News of: Saturday, 17th of November, 2007
Bangladesh dated with a nightmare as cyclone Sidr ripped through the southwestern coast late Thursday, killing over 700 people and demolishing houses, crops, vegetables and trees alike along its trail of devastation over an area of thousands of square kilometers.
The cyclone caused the country's power system to collapse completely yesterday morning, triggering a knock-on effect on piped water supplies, telecommunication and filling station operations.
Environmentalists and bio-diversity experts fear immense loss to the Sundarbans and its wildlife, as the brunt of hurricane Sidr was borne by the world's largest mangrove forest.
The city dwellers suffered their share of the Sidr fallouts as the tropical cyclone cut across the capital early yesterday leaving power lines snapped, trees uprooted and roads strewn with wayside billboards and other objects.
Around 95 percent standing crops in 11 coastal districts have been affected badly by the hurricane Sidr, agriculture ministry sources said.
The cyclonic storm of hurricane strength, Sidr, was one of the 10 fiercest cyclones that had hit the region of Bangladesh in the 131 years between 1876 and 2007.
Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday visited some cyclone-hit areas in Khulna and asked the authorities concerned to take urgent steps to meet the need of the people in the cyclone-hit areas.
As the storm increased its force across Subidkhali village under Mirzaganj upazila in Patukhali, Afzal decided that it was no longer safe to remain in his house. He and his wife gathered their two children Mukta, 12, and Miraz, 7, in their arms and stepped out to make their way to safety.
UN bodies, European Union and NGOs yesterday disbursed emergency relief aid and started distributing relief materials among the victims of cyclone Sidr that battered the southern part of the country.
The state-run Bangladesh Television (BTV) in the country's 36 years of history had to suspend its transmission for the first time for nearly three hours yesterday due to power outage.
Tropical cyclone Sidr caused havoc in the southern districts as it swept over the country after making landfall Thursday evening.
The proposed ordinances on different local government institutions will empower citizens to get information about their functioning, and these contain specific provisions for punishment for refusal to give information.
Over 600 houses were completely damaged leaving some 3,500 people shelterless and crops on some 1,300 hectares of land were damaged in the cyclonic storm that lashed coastal areas of Chittagong on Thursday night.
President Iajuddin Ahmed has expressed deep shock at loss of lives and property caused by the severe cyclonic storm that lashed the country at midnight on Thursday.
Attempts are being made to protect the persons allegedly involved in the Tk 8 crore scam at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), said a source close to the review committee formed by BSMMU vice chancellor.
The government has allocated huge fund, including Tk 9.5 crore from the chief adviser's relief fund and Tk 11 crore from food and disaster management ministry, for providing assistance to people affected by cyclone Sidr.
Members of Bangladesh Navy have been engaged in disaster management and rehabilitation activities in the cyclone-hit country's south-western region.
President Pervez Musharraf swore in a new caretaker government yesterday to steer emergency-ruled Pakistan toward elections, hours after former premier Benazir Bhutto was freed from house arrest.
Indian police said yesterday they had foiled a plot by Islamic militants to kidnap a top politician reported to be Rahul Gandhi, scion of the country's famed Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty.
Ten rebels and two Indian soldiers were killed in new gunbattles in revolt-hit Kashmir, the army said yesterday.
The US Senate yesterday blocked a Democratic proposal to pay for the Iraq war but require that troops start coming home.
We are shocked at the magnitude of death and devastation caused by hurricane Sidr over a large stretch of the country. It struck with full fury on Thursday night in 16 coastal districts generating tidal waves as high as twenty feet and strong winds that reached over 200km in speed. We have to wait for the full investigation to know the extent of damage in terms of life and property but an initial estimate says over 400 lives have been lost with thousands reportedly missing. The hurricane has also uprooted thousands of trees, homes and power lines to add to the misery of the people and the administration. We are, however, relieved that it has finally crossed Bangladesh.
Commuters often complain of harassment by the operators of CNG auto rickshaws and taxicabs. They often refuse to travel to certain places on the plea that the routes to those destinations face traffic jams. Their demand for exorbitant fares is based on their daily deposits to owners having increased considerably. Worst of all, they often refuse to undertake short trips even if higher fares are offered.
Judiciary is the last resort for obtaining redress of one's grievances. It must be able to act as an institution without fear or favour. It has to be able to respond independently. This will only be possible if there is separation of the Judiciary from the Executive in the truest sense of the term.
I asked some high-up in the government at the centre what happened at Nandigram. He merely said: "The CPM's waterloo." The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has, indeed, been exposed, and it has lost stock among the intelligentsia. Nandirgam in West Bengal is a cluster of villages. This is where the CPM government tried vainly earlier in the year to acquire agricultural land in the name of "public interest" to establish a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
On July 10 this year, Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation served the notice of closure on 3,300 permanent and 2,000 non-permanent/ temporary workers of the People's Jute Mill. Centering this jute mill, the total population of factory campus was near about 1,00,000. On July 31, People's Jute Mill was closed down finally. Earlier before the closure, the mill was suffering from loss and the workers were not getting their wages for last eight months. The Jute Mill authority, however, had paid 3,92,98,000/ taka as due arrears or wages of 2675 permanent workers within 8-12 August. But, the workers were yet to get their provident fund and gratuity money.
The preliminary squad for Bangladesh's tour of New Zealand later this year will be consisting of no more than 20 players.
Ace swimmer Rubel Rana won his third gold medal in as many days of the 22nd National Swimming Championships while Sabura Khatun and Mahfuza Khatun broke their old national records at the National Swimming Complex in Mirpur yesterday.
Phil Jaques and Mike Hussey scored back-to-back Test centuries as Australia took a vice grip on the second cricket Test with Sri Lanka after the opening day's play at Bellerive Oval here Friday.
Perak FA will send a full-strength team to the Friendship Cup which starts in Dhaka on November 28, confirmed organising committee secretary Badal Roy yesterday.
World number one Roger Federer returned to his vintage best as he thrashed Andy Roddick to qualify top of his group for the Masters Cup semifinals on Friday.
Abahani left for India this morning to participate in the 56th Bordoloi Trophy in Guwahati, Assam.
Pakistan batsman Mohammad Yousuf has been asked to face an arbitration hearing over his decision to pull out of a rebel Indian Twenty20 league.
Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has expressed desire to meet Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt, who is in a jail in Pune as both are said to be good friends.
Somerset opener Marcus Trescothick is expected to resume training for the new county season before Christmas after undergoing surgery on his left foot.
Narayanganj Government Women's College recorded the biggest victory in yesterday's 11th Delta Life women's handball tournament when they crushed Dhaka Imperial College 5-1 at the Dhanmondi Women's Complex.
South African fast bowler Dale Steyn plunged New Zealand into familiar trouble on the first day of the second and final Test at Centurion Park Friday.
India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni praised his players' teamwork after they won the fourth one-dayer against Pakistan on Thursday to clinch the series.
Mohammad Sami has been recalled to Pakistan's 15-man Test squad against India following an impressive start to the domestic season, while Mohammad Asif's elbow injury has all but ruled him out of the Test series as well.
Global news agencies ended a boycott of Australian cricket Friday after striking an agreement with the sport's governing body that allows their photographers and reporters to cover matches.
Japan coach Ivica Osim, a Bosnian who led the former Yugoslavia to the 1990 World Cup quarterfinals, suffered a stroke Friday and is in serious condition, the Japan Football Association said.
Germany's goalkeeper Jens Lehmann said on Friday he will stay with English Premier League side Arsenal, even though he has lost his status as first-choice shot-stopper at the north London club.
Paul Collingwood says he has enough on his plate with the one-day captaincy without considering taking over the Test duties for now. His remarks were in response to statements earlier this week by Michael Vaughan, who said he saw Collingwood as his eventual successor as England Test captain.
The North South University Intra-Batch football tournament kicked-off yesterday with a 1-1 draw between MBA and Batch 04 at the WAPDA Ground yesterday.
Trevor Bayliss, the Sri Lanka coach, called on his fast bowlers to be more disciplined after they took another hammering at the hands of Australia on the first day of the second Test at the Bellerive Oval Friday.
Bobby Robson said on Thursday he did not expect to work again as an on-pitch coach because of ill health.
Former Cameroon coach Winfried Schaefer is in talks with the bosses of Iran's football team about coaching the national side, according to a report in German newspaper Die Welt on Friday.
With all due respect to the rest of European football's big guns, most eyes this Saturday could focus on the Euro 2008 fates of the trio from the continent to have won the World Cup.
In Italy, 17 is considered an unlucky number. One anagram of the Roman numeral XVII is VIXI, which in Latin translates as "I have lived", with the implication "My life is over" or "I'm dead". Some Alitalia planes have no row 17, some Italian hotels have no room 17. The 17th curve at the Cesana bobsled run at last year's Winter Olympics in Turin was "Senza Nome", or "Without a name".
German striker Mario Gomez insists there is no room for error in the intense competition for Germany's two forward positions ahead of Saturday's Euro 2008 qualifier against Cyprus.
Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday revealed plans to make Manchester City a global power, starting with academies in Thailand and China and link-ups with a host of clubs around the world.
FIFA's new micro-chipped ball should cut controversy at the Club World Cup next month.
Brazil expect a rough ride when they visit Peru for Sunday's World Cup qualifier, with Kaka preparing for "war".
Married footballers are "more stable" than their single counterparts, according to Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster.
Former Argentina captain Daniel Passarella quit as coach of River Plate on Thursday, one day after they were knocked out of the Copa Sudamericana by modest Arsenal.
Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich are set to spend 14 million euros (20.45 million dollars) for teenage defender Breno from Brazilian first-division side Sao Paulo, German tabloid Bild reported on Friday.
Dunga, who has given Brazil a meaner streak since taking over as coach, said he simply had the courage to make the tough decisions that were necessary.
A group of 26 beauty contestants were prevented from watching the Brazil football team train this week.
An Italian policeman, who shot dead a football fan, sparking nationwide riots, now faces a charge of voluntary homicide, his lawyer said Thursday.
Production in Bangladesh's industrial units virtually came to a halt yesterday due to a countrywide power blackout caused by the national grid failure at 7:57am after devastating hurricane Sidr hit coastal areas on Thursday killing over 500 people.
Developers now eye middle income people to sell small flats ranging between 600 square feet and 800 square feet as big size apartment sales dropped in 10 months because of high registration costs, soaring raw material prices and the ongoing anti-crime drive.
Developing countries on Thursday dismissed current proposals to free up farm trade as inadequate and unfair but said an overall deal to tear down global trade barriers was still possible.
Local apparel makers are focusing on new designs in their product ranges as the three-day Bangladesh Apparel and Textile Exposition (Batexpo) began at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon hotel in Dhaka on Thursday.
Garment unit owners and workers yesterday agreed to move together to get duty-free market access to the US and other garment importing countries.
The government will provide necessary supports for private sector to increase export to Russia, Foreign Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury said yesterday.
China will implement permits for some textile products exported to the European Union from January 1 next year, after the two sides agreed to scrap quota restrictions on Chinese textiles last month.
The Federal Reserve on Thursday pumped its biggest temporary daily infusion into the US banking system since just after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks as short-term lending rates rose on both sides of the Atlantic.
The dollar steadied against major rivals on Friday as the market continued to track credit market concerns, traders said.
Southeast Asia's plans for a unified market by 2015 hinge on painful reforms that could be derailed by red tape, vested interests and foot-dragging, observers say.
World oil prices were flat in Asia on Friday after a lower demand forecast from the Opec cartel, dealers said.
Trade talks between the European Union and former colonies in Africa and the Pacific are making headway and some new deals could be initialled next week, trade officials said Thursday.
India's peak power deficit touched a 10-year high of 14.6 percent between April and October, new data shows, due to an exceptional spurt in demand and worse-than-expected capacity addition.
FedEx Corp. cut its earnings expectations for the fiscal second quarter and full year, citing soaring fuel costs and a troubled U.S. freight market.
A new World Trade Organisation (WTO) accord could improve access to clean-energy tools in poorer countries, but any deal making it easier to ship cargo internationally would also carry a heavy carbon footprint.
November 11-November 15, 2007
Local FX Market
The US dollar/BDT market eased a little during the week. USD lost some ground against the BDT, but there was ample demand in the market throughout the week.
The Conference of Human Rights Drama Activists ended in the city yesterday with a call to change the people's mindset to protect human rights in the country.
Relatives of four members of a family, who were killed in Narsingdi in November last year, have alleged that police could not yet unearth the reason for the gruesome murders and demanded shifting of the investigation to another competent agency.
Bangladesh Chhatra Union (BCU) yesterday demanded that the probe commission's report on Dhaka University (DU) violence be made public.
Different organisations yesterday expressed deep shock at the loss of lives and properties caused by the devastating cyclone Sidr in coastal areas of the country and urged all to stand beside the affected people.
The 31st death anniversary of veteran political leader Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani will be observed today.
The final shortlist of the best 200 paintings for Grameenphone Zainul-Quamrul International Children's Painting Competition 2007 was made at the Institute of Fine Arts recently, says a press release.
Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed has postponed his two-day visit to Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) because of inclement weather.
Authorities may go for action against Sylhet City Corporation (SCC) mayor, some officials and ward commissioners for 'illegal' appointment of 441 employees on master roll during 2003-2005.
National carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines will operate, for the first time, two direct hajj flights from Sylhet on November 29 and 30.
A court here has sentenced nine persons to life term in Jubo Dal leader Bachchu murder case.
An investigation team has found a US made sophisticated shotgun which was said to be missing from Bagerhat Sadar police station store room, police sources said.
Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) yesterday recovered three bombs from Aicha village in the Sadar upazila, Sadar police said.
Sugarcane crushing began at Mobarakganj Sugar Mills in Kaliganj upazila yesterday with a target to produce 13,025 metric tons (MT) of sugar by crushing 1 lakh 80 thousand MT sugarcane this fiscal (2007-2008), mill officials said.
General secretary of Joypurhat Fertiliser Association has been arrested for allegedly selling fertiliser in black market.
The traditional five-day Katyani puja began here yesterday.
A court here has sentenced a man to 10 years rigorous imprisonment (RI) for possessing 121 bottles of Phensidyl.
The United States signalled its growing impatience Thursday with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's failure to end a state of emergency and step down as army chief.
Pakistani gunship helicopters launched fresh attacks on pro-Taliban bunkers in the troubled northwest yesterday, as clashes that have left nearly 100 militants dead entered a fourth day, the army said.
Pakistan's caretaker premier Mohammedmian Soomro is a former international banker whose primary job will be to guide the emergency-ruled nation to general elections due by early January.
New clashes between security forces and fighters with the Taliban extremist movement in southern Afghanistan left 25 militants and two policemen dead, police said yesterday.
Iran has made some progress in revealing the extent of its nuclear programme but is still defying UN demands that it suspend uranium enrichment, the UN nuclear watchdog said in a key report Thursday.
The Russian senate voted Friday to abandon a key Cold War treaty limiting conventional military forces across Europe, confirming a move strongly criticised in the West and by Nato.
The UN's Nobel-winning panel on climate change yesterday completed a draft report that said the consequences of global warming could be far-reaching and irreversible.
North and South Korea have agreed to start regular rail freight services across their heavily fortified border next month for the first time in more than half a century, it was announced yesterday.
Myanmar's ruling junta vowed to push forward long-delayed political reforms, but told a leading Chinese envoy that it was still making efforts to bring stability to the nation, state press said Friday.
Congress likely will hold off on sending President Bush money for Iraq until early next year, pushing the Pentagon to the brink of an accounting nightmare and deepening Democrats' conflict with the White House on the war.
Turkish prosecutors yesterday started action to ban the main Kurd political party in Turkey, which has been accused of colluding with Kurdish rebels.
The United States and China are working on a pact to promote use of ethanol and other biofuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and could announce an agreement as early as next month, an American official said yesterday.
Arts & Entertainment
Prachya Shilpa Parishad (Centre for Oriental Art Appreciation), a cultural organisation that starting its journey on November 10, arranged its first musical programme at the Alamgir Kabir Film Centre Auditorium on November 15. It was a solo musical evening featuring economist and seasoned Tagore artiste, Professor Anisur Rahman.
Religious conflict and tolerance are well-discussed issues around the globe, especially in the post 9/11 era, where some believers of a religion are criticising the doctrines of another religion. Swiss-born German theologian Professor Hans Küng in his seven-part series of documentaries titled “Tracing World Religions” has presented seven major religions: “Tribal Religions”, “Hinduism”, “Chinese Religion”, “Buddhism”, “Judaism”, “Christianity” and “Islam”.
A two-day photography exhibition by Maple Leaf International School (MLIS) ended at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture on November 15. Titled “Look! This is my city”, the exhibition featured 28 photographs by six students -- Atera Farah, Himel Suhita Ali, Nazia Islam, Pooja Paul, Rehnuma Tasnim Sheefa and Shin Mim Sara, all studying in class seven at Maple Leaf.
When Bangladeshi director Golam Rabbani Biplob's Swapnodanay (On the Wings of Dreams) competes in the Asia, Africa and Latin America section of the 38th Indian International Film Festival (IFFI) beginning in Goa on November 23, he will find it doubly challenging to win an award there.
It is always enlightening coming in touch with reality at the grassroots. And that is what I did in Jamalpur last month. South Asia Partnership Bangladesh having invited me to hear individuals and NGOs in Jamalpur district narrate their experience in providing relief to flood affected people, I thought it would be a refreshing opportunity, away from the nation's capital, of coming by perspectives on a natural happening that afflicts this country annually. And, remember, this time round the floods came twice. The first one destroyed lives and crops; and as soon as the waters receded, farmers began to plant new seeds and seedlings as a first step toward recovery. And then came the second flood, the waters simply washing away the seeds and seedlings and leaving behind a large swath of misery.
It is always hard to comprehend the anger, vengeance or plain sadism that can drive people to commit acts of unimaginable horror. How are we to understand the evil spite of the husband Al Mamun , a physician of animal diseases at BLRI, Savar, who after frequent feuds with his wife Mahmuda Khatun Topy (22) poured concentrated sulfuric acid on her face and body at their Savar residence on November 5 last reportedly because she could not comply with his demand of five lakh taka that Mamun demanded as dowry money for the second time.
Moulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani is that great leader who first expressed his dream of an 'independent homeland' at the Kagmari Conference in 1957. In 1971 he was the Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Mujibnagar Government. Moulana Bhasani is a legendary figure in the whole subcontinent. He will live in the hearts of the vast common people of whose rights he fought for during his entire life.
Most Bangladeshis have rural origin. The second generation urban dwellers also have rural links. The links are tenuous for most urban dwellers. They may have dwelling houses in the rural areas; these are not well maintained, nor are these under the effective control of the urban owners. The houses are either kept under lock and key or occupied partly or wholly by relatives or friends. During their infrequent visits the owners stay in these houses, the duration is usually very brief. The buildings again come under the effective control of care taker relatives or friends.
Rich mother's son passed in her last chance
The Baccalaureate of Conveyance.
He lacked caution and discretion
And caught in an act of misappropriation.
The mother protested: "It is a dirty ploy.”
Let's say you have a promising business and are always looking for new ways to gain the edge over your competitors. Now what should you do to streamline the business process and cut operational costs to maximise profit margin?
Walking into the RAOWA Club's open ground area on Tuesday, November 14, one was greeted by a massive black structure shaped like one of those gaming arcades at theme parks. This, then, was The Playground, the venue where Nokia launched its Ovi platform, a package of internet services for Nokia users in Bangladesh.
Asustek Computer Inc. (Asus), a leading provider of high-performance notebook computers, recently unveiled the next generation of the Asus-Lamborghini notebook series the VX2 in the local computer market of Bangladesh.
Leading IT-equipment manufacturer Hewlett Packard (HP) recently announced Top Achievers Awards 2007 for outstanding performance of resellers of HP Imaging and Printing Group (IPG). Nine resellers were hand-picked for the awards for different categories.
Eastern Turkey has been destabilised by the Kurd rebels for a long time. The Kurd problem was originally created by the British. During the First World War (1914-1918), the British enlisted the Kurds, totalling 27 to 37 million, to fight with them on a promise that they would create a separate state of Kurdistan.
Recent developments in the gas field projects of Myanmar have served to highlight the intense resource diplomacy that is ongoing in the region. The government of Myanmar withdrew India's (under the Gas Authority of India Limited or GAIL) status of "preferential buyer" on the A1 and A3 blocks of its offshore natural gas fields and instead declared their intent to sell the gas to PetroChina. The offshore gas fields of the Shwe project in the Bay of Bengal have estimates of 4.8 trillion cubic feet (TcF) for the current blocks with more exploration ongoing. The controlling interests in the two blocks are Daewoo International (60 percent), O.N.G.C. Videsh Ltd (20 percent), GAIL Ltd (10 percent) and Korea Gas Corporation (10 percent).
The security concerns of Bihar differ from other states in India. On the one hand, it does not have border-related security issues while, on the other, there is no separatist movement for creating a new state - Jharkhand has already separated from Bihar. Communities in Bihar are divided on the basis of caste identities unlike most other states of India. This division of its society on the basis of castes and sub-castes is so strong that political parties contesting elections in the state try to address only those sections that are their committed voters. Any attempt at harmonising the castes can lead to an erosion of their vote bank.
Star Books Review
Simone de Beauvoir was certainly not a wreck after Jean-Paul Sartre died in April 1980. But for the next six years, until her own end in 1986, she was a terribly lonely soul. The decade of the 1980s, in more ways than one, was fundamentally the end of an era, one that Beauvoir and Sartre had both epitomised for years together. They were academics who loved a good, spirited debate between themselves and with their friends. They frequented bars and restaurants, spent time reflecting on the vagaries of life and sat for hours writing and watching the world go by. Existentialism, they believed, was all. The mundane, well, it did not appeal to them much.
This is November, a month very close to the twelfth month of the year, the memories of which are painful and at the same time joyous. Joyous because 16 December reminds us of our victory over inequality, repression, animosity and oppression of the genocidal Pakistani soldiers. This month brought the laurels of victory to the very valiant, fearless and patriotic nation that is Bangladesh.
The original short stories in Bangla were compiled and translated into one volume by Radha Chakravarty. Situated within the same cultural context, Bengal, wherein artificial boundaries are transgressed, these writings unfold reality in so many varied dimensions of human emotions. These then echo from within the depth of the human psyche that ranges in myriad shades. It is the lives of ordinary individuals as they grapple with forces larger than themselves. These narratives leave an indelible impression.
The study tracks and records the socio-economic and political evolution of village people and their rural economy. Based on a broad canvas, the study looks set to attract a wider audience than it was originally intended for.
The Sky Publishers
A charming offering of some of the best from the Bard. Of course, these tales have been read earlier or conveyed by word of mouth. Even so, rereading them promises to be quite an experience. The old ambience of life, a lost tradition, along with a sprinkling of smells and feelings that remain no more, these tales are essentially a journey through nostalgia.