The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Thursday, April 24, 2014


News of: Wednesday, 2nd of January, 2008

Front Page

Prices of oil, rice going out of reach

Consumers in lower and middle income brackets have been hit hard by the skyrocketing prices of oil and rice over the last week with traders fearing further jumps due to price hikes on the global market.

Private banks thrive on high lending rates

Despite a stagnant situation in the country's business sector, private commercial banks (PCBs) made 41 percent more profit last year compared to that in 2006 mainly by charging high interest rates on loans.

Boost export thru' public-pvt efforts

Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday urged the business community to create a new era in the country's economic development by boosting exports through concerted effort of public and private sectors.

Bangladesh among least free economies

Bangladesh's economy is one of the least free in the world, according to Heritage Foundation, a right-wing American think tank.

Murder case recorded against Nizami, Mojahid, 7 others

A murder case against Jamaat-e-Islami Amir Motiur Rahman Nizami, Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid and seven of their party men for killing two freedom fighters during the liberation war was recorded as a first information report (FIR) by Keraniganj police Monday.

Pak govt makes U-turn on cause

In a dramatic U-turn, Pakistan government has "apologised" for claiming that former premier Benazir Bhutto died of a skull fracture after hitting the sunroof of her car during a suicide attack.

Benazir's disrupted dream: bridging Islam with the West

Benazir Bhutto left the world in 2007, but she will keep shining on the international scene with a new agenda in 2008. Benazir wanted to bridge the Muslim world with the West. That was her greatest dream. Can her wish become a reality? The answer is 'yes'. Days before her death, the first woman prime minister of a Muslim country, finalised the manuscript of her new book Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West.

Jalil shown held in wealth hiding case

Detained Awami League (AL) General Secretary Abdul Jalil was shown arrested yesterday in connection with a case filed for amassing illegal wealth and giving false assets statement to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

Emergency barrier to holding polls

The Election Commission (EC) sees state of emergency as a "barrier" to holding election as its Commissioner Sohul Hussain yesterday said it is not possible to hold the polls keeping the emergency in force.

India allows rice export at previous rate

The Indian customs authorities yesterday started to allow consignments of rice export to Bangladesh at previous rate of $ 425 per ton saying that the old rate would be applicable only to the Letters of Credit (LC) opened before December 27.

Five pirates die in gunfight with BDR

Five pirates were killed and two others injured in a gunfight between Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and the pirates in the Sundarbans in Shyamnagar upazila of the district yesterday.

Emergency needed to check political anarchy

Law and Information Adviser Barrister Mainul Hosein yesterday said the state of emergency persists as the caretaker government wants to establish rule of law and safeguard the nation from political anarchy.

Hasina's lawyers to file discharge petition Sunday

After scrutinising all the documents and evidence, counsels of detained former premier Sheikh Hasina yesterday told court that they would come up with a petition on Sunday seeking her discharge from the Tk 3 crore extortion case against her, and the court fixed the day for hearing.

Baby dies; parents allege negligence at top hospital

"Negligence" of the hospital authorities led to the death of 47-day-old baby Afia at Labaid Specialised Hospital on December 27, alleged the child's parents yesterday.

Sending Hasina abroad for treatment not possible

Deputy Inspector General (Prisons) Maj Shamsul Haider Siddique yesterday said there is no way to send detained former prime minister Sheikh Hasina abroad for treatment under the jail code but they would form a medical board for her with specialists.

Families vacate building as cracks develop

As cracks developed in a four-storey building at the city's Ganaktuli sweeper colony, all the 40 families residing in the building vacated it last night.

AL renews call for dialogue with parties

Awami League (AL) yesterday reiterated its call to the caretaker government to hold dialogues with the political parties to find a solution to the prevailing political deadlock in the country.

2 more witnesses give statement in court

Two more prosecution witnesses gave their statements yesterday in one of the two cases filed against four Dhaka University teachers and 15 students for allegedly breaking the emergency power rules in August last year.

Abbas, Nasir remanded

A Dhaka court yesterday placed detained Abbas Ali and Mohammad Nasir, alleged ringleaders of a smuggling gang of Zia International Airport, on a three-day remand in the case filed in connection with the theft of two Vishnu statuettes.

15-day programme planned to mark govt's 1 year

The Ministry of Information has undertaken a fortnight-long programme to mark the completion of one year of the current caretaker government through its different departments and agencies, officials said yesterday.

Pakistan, India swap list of nuclear sites

Pakistan and India yesterday exchanged lists of their nuclear sites under an agreement between the South Asian rivals to swap such information annually on New Year's Day, the foreign ministry said.

Editorial

Rice price record high

Prices of all varieties of rice have soared taking up a huge portion of consumer budget with its diminishing purchasing power, as it is. Of particular ordeal is the price of coarse rice consumed by lower income groups forming a vast majority of the people. The low quality rice is selling at Tk 32 per kg and likely to rise to Tk 35 per kg.

Positive changes in Bhutan

Bhutan has lately been making history. When its people went to the polls the other day to elect a national council, it was a sign of how meaningfully the kingdom means to align itself with the rest of the world and carve a new niche for itself in the global community. Indeed, it is to the credit of the former king, Jigme Singye Wangchuk, that Bhutan's people find themselves on the threshold of a new era. Without any prompting and absolutely on his own, he sent out the message that Bhutan needed to change. And change was to come through people being given the right to vote for their representatives in the national council as well as the national assembly. Moreover, by abdicating in favour of his son, Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk, the king established a rare precedent of a monarch voluntarily walking away from power and glory.

Dynasties and the law of diminishing returns

Political dynasties make a mockery of democracy. And they do that through keeping power, or the possibility of arriving at it, limited to a self-chosen few. You might now want to explore the issue a little deeper. You can do that easily through observing the way matters have lately been shaping up in Pakistan. A nineteen year old young man has just been imposed on the Pakistan People's Party as its new chairman. His father, notorious for all the charges of corruption levelled against him not only in Pakistan but in Switzerland as well, will be the party's co-chairman for as long as the son does not finish his education at Oxford and return home to take charge of the organisation. It all reminds you of the old days when monarchies were the rule rather than the exception, when kings too young to exercise authority were guided by regents until they reached the first rung of adulthood. So what we now have in Pakistan, following the tragic end of Benazir Bhutto, is a very young king named Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who will for quite some years be in the shadow of a regent called Asif Ali Zardari.

An assassination most foul

It appears Benazir Bhutto fell to an assassin's bullets and/or the bomb blast meant for her. Passing away of a charismatic leader is always tragic, and an unwelcome surprise. It always leaves behind a trail of bitterness. Even so, this was exceptionally so. What the country has to grapple with is its consequences, that may become trends.

Blind faith

If you want to understand Pakistan today, try and imagine this scenario in India. It is 1984, Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale escapes during Operation Bluestar and disappears into an inaccessible range of the Himachal Himalayas. The Indian armed forces cannot find him; although Delhi will never admit it, Bluestar is a failure. The militants, operating under the command of General Shabeg, regroup, their loyalty to the ideological leadership of Bhindranwale reinforced by success in battle. Anger against Bluestar arouses the Sikh peasantry to the kind of fury and passion it displayed during Banda Bahadur's war against the Mughals. The young take up militancy in self-generating numbers, making casualties irrelevant to the insurgency. Bhindranwale remains in regular touch with the insurgents, who now have safe sanctuary in certain gurudwaras, since the Indian government is hesitant to invade sacred space after the counter-productive calamity of Bluestar.

Sports

Comic with Javed

For the past one year Javed Omar Belim made the headlines for somehow convincing the selectors that he still fits in the one-day side of the Tigers albeit the general sentiment was that his style rather suited the longer version of the game most.

Sydney comes alive

Sydney, by all accounts a city bubbling with life, has recently been associated with the dead Test. Visiting teams usually come here for the final Test, with the series gone. Don Bradman has a stand named after him in the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), as do other legends like Bill O'Reilly and Monty Noble, but there is reason enough to build a new one named Pride. Normally that's the only thing left to play for once the teams land here.

Can Windies continue?

Without putting too fine a point on it, West Indies' 128-run victory in Port Elizabeth was one of the major surprises of 2007. They hadn't won a Test for 19 months and, more significantly, had beaten major opposition away from home only once since the turn of the millennium. Now the question is whether they can continue to turn the tables on South Africa in the New Year Test in Cape Town and complete a series triumph no one really thought was possible.

Bright start for U-19 cricketers

Bangladesh under-19 cricketers made a bright start in the triangular one-day series when they handed a two-wicket defeat to their South African counterparts at the Sinovich Park in Pretoria yesterday.

BFF EGM soon

An emergency general meeting will be called soon to solve the current crisis in the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF).

Club Cup soccer delayed again

The Protiti Pharmaceutical Club Cup Football Tournament has been deferred by another week due to the ongoing renovation work of the turf of the Bangabandhu National Stadium.

Drop Jaffer: Chappell

Wasim Jaffer, whose technique has been found wanting in Australian conditions, needs to sit out in the Sydney Test.

Ricky wary of Bhajji

Ricky Ponting believes he can overcome the persistent threat of Harbhajan Singh despite falling early to the off-spinner in the second innings in Melbourne. Harbhajan has dismissed Ponting six times in seven Tests and will play a crucial role alongside Anil Kumble as India attempt to level the series in Sydney.

Kumble talks of Sehwag

Indian captain Anil Kumble has talked up Virender Sehwag's chances of a Test return but did not say whether the explosive opener will play against Australia in Sydney on Wednesday.

TT camp

Bangladesh Table Tennis Federation is going to hold a three-weak national training camp from January 13 to raise the standard and efficiency of the players.

Ballack rescues Chelsea

Chelsea ensured an unhappy New Year's Day for Roy Hodgson at Craven Cottage as his first match as Fulham manager ended in a 2-1 home defeat in the west London derby here on Tuesday.

Kewell glad to be back

Harry Kewell is so glad just to be playing for Liverpool this season after four years of injury agony, the Australia midfielder insists he has yet to think about a new contract at Anfield when his current deal runs out at the end of the season.

Allardyce defiant

Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce has insisted he will defy the pressure to stand down following a dismal run of results and growing calls for former striker Alan Shearer to take over.

Hitzfeld meets Swiss FA

Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld heightened speculation over his future on Monday when it was revealed he had met with Swiss Football Association (SFA) chiefs.

Scotland pays tribute to O'Donnell

The three remaining Scottish Premier League games on Wednesday will hold a minute's silence as a mark of respect following the death of Motherwell captain Phil O'Donnell - with the other fixtures already postponed.

Adriano in car crash

Troubled Brazilian striker Adriano, who joined Sao Paulo on loan from Inter Milan earlier this month, was involved in a car crash in the early hours of Monday morning, Brazilian media reported.

Sania keeps hope alive

Sania Mirza helped India keep its Hopman Cup hopes alive on Tuesday, winning both of her matches to seal a 2-1 victory over host Australia in their Group B tie.

Donovan leads young US

Landon Donovan, one goal shy of becoming the all-time United States scoring leader, leads a young group of 26 players that will begin training camp Thursday ahead of a January 19 friendly with Sweden.

Styris, Taylor dropped

New Zealand's 3-0 clean sweep of the one-day cricket series against Bangladesh held no sway with the selectors when they named a new-look side Monday for the upcoming two Tests.

'Forget Melbourne'

India's pace spearhead Zaheer Khan is wishing for a cheerful beginning to the new year as India try to bounce back in the second Test in Sydney, starting on Wednesday. Preferring to brush aside the 337-run thrashing in Melbourne, Zaheer wanted to concentrate on the "15 days of good cricket" ahead.

Golovin set for big 2008

Four years after bursting on to the tennis scene as a precocious teenager, France's Tatiana Golovin believes she is ready to make the quantum leap from talented youngster to top-10 player.

BCB fines 3 cricketers

The disciplinary committee of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has fined three players for breaching the code of conduct during Monday's 9th National Cricket League match between Khulna and Rajshahi.

Registration from Jan 10

The players registration formalities for the Dhaka City Corporation Pioneer Football League will start on January 10.

Premier, 1st Div club officials to meet BCB boss

Senior officials of the Premier and First Division clubs will meet Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Major General Sina Ibn Jamali on January 10 to discuss the current crisis over this year's league.

Sonali Bank beat Navy

Sonali Bank came from behind to beat Bangladesh Navy 2-1 in the Dhaka Bank Victory Day Hockey Tournament at the Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium yesterday.

Badda Jagarani edge Jatrabari

Badda Jagarani Sangsad made a winning start in the Metropolis Senior Division Football League with a 2-1 victory over Jatrabari Krira Chakra at the Birshreshtha Shaheed Sepoy Mohammad Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur yesterday.

Focus on India, urges Ponting

Australia captain Ricky Ponting has urged his players to focus on the home Test series against India and not on any security fears they may have for the March tour of Pakistan.

Arjuna's path made clear

Sri Lanka's cricket chief Jayantha Dharmadasa on Monday stepped down, clearing the way for former captain Arjuna Ranatunga to take over in the top job.

Business

GP aims to go public in Q3

Grameenphone is aiming to offload shares to the capital market in the 3rd quarter of 2008, according to a roadmap submitted by the company to the telecoms regulator last month.

Exports grow 8pc in Oct

Exports rose 8 percent in October on a year earlier, boosted by strong growth in the knitwear sector, but the recovery was not enough to make up for earlier weakness, with total exports for the first 4 months of the fiscal year down 2.6 percent.

Brazil moves to file anti-dumping case against Bangladesh jute yarn

Brazil has initiated a case against Bangladesh with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and issued a notice of intent to impose anti-dumping duty on jute yarn.

Gulf states launch GCC common market

The six oil-rich Gulf monarchies ushered in the new year on Tuesday by setting up a common market with a combined economy of 715 billion dollars.

New securities clearing body planned

Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) is planning to set up a central clearing body this year in order to speed up settlement, clearing and payments for securities, and to cope with the rising volume of trading on the country's stock markets.

First-ever rice-husk biomass power plant begins commercial operation

The country's first-ever rice-husk-burn biomass power plant began commercial operation yesterday at Giaspur, a remote village in Gazipur.

China vows forceful measures to curb inflation

Chinese President Hu Jintao has vowed "forceful measures" to curb rising food prices and address a booming real estate market that has seen property prices sky-rocket, state press said Tuesday.

BRAC Bank arranges Tk 50cr for BURO Bangladesh

BRAC Bank Ltd has arranged a syndicated term loan of Tk 50 crore for BURO Bangladesh to support the latter's micro-finance activities and countrywide expansion plan, says a press release.

DBH gets SEC nod to raise Tk10.50cr

Delta Brac Housing Finance Corporation (DBH) yesterday got go-ahead from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to raise Tk 10.50 crore through initial public offering (IPO).

Indian IT revenue set to grow 24pc

India's information technology market is poised to expand 24 percent in 2008 as it enters a new "growth trajectory," an industry report said Tuesday.

Cyprus, Malta adopt euro

Cyprus and Malta joined the eurozone on Tuesday, bidding farewell to the Cyprus pound and Maltese lira, expanding the club of countries using the single European currency to 15.

Manzer appointed group director of Tata Steel

Manzer Hussain, currently resident director of Tata Group in Bangladesh, has been appointed group director (Communications) of Tata Steel Group, says a press release.

Iran slashes gas exports to Turkey

Iran has imposed a drastic cut in gas exports to Turkey to cope with domestic shortages caused by high consumption and a halt in supplies from Turkmenistan, the Fars news agency reported on Tuesday.

New office bearers of jute mills assoc

Najmul Huq, managing director of Janata Jute Mills Ltd, and KR Hasan, deputy managing director of Gem Jute Ltd, have been elected chairman and vice chairman of Bangladesh Jute Mills Association, says a press release.

Metropolitan

Moral degradation brews corruption

World peace would be established if morality is reflected in social and political activities, said Chairman of the Transparency International Bangladesh Prof Muzaffer Ahmad at a meeting yesterday.

Start process of trial of war criminals

Jatiya Party (Ershad) leaders yesterday called on the government to start the process of trial of war criminals and anti-liberation elements immediately.

Duta faces new crisis

Pro-BNP-Jamaat teachers belonging to White Panel of Dhaka University Teachers' Association (Duta) yesterday termed false the statement made by some teachers of pro-Awami League Blue Panel on Monday.

Crackdown on autorickshaws without meters in Ctg

Traffic department of Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) yesterday launched a crackdown on CNG-run autorickshaws having no meters.

Five pirates killed in gunfight with BDR

Five pirates were killed and two others injured in a gunfight with Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) members at Kalirchar in Sundarbans yesterday.

We are responsible for present situation: Saifur

BNP acting chairman M Saifur Rahman yesterday said there would have been no need to impose a state of emergency if his party had handed over power to a caretaker government formed through proper process.

SC Bar leaders oppose appointment from judicial service

Incumbent and former leaders of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) yesterday strongly protested the demand for 50 percent appointments of High Court judges from among the members of Bangladesh Judicial Service Association (BJSA).

US senator appreciates CG

Bangladeshi-origin senator of Michigan State of the United States Hansen Clarke appreciated the caretaker government's performance under the leadership of Fakhruddin Ahmed towards holding the stalled general election.

2019 were killed in social violence last year

A total of 2553 people were killed in last year showing a grave human rights situation in the country.

Death of Justice Sobhan condoled

Different socio-cultural and political organisations and individuals yesterday condoled the death of Justice KM Sobhan.

Reinvestigation demanded

Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) have demanded reinvestigation into journalist Dipankar Chakraborty killing case.

'Form medical board for treatment of Hasina'

Three hundred and eight physicians yesterday expressed concern over the deteriorating health condition of detained former prime minister and Awami League president Sheikh Hasina.

Road crashes kill 3

At least three people were killed and 17 others injured in separate road accidents in Sirajganj and Chapainawabganj yesterday.

One killed in trawler capsize

One person was killed and ten others were injured when a motor launch and a trawler collided head-on in the river Meghna near Munshiganj launch terminal in Munshiganj on Monday night.

Tk1.9 crore for cold-hit people

The government has allocated Tk 1.9 crore from the Chief Adviser's Relief and Welfare Fund for distribution of warm clothes among the cold-hit people in 21 districts.

Cracks develop in cleaners' colony bldg

Panic gripped the residents as some cracks developed in a multi-storied colony building of the city corporation's cleaners in the Hazaribag area early yesterday.

Payment of fees a must for showing films in exhibition

Bangladesh Film Censor Board in a clarification has said fees must be paid to the government for showing any film in any public exhibition as per The Bangladesh Censorship of Film Rules 1977.

Appeal for help

Parents of Syed Bin Shahadat, a seven-year-old boy who has been suffering from a genetic disease that progressively destroys the brain, have sought financial assistance for the treatment of their son.

Birth anniversary of Shaukat Osman today

Today is the 91st birth anniversary of litterateur Shaukat Osman.

Navy chief inaugurates voter listing in Barguna

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

35 officers get promotions in Navy

The promotion of four Commodores, eight Captains, 25 Commanders and six (SD) Ag S/Lt were made effective from yesterday.

80th birthday of Swadesh Bose today

Today is the 80th birthday of Swadesh Bose, an eminent economist, says a press release.

Six BAF staffs promoted

Six officers of Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) were promoted to the rank of Group Captain from Wing Commander yesterday.

9 fake marriage media members arrested

The Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested nine members of a fake marriage media centre at Dhanmondi in the city yesterday for their alleged involvement in fraudulent act.

'Mass awareness needed to stop torture in society'

Independent human rights commission, mass awareness and integrated efforts by all professional organisations can help prevent torture in the country, said the speakers at a workshop Sunday.

Mannan takes over as BIWTA chairman

Abdul Mannan Hawladar has taken the charge of chairman of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) on Sunday, says a press release.

NU masters exams 2005 begin Feb 10

Masters Final Examinations-2005 under National University (NU) will commence on February 10, 2008. Notice containing information on filling form, statement form and fees submission form have already been sent to colleges.

National

Credits granted under influence of Ex-BNP MP Hafiz Ibrahim

Businessman Syed Muhammad Yunus alias Tube Well Yunus, accused in several cases, yesterday confessed to his involvement in Tk 24 core Rupali Bank loan scam.

Patuakhali town protection dam work to start soon

The finance ministry has finally disbursed Tk one crore as initial allocation for construction of Patuakhali town protection embankment, 12 years after the project was taken up.

Create awareness against corruption

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Chairman Lt Gen (retd) Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury yesterday said eradication of corruption will help to raise our standard of living.

Ex-BNP MP Monju sued for murder

A murder case was filed against former BNP lawmaker Mojibur Rahman Monju with a court in Kishoreganj yesterday.

Mayor Tayebur's trial begins today

Trial of the Arms Act case and another case under Narcotics Control Act against detained Khulna City Corporation (KCC) mayor Sheikh Tayebur Rahman will begin in the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court today.

5 held in AL leader Sabu murder case

Pabna Sadar police station yesterday arrested five persons accused in district Awami League leader Saiful Islam Sabu murder case.

Alim Jute Mill layoff extended

The government yesterday extended the period of layoff of state owned Alim Jute Mill for the fifth time by one month more.

Bird flu: 450 fowls culled in Dinajpur

About 450 fowls were culled and 1,500 eggs destroyed following detection of bird flu here Monday midnight, district livestock officials said.

Centenary celebration of AM College begins

A year-long centenary celebration of Mymensingh Government Ananda Mohan College began here yesterday.

Letters

Water savings in rice cultivation

The Principle Scientific Officer of the Rice Research Institute, Gazipur, published an article on the subject in an English daily on 18 December. This is a valuable and interesting information on water usage for rice farming. His work needs to be appreciated and recognised by the authorities for its potential of savings in the cost of rice production! However the cost benefit of the projected savings by lowering water usage needs to be carefully and as far as possible accurately worked out.

Benazir's assassination

Benazir Bhutto is dead. I cannot believe it. I shivered when I found the breaking news of her death in The Daily Star's website early in the evening of Thursday. Like hundreds more in her country, she too fell victim to an unkind bomber. This is the sad reality confronting Pakistan these days. Terrorism has engulfed Pakistan like a cancer and in the end Bhutto had to pay with her life for keeping Pakistani democracy up.

Sundarbans

Having come back from Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world, I have been able to understand that we, unscrupulous and unwise guys, need not worry about this world heritage, rather it would come back to normal stage if we do not do any serious damage. While visiting Sundarbans on December 22, 2007 by a trawler I watched some guys cutting trees mercilessly. Forestry experts have commented that it would take the Sundarbans at least twenty years to recover from the devastation if we do not cause any more damage to it.

Theft of artefacts

In all humility I express my sincere appreciation of the resignation tendered by Mr. Ayub Qadri shouldering the responsibility and lapses of his ministry. His ministry was responsible for a decision which was against the popular sentiment. But what about the actual guilt of the theft which took place at a place where all the authorities/departments were under one separate ministry.

“Make internet a commodity"

Thank you very much for your interview-based article on the "High Internet Tariff" in December 17, 2007 on the Star Business Page. This issue needs mass awareness and campaign to make Internet a commodity for the public and businesses in Bangladesh. Internet is the most important component of this highly interconnected world. It is like blessings from the Almighty to countries like us, which can catalyze our developments and export growth in this global knowledge economy. As the BASIS President aptly put “High Internet Pricing is seriously holding back our ICT exports growth in Bangladesh.”

A good example

This is the first time that we found someone in power in Bangladesh taking responsibility for something they were directly or indirectly accountable for.

Job quota

At the moment 55% of the government jobs are reserved on quota which is very inconvenient for the general students. After working so hard, they finish their education to get a job. As the government jobs are more reliable, every student tries his best to get one. But a lot of them fail to get it because of the 55% quota system. On the other hand, the government is also losing the service of the best students. Moreover, some quarters are resorting to corruption by manipulating the quota system.

US moving towards "selective isolationism"?

I am writing with reference Post Breakfast article: "Will the EU ever have a common foreign policy?" by Muhammad Zamir (Dec. 20).

Bali conference and related issues

I have read an article on Bali conference. It says that the southern part of Bangladesh will be submerged under water by 2040. That's no more a fiction. Apocalypses happened before in planet earth.

Taking care of forests

“Hello! My name is Dipterocarpus “ reads a sign attached to a sapling, one of many such signs installed by the Institute of Forestry at Chittagong University (IFCU) as part of local tree familiarisation initiative under a United Nations FAO project during 1986-1990. Sure enough, crowds gathered around the trees and saplings adorned with newly installed rectangular name tags, beaming with curiosity, or at times bursting into unrelenting giggles and laughter. The project was a success opined Dr. Zabella, a visiting FAO professor that targeted non-forestry community to familiarize tree species on campus.

Commuters in trouble

Our main transports are vehicles like bus, rickshaw, cab etc. Though some metropolitan areas have recently been cleared of rickshaw to avoid traffic jam, but still there are a large number of rickshaws in the streets.

Mobile phone and driving

It has become a common sight in our roads --people driving with one hand in the steering of the car and the other one holding a mobile phone which is without any doubt a dangerous thing to do while you are driving, especially in the busy roads of Dhaka. It has become a trend these days to drive your car while using mobile phones.

Knowledge-based transport planning

The truism “history repeats itself” applies to those who ignore the lessons of the past and insist on forging ahead, committing the same mistakes, and experiencing the same results. It is hoped that city authorities will learn from the mistakes of the Mirpur Road demonstration project and try to assign due importance to fuel-free transport. Given the small modal share of automobiles and the many problems they cause, there should be no provision for creating more auto-only roads within urban areas, and all existing auto-only roads should be converted into mixed-use roads by properly integrating public transit, FFT and fuel-dependent transport (FDT). If the Mirpur Road project is indeed a demonstrationin a sense an experimentthen clearly the lessons should be carefully learned before proceeding with transport planning. In this case, the lessons are startlingly clear, and point in a very different direction from that of current transport planning in Dhaka.

International

Tamil MP assassinated in Lankan temple

An outspoken ethnic Tamil opposition MP was shot dead during a New Year service at a Hindu temple in the Sri Lankan capital yesterday, the third assassination of a minority legislator in two years.

Kenya polls flawed: EU

EU monitors cast doubts Tuesday on the results of Kenya's disputed presidential vote, stepping up the pressure on re-elected President Mwai Kibaki as his country reels from violence that has claimed nearly 260 lives.

'Benazir was set to unveil govt vote rigging plot’

Benazir Bhutto was slain just hours before she was to go public with "proof" that Pakistani intelligence and electoral officials were planning to rig polls, an official from her party said Tuesday.

US gave Benazir info about threats

The United States provided a steady stream of intelligence to Benazir Bhutto about threats against her before the former Pakistani prime minister was assassinated and advised her aides on how to boost security, although key suggestions appear to have gone unheeded, US officials said Monday.

11 Indian soldiers killed in 2 separate attacks

Two assailants with guns and grenades ambushed a police recruitment centre in northern India early yesterday in an attack that killed seven police officers and a civilian, a police official said.

US official killed in Sudan shooting

A US diplomat died yesterday after a pre-dawn shooting attack in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, which also killed an embassy driver, officials said.

Sonia in hospital after asthma attack

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has been admitted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital following an attack of asthma, where her condition is stated to be stable, a very informed source said.

Japan's population fell in 2007

Japan's population fell by 16,000 in 2007, a government survey said yesterday, renewing fears of a demographic crisis with a smaller working population forced to support a mass of pensioners.

Japan to lead climate debate

Japan took over the presidency of the Group of Eight club of the world's leading economies yesterday, with Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda vowing to put a focus on climate change and environmental issues.

Militants kidnap 4 Pak soldiers

Militants abducted four Pakistani paramilitary soldiers in a tribal area yesterday in the first such incident since the death of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, officials said.

16 Taliban killed in Afghanistan

At least 16 Taliban rebels including a suspected would-be suicide bomber were killed in US-led and Afghan operations across insurgency-plagued Afghanistan, officials said yesterday.

Foreign journos still face interference in China

Foreign journalists are facing official interference while reporting in China, despite Olympic-related rules aimed at allowing greater press freedoms, an international media group said yesterday.

Fukuda renews pledge to resume anti-terror mission

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda yesterday renewed his pledge to resume a naval mission supporting the US-led "war on terror."

Iran hangs two drug traffickers

Iran hanged two convicted drug traffickers in the southeastern city of Zahedan, a newspaper reported yesterday, bringing the number of executions for 2007 to at least 297.

N Korea for stronger military, economy in 2008

North Korea vowed yesterday in a New Year policy message to strengthen its military and its economy in 2008 but made no mention of its failure to meet a year-end denuclearisation deadline.

Arts & Entertainment

Dhaliwood in '07

The slump in 'Dhaliwood', the Dhaka-based mainstream film industry, seems to have improved in the year 2007.

Strains and thrills of immigrant life

Life has had its pitfalls and Himalayan peaks for Rukhsana Hasib, now an expatriate entrepreneur in the US. She is in Dhaka now after 36 years, with the NRB cultural group. Rukhsana's life, since her college days to now as an active member of a cultural group in the US has had tragic moments as well as fun-filled exciting ones.

Victory Day celebration in the Land of the Midnight Sun

The Liberation War of Bangladesh is a proud heritage of every Bangladeshi. Celebration of the Victory Day becomes a part of Bengali life everywhere in the world. Every Year, the expatriate Bangladeshi communities across the globe celebrates the day with much enthusiasm and fervour. The Bangladesh Association in Oslo, Norway observed the Victory Day of Bangladesh recently, says a press release.

DVD of Muktir Gaan launched

DVD of Tareque Masud and Catherine Masud's much acclaimed documentary Muktir Gaan was launched on December 31 at the Public Library Auditorium, says a press release. Laser Vision has released the DVD.

Performances by Nrityanchal in Kolkata

Dance group Nrityanchal staged the folk dance-drama Mahua on December 29 in Kolkata, says a press release. Nrityanchal was invited by “Indian Associations of Retired Persons” to perform at their national convention at the Madhusudan Mancho, Kolkata. Nrityanchal was also invited to perform at the Birala Sabhaghar the same evening.

Branching out: Aamir Khan turns director

Bollywood star Aamir Khan made a sensational debut with Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak about two decades ago and his emergence as a director for the first time with Taare Zameen Par, released on December 21, is on its way to become a hit.

OP-ED

What now?

Benazir Bhutto, the outstanding icon of Pakistan's struggle for democracy is gone. For those who only saw her as a distant political figure, her human dimension clearly did not matter. That applies to those who vilified her throughout her life, those who failed to protect her, and those who actually killed her. But for everyone whose life she touched, her humanity transcended the politics.

Mixed response to Bilawal's nomination

The city's youth on Monday reacted with mixed emotions to the appointment of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as titular head of the Pakistan People's Party. The Student Action Committee (SAC) Lahore, the city's most vocal student movement in recent months, expressed its disdain at what it termed "the classic sub-continental tradition of considering lineage more important than capabilities or experience."

Towards establishing transit/trade routes

The year 2008 is upon us: eight years after the new millennia and thirty six years since the independence of Bangladesh. It is time to get a move on. It is about time that Bangladesh started to go forward and make progress in some pivotal national socio-economic aspects so that we don't fall too far behind the progress made by our immediate neighbouring countries.

Star City

Making cops more pro-women

Lucky (not her real name) was waiting at a police station with bruises all over her face.

City fathers' step-fatherly steps

Ignoring the widespread public outcry and ministerial direction against adverse use of the city's playgrounds, Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) rents them out regularly on commercial basis.

'One giant leap for the frogs'

It was 11 in the morning on Monday. Around 50 schoolchildren were hopping and croaking like frogs all around the Dhaka Zoo premises while their parents and curious zoo visitors were cheering them up.

The nuisance of scribbling and doodling on banknotes

It seems that the distasteful practice of scribbling or doodling on banknotes is being passed on in the country throughout generations, but not too many people are aware that this hideous exercise is a crime according to Bangladesh Bank (BB).

Star Chittagong

Celebrations take alumnae back to joyous schooldays

The two-day long colourful programme marking the 100th founding anniversary of Dr Khastagir Girls High School, the first high school for the girls in Chittagong, offered scopes for several generations to share their old memories.

Sidewalk trading pushes pedestrians on to streets

A large section of hawkers and roadside shop owners are on a frenzied mood in the port city to occupy the footpaths, pushing pedestrians on to the streets.


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