The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Wednesday, July 30, 2014


News of: Monday, 24th of December, 2007

Front Page

2 Paris-bound statues stolen from ZIA

Amid tight security, two 1,500-year-old terracotta Vishnu statues bound for an exhibition in Paris were stolen while in the custody of Air France at the Zia International Airport (ZIA) Saturday.

Public servants asked to disclose wealth by Dec 31

All government servants must declare the amounts of their wealth by December 31 as required by the government as part of its newest move to boost the ongoing anti-corruption drive through ensuring transparency in the administration.

Road accidents kill 41 during Eid holidays

At least 41 people were killed and over 150 injured in separate road accidents in the capital and elsewhere in the country during the Eid vacation.

Eid-ul-Azha celebrated

The holy Eid-ul-Azha, the second greatest religious festival of the Muslims, was observed on Friday across the country with due religious fervour.

Freedom fighters, parties boycott Bangabhaban Eid reception

Freedom fighters and major political parties boycotted the presidential reception programme at Bangabhaban on Eid day to protest against invitation of the war criminals in Jamaat-e-Islami.

Govt to think about lifting emergency if EC wants so

Law Adviser Mainul Hosein yesterday said the caretaker government would discuss lifting the state of emergency if the Election Commission (EC) wants so in the interests of local government elections.

Language Movement hero Mahbub no more

Mahbub ul Alam Chowdhury, who wrote the celebrated poem on Amar Ekushey 'Kadte ashini, fashir dabi niye eshechhi,' has passed away at the age of 82.

HC order allows BTTB to sign deal for backup

The High Court in a rule recently stayed an order of the Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission (BTRC) and allowed a private company sign a deal with Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) for swapping an optical fibre network.

Tigers roar to win

Bangladesh completed preparations for their international series against New Zealand with a four-wicket victory over a New Zealand XI in a Twenty20 match in Hamilton on Sunday.

6 drown falling off train

At least six people drowned and 15 others were injured as they slammed into the beam of a bridge and fell into the Gumani river from the roof of a train on December 20.

City still in holiday mood

The government offices, banks and courts opened yesterday after a three-day Eid-ul-Azha holiday with the capital still wearing a rare deserted look.

Arrest warrant against brother of ex-deputy minister Pintu

A Dhaka court yesterday issued a warrant of arrest against Alhaj Maulana Tajuddin, brother of former deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu, to capture him through Interpol in a case filed in connection with the August 21, 2004 grenade attack on an Awami League rally on Bangabandhu Avenue.

4 decomposed bodies found in paddy field

Four decomposed bodies were recovered from paddy fields and a shrimp enclosure of Sharankhola upazila in Bagerhat on Friday, 36 days after cyclone Sidr battered country's southern part.

63 killed in Pak suicide attacks

A suicide bomber in Pakistan killed seven people and wounded almost 30 yesterday when he rammed his car into a military convoy in the restive northwest valley of Swat, the army said.

CA calls on Saudi king

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed along with heads of states of different countries made a courtesy call on Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz on Friday.

Woman JMB member held in Gaibandha

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) during a drive arrested an alleged woman "ehsar" member (full-time activist) of the banned militant outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) at Janagalia of Shaghata upazila in Gaibandha early yesterday.

Mainul admits flaws in 6th Wage Board award

Law and Information Adviser Barrister Mainul Hosein yesterday admitted flaws in the recent declared 6th Wage Board award for journalists, employees and workers of newspapers and news agencies.

Harrowing tale of Noor Islam's captivity

Freedom was almost a resurrection for him, daylight had only been a dream punctuated with thoughts of being shot dead every other moment in the dark caves of Afghanistan, where he had spent 82 sleepless days in captivity.

ICC donates $250,000 to Sidr fund

The International Cricket Council (ICC) Sunday donated 250,000 dollars to the Bangladesh cyclone relief fund.

Pro-Thaksin party claims victory in Thai polls

Allies of deposed Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra claimed victory in Sunday's elections, setting the stage for the billionaire's political comeback more than a year after his ouster in a coup.

Musharraf will rig vote

Pakistan's bitter election campaign heated up again yesterday as the country's main opposition leaders accused President Pervez Musharraf of trying to rig the vote two weeks from now.

Antique idols seized in India

Customs officials have seized four antique idols worth 10 million rupees in the international market from Siliguri in West Bengal. The four idols carved out of black basalt date back to 12th century A.D.

BSF kills 1

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) yesterday shot dead a Bangladeshi cattle trader on Khalisha border near Kushkhali in Satkhira.

Turkey stages new air attack on Kurd rebels in Iraq

Turkey's military said it attacked Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq Saturday for the third time in less than a week, bombing and shelling positions and warning more will follow.

Editorial

Mosque blast in Pakistan

The bomb blast in a mosque in Peshwar that left 50 people killed and scores injured has sent shock waves throughout the world. No one in a sensible state of mind can comprehend anyone spilling blood of innocent devotees in a prayer house, that again on the Eid day. The mindless act was disrespect for religion of the worst kind and deserves condemnation in strongest of words. What is more distressing is the fact that introduction of suicide attacks on soft targets for attaining political gains will have added a new but dangerous dimension to the strife-ridden politics in Pakistan.

Time for a shift to food for work

Five weeks have passed since cyclone Sidr devastated eleven districts in the southwestern part of the country. All this while our handling of the aftermath has been relief-centred, even though we should have by now plunged headlong into rehabilitation work.

Governance, police reforms and all that

THE caretaker government has taken a number of important steps with a view to facilitating good governance. Good governance, by all accounts, would mean satisfactory performance of those regulatory outfits whose activities have a direct bearing on the keeping of peace and preservation of order. Viewed in this light, the significance of streamlining the enforcement administration, particularly the police, can hardly be over-emphasised.

Double or quits?

ACCORDING to Ms. Benazir, the PPP will win 150 NA seats in the Jan 8 elections. This magic "150" figure has also been confidently claimed by both Mian Nawaz Sharif for PML (N) and Ch. Shujaat Hussain for PML (Q). The grand total of 450 NA seats claimed by the three leaders exceeds by a cool 178 the 272 NA seats being contested. Given that MQM, MMA (represented by JUI (F) and three other religious parties), ANP, the 8 or 9 political parties in Balochistan which usually win 1 or 2 seats each, and independents all over the country will manage 50-55 seats between them, leaving a maximum of about 220 seats between the three major parties, which is less than half being claimed by them.

The unimportance of polls

POLITICAL parties in Pakistan began with the demand for restoration of democracy but ended up by accepting elections, which they know will not be free or fair. In fact, a US source has said that the polls have already been rigged. Electoral rolls are said to have been fudged.

Sports

Tigers revel at Seddon Park

The Bangladeshi fans arrived in numbers from all parts of New Zealand and Seddon Park saw a Tigers party for the first time. With the Twenty20 fixture against a New Zealand Cricket XI arranged to raise funds for the affected from mid-November's Cyclone Sidr the Bangladesh team were obligated to play quality cricket and they delivered. The New Zealand XI were restricted to 133/7 and then despite a few hiccups in the middle the tourists had the depth to run away with a four-wicket win with three overs to spare. This was Bangladesh's first victory on New Zealand soil and there couldn't have been a more festive atmosphere to celebrate that.

Isn't it a shame?

For the average television viewers of the country, the first two days was all about surfing channels to enjoy the Eid programmes, but on the third day they were desperate to find somewhere to watch live coverage of the Twenty20 charity match between Bangladesh and a New Zealand Cricket XI yesterday.

Tamim ton in vain

Tamim Iqbal's brilliant 104 failed to inspire the Bangladesh team who muffed a superb platform to get bundled out for 242 against the Auckland Aces on Friday. That score on a fast outfield and smallish square at Eden park's Outer Oval was always going to be difficult to defend and the Aces were comfortably home by seven wickets with four overs to spare.

All eyes on big four

India will bank on their big batting four to notch up the runs to claim a historic first series win in Australia, starting with the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.

'Our best chance'

Sachin Tendulkar said Saturday India have their best chance of beating Australia on home ground for the first time in the four-Test series beginning here with the Boxing Day Test match.

Mashud bunks practice

Former national skipper Khaled Mashud didn't turn up when the training camp for the New Zealand tour stand-by players started yesterday.

Eid in foreign land

Celebrating Eid-ul-Azha away from the closest and dearest ones in a foreign land cannot be on the year-planner for the Bangladesh cricket squad members but professionalism demands sacrifices and therefore if the Eid day has to be spent among teammates and Bangladeshi expatriates, so be it.

Mahmudur resigns?

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is all set to begin search for a new chief executive officer after it was learned that serving CEO Mahmudur Rahman has tendered his resignation.

Under-19s off to SA today

Bangladesh under-19 cricket team will depart for South Africa on December 24. The youth side will play a three-day match against their South African counterparts and a triangular one-day series, which also involves India.

Kumble banks on videos

Anil Kumble, the Indian captain, rued the fact that weather curtailed the only practice game before the first Test in Melbourne but said the team was practicing hard indoors and working out strategies by studying videos of the Australian players.

Biman clinch Chess League

Bangladesh Biman clinched the title of the Dutch-Bangla Bank First Division Chess League when they won the last round game against Mohakhali Prodip Sangha 4-0 at the federation hall-room on Thursday.

Liza finishes ninth

Shamima Akhter Liza finished ninth in the Asian girls under-20 chess championship that ended in Mumbai last Saturday.

Rain denies Lanka

Opener Alastair Cook hit a defiant century before rain washed out the last session to help England draw the final cricket Test against Sri Lanka here on Saturday.

Ponting gets his revenge

Skipper Ricky Ponting and his bowlers tormented New Zealand on Thursday as Australia reclaimed the Chappell Hadlee Trophy one-day series at Bellerive Oval in emphatic fashion.

'My daughter is better than Buchanan'

Launching a lampoon at John Buchanan, former captain Ian Chappell has said that his daughter would not have done a bad job as coach of the Australian team.

Rain ruins India prep

India were denied another day of valuable match practice ahead of the opening Test against Australia after the final day of their tour match against Victoria was abandoned through rain here Saturday.

Gilly 'sick of criticism'

Australia's vice-captain Adam Gilchrist on Sunday hit out at continual criticism of the national cricket team from high-profile former players.

Spurs gift Gunners win

Arsenal's bid to reclaim the Premier League title passed a significant milestone on Saturday when a derby win over Tottenham ensured Arsene Wenger's men will spend Christmas on top of the table.

Arsenal test for Milan

Defending champions AC Milan were drawn against Arsenal in the last 16, knockout phase of the Champions League here on Friday.

Totti fires Roma

Returning Roma talisman Francesco Totti scored a brace to earn the capital-based club a 2-0 win over Sampdoria at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday and keep them in the Serie A title chase.

'Don't expect miracles'

England fans have been warned not to expect miracles from Fabio Capello by the men who appointed the multiple trophy winning Italian to the so-called 'hardest job in football'.

Valencia steal a draw

Goals in the last 15 minutes from Nicola Zigic and David Silva helped Valencia salvage a 2-2 draw at Real Zaragoza on Saturday.

Ronaldo keeps MU on track

Two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo helped Manchester United move back to within a point of Premier League leaders Arsenal after a 2-1 win over Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Carlos backs Becks as skipper

David Beckham's former Real Madrid teammate Roberto Carlos believes new England coach Fabio Capello will name the midfielder as the national captain.

Bayern drawn with Aberdeen

Scottish Premier League side Aberdeen have their work cut out in the UEFA Cup knock-out stage after being drawn against 1996 winners Bayern Munich on Friday.

Van Der Vaart fancies Juve

Hamburg's Dutch midfielder Rafael Van der Vaart has said he could imagine playing for Italian giants Juventus and would soon make a decision on where his career will take him.

Ballack backs Lehmann

Germany captain Michael Ballack insisted on Saturday that out-of-favour Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann will be the right man for the national team at June's Euro 2008 tournament.

Kaka eyes Milan captaincy

FIFA world player of the year Kaka has said he would like to extend his contract with AC Milan until 2013 as well as becoming captain of the Italian giants.

Business

Poor supply to prompt more rawhide import this year

The local footwear factory owners and leather goods manufacturers will have to import more rawhides this year due to poor collection of rawhide during Eid-ul-Azha, said a top official of an export-oriented footwear manufacturing company.

Alliance Bedware eyes business expansion on high demand

As the demand for quality bedware and pillow cushions is on the rise both at home and abroad, the local manufacturers of the two items are eyeing their business expansion.

Asia's airline sector set for slowdown: Survey

After two good years Asia's airline sector is set for a possibly steep slowdown in 2008 as the global credit crunch hits consumers, dampening air travel demand, an industry group said Sunday.

Norwegian women break down boardroom barriers

Norwegian women have knocked down the door to the corporate world and taken their seats in the boardroom, thanks to a pioneering new law, but despite the giant step forward they remain under-represented in the business sector.

Air Deccan merges with Kingfisher Airlines

India's biggest budget-carrier Air Deccan will merge with Kingfisher Airlines to set up the country's biggest domestic airline.

Citibank NA acquires Chinese bank in Taiwan

Citibank NA has completed acquisition of Bank of Overseas Chinese (BOOC) recently, says a press release.

Korean firm to expand project in DEPZ

Korean owned company, Dong Bang Facilities (BD) Ltd, is going for expansion of its project in Dhaka Export Processing Zone with additional investment of $7.5 million.

DBH declares 30pc dividend

Delta Brac Housing (DBH) Finance Corporation Ltd has declared a 30 percent dividend for the year that ended on June 30, 2007.

Westin Dhaka opens Italian restaurant Prego today

The Westin Dhaka will open Italian restaurant Prego on its premises in Dhaka today, says a press release.

Singapore to spend $1.4b to expand port

Singapore is set to spend two billion dollars (1.41 billion US) to increase its port's annual capacity by about 40 percent, a newspaper reported Saturday.

Metropolitan

Left-out eligible voters can enlist names even day before polls

There is nothing to worry for those who could not become voters till now, since anyone can become a voter even on the day before the parliamentary election is held.

NICVD fails to cope with growing number of patients

Nurunnahar, 29, was waiting in a long queue at the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) in the city with her five-year-old son in her lap, who looks like a boy of two years because of his stunted physical growth.

Bangladeshi expat woman killed in NY

A Bangladeshi housewife was allegedly killed by her husband at New York City in the United States on Saturday, reports News World from New York.

DCC yet to complete disposal of waste of sacrificial animals

The Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) has been continuing its efforts to remove the wastes of sacrificial animals since the day of Eid-ul-Azha on Friday and it will take more time to complete the task of cleaning the city.

2 stabbed to death, another shot dead

Two people were stabbed to death and another person was shot dead in and around the capital in separate incidents on Thursday.

PBCP leader killed in shootout with Rab in Pabna

A regional leader of outlawed Purba Banglar Communist Party (PBCP) Janajudha faction was killed in a shootout with the elite force Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) on Thursday.

One burnt alive, properties worth Tk 12 lakh gutted

An unidentified youth was burnt alive and properties worth over Tk 12 lakh were gutted in two fire incidents at Hathazari in the district in the last two days.

Nora Ali in city to stand by deprived children

Bangladeshi origin America's Junior Miss Nora Ali arrived in the city yesterday at the invitation of Kachi Kanther Asar to stand by the deprived children and help them educate.

28 hurt in Narsingdi clash

Some 28 people, including eight policemen, were injured during a clash between two groups of villagers at Belabo yesterday.

Kamol Gomes re-elected Dhaka YMCA president

Kamol Gomes, a lecturer of Notre Dame College and a social worker, has been re-elected president of Dhaka Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) for the year 2007-2008, says a press release.

Biman starts return hajj flight today

Biman Bangladesh Airlines starts its return hajj flights in the early hours of today, Biman sources said.

Moudud acting BTTB chair

DM Moudud Chowdhury has been appointed as the acting chairman of Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone (T&T) Board on Wednesday, says a press release.

Ex-BB governor Nurul Islam passes away

Former governor of Bangladesh Bank Md Nurul Islam passed away due to a cardiac arrest at the Square Hospital in the city on Saturday at the age of 83, an official handout said.

Aga Khan may arriveearly next yr

Prince Karim Aga Khan is likely to visit Bangladesh early next year, which will mark the Golden Jubilee of his Imamate.

AMCH receives Tk 20.72 lakh in November

People from all walks of life donated over Tk 20.72 lakh to Ahsania Mission Cancer Hospital (AMCH) in the month of November, says a press release.

Madrasa teachers can draw grant money by Jan 7

Teachers of subsidised independent ebtedaye madrasas under Monthly Pay Order (MPO) have been requested to draw their grant money from the respective branches of Sonali, Janata, Agrani and Rupali Bank by January 7 next.

7 arrested for document forgery

Bangladesh Police have arrested seven people last month in connection with the production of forged documents, used to support fraudulent visa applications, says a press release.

Theft in city house

Gold ornaments and other valuables worth about Tk 5 lakh were stolen from four flats of a multi-storied building in the city on the night of Eid-ul-Azha.

'Bangla-Nepal ties on strong footing'

The newly appointed Ambassador of Nepal to Bangladesh Pradeep Khatiwada called on Foreign Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury at the latter's office yesterday.

Journo Fazlul Karim dead

Fazlul Karim, a senior journalist and language movement veteran, passed away at his Banani residence in the city on Saturday night at the age of 79, says a press release.

Death anniversary

Today is the 17th death anniversary of Shaheed Faruquzzaman Faruque, vice president of Bangladesh Chhatra Moitree Chittagong University unit, says a press release.

Comrade Nani Gopal

Comrade Nani Gopal Dutt, general secretary of Bangladesher Samyabadi Dal (BSD M-L), passed away due to brain hemorrhage at Chittagong Medical College Hospital on Saturday night at the age of 80, says a press release.

Alhaj Abdul Halim Suruj

Alhaj Abdul Halim Suruj, a freedom fighter and son of late Amjad Ali Moral of Auka Madhya Para in the district town, passed away due to a cardiac arrest at Mymensingh Medical College Hospital (MMCH) yesterday at the age of 52.

RMG trader, another shot in city

A readymade garments trader and a service holder were shot in separate incidents in the city yesterday.

National

Sidr victims turn to loan sharks as NGOs suspend lending

Sidr-affected people in Patuakhali district are turning to local loan sharks as NGOs suspended their micro credit activities.

6,000 acres to remain unutilised in Satkhira in Boro season

Over 6,000 acres of land in 21 beels (water bodies) covering 21 villages in Satkhira Sadar upazila will remain unutilised during the current Irri-Boro season due to water-logging.

Rescuing the traumatised children in Patuakhali

Children traumatised by Sird in some affected areas in Patuakhali are getting refreshed with sports and cultural activities alongside studies, thanks to the innovative steps by some local NGOs.

Relief goods recovered in Barguna

Navy personnel recovered huge quantity of relief materials from the house of a night guard of Barguna Sadar upazila nirbahi offices, police said.

30 injured in B'Baria clash

At least 30 people were injured in a clash over land dispute between two groups of people at Shahbazpur village in Sarail upazila yesterday.

175th founding anniversary of Rangpur Zila School

Rangpur town wore a festive look yesterday centering the 175th founding anniversary of Rangpur Zila School.

Letters

Unkind winter

Winter is here. For the rich the season is a bag of pleasures. They were waiting to welcome the winter. Heavy cold will not touch them at all. Their wardrobes are full of warm clothes. They will celebrate winter in a festive manner enjoying various types of pithas!

''Biharis in Bangladesh"

This is in response to the letter 'Biharis in Bangladesh" by Mr. Jamshaid Taher published on 30 Nov.

Price hike

When the prices of daily essentials are increasing rapidly and going beyond our capacity, there is no effort to stop this by the present CTG!! The daily life of ours (middle class people) is becoming really miserable day by day. But the business community is showing no sensitivity to our problems; they are trying to maximise their profits all the time. They have formed syndicates to retain control over the market.

Sidr and slogans

It is pretty clear that everyone knows how painful and deadly hunger is. The cyclone Sidr has devastated the whole south region of our country. People have lost what they had. Food is the first requirement to survive. No food, no shelter. My home is in Barguna, a cyclone affected area. I know how it feels in the depth of my heart to see my fellow men starve. But I was shocked to see the news published in a daily a few days ago that a party had started demonstrating against US aid. My question is to those who were in that demonstration, "Can you sustain hunger? Have you ever remained hungry for days? What will you realise hearing the screams of the fleshless bones?"

Small investors

I am small investor of Dhaka Stock Exchange. I have already invested all my savings with some loans also. The Security Exchange Commission has the right to control the market, but the prices of all shares (except 2/3 “A” category companies) were declining before Eid. Is it an example of good management by SEC to secure the market? As I see from a newspaper, the SEC feels the market is now more secure for all small investors. I don't think so and I am totally disappointed with their views. If the share prices fall, then how the investors become secure? As far as I know most of the small investors have sold their shares and withdrew their money from the market as they have the memories of 1996. I want to ask the authorities: are they thinking that the decreasing trend is safe for investors? We feel badly insecure.

Meaning of sacrifice

The ntv was airing an online fund raising programme by a London based relief organisation named "Islamic Relief". It was in the afternoon in California, USA and late night in Bangladesh on December 2/3 2007. The telecast was interesting to watch, especially the question asked by would be donors. A number of questions was asked about the modus of operandi of the organisation in Bangladesh relief efforts. In support of their claim, they were projecting a tv documentary of relief work being undertaken by them in the affected areas. The moderator was supported by a high up of the organisation ( looked an Arab ) and one local Bangladeshi Islamic scholar as introduced by the moderator, a Bangladeshi.

Another setback

It seems that there is no respite for us, first the political turmoil, crime, corruption etc. Now we are besieged by calamities one after another. Unprecedented floods engulfed us twice, then the furious cyclone struck and left a trail of devastation, we are feeling very sad, our deepest sympathy for the affected people, may the Almighty Allah give them strength to bear the ordeal.

A teacher's stand

Today's events at the court were no different from that of yesterday. The Judge once again framed charges and the four Dhaka University Professors were accused of violating the Emergency Power Rules 2007. As you can quite clearly see, nothing new. However something did happen today. My father after the submissions of the lawyers sought permission from the Judge to say a few words. His few words ended up as what I would term it as one of the most historic speeches made in a court of law. I do not remember all of it but here is what I remember of it in English:

Meaning of life

I found it interesting that a reader has been asking around about the meaning of life. I can't blame him, I often do the same thing. Interestingly (or rather, should it be obviously), no one has yet come up with an answer, and some tell me coming up with an answer would spoil it. Personally, I do find it rather perplexing that we can barely answer the question 'what is life for' and still continue onwards with it with such overwhelming zeal. Perhaps that is why they dub it the human condition - the species which has done so much for its survival and enhancement without even understanding and penetrating the meaning of it.

Police clearance

I'm writing on this subject again. I am a Bangladeshi now living in the UK. I need a police clearance certificate . But I cannot find any form in the Internet.

Government servants

One of the most praiseworthy works of the CTG is finding out the corrupt people. For the first time, the ACC is working smoothly. I really appreciate whatever they are doing. But I think at the same time the government has to do something to prevent corruption.

English at SSC level

It is seen that in different public exams the students fail in English mostly. But why? The reasons are not very far to seek if we deeply think over it. Even many of us definitely know the reasons of their failure in that subject. So, I am not going to highlight the same. But I could not but mention a point here that especially in the SSC exams, there are only two compositions in the questions of English 2nd paper and the students are to answer one out of the two while five compositions are set up in the questions of Bengali 2nd paper and the students are told to answer one out of five. I think that this discrimination should be removed and my suggestion is that our education policy makers set up five compositions and at least three paragraphs in English 2nd paper in lieu of two compositions and one paragraph and if it is done, the percentage of pass in SSC will increase somewhat.

US aid

Refer to Ms. Pasi's letter of 29 November in which she ticks off the various forms of assistance from the US government to Bangladesh. The aid that the US Government provides to Bangladesh is helpful and there is no doubt about that. However, Ms. Pasi should understand that humanitarian aid, in and of itself, will never wash away the “mistakes” of the US administration over the past five years. Illegal detentions and lack of respect for due process at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the destruction of Iraq, the killing of untold numbers of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan in “collateral damage”, kidnappings, also known as extra-ordinary renditions, false reports of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, torture in prison, and the list goes on and on. It is indeed sad that the USA, once the champion of human rights and democracy, is looked on with contempt and pity by many people in this world. Ms. Pasi, if you could write an article setting out how the US government will set these past wrongs right, that would really cause us to sit up and take notice.

Business scene

When I get the morning newspaper, I turn to the Business Page for new developments in new products, and opening of new export markets; the challenges before the SMEs. Without entrenched corrupt practices at almost all vertical and horizontal levels, today we could have easily reached the base level of a newly developing country. Our workers are hard working and sincere, but the godfathers have no fear of God!

International

Modi-led BJP wins Gujarat polls

India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party yesterday stormed back to power in the western state of Gujarat and its senior leader

Israel rules out Hamas truce talks amid 'war'

Israel and Hamas yesterday both ruled out any truce talks amid what Prime Minister Ehud Olmert described as a "real war" between the army and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

US recovers some faith in Musharraf

A shaken US government has recovered at least some of its faith in President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, believing he still has a chance to promote democracy and defeat terrorism.

Two dozen killed in Afghan violence

Around two dozen people, including several civilians, were killed in the latest spate of Taliban-linked violence across Afghanistan, authorities said Sunday.

Nuclear India moves closer to missile defence shield

India announced Friday a final successful test of the surface-to-air Akash missile before starting mass production under an ambitious plan to build a national missile defence shield.

Lankan army, rebels claim heavy losses in fresh fighting

Tamil rebels and Sri Lankan troops fought fierce battles in the north at the weekend, leaving several people dead or wounded, according to conflicting statements from both sides yesterday.

British hospital treats all Afghan sides

A petite village woman with dark henna on her hands lies wrapped in a blue sheet at the best hospital around -- a British military facility in southern Afghanistan.

3 Western leaders visit Kabul

Leaders of France, Australia and Italy travelled to Afghanistan over the weekend to meet with President Hamid Karzai and visit troops stationed in the conflict-ridden country.

Saudis net 28 Qaeda men over attack plot

Saudi Arabia announced yesterday the arrest of 28 al-Qaeda linked suspects for planning attacks in the oil-rich kingdom, following an alleged plot to commit a "terrorist act" during the annual Muslim pilgrimage, or Hajj.

Ahead of election, Uzbeks have heat, but for how long?

As 35-year-old Zuhra headed out to stock up on apricot wood logs for her fire, efforts by the local authorities to ensure gas for residents ahead of elections left her unmoved.

Tough Thai politician Thaksin's proxy

Fiery right-winger Samak Sundaravej openly campaigned as a proxy for deposed Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, and appears to have vindicated him at the ballot box more than a year after his ouster.

Iraq vows to disband Sunni groups

Iraq's Shia-led government declared Saturday that after restive areas are calmed, it will disband Sunni groups battling Islamic extremists because it does not want them to become a separate military force.

Turkey bombs Kurd rebel bases in Iraq

Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq on Saturday in the third confirmed cross-border offensive by Turkish forces in less than a week, the military said.

US troops could soon begin partial Iraq pullout: Gates

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates Friday voiced hope that US troops will soon start returning home from Iraq, saying improved security there will enable five units to pull out by July as planned.

22 Myanmar people killed in boat accident

At least 22 people from Myanmar, including four boys and seven women, have died after a boat capsized off a small island near the maritime border with Thailand, Thai police said Sunday.

Indian police cane girls protesting teacher's killing

Police on Saturday beat schoolgirls with batons in a northern Indian town after the students squatted on a highway to protest the killing of their headmaster, reports said.

Five dead in US snow storm

A snow storm packing strong winds caused flight delays and closed highways across the central United States, leaving at least five dead in road accidents, US media reported on Sunday.

Russian rocket delivers Christmas presents to space station

A Russian Progress spacecraft blasted off Sunday from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan delivering vital supplies, as well as presents and goodies for Christmas and New Year's, to the International Space Station.

Blair converts to Catholicism

Former British prime minister Tony Blair has become a Roman Catholic, church officials said Saturday, ending widespread speculation that he would switch to the faith of his wife and four children.

Family wants Chiang Kai-shek buried in China

The family of Taiwan's late Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek want his body to be removed from a mausoleum in the island and to be buried in China, a relative said Sunday.

2,500 tonnes of Afghan drugs enter Iran annually

Some 2,500 tonnes of narcotics enter Iran from neighbouring Afghanistan annually, more than a quarter of which are consumed in the Islamic republic, an anti-drugs official said yesterday.

Fukuda to seek law to solve hepatitis row

Japan's Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said yesterday his ruling coalition would seek new legislation to compensate all the victims of dirty blood products contaminated with hepatitis C.

Arts & Entertainment

Proshanto's delineations of havoc and hope

The recent acrylic, etching and mixed media exhibition by Proshanto Karmakar, “Victory Day”, is based on the struggle of the freedom fighters, the martyred intellectuals, and the genocide by Pak Army -- on the whole the Liberation War. The exhibition is on at the Shilpalay Art Gallery in Baridhara.

Dwelling on Begum Rokeya's philosophy

CARE Bangladesh, an international non-government organisation observed 'Begum Rokeya Day' at Atgaon union under Bochaganj upazila of Dinajpur recently. This was to spread Begum Rokeya's ideology among the rural women. The audience was told that that they should take pride in being women.

Preserving ethnic culture

Speakers at a cultural function recently urged the people to ensure the amusement facilities. By organising cultural events the expected peace, development and harmony will be maintained in CHT, they added.

Eid Menu

Tele-film Shampurna will be aired today at 2:30 pm. The story of the film depicts a love triangle involving Afzal Chowdhury, Rimjhim and Priyanti. Afzal Chowdhury, owner of an ad firm, is a happily married man. Once he comes across a young photographer Rimjhim at his office and since then the two develop a soft spot for each other. In time Afzal's wife Priyanti comes to know about the relationship. On the other hand, Rimjhim's friend Sumon also mistrusts her.

“Daho” on ATN Bangla

Aly Zaker, Iresh Zaker, Tisha, Joyraj and Chitralekha Guha feature in the play Daho to be aired tonight at 7:50pm on ATN Bangla. The play is written by Litu Shakhawat and directed by Golam Sohrab Dodul.

“Swopno Jokhon” on Banglavision

Written by Dewan Shamsur Rakib and directed by Kaushik Shankar Das, single-episode play Swopno Jokhon will be aired tonight at 8:15pm on Banglavision. At the centre of the play is a love story that involves accidents, guilt, separation and reconciliation. Ratul's girlfriend Nodi is injured seriously in a car accident. Like Nodi's father, Ratul also holds himself accountable for the accident. Nodi's father forbids him to ever meet her. The separated lovers' mutual friend Nupur expresses her interest for Ratul. Tension rises as Nodi's birthday approaches. The cast includes Apurbo, Sohana Saba, Chaiti and Abdullah Rana. Samia Zaman is the executive producer of the play.

'Bachelor Bharatey Ebong Rupkothar Daitya' on Rtv

Directed and written by Suman Anwar and Tauhin Hasan, the play Bachelor Bharatey Ebong Rupkothar Daitya will be aired tonight at 8 pm. The story of the play revolves around Mobin and Anwar, two unemployed urban youths. They pass their time daydreaming without making any real effort to change their lifestyle. One day they come across a boy with a magic lamp that brings an instant change in their lives. Mosharraf Karim and Nadia play the lead roles.

Sacha Baron Cohen to shed 'Borat' persona for good

British actor-comedian Sacha Baron Cohen says the time has come to shed forever his persona as 'Borat', the boorish, oversexed, TV journalist from Kazakhstan who became a surprise box office sensation last year.

OP-ED

The significance of Hajj

THE Holy Makkah and its black-robed Ka'ba command the hearts of more than a billion Muslims all over the world. Wherever they are, the faithful turn towards the holy Shrine five times each day in prayer, and the centre-piece of the Muslim World, the Sacred Mosque at Makkah, throbs with life and exuberant piety at the height of the Hajj season in this auspicious month of Zilhaj.

Guns in America again (and again)

IT'S open hunting season in the United States again. This week's carnage: Eight people slain by a gunman at a shopping mall in Omaha, several others at two churches in Colorado. What will be the country's reaction? Business as usual. Collective amnesia.

Re-thinking foreign policy

PRIMARILY, the foreign policy of a country is formulated on the basis of core interests of the state flowing from its prerogative to preserve its sovereignty. Territorial disputes are the most common conflict patterns that a nation's foreign policy should be able to address. In this area, the foreign policy of the government of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman immediately after independence of Bangladesh complicated the process of demarcation of land and maritime boundaries with India, which surrounds Bangladesh on three sides.


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