladesh is yet to find a momentum due to pest infestation, post harvest losses, peak season glut and lack of proper information about both domestic and export markets.
“There is scope for increasing export earnings and more income for the growers by increasing the yield of quality citrus fruits in the country,” said Dr. Debashish Chanda, Assistant General Manager (Marketing) of Hortex Foundation which facilitates export of fresh fruits and vegetables. Talking to UNB correspondent Golam Moin Uddin, he said that the climate of Bangladesh is very favorable for growing different varieties of citrus fruits.

According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, about 120,846 metric tons of citrus fruits were produced in the country in 2007-08 on some 6,615 hectares of land. The main exportable citrus fruits to the ethnic markets of Europe and Middle East include various types of lemon and lime like Ada Lebu, Elachi Lebu, Zara Lebu, Kagji Lebu, and `Satkara’ (quite popular among people of Sylhet origin).
Dr. Chanda observed that the export of citrus fruits to the EU market is yet to become stable due to improper cultivation management as well as inability to control the diseases.
Sources at the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) said export of fruits and vegetables was more likely to witness a rise in 2009-10 fiscal than the previous fiscal (2008-09), with earning touching US$ 64.21 million from export of some 30,000 metric tons of vegetables and fruits. The volume of fruits and vegetable export in the 2008-09 fiscal was 24,670 metric tons to earn US$ 50.71 million while the highest export earnings in the sector was US$ 69.12 million in the 2007-08 fiscal with export of 33,626 metric tons.
The UK alone accounts for around 45 percent of Bangladesh’s total export of vegetables and fruits while the other major exporting destinations are France, Italy, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Indo-Bangla talks on combating arms smuggling, trafficking etc

PTI, Dhaka, 23 September : India and Bangladesh today began a key conference of top officials of the border guards in the capital that is expected to focus on combating human trafficking, arms and drug smuggling and improving law and order in the frontier areas.
The five-day director general level conference between Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and Border Security Force (BSF) will discuss a series of issues, with particular focus on preventing trans-border smuggling and improving law and order in the frontier areas. The two border guards are expected to exchange a list of wanted criminals allegedly hiding in India and Bangladesh during the conference, sources said.
BSF director general Raman Srivastava, who arrived in Dhaka yesterday, is leading a 20-member delegation while BDR chief Mohammad Rafiqul Islam is heading the team of Bangladesh. Dhaka is expected to raise the issue of alleged killing, wounding and torture of "unarmed Bangladeshi nationals" by BSF and Indian civilians at the border, BDR sources said.
File Photos
Ayodhya mosque ruling is deferred until next week by SC
BBC News, New Delhi, 23 September : The Supreme Court of India has delayed a ruling expected on Friday on the long-running Ayodhya dispute.
It said it was allowing a deferral until next week to allow Hindus and Muslims time to resolve the 150-year-old dispute on their own. "The court felt a last attempt should be made to resolve this amicably," lawyer Mukul Rohatgi said.
The High Court was to have ruled on who owns land where a 16th Century mosque was destroyed by Hindu mobs in 1992. READ FULL STORY

Maoists have to be tackled politically: WB's CM Buddhadeb
Kolkata, 23 September : Admitting that the police and administration had failed to rid Maoist menace in West Bengal, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said that the Maoists have to be tackled politically.
"We will be able to deal with Maoists politically and that is the only way out," Bhattacharjee told a primary teacher's rally while stating that the administration and police had failed to counter the problem. The chief minister said he would spare no effort to deal politically with the menace which was receiving the "direct backing" of the state's main Opposition party.
"The Left Front government is determined to rid West Bengal of Maoists and there will be no looking back." Without naming the Trinamool Congress, he alleged that the main opposition party was providing direct support and patronage to the Maoists.

Hasina for formulating new MDG for developing countries
BSS, New York, 22 September : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday urged the international community to formulate a new MDG with specific targets for economic emancipation of developing countries, particularly the LDCs, within stipulated time frames.
"The new MDG will be the base and core of all MDGs for economic and financial emancipation of the developing world," she said while addressing the First Roundtable on Poverty, Hunger, and Gender Equality on the sidelines of 65th UN General Assembly in General Assembly Hall in the United Nations. The Prime Minister expressed her belief that once economic emancipation is achieved, social development would follow as a natural course.

Demonstration against Rahul visit held at Dibrugarh Versity
Dibrugarh, 23 September : The Dibrugarh University Post Graduate Students Union (PGSU) demonstrated in front of the University gate prior to Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's visit there this afternoon.
Wearing black badges and holding banners, the PGSU members accused the vice-chancellor of inviting Gandhi for an interactive session with the students without consulting them or the faculty. They also opposed the Amethi MP's visit to the University stating that it was for political reasons. The PGSU claimed that NSUI members from some colleges of the city were brought to fill up the 'empty' Ranghar Auditorium of the University due to PGSU's boycott call.
West Bengal govt reviews Maoists 'rehabilitation package'
Kolkata, 23 September : The West Bengal government decided to release Rs 50 lakh per day for supplying rice at Rs 2 per kg and bicycles for girl students under the rehabilitation package for surrendered Maoists.
These benefits would be available to those with a family income of below Rs 24,000 annually, Home Secretary Samar Ghosh said while reviewing implementation of the rehabilitation package for the Maoists announced two months ago in Maoist-hit West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts. Ghosh said the distribution of ration cards which had progressed satisfactorily, would be completed by the month end. Additional foodgrains would be supplied through PDS along with rice at Rs 2 per kg, he said.
West Midnapore district alone had 1.45 lakh beneficiaries, while another 45,000 would be added from Bankura and Purulia districts. While a hostel each for boys and girls have come up in Ramgarh area under West Midnapore district with the help of sports and education departments, 24 other hostels would come up in the three districts, he said.

Don't shoot innocent Bangladeshi people: Shahara to BSF
Dhaka, 23 September : Bangladesh has urged the Indian border forces to refrain from killing innocent Bangladeshi people, the home secretary has said.
Home minister Shahara Khatun made the call in a meeting with Raman Shrivastava, chief of the Indian Border Security Force, at her office on Thursday, secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikder told reporters after the meeting. In reply, the BSF chief assured her of stopping shooting along the border. "We are considering whether something else can be used instead of firearms," he said.
Sikder said the BSF authorities were also requested to ensure that any member of the Khashia community or other Indian nationals do not move along the border with arms. The Indians, for their part, urged Bangladesh that no one moves along the border at night. Photo : PID

HRD Min asks AMU to hold back Murshidabad campus
PTI, Aligarh, 23 September : The Aligarh Muslim University's move to set up its outstation centres has hit a road-block with the Human Resource Development Ministry directing the University "to hold back" the opening of a centre at Murshidabad in WB.
A senior University official said the University had received a directive from the Ministry earlier this week for "postponing the opening" of the Murshidabad centre, which was scheduled for 26 September. The HRD Ministry's directive has apparently come in the wake of a long-drawn controversy over the issue. A section of members belonging to the University's Executive Council and the University Court had earlier approached the Ministry and raised serious objections to opening outstation centres. The members claimed that the opening of outstation campuses violates the constitution of the Central University.
7elephants killed by speeding train at Binnaguri in NBengal
Jalpaiguri, Kolkata, 23 September : Seven elephants were killed and one injured when a speeding goods train hit the animals while they were crossing the railway tracks near Binnaguri in Jalpaiguri district, Forest Department sources said on Thursday.
Five elephants were killed on the spot late Wednesday night while two others succumbed to their injuries this morning, Divisional Forest Officer (Wildlife) Sunita Ghatak said. A herd of elephants was crossing the railway tracks while going from Moraghat forest to Diana forest last night, when two baby elephants got trapped on the tracks, she said. When other elephants came to the rescue of the baby elephants, a goods train which was passing through at that time hit them, killing five elephants on the spot and injuring three, the DFO said.

Movement of trains on the track which connects New Jalpaiguri with Assam was suspended till this morning as another herd of elephants was guarding the dead and injured elephants, the DFO said.
Three months ago, another elephant was run over and killed by a train near the same spot. Speeding trains often hit elephants in the area as the railway line crosses the elephant corridor, forest officials said. Railway officials have been requested a number of times to restrict the speed limit of trains plying in the area to 40-km/hr for the safety of the elephants, they said.
The Forest Department has lodged an FIR under the Wildlife Protection Act against the Railways alleging that the train was running at about 70 kmph, violating the speed restriction of 25 kmph to 40 kmph in the area.
However, state Forest Minister Ananta Roy said the Railways were not cooperating with the forest department "as it is insensitive to the issue." The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Atanu Raha said that the Railways had been time and again requested to restrict the speed of the passing trains to 20 kmph in the Elephant Corridor, but no response had been received so far. Photos : Arnab Mitra, Reuters

Trooper detained on charges of snatching in Jhargram
IANS, Kolkata, 23 September : A security force trooper was detained by the Trinamool Congress leaders in West Midnapore district Wednesday on charges of snatching mobile phones and cash from local people, police said.
Locals alleged that Anil Kumar, a jawan of 205 battalion of the Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) and two other jawans allegedly snatched mobile phones and cash from people, who were standing in front of a restaurant in Jhargram. The jawans went there to take food and while coming out from the restaurant, threatened the villagers and snatched away their belongings.
Third Person Singular Number is Bangladesh’s Oscar entry
IANS, Dhaka, 23 September : Director Mostafa Sarwar Farooki’s film ‘Third Person Singular Number’ will be Bangladesh’s entry for the 83rd Academy Awards, competing in the Best Foreign Language Film segment.
The film had its world premiere at the 14th Pusan International Film Festival in South Korea in October last year. It was also screened at other notable international festivals such as the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Netherlands; 20th Afro-Asian-Latin Film Festival in Milan, Italy and Asia Pacific Screen Award 2010, Australia.
Inspired by Syed Manzoorul Islam’s novel, ‘Tin Parber Jibon O Kichhu Bastab Case Study’, the film is about interrelationships among a convict serving a life sentence, his wife and a singer. The Daily Star said the film poses a question: ‘Can a woman, on her own, lead a dignified life in our society?’ Photos : Courtesy