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Sunday, April 17, 2011

74.27% polling in West Bengal's first phase' Assembly election

Kolkata, 18 April : Around 75 percent voters exercised their franchise as polling ended in the first phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections on Monday evening. Coochbehar district had the highest turnout at 66 percent while the lowest of 57 percent was recorded in North Dinajpur and Jalpaiguri. Polling in Darjeeling district was 64 percent, Malda 59 percent and South Dinajpur 60 percent. “The polling is peaceful,” Additional Chief Electoral officer N K Sahana said.
Security personnel lathi-charged photo journalists when they followed minister Sailen Sarkar inside a booth at the Malda Women’s College in Malda district ignoring a warning not to do so, official sources said.
The presiding officer of a polling booth in Hariram constituency in South Dinajpur district was removed for speaking to minister Narayan Biswas over phone, he said.
Presiding officer of a booth at Kumargram in Jalpaiguri district, Maheswar Rai, suffered a heart attack and was rushed to Alipurduar Hospital.
An electorate of 97.42 lakh will decide the fate of 364 candidates. Some of the important political figures whose fortunes will be decided today include 11 ministers of the Left Front government, including urban development minister Ashok Bhattacharya (CPI-M), PWD minister Kshiti Goswami, jail and social welfare minister Biswanath Chowdhury (both belonging to RSP), Congress leader Debaprasad Roy and Trinamool Congress Darjeeling district president Gautam Deb. Photos : Sankar Das, PTI
Binayak Sen walks free after getting bail by Supreme Court
PTI, Raipur, 18 April : After remaining behind bars for nearly four months, civil rights activist Dr Binayak Sen was released this evening from the Chattisgarh's central prison where he is serving a life sentence, three days after the Supreme Court granted him bail.
The 61-year-old old medical doctor, who was sentenced to life by a local court on charges of sedition and links with Maoists, was reunited with his family amid emotional and poignant scenes, as his two daughters-Aparajita and Pranhita -jumped on to him and were locked in a tight embrace.
Sen was also hugged and kissed by his mother Anusuya who said he looked "fine. Photo : AFP
WB's highest polling booth records over 50 per cent turnout
Kolkata, 18 April :
Over 50 percent of the 778 voters turned up to vote today at Sirikhola, West Bengal's highest polling booth, 2,800 metres above sea-level in Darjeeling district.
Sirikhola, the third highest polling station in India, registered 50 percent voting in the first six hours, Chief Electoral Office sources here said.
Tripura bans private tuition by government teachers in state
Agartala, 18 April :
Tripura has banned private tuition by government teachers in the state. If any government teacher is found involved in private tuition, stern action will be initiated against him, a circular issued by the state government on Saturday said.
The penal provisions against the guilty is yet to be finalised but it is likely that the erring teacher will be transferred from his current place of posting forthwith, Director of School Education S Das told reporters here today. "The practice of private tuition hurts those students aspiring for learning through regular schooling since the teachers concerned fail to devote their full energy to class work," the notification said.
Lanka seek strong political ties with Bangladesh: Rajapaksa
UNB, Dhaka, 18 April : Bangladesh and Sri Lanka on Monday signed five memorandums of understanding (MoUs) for cooperation in different fields including trade, agriculture, vocational education, and science and culture.
The instruments were signed following the official talks between Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and visiting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa who arrived here this (Monday) afternoon on a three-day state visit.
The five MoUs include cooperation between Export Development Board of Sri Lanka and Export Promotion Bureau of Bangladesh; cooperation between Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development of Sri Lanka and Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock of Bangladesh; and cooperation between Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council and Sri Lankan Council for Agriculture Research Policy.
The MoUs also include cooperation between Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh Education Ministry; and bilateral cooperation on cultural, educational and scientific exchange programs. Photo : PMO
Mukul's son and Trinamool Cong candidate jailed for a day
PTI, Barasat, 18 April : Union minister Mukul Roy's son and Trinamool Congress candidate Subhranshu Roy was today remanded in jail custody for a day after a local court rejected his bail prayer.
Roy, who is contesting from Bijpur Assembly constituency, was produced in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Barrackpore, Rajarshi Basu Adhikary. The magistrate directed the police to submit the case diary before the court tomorrow and remanded him in jail custody for a day.
Two decomposed bodies recovered from Jangalmahal area
Jhargram, 18 April :
Security forces today recovered decomposed bodies of two men, killed by Maoists, in Junglemahal area.
"The bodies were recovered at Bhanderbilla, 25 km from here, after getting information from an arrested Maoist, Parameswar Ray, during interrogation that two men were killed and buried by the rebels in the area," ASP Mukesh Kumar said, adding that the bodies were yet to be identified.
Supreme Court bans all employment of children in Circuses
PTI, New Delhi, 18 April : Indian Supreme Court today banned the employment of children in circuses and directed the government to rescue children employed in the sector and formulate a rehabilitation programme for them.
A bench headed by Justice Dalveer Bhandari said that in order to protect the fundamental rights of children, it is imperative that the government issues notification to prohibit employment of children in this sector.
The court also directed the government to conduct raids to rescue children working in circuses and formulate a proper rehabilitation programme for them.
The court passed the order on a petition filed by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan seeking its direction to the government for rescue and rehabilitation of children below 14 years of age working in circuses.
Tripura boy Somdev Devverman back to career-best 71 rank
PTI, New Delhi, 18 April : Tripura boy Somdev Devverman gained a place to be back to career-high singles ranking of 71 while Sania Mirza remained on number 73 in the ranking charts, released today.
Somdev had lost in the second round of the clay-court season opening event in Houston. Meanwhile in the doubles rankings, Sania (29), Mahesh Bhupathi (5) and Leander Paes (7) were static in the WTA and ATP charts, respectively.
Bengali film 'Chhatrak' by Lankan director gets Cannes call
Supratik Sengupta, Kolkata, 18 April : Chhatrak (Mushroom), a Bengali film by Sri Lankan director Vimukthi Jayasundara has been selected for the upcoming Cannes Film Festival's Directors' Fortnight section.
An independent section, the Directors' Fortnight is held in parallel to the main festival and invites cinematic talent from all over the world. The section was created in 1969.
Two hundred movies at first Guwahati international film fest
Guwahati, 18 April : Two hundred movies from across the world will be screened during the first Guwahati International Short Film Festival next month during which there will be a special screening of the highly-acclaimed Malayalam anthology 'Kerala Cafe'.
The two-day festival from 2 May will see films from countries like Spain, Italy, the UK, the Netherlands, the US and Australia as well as all over India screened under sections World Kaleidoscope, Indian Kaleidoscope and the competitive section, North-East Shorts.
The World Kaleidoscope section will see screening of award winning short films from Cannes International Festival.
Spanish film 'Porque Hay Cosas Que Nunca Se Olvidan' (Because There Are Things We Never forget) by award winning director Lucas Figueroa will open the festival.