Rain brings fears of landslides againThe inhabitants of Rangamati are in fear of fresh landslides as it rained again on Thursday evening. Drizzling started from the night and has continued till Friday morning, when this report was being written.The people in the hill areas were taking refuge in the shelters. The local administration used megaphones to caution the people and helped them reach the shelters. A total of 12 shelters were opened with a capacity of housing around 2000 people.Shabana Khatun, one of the inhabitants of the hilly area who took shelter at the shelter house said she feared landslides would resume any moment.Rabi Mohan Chakma, the councilor of Bhedbhedi ward no 6, said people are in fear after rain resumed.Meanwhile, members of the fire service have resumed rescue operations in the BhedBhedi area where three people are reportedly still missing.
Pope Francis leads a mass to mark the World Day of Peace in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, on 1 January 2019. Reuters File PhotoPope Francis accused US bishops on Thursday of failing to show unity in the face of a sexual abuse crisis, saying internal bickering had to end over a scandal that has shredded the Church’s credibility.In a long and highly unusual letter sent to US bishops as they embarked on a week-long retreat, Francis said the handling of the scandal showed the urgent need for a new approach to management and mindset within the Roman Catholic Church.“God’s faithful people and the Church’s mission continue to suffer greatly as a result of abuses of power and conscience and sexual abuse, and the poor way that they were handled,” the pope wrote, adding that bishops had “concentrated more on pointing fingers than on seeking paths of reconciliation”.Pope Francis has summoned the heads of some 110 national Catholic bishops’ conferences and dozens of experts and leaders of religious orders to the Vatican on 21-24 February for an extraordinary gathering dedicated to the now global crisis.Victims of clergy sexual abuse are hoping that the meeting will finally come up with a clear policy to make bishops themselves accountable for the mishandling of abuse cases.Ahead of that encounter, US bishops gathered on Wednesday near Chicago for seven days of prayer and spiritual reflection.“The Church’s credibility has been seriously undercut and diminished by these sins and crimes, but even more by the efforts made to deny or conceal them,” Francis said.The pope said he was so concerned by the situation that he had hoped to attend the retreat in person, but added that he had been unable to do so “for logistical reasons”. However, he sent his own preacher, Raniero Cantalamessa, to lead proceedings.Past WrongsThe US Church is still reeling from a grand jury report last year that found that 301 priests in the state of Pennsylvania had sexually abused minors over a 70-year period. Other US states have launched investigations of their own.“The hurt caused by these sins and crimes has also deeply affected the communion of bishops, and generated not the sort of healthy and necessary disagreements and tensions found in any living body, but rather division and dispersion,” the pope said.Critics accuse Francis, who became pontiff in 2013, of responding much too slowly to the sex scandals, of failing to empathise with the victims and of blindly believing the word of his fellow clergy.But in 2018 he tried to address past wrongs, publicly admitting he was wrong about a case in Chile and vowing that the Church would never again seek to cover up such wrongdoing.In July, he accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, one of the US Church’s most prominent figures, following allegations he had sexually abused a 16-year-old boy, while in October, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington DC, stepped down over his handling of abuse cases.“Combatting the culture of abuse, the loss of credibility, the resulting bewilderment and confusion, and the discrediting of our mission urgently demands of us a renewed and decisive approach to resolving conflicts,” the pope wrote on Thursday.“This requires not only a new approach to management, but also a change in our mindset.”
Kolkata: The state Forest department has decided to set up its own recruitment board wherein local youths would be recruited as forest security guards, state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said in the state Assembly on Thursday.”These youths possess knowledge of the area, so they will be able to handle forest related problems in an effective manner than the forest guards, who are recruited through Staff Selection Commission (SSC) examination,” Banerjee said in reply to a question from a Left Front MLA, who wanted to know the steps taken by the state Forest department to curb illegal cutting down of trees in forests. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeShe reiterated that strong action is being taken against this unfair practice and directed Forest minister Binay Krishna Barman to take up the issue seriously. Taking the cue from the Chief Minister, Barman said the state government has decided to set up Forest Recruitment Board for recruiting forest guards.”We have recently recruited 259 forest guards through SSC. These people after joining their jobs in the forests of North Bengal or the Sunderbans have expressed their reluctance in carrying out their duties and prayed for shifting to other places, where forest cover is much less like Kolkata and Howrah. Recruiting local youths will help address this issue,” the minister said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe minister maintained that the department will recruit ‘Aranya Bandhus’ (friends of the forest) in every Gram Panchayat in non-forest areas. “As per rule, a person has to seek permission of the Forest department before felling a tree in a non-forest area. The person needs to approach the range officer who, then seeks the nod of the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) and, provides the necessary permission to the person. The process is alengthy affair. The ‘Aranya Bandhus’ will now assist the owner to fast track the process of permission,” Barman added. Local youths will be employed as ‘Aranya Bandhus’ and their income will range from Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000. “We will also offer training to these people for setting up nursery that will act as an added source of income for them. Some of the trees that they grow in the nursery will be taken by the state for plantation and the rest they will be able to sell on their own,” Barman said.