Volume 5 Number 210 Fri. December 24, 2004    
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Today's Index
Front Pagearrow Dipping Dhaka table rings alarm
Groundwater table in the capital dropped to 46.24 metres below the surface marking a steep fall of 20 metres in six years till 2003 as the water level in the rivers around it are declining fast.
 arrow Draft 3-yr antipoverty plan eyes 6pc growth
The national steering committee on poverty reduction yesterday submitted to the finance minister the draft Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) for the financial years 2004-05 to 2006-07 projecting
 arrow Diesel for irrigation may be subsidised
The government is considering subsidising diesel prices to facilitate irrigation after it hiked diesel and kerosene prices by Tk 3 to Tk 23 a litre from midnight Wednesday.
 arrow Tigers go down fighting
A courageous late assault launched by wicketkeeper Khaled Mashud almost made it a day to remember for Bangladesh before they went down by 11 runs in the first one day international against India at the
 arrow Int'l agencies sceptical about Bangladesh's RMG future
International bodies have come up with predictions that the impact of quota elimination on Bangladesh's ready-made garment (RMG) exports is likely to be negative though exporters and buyers are making
 arrow Joined or not that is the question
While the anti-corruption commissioners said the newly appointed secretary to the ACC had not joined his office until yesterday evening, a government handout last night said Reza-e-Rabbi took over the
 arrow AL fronts call daylong hartal for Dec 26
Main opposition Awami League's (AL) front organisations Bangladesh Krishak League and Awami Jubo League will enforce a dawn-to-dusk hartal across the country on December 26 in protest at the price hike
 arrow Rupali Bank to find it easier to sell off stakes
The Rupali Bank will find it relatively easier to attract private investors as it has a strong brand name and a large network of branches countrywide, but a number of risk factors may discourage prospective
 arrow Babar asks Rab to be alert to 'mistakes'
State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babar yesterday directed the Rab members to remain alert to mistakes that might spoil the success they have achieved so far in combating terrorism and improving
 arrow Opposition activists stage hunger strike
Opposition leaders and workers yesterday were on a daylong hunger strike in the city protesting the government's inaction in tracking down the culprits of the August 21 grenade attacks even after about
 arrow PM urges all to support anticrime drive
Prime Minister Khaleda Zia yesterday urged the people of all faiths to extend support to the anticrime drive for sustaining its success through further improving the law and order situation.
 arrow Blue, White panels share Duta seats
Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique and Prof Mohammad Akhteruzzaman of the main opposition Awami League-backed 'Blue Panel' were re-elected president and general secretary of the Dhaka University Teachers' Association
 arrow Rumsfeld warns of more unrest in Iraq after polls
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned Wednesday that the deadly chaos in Iraq will likely continue after the January 30 elections, as the military's top general said the attack on a base in Mosul
 arrow Palestinians vote in landmark elections
Palestinians across the West Bank began voting yesterday in the first council elections in 28 years which will act as a barometer for next month's presidential ballot.

 arrow Geeteara Safiya reelected Dhaka Club president
Geeteara Safiya Choudhury was reelected president of Dhaka Club in the election held yesterday.
 arrow Bank guard slaughtered in city
A security guard of Uttara Bank English Road branch was found slaughtered inside the bank on Shaheed Nazrul Islam Sarani in Dhaka last night.
 arrow Narasimha Rao passes away
Former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao, the first politician from outside Nehru-Gandhi family to head a government at the Centre for a full five-year term, died on Thursday after a bout of serious illness
 arrow US envoy meets Hasina, Joy
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Harry K Thomas met Awami League (AL) President and Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Sheikh Hasina at her Sudha Sadan residence yesterday.
 arrow Zealots declare new plan against Ahmadiyyas
Islamist zealots yesterday announced a yearlong agitation programme to press the government to declare Ahmadiyyas non-Muslim.

"We're giving a final ultimatum to the government...

 arrow PM opens Hajj flight
Prime Minister Khaleda Zia yesterday inaugurated the Hajj flight--2005 of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, praying for safe journey and performance of holy Hajj by the pilgrims.
 arrow PM orders completion of Saarc preparation
Prime Minister Khaleda Zia yesterday directed all concerned to complete the preparations for successful holding of the forthcoming Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) summit.
 arrow Patients suffer as doctors go on excursion
Treatment has been disrupted for the last three days at Noakhali General Hospital and other health complexes in the district, as a number of doctors have gone on an excursion to the Sundarbans.
 arrow HR groups asks IGP to punish rapists
Rights and women's organisations yesterday submitted a memorandum to the inspector general of police (IGP) demanding punishment of the policemen for gang-raping a housewife in Chuadanga on December 18.
 arrow Soft-launch of BTTB cellphone on Dec 28
The much-awaited cellular phone service of Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) will be launched on December 28 with a tariff rate higher than expected.
Businessarrow Govt offers duty waiver for cheap housing solution
The government has offered duty exemption on materials and technologies required for cheap housing solution for growing urban population.
 arrow US accepts 12th petition to curb China clothing
The Bush administration has accepted a 12th petition that could lead to import restrictions on billions of dollars of clothing from China next year, the government said on Wednesday.
 arrow India to allow cotton export up to 2m tonnes
Riding on bumper production of cotton, India has decided to allow export of the commodity up to two million tonnes during cotton season 2004-5.
 arrow 10 EU states to end direct farm subsidies from Jan 1
The European Union's executive arm said Thursday a reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) taking effect in 10 member states on January 1 would end the "caricature" of the bloc's lavish farm subsidies.
 arrow Weakening oil to cut India's inflation: RBI
India's high inflation rate would be reined in over the next few months due to easing of global oil prices, the central bank said in a report released Thursday.
 arrow European textiles can survive: EU trade chief
The European Union's trade chief Peter Mandelson said Wednesday he was confident that Europe's textiles industry can fend off a China-led charge when global quotas are scrapped on January 1.
 arrow Midas trade fair kicks off at Dhanmondi
With a view to creating new women entrepreneurs and marketing their products, a three-day trade fair, organised by Midas Financing Limited, began at Dhanmondi in Dhaka yesterday.
 arrow US weekly jobless claims surge 17,000
The number of newly jobless Americans surged last week, partially reversing a three-year record slump the week before, the Labor Department said Thursday.
 arrow US seen making big push to advance WTO talks in 2005
US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick is expected to launch a big push early next year to ensure world trade talks make substantial progress in 2005, US business officials said on Wednesday.
 arrow Seminar on SMEs held
Bangladeshi small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can achieve success in the international export market if appropriate strategy development is prioritised.
 arrow Navana markets new model Hino bus
Navana Limited has started marketing Japanese Hino RM2 Super Luxury bus in local market.

Communications Minister Nazmul Huda formally inaugurated the new model bus at a function in Dhaka yesterday.

 arrow Fu-Wang Ceramic okays 5pc dividend
Fu-Wang Ceramic Industry Limited has approved 5 percent cash dividend for all its shareholders for the year ended on June 30, 2004.
 arrow EU denies US claim of victory in WTO case on regional foods
The European Union denied Wednesday US claims that the WTO had ruled against its system of protecting geographically linked products such as cheeses, wine and meat.
 arrow Aftab Auto okays 18pc dividend
Aftab Automobiles Ltd on Tuesday approved an 18 percent dividend for its shareholders for the year 2003-2004.
 arrow Main asset of Yukos falls into state hands
The main asset of Russia's stricken Yukos oil giant fell into state hands Thursday in the first renation-alisation of the post-Soviet era but the dispossessed owners immediately vowed a legal challenge.
 arrow Euro hits record high of 1.3484 dollars
The euro hit a record high point of 1.3484 dollars in European trading on Thursday, smashing a previous peak of 1.3469 set on December 7.
 arrow AMCL-Pran approves 24pc dividend
A 24 percent dividend was offered by Agriculture Marketing Company Limited (AMCL-Pran) for the year 2003-2004 at the company's 19th annual general meeting held in Dhaka on Wednesday.
 arrow Postpone decision to up airfare
Exporters urged the government on Wednesday to postpone its decision to increase airfare for exporting fresh vegetables and fruits from January next year.
 arrow Bank Asia, UAE exchange co sign MoU
Bank Asia Limited and Federal Exchange Company UAE signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Dubai recently.
Sportsarrow Cricket: Batting for a change
Bangladesh's batting finally shrugged of its notorious blues at the MA Aziz Stadium on Thursday.
 arrow Cricket: Agrani falter again
The Green Delta Premier Cricket League resumed yesterday after an eight-day break without any upsets but promotees Agrani Bank, the surprise co-leaders at after fifth rounds, crashed to their second successive
 arrow Hockey: Abahani overcome Sonali Bank
Abahani Krira Chakra came from a goal down to edge Sonali Bank 2-1 and return to winning ways in the Green Delta Premier Hockey League yesterday.
 arrow Cricket: 'Shoaib a showman'
Australia fast bowler Glenn McGrath says Pakistan paceman Shoaib Akhtar is a showman whose main goal is simply to bowl quicker than anyone else in Test cricket history.
 arrow Cricket: ODI tickets now available at BNS
The tickets for the two one-day internationals between Bangladesh and India to be held in Dhaka will be available at the Bangabandhu National Stadium counters today and tomorrow.
 arrow Cricket: Rains dash SL preps
Sri Lanka have turned to world rankings for motivation as they enter their one-day cricket series against New Zealand with limited preparation, without proven match winner Muttiah Muralitharan and facing
 arrow Cricket: 'No let up from England'
England coach Duncan Fletcher has warned South Africa to expect no let-up in the second Test as the tourists bid to extend their record run of victories to nine.
 arrow Tennis: Oh! Those Russians
Women's tennis looked vastly different as the curtain fell on a 2004 season that saw the end of the Williams dynasty, injury heartache for the Belgians, but above all a Russian revolution.
 arrow Athletics: Dogged by drugs
It should have been a showcase year for the sport of athletics and the Athens Olympics did succeed in providing some great moments, but the spectre of drug-taking cast a pall over the landscape.
 arrow Cricket: About time Pakistan delivered
Pakistan have plenty of redeeming to do in the Boxing Day cricket Test against remorseless Australia, otherwise the home fires will keep burning.
 arrow Cricket: Abahani fly in Dharmasena
Sri Lanka international Kumar Dharmasena arrived in Dhaka yesterday to play for Abahani in the ongoing Premier Cricket League.
 arrow Cricket: Jamiul leads Lalmatia
A sparkling century by Jamiul Alam Babu propelled Lalmatia Club's way to a 32-run win against Surjo Tarun in the First Division Cricket League at the City Club ground yesterday.
 arrow Chess: Parag begins with a win
Bangladeshi chess player Mehdi Hasan Parag got off to a fine start in the 27th Asian Junior Chess Championships which began in the Indian city of Bikaner in Rajsthan on Wednesday.
 arrow Football: Opening date likely to be deferred
The opening ceremony of the newly built Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) Bhaban is expected to be delayed from the proposed date of January 15.
 arrow Football: The Mandela effect
The ultimate African football dream came true this year with South Africa chosen as hosts of the 2010 World Cup.
 arrow Football: Along came Mourinho
Arsene Wenger could never be accused of being a lucky manager.
 arrow Football: Real's year-end misery
Reigning Spanish champions Valencia extended their unbeaten run to six games as they beat fellow high-flyers Espanyol 3-0 while Sevilla won their first match at Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu stadium
 arrow Football: It's a men's world
A female soccer player banned from league games with a men's team also was excluded Tuesday from an upcoming exhibition match.
 arrow Football: That's very naughty!
Manchester City midfielder Joey Barton is set to face disciplinary action after he allegedly poked a burning cigar into the eye of a team-mate at the club's Christmas party.
 arrow Football: Keane keen still
Manchester United skipper Roy Keane is keen to carry on at Old Trafford beyond 2006 when he will be 35.
 arrow Football: Top Latin American coach fighting for life
Luis Fernando Montoya, coach of Copa Libertades champions Once Caldas, was in a critical condition in hospital after being shot by burglars at his home in Medellin.
 arrow Cricket: RU cricket
Zoology Department defeated Chemistry Department by five wickets and Population Science and Human Research Department recorded a similar result against Library and Information Science Department in the
 arrow Chess: Sohel on top
Sohel Chowdhury posted a solo lead in the Prime Bank 7th International Rating Chess Tournament when he beat Arman Monir in the fifth round at the Bangladesh Chess Federation hall room yesterday.
 arrow Cricket: Langer 50-50 for MCG Test
Australia opening batsman Justin Langer has a 50 per cent chance of playing in Sunday's second Test against Pakistan after injuring his back, team physiotherapist Errol Alcott said on Thursday.
Culturearrow Giving beauty a purpose
It started off with a bang!

Dancers adorned in colourful tissue filled the stage with the tinkling of their ghungrus and danced along with fusion music by none other than Habib.

 arrow Rokeya Rafiq Baby: Boosting the theatre medium
Popular stage performer Rokeya Rafiq Baby is the chief of Theatre Art Unit, and the convenor of the ongoing drama festival.
 arrow Preserving the works of Abbasuddin Ahmed
A new book on the life and works of Abbasuddin Ahmed, king of folk songs, will be published by the beginning of next year. The book will be available in the upcoming Ekushey Boi mela.
 arrow Dui Tarango
Ujjal Chatyapadhyay's play Dui Tarango is a search to find the meaning of life from two settings; Through the dramatic monologue a woman living in a religious environment envisages joy in romanticism;
 arrow Mrs Soriano
What is more important for an individual-- love or social status? Eduardo de Filippo's play Mrs. Soriano confronts the viewers with this question.
Generalarrow City environment is deteriorating fast
The overall environment of the city except its air is deteriorating fast, said the experts at a workshop yesterday.
 arrow Focus on poverty cut
Speakers at a roundtable yesterday called on the Saarc leaders to focus on the poverty alleviation in South Asia during the upcoming summit as 40 percent of the world's poor live in this region.
 arrow Tongi power plant opens in January
Tongi Power Station is expected to be commissioned next month.

Ninety-five percent work of the station, being built at a cost of Tk 369 core, has been completed.

 arrow 4 on fresh remand
Four arrestees in Siddheshwari Girls High School headmistress and her daughter murder case were given fresh remand while two others sent to jail yesterday.
 arrow EC to give 10m Euro to Bangladesh
European Commission (EC) will provide 10 million Euro to support food security programme in Bangladesh for improving the livelihood of the extreme poor.
 arrow Dhaka explores ways to boost manpower export
State Minister for Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Mohammad Quamrul Islam is leaving Dhaka today on a four-day visit to the Kingdom of Oman to explore the potential for increasing manpowerexport
 arrow Decision on formation of 6th wage board within 7 days
Information Minister M Shamsul Islam yesterday assured leaders of journalists, press workers and general employees unions and federations of taking a decision on constituting the 6th wage board within
 arrow Opposition rallies in Sunamganj, Mongla today
The mainstream opposition parties will hold two combined rallies at Sunamganj and Mongla today to mobilise people's support for the December 30 cross-country human wall from Sunamganj to Sundarban.
 arrow SSKOP strike now on Jan 2
Sangbadik Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad (SSKOP) shifted the date of its 24-hour strike to January 2 from December 26 after a meeting with Information Minister M Shamsul Islam yesterday.
 arrow Rab nabs 2
Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested two criminals and seized arms and ammunition in Tongi and Narayanganj in the last two days.
 arrow Charge framed against 4
Charges were framed yesterday in the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) against four accomplices of Ershad Shikder in a bomb attack case.
 arrow US embassy closed on Dec 26, Jan 2
US Embassy offices, including American Centre, Information Resource Center (IRC) and Student Advising Centre will remain closed on December 26 and January 2 on the occasions of Christmas and New Year's
 arrow Int'l confce on IT from Dec 26
The seventh International Conference on Computer and Information Technology, hosted by the Brac University, will begin in the city on December 26.
 arrow Workshop on non-formal education ends
A six-day workshop on 'Developing Indicators for Monitoring Non-Formal Education/Literacy' ended in the city yesterday.
 arrow JPC election today
The election of Jatiya Press Club begins at 9:30 am today.

Polling will continue from 9:30am to 5.00pm with one-hour launch break from 1:00pm to 2:00pm.

 arrow 1,758 more held
Police arrested 1,758 people, including three listed criminals, on various charges during their countrywide drive in the last 24 hours till 6.00am yesterday.
Editorialarrow Editorial: Increase in fuel prices assailable
The government has decided to increase diesel and kerosene oil prices effective from next month based on what appears to us to be a self-serving rationale and a poorly done arithmetical exercise.
 arrow Editorial: The errant publications
The news carried by the Bengali daily Prothom Alo that some publications -- including books and journals available in city bookshops -- are feeding the youths with militant messages saying
 arrow How to make the caretaker system work
Of late, a debate has been raging as to whether or not the caretaker government system in place in the country since 1996 should be reformed.
 arrow Khayaban-e-Pakistan
Cutting through the clutter, there are those who think it straight. Last week, I met some straight-thinking people in Pakistan, people who told me fascinating stories.
 arrow A further fall in Tokyo's ODA budget
Just a few weeks ago Japan saw a new breakthrough in its silent but long battle to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
Letters to Editorarrow Patience and tolerance
It is imperative that the leaders and followers of the four-party alliance government and all the opposition political parties urgently cultivate the human qualities of patience and tolerance and jointly
 arrow Cricket
Cricket is a universal language and a Trans-frontier peace treaty. But in our country it is only an expensive game.
 arrow Foreigners in ancient India
The Centre of Advanced Study in Ancient Indian History and Culture, University of Calcutta organised, a few years ago, a seminar on Foreigners in Ancient India and Lakshmi and Saraswati in Art and Literature.
 arrow Coral reefs
I venture to voice my views on coral reefs . The coral reefs are in peril. Twenty percent coral reefs of the world have been effectively destroyed and show no immediate hope of recovery.
 arrow Mobile phone charge
The mobile phones of BTTB would be in market at the end of this month. The call charge is supposed to vary in between 2 and 5 taka per minute as has been announced recently.
 arrow Indian visa
This is a special request to the Indian High Commissioner H E Veena Sikri . Please ease the misery of Visa Seekers, both male and female, who stand in queue for hours together in adverse weatherconditions.
 arrow We need another name
We call those who collaborated with the Pakistanis Dalal, Rajakar, Al-Badar, Al-Shams etc. Calling someone by these names is equivalent to calling someone by an offensive name.
 arrow Caretaker government
I have been following with great interest all the letters and articles on this subject and cannot refrain from adding some comments.
 arrow Iraq situation
I can understand why people get frustrated with US policies and Bush doctrine.
 arrow Americans in Iraq
The outcry against recent Fallujah bloodbath has reverberated far beyond Iraq's border. Innocent Iraqis are being blown out indiscriminately which is a common phenomenon there.
 arrow Rab
The newly created elite force Rab nabbed so many hardcore criminals and terrorists and ultimately killed them in crossfire (?). Everyday many writings are published for and against Rab activities.
 arrow No more blood, I want to live
Leaders are asking for more blood. We already have given enough blood, during and after the big sacrifice. Despite that we did not get expected actions from them.
 arrow DU convocation
It's a privilege and great honour for a student either in graduate or postgraduate level to be able to participate in a convocation, for a Bangladeshi student the third convocation after liberation is
 arrow Correct pronunciation
There is a serious need for raising consciousness in our country to pronounce words and letters properly as far as possible . My observation is that most people do not even realise that they are incorrect.
 arrow Abused freedom of speech
I am writing this with concern and a note for a politician who reportedly slated a former president , who according to him, was not maintaining his status and not playing a role befitting a past
 arrow Play a proactive role
I think the DS is the most progressive English daily in Bangladesh. I currently reside in the US and like most of the Bangladeshis abroad are very anxious about the future of our country.
Worldarrow Maoists torch trucks, block highways
Maoist rebels burned 18 trucks and blocked traffic along two highways in and out of the Nepalese capital Thursday to protest the disappearance of activists in army detention, rebels and transport owners
 arrow Pak passenger planes avert midair collision
An investigation was under way Thursday after two Pakistani planes together carrying hundreds of passengers including a government minister narrowly avoided a midair collision, officials said.
 arrow LTTE rebels reject offer to revive peace talks
Tiger rebels have rejected Sri Lanka's new proposal to revive peace negotiations despite international pressure to save the Norwegian-backed initiative, Tamil sources said Thursday.
 arrow The PM who led India to economic reform
PV Narasimha Rao, who died yesterday after a heart attack, set India on a bold new economic course during his five years as prime minister but led the Congress Party into decline and electoral defeat.
 arrow Gujarat riot witness denies taking bribe
A key witness in the trial of 21 Hindus accused of massacring 14 Muslims during sectarian riots in Gujarat state in 2002 denied Wednesday media reports she took a bribe to change her testimony.
 arrow Ulfa wants political settlement
An armed separatist group in India's northeastern state of Assam yesterday urged New Delhi to find a political solution to the decades-old insurgency.
 arrow Pakistan hangs 3 rapists
Three Pakistanis convicted of gang-raping a housewife at gunpoint were hanged yesterday, officials said.
 arrow Falluja residents return home
Some 2,000 Iraqis who fled a US-led offensive on Falluja more than a month ago will return to the Sunni Muslim city yesterday although sporadic fighting persists in some areas, Iraqi ministers said Wednesday.
 arrow US trying to 'isolate' Russia, says Putin
President Vladimir Putin on Thursday raised the possibility that the United States is trying to "isolate" Russia from its neighbours among the former Soviet republics amid ongoing tension over elections
 arrow Yushchenko urges Ukrainians to vote
Opposition leader Viktor Yushch-enko told voters on Wednesday the re-run of Ukraine's rigged presidential election would be no "easy stroll" and urged them to cast ballots to make certain of his victory.
 arrow Thai teachers go on indefinite strike
More than half of all schools in one of southern Thailand's most strife-torn provinces have been closed after teachers went on indefinite strike following the murder of two teachers by suspected Islamic
 arrow Rumsfeld 'saddened' by criticism
Defence Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, stung by criticism that he's insensitive to the needs of the troops and their families, offered his most impassioned defence Wednesday.
 arrow US soldier killed in Baghdad blast
A US soldier was killed and two others wounded in a roadside bombing in western Baghdad Thursday, the military said.