Volume 4 Number 214 Wed. December 31, 2003    
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Today's Index
Front Pagearrow 80,000 health workers not paid for 4 months
About 80,000 fieldworkers under the family planning wing of the health ministry have not received their salaries for the last four months.
 arrow Khaleda receives peacekeepers' bodies, as nation mourns today
The bodies of 15 Bangladesh peacekeepers, killed in the December 25 air crash in Benin, arrive in Dhaka at about 4:00pm today instead of morning, as the last farewell to the officers by the West African
 arrow Iran quake toll may hit 50,000
Some 50,000 people may have died in Friday's Iranian earthquake, officials told Reuters yesterday, as relief workers pleaded for more aid for survivors of one of the deadliest natural disasters of modern
 arrow Reviving a lost culture
The unmistakably wild drumbeat thumps on the eardrum. And the strange trumpeting noise of a wind instrument.
 arrow Exports, imports show good signs
Key variables influencing macro-economic performance have started off on a relatively strong footing during the first leg of the current fiscal year with a stable export growth and a record import ofcapital
 arrow AL turns to hartal to stunt uplift
Prime Minister Khaleda Zia yesterday blasted Awami League (AL) for opting for destructive ways of hartals and other violent programmes with an intention to ruin the country and its economy.
 arrow Harkatul Jihad man gets life in arms case
A Dhaka court in an arms case yesterday jailed for life Mufti Abdul Hannan Munshi of Harkatul Jihad, also believed to have links to planting explosives near the venue for a Gopalganj rally of former prime
 arrow Hasina wants to pay homage to dead army officials
Leader of the Opposition in Parliament and Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina yesterday expressed willingness to pay her last tribute to the 15 army officers who died in an air crash in Benin on
 arrow Mechanics to get pollution control training
The government will launch a Tk 2 crore training programme for automobile workshops aimed at checking vehicular emission in Dhaka more effectively.
 arrow Musharraf gains powers with upper house nod
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf won vast powers, including the authority to dismiss the elected government, yesterday as the Senate approved a set of sweeping constitutional amendments despite opposition
 arrow Cold wave claims nine in two days
The cold wave sweeping over the country has claimed nine more lives and caught the poor, especially the homeless in the capital and other cities, cold.
 arrow US bolsters security for foreign airlines
Foreign airlines risk being denied access to American airspace if they don't obey a new US directive that some international flights crossing over or headed to this country must carry an armed law enforcement
 arrow 25 hurt as cops club AL procession
At least 25 leaders and activists of the main opposition Awami League (AL), including former lawmaker Kamal Ahmed Majumder, were injured as police charged batons on a party procession at Mirpur in the
 arrow Two lynched in city
Two young men were beaten to death apparently in the same incident in the city's Madhya Badda area Monday night.
 arrow Limited ban on traffic on New Year's Eve
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) yesterday slapped a limited ban on traffic movement in and around Gulshan, Banani, Baridhara and Dhaka University in a bid to avert any untoward incident on the New Year's
 arrow Eminent HR activist Barrister Salma Sobhan passes away
Barrister Salma Sobhan, a lawyer, social worker and human-rights activist, died of a cardiac arrest at her Gulshan residence in the early hours of yesterday. She was 66.
 arrow Govt decision against Poush Mela protested
Artists, intellectuals and journalists yesterday condemned and protested the government decision not to allow the Poush Mela Udjapan Parishad (PMUP) to celebrate Poush Mela ((winter fair)) at Ramna Batamul
 arrow Another tremor shakes Ctg
Another mild tremor jolted the port city and its adjoining areas yesterday.

According to sources, the tremor, measuring 3.75 on the Richter scale, occurred at 11.

 arrow 463 recruited by AL govt thru' 'nepotism'
At least 463 persons were recruited through irregularities and nepotism by the then Awami League government, according to Shamsul Alam Praminik, chairman of the Jatiya Sangsad committee on the education
 arrow 6 Ijtema devotees die in B'baria road accident
Six people died and 40 others were injured when a bus carrying the homebound devotees from the Biswa Ijtema plunged into a roadside ditch at Budhonti on the Dhaka-Sylhet Highway early yesterday.
 arrow India, Myanmar, Thailand run survey on mega highway project
India, Myanmar and Thailand have conducted a survey in New Delhi on December 23 for the construction of a 1,360-km long highway connecting the three countries to expand trade, tourism and people-to-people
 arrow US winds down post-war Afghan operation
US-led forces have ended their largest post-war operation in Afghanistan saying they have reduced the threat from militants during a key constitutional debate in Kabul.
 arrow City road accidents kill 2
Two people were killed in as many road accidents at Farmgate and Nakhalpara in Tejgaon yesterday.
 arrow I can't think of a public rally at Feni without Hazari: Tofail
Awami League central leader Tofail Ahmed speaking in favour of Joynal Hazari at a public meeting here yesterday said, "I cannot think of a public meeting in Feni without Hazari.
 arrow Accused in Kazi Aref murder case shot dead
An accused in the murder of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) leader Kazi Arif Ahmed was shot dead by unidentified assailants at Amla Bazar in Mirpur upazila in the district last night.
 arrow International call charges slashed
The government yesterday slashed to Tk 7.50 from Tk 40 a minute the charges for both fixed and mobile telephone to US and Canada.
Businessarrow Investigation starts to catch wrongdoers
A joint committee yesterday started investigation to identify the companies that allegedly supplied documents to export ready made garments from third countries in the name of Bangladesh.
 arrow Political will needed to remove trade barriers
The visiting Indian minister of state for commerce and industry has underscored the need for political will to eliminate trade barriers with Bangladesh.
 arrow Workshop for welfare funds for low-paid factory workers
A prominent banker yesterday advised NGOs upholding workers' right to look for alternatives to traditional banks for generating small savings and welfare funds for low-paid factory workers, particularly
 arrow Market sees maturity in regulators' actions, investors' decisions
The capital market showed signs of resilience and maturity in 2003 overcoming many ups and downs.
 arrow Striking steel mill owners resent Saifur's remark
Striking owners of steel mills resented the remark of Finance Minister Saifur Rahman as he recently identified the steel and re-rolling industry as a major tax-dodger.
 arrow Repo auction
The Reverse Repo auction of Bangladesh Bank for commercial banks and financial institutions was held here yesterday.

One bid of 2-day tenor amounting to Tk 100 crore was received and that was accepted.

 arrow Janata Bank cuts interest rates again
Janata Bank has again cut the rates of interest on loans and advances.

The interest rates have been cut to accelerate trade and commerce in the country, says a press release.

 arrow GP awards individual sales agents
GrameenPhone Ltd has awarded all of its individual sales agents of Dhaka zone with Easy Gold Pre-Paid connection with handsets.

The awards were given in recognition of their excellent performance.

 arrow US-S'pore FTA comes into effect from January 1
A free-trade agreement between Singapore and the United States, Washington's first with an Asian country, will come into force on Thursday, the Singapore trade ministry said.
 arrow India's South Asian currency plan to take years to achieve
India's proposed single South Asian currency would foster trade and economic growth but it could be a long time before the region of 1.4 billion people gets its version of the euro, experts say.
Sportsarrow Football: D'mondi spoil Reds' day
The draw-syn-drome, which has hit title conten-ders like a naugh-ty virus, struck Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra yesterday when tiny Dhanmondi Club came from two goals down to hold them 2-2 in a Western
 arrow Cricket: Dhaka crash & slump
Dhaka slumped to a massive 105-run defeat against Sylhet in the one-day competition of the Ispahani Tea Fifth National Cricket League yesterday.
 arrow Cricket: Aussies draw level
Australia defeated India by nine wickets to level the series 1-1 and set up an emotionally-charged farewell for skipper Steve Waugh in this week's final Test.
 arrow Cricket: Easily done in the end
Pakistan humiliated New Zealand by taking advantage of a break in the rain to polish off the second Test with ease Tuesday, cracking the final 28 runs inside four overs on the fifth and final day at the
 arrow Cricket: Lara rules out whitewash
West Indian captain Brian Lara ruled out a second successive whitewash defeat in South Africa after his team were beaten by an innings and 65 runs on the fourth day of the second Test at Kingsmead Monday.
 arrow Cricket: Wait for him to come back
Sachin Tendulkar's dramatic slump in the year gone by has acquired such serious proportions that many have even begun to joke about it.
 arrow Football: BFF want Festival in Sylhet
Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) has made a primary decision to hold the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-14 Football Festival in Sylhet in April 2004 following a meeting at the Bangabandhu
 arrow Chess: Reefat's 2nd GM norm
International Master Reefat-bin-Sattar finished the Leonine Grand Masters' Chess Tournament in grand style as he earned his much-needed GM norm beside clinching the title without losing a match.
 arrow Cricket: Barisal zonal champions
Barisal DSA emerged zonal champions in the National Under-13 Cricket Championship beating Bhola DSA by three-wickets in the final at local stadium yesterday.
 arrow Cricket: WAPDA head for big total
It was a long hard second day for Bangladesh A at the UBL ground in Karachi yesterday as Pakistan WAPDA piled up a huge 383 for four in the first innings of their four-day Patron's Trophy match.
 arrow Volleyball: V-Day volleyball final tomorrow
Bangladesh Army and Bangladesh Navy moved into the final of the Victory Day Volleyball Champion-ship after beating their respective rivals at the Volleyball ground yesterday.
 arrow Handball: Cute h'ball on
Narinda Pragoti Boys Club made a good start in the Cute Metropolis Premier Division Handball League beating Victoria SC by 25-15 in the opener at the Outer Stadium handball ground yesterday.
 arrow Chess: Shakil Rating chess champ
Fide Master Abu Sufian Shakil clinched the Prime Bank Sixth International Rating Chess tournament title with a game to go at the NSC yesterday.
 arrow Football: Pires the difference
Robert Pires seventh goal in six meetings with Southampton was enough to see Arsenal maintain their unbeaten record in the Premiership this season as they came out 1-0 winners here on Monday against an
Metropolitanarrow Moni Singh's anniversary of death today
The 13th death anniversary of communist leader Comrade Moni Singh will be observed today with due respect.
 arrow 600 telephone lines to remain disconnected at Mohammadpur
About 600 telephone lines in Mohammadpur area from Asad Gate crossing to Mohammadpur bus stand will remain deactivated for five days from January 2 as the T&T authority will install underground cables
Nationalarrow AL's oust-govt movement from January 10
Awami League General Secretary Mohammad Abdul Jalil MP has said an "oust-government" movement will be launched from a public meeting at Paltan Maidan in Dhaka on January 10.
 arrow 46 fishermen held by Indian coast guard from Bay
Forty-six Bangladeshi fishermen, caught by Indian coast guard on December 23 from Bangladesh territorial waters in the Bay, are now in jail in India.
 arrow RU ignores UGC order, gives over Tk 2.5 cr subsidy on power a year
The Rajshahi University authorities give over Tk 2.5 crore subsidy on electricity consumption on the campus every year, ignoring a UGC (University Grants Commission) directive to reduce the subsidy.
 arrow 1484 arsenicosis patients in Satkhira
Large scale arsenic contamination of tube-well water beyond the WHO permissible level has been detected in seven upazilas of the district.
 arrow 10 hurt, 2 women missing as launch, trawler looted in Galachipa
Ten people were injured and two women are missing as dacoits looted about Tk one lakh in cash and valuables from passengers of a launch and trawler in two incidents on Bora Gowrango river in Char Najir
 arrow 8 firearms recovered in Rangamati: one held
A youth was rounded up and eight firearms and huge ammunition were recovered from Naniarchar and Langadu upazilas (Uzs) on Saturday and Sunday.
 arrow Tussle over an abandoned house in Ctg
Two organisations, one for the disabled and the other for women, had a tussle over occupation of an abandoned house here on Monday.
 arrow Journalist beaten at Pirojpur
Shafiul Huq Mithu, Pirojpur correspondent of national daily Janakantha, was seriously injured when attacked by some miscreants activists at Pirojpur town on Sunday night.
 arrow Fog disrupts waterway service
Dense fog in river routes delayed arrival of vessels to Barisal from different parts of the country by seven to eight hours Sunday night and on Monday.

The situation did not improve yesterday.

Point-Counterpointarrow Hopes and concerns in the energy sector
One would be horrified to hear that the energy sector in Bangladesh has become rudderless. Reportedly, it is now operating on borrowed impulses, at times misdirected by verbosity.
 arrow 2004 objectives
In a rapidly changing, increasingly uncertain, mostly unknown and developmentally uneven world, the establishment of realisable plans and programmes in the pursuit of creating initial conditions for meeting
 arrow Comrade Moni Singh
In July 1952, I was instructed by the party's leadership to call a meeting of the journalist cell which would be attended by the party's General Secretary, Comrade Moni Singh and Comrade Sudhin Roy.
 arrow Dr Mazharul Islam
Quite a few weeks have passed since I received the initial request to prepare a remembrance for my father's life story.
Culturearrow The year that was!
An eventful year: Jaya Ahsan

2003 was a very busy year for me.

 arrow Preview--Raktokarobi
The play, Raktokarobi by Rabindranah Tagore, centers around a materialistic world, called 'Jaggapuri' (sacrificial ground) where there is only wealth and no touch of humanity.
 arrow Year of the dying sequels
As the year comes to an end, Hollywood is still trying to shake off its 'hangover' from the year's upsets and the sleeper hits.
Generalarrow Air force to be modernised

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia yesterday reiterated to continue the government efforts for modernising the air force providing it with modern aircraft and other equipment.

 arrow Two to die, 10 get life
A Dhaka court yesterday sentenced two persons to death and ten to life-term for killing a fruit trader in July in 2001.
 arrow DUTA polls today
Election to the 15-member executive committee of Dhaka University Teachers' Association (DUTA) will be held today.
 arrow ntv starts 24-hr transmission from tomorrow
Country's fourth private television channel ntv (International Television Channel Limited) kicks off round the clock transmission from January 1, said a top official of the channel at a press conference
 arrow DUJ condemns attack on journalists
Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) yesterday condemned the attacks on journalists in Feni and Pirojpur.
 arrow British troupe to present dance show tomorrow
Akram Khan, a Bangladeshi-born British dancer and choreographer, will present a dance show in the city on January 1 and 2.
 arrow Dr Zafar Iqbal wins Sheltech Award
Dr Zafar Iqbal, a noted science fiction writer and chairman of the department of computer science of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, has been selected for the Sheltech Award 2003.
Internationalarrow Syria urges UN to help rid ME of nukes
Syria pushed for a ban on nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in the Middle East Monday, using its final days on the UN Security Council to shine a spotlight on Israel's suspected nuclear arms.
 arrow '60 terrorist groups at work around world'
Roughly 60 terrorist groups, many of which are expanding their access to home-made weapons of mass destruction, are operating worldwide, the National Defence Council Foundation reported.
 arrow Aid workers shift focus to wounded in Iran
Aid workers sifting through the ruins of Iran's devastating earthquake said yesterday their operation had shifted from searching for survivors to treating the injured and homeless and burying the corpses
 arrow US favours Indo-Pak amity, says Powell
US Secretary of State Colin Powell has said the US policy towards India and Pakistan and its attitude towards the Kashmir issue is one of "trying to turn our parallel improvement of relations with India
 arrow Iraq tightens security fearing attacks
One Iraqi was killed and three were wounded last morning when a roadside bomb hit a US convoy in Baghdad, the military said, amid concern over renewed attacks timed for the New Year's holiday.
 arrow Gaddafi confirms dropping mass destruction arms
Libyan leader Muamar Gaddafi confirmed he has abandoned programmes of weapons of mass destruction, the head of the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) said here Monday after a meeting in Tripoli.
 arrow Saddam has his legal options for defence
Even Saddam Hussein has legal options.
Editorialarrow Editorial: Toxic poultry feed
Poultry feed is being produced through using tannery wastes without necessary treatment and sterilisation. The news has further lengthened the long list of public health hazards.
 arrow Editorial: Admission season peaking
It is called problem of admission, but we call it crisis of schools. Why we call it so, would be clear from a simple statistical analysis. There are 322 secondary-level schools in Dhaka city.
 arrow Seismic shift in Gaddafi's policy
On 19th December, both the US President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that Libya's strongman Colonel Mu'ammar Gaddafi had agreed to destroy the weapons of mass destruction (WMD)
 arrow The motto of SAARC
How close is policy to a heartbeat? To paraphrase a well-known adage: policy is a dish best eaten cold.
 arrow Cheers for South Asian cooperation
Finally, the 12th summit of the seven south Asian countries is set to take place in Islamabad from January 4.
Letters to Editorarrow Monopolised cellphone business
Cellphone service was launched in Bangladesh in 1989 by CityCell. Apparently, Bangladesh is an ideal country for cellphone business.
 arrow Former PM's observations
This refers to a news item covering a former prime minister's address to a rally organised by Bangladesh Non-government Primary Teachers' Association at Paltan Maidan on December 26, 2003 (DS 27.12.2003).
 arrow An American year
What a year it's been. I marched in disbelief as they went to war. I watched in trepidation as Saddam's statue was covered with an American flag, signifying an American endeavour.
 arrow NYT story
Many years ago I had an argument with an American friend where I raised the issue of the US media's blind support for Israel.
 arrow How heartless we are....
On Thursday December 25, 2003, in a tragic plane crash in Benin we lost 16 of our beloved people. They were army personnel representing Bangladesh in a UN mission in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
 arrow Sufferings of pilgrims
As a non-balloti pilgrim from Uttara area, I, accompanied by three of my colleagues, visited the Hajj camp medical centre at Ashkona on December 28, 2003 for taking meningitis vaccine which is a mustfor
 arrow Indian IT centres
People who have a bit of IT knowledge must be aware of those "Indian franchised IT Centres". Let's call them IFIC for the time being.
 arrow NYT smear campaign
Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed's article of 23 December on the NYT editorial smearing Bangladesh and Mr. Edward al Hussainy's views on it are worth commenting upon. The journalist in question, Mr.
 arrow Dead peacekeepers
First, I would like to express my deep shock and condolence to the bereaved families. There are no words to say to lessen their pain. Only those who have lost their dear ones can feel the pain.
 arrow Who is he?
Thanks to Mr. Badal Habib for his letter published in The Daily Star on 29 December . I fully agree with him.

It is also my question to the UNO -- who is Mr.

 arrow Strike by travel agents
I consider the strike called by the Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh (ATAB) from January 1, to protest reduction of agency commissions by airlines an irresponsible move.
 arrow BTV misses deadline. . .
Star City (DS December 28, 2003) reports, "BTV satellite transmission could not meet the December 25 deadline, as the information ministry did not yet ink a deal with Asia Sat.
StarTecharrow Net behind the screen
LAST month Sirius Broadband introduced the region's first non-line-of-sight (NLOS) wireless internet access through portable customer premises equipment (CPE).
 arrow City-IT 2003 takes off
THE long awaited fair for the tech junkies 'City-IT 2003' was inaugurated yesterday by Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, minister for commerce, at the BCS computer City, IDB Bhaban.
 arrow Crater may be blocking Mars probe signal
SCIENTISTS trying to find Europe's Beagle 2 Mars probe ruled out weather problems and a faulty onboard clock for its five-day silence, but considered a new possibility Monday a crater that may be blocking
 arrow Workshop on Integrated Approach Towards Bridging Digital Divide
ICTDP'B (ICT for Development Program, Bangladesh) organised a daylong workshop on Integrated Approach Towards Bridging Digital Divide on December 11 at Geneva, Switzerland at Geneva Palexpo (Venue for
 arrow Gonophone launches inter-network SMS service
Gonophone Bangladesh Ltd. one of the leading Internet Service and ICT solution providers has launched a SMS gateway labeled Gonophone EasyPay, says a press release.
Star Chittagongarrow Piracy headache for CPA
Organised gangs of pirates and miscreants have reportedly become active at the outer anchorage of Chittagong port.

The gangs frequently attack the cargo vessels anchoring there, sources said.

 arrow A Homage to Prof Khaled
Professor Muhammad Khaled (1922-2003) was a role model for all aspiring journalists.
 arrow A Long Wait for Pension
A visit to Pay & Cash Office of Bangladesh Railway in Chittagong during this time of the year is sure to get one stunned with a most pitiable sight.
Star Cityarrow Dirt, waste choke Dhanmondi Lake
Dhanmondi Lake has become a contaminated site loaded with waste from hospitals and clinics and sewage from surface drains that are directly linked to its stagnant water.
 arrow High prices slow sales at Saarc fair
Sale was not satisfactory despite a good number of people visiting the show, was the opinion of most stall owners at the Fifth South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (Saarc) Trade Fair 2003.
 arrow Losing way in 'X' files?
Police seem reluctant to unravel the mystery cloaking the deaths of five children in a water tank of an under-construction building in a single midday tragedy on December 25, while keening rises among
 arrow Admission tests in govt schools Jan 10-14
The 24 government schools in the city will hold admission tests between January 10 and 14.

Distribution of admission forms, which began on Saturday, will continue till January 7.

 arrow Printing of over 50 pc textbooks complete
Printing of more than fifty per cent of textbooks for primary and secondary schools and madrassahs are complete and distribution of these books will begin next week, said National Curriculum and Textbook
 arrow Illegal market halts road expansion
The expansion work on the Ring Road at Mohammadpur has not progressed for over a month despite two attempts by the Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) to evict an illegal market on its land.
 arrow Traffic snarl-up at Gulshan Circle 2
The Gulshan circle 2 has become notorious for traffic congestion apparently because of the ignorance of drivers.