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News of: Tuesday, 11th of December, 2007

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4 RU teachers freed from jail

In the face of a rising public demand, the government finally freed the four convicted teachers of Rajshahi University from Rajshahi Central Jail yesterday afternoon.

ACC sues Morshed Khan, family

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday filed three cases against five people including former foreign minister M Morshed Khan and his family members for income beyond known sources and concealing wealth information.

Remains of Birshreshtha Hamidur brought home

The remains of Birshreshtha Hamidur Rahman were brought home yesterday, 36 years after he embraced martyrdom in a battle with Pakistani occupation forces.

30 lakh tonnes of rice shortage projected

The country may face a rice shortage of at least 30 lakh tonnes due to loss of crop caused by Cyclone Sidr and repeated floods, according to a CPD-Brac report.

Niko case might be brought under EPR

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) might question detained former premiers Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia in cases filed against them for 'illegal' deals with Canadian gas company Niko.

Foresters' trick to finish it off

The government ban on cutting trees in the Sidr-ravaged Sundarbans has apparently saved the forest as a section of forest officials were ready to sell the damaged trees for their own benefit, witnesses and experts said.

VGF card anomalies mar Patuakhali relief

The VGF (Vulnerable Group Feeding) card programme for the affected people in the cyclone-torn areas in the district is in disarray as the card distribution process is riddled with massive irregularities.

India asked to deport 3 top Bangladeshi criminals before Eid

Bangladesh Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has requested West Bengal CID of India to deport before the Eid-ul-Azha three Bangladeshi most wanted criminals arrested by it.

Many still don't have access to justice

Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday regretted that many economically and socially disadvantaged people still do not have access to justice to vindicate their rights, over three decades after the country's independence.

HC grants bail to Tarique in extortion case

The High Court yesterday granted bail to BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Tarique Rahman in an extortion case filed with Gulshan Police Station on March 27.

Govt to procure 43,000 tonnes of rice locally

The Advisory Committee on Public Purchase yesterday approved a proposal for procuring 43,000 tonnes of non-Basmati rice from the local suppliers.

Relief goods not reaching remote areas

Calling for coordination in the relief distribution, Army Chief General Moeen U Ahmed yesterday said relief goods are not reaching cyclone-hit remote areas.

3 killed in gas cylinder blast

At least three people were killed and 15 others injured yesterday as the gas cylinder of a CNG-run bus exploded on Dhaka-Aricha highway at Muljan in Manikganj.

Complainant of sedition case gets death threat

Fazlur Rahman, complainant of the sedition case against two prominent Jamaat politicians and an ex-chairman of Islami bank, yesterday told reporters that unknown people were threatening to kill him unless he withdrew the case.

Rescue work yet to start for risk fear

Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) yesterday could not start rescue operations at the collapsed Rangs Bhaban in the capital fearing the vulnerable structure that remains standing could tumble down endangering rescuers.

AL won't join president's programme

Awami League would not attend the Victory Day programme hosted by President Iajuddin Ahmed on the grounds that war criminals and anti-Liberation War forces have also been invited.

Ex-PSC member Prof Mahfuzur gets 8yrs for tax evasion

A court here yesterday awarded eight years' rigorous imprisonment to Prof Mahfuzur Rahman, former member of the Public Service Commission (PSC), in a tax evasion case.

Pak election race picks up speed

Pakistan's election race picked up speed yesterday as the party backing President Pervez Musharraf launched its manifesto promising to focus on human rights in the emergency-ruled country.

Climate change could lead to conflict, instability: UN

Global warming could lead to internal conflict, regional unrest and war, with North Africa, the Sahel and South Asia among the hotspots, a report issued at a global climate change forum said yesterday.

40 immigrants drown off Turkey

At least 40 people drowned off the Turkish coast in one of three incidents that left at least 90 other hopeful migrants to Europe missing or presumed dead, officials said Monday.


Welcome moves to free teachers and students

In response to family demand backed by the public, the government has released convicted teachers of Rajshahi University following presidential decision. That they are finally free is commandable.We are also happy to learn that moves have got underway to free the detained teachers and students of Dhaka University. The fact that such steps are now being taken following discussions between the Dhaka University Teachers' Association and the authorities is a matter of relief for the country. It is so because the nation can now look forward to a proper and necessary resolution of an issue that has been agitating minds over the past many months. We believe that it is a positive development and everyone aware of the priorities before us at this point can move on to everything else that needs to be done in the greater national interest.

A milestone decision

The Council of Advisers has approved the National Human Rights Commission Ordinance 2007, thus tak-ing a step towards fulfilling the long-standing demand of the civil society and the proponents of social justice for dealing institutionally with all types of human rights impingements. We have been among a tiny minority of countries in the world without the benefit of having such a commission for years.

Repatriation of stashed assets

I start my day with the TV news broadcast at 8:00 a.m. (ET) while still in bed, hoping to see some dark faces -- dark, not in complexion, rather faces of guilt darkened by acts of misdemeanours -- charged with extortion, bribery, and all forms of self-aggrandising behaviour.

Don't hide behind the poor

Nothing exposes the bankruptcy of "GDP-ism," or obsession with gross domestic product growth, better than India's performance where it matters -- human development. The latest United Nations Human Development Report shows India has, in one year, slipped two notches in the Human Development Index to the pitiable rank of 128 among 177 countries.

How to develop the coal sector

The evidence in Bangladesh is that in the energy sector the private sector is more efficient than the government. The government has owned most of the producing enterprises in the power sector, in the gas sector, and in the coal sector. This includes the production, transmission, and distribution of electricity and gas. The government enterprises are generally unsuccessful, suffering from poor financial condition, weak management, unsatisfactory maintenance, and a lack of accountability. The private sector establishments in the energy sector are more efficient, financially generally sound, are accountable for their operations, and provide adequate maintenance for the facilities that they own.


Misbah keeps team alive

Pakistan rode on Misbahul Haq's fighting half-century to boost their chances of avoiding a follow-on in the third and final Test against India here on Monday.

Premier League or not!

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) was in the discomfort zone with this season's Premier and First Division cricket leagues, the most attractive and financially viable domestic competition for cricketers.

Even going at Colombo

Hosts Sri Lanka warded off England's early threat as the rivals waged a grim struggle to take control of the second cricket Test here on Monday.

An ultimatum to BFF

Ex-footballers and organisers gave the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) an ultimatum of one week to take an acceptable decision about forming the district and divisional football associations with government involvement.

BFF to sit with organisers and booters today

Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) officials had a meeting with the general secretaries of the district sports associations (DSA) yesterday with a view to ease the way to the coming elections of the proposed DFAs (district and divisional football associations).

Tigers donate Tk 1.61 lakh to CA's fund

The New Zealand-bound Bangla-desh cricket team handed over a cheque of Tk 1.61 lakh to Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday for the relief fund of the Cyclone Sidr victims.

U-19 team announced for SL leg

A 15-member Bangladesh Under-19 squad was announced yesterday to play a five-match one-day series against the visiting Sri Lanka Under-19s.

Bangladeshi GMs level on points

Bangladesh Grand Masters Abdullah Al Rakib, Reefat Bin Sattar and Niaz Murshed all were level on 6.5 points after the ninth round of the Commonwealth Chess Championships in Delhi on Sunday.

Ajgor clinches special chess nat'l title

Ajgor Ali emerged unbeaten champion in the Grameenphone 8th National Special Chess title yesterday after defeating Mir in the final round at the NSC conference room.

Ganguly wants to play thru' 08

Sourav Ganguly has said that his forced exile from international cricket made him more determined to prove a point. He also said that he intends to play through 2008.

Dropping Sehwag a mistake, says Chappell

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell feels India have committed a big 'mistake' by not including Virender Sehwag in the list of probables for their tour down under as the world champion side still fears the swashbuckling opener.

Barca reduce deficit

Barcelona showed real character to stay within four points of leaders Real Madrid with a 2-1 win over struggling Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday maintaining their flawless home record.

It's Inter versus the rest

It may be only 15 games into the 38-match Italian season but already fans and media here are branding Inter Milan as unstoppable.

All to do for Real, L'pool

Liverpool and Real Madrid, with an astonishing 13 European titles between them, face the humiliating prospect of being dumped out of the Champions League on Tuesday.

Dream or nightmare?

Steven Gerrard is counting on history repeating itself in dream rather than nightmare fashion here on Tuesday.

Boro stun Gunners

Middlesbrough inflicted Arsenal's first Premier League defeat of the season with a 2-1 win on Sunday to cut the Gunners' lead over Manchester United at the top of the table to just one point. In the day's other matches, Bolton heaped more misery on second-bottom Wigan with a 3-1 win while Tottenham secured only their third league win of the season with a 2-1 success against a Manchester City side that finished the game with 10 men after Stephen Ireland was sent off.

Ronaldinho staying put

Barcelona president Joan Laporta said Sunday that Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho was not for sale and quashed reports that the club was negotiating with English giants Chelsea or European champions AC Milan.

Pato will play in January

Highly-rated young Brazilian forward Pato should make his move to AC Milan official on January 9 or 10, the club's vice-president Adriano Galliano said on Monday.

Inzaghi warns Ronaldo

Goal-machine Filippo Inzaghi has told fellow AC Milan striker Ronaldo not to make a premature comeback from injury as the Rossoneri gear up to win their first Club World Cup.

Clarke not carried away

Michael Clarke said Monday he was not getting carried away with his promotion to the Australian captaincy for the upcoming Twenty20 clash against New Zealand at the WACA Ground.

Taylor looks forward

West Indies fast bowler Jerome Taylor will head to South Africa for his country's long tour in fine fettle after being the scourge of Zimbabwe.

Inzamam, Razzaq Hyderabad stars

Inzamamul Haq and Abdul Razzaq made light work of a stiff target as the Hyderabad Heroes completed a comprehensive seven-wicket win over the Chennai Superstars in the Indian Cricket League (ICL) on Sunday.

Sukhi fires a double hattrick

Sukhi slammed seven goals to inspire Narayanganj brush aside Sirajganj 15-0 in the most one-sided match of the Inter-district Women's football competition at the Dhanmondi Women's Sports Complex yesterday.

New ad-hoc committees for BHF, BVF

The National Sports Council (NSC) yesterday named ad-hoc committees for Bangladesh Hockey Federation (BHF) and Bangladesh Volleyball Federation (BVF) dissolving the previous committees under section 20 A (B) of the updated NSC act 1974.

Div 1 chess league from tomorrow

The Metropolis First Division Chess League commences tomorrow with 16 teams taking part in the premier domestic competition.

Rs 5,000 fine on streaker

A Sri Lankan court on Monday fined a British streaker 5,000 rupees (45 dollars) for holding up the Test match between the hosts and the visiting English team, a court official said.

V-Day hockey from today

The Victory Day hockey competition will begin today at the Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium with three matches scheduled on the opening day.

Kirsten finds team fine

Gary Kirsten, India's new coach, has said seeing the way the team is performing at the moment, there is no reason to change things much. Kirsten came to Bangalore to watch the third Test against Pakistan and to interact with the players before they leave for Australia. He will join the team there in January for the third and fourth Tests.

No guarantees for Defoe

Juande Ramos has told Jermain Defoe that the Tottenham striker's match-winning cameo against Manchester City is no guarantee of a regular place in the team.

Real ready to show class

A perfect home record and a gritty win at the weekend make Real Madrid confident of wrapping up qualification for the knockout stage in their final Champions League Group C match against Lazio on Tuesday (1945 GMT).

Press stand behind Hatton

Despite a knockout victory for American boxer Floyd Mayweather over England's Ricky Hatton, the British press acknowledged Mayweather's dominance but stood behind their "fallen hero" on Monday.

Urawa better Sepahan

Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds repeated their excellent performance at the continental final by beating Iran's Sepahan 3-1 on Monday to set up a match against AC Milan in the Club World Cup semi-finals.

Boca wary of Etoile

Argentine giants Boca Juniors said Monday they would take nothing for granted when they face Tunisia's Etoile Sahel in the Club World Cup semifinal on Wednesday.

PSG ease fears

Peguy Luyindula scored the only goal of the game as Paris St Germain brought a controversial week to an end with a much-needed 1-0 win at Auxerre on Sunday to ease the club's relegation fears.

Smith calls for focus

Rangers manager Walter Smith wants no repeat of the lack of concentration that cost his side against Stuttgart when they face six-time French champions Lyon in Wednesday's decisive Champions League tie here at Ibrox.


Cellphone firms seek more time for user re-registration

The country's mobile telecom operators have asked the industry regulator to extend the deadline for subscriber re-registration amid fears that millions of customers could have their phones cut off at the beginning of next week.

3 private bus services in Dhaka merge operations

Three private bus services in Dhaka have merged their operations in a move transport experts said could herald the beginning of consolidation in the city's chaotic traffic system.

EU's planned duty-free import rules to harm textile sector

Bangladeshi garments should use locally produced cloth and yarn if they are to gain duty free access to the European Union, the country's textile mill owners urged yesterday, warning that lifting such a condition within the next five years would harm the sector.

Indian retail giant scales back expansion plan after opposition

India's biggest company, Reliance Industries, said Monday it had been forced to temporarily scale back plans to open thousands of supermarkets after angry protests from small store owners.

Oman lifts ban on recruitment of Bangladeshi workers

Oman yesterday lifted its ban on Bangladeshi unskilled and skilled workers after 12 years and expressed interest in recruiting skilled labour from here.

Increase number of BDR outlets

A committee on monitoring prices of essentials yesterday suggested the government increase the number of BDR (Bangladesh Rifles) outlets in Dhaka to ensure adequate supply of essentials.

Dhaka urges Saarc bloc to cut cross border telecom costs

Posts and Telecommunication Adviser Mirza Azizul Islam yesterday urged the Saarc member countries to work together to cut cross border telecommunication tariffs.

GP, AKTEL IPO plans deadline extended

Two leading cell phone operators, Grameenphone and AKTEL, are yet to submit detailed proposals on their initial public offerings (IPOs) to the telecoms regulator, as the BTRC has extended the submission deadline to next week, sources said.

Deal with Swiss govt signed to avoid double taxation

Bangladesh and Switzerland yesterday signed an agreement for avoidance of double taxation, paving the way for improved economic relations between the two countries.

Construction works of Police Plaza Concord begin

Concord Group of Companies, a real estate company, yesterday formally started construction works of a multistoried shopping and office complex -- Police Plaza Concord -- at Gulshan-1 in Dhaka.

Bank Asia wins int'l award

Bank Asia Ltd has won 'Bracken Award' as bank of the year 2007 for Bangladesh given away by the London-based Financial Times and The Banker Magazine, says a press release.

Iran, China finalise $2b oil contract

Iran and China's Sinopec on Sunday signed a two billion dollar contract to develop a major Iranian oil field, a crucial deal for the Iranian energy industry at a time of mounting international pressure.


Join regional dev activities

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday urged the youths of Saarc countries to actively participate in nation-building and regional development activities, saying their determination to bring changes in society constitutes the most vital ingredients for progress of the countries.

Only independent judiciary can protect human rights

Chief Justice Md Ruhul Amin yesterday said only an independent judiciary can protect human rights.

Nat'l election must be held for sake of democracy

National election must be held in the country as it is a matter of prestige and democracy, Justice Muhammad Habibur Rahman, former chief adviser to a caretaker government, said at a seminar yesterday.

Govt to formulate policy on early childhood dev

Women and Children Affairs Adviser Geeteara Safiya Choudhury yesterday said the government is preparing a policy document to develop the profile of early childhood development and promote holistic development of young children.

‘Try war criminals’

A week-long book fair titled 'Muktijuddher Boi Mela' began in the port city yesterday with a call for raising voice for trial of the war criminals.

Help establish human rights in society

Eminent lawyer Dr Kamal Hossain has called upon all to unite and help establish human rights in the society for which lakhs of people shed their blood during the liberation war.

'Ensuring good governance, rule of law can protect HR’

Election of honest and competent candidates is crucial to establishing good governance and that democracy, rule of law and good governance are the foundations of human rights, LGRD Adviser Anwarul Iqbal said at a discussion yesterday.

Khulna ward commissioner acquitted

A Khulna court yesterday acquitted KCC ward commissioner Hafizur Rahman of extortion charges.

More donation to army relief fund

Forty-five organisations and individuals yesterday donated about Tk 3.92 crore in cash and various kinds of relief materials to the army's relief fund.

Chief justice calls on president

Chief Justice Mohammad Ruhul Amin called on President Iajuddin Ahmed at Bangabhaban yesterday.

Dinajpur road crash kills 2

At least two people were killed and three others injured in two separate road accidents in Dinajpur yesterday.

Relief work carried on properly: CA

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday said relief operation is taking an institutional shape in the country and the ongoing relief activities in the cyclone-affected areas are being carried out properly.

One murdered, another stabbed by muggers in Ctg

A gang of muggers stabbed one person to death near Lalkhan Bazar Ispahani in the port city on Sunday night.

$324m Japanese loan aid for three projects

Bangladesh will get Japanese loan assistance of $ 324 million for implementing three projects.

'Operation Nabojatra’ inaugurated

Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Sarwar Jahan Nizam inaugurated 'Operation Nabojatra', a voter list and national ID card registration project at Bhola and Mongla on Sunday, says an ISPR release.

US resident Bangladeshi to donate Tk 40 lakh for cancer hospital

Mohammad Nur Uddin, a resident of New York, USA committed to donate Tk 40 lakh towards the construction cost of a 10-bed ward in Ahsania Mission Cancer Hospital while visiting the construction site of the hospital at Uttar in the city yesterday, says a press release.

‘BBC portrayed true picture of liberation war’

Speakers at a discussion yesterday lauded the role of BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) for its objective role in covering the liberation war in 1971.

Convention of freedom fighters postponed

Sector Commanders' Forum (SCF), a platform for sector commanders of the Liberation War, postponed the convention of freedom fighters scheduled for December 13 as they have not received the permission from the government as of yesterday.

Move to set up National HR Commission hailed

Civil society members hailed the cabinet division's announcement to approve the long-pending draft law on a National Human Rights Commission.


Gap in BNP widens; AL still undecided

Political circles in Sylhet city is getting warmer as the Election Commission is planning to hold city corporation elections in March next year. But the scenario in Sylhet city is different this time.

Sigh of relief in Cholon Beel as outlaws surrender

Surrender of 105 outlaws belonging to outlawed has brought back peace and a sense of security in minds of people in greater Cholon Beel area in Sirajganj and Natore districts.

Family threatened to withdraw case

The criminal who violated 13 yea-old physically challenged Swapna is threatening her family members with death and abduction as they demanded his trial.

Errors in voter ID cards in Rangpur

Errors have been found in many of the voter ID cards being delivered among eligible voters in Rangpur municipality area.

Introduce rationing in Sidr-hit areas

Former BNP lawmaker Nurul Islam Manzur yesterday suggested introduction of rationing system in Sidr affected areas to help the distressed, specially the middle class and lower middle classes people.

'Empower local govt for development'

Speakers at a seminar yesterday urged the members of civil society and media men to play a strong advocacy role so that the government takes immediate step for strengthening local government.

Farmers beseize UNO office for fertiliser

Several hundred farmers of Pirgachha upazila in the district yesterday beseized Upazila Nirbahi Officer demanding fertiliser.

BSF returns cattle trader's body

Border Security Force (BSF) of India yesterday returned the body of Bangladeshi cattle trader who was gunned down on Bazruk border under Haripur upazila of Thakurgaon on Saturday morning.


Brown in Afghanistan as troops retake town

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a surprise visit to Afghanistan Monday as Afghan troops backed by Nato forces retook the southern town of Musa Qala, captured by Taliban rebels 10 months ago.

'Sharif's polls participation to give Musharraf much needed legitimacy'

Former Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif's decision to contest upcoming elections is good for democracy, analysts say -- but may ironically have strengthened his arch-foe, President Pervez Musharraf.

New US-Iran talks on Iraq set for Dec 18

US and Iranian officials will hold another round of talks on Iraq's security at experts level on December 18, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said yesterday.

Gore urges US, China to join efforts to save 'feverish' planet

Former US vice president Al Gore urged the United States and China to stop blaming each other and join the fight against global warming as he accepted his Nobel Peace Prize here Monday.

Nepal cabinet member, MPs resign over ethnic unrest

A minister and three members of Nepal's parliament have resigned over the government's failure to tackle ethnic and communal violence in the south of the country, officials said Monday.

Myanmar stepping up attacks on insurgents

Military-ruled Myanmar has stepped up its offensive against ethnic Karen rebels following a crackdown on pro-democracy protests in September, one of the main insurgent groups said yesterday.

Rights group urges foreign intervention

A human rights group yesterday urged immediate international action in Sri Lanka to prevent abductions and killings of civilians by government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels.

UN says patience running out on Myanmar

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned Myanmar the international community was running out of patience with its authoritarian regime, saying Monday the junta must embrace democracy and stop inflicting suffering on its own people.

Putin backs Medvedev as presidential candidate

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday backed First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as presidential candidate to replace him after he leaves office next year, Russian media reported.

UN agencies call for restoring Gaza fuel supplies

UN agencies appealed yesterday for full energy supplies to be restored to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, saying they were deeply concerned over the state of the territory's health system.

Kosovo seeks statehood talks as deadline ends

Kosovo's leaders said yesterday they would embark on immediate talks on independence from Serbia and EU nations backed their cause as a UN deadline ended for a negotiated settlement.

5 die in US church, mission attacks

A gunman shot four staff members at a missionary training centre near Denver early Sunday, killing two, after being told he couldn't spend the night. About 12 hours later and 65 miles away in Colorado Springs, a gunman fatally shot a parishioner at a megachurch and wounded four other people before a guard killed him, police said.

Arts & Entertainment

Khan Ataur Rahman: The eternal bohemian

The infatuation with arts for 'Tara' -- as he was affectionately called by his mother -- surprisingly began with devotional songs. The maternal side of the family were 'khadim' (caretakers) of a mazaar. At the urs (religious gatherings), his uncles used to articulate their passions through songs.

“Maya”: A tribute to the Biranganas

A moving story of a Birangana (women abused by the Pakistani Army and their collaborators during the Liberation War) is the highlight in the single episode play Maya. The play will be aired tonight at 8:45 pm on ATN Bangla. Written by Imdadul Haque Milon, the play is directed by Chayanika Choudhury.

Screening of films on Liberation War at Public Library

On the occasion of Victory Day, a four-day session of films on Liberation War by Tareque Masud and Catherine Masud will be screened at the Shawkat Osman Auditorium, Central Public Library from December 13th to 16th, says a press release.


Food aid and impact on developing economy

People are hungry, not for lack of food. Enough food is available to provide at least 4.3 pounds per person a day worldwide: two and half pounds of grain, beans and nuts, about a pound of fruits and vegetables, and nearly another pound of meat, milk and eggs. Appallingly enough, now eight hundred fifty million people worldwide are suffering from chronic malnutrition. Ironically, we are in hunger amidst abundance of food.

Three-tier local institutions and some contentious issues

The committee on local government formed by the interim government on June 3 delivered its report to the CA on November 13. The report has recommended three- tier local government at zila, upazila and union levels. Scrapping gram sarkar at village level, introduced by the immediate past elected government, has been proposed.

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