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     Volume 5 Issue 89 | April 7, 2006 |

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News Notes

Private Universities running without VCs
A prothom Alo report reveals that among 58 private universities 29 of them lack a Vice Chancellor (VC). The authorities of these universities are saying that the appointment to the highest post is being deferred as the amendment of the university law remains withheld. Although the draft of the law has been proposed roughly about a year ago, it is the opposition from the university authorities that stand in the way of its final promulgation. Experts believe that with parliamentary elections round the corner, the law will not see the light of the day in the year 2006.
Though in the financial sector the role of the trustee board is crucial, and the academic and administrative sectors are looked after by the VC. In many a private university students are waiting for their certificates after passing out only because the post of the VC lays vacant.
Sources claim that the appointment of the VCs remains postponed as it is the government who kept the process in limbo till the passage of the university law. However, it is through political intervention that in a number of universities the VCs have been appointed.
Faced with the question whether these appointments were politically manipulated, Education Minister Dr Osman Faruq said this accusation is unfounded. "The process is on to amend the law, and the passage of the law will make sure that men of caliber occupies these apex posts. The process of appointing VCs ia a lengthy one, and it is the chancellor, who is the president of the country, who appoints the VCs," added Faruq.
According to the existing law the trustee board proposes three names and the chancellor gets to choose the person he wants in the apex post. However, the authorities of the private universities took a stance against this usual procedure, they are for proposing one name for the VC to whom the chancellor will give the nod. Vice chairman of the Association of Private Universities and chairman of the Eastern University Abul Kasem Haider is also in favour of proposing only one name. He feels that it is troublesome for the private universities to propose three names. His contention is that the desired person, whom the university authority wants to see in VC's seat, may fail to earn favour of the chancellor. And there is also this fear of lobbying on the part of the candidates who may occupy the post by ingratiating them with the party in power. Haider as well as many of the authority figures of the private universities is in favour of an amendment of the present law. Befaore this issue of the amendment of the law is resolved many of the private universities will run without the VC.

Bangladeshi companies smuggle heroin
In a report by the National Board of Revenue (NBR), it has been disclosed that five Bangladeshi companies are involved in smuggling heroin to the United Kingdom. They do so under the guise of exporting foods, toiletries, cosmetics and tiles. Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and Special Branch (SB) of the police are currently investigating the smuggling ring. In this regard, a meeting was held at the home ministry last week. The report found that BD Foods Limited, a leading private company and its sister concerns have been manipulating the entire export process, starting from Dhaka to ports in the UK. The chairman of BD Foods Limited, Badrul Haider Choudhury, was found guilty of smuggling heroin to the UK. Messrs Emdad Traders, Messrs Jamil International, Messrs MM Enterprise and Green Heaven Enterprise had smuggled drugs to Ocean Line Foods, Messrs Bengal Bay and Coastal Spices in the United Kingdom in the guise of legitimate export consignments. The report also pointed its finger to certain officials at Dhaka City Corporation, the National Board of Revenue, Chittagong Port Authority, Sonali Bank, Customs Department, and customs clearing and forwarding agents, all of whom are involved in the illicit trade of drugs.

SC issues contempt rule on 4 secretaries
While Experts feel that for a democracy to work the separation of the judiciary is a must, the bureaucracy remains obdurately against any such notion. The Supreme Court has no other option but to hold responsible the people who are at the helm of the executive body. On April 3, the apex court of the country issued a contempt rule against four secretaries including the principal secretary to the prime minister for not complying with its 12-point directive on separation of the judiciary from the executive. They were also asked to explain within three weeks why contempt proceedings should not be brought against them.
The court ruling came in response to an updated contempt petition filed by Barrister M Amir Ul Islam on behalf of Chowdhury Munir Uddin Mahfuz, judge of the Tribunal for Prevention of Women and Children Repression, Kishorganj, on February 22. Amir is also an intervener in the judiciary separation case filed among others by Munir.
In the original petition filed on April 13, 2004, Amir accused three secretaries of contempt for violating the Supreme Court's 12-point directive. Updating the petition, he brought the same charge against seven other bureaucrats.
While commenting on the subject, Dr Kamal Hossain, who has been moving the case as an intervener, said that the apex court of the country has a constitutional responsibility to protect its supremacy, dignity and image, and the court has done so. Many other experts as well as Amirul Islam, president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, also stressed the fact that the ruling was urgently needed to safeguard the image of the apex court. It is noteworthy that the court had given the coalition government four years to carry out its directives. "But the government has misused the court's munificence. It has resorted to dilly-dallying and deceived the court, increasing gravity of the contempt charge," stressed Islam.
The Supreme Court's directives to separate the judiciary came under the landmark judgement in the much-talked-about judiciary separation case on December 2,1999. Since then, successive government had taken 22 time extensions for implementation of the court directives, but no one took the much needed step to separate the judiciary from the executive.

Tejosh Halder wins top prize at the 12th Asian Art Biennale, Bangladesh
Organising and holding seminars and meetings to save the world (like theSAARC summit which put half the city into a stand still for three days) not only caught the eyes of politicians and diplomats all around the world, they also inspired Tejosh Halder Josh to work on an award wining sculpture. A graduate student of the Department of Sculpture, Institute of Fine Arts, is the youngest winner of an award in the 12th Asian Art Biennale, Bangladesh, who won the Honourable Mention Award for his sculpture titled "Serious Discussion". "It is like a dream and I have made it a reality," said Josh. "I'm really happy. New offers are pouring in after I won the prestigious award in an internationally reputed competition and exhibition. On April 8, 2006, I am going to Nepal to participate in a residential art camp. Teertha, a Nepalese organisation, has invited me. The award will further my motivation."
Josh's "Serious Discussion" delivers a strong message. The figures of the five children, in the sculpture, satires the numerous meetings, seminars and summits held all around the world. Josh said, "For many years, representatives of countries have come together to find ways of building a better social order. However, these gatherings have not borne any fruit. I got the idea during the last SAARC Summit. I took five street children from Shahbagh area as models."
Playing with mud as a child, Josh's creativity goes back to his childhood. It also fuelled his ambition to become a sculptor. He said, "Sculpture is an expensive and laborious art form. Take for example my award winning work -- I had to spend Taka 65,000, of which I collected only a small percentage. My teacher donated Taka 15,000 and I received a small contribution from my friends."
So far, with seven sculptures, Josh has won three awards. Last year he won a gold medal from the Institute of Fine Arts. Children continue to be the focal point of his sculptures.

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