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     Volume 7 Issue 17 | April 25, 2008 |

  Cover Story
  Writing the Wrong
  View from the   Bottom
  Straight Talk
  In Retrospect
  A Roman Column
  Dhaka Diary
  Book Review

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The Heat is Definitely On
If anyone were thinking of putting the worry of global warming at the back of the mind, it would prove to be a very difficult thing to do now. With the mercury rising beyond what can be considered maddeningly bearable, and the electric supply only making intermittent shy appearances inside our homes and offices, even the helpless tigers trapped in the insufficient facilities at the zoo are feeling the sting of the sky-high temperatures.
Apparently a tiger was seen trying in vain to take a dip in dirty, greenish water on which floated a plastic bottle, a cigarette pack, an empty foil pack and other rubbish discarded by visitors to the zoo. Tigers in many of the cages don't have any canals but only water tubs to drink water from. According to officials at the zoo the water in the canal is only changed once every six months.
The temperatures have reached boiling point in the north of the country with the heat topping out at nearly 40 degrees Celsius. The downsides of such temperatures are easy to see, as the nation goes through a food crisis, the heat has dried up many paddy fields as well as forcing day labourers into the shade, keeping them away from taking care of their drying crop.
The heat is also paralysing as it has continued through the current load shedding season. No power, coupled with searing heat is a recipe for disaster and the government must take steps to at least regularise the power situation. At least then there will be some respite from the rising mercury.

A Railway Connection
After the railway connection between Kolkata and Dhaka, the adventurers are now fiddling with the idea of connecting London and Dhaka. These rail enthusiasts said to The Sunday Times, that with a sense of adventure and 23 days to spare, one would be able to travel by train from London to Dhaka when a new link opens up later this year. The 7,000-mile Trans-Asian railway will follow one of the old Silk Roads through Istanbul, Tehran, Lahore and Delhi. Already being described as “the world's greatest railway journey”, it will be longer than the Trans-Siberian railway, which spans 5,772 miles.
Under a scheme sponsored by the United Nations, for the very first time, Pakistan and Iran will link up their lines in the coming months to join the subcontinent's track to that of Europe. This would open up new trade routes within Asia and give the former Soviet republics of central Asia rail access to Iran's strategic seaport at Bandar Abbas on the Gulf. The route was extended when the line between Kolkata and Dhaka reopened more than 40 years after it was blocked during the war in 1965.
For someone with a passion to travel, all of this sounds fantastic. A traveller located in London will be able to leave for Brussels and go through Cologne, Vienna, Bucharest, Istanbul, Tehran, Quetta, Lahore, Amritsar, Delhi and Kolkata before finally reaching the end of the line in Dhaka. However, enthusiasts here in Dhaka are wondering if at some point, it would be possible for travellers to move from Dhaka all the way to London on rail.

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