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    Volume 8 Issue 99 | December 25, 2009 |

  Cover Story
  Photo Feature
  One Off
  Human Rights
  Food for Thought
  Making a Difference
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  Star Diary
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A Hollow Deal?
The deal approved at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen by world leaders falls far short of what climate scientists and activists had hoped for and condemns developing countries to a dangerous and uncertain future. The biggest disappointment was the lack of a legally binding agreement, and the move away from the Kyoto protocol. Although the UN Secretary General hailed the deal, Ban Ki Moon admitted the non-binding agreement at the conclusion of the conference was not "everything everyone had hoped for”.
It is a huge disappointment for countries like Bangladesh. Delegates have agreed to "take note" of the American-led Copenhagen Accord, despite criticism that there are no long-term targets to cut emissions and it is not a legally binding treaty.
Climate change activists have condemned the lack of ambition shown by world leaders especially those from G8. It seems that the rich countries have effectively signed a death warrant for many of the world's poorest children. Up to 250,000 children from poor communities could die before the next major meeting in Mexico at the end of next year.
Sadrul Amin
Sonargaon Janapath
Uttara, Dhaka


It is no secret that our world is beset with many problems. But none poses a greater threat than the danger of climate change. World leaders gathered in Copenhagen recently to combat ''Global Warming''. But it is a sad truth that although we saw many such summits on various issues in the past, it didn't help to change the lot of the world's poor and underprivileged. So this year environmental activists protested against this kind of farcical convention urging the world leaders to take pragmatic steps to halt climate change. It is really surprising to learn that the leaders could not take any effective measure to combat climate change. The final agreement seeks to keep global temperature below 2 degrees celcius where developing nations wanted it capped at 1.5 degrees celcius to prevent rise of sea levels. Although President Barack Obama called it an ''unprecedented breakthrough'' he acknowledged that it still short of what was required to combat global warming. Whatever happens the poorer countries are going to be the worst sufferers eventually. Bangladesh may face fallout from climate change although we did not cause it. It is unfortunate that one nation has to pay for the excesses of another.
Shahadat Hussein
Department of English
University of Dhaka

Nuclear Threat

Nuclear weapons pose a great threat to human civilisation. They are indiscriminate in nature and enough warheads exist to threaten human existence. The use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki clearly demonstrated the horrifically destructive powers of nuclear weapons. The nuclear weapons deployed today have a destructive capacity many times greater than those used in 1945. Therefore world leaders should try to stop proliferation of nuclear weapons and move towards disarmament.
Abdul Azim
Department of English
International Islamic University Chittagong.

A Wholesome Trend
Bangladesh has a tradition of vigorously celebrating its festivals. Bangladeshis go to elaborate lengths to observe the holidays, especially the longer ones, with family members. There was a time when city dwellers simply used to head for their ancestral villages. Recently a new trend is being observed within the urban Bangladeshi community. We know that the tradition of the joint family is dying out for various reasons in our cities. So, nuclear families prefer to visit a new place where they can pass some quality time, leaving behind all the headaches of city life. Within this group the tourist zones of Bangladesh like Cox's Bazar, Saint Martin Island, Kuakata, Khulna, Sylhet, North Bengal and so on are extremely popular. The hotels and resorts are booked weeks in advance of the longer vacations. Certainly it's a positive trend for the country as a whole and the tourist industry in particular.
The media is playing a significant role in this regard. In the last few years our print and electronic media have given priority and significant coverage to this sector. This has helped attract foreign tourists as well as local ones. The government should pay attention to improving infrastructure in the tourist zones. Private sector entrepreneurs should come forward to encourage this promising trend.
Md. Abdul Hamid
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Business Administration
Shahjalal University, Sylhet.

The Curse of Child Marriage
The practice of girls being married off at a young age is most common in Bangladeshi society. Child marriage can have serious harmful consequences for children. Parents choose to marry off their daughters early for a number of reasons. Poor families may regard a young girl as an economic burden and her marriage as a necessary survival strategy for her family. In addition, child marriages must be viewed within a context of force and coercion, involving pressure and emotional blackmail, and children that lack the choice or capacity to give their full consent. In our country there is a law that a girl could be eligible for marriage when she becomes 18 but this law most of the time is being violated. This is a kind of gender discrimination. Moreover, many women have died in childbirth; it is occurring because of the early marriage. This is how women's rights and children's rights are being violated.
According to the “State of the World's Children-2009” report, 63% of all women aged 2024 were married before the age of 18. Therefore, we should raise awareness against this social evil.
Mohammed Jamal Uddin
Department of English
International Islamic University Chittagong.

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