Kolkata: Some people hailing from Bhatpara in North 24-Parganas met the Director General of Police, Virendra, at Nabanna on Monday with an allegation that BJP-backed goons were preventing them from entering their residential area.”We are continuously living in fear. Goons are moving about in our area in the night with firearms and we have been getting threat calls. We need protection as situation is so hostile that we have not been able to go to the local police station to lodge a complaint,” said Kartick Nath, a Bhatpara resident. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess DurgaHe said some 500 people of the area were unable to return to their homes due to threats and intimidations of BJP activists. Nath was accompanied by Mayor Firhad Hakim and state Food Minister Jyotipriya Mallick, who is also the TMC’s district president of North 24-Parganas. Nath said minister Firhad Hakim has arranged for their accommodation in Chetla and they will be living there for some days. “DG has assured us that within a few days he will take measures so that we can live in our residences safely,” he added. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersChandan Shaw, 24, was shot dead in North 24-Parganas by unidentified assailants on Sunday night while he was driving a two-wheeler. The murder created tension leading to the deployment of security forces in the area. Meanwhile, despite four days have passed since poll results, political clashes continue across the state. In several districts, almost every day Trinamool and BJP workers are attacking each other. But both the parties have denied the allegations and accused their rivals. On Sunday night, a Trinamool worker was allegedly attacked by some BJP-backed goons at Pundipari in Cooch Behar. The Trinamool worker, identified as Prasenjit Biswasharma, was returning home when he was intercepted by some miscreants. It is alleged that one of them shot a round of bullet which hit Biswasharma’s leg. As soon as he hit the ground, miscreants fled. Hearing him scream, local residents rushed Biswasharma to Cooch Behar hospital where he is at present under treatment.Apart from Cooch Behar, Trinamool workers at Onda in Bankura were allegedly attacked by BJP workers on Sunday night. According to sources, on Sunday night, the BJP had organised a rally to celebrate their victory. When the rally was passing through the Bikrampur village, some BJP workers allegedly pelted stones on the houses that belonged to Trinamool workers. Later, BJP workers allegedly assaulted family members of those Trinamool workers and threatened to kill them. But, the BJP has denied the charges. Though Trinamool leaders are blaming the BJP, the saffron party workers are alleging that Trinamool workers are attacking their supporters. It is alleged that during a rally by the BJP workers, a Trinamool-backed goon shot a round of bullet. Though none was hurt, BJP workers got panic stricken. Later, police intervened and brought the situation under control. A complaint has been lodged but none could be arrested. On Monday morning, BJP and Trinamool workers got involved in a clash at Duttabad in Salt Lake. BJP workers alleged that Trinamool attacked them but Trinamool leaders denied the allegations.
“I am relieved that the Israeli Government has decided to cease hostilities as of midnight GMT,” Mr. Ban said in a statement issued in Beirut, the latest stop on a diplomatic mission to the region. The Secretary-General, who yesterday called on Israel to unilaterally declare a ceasefire, added that “Hamas must stop firing rockets now.” He stated that the Israeli ceasefire should be the first step toward establishing a durable and sustainable ceasefire leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, as called for by Security Council resolution 1860. He also stressed that urgent humanitarian access for the people of Gaza is the immediate priority, adding that the UN is ready to act. Three weeks of violence have already claimed over 1,000 lives, including many women and children, and wounded over 5,000, in addition to causing widespread destruction and tremendous suffering for the residents of Gaza. Earlier today, in an address to the Lebanese National Assembly, Mr. Ban had again urged an immediate ceasefire, calling on both sides to first stop the fighting and to then work out the details in a bid to halt what he called an “unprecedented” level of violence over the past 22 days. “Both sides must first stop the fighting now. We cannot wait for all the details, the mechanisms, to be conclusively negotiated and agreed, while civilians continue to be traumatized, injured and killed,” he stated. The UN chief condemned as “outrageous” today”s strike by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on a UN-run school in Gaza – the third incident of its kind, despite Israeli assurances given to him just days ago after the shelling of the UN compound in Gaza that the world body”s premises would be fully respected.“I strongly demand a thorough investigation into these incidents, and the punishment of those who are responsible for these appalling acts,” he told a news conference in the Lebanese capital.Over a week ago, Israeli shelling near a school run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) killed 40 people and injured more than 100. Israel said it was returning fire from the area of the school but UN officials stressed there were no Hamas or other militants inside the school.Mr. Ban arrived in Beirut as part of his ongoing efforts to help find a diplomatic solution to the crisis, which began on 27 December when Israel launched a military operation in Gaza with the stated aim of ending Hamas rocket attacks against Israel. He has already met with officials in Cairo, Amman, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Ramallah and Ankara, and will continue his visit with stops in Damascus and Sharm el-Sheikh, where he will attend a summit to be convened by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the Gaza situation. He will also visit Kuwait to attend the Arab Economic Summit meeting. 17 January 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the news that Israel will halt its three-week military offensive in Gaza, and stressed that the immediate priority now is to ensure humanitarian access for the 1.5 million people living in the Strip.
“The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by recent court decisions in Egypt, particularly the confirmation of death sentences for 183 people and the sentencing of journalists, including from Al Jazeera today, to lengthy jail terms,” said a statement issued by his spokesperson in New York. “Proceedings that clearly appear not to meet basic fair trial standards, particularly those resulting in the imposition of the death penalty, are likely to undermine prospects for long-term stability,” it continued.The statement also noted that the constitutionality of the law regulating protest will be reviewed by the Supreme Constitutional Court. Mr. Ban recalled that both he and Ms. Pillay had expressed concerns that the law could lead to serious breaches of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and needed to be brought in conformity with Egypt’s international human rights obligations. “The Secretary-General stresses that participation in peaceful protests or criticism of the Government should not be grounds for detention or prosecution. He believes Egypt will only be strengthened by empowering all its citizens to fully exercise their rights,” said the statement.In her statement, Ms. Pillay said she was “shocked and alarmed” by the verdicts and jail terms of between 7 and 10 years handed down to three journalists and the 11 other defendants tried in absentia.While noting that they are subject to appeal, Ms. Pillay said the Al Jazeera verdicts, along with Saturday’s confirmation by an Egyptian court of the death penalty for 183 Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters convicted in an earlier mass trial, are the latest in a string of prosecutions and court proceedings that have been “rife with procedural irregularities and in breach of international human rights law.” The High Commissioner expressed her alarm at the increasingly severe clampdown and physical attacks on both media and civil society activists in Egypt, which is hampering their ability to operate freely. “I am particularly concerned about the role of the judicial system in this clampdown,” she said. “Harassment, detention and prosecution of national and international journalists, including bloggers, as well as violent attacks by unidentified assailants, have become commonplace,” she added, noting that at least six journalists have been killed in Egypt since August 2013. “Media employees trying to carry out their work in Egypt are now confronted by an extremely difficult and dangerous environment. They should be protected not prosecuted,” declared Ms. Pillay.The High Commissioner went on to say that the charges levelled against the journalists, which include harming national unity and social peace, spreading false reports, and membership of a “terrorist organization,” are far too broad and vague, and therefore reinforce the belief that the real target is freedom of expression.She noted that charges based on Egypt’s anti-terrorism law have also been used to bring convictions in a number of other trials, including the two mass trials of more than 1,100 people in Minya earlier in the year that led to at least 220 people being handed death sentences, including the 183 whose death sentences were confirmed on Saturday. “I believe these mass trials and death penalty convictions are obscene, and a complete travesty of justice,” the High Commissioner said. Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a binding treaty that Egypt ratified in 1982, states that ‘Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.’ “It is not a crime to carry a camera, or to try to report various points of views about events,” Ms. Pillay said. “It is not a crime to criticize the authorities, or to interview people who hold unpopular views. Journalists and civil society members should not be arrested, prosecuted, beaten up or sacked for reporting on sensitive issues. They should not be shot for trying to report or film things we, the public, have a right to know are happening.” She urged the Egyptian authorities to promptly release all journalists and other media employees imprisoned for carrying out legitimate news reporting activities, including Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Bahar Mohamed, the three journalists who were convicted and sentenced on Monday.Ms. Pillay, a former international judge, also called on Egypt’s judicial establishment to conduct a review of the handling of these and other cases. “Egypt’s reputation, and especially the reputation of its judiciary as an independent institution, are at stake,” she said. “There is a risk that miscarriage of justice is becoming the norm in Egypt.”
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Elaine Page in Cats The broadcaster, who rose to fame in musical theatre with roles in Hair, Evita and Cats and now hosts Elaine Paige on Sunday on Radio 2, said she was a firm believer in equal pay.“Oh, I’m very hot on that,” she said. “If you’re doing the same job as a man, you should be paid the same.“That Mr Humphrys on the Today programme made disparaging off-air remarks about his female colleagues’ pay and I found that absolutely appalling.” Elaine Paige, the singer and Radio 2 presenter, has encouraged young women to “just deal with it” if a man “puts his hand on your knee or your bum”, saying life would be dreary if they are discouraged from flirting.Paige, 70, said she had “of course” been hit on by predatory men, joking she would be “really embarrassed” if she had managed to avoid it.But while rape and sexual assault are “completely unacceptable”, she said, other behaviour should be treated with “perspective”.In an interview with the Mail on Sunday’s Event magazine, which made reference to the Me Too movement, Paige also said she objected to being called a diva because it is “sexist”, and was “very hot” on the issue of equal pay.Asked if she had endured advances from “predatory males”, she said: “Of course I have! My God! I would be really embarrassed to sit here and say that it never happened to me.” Elaine Paige (right) at the London Palladium in 1987Credit:Rex She also objects strongly to being called a “diva”, despite her singing talents, saying: “I think the word is overused – and it’s sexist. No one ever called a man a diva.“I’m also called feisty but I find that a bit sexist, too. Again, have you ever heard that word applied to a man?” She added: “Listen, we’ve got to get all of this in perspective. Rape or any sort of assault is completely unacceptable. But come on, girls, if a man puts his hand on your knee or your bum, then deal with it. Elaine PaigeCredit: Andrew Crowley “Are we really wanting to get to a stage when a man never flirts again? What a dreary life!“In fact, I’m thinking of getting a badge made saying: #Cooee! I’m over here. It’s not too late.”