<%-- Page Title--%> Newsnotes <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 146 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

March 19, 2004

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B Chy Blasts His Former Darlings
B Chowdhury's new convening committee of the much-hyped alternative political stream announced a series of programmes, including a mass hunger strike on March 20 to protest the series of attacks by JCD, the student wing of BNP. The former president and his supporters has lately attacked by the young activists he used to call his own in his previous political life. The twelve-member committee, after having been pelted at on March 11, met at its Baridhara office with Chowdhury as convenor. Recently, Chowdhury's son Mahi B Chowdhury resigned from the parliament and the ruling party in protest at what he called a serious failure of the coalition government. The hunger strikers are to hold their programme in front of the National Press Club.

We Love Movements!
We Bangladeshis are extremely fond of Aandolon (movements). We simply hate to let go any issues -- big or small, trifle or serious -- without manipulating them into creating a new movement. Perhaps it has something to do with our climate or may be a lot of people have a lot of time to kill, or simply because we are too bored . Just take the example of the virulent movement regarding the location of Padma bridge. While one party demanded it to be in Maowa, the other group was campaigning for Doulotdia. Finally, when the Japanese experts gave the verdict in favour of Maowa, the other party immediately called for a ‘movement’. They have already put up a road block in Doulotdia-Khulna highway from 10am to 3pm on March 12 and also threatened to call for tougher movements if the decision is not reversed. Had the decision been made in their favour, the other party would also have gone for movements. What is the way out then? Communication minister Nazmul Huda has an answer for it we will certainly choose Doulotdia when we will be making a second Padma bridge in the near future. One hopes the assurance will pacify the angry agitators.

JCD at the Helm and Behaving Like Hounds
Lately JCD has been playing the Big Bully act with fervour. In the campus of DU the JCD henchmen rules, and in the national frontier, they are party poopers. Their latest victim is the newly launched platform that B Chowdhury designed to accommodate the like-minded parties that Chowdhury refers to as the "third force". Chowdhury's launching of the new platform on March 11 was foiled when JCD men and adherents attacked the gathering that was scheduled to be held in Muktangan. The pelting of stones and bricks left 300 men injured. The series of attacks to ward off the leaders and supporters of Chowdhury, was the work of the armed hooligans of JCD. The JCD top leaders themselves admitted this, according to a Daily Star report on March 13. The report exposed a sinister side of our national politics. It brought into sharp focus the facts that politics has become a turf to show muscle power and by proxy of the musclemen, the practice of persecution is gaining ground.

Another Horrendous Crime
Just a few days after International Women's Day, the newspapers come with another shocker: The gang rape and brutal death of a 28-year-old woman in Pallabi. Fatima Khatun (Kohinoor) had gone out to her tuition in another block. After teaching her student, Kohinoor was coming back home in the late afternoon when she was picked up by a gang of hoodlums . When Kohinoor did not return home her family began a desperate search.

It was in the early hours of the next morning that people of the area noticed a fire on the terrace of a building in Pallabi. It took them one hour to control the fire and discover the charred remains of the young woman. Kohinoor's grief-stricken mother Almida Begum has filed a case against the alleged culprits. According to Almida Begum, a man named Habibur Rahman owed her some money and this had caused a dispute between him and Kohinoor's family. Apparently Habibur Rahman had also beaten up one of Kohinoor's brothers and had threatened the family members that he would burn them alive. This has led Almida Begum to believe that it is this man who is behind her daughter's death. It is outrageous that a crime as heinous as this could happen in a densely populated area as Pallabi. Didn't anyone see the young woman being dragged into an abandoned building? The police must take extra care to establish the guilt of these beasts.

Even the Fish is Bad!
Daily Star report last Saturday reveals that fish traders are now injecting formalin, a chemical, to make stale or rotting fish look fresh. A large amount of the fish is imported from India and Myanmar and might be a source of the formalin says the report. Formalin is a dangerous chemical that can cause various gastro-intestinal disorders. Shortage of freezing facilities and lengthy transport time has induced traders to inject formalin into the stomachs and fins of fish to make them look fresh. Formalin, is usually used to prevent decay of dead bodies. The report further adds that the Public Health Laborotary (PHL) is the only authority that can check on food adulteration. But a chief public analyst of PHL says that that the existing Pure Food ordinance of 1958 does not have fish as a food item.

The report offers a suggestion to detect really fresh fish from the 'fresh-looking' ones. Apparently if the fish is shiny and the eyes are clear, the fins look and smell fresh, then it's the real thing. That might mean buying glassy-eyed, pale looking fish is not a good choice for the lunch table.

Bangladesh breaks its Losing Streak
Finally it came. After almost 5 years and 47 matches the Bangladesh cricket team has finally tasted victory in the smaller version of the game against Zimbabwe. There has been a qualitative change in Bangladesh's performance since Dave Whatmore took the charge of Bangladesh cricket team around a year ago. Bangladesh's performance was not as bad as many feared it would be when it toured Australia last year. After losing to Australia by relatively a small margin a confident Bangladesh team went to Pakistan and unlike all other previous occasions repeated their good performance. In fact Bangladesh almost won a test match and had it not been for 'Big Potato' (that is what Inzammamul Huq's teammate lovingly calls him) Bangladesh would have already had their first test win. One hopes Bangladesh's victory against Zimbabwe is not an exception and the first of many more upcoming victories.



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