Volume 4 Number 218 Sun. January 04, 2004    
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Front Pagearrow Hopes high as Saarc Summit starts today
Optimism ran high as South Asia's leaders arrived in the Pakistani capital yesterday for a landmark summit after ministers agreed to turn the region into a free trade zone and strengthen anti-terrorism
 arrow Motia, 50 others hurt as cops swing baton
Police clashed with leaders and activists of the Awami League (AL) and its front organisations demonstrating at different places in the capital during the dawn-to-dusk countywide hartal (shutdown) yesterday
 arrow Cold snap claims 18 more lives
At least 18 people, mostly children and the elderly, died in the last three days from the cold snap that swept much of Bangladesh with chill winds and rain-like dense fog at night amid overcast conditions.
 arrow Banks soon to cut deposit rates
The private banks may go for deep cuts, as high as 4 percent, in their deposit scheme rates this month in line with the government's reduction in savings instrument rates.
 arrow Egyptian plane crashes into sea, kills 148
An Egyptian Boeing 737 airliner carrying 135 mostly French tourists crashed into the Red Sea off the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh yesterday and a rescue team member said there were no survivors.
 arrow PM off to Pakistan
Prime Minister Khaleda Zia left Dhaka yesterday evening for Islamabad to attend the 12th Saarc Summit.
 arrow Premiers give conflicting signals
Pakistan's Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali expects a 'structured Indo-Pak summit' during a regional South Asia summit opening yesterday, but his Indian counterpart Atal Behari Vajpayee dashed hopes of
 arrow Pakistan blocks India's single currency move
Pakistan yesterday blocked India's attempt to bring its proposal for a single South Asian currency on to the agenda of the upcoming regional summit, a Pakistani official said.
 arrow UNDP team arrives today to undo deadlock
A delegation of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) arrives in Dhaka today to review end the deadlock in UNDP's development works in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).
 arrow Miracle rescue from Iran quake
Iranian rescue workers pulled a woman alive and unscathed from the rubble in Bam yesterday, more than eight full days after an earthquake destroyed the city, a Red Crescent spokeswoman told the news agency.
 arrow Harsher law to fight land grabs proposed
The secretary committee on recovery of occupied land has recommended major changes to the existing law to make it tougher to stem the tide of land grabbing.
 arrow 2 Garos shot dead for construction protest
At least two Garo youths were shot dead and 25 others, including women and children, injured in the Madhupur forest, 50 km north of Tangail town yesterday noon.
 arrow Slashed int'l phone tariff might not be for govt offices
The newly reduced international call charge might not be applicable to 43,000 telephones of government offices to avoid misuse, official sources said.
 arrow GI killed in Iraq mortar attack
One US soldier was killed and two injured in a mortar attack on a US army base near the town of Balad, northwest of Baghdad, a military spokesman says.
 arrow Transport strike planned for Jan 5-6 called off
Transport owners and workers yesterday withdrew their strike called for January 5-6, following a negotiation with the government.
 arrow Reports on arrest of Indian militants in Dhaka false: home ministry
The home ministry yesterday rejected as baseless and fabricated some reports ran by a section of local and Indian media that some Indian militants were recently arrested in Dhaka.
 arrow Much-expected cabinet meet in Ctg uncertain
The much-awaited cabinet meeting in the port city faces uncertainty as it was deferred once again, sources said.
 arrow Delhi mulls Dhaka request for crocodiles
India is pondering on a request from Bangladesh for sending 40 crocodiles, a rare species which is on the verge of extinction in that country.

"The request is being considered.

 arrow 2 journalists of Barisal injured by alleged BNP cadres
Two correspondents of Bangla dailies Prothom Alo and Ittefaq were seriously injured on the Patuakhali University of Science and Technology (PUST) campus in an attack allegedly by cadres of the rulingBangladesh
 arrow Sudden exercise poses heart risk
Scientists have proof that people who seldom take exercise may be best off avoiding sudden bursts of vigorous physical activity.
 arrow Oust govt plan Jan 10
Leaders of the Awami League (AL) at a post-hartal rally yesterday said a programme for a massive movement would be announced at a grand rally on January 10 to oust the BNP-led alliance government by March.
Businessarrow Forex reserves hit 8-year high
Foreign exchange reserves hit an eight-year high of US$2.65 billion yesterday.

After hitting the highest $3.

 arrow EPB to hold three single country fairs in Yangon, Sydney, Toronto
Encouraged by last year's single country fairs organised in two countries, the government is going to hold three similar fairs in three continents in the next four months.
 arrow Re-rolling, steel millers keep striking
Re-rolling and steel mill owners are adamant to continue their indefinite strike until their demands are met, although Commerce Minister Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury yesterday assured them of lookinginto
 arrow India repays $2b in foreign loans ahead of deadline
India's central bank announced on Friday that the government had taken advantage of its strong foreign exchange reserves position to pay 2.0 billion dollars in foreign debt in advance.
 arrow Singapore economy expands in Q4
Powered by rising production of computer chips, disk drives and pharmaceuticals, Singapore's economy expanded for a second straight quarter, but the momentum is slowing.
 arrow World carmakers hope for healthy year
The global car industry is due for a pickup in 2004, a survey of 100 top bosses in the auto industry says.
 arrow Tk 100cr PKSF loan for Asa
Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) has signed an accord to provide Tk 100 crore loan to Asa, a non-government organisation.
 arrow Saarc countries to form Youth Employment Summit network
Country coordinators from seven South Asian nations have signed a memorandum of understanding to form Saarc Country Youth Employment Summit (YES) Network recently.
 arrow Eastern Cables earns Tk 116.38cr in 32 years
Eastern Cables Limited, a concern of Bangladesh Steel and Engineering Corporation (BSEC) has earned Tk 116.38 crore profits in 32 years since its inception till December 2003.
 arrow Mercantile Bank cuts lending rates again
Mercantile Bank Limited has reduced lending rates for the second time in last three months.

The rates will now rang from 7 per cent to 14.

 arrow Emirates wins two awards in India
Emirates, the Dubai-based international carrier, has won two top distinctions at the Galileo Express Travel and Tourism (ET&T) Awards in Mumbai, India.
 arrow Call money rate steady
The inter-bank money shot up to its high at 9 per cent yesterday as some banks experienced liquidity problems, fund managers said.
 arrow Taka remains weak against dollar
The Bangladesh taka remained at its record low level against the US dollar yesterday, the second trading day of 2004, as some banks faced setback in dollar earnings through remittance and exports.
 arrow Country attains self-sufficiency in medicine
The country has attained self-sufficiency in medicine and presently about 96 per cent of its domestic demands is met by productions in the local pharmaceutical industries.
 arrow US may pay farmers to test for mad cow
The US government said on Friday it might pay American farmers to turn in sick or crippled cattle to be tested for mad cow disease.
 arrow Manufacturing surge offers hope for US economy
A survey Friday showing that US manufacturing activity surged in December to its highest level since 1983 offered hope that the economy is keeping momentum from the strong gains in 2003, analysts said.
 arrow Malaysia hopes to lure 13m tourists in 2004
Malaysia hopes to lure 13 million tourists in 2004 after a setback last year and will launch a year-long cultural program to woo big-spending visitors from China, a deputy minister said Friday.
 arrow Gold glitters in sluggish festive trading week
Gold was the standout performer in a generally sleepy post-Christmas week for the commodities market, the metal rising to near-eight year highs, due mainly to the plummeting dollar.
 arrow Wall Street bull charges into '04
The bull market ran strong on Wall Street through the end of 2003, and many analysts say the rally is not over despite a slight trip in the first session of 2004.
 arrow Jakarta allows port visa facility for 21 countries
Indonesia is to bring in an immigration law from next month which allows tourists from 21 countries to obtain visas on arrival, a report says.
Sportsarrow Cricket: Sylhet start strongly
Hosts Sylhet made a flying start against lowly Barisal on the opening day of their fourth round match in the Ispahani Tea Fifth National Cricket League yesterday.
 arrow Cricket: Tigers' training begins today
National cricketers begin today what will be their most extensive preparation since gaining Test status for the upcoming tour of Zimbabwe in February.
 arrow Cricket: India surge in Sydney
Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman hammered Australia's bowlers in a blazing, record triple-century stand to give India a throttle-hold on Steve Waugh's farewell Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground here on
 arrow Cricket: Double is his reply
Master batsman Sachin Tendulkar had to ask his teammates what he was doing wrong during his dismal run of form that ended so spectacularly with a career Test best, an unbeaten double-century against Australia
 arrow Cricket: Proteas put up huge total
Wicketkeeper Mark Boucher hit his fourth Test century but first in four seasons as South Africa moved into a powerful position on the second day of the third Test against the West Indies at Newlands on
 arrow Cricket: Styris styles Kiwi win
An unbeaten 101 by Scott Styris, his second one-day international century, lead New Zealand to an upset four-wicket win over Pakistan in the first one-day cricket international here.
 arrow Cricket: 'Very Very Special'
Australian bowlers are becoming sick of the sight of VVS Laxman.
 arrow Cricket: Fans anger Gilchrist
Adam Gilchrist lashed home fans for taking a "soft option" by booing the under-fire Australian cricketers as they toiled with limited success against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.
 arrow Cricket: Tushar to lead A team today
Middle-order batsman Tushar Imran will lead the Bangladesh A team when it plays formidable Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in the fourth round of the Inter Department Cricket Championship in Pakistan
 arrow Chess: Singer chess from Jan 16
The preliminary phase of the Singer 30th National Chess Championship, sponsored by Singer Bangladesh Limited, will start from January 16 at the NSC Conference room.
 arrow Cricket: Kaif out of India team
Middle-order batsman Mohammad Kaif has been ruled out of India's one-day squad for a triangular series in Australia starting later this month because of a thumb injury.
 arrow Football: Figo's heart with Real
Real Madrid's Portuguese international midfielder Luis Figo is ready to sacrifice a "childhood dream" of playing in England in order to pursue his ambition of taking his teammates to even greater heights.
Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier insisted Saturday that he was not concerned by rumours linking his Celtic counterpart Martin O'Neill with the Anfield job.
Metropolitanarrow 'Adopt Saarc convention to protect human rights'
Leading South Asian human rights (HR) activists have called for adopting a Saarc convention to protect human rights by putting an end to the culture of impunity.
 arrow Remove Huda from cabinet
BNP lawmaker Mahi B Chowdhury has demanded immediate removal of Communication Minister Nazmul Huda from the cabinet and his expulsion from the party for his remarks at the inaugural ceremony of a three-day
 arrow 'Hartal has lost its impact on politics'
BNP Secretary General and LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan yesterday said hartal has lost its effectiveness as political programmes.
 arrow BCL founding anniversary today
Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), student wing of the opposition Awami League, will observe its 56th founding anniversary today.
Nationalarrow Tourists begin to flock Kuakata
Like previous years Kuakata sea beach is now full of tourists.

Hundreds of tourists of all ages from home and abroad are thronging here every day.

 arrow No headway in probe into 4 Satkhira murder cases
There has been no headway in probe into four murder cases including three women rape and murder cases in Kalaroa upazila last year.

None was arrested and no charge was framed against the suspectedkillers.

 arrow Tributes paid to 15 army officers
Speakers at a meeting here on Friday paid rich tributes to the memory of 15 Bangladesh Armed Forces officers who died in a plane crash in the West African state of Benin on December 25.
 arrow Killer suspects threaten victim's family
Absconding killer suspects are 'creating pressure' on the family members of the victim at Debnagar village in Sadar upazila to withdraw murder case or 'face a dire consequence'.
 arrow Looting of paddy protested
About 480 landless destitute families living on a 11- kilometre flood protection embankment in Char Manika union of Charfassion upazila protested against repression on them recently.
 arrow Kaliganj Jubodal body formed
A 71-member committee of Kaliganj thana Jubodal headed by Sheikh Saifiqul Islam and Nazrul Islam as President and General Secretary was formed at its biennial conference at the Kaliganj thana BNP office
 arrow Teenage girl commits suicide
A teenage girl committed suicide by hanging herself with a tree near their house at Binerpota village in Sadar upazila on December 3.
 arrow 7 injured in Satkhira clash
Seven people including six women were injured, three of them seriously, in a clash over land between two groups of villagers at Atulia Bharbhari village in Shyamnagar upazila on January 1.
Point-Counterpointarrow From agricultural parastatals to private trade: Does this work?
Rabi season has set in for growing a variety of crops that includes Boro rice, wheat, mustard, onion, and potato, among others.
 arrow The 'Neocons', American foreign policy and anti-semitism
As the world watches the continuing turmoil in Iraq, it would be useful to reflect on extensive media commentary in the United States and elsewhere pertaining to a small and cohesive group of practitioners
 arrow Gene revolution and genetic contamination
The pendulum of science swings between the two extremes -- hope and fear, progress and distress, dream and disaster.
Culturearrow Bertrand Tavernier retrospective
After the glory days of the 'New Wave' of the French cinema of the 1960s, there was a vacuum of new filmmakers coming up with fresh ideas and approaches. Tavernier turned up in this vacant situation.
 arrow Preview-- Hul
Hul is a historical play. Shantal word 'Hul' means revolution. The play Hul is based on the Shantal revolution against the British colonial power which took place in 1855.
 arrow Palakar, a theatre school for children, starts its journey
Television actress Rumana Rashid Ishita formally inaugurated the theatre school Palakar at the 46 Dilu Road, New Iskaton on January 2 in a ceremonious programme.
 arrow Konkona and the art of being different
Winning the National Award for her performance in Mr And Mrs Iyer gives Konkona Sen Sharma reasons more than one to celebrate.
Internationalarrow Britain warns of more flight disruption
London said yesterday specific information led to the grounding of several British Airways flights in the past week and warned more cancellations might be needed to prevent another Sept. 11-style attack.
 arrow S Asian leaders fly into huge security net
A massive security net was thrust around Islamabad airport as South Asian leaders began arriving yesterday for a seven-nation summit in the wake of two attempts to kill President Pervez Musharraf.
 arrow 3 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in Nablus
Three Palestinians were killed in the northern West Bank city of Nablus yesterday in two separate clashes between Israeli troops and stone-throwing demonstrators, Palestinian medics and witnesses said.
 arrow Iran declines Dole visit for now
Iran Friday declined a US offer to send a humanitarian mission led by Sen. Elizabeth Dole, a former head of the American Red Cross, following last week's earthquake in Bam, the State Department said.
 arrow Mars is the next stop
A NASA spacecraft was closing in on Mars, carrying a six-wheeled vehicle that is to roam the Red Planet's rocky surface in search of geologic evidence that Mars was once suitable for life.
 arrow Trio set to ask N Korea to scrap its nukes
The United States, Japan and South Korea are to demand North Korea scrap its nuclear programmes, including those used for power generation, at the next round of six-way nuclear talks, a Japanese newspaper
Editorialarrow Editorial: Saarc summitry on an auspicious note
The prelude to the 12th Saarc summit has been redolent with a kind of positivism we had sorely missed in the past runs-up to the on-going, off-going regional summitry exercises.
 arrow Editorial: Countrywide shutdown
The main opposition Awami League enforced a dawn-to-dusk hartal across the country yesterday, amid fears that negative politics might once again begin to debilitate the country's wobbly economy whichcomes
 arrow Whither South Asia?
All roads did not lead to Rome! For nearly three centuries till Portuguese Vasco de Gama rounded the Cape Horn to fulfil the dream of the European monarchies there was a mad rush by Portuguese, Spanish,
 arrow Democracy and governance
Whatever successes Bangladesh has achieved in the economic sector, are not evenly spread among the entire community. Land reforms were not seriously addressed as was done in West Bengal in the late 70s.
Letters to Editorarrow Our gas export
It appears that out political leaders of both the ruling and opposition parties are in a state of vacillation as far as making any policy on our natural gas is concerned.
 arrow America's double standard
I would like to thank Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed for his brilliant analysis on 'The New York times editorial unfairly smears Bangladesh'.
 arrow No time like the past
Malcolm Beith's piece on the revisit to Burma (cannot be Myanmar, as there is no chance) was nostalgic, as I recalled my school days in Bhola (then in Bengal of British India, now in Bangladesh) where
Star Healtharrow Sports nutrition guideline for the vegetarian
Active individuals often wonder what, and even if, they should eat before a workout -- especially when hunger seems to strike just around workout time -- or when the race or tennis match begins too early
 arrow Gynecomastia, a cause of embrassment for suffering young men
Male breast growth can have a major emotional impact on a young man. There is just something about protruding breasts in a male that can result in teasing from peers.
Star Cityarrow Zoo offers deer at cut price
Mirpur Zoo authorities are planning to on reduce the price of deer as sales dipped to the lowest last year.
 arrow DCC defers off-limits plan
The banning of non-motorised (NMT) vehicles from two important thoroughfares of the city from January 1 has been delayed again.
 arrow Privatisation of mosquito control uncertain
Dhaka City Corporation's (DCC) attempt to privatise its mosquito control programme has been thrown into uncertainty as two interested companies which participated in the bidding are considering withdrawal
 arrow Drawbacks in deal delay water plant
Drawbacks in the government supplier's credit policy have delayed the awarding of contract on the Pagla water treatment plant.
 arrow Cheaper garment items set to elbow out seconds
The demand for imported cast-off clothes is gradually declining with the rise in garment factories, said importers and retailers of seconds.
Star City in Framesarrow A Feast to the Eye
A single goal, but three individuals put together their work to bring about a photographic exhibition to celebrate the centenary of the invention of the world's first aircraft the "Kitty Hawk".