News of: Saturday, 22nd of September, 2007
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The Power Development Board (PDB) has made a significant improvement in power supply in the last two months mainly by improving day-to-day management where officials and technical experts are encouraged to take independent decisions, sources said.
Awami League (AL) yesterday decided to take a stance common to the other components of the 14-party coalition on the Election Commission's (EC) dialogue and the issues to be discussed there.
Both the BNP factions are out to get invitation from the Election Commission (EC) for the ongoing dialogue on proposed electoral reforms.
After eleven days of absorbing cricket, India and Pakistan face the strong Oceanic contingent of Australia and New Zealand in two semifinals of the ICC Twenty20 World Championships in South Africa today.
Bangladesh will push for proportional allocation of global aid to finance climate change adaptation strategies, as part of broader efforts to reduce global warming, when Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed attends a high-level UN panel on climate change in New York Monday.
Expressing deep concern over gradual destruction of the bio-diversity of Saint Martin's Island, environmentalists yesterday demanded that the government take effective steps to make it a 'marine protected area' based on scientific researches and stop its use for commercial tourism.
Police yesterday dispersed a march towards the office of the daily Prothom Alo in the capital, which was protesting the publication of a cartoon strip in the newspaper's weekly satirical magazine Aalpin.
Yunus Ali, who moved to Shidhar char in the Jamuna from flood-affected Kachir char just a month ago, now spends his days in safety listening to the radio seated at the shop of Motiur Rahman.
Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) will crack down on illegal toll collectors on the highways during Ramadan and upcoming Eid.
Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed leaves for New York today to attend the 62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Over 100 fishing trawlers with some 12,00 fishermen aboard went missing in the Bay as high waves, triggered a by sudden storm, hit the trawlers on Thursday night.
Retrenched workers of seven jute mills of Khulna-Jessore industrial belt started receiving partial arrear wages and gratuities yesterday.
Different secular political organisations yesterday expressed their concerns at the 'conspiracy' being hatched to destabilise the country following the publication of a cartoon strip in the weekly satirical magazine Aalpin of the daily Prothom Alo.
The government has confiscated the Eid issue (September 21, 2007) of 'Saptahik 2000'.
Two leaders of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (PCJSS) were abducted allegedly by the armed cadres of United People's Democratic Front (UPDF) from remote Chhoto Pilak village under Guimara Police Station of the district on Thursday night.
Eight people, including a couple, died and 20 others became sick after eating large sea puffer fish (patka fish) in Araihazar upazila of the district.
Police are conducting drives at Bakukura village and in the forests of Jhenaigati, a frontier upazila of Sherpur district, in a bid to capture the people involved with the stockpiling of huge amount of ammunition that Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) recovered over the past few days.
Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) arrested four suspected members of banned Islamist outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) at Balarhat of Phulbari upazila in Kurigram yesterday as they were trying to cross the border into India.
The well marked low over west central Bay and adjoining northwest Bay intensified into a depression.
Detective branch of police seized a pistol, three cocktails, some bomb-making materials and 11 bottles of phensidyl from Chatra Bazar under Pirganj upazila on Thursday night.
Hundreds of opposition supporters called yesterday for the downfall of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in a turbulent start to the countdown to presidential elections set for next month.
A bomb attack yesterday against a convoy of French troops killed one soldier and injured many Afghans near the blast, while heavy fighting in southern Afghanistan killed about 75 Taliban fighters and six civilians, officials said.
The French and US presidents stepped up demands for tough action over the Iran nuclear standoff ahead of a meeting of the major powers in Washington yesterday to discuss the dispute.
Communal unrest in southern Nepal is worsening and authorities need to act quickly to prevent all-out violence, police and rights activists said yesterday.
Sri Lankan war planes bombed a Tamil Tiger ammunition store in the north of the island yesterday, causing heavy damage, the defence ministry said, while claiming killing five rebels elsewhere. The ammunition cache was used by Imran-Pandiyan, an elite regiment of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the military said.
Bangladesh with the rest of the world community observed 'International Day of Peace' on September 21, expressing solidarity with the call to 'make peace not just a priority, but a passion.' We believe these words have given the present global peace efforts the much-needed thrust to drive home the urgency it entails. Truly, establishing peace has to be more than part of national or international politics of the mundane kind.
The dismal state of a thirty-four kilometer highway section between Bogra and Sherpur in northern Bangladesh has been depicted in a front-page report in our paper on Tuesday last. This road is regarded as an arterial one which has assumed vital importance following the construction of the Jamuna Bridge that has reduced by a half the travel time from Dhaka to the northern region. This was one of the best highway when constructed in 1978 but now it has as many as 13 thousand potholes along a 13 kilometers stretch, it is learnt. Another measure of how bad the road has become can be gauged from the long queues of vehicles stranded and one and a half hours time being taken to cover the short distance. Bumpy craters are a hazard to movement and on Sunday alone, several lorries were found with broken wheel and axles.
In the post 9/11 era, 'Inter-Cultural Dialogue (ICD)' has slowly assumed a functional status. It has gradually become a symbol of the fight against terrorism and radicalisation. It is also now seen by some as an attempt to establish a positive relationship with disparate groups through mutual exchange of views on different issues marked by an inclination to listen.
The raging debate stemming from the differences between the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and its supporter leftists on the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal seems to have abated to some extent for the time being as both sides probably are not much willing to keep the pot boiling for a variety of reasons.
This year flood has re-occurred within a short span of time causing havoc to people's life in the affected areas. Flood does not occur due to one or two days of heavy downpour rather it's an accumulation of water over a certain period which together with heavy rainfall and other factors causes floods in adjacent, specially lower riparian areas. Essentially it is a problem of drainage congestion.
This is a clash of Pakistan flair verses Kiwi functionality. Although New Zealand have again more than held their own, they owe their passage to the semi-finals on India, after their 37-run win against South Africa dumped the home side out on net run-rate and allowed Daniel Vettori's side to sneak in.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and key batsman Yuvraj Singh will play in Saturday's Twenty20 semifinal against Australia after recovering from injuries.
Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful said careless mistakes have dashed his side's hopes of playing in the semifinals of the ICC World Twenty20 Championship in South Africa.
One word -- guaranteed not to have been uttered by anyone in the South Africa team -- haunted their entire innings. No prize for guessing that word was "choke". Going in to this match today, South Africa were the only unbeaten team in the tournament, and it counted for nothing. It almost seemed make the result all the more inevitable.
The authority seemed to be a bit worried about the huge budget of hosting the 11th South Asian Games in Dhaka next year.
Big-spending Chelsea could face a player backlash following the shock departure of controversial but popular coach Jose Mourinho.
Enamul Hossain Rajib won his second match in the VI Asian Individual Chess Championships in Cebu City, Philippines.
Australia are considering calling up a replacement to their World Twenty20 squad after Shane Watson was ruled out of the rest of the tournament.
Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik said his team were looking beyond Saturday's semifinals after they laboured to a four-wicket win over Bangladesh in their final World Twenty20 Super Eights match at Newlands Thursday.
Werder Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf admits the insomnia suffered by high-profile new signing Carlos Alberto is giving him a few sleepless nights as his side struggle in the Bundesliga.
Youth and Sports Adviser Tapan Chowdhury hoped that Team Bangladesh will shine in the 2007 Special Olympics in Shanghai, China this year.
Twenty20 might be the shortest version of cricket but it is more demanding than Tests and one-dayers, says Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who feels the slam-bang version was taking a "toll" on the players' bodies.
Japanese player Ryoto put an end to India's domination in the Asian Under-14 tennis when he lifted the boys' singles title in the second leg of the series.
Jose Mourinho is likely to be far from Old Trafford on Sunday but the former Chelsea manager will still cast a long shadow over his former club's showdown with Manchester United.
Jose Mourinho yesterday agreed a 12 million pound payoff as compensation for his dramatic departure from Chelsea, but he is already planning his return to football. Mourinho told The Times he is waiting by the phone and hopes to get back to work as soon as possible.
Leaders Roma host Juventus in a top-of-the-table clash this weekend between two clubs who could easily go on to claim this season's 2007/08 Serie A title.
Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona head into their weekend La Liga matches buoyed by wins at home earlier this week in the Champions League.
French champions Lyon will be aiming to erase their midweek trouncing by Barcelona in the Champions League and retake the top of the league with a win over Lille on Sunday.
Overwhelming favourites Bayern Munich began their assault on the 2007/08 UEFA Cup title on Thursday with a 1-0 victory over Portu-guese club Belenenses while English clubs had a mixed night.
Ronaldinho's teammates at Barcelona have rushed to defend the Brazilian striker after he was jeered by fans earlier this week and accused once again by the Spanish press of being under form.
Brazilian coach Jorge Barcellos believes the World Cup is wide open with no favourites and any of the eight teams remaining capable of winning the title.
Cristiano Ronaldo is facing a police probe after claims that the Manchester United star stamped on an Everton supporter during his side's win at Goodison Park.
Bayern Munich captain Oliver Kahn is looking forward to returning to his old Karlsruhe stomping ground on Sunday for his last Bundesliga match there before retirement.
Boosted by a 52 percent growth in income tax collection, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has achieved a 14 percent revenue growth in the first two months of 2007-08 fiscal year.
World oil prices eased Friday after New York crude hit a record 84.10 dollars per barrel Thursday on fears a storm could threaten energy facilities in the US Gulf of Mexico.
A leading group of international businesswomen on Friday called on the world's 200 biggest male-dominated companies to step up efforts to give women more leadership roles in large corporations.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the front-runner EU candidate to head the International Monetary Fund, pledged Thursday to work to restore "both the relevance and the legitimacy" of the global organization.
Hopes of an agreement in six-year-old WTO talks on reducing global trade barriers appeared to have been revived on Thursday after the US accepted to negotiate more stringent limits on subsidies to its farmers.
A billion dollars just doesn't go as far as it used to. For the first time, it takes more than $1 billion to earn a spot on Forbes magazine's list of the 400 richest Americans. The minimum net worth for inclusion in this year's rankings released Thursday was $1.3 billion, up $300 million from last year.
The euro raced to an all-time high of 1.4120 dollars on Friday as the US currency came under heavy selling pressure on expectations of further interest rate cuts in the United States, dealers said.
Central banks have done what they had to do by injecting liquidity into financial markets and an interest rate cut by the European Central Bank could be an appropriate move, OECD head Angel Gurria said on Thursday.
FedEx Corp's earnings rose 4 percent in the first quarter of its 2008 fiscal year, beating Wall Street's expectations on strong international growth. However, the company lowered its outlook for the full year, blaming economic uncertainty from the downturn in the housing market.
Leading global mobile provider Vodafone began using its own name across India on Friday following its purchase of an Indian cellular firm, rolling out what the British company said was one of the world's biggest rebranding campaigns.
'Soochishoily', a fashion house, has organised an Eid fair at Sobhanbagh community centre in Dhaka, says a press release.
China said Friday it will reduce its import duty on soybeans to one percent from three percent currently, effective October 1, in a temporary three-month move to stabilise food prices.
Summit Power Ltd has appointed Prime Finance & Investment Ltd as the manager to the issue for its forthcoming rights issue to its existing shareholders, says a press release.
India's annual inflation rate has fallen to a near five-year low, official data on Friday showed, but soaring global crude prices threaten to push the cost-of-living higher, economists said.
Singapore has improved its already strong standing in a list compiled by Forbes magazine of the top 200 Asian firms with an annual turnover of below US$1 billion.
Default rates are getting higher on personal housing mortgage loans in China, according to a report released by the China Construction Bank (CCB), although it stressed the country now does not have a typical subprime loan market.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. on Thursday reported third-quarter results well ahead of Wall Street projections, as the world's largest investment bank took full advantage of its diversity to overcome a debt crisis. Rival Bear Stearns Cos. wasn't as lucky.
Furniture maker Otobi Ltd has launched 'Otobi Eid campaign' to sell its products at 15 percent discount during the month of Ramadan across the country.
September 16-September 20
Local FX Market
The US dollar/BDT market was tight and USD remained strong against the BDT in the week. Demand for dollar was high in the local market and USD showed upward movement.
Director General of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed on Thursday said that prices of essentials have now become stable and would come down to a reasonable level by December or January.
Adviser for LGRD, Labour and Employment Anwarul Iqbal yesterday called upon the financial institutions to provide easy term loan to the backward linkage industrial units particularly the washing plants in the garment sector for their development.
Speakers at a symposium yesterday said future wars or clashes among the people or the nations will take place over water and energy as lifestyle of people and development of the nation will depend on these two natural resources.
Four people were killed and six others injured in a collision between an auto-tempo and a bus at Begaritola on Jessore-Satkhira road on Thursday night.
Two schoolboys drowned while they were taking bath in a pond near Nayapara Government Primary School in Narayanganj town yesterday.
Speakers at a workshop have called for providing maternity allowance to poor mothers across the country under the micro-credit scheme.
Four people were arrested on charges of producing adulterated medicines and cosmetics at Choto Kushierbagh in the early hours of yesterday.
Police recovered the bodies of two youths from Hazaribagh and Keraniganj in Dhaka yesterday.
British Council (BC) is going to organise a creative writing workshop for young writers under its Central and South Asia Regional Project, New Silk Route.
The prize distribution ceremony of Inter-Area Qirat and Azan Competition-2007 of Bangladesh Army was held at the Army Central Mosque at Dhaka Cantonment yesterday, says an ISPR release.
Lamia Sayara Mela, a class five student of Bangladesh International School, has won the third prize in the Toyota Dream Car Art Contest 2006 held in Japan recently, says a press release.
The IBA Executive MBA Admission Test (Fall 2007), which was postponed earlier, will now be held at the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka at 10:00am on September 28, says a press release.
A newborn baby is suffering from congenital heart disease.
Two children drowned in a pond at Montola village at Faridganj in the district yesterday.
Olivier Brouant, rapid response coordinator of ECHO's Regional Support Office, South Asia, inaugurated the relief distribution programme of CARE Bangladesh in Tangail and Jamalpur districts on Wednesday.
Police arrested four muggers in the city on Thursday night.
Liberation War Museum organises a programme at Slaughters' Den at Mirpur in the city today where Afsaruddin Mollah, eldest son of martyred freedom fighter Barkat Ali Mollah, and Shariful Islam Bablu, who narrowly escaped death during the liberation war, will recount the days of 1971 before the students of Mirpur Ananda Shishu Shikkhalaya, says a press release.
A gang of criminals hijacked a private car after shooting its driver at Uttara in the city yesterday morning.
Diarrhoea spread sharply in the municipality area and elsewhere in Bandarban district in the last week.
Today is World Car Free Day.
Police arrested a close associate of top terrorist 'Pichchi' Hannan, who was killed in the capital in 2005, from a shop at Char Dukhia union in Faridganj upazila yesterday.
The ninth edition of BBC Bangladesh Sanglap will be held at Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre in the city at 1:45pm today.
Flood has caused an extensive damage to handloom industry in the district.
Twenty-nine out of 38 government high schools are being run by acting headmasters in eight northern districts, official sources said.
Unabated smuggling of timber is going on along Durgapur border here.
Students of six medical colleges yesterday demanded restoration of the previous examination system that gave several chances to sit in the supplementary examination in case of a student's failing in any subject.
One person was killed and 20 others were injured in a clash between two rival groups at Satiakola village in Santhia upazila of the district on Thursday afternoon.
An extortion case was filed with Rajshahi First Class Magistrate's Court against Nawhata municipality Chairman Mokbul Hossain, commissioner of ward no-1 Wasef and six others on Thursday.
The Lawyers' Association of Nilphamari, at an emergency meeting here, demanded withdrawal of the special judge of the Women and Children Repression Prevention Special Court here within a month.
The launching ceremony of “FoSHoL Union Livestock Service Centre” will be inaugurated at Awasbalia Union Parishad Bhaban in Noakhali Sadar at 12 noon today.
Joint forces, in a bid to control price hike of essentials, have set up a growers' market at Bhuban Mohon Park in Shaheb Bazar here
Nepal's key international donors have hit out at the country's former Maoist rebels for jeopardising a 10-month-old peace process by storming out of government and launching a strike campaign.
UN atomic chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Thursday that Iran does not currently pose an immediate threat as international tension over Tehran's nuclear programme continued to rise.
North Korea and Syria held high-level talks Friday in Pyongyang, the North's state media reported, amid suspicions that the two countries might be cooperating on a nuclear weapons programme.
The United States wants to see a smooth transition to democracy in Pakistan for the country's long-term stability and to aid the fight against terror, a top State Department official said Thursday.
Israel imposed a lockdown on the occupied West Bank overnight as part of security measures brought in for Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement and the holiest in the Hebrew calendar, the army said.
The much-anticipated next round of six-party talks on disarming North Korea's nuclear programmes will be held next week in Beijing, China's foreign ministry announced yesterday.
Pakistan on Friday dismissed Osama bin Laden as a terrorist whose "ridiculous" call for holy war against its US-allied leader will find little echo, despite growing concern that al-Qaeda is regrouping near the Afghan border.
At least 27 people have died after consuming poisonous alcohol in southern Pakistan, police said yesterday.
The number of Iraqis displaced in their own country because of rampant insecurity has reached almost two million following a sudden jump in August, Iraq's Red Crescent reported on Friday.
In a scene reminiscent of the US civil rights movement of the 1950s, thousands marched through this small Louisiana town Thursday protesting what they say is widespread inequality and racism in the US criminal justice system.
At least 3,000 people led by Buddhist monks marched Friday through the flooded streets of Yangon, in the biggest protest since anti-government rallies broke out across Myanmar one month ago.
The UN's meteorological agency yesterday called for a multibillion dollar boost for weather forecasting, warning that about 30 percent of economic wealth was directly exposed to the impact of global warming.
Australia's once-in-a-century drought has tightened its grip on the country's major food growing zone and could kill off the region's orchards and vineyards, Prime Minister John Howard said yesterday.
The world will fall badly short of meeting the UN Millennium Development Goal on child mortality, according to a study of trends published by The Lancet.
Most British women are unaware that breast cancer risk increases with age, a poll suggests.
France is reportedly planning a freeze on commercial genetically modified crops, which cover less than one percent of farmland in Europe's top agricultural producer.
The velociraptor, the fierce scaly-skinned dinosaur made popular by the film "Jurassic Park," actually had feathers, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science.
Scientists have known for decades that drastically reducing calories -- but not nutrients -- can prolong the lives of everything from yeast to mice and monkeys, but they didn't know why, until now.
Scientists have identified the genetic blueprint of a parasite that causes disfigurement and debilitating diseases, an advance which could lead to new treatments, research released Thursday said.
An international team of astronomers say that Neptune, long dismissed as a cobalt-blue gas giant cloaked in deathly cold, has a relatively warm south pole.
Arts & Entertainment
Rafiqun Nabi, the internationally acclaimed master artist, sitting at the Bengal Gallery, asked to dwell on Athens, where he had his overseas education in his youth, said, that ancient Greece, once the hub of world culture, is still breathtaking and inspiring.
He is a journalist by profession, but after the film Bachelor (2004), he became an overnight celebrity. If Mostafa Sarwar Farooqi's Bachelor has set a new trend in visual media, Hasan Masood is obviously the one to stir the audience with that trend. The movie also features his performance as a singer. This multi-faceted talent recently talked to The Daily Star (TDS). Excerpts from the conversation:
Recital organisation Kanthasheelan arranged a programme titled Biponyo Manusher Pashey Darai last evening at the Shawkat Osman Memorial Auditorium, Public Library. The programme was organised in aid of the flood victims. Recital artistes Meer Barkat, Golam Sarwar, Mohammed Nasiruddin, Zahirul Haque Khan, Azharul Haque Azad, Rais-ul-Islam, Naila Tarannum Chowdhury, Jharna Sarker, Azhar-un-Nabi Rana and Murtoza Sharif Pulak rendered performances in the event. The money earned through the programme will be given to the flood victims.
Publication house Oitijhya's Eid-special treat for children, Rangeen Phul, was launched at Poet Sufia Kamal Auditorium, National Museum recently, says a press release.
The daily programme Muktijuddho Protidin, aired on Channel-i, reached its 180th episode recently. The programme, highlighting the Liberation War, began on March 7 this year and is expected to run up to December 16. Day to day events and major combats during the war are brought into light in the programme.
Policing, both as activity and service is understood to be in the domain of public sector. There are many, particularly in the developing world, who very strongly feel that a strictly regulatory subject like security cannot be arrogated to private sector without disastrous consequences. Such thinking, however, does not appear to be in tune with the ground reality where significant socio-economic changes have taken place that demand serious thoughts and actions for widening the existing private sector involvement in security services or what some commentators would prefer to call "private policing."
Inflation in Bangladesh has signalled a long stay. Despite sincere steps from the government, it shows no signs of abating. And that makes the government concerned since inflation erodes all other macro achievements, which it has earned so far. The timing of floods and the holy Ramadan has, no doubt, aggravated the price-hike already in motion. We have to accept this strange confluence of circumstances, and adopt an integrated approach to curbing inflation.
Climate change adaptation measures are gaining momentum globally. Poor farmers, women and children are most vulnerable as they depend on the climate-sensitive natural resources like agricultural produce for their livelihood. Therefore, it is essential that a community-based approach is initiated to increase the resilience of climate change vulnerable people. Fertilizer industries can play an important role in developing products that support the environment and improve livelihood of millions of farmers across Asia. Based on the experience of implementing Nutrient Enriched Organic Farming Practice at Tangail district, that would reduce emission of greenhouse gases and improve soil fertility, this write-up by M Omar Faruq and Dr. Md. Muslem Uddin Miah is aimed at to work as a model to fight climate change variability and climate-related hazards in agriculture.
The information or knowledge-based society is no longer a matter of the future, rather a very contemporary urge of the time. In almost all aspects of our life, we need information and knowledge to get our basic needs met, make decision, move around, participate in social, economic and cultural activities.
The internet has opened new doors of opportunities and web content writing is one of them. The question is what content writing means. Well, any writing based on a specific subject is content writing. And when it is web-based it is called web content writing.
A group of Canadian scientists is working on an ambitious project to create a global database of up to half a million of the world's species using DNA barcoding technology.
The yells were issuing out in unbroken waves. As were the screams. And, then, they subsided, almost simultaneously. And we looked at each other. The terrified yells had emanated from me; the high-pitched screams from the woman I was married to at that time. The year was 1977, and we had been united in wedlock for a couple of months or so. That the “united” unraveled into disintegration a few years later is another story, and will not be related here. But, then, life was a kaleidoscope of colours, everything was right with the world, and, what, we worry? Certainly there was no call for a simultaneous cacophony of yelling and screaming. But we did, and, thereby hangs this tale.
“Everything is connected and has a purpose, there are no accidents” (p. 322).
The airport is looking strange at 5:00 in the morning. The guards at the gate have not bothered to check the ticket, the salesperson at the Port lounge did not seem to be in his usual hurry to spill coffee on my shalwar kameez, the women in the rest room look rested and resigned to being there at that hour. A whiff of Channel's 'Chance' takes me by surprise and I look around to trace its source. A young woman in her early 20's from Jet Airways is changing into her uniform . I have had the opportunity of being served by her in a couple of domestic flights and she's one of the most jazzy stewardesses I have seen in my life. At 5:00 she is as plain as I am, with the plainest expression on her face, no different than mine. I quickly conclude that it must be the hour that de-beautifies people and that perhaps, early mornings and airports do have flexible faces and passions.
They don't know how to tell a story
They don't chew betel-nut, paan-leaves
Or sit on a mat
made from finely sliced long bamboo
While telling a story
I won't go to the school sir I feel ashamed to go there
This is all I have now -- friends this year I did sit for
the secondary school exam, but my father's liver burst --
the morning's sun has circled to noontime fire
What does Bush, the sole superpower's boss, do when failure in Iraq stares him starkly in the face?
Bangladesh has an approximate population of 3 million in a landmass extending over 150,000 square kilometer and is probably the most populous country in the world. Our economy is on down hill slide and poverty is on upswing as growth rate of GDP is lower than the actual growth rate of population resulting in a low level equilibrium trap. The resource we have is not only inadequate but also fast depleting. A greater percentage of our people live off the land and thus cause degradation of land, fresh water and marine resources. To top it all, our strides for development have paradoxically affected environments because of extensive use of fertilizers, undisrupted exploitation of nature and production of biogas. The cumulative impact of human activities of the nature mentioned above has caused among others: deforestation, topsoil erosion, acidification, depletion of ozone layer and loss of biological diversity. One apprehends that the “situation has become more pronounced with the onset of global climate change and environmentally induced conflicts are likely to intensify". Environmental degradation of such magnitude threatens human sustainability. The plants regenerative capacity is increasingly being taxed to limits. Deforestation, soil erosion, desertification, over exploitation and pollution of water resources undermine a few essential factors of human sustainability which are: the natural support system, reduced natural capacity of water and increase in the competition for normally renewable yet scarce resources. In Bangladesh, expanding human population is outstripping the carrying capacity of the local resource base. “Environmental degradation and resource depletion are triggering internal conflict and is likely to assume an ugly face as climate change is likely to exacerbate the situation”. Therefore, the “task of strengthening the social, economic and environmental security of our people is as challenging as it is imperative.” New security assumptions will be necessary to combat this appalling situation. To guard against breakdown of stability and distortion of social fabric, a new policy-“one focused on human security must take into account a complex web of social, economic and environmental factors”.
We can recall our history when U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet came to the Bay of Bengal in 1971 to defeat the Liberation War of Bangladesh. It was the time when this fleet tried to intimidate India as it fought Pakistan along with Bangladeshi freedom fighter in a war that led to Bangladesh's birth. It was the period when Indian foreign policy upheld the principles of Non Align Movement and followed the path towards self-reliance. But now, the scenario has been changed.
After over two years of intense negotiations, the civilian nuclear agreement between India and the US stands today, on the cusp of full operationalization. No matter the current domestic turmoil over the deal in India, the Chinese are clearly aware that more than a contribution of about five per cent to India's overall energy requirements that nuclear energy will provide in the next two decades, it is the larger political, economic and strategic implications of the deal that they will need to take into account. The Malabar naval exercises that New Delhi has gone ahead with despite the ongoing political uncertainty are a case in point. The Chinese realize that whether or not the Indo-US nuclear agreement goes through, India has served notice that it is becoming increasingly cognizant of and capable of leveraging its strengths to achieve its interests. Just as important, India has in the process displayed acumen for bare-knuckled negotiations and a skilful use of domestic policy levers in the US. A People's Daily (14 August 2007) commentary, concluded that "the US has made big concessions and met almost all Indian requests" and that "a substantial change has taken place in the nature of Indian-US relations despite possible turns and twists in future." It did not hesitate to accuse the US of "double standards" and agreed with the Indian Left parties saying that it was the American intention to draw "India in as a tool" for achieving its global strategic aims. The article finally referred to India's "practical political considerations" and rested its hopes on "India's DNA" that would not allow it to play second fiddle to the US.And if the deal does somehow get through India's political maelstrom, then the onus shifts to the Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) where it needs to be seen how China will react. Off-hand, the impression is that the Chinese are not happy about the deal, as indeed they well might not be, but to take the argument one step further and to say that they are implacably opposed to it, is a bit presumptuous. The People's Daily (30 August 2007) editorial titled "Nuclear agreement and big power's dream" has been variously interpreted by the Indian media but its main thrust is simple enough. The piece has noted that India was "extremely short of energy" and that civilian nuclear power development would help India to deal with its power shortages and allow for steady economic development. Meanwhile a majority of Indians appeared to support the deal and stood behind Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who "did not compromise" despite the Left threat of withdrawal of support to the government. By pointing out India's desire to be "a powerful nation" and the "strong symbolic significance" of the nuclear deal, the article has also acknowledged India's legitimate aspirations. However, there are also notes of worry in the Chinese commentary. Given India's desire "to become a big power," the US wish to incorporate India in its attempt to "balance the forces of Asia," is something, the editorial says, "fits in exactly with India's wishes." This last section has been interpreted to indicate Chinese opposition to the deal. Nevertheless, the manner in which recent Chinese comments have been phrased, whether in the media or in Foreign Ministry statements, remind the observer of China's own rationale behind developing its nuclear program and probably give an idea of how it will proceed in its reactions to the Indo-US deal. First, it is suggested - perhaps to domestic hardliners - that with needs that are similar to China's, India cannot be faulted when it adopts methods similar to what China has adopted. India is doing what it thinks is best in its national interests and this is something that the Chinese understand. Second, the Chinese seem to realize that they have nothing to gain from opposing the deal at the NSG but everything to gain in goodwill and perhaps economic bounty in the form of expanding their own civilian nuclear cooperation with other countries not least with India and the US. China has for some two years now been offering to cooperate in the civilian nuclear energy sector with India; Hu Jintao repeated the offer during his visit in November 2006. China already has ties with the US in this sector - in July this year, it signed a multi-billion dollar contract with Westinghouse for building four third-generation nuclear reactors - but seeks further relaxation of American restrictions on high-technology transfers. Were China to cooperate at the NSG, it could result in what it is fond of calling 'win-win,' all around. Third, a positive response to the deal also allows China an increased range of responses vis-a-vis the US on North Korea, Iran and Pakistan. Thus, plans for increased Chinese nuclear cooperation with Pakistan cannot necessarily draw the condemnation of either New Delhi or Washington unless they appear to be explicitly vitiating the peace. However, the Chinese are perhaps not unaware that while they might continue supporting Pakistan's nuclear program, it is just as likely that India could also soon be closely engaged in nuclear cooperation with Japan. The question therefore is, if China and India will simply let things take their 'natural' course or take the bold steps necessary to ensure that the balance of forces in Asia changes to mutual advantage.
Star Books Review
Mohammad Anisur Rahman's memoirs, for these two volumes are what they essentially are, need to be read for the sheer spontaneity they come wrapped in. The economist, who has been part of the political history of Bangladesh, especially in its early, formative phases, has consistently aroused curiosity about the role he has played in the shaping of his career as also the forging of new economic policies for a country born of war. He might have been expected to come forth, all these years after he helped shape events, with a tome laden with the kind of didacticism, even sermonising, that important men generally are tempted into producing. That Rahman has stayed away from succumbing to conventional temptation is encouraging. His uninhibited narration of the events that went into the making of his life and career is therefore the instrument which makes these volumes rather gripping.
Radha Will Not Cook Today is the English translation of Arandhan. Reading the short story, with lyrical intermissions, was beautiful indeed. However, the perception of the reader takes a restless turn in search of the connection between the title of the story and the narration that follows.
Tourism has always seemed to be a blessing to the community since prehistoric times when primitive man started to move away from his usual habitat, often to great distances, in search of necessities such as food, shelter and clothing. In a word, tourism has stood beside the poor community. With the passage of years, tourism has won over the world and the world in turn has won over tourism. Present-day tourism is very theoretical. These days it is a subject of research and higher studies. Nothing is left out of the close grip of tourism.
I had read a few columns and a couple of poems by Arunabh Sarkar before I came across this slim volume of poems a few weeks back. Arunabh was working at The Independent when I started writing for that newspaper, but I never met him at that time. It was only in March 2006 when I joined The News Today that I met Arunabh as my colleague for the first time. And it was the poet himself who presented me with a copy of Narira Fere Naa which is his third volume of poetry. He has published only nine books in the past thirty years, with three volumes of poetry, one on journalism and five books for children. He has, however, written many works of fiction and poems, essays and columns since his days of youth in daily newspapers and periodicals.
The Early Life and Work of Jean Jacques Rousseau 1712-1754