Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 97, Tuesday, December 28, 2009



Decade that was

Noughties adieu

The decade known as the noughties are about to be consigned to the pages of history. We live in a considerably altered world from the last days of the nineties. Back then, September 11 was just a date that formed part of lame jokes about police calls, and the world was still in strong economic health. Global warming, as a burning (pun not intended) issue was just rearing it's head.

Ten years on, the world we look forward to seem scarcely recognizable. Events have transpired to turn the very things we took for granted into uncertainties; the pre-eminence of the West politically as well as financially, and the future of our planet among them. Conversely, and rather unfortunately, other things seem to have remained the same: unrest and warfare in the Middle East, the Israel-Palestine conflict and the desperate state of the world's poor, especially in Africa.

This is a decade that will likely be remembered for the rise in terrorist activity and its resultant conflicts, the actions (or lack thereof) of governments around the world to counter common threats, some horrific natural disasters, and some lifestyle-altering advances in communication and technology. The following are some notable international events of the Noughties.

11 September, 2001: Arguably the single-most significant event, which has had ramifications that continued throughout the decade, and in all likelihood will continue to have an effect for years to come. Al Qaeda suicide bombers hijacked four planes, two of which crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, one into the Pentagon and the other into a field in Pennsylvania. In all, 2976 people were killed. This was the starting point of the U.S.A-led war on terror that is still raging in Iraq and Afghanistan.

4 February, 2004: Facebook is launched. Although it attracted little or no attention during its early days, it is now the leading social networking site in the world with 350 million registered users.

26 December, 2004: An undersea mega thrust earthquake off the coast of Sumatra resulted in a series of devastating tsunamis along the coast of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean. The hardest hit among these countries were Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, India and Thailand. The death toll reached nearly 230,000, and the citizens of the world rallied around the affected peoples, donating a total of U.S $7 billion to the cause.

16 February, 2005: The Kyoto Protocol was brought into effect without the support of the U.S.A and Australia. Under the protocol aimed at combating global warming, 37 industrialized countries commit themselves to a reduction of four greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride) and two groups of gases (hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons) produced by them. As of November 2009, 187 states have signed and ratified the protocol.

12 July, 2006: Start of a 34-day war between Hezbollah paramilitary forces and the Israeli military. It started when Hezbollah militants fired rockets at Israeli border towns as a diversion for an anti-tank missile attack on two armoured Humvees patrolling the Israeli side of the border fence. The war claimed over a thousand lives, mostly Lebanese civilians, and displaced approximately one million Lebanese, as many areas were rendered uninhabitable due to unexploded Israeli cluster bomblets. The U.N brokered a ceasefire that came into effect on the morning of August 14.

15 September, 2008: Lehman Brothers, the global financial services firm, filed for Chapter 11-bankruptcy protection. This was the largest case of bankruptcy in U.S history, and can be argued to be the focal point of the global financial crisis, the worst of its kind since the Great Depression.

It is widely believed that the global crisis was caused by the sub prime mortgage crisis, which is an ongoing financial crisis triggered by a dramatic rise in mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures in the U.S.A.

4 November, 2008: Barack Obama, the first non-white president to be elected to office in the United States of America, won the U.S Presidential Elections in a landslide victory over Republican candidate John McCain. During campaigning, the focal issues were the state of the economy, healthcare, and the war against terror.

A year into his presidency, Obama has neither disappointed nor has he delighted outright. The promise to shut down Guantanamo Bay within the year in early 2009 was indeed a step in the right direction, though later this year he backtracked and said that it would probably be closed by the end of 2010, declining to set a specific date.

18 December 2009: The Copenhagen summit ended in the Copenhagen Accord. What millions around the world had hoped would conclude in a legally binding agreement between the 192 countries to cut carbon emissions in order to reign in the temperature rise to within an increase of 2 degrees Celsius, ended as what is seen as a starting point for the next summit. It is thought that emerging giants such as India and China do not favour carbon reduction, as reducing emissions in their highly industrialised economies will slow down their growth.

And two that took place at home: 13 October 2006: To the immense pride of Bangladeshis all over, Mohammed Yunus became the first Bangladeshi to win a Nobel Prize “for advancing economic and social opportunities for the poor, especially women, through their pioneering micro-credit work.” He is the founder of Grameen Bank, an institution that he shared the prize with. After being awarded and during the political turmoil of 2007, he showed interest in launching a political party in Bangladesh named Nagorik Shakti (Citizen Power), but later discarded the plan, to the relief of many.

15 November 2007: The strongest named cyclone on the Bay of Bengal made devastating landfall and claimed three and a half thousand lives. Patuakhali, Barguna and Jhalokathi districts were hardest hit. The whole country was affected as electricity and water service were cut and significant damage was reported due to winds and flooding. About a quarter of the World Heritage site of Sundarban was damaged, and according to researchers, it will take forty years for the mangrove forest to recover.

As we stand at the threshold of the next decade (what will it be called: Teenies?!), there are a myriad challenges confronting us. When looking forward, however, we should also remind ourselves to look back. Even as it is consigned to the pages of history, the 2000s hold a lot of lessons, and it is up to us to apply them to secure a better future.

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayeed

On The Cover

Let your worries and frustrations fly away, and new hopes take wing as we bid goodbye to an old year and usher 2010 in. Flip through our pages as we look back and then look ahead. Star Lifestyle wishes its readers a very Happy New Year.
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayeed


“Happy, boss?”

Whatever job one is in, keeping the boss happy is one of the most important aspects. At the end of the day, it is the boss who decides whether you are worthy of the position or just making up the numbers. In any organisation, keeping superiors happy resembles walking a tightrope.

First impressions during job interviews are always important, and that goes both ways. The impression your boss has of you is important for obvious reasons. But you have to form as accurate a picture as you can of your boss's temperament and demands: what are the things that he/she deems most important?

What are his/her minimum expectations from an employee? You can estimate the answers to these questions based on the questions asked of you at the interview, and also from what your boss says when talking about your responsibilities.

That last one is a crucial word in a professional environment: responsibility. Along with that go words like reliability and solidity. Before trying to shoot off and be one of the leaders in a team or group, your first step should be to try and assure everyone working with you and the boss that you are reliable.

This cannot be achieved overnight, but is rather an impression that has to be developed by consistently fulfilling your responsibilities. Also, one has to be solid in the sense that the quality of work has to be consistently high, so that the boss knows that he or she can count on you for a specific job to be performed at a specific level.

One of the responsibilities of the person in charge is the delegation of tasks to appropriate personnel. By building a reputation of reliability you are making the boss's job easier, and that is a brownie point worth striving for.

As workers we often blame our bosses for making us work hard or the occasional dressing down that is an inevitable part of office life. It will be helpful to try and view it from both sides.

While most of us have specific responsibilities that contribute to the running of an organisation, our bosses have to ensure the smooth running of the entire operation, and so cannot afford to be accommodating of letdowns from employees. Which is precisely why maintaining an immaculate dossier and keeping boss happy can be an important resolution to make for the New Year!





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