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     Volume 6 Issue 13 | April 6, 2007 |

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News Notes

Tigers Flail at Super Eights
Bangladesh vs. Australia
The Bangladeshi cricket team were defeated by ten wickets by Australia last Saturday, March 31 at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. After winning the toss, Australia decided to bowl first, expecting the pitch to be easier for swing bowling. Due to rain the game was delayed, causing the authorities to decide on a revised game of 22 overs, putting Bangladesh at a disadvantage from the beginning. Tamim Iqbal, the young teenager for whom Bangladesh had such high hopes was out in three overs when he attempted to attack Nathan Bracken's wide off-cutter, causing the ball to fall into the hands of Brad Hogg. Shahriar Nafees managed only one run with a stunning fast bowl by Glen McGrath. Aftab Ahmed made a total of 11 runs before he was caught at mid-off by Nathan Bracken. Sakibul Hasan made a total of 25 runs. Mohammad Ashraful, also one of Bangladesh's young star players, managed to hit one boundary but was out at six runs leaving Hasan to bat with captain Habibul Bashar, who collectively won Bangladesh 28 runs before he was caught out by Australian captian Ricky Ponting. Possibly the highest point of the game for the Bangladeshis was when Mashrafee Murtaza came to bat making two fours and one six, and a total of 25 runs. Mushfiqur Rahim was the last up to bat getting only two runs giving the Bangladeshi team a score of 104/7. Although the Tigers have been commended in this World Cup for their good fielding and bowling, their earlier performance caused them to flail while Australia's Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden single-handedly brought their team to a score of 106, beating the Bangladeshi team by ten wickets with 49 balls still remaining. Gilchrist scored 59 off 44 balls with the help of eight fours and one six while Hayden made 47 off 39 balls with three fours and three sixes.

Bangladesh vs. New Zealand
In their second game of the Super Eights, this time against New Zealand on April 2, Bangladesh lost by nine wickets to a team that they had defeated earlier during practice match. Openers Tamim Iqbal and Javed Omar (replacing Shahriar Nafees) made a productive 55 runs before Iqbal was stumped by Brendan McCullum in the 16th over and Omar was caught behind the wicket. Next up, Aftab Ahmed and Sakibul Hasan collectively made 43 runs before Ahmed was caught during the 28th over. Soon after captain Habibul Bashar found himself run out after a paltry total of nine runs and Hasan followed suit when Shane Bond knocked off the stumps. What followed was a series of uninspiring batting until old-timer Mohammad Rafique hit two fours and one six. The second half of the game was very much the same, with New Zealand's Stephen Fleming taking a total of 102 runs and Hamish Marshall scored 50. The one wicket was Peter Fulton, caught out by Tamim Iqbal after 15 runs.

Militants Hanged

SIX top leaders of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) were executed late Thursday, March 29, just before midnight at four different jails amid tight security. The six were supreme commander Abdur Rahman, his deputy Siddiqi Islam, alias Bangla Bhai, his brother Ataur Rahman Sunny, his son-in-law Abdul Awal, suicide bomber Iftekhar Hasan Mamun and Khaled Saifullah, a member of the organisations policymaking faction, Majlish-e-Shura. Rahman was hanged in a Comilla prison, while Bangla Bhai and Awal were executed in a Mymensingh prison. Sunny and Mamun were hanged in a Kashimpur prison and Saifullah was executed in a Pabna prison. The hanged, along with Asadul Islam alias Arif who is still at large, were sentenced to death by the Additional District and Sessions Judge's Court in Jhalakhathi for the murder of senior assistant judges Jagannath Pandey and Sohel Ahmed in a suicide blast in the district town on November 14, 2005. In addition, they are accused of being the masterminds of the series of bomb blasts throughout the nation on August 17, 2005. On top of all this they have claimed responsibilities for a number of terrorist attacks across the nation including the blasts at three cinemas in Mymensingh and different cultural programmes, assault on Humayun Azad and murder of Rajshahi University teacher Prof Muhammad Yunus. Interestingly enough, the hanged were only informed about their executions an hour before they died and authorities deliberately misled the media and kept the hangings a secret for security purposes. Relatives of the deceased were not able to say good-bye as they were not informed.

Time to Tighten the Belts Again
IT'S a vicious cycle. The rise in fuel prices affects the lives of everyone and augments the price of all other basic necessities. The middle and lower middle class are the worst affected and the already high transport prices is likely to see a further rise with the latest round of price rise. The government on April 2 increased the prices of diesel and kerosene by 21 percent (Tk 40 from Tk 33 before) and octane and petrol by 16 percent (Tk 67 and Tk 65 from Tk 58 and Tk 56 before).
It is amazing to think that only two years ago the price of petrol was Tk 33 and the price of diesel and kerosene Tk 26 and Tk 25 respectively. In May of that year prices were increased by Tk 2 to “scale down the huge loss being incurred by the state-owned oil agency BPC.” And ever since then prices have continued to be hiked so much so that in two years it has more than doubled. Not only are public transport prices expected to rise as a result but airline fares might also see a price hike which are bound to adversely affect consumers, exporters, importers, commodity producers and farmers.


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