Volume 5 Number 230 Fri. January 14, 2005    
 
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Today's Index
Front Pagearrow Top brass to get Tk 46,300 lowest staff Tk 5,896
The top most civil servants should get Tk 27,500 in basic salary and those at the lowest rung Tk 2,800, according to the National Pay Commission which will submit its recommendations to the government
 arrow Dhaka agrees to gas pipeline transit
Bangladesh, India and Myanmar have agreed to co-operate in gas exploration and an overland pipeline project to pump offshore natural gas from western Myanmar to energy-hungry India through Bangladesh.
 arrow 5,000 on-trial graft cases run into snags
Over 5,000 on-trial corruption cases filed by the former Bureau of Anti-Corruption (Bac) have run into snags, as former Bac officials are not appearing in court because of their present status as 'reserved
 arrow Poor gas supply hits homes, businesses
The gas-run industries and household users and gas stations in the capital and adjacent districts have been facing acute shortage of gas for the last few days due to shortfall in production against the
 arrow 2nd Test from today
Habibul Bashar's men will look forward to a series victory when they take on Zimbabwe in the second and final Test at the Bangabandhu National Stadium today Bangladesh are leading the series 1-0 following
 arrow 2-day holiday, paternal leave suggested
The National Pay Commission has recommended two days of weekly holiday on Saturday and Sunday.
 arrow Saarc Summit likely to be curtailed
The Saarc summit is likely to be curtailed by a day with India suggesting February 6 and 7 for holding the meet in Dhaka which was earlier postponed due to the tsunami disaster, official sources heresaid
 arrow 4 die in 'crossfire'
Four people, including two leaders of outlawed groups, died while four law enforcers were injured during separate Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and police operations throughout the country yesterday.
 arrow AL moves to defuse internal disputes
The main opposition Awami League (AL) has moved to resolve internal squabbling at its grassroots level in an attempt to ensure victory for party candidates in the next general election.
 arrow Ban on tobacco ads, smoking in public places in the offing
An antismoking bill will be placed in the upcoming parliament session proposing a ban on all types of advertisements of tobacco products considered as a serious threat to public health.
 arrow US bill to allow free access of LDC goods soon
A bill granting duty-free access for all products from 15 least developed countries including Bangladesh to the US market is going to be tabled in the US Congress by February 2.
 arrow Partha indicted for email threat on Hasina's life
Shaibal Saha Partha was yesterday indicted for issuing email threat on the life of Leader of the Opposition in parliament Sheikh Hasina.
 arrow Kamal hopes for Allah to forgive murtad callers
Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain yesterday said Allah might forgive those who had declared him murtad (deviated from Islam) and hoped wisdom will prevail in them soon.
 arrow Gas field fire erupts at another point
The Tengratila gas field in Sunamganj started erupting fire at yet another point from yesterday afternoon.
The flames are 15 to 20 feet high, witnesses said.

 arrow AK47 found in pond
Police recovered an abandoned AK47 assault rifle from a pond in Sumilpara area of Adamjee yesterday morning.
 arrow Girl dies in Ctg slum fire
A girl was burnt alive and three women were injured in a fire at a slum near Agrabad in the port city early yesterday.
The dead was identified as Fatema, 4, daughter of a rickshawpuller.

 arrow Classroom fire kills 15 Iranian students
A teacher and 15 schoolchildren were killed when their classroom went up in flames in a village in southwestern Iran yesterday, the state news agency IRNA reported.
 arrow BB suggests fuel tax cut to fight price hike impact
Bangladesh Bank (BB) has proposed a set of measures other than petroleum price adjustments to offset the negative impact of the rising oil prices on Bangladesh economy.
 arrow US aircraft starts dispatching biscuits from Bangladesh
A US cargo aircraft yesterday started dispatching 700 tonnes Bangladesh-made high-nutrition biscuits to the tsunami-devastated areas in Sri Lanka and Indonesia under the World Food Programme (WFP) relief
 arrow Strike halts Benapole port again
Export-import trade between Bangladesh and India through Benapole land port came to a halt again due to an indefinite strike enforced by the Indian truckers on Wednesday.
 arrow Graft charge framed against Saber
A Dhaka court yesterday framed charge against Saber Hossain Chowdhury, political secretary to Awami League (AL) President and Leader of the Opposition Sheikh Hasina, in a graft case.
 arrow PM seeks people's help for re-election
Prime Minister Khaleda Zia yesterday sought people's support for the victory of the BNP-led alliance in the next general elections to take the country to a new height of prosperity in another five years.
 arrow Ctg truckers to raise fare 30pc
Chittagong Bandar Truck Owners and Contractors Association yesterday decided to raise the local transportation fare for goods by 30 percent from January 16.
 arrow Tiger kills fisherman
A fisherman was killed by a Royal Bengal Tiger on Wednesday in the Sundarbans.
Businessarrow MCCI for handing over Ctg port to private management
The Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) said management of Chittagong Port should be given to private hands in order to improve productivity of the port and cut the turnaround time.
 arrow Ctg port introduces 'one stop service' from Sunday
Preparations are afoot to inaugurate the 'one stop service' at Chittagong Port on Sunday in a bid to process documents of imported container cargo within an hour to ensure quick delivery of goods, port
 arrow Tsunamis likely to put 2m more Asians in poverty
The earthquake and resultant tsunami that devastated Indian Ocean countries last month will likely throw nearly two million more people into poverty in Asia, the Asian Development Bank said in a report
 arrow Ranks Telecom, Square Informatix get land phone licenses
Ranks Telecom Ltd, a sister concern of Rangs Group, yesterday was awarded two more PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) licenses by Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to launch
 arrow Global FDI grows 6pc in 2004: Unctad
Global foreign direct investment grew six percent last year, with the United States reclaiming from China the title of leading destination for foreign capital, a UN report said Wednesday.
 arrow China bans foreign investment in tobacco market
China has banned foreign companies from setting up joint venture operations, a major blow to the world's tobacco giants seeking in-roads into the globe's largest cigarette market, state press reported
 arrow Japan, India to hold tax talks
Japan said Thursday it will enter talks with India on avoiding double taxation in a bid to give new momentum to bilateral trade which has floundered in recent years.
 arrow Dollar rebounds with US trade deficit back in focus
The dollar clawed back Thursday after sustaining heavy losses on news of a record US trade deficit in November, dealers said.
The single European currency fell to 1.3224 dollars against 1.

 arrow Crude prices higher in Asian trade after US inventory report
Oil prices were higher in Asian trade Thursday following the latest US inventory report showed a drop in heating fuel stocks ahead of colder weather, dealers said.
 arrow Paris Club agrees tsunami debt freeze deal
The Paris Club of creditor nations reached an agreement Wednesday to freeze debt repayments of countries hit by the Asian tsunami, the Club's president said.
 arrow China tops 334m mobile phone subscribers in 2004
The number of mobile phone subscribers in China topped 334 million in 2004, up 65 million from 2003, according to the Ministry of Information Industry Thursday.
 arrow South Korean economy faces serious structural problems
President Roh Moo-Hyun said Thursday that South Korea's economy faces the daunting challenge of resolving structural problems represented by a growing imbalance between industrial sectors.
 arrow Bangas approves 12.5pc dividend
Bangas Ltd has declared a 12.50 percent dividend for its shareholders for the year 2004.
The declaration came in the company's 24th annual general meeting held recently in Chuadanga.

 arrow China needs freer currency, trade: Evans
China should not only make its yuan currency freely tradable, but also knock down tariffs and other trade barriers to keep its economy humming for a long time to come, US Commerce Secretary Don Evanssaid
 arrow EU parliament backs cancellation of developing nations debt
The European Parliament called Thursday on the international community to gradually cancel debt owed by developing nations, adding that solidarity should go beyond responding to humanitarian crises.
 arrow India, Britain sign pact to boost trade
India's Commerce Minister Kamal Nath and Britain's Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Patricia Hewitt signed Thursday an agreement aimed at doubling bilateral trade between London and New Delhi.
 arrow Singapore seeks more Middle East investment
Singapore called Thursday for more investment from the Middle East after Dubai-based Horizon Terminals Ltd. (HTL) inaugurated new storage and terminal facilities in the southeast Asian oil trading center.
 arrow Shell output from protest-hit Nigerian stations rises
Royal/Dutch Shell has increased crude oil output from Nigerian pumping stations which were shut down by unrest to 65,000 barrels per day, a spokesman for the country's biggest oil operator said Thursday.
Sportsarrow Cricket: New Test, new target
When the boys of Dav What-more prepared for the second Test at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday, the mood was refreshingly different.
 arrow Cricket: Ashraful wants to make amends
Only a couple of players missed out in that unique team effort in Chi-ttagong which enabled Bangladesh to register their maiden Test victory four days ago.
 arrow Cricket: Sensational Strauss
Andrew Strauss hit his third century of the series as England built up a strong position on the first day of the fourth Test at the Wanderers Stadium Thursday.
 arrow Cricket: Aus-WI VB Series opener
West Indian skipper Brian Lara warned his team to look to the future rather than the past when they take on Australia in the opening tri-series limited-overs match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.
 arrow Cricket: Pak suffer Twenty20 loss
Australia A cruised to a 56-run victory over Pakistan in the first Twenty20 limited-overs cricket international played in the country here Thursday.
 arrow Cricket: England 263-4 at close
England were 263 for four when bad light stopped play on the opening day of the fourth Test against South Africa in Johannesburg last night.
 arrow Football: Football's best to play tsunami match
Football governing bodies FIFA and UEFA will next month stage a fundraising match between the "cream of world football" to raise money for the victims of the Asian tsunami disaster.
 arrow Cricket: Sonargaon and Gazi Tank win
Gazi Tank collected full points by virtue of losing lesser wickets when their First Division Cricket League match against Dhanmondi Club ended in a tie at the BKSP ground yesterday.
 arrow Tennis: Amol crashes out
Bangladesh number one Amol Roy found Chinese Taipei's Chang Huai too hot to handle as the local boy crashed out from the quarterfinals of the New-Way International Junior Tennis Championships (under-18)
 arrow Cricket: Inzamam all for it
Pakistan captain Inzamamul-Haq predicted here Thursday that the Twenty20 version of cricket would become the most popular form of the sport within a few years.
 arrow Family means his success
Ferrari's seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher believes his family deserve a share of the credit for his success in Formula One.
 arrow Cricket: Mates' ODI lure to Warne
The chances of champion leg-spinner Shane Warne returning to international one-day cricket rose Thursday when Australian captain Ricky Ponting threw his support behind the idea.
 arrow Cricket: MSC to organise school cricket
Mohammedan Sporting Club will organise the Mohammedan-Dhaka Metropolis inter-school cricket tournament this year.
 arrow Chess: Liza clinches Jr chess title
Shamima Akhter Liza clinched the 25th National Junior (under-20) Chess Championship title when she beat Rezaul Islam in the eighth round at the BCF auditorium yesterday.
 arrow Tennis: Federer, Lindsay top guns
Roger Federer and Lindsay Davenport have been named as the top seeds for the men's and women's singles at the Australian Open which starts on Monday.
 arrow Football: United deny Chelsea
Manchester United held out under intense second half pressure from Chelsea to emerge from their League Cup semi-final with the narrowest of advantages after an entertaining first-leg goalless draw atStamford
 arrow Football: No problems for Milan giants
AC Milan and Inter Milan reached the quarter-finals of the Italian Cup with minimum fuss on Wednesday.
 arrow Football: No stopping Lyon
Lyon extended their unbeaten run to 20 league games and moved one step closer to a fourth consecutive French title with a 2-0 win over Sochaux on Wednesday.
 arrow Football: Brazil to grace Hong Kong
World football champions Brazil will play their first ever game in Hong Kong next month, organisers said Thursday.
 arrow Football: Let off for Mourinho
Jose Mourinho will not face disciplinary action over his claim that Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had influenced a referee's handling of his club's League Cup semi-final first leg against
 arrow Football: Mutu signs for Juve
Adrian Mutu, sacked by Chelsea for using cocaine, has signed a five year contract with Juventus, the Italian Serie A club confirmed on Wednesday.
 arrow Football: Boca change stripes
Boca Juniors have raised eyebrows in Argentina by unveiling a new shirt with an almost identical design to arch-rivals River Plate.
 arrow Football: Robinho in no hurry
Brazil's 20-year-old forward Robinho has repeated that he is staying at Santos for the time being and is not moving to Real Madrid.
"I'm not interested in what people are saying," he told reporters.

 arrow Football: Refs World Cup already on
Referees earmarked for the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany will start their build-up to the tournament 16 months before the big kick-off, FIFA said on Wednesday.
Metropolitanarrow Compensation for gas field fire demanded
Leaders of the Student-Youth Movement to Resist Plundering of Oil-Gas yesterday demanded compensation for the damage caused by Tengratila gas field fire and Magurchhara gas explosion.
 arrow Furniture shop employee shot
An employee of a furniture shop was shot at Kathalbagan in the city yesterday.
 arrow Qulkhwani of Sharjil Hassan today
Qulkhwani of former ambassador Syed Khwaja Sharjil Hassan will be held at his residence at House # 31, Road # 3, Sector # 5, Uttara, after Asr prayers today, says a press release.
Culturearrow A blend of indigenous and Bangalee culture
She has grown up amidst the hilly environs of Rangamati. The lyrical quality of the greenery and its flora and fauna have charmed her since her childhood days.
 arrow New acclaim for Mrinal Sen
Acclaimed director Mrinal Sen will receive the Indian Government's highest honour in film-makingthe Dada Saheb Phalke award--in recognition of his "outstanding contribution" to Indian cinema.
 arrow Unblemished charm of crystal
Crystal has its own subtle beauty and eye catching appeal. These decorative pieces have drawn eulogies all over the world.
 arrow TV plays on Channel i
Channel i offers many special TV plays this Eid-ul-Azha . Prominent and popular artistes will feature in the plays, which will be telecast through the whole week starting from the Eid Day.
 arrow Hilarious episodes on VCDs
A comedy based drama by celebrated author and maker Humayun Ahmed, Brikkhomanob in VCD was released recently, says a press release.
Generalarrow $ 2.4 m Japanese grant for quality pry education
Though Bangladesh made significant progress in primary education over the past decade, three million children are still out of any schooling programme in the country, said Unicef Representative Morten
 arrow Police asked to take stringent steps to stop extortion
State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babar yesterday directed police to take stringent steps to stop extortion during transportation of sacrificial animals on the eve of Eid-ul-Azha.
 arrow 8 killed, 25 injured in road crashes
Eight people died and 25 others were injured in road accidents in Sirajganj and Narayanganj yesterday.
 arrow Teenager found dead at a clinic
A teenage domestic help was found dead at a clinic on Elephant Road in the city Wednesday after her admission for an abortion.
 arrow Govt to intensify drive against polybags
The government will further intensify its drive to stop the use of polythene bags in the country.
 arrow Schoolboy kidnapped
Criminals on Monday abducted a schoolboy of Jamalpur village in Daulatpur upazila and demanded Tk 2 lakh for his release.
 arrow Police club JN College students: 20 hurt
At least 20 students of Jagannath University College were injured in a clash with police at Muktangon in the city yesterday.
 arrow Tipaimukh Dam project protested
Speakers at a rally yesterday protested the Indian River-Linking Project (IRLP) and Tipaimukh Dam project.
 arrow US Embassy offices closed on Jan 16
The American Embassy offices, including the American Centre, Information Resource Centre (IRC) and the Student Advising Centre will remain closed on January 16 in observance of the anniversary of thebirth
 arrow 1,396 more held
Police arrested 1,396 people on various charges from different parts of the country in the last 24 hours till 6.00am yesterday.
Editorialarrow Editorial: Rice price pressure
We have a rice crisis of sorts on our hands. Aman harvest, critically relied upon against the backdrop of a severe flood, had turned out to be lower than expected.
 arrow Editorial: EPZ trade unions
The government sometime ago had responded to US reservations over denial of trade unionism in the EPZs by allowing the industrial units in those zones to have trade unions as per the law.
 arrow A new beginning for the Palestinians?
Sixty days after the death of legendary leader Yasser Arafat, (he died on November 11, 04) Palestinian people elected on December 9, 05, Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen), the close associate of Arafat and senior
 arrow Have you placed your bets?
The next general election is due in January 2007. It could be called anytime within the next two years. In smoke-filled rooms, political fixers are plotting, seeking the best fit and the right combination.
 arrow The first Bangladeshi American Rhodes scholar!
Bangladeshis have some wonderful news to celebrate.
Letters to Editorarrow Tigers make history
The cricket world witnessed the addition of a fresh page in the game's history book on January 10, 2005 when Bangladesh outplayed Zimbabwe in the first encounter of the two-Test series at Chittagong,to
 arrow Dheki
The traditional husking paddle is on the verge of extinct, even in the rural areas. Once Dheki was used for husking paddy in every village household, and even in the urban areas.
 arrow Tsunami and man-made crisis
The unprecedented and unkind torture of the Tsunami in the wake of an earthquake that befell several nations of Asia, and brought in miseries and sorrows of an unparalleled kind, found solace inthe
 arrow Future of Palestine
When the world has witnessed the Tsunami disaster, an important election is being held which has a very significant impact on the Middle East peace process. Mr.
 arrow Fake currency notes
It's really very sad to write about my horrifying experience of a fake hundred taka note. A few days back I got the note from my Ammu and went to a shopping mall.
 arrow Right thinking
Sajib Wazed Joy, the son of the former prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, has perceived the major cause behind Awami League's failure.
 arrow Robbery of employees' salary
This is taking place regularly and causing severe financial damage to both owners and workers.
 arrow Extension of service
The extension being given to the topmost officials prompts me to say, "When politics walks through the corridor of administration, good governance exits through the window.
 arrow Dirty politics
What's happening in our country! Are we out of our mind? I just learned from someone about the way a former Airforce chief was put in an embarrassing position. The law came to his rescue.
 arrow A senior politician
Abdus Samad Azad is an old and experienced leader. I did not see him in news for a long time and was not sure what he was doing.
 arrow Rab and law
I should like to commend The Daily Star for reviewing the methods adopted by the Rapid Action Battalion (Long list of violence as crossfire crosses line, Jan 1) and for giving space in your letters both
 arrow Errant politicians
This is in reference to an editorial published in a Bangla daily on 8th January, 2005.
If in two words our fundamental problems can be defined, Illiteracy and Immorality will dominate.

 arrow BTTB mobile phone
On 28 December, 2004, the prime minister inaugurated the much talked about BTTB mobile phone.
 arrow Why this show?
When the whole world is trying to recover from the natural disaster caused by Tsunami and trying to extend their helping hand to revive the hopes among the survivors, an MP of our parliament is reported
 arrow Tsunami and us
The devastating natural calamity that took hundreds of thousands of lives is now headlines of all the news. It was so pathetic that we don't have any word to mourn the deaths.
 arrow Crime, corruption and security
I agree with Mr. Azad Miah (Jan 10, 2005) on the Rab actions and the security issues. Rab's success in curtailing crimes will be short lived unless the fundamental problems are addressed.
 arrow Dear readers,
We are going to have a new e-mail address for the Letters to the Editor page. Please send your letters toletters@thedailystar.
Environmentarrow 'Ozone hole' in Earth's atmospheric environment
Our planet EARTH'S atmospheric environment is unique in nature. Ozone layer and ozone hole is a minor but important part of this unique nature.
Urbanarrow Children first and always
As with other aspects of our life in this country, we are caught in a nasty loop vis--vis primary schools and their compelled location in residential buildings.
 arrow Our schools: Safe or secure?
The need for educational facilities in Dhaka City for an increasing number of children and the lack of appropriate buildings have necessitated the conversion of residential buildings into schools.
Worldarrow Nepal divided over polls as time for talks runs out
Nepal's ruling coalition was split yesterday about plans to call an election despite Maoist threats and their refusal to come to the negotiating table.
 arrow India seeks solutions to row with Pakistan, China
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Wednesday he wants "out-of-the-box" solutions to settle his country's long running disputes with neighbours Pakistan and China.
 arrow Lenders talk to LTTE as tensions mount
International lenders were in talks yesterday with Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels amid tensions between the guerrillas and the Colombo government over tsunami relief efforts.
 arrow Pakistan's largest gasfield stays shut
Pakistan's largest gasfield remained shut and under guard by soldiers Thursday amid an uneasy calm after days of bloody clashes with tribal rebels that have left eight people dead.
 arrow Talks on Baglihar only if India stops work
Pakistan has said it would not hold talks with India on resolving differences over the Baglihar hydro-power project until New Delhi stopped work on it.
 arrow US Congressmen to oppose sale of F-16 jets to Pakistan
Any proposal by the United States government to sell F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan would be met with strong opposition in Congress, two Democratic lawmakers and members of a pro-India lobby group said
 arrow Indian FM to visit Pakistan next month
Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh will make a three-day official visit to Pakistan next month, the foreign office said yesterday, as the peace process between the South Asian rivals edges forward.
 arrow Indian FM to visit Pakistan next month
Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh will make a three-day official visit to Pakistan next month, the foreign office said yesterday, as the peace process between the South Asian rivals edges forward.
 arrow Norway makes a move to salvage Lankan talks
Norway will next week launch its first post-tsunami attempt to salvage Sri Lanka's faltering peace process, diplomatic sources here said yesterday.
 arrow Pakistan to free al-Qaeda-linked suspects
Pakistan is to free up to 25 suspected al-Qaeda-linked militants seized in a volatile region bordering Afghanistan before a Muslim festival next week, the military said Wednesday.
 arrow Naga rebels to hold talks with Delhi soon
Government negotiators and northeastern separatists are expected to meet later this month for talks on ending India's longest-running insurgency, a rebel spokesman said yesterday.
 arrow Cong to contest 80 seats in Bihar Assembly polls
Congress will contest 80 seats in the upcoming assembly elections in Bihar, highly-placed party sources said yesterday.
 arrow Bush has no regrets for Iraq invasion
US President George W. Bush said Wednesday that the invasion of Iraq was "absolutely" worth it, even though no weapons of mass destruction have been found.
 arrow Aceh rebels call for truce
Rebels in Indonesia's tsunami-hit Aceh called yesterday for ceasefire talks to help the aid effort as new restrictions on foreign relief workers prompted the United States to demand "clarification" from
 arrow SC verdict puts US deportation on hold
The US Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the government may not indefinitely imprison immigrants who have been in the United States illegally for years and cannot be deported to their home countries.
 arrow 'Tsunami to plunge 2m Asians into poverty'
The earthquake and resultant tsunami that devastated Indian Ocean countries last month will likely throw nearly two million more people into poverty in Asia, the Asian Development Bank said in a report
 arrow 'US troops may start Iraq withdrawal this year'
US troops could start withdrawing from Iraq this year as Iraqi forces take over security in the violence-wracked country, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Wednesday.
 arrow Mark Thatcher pleads guilty
Mark Thatcher, son of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, yesterday pleaded guilty in a Cape Topwn court to charges of bankrolling an alleged coup plot in Equatorial Guinea.
 arrow EU lawmakers back disputed constitution
European Union lawmakers voted massively in favour Wednesday of the EU's proposed constitution, which will be submitted to a series of make-or-break referendums from next month in the 25-nation bloc.
 arrow Outrage greets 'Harry the Nazi'
Britain's young Prince Harry faced stinging criticism yesterday after being pictured wearing a Nazi soldier's uniform, just a fortnight before the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
 arrow US warns Russia against selling missiles to Syria
The United States on Wednesday warned Russia against selling missiles to Syria amid reports that Moscow was ready to provide Damascus with a sophisticated weapon that could hit any target in Israel.
 arrow Iranian judiciary summons Shirin Ebadi
Iranian human rights activist and Nobel Peace prize laureate Shirin Ebadi said Thursday she has been summoned to answer questions by the country's hardline judiciary or else risk arrest.
 arrow Small islands take aim at polluting countries
Leaders of the world's smallest islands yesterday joined UN chief Kofi Annan in calling for action to fight climate change, with the Pacific atoll of Kiribati accusing polluting countries of waging "eco-terrorism.
 arrow Black hole secrets revealed
Black holes, the invisible celestial bodies whose enormous gravitational pull sucks in everything around them, are beginning to share some of their secrets.