The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Saturday, November 1, 2014


News of: Saturday, 10th of November, 2007

Front Page

Benazir interned to foil her protest rally, freed at night

Pakistan freed former premier Benazir Bhutto from house arrest late last night, a senior interior ministry official said, after she was earlier blocked from leading a rally against emergency rule.

Accommodation, visa issues still unresolved

Hajj flights will begin on Monday although many hajj agencies are yet to arrange accommodation in Makkah and Medina for the pilgrims.

Saifur's men working to win hearts of party rank and file

Saifur-led faction of the BNP is now working to woo the central executive committee members and former lawmakers to establish control over the party's rank and file.

Discord in AL over mayor candidate

Intra-party discord over candidacy for the post of Dhaka City Corporation mayor has surfaced with the Awami League (AL) making all out preparations for contesting the DCC polls scheduled for March-April next year.

People reducing their consumption to cope with spiralling prices

The middleclass and people of low-income group have resorted to cut consumption of some essential items but still their expenditure continues to climb, as prices of basic commodities remain high.

Withdraw decision, demand experts, environmentalists

Urban experts and eminent personalities have strongly criticised the government move to hand over a huge chunk of land at Suhrawardi Udyan to Dhaka Club for developing a golf course and demanded immediate cancellation of the decision.

Arrest identified war criminals, try them

Speakers at a discussion in the city yesterday called for the government to arrest those who have long been identified as war criminals and set up a tribunal to try them.

Suicide blast at Pak minister's house kills 4

A suicide bomber blew himself up at the house of a Pakistani minister in the northwestern city of Peshawar yesterday, killing four people, police said.

Obscene movie films destroyed at FDC

Film producers yesterday destroyed reels of obscene films on the Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (FDC) premises to comply with the directives of joint forces.

10 Shibir men arrested in Gopalganj

Ten activists of Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, were arrested at Miapara in the district town on Thursday night on charge of holding a meeting violating the Emergency Powers Rules.

Shibalaya UNO showcaused, agri officer suspended

The district administration yesterday issued a showcause notice to Shibalaya Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Soleman Khan and suspended upazila Agriculture Officer Nurul Islam Mollah for neglect of duties in distribution of fertiliser to the farmers.

Boy drowns in Bay, another missing

A schoolboy drowned and another went missing in the Bay yesterday.

Fate of rest of Tota Miah's snakes uncertain

The forest ministry holds a meeting today to decide the fate of the obscure-until-recently snake farm of Tota Miah in Thakurgaon where the snakes have been dying because there is none to feed them after the poor snake charmer's death on November 5.

Massive hunt for other accused in extortion cases

The law enforcement agencies have launched a massive hunt to nab the absconding accused in six extortion cases filed against detained Khulna City Corporation (KCC) Mayor Sheikh Tayebur Rahman and his associates.

Govt urged to give indigenous people deeds of their lands

Leaders of Bangladesh Adivasi Odhikar Andolan, an organisation working for ethnic rights, yesterday demanded the caretaker government provide title deeds to indigenous people for their land and cancel the previously declared government khas lands in their areas.

Delwar rejects Rashid's claim

BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain yesterday rejected Bangabandhu's killer Lt Col (retd) Abdur Rashid's claim that Ziaur Rahman was involved with the plan to kill Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

4 more die in Companyganj

The "unknown" disease has claimed four more lives in Companyganj upazila on Thursday night and yesterday morning, raising the death toll to eight in the upazila in last four days.

Nikita, family members remanded

Police yesterday took Nikita alias Zannatul Ferdousi, her father Abdur Noor, mother Saleha Khatun and brother Mohammad Moinuddin on a three-day-remand for quizzing in connection with Yaba trade.

BSF kills cattle trader in Benapole

A Bangladeshi cattle trader was shot dead by Indian Border Security Force (BSF) on Agrovulot border here yesterday morning.

Some property of Hasnat Abdullah attached

Some moveable property of Awami League leader Abul Hasnat Abdullah, who is facing a tax evasion case, was attached yesterday following a court order.

Kuwati NGO comes to aid of Bangladeshi workers

The Social Works Society, a non-government organisation of Kuwait, has come forward to help 1200 homeless Bangladeshi workers in Kuwait.

Youth shot dead in Hazaribagh

A youth was shot dead at Hazaribagh in the capital last night.

Suu Kyi 'optimistic' about reconciliation talks

Detained Myanmar opposition head Aung San Suu Kyi is "very optimistic" about prospects of the UN-promoted process for reconciliation between the military government and pro-democracy forces, top members of her party said yesterday.

US sets free 9 Iranians detained in Iraq

Nine Iranians were released Friday from US custody in Iraq, the American military said.

BBC, CNN go off air in Pakistan

International television news channels BBC and CNN went off the air in Pakistan again yesterday as opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was placed under house arrest ahead of a protest rally.

Blow to Bush as Congress overturns veto for first time

The US Congress on Thursday overturned a veto by President George W. Bush for the first time in his presidency, giving approval to a bill on river and waterway projects.

Editorial

Bracing up for higher prices

Prices of six major essential items factored into measuring inflation increased by 30 to 217 percent in the last few months, according to TCB estimates. The rising trend in prices is likely to stay for quite a few months more due to a global spiral fuelled by increasing petroleum prices.

Woes of our job seekers

Some recruiting agency officials are allegedly swindling overseas job seekers of enormous sums of money through sending digitised fingerprints of job aspirants giving them a false impression that their jobs have been finalised. This relates to Malaysia. No less than officials at Bangladesh Association of Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) have said that between 30 and 40 thousand job seekers have already been cheated in this way.

The audacity of war criminals and their collaborators

The word audacity does not fully translate the emotional connotations contained in the Bengali word 'ashpordhya'. It has been amazing watching the unfolding drama initiated recently by comments made by Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, the Secretary General of the Jamaat-e-Islami political party. His claim that 'anti-liberation forces never even existed' was not only a classical example of distortion of truth and denial of history but also a slap on our national conscience and the glorious struggle that eventually led to our liberation and independence. This demeaning assertion also reflected total disrespect for the countless martyrs who lost their lives, the tens of thousands of women who were dishonoured and the eleven million people who were displaced and became refugees during 1971.

The party is over

The best jihad is to speak the truth before an unjust ruler. Thousands of people in Pakistan have done what has been ordained. They have staged protests against the emergency-cum-martial law rule, which General

Agriculture and land reform: Poverty alleviation imperatives

According to statistics, at present 56 percent of the people in our country are landless. Among them a vast number are absolutely landless not even having any homestead. And the number of this landless people is gradually on the rise, never decreasing. Yet no effective or dynamic step has been taken to establish the right of the landless on all kinds of khas resources including agricultural land and waterbodies to check this disastrous trend. Even if some demonstrative steps were taken sometimes, its continuity, too, was not maintained, on the otherhand the land grabbing circle is continuously occupying all kinds of khas resources of the country under different garbs. In some cases the problem is extreme indifference of administration, in others, non-neutrality and unfavourable mind-set, which have kept this grabbing process going. As a result social discrimination and deprivation have spread further instead of diminishing. Thus have increased rich-poor gap, food insecurity, man-woman disparity and many other problems.

Sports

Top two face-off

Barisal have a chance to sneak up on league leaders Rajshahi and Khulna who face each other in the fourth round of the 9th National Cricket League at the Shaheed Birshreshtha Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rahman Stadium in Khulna today.

Clarke, Hussey run riot

Twin centuries to Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey gave Australia's scorecard a familiar look for their first Test innings of the home summer, which Ricky Ponting finally closed at 4 for 551. In reply Sri Lanka suffered from a Brett Lee double-strike and gratefully accepted an offer of bad light, finishing the second day at 2 for 31 with Marvan Atapattu on 19 and Mahela Jayawardene on 5 at the Gabba in Brisbane on Friday.

Steyn wrecks havoc

Fast bowler Dale Steyn ripped through New Zealand's batting as South Africa took a first innings lead of 108 on the second day of the first Test at the Wanderers Stadium Friday.

Kumble new Test skipper

India's newly-appointed Test captain Anil Kumble admitted on Friday he was a stopgap arrangement but said he looked forward to the challenge at the tail end of his career.

Semifinal lineups set

Russians Maria Sharapova and Anna Chakvetadze won three-set matches Thursday to reach the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson Championships.

Kuntal, Rumman star on Day 1

Kuntal Chandra and Rumman Islam excelled on the opening day when the Challengers Cup four-day competition got underway at the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium yesterday.

Younis dedicates ton to Woolmer

Vice-captain Younis Khan dedicated his match-winning 117 in the second one-dayer against India on Thursday to Pakistan's late coach Bob Woolmer.

Shahrukh not welcome

Wary of crowd trouble, the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) has asked the BCCI not to invite Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan for the third one-dayer between India and Pakistan here on Sunday.

Both sides pay for over-rate

Both India and Pakistan have been fined for a slow over-rate during the second one-day international at Mohali on Thursday, the International Cricket Council said.

Working to a plan

If Sachin Tendulkar's 99 was spectacular, Younis Khan's century was supremely efficient and formed the lynchpin of a perfectly planned chase. One stroke of brilliance from India could have ended Pakistan's challenge but Younis stood firm. He added 102 in 12.4 overs with Misbahul Haq, who has one of the coolest heads in run-chases, and the partnership drastically reduced India's victory hopes.

Appointment draws flak

The appointment of Anil Kumble as India captain for only three Tests is too short to serve as a proper stop-gap arrangement, former Indian players say.

Gullit takes over at Galaxy

The Los Angeles Galaxy have hired former European Player of the Year Ruud Gullit as their new head coach, the Major League Soccer club announced Thursday.

'Just a start'

Michael Hussey shook off his fears over a short Test lead-up to register his sixth Test century and continue an impressive rebuild of Australia's team after the loss of three greats. A torn hamstring suffered in the World Twenty20 limited Hussey's preparation to a first-class game for Western Australia, but his body or lack of play did not hamper him as he set up a massive total with Michael Clarke.

Moores all for Flintoff

Peter Moores has given his backing to Andrew Flintoff, insisting he has no interest in events prior to his appointment as England coach.

CA under fire

Australia cricket's governing body came under heavy criticism Friday for imposing restrictions that have locked global news agencies out of the opening Australia-Sri Lanka cricket Test in Brisbane.

Dhoni rues 15 runs

Despite setting a challenging target for the Pakistanis, Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels that they still fell short by about 15 runs and bowlers could have done a better job.

Bridge Road rout GCC

Karim slammed four goals as Bridge Road crushed Gaibandha Coaching Centre (GCC) 7-2 in the first division football league at the local government college ground yesterday.

Baseball meet from Nov 11

The Shapla Rang Biponi first-ever baseball tournament organised by Bangladesh Baseball Federation at the Outer Stadium tomorrow.

Bayliss hopes on batsmen

Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss has asked his batsmen to adopt the same approach as Australian pair Michael Hussey and Michael Clark when play continues on the third day of the first Test at the Gabba.

Away blues haunt Barca

Just one point separates the top three teams in the Spanish championship with surprise package Villarreal joining the traditional powerhouses Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Bolton hold Bayern

Hot UEFA Cup favourites Bayern Munich were held 2-2 at home by Bolton on Thursday on a great night for English clubs abroad.

More in the tank: C'Ron

Cristiano Ronal-do has warned Manchester United's Premier League rivals that the champions are only just beginning to hit their stride.

Mourinho v the schoolboy

As Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho was known for dishing it out to anyone who met with his disapproval. But it seems that, when it comes to schoolboy taunts, the self-proclaimed Special One simply can't take it.

England recall Beckham

David Beckham has been recalled to England's squad for their forthcoming matches against Austria and Croatia.

Fiorentina eye top spot

Fiorentina and Roma will be keeping a hopeful eye on the Serie A clash between league leaders Inter Milan and Lazio at the San Siro on Sunday.

Germany spring a surprise

German coach Joachim Loew on Friday named debutant Jermaine Jones in his 24-strong squad for Euro 2008 games against Cyprus on November 17 and Wales four days later:

Four match ban for Dunga

Brazil coach Dunga has been given a provisional four-match touchline ban in friendlies by the country's disciplinary tribunal after being sent off against Mexico in September.

Business

Forex reserves hit $5.45b on robust remittance

The country's foreign exchange reserves stood at around $5.45billion on Thursday on robust remittance inflow in the first four months of the current fiscal year despite drops in export earning.

KL may consider lifting ban on Bangladeshi workers

Malaysian government may consider lifting of embargo on fresh recruitment of Bangladeshi workers once problems recently caused by unscrupulous agents are resolved.

High oil prices have 'manageable' impact on global economy: IMF

The International Monetary Fund said Thursday the world economy is weathering a recent surge in oil prices because it is driven by increased demand rather than supply constraints.

Oil prices rise

World oil prices rose Friday but were off record high points and a landmark 100 dollars a barrel as the market digested supply concerns and the prospect of lower demand for crude, analysts said

China threatens to block industrial goods deal at WTO

China has threatened to veto any proposals on cutting customs tariffs on industrial goods at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) if its requests are not met, trade sources said on Friday.

Imports up 17pc in four months

Imports increased by about 17 percent to US$ 5,930 million during the first four months of the current fiscal year compared to the same period last fiscal year.

S Korea to lift cap on overseas property investment

The upper limit of US$3 million placed on individual overseas property investments will be removed next year, a year earlier than previously planned, South Korea's Finance Ministry announced on Thursday.

WTO Doha deal 'more or less' at hand: EU

EU trade chief Peter Mandelson said here Thursday a deal to conclude the troubled WTO Doha Round of international trade negotiations was within reach.

US economy likely to slow

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Thursday that economic growth will slow noticeably in coming months while surging oil costs will raise inflation pressures. But he said the economy is nowhere close to the stagflation nightmare of the 1970s and he predicted an economic rebound by mid-2008.

Bank Asia launches scholarship scheme

Bank Asia Ltd yesterday launched a scholarship programme for higher education in Munsiganj district.

China warns companies evading new labour law

Chinese companies are trying to evade a new law that will make it harder to sack employees, prompting a government warning that they may have to pay "a heavy price," state media said Friday.

Dollar slumps to fresh record low against euro

The dollar hit a new record low against the euro Friday after Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke painted a gloomy picture of the US economy that fuelled speculation about another US rate cut, dealers said.

Western Marine Shipyard gets nat'l maritime award

Western Marine Shipyard Limited has received National Maritime Award - 2007 for its contribution to the country's shipbuilding industry.

Manila's forex reserve hits all-time high

The Philippines' foreign exchange reserves surged to a new record high of US$32.4 billion at end-October from $30.9 billion at end-September as the central bank bought more dollars to slow down the peso's rise.

Chinese toys face another recall

In yet another setback to the Chinese toy industry, millions of toys made in the country are being withdrawn from the USA and Australia as they allegedly contained a chemical which mimics the reaction caused by a date-rape drug and could lead to children slipping into coma.

Weekly Currency Roundup

November 04-November 08, 2007
Local FX Market

The US dollar/BDT market was a little tight during the week. USD gained some ground against the BDT and there was ample demand in the market throughout the week.

Metropolitan

Low-income group in Ctg in hardships

Middle and low-income families in the port city are in serious economic hardships as the price of daily essentials increased up to 10 to 30 percent in last one month.

'Bring identified war criminals to justice’

Maj Gen (retd) ALM Fazlur Rahman, convener and central advisory committee chief of Nirdolio Jono Andolon (Nij Andolon), yesterday urged the caretaker government to bring identified war criminals to justice.

Dhaka Int'l Education Fair begins

With a view to facilitating the procedure of students' admission for higher education in different colleges and universities abroad, Dhaka International Education Fair 2007 began at Bashundhara City in the city yesterday.

Cancel permission for playing golf: Bapa

Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (Bapa) yesterday demanded cancellation of the permission for playing golf in the Suhrawardi Udyan immediately, says a press release.

10 arrested for carrying fake visas at Zia

Ten China-bound Bangladeshis were arrested for carrying fake visas at Zia International Airport on Thursday midnight.

Enayetullah’s 2nd anniversary of death today

Today is the second death anniversary of Enayetullah Khan, founder editor of the daily New Age and editor-in-chief of the weekly Holiday.

US-Bangla joint exercise Nov 12-15

The United States Army will conduct a four-day joint Medical Readiness Training Exercise (MEDRETE) with the Bangladesh Army in Comilla and Haimchar on November 12-15.

City road crashes kill 3 women, injure 50

Three women were killed and 50 others injured in separate road accidents on Dhaka-Ashulia highway in the city yesterday.

Foreign currencies worth over Tk 10 lakh seized at Ctg airport

Customs officials held a passenger with foreign currencies worth over Tk 10 lakh at Shah Amanat International Airport here yesterday.

CPB reiterates demand for trial of war criminals

Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) has reiterated its demand for state initiative to formulate a special tribunal to try the anti-liberation forces and war criminals of 1971.

Noor Hossain Day today

Shaheed Noor Hossain Day will be observed across the country today.

BBC Bangladesh Sanglap today

The 13th episode of the BBC Bangladesh Sanglap will be held at an open space at Chila Bazar at Mongla in Khulna today.

Ganja, phensidyl seized in city

Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) yesterday seized four kilograms of ganja and 80 bottles of phensidyl from Dhaka-bound Joyontika Express.

'Confer state honour on Bhasani'

Bhasani Smriti Sangsad yesterday urged the government to confer state honour on Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani in recognition of his contribution to people and country.

Theft in city house

A theft was committed at a house at Dhanmondi in the capital yesterday.

EWU photography exhibition begins tomorrow

East West University (EWU) Cine and Photography Club (EWUCPC) will organise the third intra-university photography exhibition from November 11 to 15 at Drik Gallery in the city, says a press release.

Bangladeshi art exhibition in Washington from Dec 16

A Bangladeshi art exhibition will be held in the auditorium of Bangladesh embassy in Washington DC from December 16 to 23 marking the Victory Day of Bangladesh.

National

16 top outlaws still run parties in four south-western dists

Sixteen out of 20 top outlaws in Chuadanga are yet to be netted though the government announced bounties up to Tk 5 lakh for their arrest two years ago.

Undeclared equipment of ex-BNP MP seized

Police have traced out and seized a road roller used by construction firms owned by former BNP lawmaker Sahidul Islam's close relatives.

Take legal steps against war criminals

Freedom fighters of Moulvibazar have urged the government to take legal steps against Jamaat-e-Islami leaders for their war crimes in 1971.

Tk 4,369 speed money for buyer, Tk 4,583 for seller

A buyer and a seller have to spent Tk 4,369 and Tk 4,583 respectively on an average as speed money in land transaction in Barisal.

Ex-cadets rehabilitate 120 families in Sirajganj

Some 120 flood-affected families who lost their homesteads during the recent floods have again got their dwelling places with the help of Old Rajshahi Cadets Association (ORCA).

Donors visit Manikganj education centres

Development partners and government officials visited newly constructed building of Shivalaya Kendrio Model Government Primary School, Manikganj Primary Training Institute (PTI) and under-construction Shivalaya Upazila Research Centre (URC) in Manikganj on Thursday.

Prisoners' strike at Jhenidah Jail

The prisoners at Jhenidah Jail yesterday refrained from performing their duties for several hours to realise demands including improvement of food quality.

International

Unrest could distract Pakistan military

The longer the political turmoil in Islamabad continues, the greater the risk that it will distract the Pakistani army from battling insurgents along the border of Afghanistan, Defence Secretary Robert Gates said yesterday.

9 killed in fresh clashes in Sri Lanka

Fresh clashes between Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tigers across the northern front line saw two paramilitary policemen and seven rebels killed, the defence ministry said yesterday.

Like Musharraf, Iran's Shah was a pivotal US ally

The United States backs the unpopular autocratic ruler of an Islamic country for too long, and then is caught on the wrong side of history when he is overthrown.

District chief among several killed in Afghan violence

Taliban militants gunned down the head of a hard fought-over district in Afghanistan, while US-led forces killed several insurgents in separate fighting, officials said Friday.

US must ask directly for new Iraq talks: Iran

Iran said on Friday that the United States must ask directly through its interests section in the Swiss embassy in Tehran if it wants new talks about security in Iraq.

US calls on Asian states to work closely on security threat

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates called Friday on Asian states to work more closely together on security issues and not to depend only on the United States to ensure regional stability.

Former Thai army chief refuses to rule out another coup

Thailand's coup leader General Sonthi Boonyaratglin on Friday refused to rule out another putsch if allies of the ousted prime minister win next month's elections.

Georgia to lift state of emergency 'soon'

A state of emergency in Georgia will be lifted "soon," an official said Friday after President Mikheil Saakashvili called snap presidential polls following anti-government clashes in the capital.

Senate confirms new US attorney general

The US Senate confirmed Michael Mukasey as the country's new attorney general, despite criticism of his refusal to say whether an interrogation method called "waterboarding" was legal.

3 Afghan journos detained

Security forces arrested three Afghan journalists for travelling to a Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan, media workers said yesterday after the reporters were released from two days' detention.

Smoking may be boosting global TB burden: Research

Smoking may be responsible for up to a fifth of tuberculosis (TB) infections and deaths worldwide, according to research presented at a global lung health conference in Cape Town yesterday.

Rebels, troops clash in Kashmir

Indian troops have besieged a hotel in Indian Kashmir where at least two Islamic militants barricaded themselves in after attacking a police post, officials said yesterday.

Arts & Entertainment

Music and poetry albums of Asafuddoula launched

Ten CDs of songs and poems by eminent singer, composer and poet Mohammad Asafuddoula were launched on November 8 at the auditorium of National Music and Dance Centre, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA). The highlight of the event was rendition of songs by Asafuddoula.

James and Shehzad Roy perform live in Dhaka

On the evening of November 8, rock and pop music fans were in for a treat. Bangladeshi rock music icon, Faruk Mahfuz Anam aka James and popular Pakistani pop singer, Shehzad Roy performed at the Winter Garden, Dhaka Sheraton Hotel.

Remembering Kalam Mahmud

Kalam Mahmud (1942- 2000) was one of the most talented graphics designers in Bangladesh whose works introduced a new era of graphics designing in the print media, especially in the newspapers. Yet the artist never received the honour he deserved. Artists, litterateurs, media personalities and Mahmud's friends and family who attended a memorial programme on the artist's 7th death anniversary, expressed this view.

Recitation evening on women's liberation

On November 8 Nandonkanon staged its new production Tahader Kotha at Shawkot Osman Memorial Auditorium, Central Public Library.

OP-ED

The imperative of human rights commission

It has been authoritatively announced that in Bangladesh we will soon witness the formation of a Human Rights Commission. In fact, such positive intent could not have been made public at a better time. The current healthy spate of reform initiatives will, hopefully, have another facilitating institution for ensuring good governance.

Dipawali -- the festival of lights

The Indian civilisation is an unending procession of festivals. When one sees Shivaratri, Holi, Teej, Gangour, Baisakhi, Janmashtami, Ramanavami, Dussehra, Dipawali, Ramalila, Durgapuja, Rathayatra, Ganesa Chaturthi, and so on, one is simply amazed not by their pageantry alone, but also by the devotion and fervent feelings of those who celebrate them with great enthusiasm in the name of divinity.

Restructure agriculture to bridge the food gap and contain price hike

With prices of rice, wheat, edible oil, pulses and vegetables rising every day, the spectre of food grains import stares the country in the face. This happens in a country where agriculture is the mainstay of people's living. The country has till now 70 per cent of its workforce in farming though agriculture's contribution to GDP has dropped from about 30 per cent in the '80s to about 15 per cent now. The crisis was brewing up long before but in the uproar of banal politics dominated by self-serving politicians, all such bad signals were not taken heed of. The country only woke up to this crisis when food prices started rising up in the market.

Bangladesh's microcredit model triumphs in India

In the international arena unfort-unately the negative side of Bangladesh's image gets prominence. Bangladesh is more recognised as a country of hunger, poverty and natural disasters abroad. And above all these, during the recent years Bangladesh has put on the black seal of widespread state level corruption while religious fundamentalist groups also have made an awful rise. Too much negative statements about Bangladesh have appeared in foreign media. Despite all this, often praiseworthy activities of some organisations and individuals from Bangladesh on foreign soil have significantly contributed towards building a positive image of the country and brightened its face. Here the microcredit programme deserves special mention.

StarTech

Tourists' choices made easy

The rapid development of information and communication technology (ICT) and the spread of the internet have ushered in unprecedented changes in industry structure around the world, changing principal constituents of every business.

UN, Google, Cisco unveil online poverty alleviation resources

The United Nations (UN), Google and Cisco has recently unveiled a pioneering online site that tracks progress towards decreasing global poverty by 2015, a global campaign known as the Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs.

Bridging digital divide

The Commonwealth Secretariat in association with Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI), Bangladesh Women's Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI) and Digital Knowledge Foundation are currently implementing a pilot project to spread the blessing of ICT among rural people.

Facebook launches ad platform

Facebook on Tuesday began delivering ads to members based on what they do and who they know, following in the footsteps of social networking rival MySpace and triggering Internet privacy concerns.

Literature

Rain Diary

Orchir was born on the 24th of Boishakh. It was just after noon that the rain came pelting down. In that rain the mango trees at the bend of the road at Shantinagar and the single-storey house dissolved to become as one. By the time one came to the verandah on this side from the other side it was like the Meghna-Jamuna crashing headlong into each other. A household's daily life supposedly has its portion of tears. Compared to human tears the raindrops were like well-buckets. And in the month of Chaitra came Agniborna--Orchir's daughter. The sky was clear the day she was born, when Bangladesh had bloomed. That day was the day Bangladesh was born. That girl is now four years old. She can smell the rain's scent. Suddenly she'll sniff the air and say, “I smell rain.” Even the ants know about the coming rain. Even when all around is nothing but a desolate sunshine, when not even scraps of cloud can be seen in the sky, one will spy columns of ants marching on floors or up walls. Sure enough, not even an hour goes by when suddenly a shadow settles on the earth, darkness walks in from all sides, and then the dense rain. Are they twins, these children and insects who can foretell rain? Or do they simply sense it, pick up the scent or some change in the wind or in nature? Our Tara Miah, on the other hand, can't foretell a damn thing. Like the bullock tied to a stake beside the hayrick. Even as the rain slants down Tara Miah would muse, “Ah, I suppose it's finally coming down, eh?” The bullock would be placidly chewing cud with the rope slung around its neck -- but then, was it its job to explore life's boundless mysteries?

Reading Manil Suri

Some readers may be disappointed when they realize that Manil Suri is not in the process of penning the last part of a “trilogy.” As the author has maintained, apart from the fact that both his books are set in his native India-- and the God theme and title are dominant--there is no common thread between The Death of Vishnu and Suri's latest novel, The Age of Shiva (New York: W.W. Norton, 2007) a narrative with a female protagonist. Spanning 30-plus years, it is a portrait of maternal love set in a country in turmoil.

Of Books Unwritten

(The South Asian Women Writers' Colloquium was held in New Delhi in February this year under the aegis of Womens' World India. It is a part of the New York-based Womens' WORLD, formed decades back by a group of feminist writers in order to address deep-seated issues of gender-based censorship. In one session called 'The Guarded Tongue' about the invisible, insidious censorship women and writers live with, Bangladeshi representative Neeman Sobhan spoke about her own guardedness as a woman writer. Below is reproduced her words.)

Tahmima Anam's A Golden Age on Guardian award shortlist

Bangladeshi writer Tahmima Anam's novel on our 1971 war of independence A Golden Age (John Murray: London) is one of five books on this year's Guardian First Book Award shortlist. The others are Rajiv Chandrasekaram's Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone (nonfiction), Catherine O'Flynn's What Was Lost (novel), Dinaw Mengestu's America, Children of the Revolution (novel), and Rosemary Hill's God's Architect (biography).

In Memorium of Obaidul Huq Kaka (1911-2007)

A depression hung over the low-slung land
Of deltaic Bangladesh, intermittent
Drizzle and snorting gusts of wind
Spreading misery in the hearts
Of millions keeping the last fast
Before the day of gargantuan feasts.

Strategic Issues

Iran-US relations: Conclusion

Escalating tensions between the United States and Iran can be attributed to the evolving state of energy geopolitics, and the future of energy security of the Western world. This includes ultimate control over the Strait of Hormuz, through which tankers ferry about 40% of the world's daily oil needs. In the USA, both the Republican and Democratic Parties share the same view as regards the Middle-Eastern oil producing nations. Any oil-rich country in the Middle East that refuses to sufficiently cooperate with US economic and strategic designs in the Middle East will face punishment in the form of isolation and militarily threat. An armed confrontation between the United States and Iran, and an Israeli entry into the conflict, may embroil the entire region in a state of war. Consequences of such a war will be catastrophic.

Bhutto - Musharraf deal

The return of 54-years-old Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister of Pakistan, from self-exile on 18 October was marred by bomb attacks and bloodbath and raises the question: who was behind these acts? Will the current political equation be result oriented? Both leaders being archenemies having personal animosity, it is beclouded for the moment with Musharraf having an edge.

Iraq war : A clash of civilisations?

One of the questions asked by the West for sometime is “Whither Islam?”meaning where the Islamic world is going. This has become an accentuated issue after Professor Samuel Huntington published his book “Clash of Civilisations” in 1996.

Star Books Review

The dysfunctional in administration

The development process at fundamental levels presupposes the existence of skilled personnel and effective management to ensure that the personnel involved can put in their best efforts toward achieving successfully the targeted development objectives. But Bangladesh seems to be unfortunate on both counts. The assumption that Bangladesh lacks skilled personnel is becoming increasingly clear because of its persistent inability to get out of the low growth trap. This is largely due to the inefficiencies of public sector officialdom and workforce, and their inability to plan and manage the development and service delivery process.

The story of a distressed people

The Rakhaines is a properly illustrated, lovely book on the Rakhaines of Bangladesh. It is dedicated to Prof. Serajul Islam Choudhury and late Dr. Najma Jesmin Choudhury, a couple who considered Mustafa Majid a member of their own family and helped him become what he is today, a poet and an essayist of repute and a tireless and successful researcher. The book has a number of coloured photographs on Rakhaine life at the end. Qayyum Chowdhury has designed its appealing cover. Published recently, the book throws light on the life of the neglected Rakhaines from a socio-economic and administrative point of view. It has been Mustafa Majid's Ph D thesis.

When mystery blends with history

My Name is Red is a novel about a beautiful woman named Shekure whose beauty burns many hearts in Istanbul. The narrative is set against the background of the sixteenth century Ottoman Empire which was threatened by the European powers. This was also true in the case of Persian art and culture. Some of the miniaturists or painters of Istanbul struggled to keep their work free from the influence of the Venetian masters.

Mixing bowl of titanic philosophies

As the soft snow forms a delicate carpet on the streets of Kars, Ka, the poet and journalist, arrives to investigate the case of the suicidal girls. The walls are plastered with posters bellowing: “Suicide is Blasphemy”, but the epidemic doesn't stop to spread. There is a haunting sense of alienation in this overlooked town marred by the disputes between Western secularism and Eastern fundamentalism. The overbearing desolation “…hit him [Ka] with such force that he felt God inside him.” Thus begins Pamuk's novel, Snow.

A diplomat's worldview

The two volumes are a collection of articles by the author on world affairs that appeared in various newspapers in Bangladesh and abroad during a period which have come to be characterised as the most interesting as well as defining months and years in international relations in the post cold war era. Almost all the articles were written between the time the mainland of the US, so long considered invincible, was attacked on an eerie morning of September 11, 2001, and September 2006.

At a glance

Indian Balm
Travels Among Fakirs and Fire Warriors
Paul Hyland Tauris Parke
Paperbacks, London

This happens to be a tale of a journey in search of roots, in so many words. The author lands in India and means to follow the trail set earlier by his great-great-grandparents. Along the way, he comes across cultures that kindle his own interest in India, the diversity that has always given the country its historical dynamism. A gripping read.



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