News of: Friday, 23rd of November, 2007
Donor nations and agencies have so far pledged over $550 million in assistance for the cyclone Sidr-hit people in south and southwestern districts as the government yesterday unveiled a three-phase rehabilitation plan.
Detained Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina yesterday told a Criminal Investigation Department (CID) team that she believes former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar and a few others conceived the grenade attack on her on August 21, 2004.
A Dhaka court yesterday sent Ashraf Hossain, a Saifur-led BNP leader, to jail after he surrendered in a case filed for illegal sale of a duty-free car within three years of import under special privileges for lawmakers.
With the winter setting in, over one million people made homeless by Sidr are desperate for shelter and warm clothing in fear of their, especially the children's, vulnerability to cold-related diseases.
The man was holding a glass of reddish liquid with a stench to make any one wrinkle their noses in distaste.
The Armed Forces Division yesterday put the death toll from cyclone Sidr at 3,199 which was 3,167 on Wednesday.
In the aftermath of Cyclone Sidr, the country's shrimp or frozen food industry, the second largest foreign exchange earner, fears an estimated loss of Tk 250 crore.
A rumour of tsunami last night alarmed thousands of people in the Sidr-hit areas including Pirojpur, Barguna and Patuakhali, forcing them to come out of their houses and take shelter at cyclone centres and other buildings.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has decided to take statements of the accused during enquiry or investigation from now onwards to ensure transparency in its work.
The government yesterday admitted its failure to distribute children's food among Sidr victims, saying it is providing them with cash to buy that and has also asked donors to help in this regard.
A Dhaka court yesterday issued arrest warrants against former Awami League (AL) lawmaker Dr HBM Iqbal, four of his family members and Mirza Azam, also an ex-MP on AL ticket, in graft cases.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed a case against former public works minister and Awami League leader Engineer Mosharraf Hossain and two other people on corruption charges yesterday.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday submitted charge sheets against detained Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) Mayor ABM Mohiuddin Chowdhury, CCC Chief Executive Officer Imtiaz Hossain Chowdhury and Chief Engineer Mokhter Alam in Bijoy TV corruption case.
A special court trying high-profile corruption suspects yesterday indicted Hafiz Ibrahim, an ex-BNP MP, and his wife in a corruption case, while former Awami League chief whip Abul Hasnat Abdullah in an income tax evasion case.
The Supreme Court has set November 26 for order on the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) plea for staying the High Court's bail to ex-premier Sheikh Hasina in an extortion case involving the deal on a barged-mounted power plant.
Many more organisations, business houses and individuals made donations and started relief operations for the cyclone-hit yesterday.
A special prayer and 'munajat' will be offered at Baitul Mukarram National Mosque after Juma prayers today, seeking divine blessings for the cyclone victims.
Art connoisseurs said yesterday they would continue to resist the lending of valuable artefacts from the country to an exhibition in Guimet Museum in France.
The High Court (HC) yesterday granted bail to BNP leader Brig Gen (retd) Hannan Shah in a case filed for violating the emergency power rules.
Indian Border Security Force (BSF) and Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) traded over 150 rounds of bullet on Char Chilmari border in Doulatpur upazila on Wednesday after BSF fired shots at suspected smugglers.
Pakistan's purged Supreme Court demolished the final hurdle to President Pervez Musharraf's re-election yesterday, paving the way for him to become a civilian leader after eight years of army rule.
An agrarian crisis is brewing because of climate change that could jeopardise global food supplies and increase the risk of hunger for a billion poorest of the poor, scientists warned yesterday.
Nearly ten lakh tonnes of Aman crop loss may have been caused by the cyclone. Annual food deficit has been estimated at 15-30 lakh tonnes in the recent years. Aman shortfall being too large to be met even by a bumper Boro harvest, most calculations put the overall deficit of foodgrains in the region of 40-50 lakh tonnes for the current fiscal year. Both public and private sector will have to go on massive import of foodgrains at high costs these are selling in the international market. Alongside, food grants should be welcomed. We can't scrounge too much from the internal source because these will push the prices up.
Pakistan's recomposed Supreme Court has finally given General Pervez Musharraf what he has craved all these months. Through a blatant display of political opportunism, the general has dismissed the judges who had given him a hard time. His regime has carted off hundreds of political workers to prison through putting the state of emergency to convenient use.
A traveler was walking along a beach when he saw a woman scooping up starfish off the sand and tossing them into the waves. Curious, he asked her what she was doing. The woman replied: "When the tide goes out, it leaves these starfish stranded on the beach. They will dry up and die before the tide comes back in, so I am throwing them back into the sea where they can live." The traveler then asked her: "But this beach is miles long and there are hundreds of stranded starfish, many will die before you reach them -- do you really think throwing back a few starfish is really going to make a difference?" The woman picked up a starfish and looked at it, then she threw it into the waves and said: "It makes a difference to this one."
-- Popular fable
In recent times Bangladesh polity has been experiencing quite heated discussions on demands for banning religion-based politics. There is a clamour for authoritative denial of recognition to political activities of the so-called religious parties. In specific terms, the Election Commission has been requested not to register parties that are accused of using, and perhaps misusing, religion for attaining political goals.
The level of international reserves of the country has attained the highest level ever, reaching $5.2 billion by the end of August. Many regard it as a good omen for the economy, but others are more circumspect. A well-known business leader asked me why the government was unnecessarily building up such large international reserves; should it not instead use part of the reserves to assist industries that were smarting under the forces of global competition and multifarious domestic constraints!
A nightmare evening for goalkeeper Scott Carson and a late goal by Croatia substitute Mladen Petric combined to ensure England will miss out on Euro 2008 after a 3-2 defeat at Wembley on Wednesday.
Rajshahi served Dhaka a double dose of defeat with a 21-run victory in the 9th National Cricket League one-day match at the Rajshahi Divisional Stadium yesterday.
Abahani's dreams to end the season with an international football title shattered yesterday when this year's Bangladesh professional league champions bowed out of Assam's 56th Bharat Ratna Lokapriya Bordoloi Trophy on penalties.
An Anil Kumble-inspired India restricted Pakistan to 210-8 in their first innings despite a gutsy half-century by Misbahul Haq in the opening Test here on Thursday.
Bangladesh Under-19s bounced back in their four-day tour match in Karachi yesterday, folding Pakistan Under-19's first innings for 328 on the second day.
In the third last over of the day, Munaf Patel dug in a short one to Misbahul Haq, saw him pull fiercely towards short midwicket, watched Harbhajan Singh stretch his arms out wide, saw him grass the chance, and kicked the ground in anguish. Watching from mid-on, Anil Kumble turned heavenwards. On most days it might have been Kumble doing the kicking.
Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) yesterday decided to defer its polls once again, this time for the sake of the cyclone-hit people of the country's southwest region.
Nabarun Krira Chakra rode on Hafiz's solitary strike to become first division football league champions, beating Azad Sporting Club 1-0 in the final at the local government college ground yesterday.
Britain's newspapers savaged Steve McClaren on Thursday after the England manager failed to guide his team to the 2008 European Championships.
If Wednesday night's final qualifier (England v Croatia in case you were wondering) had been a Hollywood movie, it would have been three hours long with a star-cast as tall as Peter Crouch, would gross millions in the box office, be critically acclaimed, and of course possess an IMDB rating of 8 plus. Add to that short odds on an Oscar nomination for best drama and you have yourself the perfect package.
Russia celebrated Thursday their qualification for the Euro 2008 finals, praising Croatia's glittering performance at Wembley and Russia manager Guus Hiddink.
Steve McClaren paid the price of England's failure to qualify for Euro 2008 on Thursday when he was unceremoniously dismissed from his position as head coach.
The Netherlands have finished as the highest-ranked team in next month's Euro 2008 draw despite losing their final qualifier 2-1 in Belarus.
Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is the favourite to be the next permanent England manager, bookmakers said Thursday.
Germany's captain Michael Ballack said on Wednesday he is hoping to end his injury nightmare and return to action for English giants Chelsea next month.
Croatian striker Ivan Klasnic could be set to make his first appearance for Werder Bremen this weekend since his successful kidney transplant last March.
England drew their first match of the Sri Lanka tour on Thursday after gaining useful batting practice at the Colombo Cricket Club.
Despite the Caretaker Government's vow to clean sports of politics and opportunist organisers, the results of the Bangladesh Table Tennis Federation (BTTF) election yesterday was apparently controlled by the so-called Forum (District And Divisional Organisers' Forum) voters.
Children at Bellerive Oval pleaded for the mystery ball snatcher to return it to Adam Gilchrist after he re-entered the ground with the prize possession.
New Zealand all-rounder Jacob Oram and fast bowler Chris Martin will not be considered for Friday's Twenty20 international against South Africa, captain Daniel Vettori said on Thursday.
Table toppers Team North take on second placed Team East in the final round of matches in the Challengers Cup tournament at the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium today.
David Beckham has vowed to continue his quest to win a century of caps for England under whoever succeeds Steve McClaren as head coach.
England's tortured journey to the Euro 2008 finals ended in the mud at a rain-sodden Wembley on Wednesday when Steve McClaren's men crashed out 3-2 to Croatia.
Keeper Sebastien Frey had a poor debut for France in their 2-2 draw against Ukraine and did little to show that he could be the reserve keeper to Gregory Coupet at next year's Euro 2008 finals.
Former Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello has said he would be interested in the England manager's job.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown voiced disappointment Thursday at the England team's failure to qualify for the Euro 2008 football championships.
Brazil coach Dunga held up the fans of arch-rivals Argentina as an example after his team were jeered despite beating Uruguay in Wednesday's World Cup qualifier.
Japan have called off a training camp next month ahead of World Cup qualifiers as national coach Ivica Osim lay unconscious in a hospital after suffering a serious stroke, a football official said Thursday.
State-run Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd yesterday received consent from the Advisory Committee on Economic Affairs to offload its 25 percent stake on bourses.
Retired government serviceman Saiful Islam's long cherished dream of owning a home in the capital may come true this time as developers are focusing on low-cost and small to mid-sized apartments.
A good number of government companies will offload their shares into the capital market within a year, said the market regulatory authority's chairman Faruq Ahmed Siddiqi.
A growing number of European companies in China feel their business has suffered after the nation's entry into the World Trade Organisation, according to a survey released Thursday.
Small investors staged demonstrations in front of Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) building yesterday protesting against restrictions on margin loan facilities the stock market regulator recently imposed. The investors think such restrictions had led to a continuous slump in the market.
Leaders of the People's Commission for Jute yesterday urged the government to cancel the newly adopted lease policy to save the jute sector of the country.
Import of refined sugar from India will now require clearance of laboratory test.
Bangladesh formally took responsibility as the coordinator of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the United Nations Office in Geneva on November 20.
Malaysia is working to enact a new law for protecting the rights of foreign workers.
Malaysia's deputy prime minister said Thursday a tourist-friendly visa programme will not be reviewed despite allowing thousands of foreigners to stay in the country illegally.
Oil retreated below 98 US dollars in Asian trade Thursday after rising to within striking distance of the symbolic 100-dollar level.
Eminent lawyer Dr Kamal Hossain yesterday called on the government to provide at least 100 days' work for each agricultural labourer in a year in order to ensure food security for them.
Family Planning Association of Bangladesh (FPAB) launched a three-year project yesterday to raise awareness about reproductive health rights and gender equity among madrasa students.
A trader's body, which was buried under the ground of his own house at Kamrangirchar in the city, was recovered yesterday after 53 days of killing allegedly by his wife.
Members of the Bangladesh chapter of South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) have expressed concern over violations of human rights taking place in Pakistan in the wake of the imposition of emergency.
A Rajshahi University employee was crushed under the wheels of a speeding train near the university rail station in Rajshahi yesterday morning.
At least four people were killed and 28 others injured in separate road accidents in Tangail and Khagrachhari yesterday.
Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested four alleged criminals, including a fake Rab member, and seized lights of Rajshahi City Corporation and Phensidyl bottles in different areas in the region in the last two days.
Following student protests, Dhaka University (DU) authorities yesterday decided to reduce course fee under semester system.
Unidentified militants shot a member of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) at Gop Para under Bagaichhari in Rangamati district yesterday.
Classes of the first year honours courses for the sessions 2007-08 of Rajshahi University will begin on January 26, 2008.
Twenty-one shanties were gutted in a fire at Chandgaon in the port city in the early hours of yesterday.
A citizens' condolence meeting will be held in the city today in memory of Dr Zohra Begum Kazi, the first Bengali Muslim female physician of undivided Bengal.
A four-day Scholarship and Discount Admission Fair 2007 began at Bashundhara City in the city yesterday.
Kathin Chibar Dan, the biggest religious festival of the Buddhist community in Chittagong Hill Tracts, has begun at Rangamati Rajban Bihar amid great enthusiasm and religious fervour.
It was indeed appalling to go through the piece "Dublarchar only talks of death, devastation" published in The Daily Star on 19 November. We, being unaffected, merely imagined the havoc wreaked by Sidr. I perused the above-mentioned write-up to discover very soon that my imagination was simply outclassed by the real horrors that fell on the hapless people of the coastal region.
We understand that the popularity of a politician is the parameter of his or her success. Have we ever thought that “ unpopularity” can also be a big success in the political game play? This is what we are watching when measuring the success of a decision maker on all major national issues confronting the caretaker government. We hope things will change and the chief adviser would kindly create a focal point in his office to inform the people about national issues like election including reform measures. The expectations of the CTG and the bottom line concerning the political reform agenda should be made very clear.
I was rather sick during the last week when a hue and cry was raised by certain groups of people. I want to believe that people laid down their lives for Bangladesh, and not for petty self-interest as claimed by some people. I want to believe the Pakistanis oppressed us for a long time and Mukti Juddho was the volcanic eruption that started much earlier.
During the last 30 years about 50 of my relatives came to the USA. Some of these relatives passed comments that sparked an idea that has captured my mind and my heart, an idea I would like to share with you. I would like to get your support to turn the idea into a pilot project that could eventually help all the people in Bangladesh.
I think everybody will appreciate with me that after the present caretaker government took charge, every sector of our country has changed, except our traffic signal system. Recently, I moved from J.U. to Asad Gate. For this reason I have to move on that road regularly.
A big part of our country has been ruined by the storm Sidr. When all the news channels and daily newspapers were flooded with storm forecast and safety instructions, I received an SMS from my mobile operator to call certain number to get an update of India-Pakistan cricket match. Why not an SMS about the storm forecast?! That cell operator claims to have the largest coverage nationwide. Couldn't they send some forecast about the upcoming storm through SMS?
In this modern age of information technology, English language skills work as a factor for development. Without knowing English it is impossible to succeed in life. But there is no scope of learning English language effectively in our current syllabus of Bengali medium. Students are trying to improve their English language skills in different ways. In this respect, the modern language institute of Dhaka University is playing a vital role. At present, junior certificate, senior certificate, short diploma courses (1 year duration) are going on at this institute. But except the short course, all the other courses are only for the students of Dhaka University. This type of conservative system in an institute of DU is really unfortunate. It may be mentioned that no admission test is required to get admitted in these courses, rather only a placement test for grading the students is taken. If needed competitive admission test may be taken for outside students to get admitted in these programmes. It may be mentioned that students of DU also take help from different private coaching centres for preparing themselves to take participate in different English language testing systems like -IELTS, TOEFL, GMAT, GRE, SAT etc, though they have the opportunity to be skilled in English language at their modern language institute. So, this type of conservative approach has no practical value. Besides the course fee for a 50-hour short course for a DU student is Tk 1000-1200. On the other hand, for outsiders the fee is Tk 5,200. While the above mentioned private coaching takes Tk 3,000-3,500 for such a course. This is really funny.
Due to their vanity, jealousy and anger, lack of wisdom, sincerity and statesmanship, Adolph Hitler of Germany, Henri Petain of France, Winston Churchill of UK, Joseph Stalin of USSR, Benito Mussolini of Italy, Franklin Roosevelt followed by Harry Truman of the USA and Tojo Hikeda of Japan went berserk and their armed forces killed millions of people.
The postal service of our country is unsatisfactory. Go to any post office and you will observe the following:
With my long teaching experience of nearly 40 years, I want to say that the students' lack of discipline at schools, colleges and universities reveals the truth of teachers' involvement in politics. Since the youth force of our country played a vital role in the War of Liberation in 1971, their correct evaluation has not been made as yet. Lack of correct approach to students' problems and solutions thereof resulted in their being misled. Proper counseling and analysis could have changed the situation for the better.
In a report published in DS last September the reporter identified many things regarding the upcoming 28th BCS exams. I'd like to extend my heartiest greetings to the reporter for taking this sort of an initiative. No advertisement has been issued since 2005. Already a good number of students have crossed the age limit. In this regard the Public Service Commission (PSC) can play a vital role by fixing the age limit as of November 2006, which was done during the 24th BCS, as the then BNP-led coalition government imposed an embargo after assuming office in 2001. Then the same government considered the age limit for the 24th BCS exams. Now the onus is on the Honourable Chairman of the PSC.
Pakistan's fractious opposition was split yesterday over whether to boycott upcoming general elections, with all eyes on the tough choice facing former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said yesterday that his government has had increasing contact with Taliban insurgents this year, including several talks this week with militant leaders living in exile.
The head of the UN nuclear watchdog said yesterday the body did not have enough information yet to be absolutely sure that Iran's nuclear intentions are entirely peaceful.
The United States will try to close an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal before President Bush's term expires, giving the administration a little over a year to help the two sides craft a resolution to one of the world's longest and most intractable conflicts.
Suspected al-Qaeda fighters attacked two Iraqi villages on Thursday, killing at least 22 people, including 10 members of a group fighting the Jihadi militants, Iraqi officials said.
Commonwealth foreign ministers kicked off a meeting in Kampala Wednesday to decide whether or not to suspend Pakistan from the organisation of mostly former British colonies.
Retired Army Lt Gen Ricardo Sanchez, the top commander in Iraq shortly after the fall of Baghdad, said this week he supports Democratic legislation that calls for most troops to come home within a year.
Sri Lanka's government is to outlaw a charity believed to be a front organisation for separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, media minister Anura Yapa said yesterday.
A senior leader of al-Qaeda operating in executed dictator Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit in northern Iraq and accused of killing 20 policemen has been arrested, police said.
The night curfew, which was clamped in the city following large-scale violence during a shut down, was lifted in five police station areas this morning.
The United States on Wednesday submitted a formal proposal to Russia for cooperation on missile defence in Eastern Europe, seeking to defuse an issue that has increased tensions between the two countries.
Arts & Entertainment
REZWANA Chowdhury Bannya is undoubtedly one of the leading Tagore singers in the subcontinent. Regularly performing on TV and at concerts in Bangladesh, Bannya is equally popular in India and among the Bengali expatriates living in the US.
The 111th birth anniversary of 'Daanbir' Ranada Prosad Shaha (RP Shaha) was observed here last Wednesday.
It is obvious that Wazman Nahar Runty has been a fastidious pupil of the late Shawkat-uz-Zaman, Nasreen Begum and Hashim Khan. The soft and gentle Oriental Art watercolour washes that frame her beautiful, voluptuous female figures and the gorgeous delineation of nature -- specially the cacti and their scintillating flowers -- speak of inspiration and dedication.
On the fourth day of the 'Dhaka University Second Annual Theatre Week 2007', two plays were staged at the TSC auditorium. The evening featured Eugene Ionesco's The Chairs and Nurul Momen's Nemesis. Department of Theatre and Music, University of Dhaka has arranged the ten day-long festival.
BTV will air the discussion programme Shomoyer Kotha tonight at 9pm. Tonight's episode will feature a lively discussion on the recent Special Olympics held in Shanghai, People's Republic of China. Participants from Bangladesh won 71 medals this year, including 32 gold. The Bangladeshi team was led by Dr. Shamim Chowdhury. This spectacular achievement by the differently-abled Bangladeshis will be highlighted in the programme tonight.
NOT since the last 37 years has Bangladesh suffered a natural disaster like the cyclone Sidr of November 15, an unusually powerful storm that triggered giant waves up to 30ft (7m) high and killed more than 10,000 people in the south western coastal belt of Bangladesh covering the districts of Bagerhat, Barisal, Patuakhali, Pirozepur, Khulna and Satkhira. Even five days after the calamity, in village after village along the battered roads of the coastal districts, the survivors of the storm, their cheeks hollow and eyes sunken from hunger wait in vain for relief to come.
THE advisory committee on purchase recently approved purchase of a huge amount of urea fertiliser (3.75 lakh tonnes) at a cost of Tk. 10,640 million, said to be the highest quantity approved at a single stroke, on November 8. The chairman of the committee Finance Adviser Mirza Azizul Islam said: "Price does not matter here; the government is very keen on buying fertiliser as it wants to have urea for the upcoming boro season.