Volume 4 Number 211 Sun. December 28, 2003    
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Front Pagearrow Benin plane crash kills 15 Bangladeshi peacekeepers
Fifteen Bangladeshi army officers on UN peacekeeping missions in Sierra Leone and Liberia were among the 119 people killed in Thursday's plane crash in the West African country of Benin, the army said.
 arrow Toll surges up to 20,000
The death toll from a massive 6.7 magnitude earthquake in Iran has hit 20,000 and will likely go higher, according to the country's Interior Ministry.
 arrow Hajj pilgrims brace for trouble as travel agents strike from Jan 1
International flight passengers, specially non-ballotee Hajj pilgrims, are likely to bump into serious trouble as travel agencies will stop booking tickets from January 1, 2004, the first day of an indefinite
 arrow Thousands pour in as Ijtema begins
The Biswa Ijtema, the biggest Muslim congregation after Haji, began yesterday at Tongi on the bank of the river Turag with sermons highlighting the significance of Islam by scholars from home and abroad.
 arrow Tannery town land acquisition okayed
The government yesterday approved acquisition of 182.40 acres of land at Savar and Keraniganj to set up a tannery town in the next two years in an effort to cut environmental pollution in Dhaka.
 arrow Waiting in tears
The family was preparing to receive him at Zia International Airport today, after five months of job-inflicted separation.
 arrow MPs to get Nam flats without service charge
The House Committee of the Jatiya Sangsad decided yesterday to allot some flats, previously earmarked for the Non-aligned Movement (Nam) summit, to the lawmakers free of service charge.
 arrow 4 troops killed in Iraq attacks
Armed with car bombs, mortars and machine guns, insurgents launched three coordinated attacks in the southern city of Karbala yesterday, killing four coalition soldiers and wounding 37 others, including
 arrow PM urges judges to ensure speedy trial
Prime Minister Khaleda Zia yesterday said sufferings of the people seeking justice could be greatly reduced if the judges took sincere initiative for quick disposal of the cases pending with different
 arrow New crackdown planned
The government plans to launch a fresh anti-crime drive soon with 'new strategies and tactics' in the wake of continued slide in law and order in the south-west, highly placed sources said.
 arrow Ministries now to liquidate laid-off factories
Citing obscure reasons, a cabinet committee yesterday decided that from now on ministries, instead of the Privatisation Commission, would liquidate the laid-off mills and factories.
 arrow Thrown out in the cold
Trembling in cold, malnourished and barely clothed five-year-old Russell pestered his mother for food in a feeble voice.
 arrow Vajpayee's Pak visit on despite attack on Musharraf
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee will head to rival Pakistan for the January 4-6 South Asian summit despite an assassination bid on President Pervez Musharraf, the government said yesterday.
 arrow Chemical engineers' meet tomorrow
The chemical engineers are going to celebrate their 50th year as a professional group at a two-day international conference beginning tomorrow at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET).
 arrow BNP-backed CBA finally moves its office at BB
The ruling BNP-backed Collective Bargaining Agent (CBA) at the Bangladesh Bank (BB) finally gave in to the pressure of the central bank authorities and moved its office out to the annexe.
 arrow Govt still sits on FTA
The government still ponders over the free trade agreement (FTA) despite formal talks with India and two other South Asian countries.
 arrow Newsman assaulted for reporting on wild bird trade
Miscreants assaulted a correspondent of a local daily yesterday at Banshdaha Bazar in Satkhira for reporting on illegal trade in migratory birds at local markets.
 arrow Non-govt school, college teachers strike today
Teachers of non-governmental schools and colleges go on a strike today to press home their eight-point demand.
 arrow Shanto's parents numb in loss
Parents of Hasibul Islam Shanto, who went missing since Wednesday afternoon only to be found dead in an abandoned house in Goran Friday afternoon, were numbed at the loss of yet another offspring.
 arrow Insider connection suspected
The doctors and staff of Pabna Mental Hospital have termed the mysterious robbery at the store a case of pilferage by a section of staff.
 arrow Newspapers lack proper policy, says Latifur
Former chief of the caretaker government Justice Latifur Rahman has said the newspapers in the country cannot contribute up to the expectations since they lack a proper policy.
 arrow 3 die in road mishaps
Three people were killed in as many road accidents in the city in a span of 11 hours ending at 7:30am yesterday.
 arrow CHT delegation submits memo demanding peace, safety
A 14-member delegation from the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) yesterday submitted a memorandum to the parliamentary standing committee on the CHT affairs placing 18 demands, including ensuring safety and
 arrow 4 top criminals nabbed, arms recovered
Police arrested four listed top criminals of Mohammadpur Police Station from Savar Friday night and recovered three firearms and some ammunition.
 arrow Criminal Iqbal nabbed in Ctg
Police yesterday nabbed an alleged leader of a criminal gang with his four alleged operatives at Panirkal in Pahartoli.
 arrow Three killed in Comilla road mishap
Three people were killed and seven others injured in a road accident near Palki Cinema Hall at Chandina on the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway in the early hours yesterday.
 arrow Toxic water

Businessarrow Non-tariff barriers must go for narrowing trade gap
An Indian minister yesterday said non-tariff and para-tariff barriers are prime reason for yawning trade gap between India and Bangladesh and it must be narrowed through negotiations.
 arrow Rehab housing fair ends in positive note
Rehab Housing Fair 2003 ended in Dhaka yesterday with the participating companies getting a very positive response from the visitors, especially prospective buyers of plots, apartments, shops and commercial
 arrow Saarc trade fair kicks off
South Asian nations have to give more emphasis on increased regional co-operation among themselves to survive in the globalisation era, Commerce Minister Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury said yesterday.
 arrow Lafarge Surma gets DSE listing
Lafarge Surma Cement yesterday got listed in the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE).
 arrow Bank transactions to remain closed on Dec 31
All kinds of transactions of Bangladesh Bank and all scheduled banks will remain closed on December 31.

However, the offices will remain open as usual, said a press release of the central bank.

 arrow National Tubes declares 50pc dividend
National Tubes Limited, a gas line pipe producing company, has declared a 50 per cent dividend for the shareholders for 2002-03.
 arrow Repo auction
The Repo auction of Bangladesh Bank for commercial banks and financial institutions was held yesterday.
 arrow Prime Bank, Commercial Bank of Ceylon sign agreement
A master repurchase agreement has been signed between Prime Bank Limited and Commercial Bank of Ceylon Limited in Dhaka.
 arrow New members of NBR
AS Zahir Mohammad and Asim Kumar Roy have taken charge as the members of the National Board of Revenue (NBR).

Both of them are members of BCS (taxation) cadre, says a press release.

 arrow India hopeful of Safta pact at Islamabad summit
India expressed hope Saturday that seven South Asian countries would sign a free trade pact during their January 4-6 summit in Pakistan.

"It is our hope that it will get signed.

 arrow EU, other nations gear up for trade fight with US
The European Union and other trade powers are considering whether to hit at US imports in a move that could cause further strains within the global trading system, diplomats said Friday.
 arrow US to send team to Japan to calm mad cow fears
The United States was to send a senior envoy to Japan Saturday in a bid to calm fears over mad cow disease, as investigators admitted their probe into the first US case of the deadly infection could last
Sportsarrow Cricket: Batsmen dominate
Imran Ahmed and Arif Ahmed put Barisal and Chittagong in the driving seat respectively at the end of the second day's play in the Ispahani Tea fifth National Cricket League yesterday.
 arrow Football: Russel shoot to the top
Premier League new boys Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra continued to impress in their first season in the big league when they registered a 2-0 victory over Dhaka Wanderers Club at the Sher-e-Bangla National
 arrow Cricket: Aussies claw back
Prolific scoring batsmen Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting wrested the initiative off India in a belligerent 234-run partnership to raise Australian hopes of a series-levelling victory in the third Test
 arrow Cricket: Kiwis gain upper hand
New Zealand gained control of the second Test against Pakistan on Saturday after the tourists lost two quick wickets before ending the day on 52 for two in reply to the home side's competitive total of
 arrow Cricket: Gibbs gives SA solid start
Herschelle Gibbs stroked a superb century as South Africa moved into a strong position on the second day of the second Test at Kingsmead Saturday.
 arrow Cricket: Taking out of India's hand!
Australia are looking for a 200-run innings lead over India in the third cricket Test to turn around the series which has been running away from them.
 arrow Cricket: India's Pakistan tour uncertain?
Pakistan's hopes of hosting a home series against India for the first time since 1989 could be in doubt.
 arrow Cricket: A team meets WAPDA today
The visiting Bangladesh A team will play their third game in the Inter-Department Cricket Championship against Pakistan WAPDA at the UBL ground in Karachi today.
 arrow Chess: Reefat takes the lead
International Master Reefat Bin Sattar led the table with 4.5 points after the end of the fifth round games of the Leonine Grand Masters Chess tournament at the NSC Conference room yesterday.
 arrow Chess: Women's chess
The preliminary phase of the 25th National Women Chess Champi-onship and the 24th National Sub-Junior (Under-16) Chess Champion-ship began yesterday at the Bangladesh Chess Federation hall room.
 arrow Volleyball: V-Day v'ball
Bangladesh Army and Bangladesh Navy moved into the semifinals of the Victory Day Volleyball tournament eliminating their respective rivals at the Dhaka Volleyball Stadium yesterday..
 arrow Football: MU count defensive costs
Defending champions Manchester United could find themselves seven points clear at the top of the Premiership on Sunday but their hopes will hinge on manager Alex Ferguson finding a quick solution to his
 arrow Football: Ronaldo eyes Olympic gold
Real Madrid's Brazilian superstar Ronaldo has admitted his new year won't be complete without having the chance to win the Olympic gold medal in Athens next summer.
 arrow Football: Best not good!
Former Manchester United and Northern Ireland football star George Best spent 11 hours under arrest Friday in connection with an alleged assault on his estranged wife Alex, a top-selling British newspaper
Metropolitanarrow Bela notice to stop earth filling near Amin Bazar
Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela) yesterday served a legal notice on the secretaries of housing and public works, land, and environment ministries, Rajuk chairman, deputy commissioner
 arrow RU starts distribution of admission test forms
Rajshahi University (RU) started distributing application forms for the admission test of 2003-2004 session yesterday.

The authorities have also relaxed the rules on admission to the science faculty.

 arrow DU lab equipment stolen
Equipment worth Tk 31.2 lakh was stolen from the laboratory of Botany Department of Dhaka University (DU) yesterday.
 arrow Shafi new envoy to Malaysia
The government has decided to appoint Shafi U Ahmed, director general (Personnel) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as the next high commissioner of Bangladesh to Malaysia.
Nationalarrow Irregularities in Tk one cr expenditure alleged
Irregularities in expenditures for the three-day Golden Jubilee celebration of Rajshahi University have been alleged.
 arrow 'I am deprived of all constitutional rights'
Awami League (AL) Central Publicity Secretary Asaduzzaman Noor on Friday alleged that he is being "deprived of all constitutional rights" entitles to as an opposition lawmaker.
 arrow Bad days ahead for Rajshahi coaching centres
Rajshahi Education Board (REB) will conduct admission tests at public schools in Rajshahi city from next year.
 arrow Disabled people hold rally in Manikganj
Several hundred disabled people yesterday marched the streets of Manikganj town and held a rally in front of Manikganj Press Club demanding arrest and punishment of the rapist of a teenaged mentally retarded
 arrow People will resist 'ploy' to oust elected govt, Nizami says
Jamat-e-Islami Ameer and Industries Minister Maulana Matiur Rahman Nizami has said the Four-Party Alliance government believes in politics of production and development.
 arrow National convention of like-minded politicians underway: Dr Kamal
Preparations were underway to hold a national convention of like-minded political leaders and activists in Dhaka in February next year.
 arrow Punishment for good deeds!
A protest meeting was held at the Shaheed Miner in the town on Wednesday protesting the arrest of Gobindaganj Upazila Citizens' Committee Convenor Abdul Matin Molla.
 arrow Govt staff in BCC agitate for allowance
Government employees at offices in Barisal City Corporation (BCC) area yesterday began an 19-day agitation programme to realise city corporation allowance.
 arrow 150 hemp plants recovered
About 150 saplings of hemp were recovered from a Jamalpur village on Sunday.
 arrow BRCT treats trauma victims in Nilphamari
Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims (BRCT), a humanitarian organisation, on Friday treated 18 people tortured allegedly by law enforcers or others at different times.
 arrow BTV misses deadline for AsiaSat deal
Bangladesh Television's (BTV) satellite transmission could not meet the December 25 deadline, as the information ministry did not yet ink a deal with AsiaSat.
Point-Counterpointarrow We got him, but what's the big deal?
Ladies and gentlemen -- we got him.
 arrow A year for cautious optimism
The year 2003 has turned out better for the global economy than it initially appeared at about this time last year.
 arrow The government deserves praise for correcting its mistakes
On November 10, 2003, the Ministry of Local Government and Cooperatives issued a circular cancelling the two circulars previously issued, requiring the elected Union Parishad (UP) representatives to obtain
Culturearrow Poetry of points and lines
Mohammad Fokhrul Islam, whose solo exhibition opened recently at the Bengal Gallery, says, "When I create, I don't try to prove my skill.
 arrow A rare document of our political history
The launching ceremony of a book titled Jonmechhi E Banglay by expatriate freedom fighter Dr. Nurun Nabi took place at the CIRDAP auditorium on December 26.
 arrow Grohon
Dandik dedicates the play Grohon by Shekhor Somaddar to those who still trust in humans. The story of the play is based on the relationship among the members of a middle-class family.
 arrow 14th Close-Up Juke Box concert
Close-Up Juke Box came up with their 14th arrangement on December 25 at the BCIC auditorium. The performance comprised of two underground bands Nirjhar, Shomoy and the mainstreamer Feedback.
Internationalarrow Tens of thousands shiver outdoors in quake zone
Tens of thousands of people spent the night out in the streets in bitter cold early yesterday after 25,000 were killed when a massive earthquake devastated Iran's historic southeastern fort city of Bam
 arrow Technicians seal burst Chinese gas well
Technicians yesterday sealed a burst gas well in China's southwest that had spewed toxic fumes, killing at least 198 people and forcing 41,000 to flee the remote, mountainous area, the official Xinhua
 arrow World unites in offering help to quake-hit Iran
President Bush, who once branded Iran part of an "axis of evil," and other world leaders stepped up aid yesterday to Tehran, struggling to cope with an earthquake disaster that killed 25,000 people.
 arrow 'Libya doesn't appear close to making nuke'
The head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog said yesterday Libya, which this month opened its nuclear facilities to international inspection, did not appear to have been close to building an atomic
 arrow Al-Qaeda vows attack on US by Feb
A London-based Arab magazine said Friday that al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has vowed to launch a "back-breaking attack" on the United States by February, confirming an earlier message by the militant
 arrow Hamas calls off attacks inside Israel
Hamas, the Islamic group responsible for most suicide bombings during three years of violence, has called off attacks inside Israel, and a full ceasefire could come in a matter of weeks, Israel's military
Editorialarrow Editorial: Our heart goes out to the people of Iran
Once again the people of Iran have been subjected to a severe natural disaster.
 arrow Editorial: Insecure ports
The high-powered committee formed three years ago to deal with crime at the ports has failed to set things right. Criminals pose a grave threat to ships at both Chittagong and Mongla ports.
 arrow Nuclear disarmament in the Middle East
Exit of a bedraggled Saddam Hussein captured from a rat hole heralding his final exit from the global scene appears to have encouraged selective nuclear non-proliferation.
 arrow Congress lost in banalities
THE Congress seldom licks its wounds. It is a correcting exercise. It serves as a process to recover the strength or pride, both of which the party has lost.
Letters to Editorarrow Muslims and Saddam
It astonishes me to see how so many Muslims have come to turn a blind eye towards atrocities committed by their own.
 arrow Internal resistance in Israel
Three months after the petition in which 27 pilots of the Israeli Air Force refused to obey "illegal and immoral" orders to take part in the targeted raids of the army against Palestinian activists, members
 arrow American foreign policy and values
This refers to Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed's write-up in The Daily Star (Dec 15).
 arrow International telephone call rate
The decision of the government regarding the reduction of the rate of charges on international telephone call with 10 countries has been appreciated by the people at large.
Star Holidayarrow A Quiet Walk
IT was like an awakening.
Star Cityarrow BTV misses deadline for AsiaSat deal
Bangladesh Television's (BTV) satellite transmission could not meet the December 25 deadline, as the information ministry did not yet ink a deal with AsiaSat.
 arrow Now sector-based history of Liberation War
The Ministry for Liberation War Affairs has decided to compile a sector-based history of the Liberation War after the Liberation War History project was transferred to it from the Bangla Academy.
 arrow Mosquitoes thrive on DCC-ministry feud
Mosquito control may suffer a setback as Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) and the local government, rural development (LGRD) and cooperatives ministry are at loggerheads over transfer of a high official.
 arrow Fund crisis about to halt work of Khilgaon flyover
The flyover in Khilgaon may once again miss the deadline deferred as late as June as fund crisis and red tape have almost stopped its progress.
 arrow Space museum next time
City dwellers a few days ago enjoyed a three-day space festival dedicated to the discovery and first flight of the aeroplane 'Kitty Hawk' by the Wright brothers .
 arrow NU admission tests in 151 colleges in Mar
Admission examinations for the first year honours students for the 2003-2004 session in the colleges under the National University curriculum will be held in the third week of March.
 arrow A legal aide in aid of the poor
A few are aware of the National Legal Aid Organisation (NLAO) Dhaka that provides legal aid for those who cannot afford expenses but seek justice.