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     Volume 7 Issue 27 | July 4, 2008 |

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On 'Dreams Interrupted'
For a densely populated country like Bangladesh, manpower is indubitably an important asset that has to be utilised if the country expects economic growth. Fortunately, Bangladesh has a huge labour market in the Middle East and the remittance flow from that region has increased since the 1990s. But the fact that some incidents occurred over the last few years and is putting this sector is threat is a rude wake-up call for us.
Lack of education and skill has resulted in exploitation by employers at these countries. In a country where proper education has been a privilege, it's unreasonable to expect the poor and uneducated people to have sufficient communication skills so that they can make a fair deal with the employers overseas regarding their wages and working conditions. Rather it should be addressed strictly by the labour attachés working in embassies of those countries.
Becoming Foreign Service cadres has been a dream among the BCS candidates and candidates holding top positions in BCS exams usually prefer it. It's so unfortunate that these skilled people have been failing to safeguard the rights of our people working hard abroad and bringing fortune to the country.
Ahmad Ferdous Bin Alam

Torture not Justice!
Torture is the name of the game at the residence of the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Sylhet, as reported in 'A Scalding Wake-up Call' (June 27, 2008). The article exposes the weak and spineless magistrate under the thumb of his wife's cruel behaviour; unpardonable in civilised society! His moral attitude and character seems illogical, with an unreported criminal as a wife. She cannot be left at large, but rationally should be behind bars, if there is an iota of human rights and human justice in Bangladesh. I would appeal to the lawyers and human rights activists to take up this matter and bring the woman to trial for her sadistic crimes. The author and the Daily Star should also vigorously follow up this case. What action has the government taken, or is taking to bring these inhuman persons, both the woman and her husband to justice? Is the magistrate still in service? This is far worse a crime than corruption; for which people are put behind bars awaiting trial. Does not the same treatment need to be meted out to these uncivilised persons in Sylhet? Do we live in such a cruel and ruthlessly uncivilised country where such acts are tolerated? Both Wahida and Alam the culprit and her accessory to the crime should be in jail by now awaiting trial without any bail, if there is the minimum human rights and justice in Bangladesh. It is an act that puts the whole country to shame! This is modern-day slavery which is denounced by Islam!
S. A. Mansoor, Dhaka

The Rice Issue
Rice feeds more than two billion people worldwide and is the number one staple food in Asia, where it provides 40-70% of the total food calories consumed. Rice is also used for animal feed and provides the major source of income for rural people. High-quality rice brings in additional income. Today's global population of six billion is expected to reach eight billion by 2020. We must therefore produce 25-40% more rice with less land and water and with a reduced use of agrochemicals. Rice yield has been stagnant for the last three decades, despite the improved varieties and technologies in place. Therefore, biotechnology particularly genetic engineering may provide ample scope for enhancing rice yield and plant protection, enable rice to grow in drought and saline conditions, and lead to more nutritious rice for reducing malnutrition.
Genetic engineering provides an efficient and precise breeding tool in which genes of interest have been incorporated in rice and have shown excellent performance in most cases. Farmers in developing countries especially in Bangladesh, do not capture a significant portion of the potential yield in favourable ecosystems primarily because of biotic and abiotic stresses. Losses caused by weeds, yellow stem borer, leaffolder, sheath blight, blast, bacterial blight, and various abiotic factors have remained largely undiminished despite considerable investment in cultivar improvement. Limitations in conventional breeding arise because of the lack of resistance genes in cultivated rice germplasm and inadequate understanding of phenotypic variability. Hence, transgenic research offers unique opportunities to overcome these problems and to produce improved cultivars with reduced yield gaps.
Availability of nutritious rice may force governments to prioritise decisions to distribute more nutritious rice free or at a minimal cost, which will benefit poor people. It might be possible to incorporate the genes for b-carotene (golden rice) and enhancement of iron and protein in a single rice variety by genetic engineering.
The Green Revolution saved millions of people with additional food but could not prevent hunger and poverty because of certain limitations and inadequate management available to take full advantage of the Green Revolution. Current gene evolution should provide wide scope for the application of biotechnology across ecosystems and crop barriers. Policymakers should look into the potential use of biotechnology in agriculture.
Jewel Rana
MS Student,Dept of Biotechnology
Bangladesh Agricultural University,Mymensingh

On Hilla Marriage
What appears in the Daily Star (June 22) under the title 'Hilla marriage still in force in Bogra' is simply outrageous. Local mollas and munshis in connivance with local matbors are ruining good marriages, specially among rural families of this land. Hasibur Rahman Bilu has painstakingly researched to prepare the report under reference showing how blatantly these so-called 'Islam-ponthies' are misusing Islamic tenets. It is high time that such practices are stopped forthwith and perpetrators are put to trial and punished in special courts.
We are waiting to see how promptly our legal system is put to work on this mind boggling issue. We do also want to know how our women organisations are responding to this calamitous situation. Above all we hope our 'great' Muftis, Khatibs, Ulema's and the like respond to such extreme violations of the precisely stated Quranic dictates on the issue of divorce. The last group is also obliged to explain to the nation how they are dealing with the un-Islamic dowry system rampantly practiced in the society for which brides are slaughtered by their husbands and their families, almost every other fortnight.
Syed Waliullah

Reform Political Parties
We are now in the year of 2008. We have already seen the Mujib government, the Zia government, the Ershad government, the Khaleda government twice and the Hasina government.
We have also witnessed and are witnessing to some extent the reign of an alternative form of government known as the caretaker government. Highly educated and successful people of our society are chosen for this form of government and it is good to see such respected persons in these positions. Their form of management is certainly more civilised than those we saw from the conventional politicians.
We want to see people who actually think about the welfare of the common to be in positions of power. Conventional politicians only talk the talk, they never keep their word. The party in power should draw up elaborate plans to guide the country in a certain direction and successfully implement the plans. The opposition has a critical role to play and should participate in the country's development. Fifteen crore people live in this small country. The least they deserve is for there to be political and social stability to some extent. The needs of the common people are very few. They should have honest politicians leading them. They should embrace democracy that all parties claim they have.
Asifami Rahman Saikat

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