Tuesday, September 7, 2010


1) Arunachal Highway Linky

Work on the trans-Arunachal highway is set to begin in November with the defence ministry mounting pressure for an early start in view of the growing threat perception from China. A senior official of the public works department in Itanagar said the tender process for the 1656km highway is about to be completed and the work would start by November. “The highway will no doubt be a boon for landlocked Arunachal Pradesh but the most important part is that it will facilitate efficient troop movement along the India-China border,” the official said. He said there has been tremendous pressure from the central government to expedite construction of the highway.

The highway will start from Nichipu near Tawang to Kanubari near Naharkatia in Assam, interlinking 11 districts of the state. The Bandardewa-Itanagar-Holongi stretch of the trans-Arunachal highway will be four lane while the rest of the roadway will be double lane. Apart from the highway, construction of two-lane roads in an additional 847-km stretch to provide improved connectivity to the remaining five districts of the state would also start very soon.

2) Anthrax in BD Linky

India could be staring at a possible anthrax outbreak, with Bangladesh sounding a red alert that the contagious disease has infected over 325 people in that country since mid-August. The disease, transmitted from infected cattle to humans through handling of the animals or consumption of meat, has spread in four Bangladesh districts. Some 38 people were first found infected in Sirajgunj, about 150km from Dhaka, on August 19, but the disease has now spread to Badna, Tangail and Kushtia. Sources said the scare for India came from the porous borders it shares with Bangladesh. So, chances that the “cattle corridor” — used to smuggle cattle from Punjab and Haryana into Bangladesh — might be used to push infected animals back into India are not remote, they said.

3) With BJP trying to cobble a government with Shibu Soren, and the much-planned Green Hunt nowhere in sight, I am worried at the prospects of too-close-yet-too-far again. Given that it is absolutely certain that Shibu Soren will put a spoke in the works citing "our boys", I hope Yashwant Sinha overrules Arjun Munda in this unbelievable turn of events.

Meanwhile the CEC has announced a six-phase elections in Bihar. That is how bad the red menace there is. Although sections of the Congress are known to have favoured a much more compact poll — in two phases, some were suggesting — the Nitish government has maintained free and fair polls cannot be ensured unless the process is broken up into at least four phases.
4) Babu answering some questions: Linky

Putting global issues in perspective, Vishwanathan said India at present had business dealings with China to the tune of 60 million dollars per annum, hence it was not possible for China to support Pakistan against India openly, as it used to some years ago.
Vishwanathan said India should focus on its relations with Africa as would emerge as an economic power as well as a significant market for Indian commodities in the coming years. He said that the consumption level of African countries was rapidly increasing, adding that since 2000, 316 million Africans got their mobile connections, which was more than the entire population of the USA. “According to the International Monetary Fund report, sub-Saharan Africa has been growing at an average of more than 5 per cent per year. Some of the states like Chad, Angola, Sudan, et al, have registered spectacular growth,” said the diplomat, whose career also included a stint in Nigeria as India’s ambassador.

5) The case of Arafat Rahman Coco Linky

Arafat Rahman Coco, the younger son of Begum Khaleda Zia, was arrested on Sep 3, 2007 in the GATCO corruption case. On Mar 17, 2009, the Anticorruption Commission filed a money laundering case against him. The case detail said that Coco had laundered around Tk 130m out of the country. Coco has been living in Bangkok by having his parole periodically extended since he left home on July 19, 2008, just two days after he secured his first parole for eight weeks for medical treatment abroad.

The latest extension expired on Aug 14, and another appeal for extension of his parole was filed with the home ministry on Aug 21. On Aug 19, the home ministry, however, decided not to allow any more extension of his parole and asked him to come back home by Aug 31. On Aug 22, the BNP announced protests on Aug 24 and 26 against the government decision for cancellation of Coco's parole. The bench of justices Md Abdul Wahhab Miah and Kazi Reza-ul-Huq ordered the government to explain why the order that cancelled the parole was not illegal. On Aug 26, the High Court had extended by 40 days the parole of Coco. The court also warned that his parole would be cancelled if he did not report to the Bangladesh embassy in Thailand every three days.

Coco will be put on trial after he is brought back home, Awami League's acting general secretary Mahbub-Ul-Alam Hanif has said. "After his release on parole, Khaleda Zia's son has been living amid joy and luxury (in Bangkok) in the name of treatment," he said. He said this in reply to a reporters' query at a press conference at the party president's political office in Dhanmandi on Thursday. None of those who are accused of corruption will be spared. Investigations are on into the opposition leader's assets smuggled abroad, he also said.

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