The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Thursday, July 31, 2014


News of: Wednesday, 9th of January, 2008

Front Page

Mainul, Tapan, Geeteara, Matiur go

Proving the recent speculations right, four advisers to the caretaker government resigned yesterday with only three days to go before the military-backed administration completes a year in office.

Hasina wants timely polls even if she's barred

Detained former premier and Awami League (AL) chief Sheikh Hasina has demanded general elections on schedule despite her fears of being barred from taking part due to a "cooked up" extortion case.

EC to redraw outline of constituencies

The Election Commission (EC) yesterday announced a plan for redrawing the boundaries of parliamentary constituencies in 61 districts of the country based on densities of population in an effort to maintain a consistency in the number of voters for each seats.

Open market sale of rice begins today

The government launches its countrywide open market sales (OMS) of rice today at the rate of Tk 25 per kilogram for one month amid unprecedented hike of rice prices in the recent times.

Make sure new HR body has teeth to try everyone

Amnesty International (AI) Secretary General Irene Khan yesterday called on the government to ensure that the new human rights commission has the teeth to try everyone, and to ensure fair trials for imprisoned politicians.

Antics saw 'em off

The four advisers who resigned from their posts yesterday got mired in controversies over their failure in performing up to the mark and having made sarcastic and inconsistent remarks since taking office a year ago.

Cops claim progress in bank locker heist

Law enforcers yesterday claimed that they had made headway in the probe into the heist at the Dhanmondi Branch of BRAC Bank.

When ends don't meet

For a long time, Abidur Rahman has this habit. After having his meals, he likes to have a cup of tea and then a betel leaf with aromatic chewing-tobacco.

Political parties play down resignation

Both the Awami League (AL) and BNP yesterday called upon the caretaker government to hand over power to an elected government by holding a free and fair election as early as possible.

Govt trying to reform itself

Civil society members described the resignation of four advisers of the caretaker government as routine and part of reforming itself.

Govt losing revenue on BTTB's callousness

The government is losing a huge amount of revenue due to carelessness of Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) in filing cases for realisation of telephone bills pending for years.

CA asks cops not to harass people seeking help

Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday asked the members of police to make sure that service seekers are not harassed at police stations, police outposts and investigation centres.

Tamil Tigers' roadside bomb kills Lanka minister

A Sri Lankan government minister was killed yesterday in a powerful roadside bomb attack by suspected Tamil Tiger rebels near the island's capital and international airport, officials said.

Benazir's son warns of Pakistan's disintegration

Benazir Bhutto's son Bilawal warned yesterday that Pakistan could face disintegration unless free and fair elections are held, as he defended his appointment as his assassinated mother's successor.

Court to pass order on framing charge Jan 13

Sheikh Hasina's lawyers in the Tk 3 crore extortion case yesterday said the complaint filed against the former premier is full of flaws, inconsistencies and contradictory information.

Altaf Chy shown held in graft case 7 months into detention

After eight months of confinement, former home minister Altaf Hossain Choudhury was yesterday made an accused in a regular case filed for giving false information about his movable wealth of Tk 59 lakh and amassing wealth of Tk 2.56 crore beyond his known sources of income.

3 cops didn't mention names of DU teachers

Three policemen giving statement to a Dhaka court yesterday did not mention any name of the Dhaka University teachers or students accused of violating the Emergency Power Rules (EPR) in August last year.

Due process not followed in some cases

Amnesty International (AI) Secretary General Irene Khan yesterday said due process under the state of emergency is "not being followed in some cases" and called for lifting restrictions on the media.

RRC for online registration of investors

The Regulatory Reforms Commission (RRC) yesterday recommended introducing 'online registration' system in the Board of Investment (BoI) to enable investors to register their companies without any hassle.

Govt urged to take steps to recover grabbed parkland

Environmentalists yesterday urged the government to take effective measurers to recover the illegally grabbed 2.81 acres of land of Osmani Udyan.

CID records statements of three witnesses

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) yesterday recorded statements of three witnesses to the August 21 grenade attacks on an Awami League rally in 2004.

Detained KCC mayor moved to Dhaka as his health condition worsens

Detained Khulna City Corporation (KCC) Mayor Sheikh Tayebur Rahman was moved to the capital for treatment as his health condition deteriorated yesterday.

Proceedings of case against Ctg mayor's wife stayed

The High Court yesterday stayed the proceedings of a corruption case against Hasina Mohiuddin, wife of detained Mayor of Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) ABM Mohiuddin Chowdhury.

Ex-BNP whip Zahed Chy acquitted

A Sherpur court has acquitted former lawmaker and BNP whip Zahed Ali Chowdhury and nine other activists of BNP and JCD in an extortion case.

Nikita released on court order

Zannatul Ferdousi alias Nikita, arrested on charges of possessing yaba pills, was released from Dhaka Central Jail yesterday evening.

Boy scout saves Gayoom from assassination

The president of the Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, escaped an assassination attempt yesterday while on a tour of the Indian Ocean archipelago, a senior minister told AFP.

US, Iraq launch anti-extremist operation

US and Iraqi forces launched a major operation to strike against al-Qaida in Iraq and other extremists, the US military said yesterday, hoping to build on a recent reduction of violence and push militants from their strongholds.

Gunmen ambush UN convoy in Darfur

Gunmen ambushed a United Nations convoy in Darfur in the first attack against the peacekeepers since their mission began this month, the UN said yesterday.

Editorial

Voter enrolment and upcoming elections

The good news is that fifty per cent of voter enrolment work at the field level has been completed in a period of five months. With six months remaining for all the field work to be wrapped up, it all appears feasible on the part of the Election Commission to move ahead with the scheduled general elections later this year. By June this year, therefore, the nation can look forward to a full-fledged enrolment of voters, a fact that cannot but please everyone. But then comes the not so good news, which is that a mere 25 per cent of voter enrolment where including photographs of voters is concerned has been completed in the last five months.

Daredevil bank locker break-in

The incredible incident of robbery, emptying out lockers of ornaments valued at several crores of taka in Dhanmondi branch of Brac Bank has the smack of sensational Hollywood film script about it. After all, the underworld has become part of the global village -- thanks to some infective satellite TV channel movies.

A bowl of rice, a dollop of lentils, some green chilli

We will try to forget what Tapan Chowdhury said about the price of rice, of other things, last week. We will do all we can not to remember the bizarre moment when the entrepreneur-adviser told us that the government had really nothing to do about prices, that indeed it was all a fait accompli no one could roll back. But forgiveness? That is an entirely different proposition altogether.

How decisive is Bhutto charisma?

National elections are again scheduled for February 18. How will 40 years old PPP fare in them? Many think that love and admiration for Benazir Bhutto have been heightened by her tragic death. This may have strengthened the Bhutto mystique. Some say it should enable the PPP to win power, based mainly on its successes in Sindh and Punjab, while NWFP too will return a few deputies. Some others are less sanguine.

I keep wondering …

When we gained our independence over 36 years ago I was overjoyed. I still remember the day when the Pakistani forces surrendered to the victorious Indian army at the Ramna racecourse ground. The euphoria, and the ecstasy of the public, at least in the capital, as I had witnessed was unprecedented.

Sports

Dhaka take 2nd place

An unbeaten hundred from Imrul Kayes guided Khulna to finish their campaign in style while Dhaka completed with a consolation victory to secure the runners-up trophy in the 9th National Cricket League one-day competition yesterday.

Under-19s lose in final

Bangladesh under-19 team conceded a massive 137-run loss to India under-19 in the tri-series final at Sinovich Park in Pretoria yesterday.

India's tour is on

World cricket chiefs Tuesday scrambled to save India's crisis-hit tour of Australia, axing a top umpire and announcing plans to fly in a top official to ease seething tensions between the two teams.

A long, dark history

India's acrimonious tour of Australia is the latest episode in a continuing face-off between cricket's strongest team on the field and the most powerful off it.

Victoria record biggest win

Victoria Sporting Club recorded their first win in the Senior Division Football League when they handed a 3-1 defeat to Purbachal Parisad at the Birshreshtha Shaheed Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur yesterday.

Army brighten chance to reach final

BKSP suffered a huge blow in the Dhaka Bank Victory Day Hockey tournament when they went down 2-1 to Bangladesh Army in yesterday's league match at the Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium.

Ponting must be fired

Ricky Ponting must be sacked as captain of the Australian cricket team. If Cricket Australia cares a fig for the tattered reputation of our national team in our national sport, it will not for a moment longer tolerate the sort of arrogant and abrasive conduct seen from the captain and his senior players over the past few days. Beyond comparison it was the ugliest performance put up by an Australian side for 20 years. The only surprising part of it is that the Indians have not packed their bags and gone home. There is no justice for them in this country, nor any manners.

Procter in India's bad books

The Indian cricketers, especially the seniors, are said to be deeply dissatisfied with the manner in which Mike Procter handled the ICC hearing and with the official document on it that followed. Procter handed out a three-match ban to Harbhajan Singh, saying he was sure "beyond reasonable doubt" that a racist taunt had been directed at Andrew Symonds, but the Indians have claimed the document was extremely flimsy.

Zimbabwe will tour Pakistan

Pakistan will host Zimbabwe for a five-match one-day series and a four-day game later this month, the Pakistan Cricket Board announced on Tuesday.

Hogg hearing before 3rd Test

The Indian complaint against Australian spinner Brad Hogg for allegedly abusing Anil Kumble and Mahendra Singh Dhoni during the Sydney cricket Test will come up for hearing before match referee Mike Procter prior to the third match in Perth.

Spurs plot Gunners fall

Dimitar Berbatov plans to prove his commitment to Tottenham by helping Juande Ramos's side reach the League Cup final at the expense of bitter rivals Arsenal.

Everton lose Pienaar battle

Everton have lost their battle to be allowed to play South Africa's Steven Pienaar in Tuesday's League Cup semifinal first leg at Chelsea.

Banega naked in video

Troubled Spanish side Valencia were hit by a new controversy Tuesday after it emerged that the club's new teenage Argentine midfielder Ever Banega has appeared naked in a webcam chat video.

Aimar goes under knife

Real Zaragoza's Argentine international Pablo Aimar is set to go under the knife on Tuesday for an operation on a pelvic injury, his club announced on their website on Monday.

Reading rope in Matejovsky

Czech midfielder Marek Matejovsky announced his transfer to English Premier League club Reading from current Czech league outfit Mlada Boleslav in a news conference on Monday.

Benzema confident of success

Lyon's star striker Karim Benzema insisted Monday that he believes the six-time French champions will finally lift Europe's most prized club trophy at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on May 21.

Bolton reject Chelsea bid

English Premier league side Bolton announced Monday they have rejected a bid from Chelsea for their French striker Nicolas Anelka.

Menotti quits over transfer

World Cup winning coach Cesar Luis Menotti has quit Mexican side UAG Tecos in protest at the club's transfer of Argentine striker Emanuel Villa to English Premier side Derby County.

Skrtel set for Reds move

Slovak international defender Martin Skrtel is set to join English Premier League side Liverpool, his agent Viktor Kolar claimed on Monday.

Eves' Kabaddi League from tomorrow

Victoria will take on Dhaka Wanderers in one of the two opening day's matches in the EXIM Bank Women's Kabaddi League tomorrow at the Outer Stadium kabaddi court.

Ivanovic in last eight

World number four Ana Ivanovic clawed back from 2-5 down in the final set to reach the women's quarterfinals of the Sydney International with a three-set victory Tuesday over France's Virginie Razzano.

Get it fixed: Rudd

The cricket world is in crisis, the multi-million dollar India tour of Australia is in jeopardy, and bilateral ties are being tested, as charges of racism, cultural divisions and unsporting behaviour soil cricket's image.

'Come home'

Nine out of ten Indians want their cricket heroes to abandon their controversial tour of Australia and return home, according to an opinion poll published Tuesday.

Open your eyes, Ricky

Somebody, probably a preschool teacher, needs to explain simply to Ricky Ponting about the damage that has been caused by his team during the Sydney Test. While India burns and fumes over issues ranging from race to umpiring and sportsmanship, Ponting continues to believe his team has done nothing wrong.

Getting under his collar

Before the Test series between India and Australia began, the captains arrived at an understanding that, in the event of a catch being taken, the fielder's word would be taken at face value. On the second day of the Sydney Test, Ponting himself showed what a sportsman he can be by pointing out that the catch he had taken off Rahul Dravid was actually taken on the half volley.

Lee goes Bollywood

As the furore over the Indian cricket tour raged on Tuesday, Australian stars Brett Lee and Mike Hussey were playing out their own Bollywood drama at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Ranjan to reconcile

The International Cricket Council's (ICC) chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle has been appointed to act as a mediator in the row between Australia captain Ricky Ponting and Indian skipper Anil Kumble.

Kenya forced to play away

Kenya's Intercontinental Cup match against Namibia has been switched from Nairobi to Sharjah as a result of the ongoing violence in Kenya which has claimed more than 600 lives.

Business

Govt mulls allowing budget carriers at ZIA

The government is considering allowing low-cost carriers to operate from Zia International Airport (ZIA) in response to demands from airlines to open up the capital's airport for competition.

National logo brings no smile to CA's office

The government has asked for changes to a newly designed national tourist logo for Bangladesh claiming the slogan, 'Smiling Bangladesh', fails to capture the majesty of the tiger pictured in the logo.

Delhi expects Dhaka's nod for $3b Tata plans

The lifting of the ban on Bangladeshi investment in India should pave the way for Tata's three billion dollar investment proposal in Bangladesh's steel, power and fertilizer sectors, India Commerce Ministry Officials said yesterday.

Rising costs threaten India's auto growth

Rising production costs and dilapidated infrastructure threaten the Indian auto industry's ambitions for fast growth, according to a survey by consultancy KPMG published Tuesday.

Malaysia freezes intake of Indian workers

Malaysia has frozen the intake of workers from India, an official said Tuesday, amid a government crackdown on dissent by the multicultural nation's ethnic Indian community.

HSBC business plan contest

The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) launched a business plan writing contest styled 'Young Entrepreneurs Award (YES) 2008' for the under graduate level students of the country.

Indian onion exports may dip 30pc

The country's onion exports are likely to fall by almost a third to about eight lakh tons in the financial year 2007-08 due to curbs on overseas sales during the festival season and congestion at ports.

World's largest electronics carnival opens in Las Vegas

The world's largest consumer electronics trade show opened Monday with a rallying cry for the United States to shun protectionism and throw its borders open wide to trade and immigration.

BEI organises Corporate Governance Week from Jan 13

Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) is organising `Corporate Governance Week 2008' to ensure transparency and accountability in the private sector, especially in the country's banks and NGOs.

Inflation in top industrialised countries jumps to 3.3pc

Annual inflation in some of the world's leading industrialised nations jumped to 3.3 percent in November from 2.8 percent in the 12 months to October, fuelled by increases in food and energy prices, the OECD said on Tuesday.

Beacon Pharma launches lyophilized injection

Beacon Pharmaceuticals Ltd has recently introduced Xelopes injection, which is effective for gastric hyper acidic conditions, with its lyophilization technology.

Chevron staff help build houses for the underprivileged

In a bid to help build low-cost and durable houses for underprivileged families, a group of 21 employees of Chevron Bangladesh, an oil and gas exploration company, has recently taken part in a two-day house building programme in a village in Mymensingh.

Metropolitan

Teachers, students demand release of colleagues

A good number of teachers and students of Dhaka University (DU) yesterday wore black ribbons demanding immediate release of the detained teachers and students of the university.

Uphold rights of female migrant workers abroad

Development experts and rights activists at a roundtable yesterday demanded of the government to strengthen its national laws and make full use of international treaties to uphold the rights of Bangladeshi female migrant workers abroad.

'Govt has to take initiatives for trial of war criminals'

Amnesty International (AI) Secretary General Irene Khan yesterday said the government has to take initiatives to bring the war criminals to justice.

Form special tribunal to try war criminals

Speakers at a discussion yesterday urged people from all walks of life to get united anld launch mass movement for the trial of the war criminals.

Huge gap between expectations from 1/11 and achievements

BNP standing committee member Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman yesterday said there is a huge gap between expectations from 1/11 and achievements.

Dhaka Presidency College closed down

Dhaka Presidency College was closed down yesterday following the direction of the education ministry due to alleged corruption of its principal.

Duja protests inclusion of Khomeni's name in charge sheet

The members of the Dhaka University Journalists' Association (Duja) yesterday demanded withdrawal of Golam Azam Khomeni's name from the charge sheet of an army car torching case at Shahbagh intersection during student agitation in August last year.

Illegal VoIP equipment seized in Ctg

Members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) in a raid in the port city yesterday seized illegal VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) equipment from Patenga sea beach area.

Woman found dead at city slum

A young woman was found dead at a slum in the city's Shahidnagar area in Lalbagh yesterday.

Hearing aids for impaired children

Kerstin Heitkamp from Germany donated some hearing aids to Hicare Society for distribution amongst the hearing impaired children of Hicare Schools of Bangladesh, says a press release.

BMD receives latest radar

The Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) has received latest Doppler radars and seismic monitoring equipment to bolster its capabilities to track cyclones, storms and earthquakes, officials said here yesterday.

Critical care medicine course at Birdem

The Department of Critical Care Medicine at Birdem Hospital, Dhaka has introduced postgraduate course (MD) in critical care medicine for the first time in Bangladesh, says a press release.

Cotton worth Tk 30 lakh seized in N'ganj

Police yesterday seized cotton worth around Tk 30 lakh that tricksters bought recently from Jalal Ahmed Spinning Mill at Fatullah providing a fake demand draft (DD).

Birth anniversary of Santosh Gupta today

Today is the 83rd birth anniversary of Santosh Gupta, a veteran journalist, columnist and freedom fighter, says a press release.

Obituary

Prof Md Idris Ali, a noted writer and former teacher of Jahangir-nagar University, passed away due to a cardiac arrest at Labaid Cardiac Hospital in the city yesterday at the age of 70, says a press release.

Baten, Masud elected president, GS of DUMA

The first-ever general election of Dhaka University MBA Association (DUMA) was held on January 04 at the Faculty of Business Studies of the university, says a press release.

Competency-based edn indispensable in job market

Merit and competency-based education is indispensable in the job market in the globalised world, said Dr M Anwar Hossain, vice-chancellor Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology (AUST), in a seminar yesterday.

Health camp at Shialbari slum

A volunteer health research team launched a medical and dental camp at Shialbari slum at Mirpur-2 in the city on Monday.

British Business Group to transform Sidr-hit village

The British Business Group (BBG) in Bangladesh decided to take up a project to transform a village that had been severely affected by the cyclone Sidr, says a press release.

Ambassador Amin laid to rest

Bangladesh Ambassador to France Mohammad Ruhul Amin was laid to rest at Mirpur graveyard yesterday after his second namaz-e-janaza at Azad Mosque at Gulshan in the city.

Workshop on International Humanitarian Law begins

A two-day workshop on 'International Humanitarian Law', jointly organised by Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) and International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), began at a city hotel yesterday, says a press release.

National

2 lakh Sidr victims still without shelter in Patuakhali, Barguna

Over two lakh Sidr-affected families are still without shelter in Patuakhali and Barguna districts.

Parents claim innocence, urge president for release

Parents and relatives of 10 surrendered Rajshahi University (RU) students yesterday urged the president and chancellor of universities Prof Iajuddin Ahmed for freeing their wards from jail and withdrawal of charges of a DGFI vehicle torching against them.

Kurigram teachers donate to Sidr relief fund again

Teachers and other employees of all non-government schools, colleges and madrasas in Kurigram are donating money

Kurigram teachers donate to Sidr relief fund again

Teachers and other employees of all non-government schools, colleges and madrasas in Kurigram are donating money

9 highway robbers held, bus seized in Dhamrai

Police yesterday arrested nine armed robbers and seized a bus from Bathuli stand on Dhaka-Aricha highway in Dhamrai police station, Dhaka.

Promote sweet water lobster farming

Speakers at a workshop here yesterday urged the government to prepare a comprehensive programme to boost sweet water lobster (golda) cultivation in costal areas to protect environment while promoting the export sector.

Section 145 imposed in Mohalchhari

The local administration yesterday ordered a status quo under Section 145 following a land dispute between the indigenous people and Bangalis at remote Karallachhari under Mohalchhari upazila in Khagrachhari district.

OMS rice in Barisal division from today

Rice under OMS programme will start in Barisal city and other urban areas in the division today.

Ex-BNP whip Zahed Ali acquitted

A Sherpur court has acquitted 10 leaders and workers of BNP and Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, including ex-whip of BNP Zahed Ali Chowdhury, in an extortion case as allegations against them were not proved.

8,000 kg rice seized from 'hoarder' in Kotchandpur

Rapid Action Battalion recovered 8,000 kg of rice from the go-down of Abdur Rashid in Kotchandpur upazila yesterday aftyernoon.

Letters

New Year 2008 - our hopes

The year 2007 was a remarkable and an eventful one for all of us. We have seen the fall of many corrupt politicians who literally destroyed the very institutions they represented. Even though it's hard to believe for the common people that these politicians are now languishing in jail for their misdeeds, nevertheless deep from our hearts, we always prayed for something like this to happen. Kudos to this caretaker government for taking this bold initiative & thus giving us something to cheer about! Our patriotic armed forces once again played an effective role in safeguarding our democracy and so we were able to avoid a civil war like situation. They were able to stop the anarchy which plagued our economy and day to day life.

Mangrove forests

Recently, the cyclone Sidr ravaged our country, especially the south-western region with heavy loss of lives --more than three thousand. Obviously, we were introduced with the natural calamities such as flood, tidal surge, cyclone, drought etc from time immemorial. Many dreadful and devastating tidal bulges hit this delta with great force and caused a lot of suffering to the people, particularly the poor coastal community. We have to take preparatory measurers, both short and long term, to diminish the loss. The destruction was minimised due to the presence of the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest.

Affordable transport

An easy, fast & affordable transport system is vital for present day life in Bangladesh. Indeed, despite thirty-six years of independence, we miserably failed to attain the goal even in the capital city, Dhaka. We observed with pleasure that a few hundred buses were introduced in the last couple of years to transport commuters within Dhaka city areas. Hundreds of buses have also been introduced from Dhaka city to adjoining districts to establish links between Dhaka-Narayanganj, Dhaka-Narshingdi, Dhaka-Munshiganj, Dhaka-Savar, Dhaka-Manikganj, Dhaka-Mawa, Dhaka-Gazipur and so on. Significant numbers of commuters have been enjoying this transport facility every day. Even then, most of the city dwellers cannot go to their every desired destination within the city by existing bus routes. The minority rich who have their own cars or cars from their employers can move to their desired destinations. But majority of the inhabitants face enormous problems in moving from one place to another because the main roads in the city do not allow fossil fuel free rickshaw plying. And the number of auto-rickshaws plying in the city is very insignificant compared to the number of commuters. Taxi-cabs are hardly seen in the road at the time of need.

US presidential race

Barack Obama , shocked everyone with his victory in the Iowa caucuses. And people were further shocked to see Hilary Clinton standing third. But then again John Edwards, despite securing second spot (due to votes from middle-aged , blue collar supporters) is unlikely to provide much competition in New Hampshire on Tuesday and the race is likely to be between Obama and Hilary. Obama has won because this time around a lot of young voters came to vote ( twice the number who came in 2004) and four in every ten first-time voters voted for Obama. In addition, the independent voters along with a small band of Republicans also voted for him. In other words this victory also reflects that people in Iowa wanted "change" and that Obama's theory of "hope" inspired the young voters.

A freedom fighter speaks

Much to my grief, I write through your daily to let the people of Bangladesh know that my fight or the freedom of Bangladesh was in vain.

Remittance

Foreign remittance is increasing day by day. It is one of the major sources of our foreign currency earning. It's playing a vital role in our economy as well as GDP growth. As a key resource of our economy, banks as well as our central bank should take care of the customer service needed by those sending money from abroad. It is very poor at present.

BNP and 'doctrine of necessity'

It is unfortunate that the BNP has fallen into the trap set by an internal feud.

Trial of razakars

The growing public demand from all quarters for trial of war criminals in Bangladesh has finally yielded some positive results. The present government has decided to enact some laws which would prohibit the razakars or war criminals from contesting the national elections. One of the Election Commissioners conveyed this good news in his recent press briefing. He further said that the EC's new law would bar the razakars who were proven to be so.

First NRB conference

It was a vivacious conference organised by Scholar Bangla and attended by 1000 expatriate Bangladeshis being called by the CA with a view to helping the country to become a middle-income state by 2021 with their long term contributions. From State Senator to scientist, many prominent NRBs participated in the conference and exchanged views with locals over specific issues like education, health, infrastructure, energy, etc in light of their expertise.

Lifting of emergency

The disgraced politicians of the country are once again clamouring for lifting of emergency imposed earlier to save the country from destruction. The intention of the politicians is obvious which is to draw the country back to 1/11 situation and thereafter to fish in the troubled water. We have seen the activities of these politicians in the last thirty seven years and therefore are fully aware of their sinister motives. At present the process of holding an impartial election is on and nothing should be done which may encourage the interested quarters to disrupt the process. The government has time and again announced that emergency would be lifted at opportune moment to pave the way for holding the election scheduled to be held by the later part of 2008. There is no reason whatsoever to doubt the intention of the government for timely holding of the election announced earlier.

Looming danger

Since September 11, 2001, the world seems to be a chaotic place to live in. A particular group of the enemies of Islam is trying to destroy the true image of this great religion and establish their so-called “freedom to people” system of society. According to these extremists, their “freedom to people” system of society is such where women will be kept at home doing only house-hold chores, where there will be no education for women, where education regarding science and technology will be considered as Satan's work, where committing suicide will be the only way to eliminate their rivals, where torturing, beheading and killing those who resist their freedom will be a daily activity.

Main issues

Advisers to the present government, especially Law and Information Advisor Barrister Mainul Hosen, very often warn that they would not let the country go back to the situation that existed before 11 January 2007. I think none of the conscious people would disagree with them in principle.

NRB conference

In the NRB conference 2007 the President of US-Bangladesh Advisory Council Sabbir Ahmed said, “At present there are 400,000 vacant posts for nurses in the US, and Bangladesh can export skilled human resources against those posts”. I could not agree more. I believe that management and entrepreneurs in that sector should pay serious attention to this matter.

International

EU urges Lanka to offer rebels 'substantive devolution'

The European Union on Monday called on the Sri Lankan government to offer "substantive devolution" to Tamil rebels as fierce fighting, renewed since Colombo scrapped a ceasefire, claimed more victims.

Rice warns Iran against 'provocations'

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Tehran in an interview published yesterday that it should cease its "provocations" after Iranian vessels confronted US warships in the Gulf.

New Hampshire vote dawns with Obama, McCain leading polls

Democrat Barack Obama was poised to deal a second crushing blow to Hillary Clinton's White House hopes Tuesday and boost his quest to become the first black US president as New Hampshire voted in key presidential primaries.

Pakistan needs to do more for 'credible' polls: British FM

Pakistan must do more to ensure "credible" elections next month, including freeing all political detainees and lifting remaining media curbs, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Monday.

Thaksin's wife arrested and then released on return to Thailand

The wife of Thailand's ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra returned yesterday to defend herself in court against charges of corruption, as her husband insisted on their innocence.

Abbas-Olmert hold talks ahead of Bush trip

Israeli and Palestinian leaders were meeting yesterday to try to revitalise their hobbled peace negotiations on the eve of US President George W Bush's regional tour.

Lanka court limits arrests as rights concerns mount

Sri Lanka's Supreme Court slapped restrictions on search and arrests by security forces on Monday amid mounting international concern over the country's human rights record.

Kenyan opposition agrees to talks

Opposition leader Raila Odinga said yesterday he was prepared to meet President Mwai Kibaki to resolve Kenya's political deadlock but only if the African Union chief acted as mediator.

Benazir husband slams Musharraf for death 'insult'

Benazir Bhutto's husband has attacked Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf for saying the opposition leader was to blame for her own assassination by poking her head out of her car sunroof.

'Asean a long way from EU-style integration’

It will take 50 years or more for Southeast Asian nations to more closely resemble the European Union including the easing of border controls, according to Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew.

Leave Pak border district

A powerful tribal chief yesterday warned Al-Qaeda-linked militants to leave a Pakistani border district after the death of eight members of his clan supporting peace efforts in the troubled region.

Man admits planning terrorist acts in Pakistan

A young man admitted in court here yesterday planning to travel to Pakistan to carry out unspecified acts of terorrism, aiming to "kill many."

Sarkozy hints at marriage with Bruni

French President Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday said his romance with Carla Bruni was "serious" and hinted that he was ready to marry the Italian former supermodel.

Arab League chief takes political crisis plan to Beirut

Arab League chief Amr Moussa arrives in Beirut today on a delicate mission to try to push Lebanon's rival political leaders to accept a plan aimed at ending the country's constitutional crisis.

Talk on assisting Bangladeshi students in USA

World University of Bangladesh (WUB) recently organised a talk on 'Assisting Bangladeshi students in their pursuit of higher education in the USA' by Dr M Masoom Ali, George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Ballstate University, USA.

Cold snap kills eight in Iran

At least eight people froze to death in the heaviest snowfalls to have hit Iran in years, with several areas brought to a virtual standstill and 20 towns suffering cuts in gas supplies, officials said yesterday.

19 killed, scores stranded in Afghan snowfalls

At least 19 people have been killed and hundreds more are stranded or missing after heavy snowfalls hit Afghanistan, an official said yesterday.

Greenpeace calls for curbs on India's car emissions

Greenpeace yesterday called on the Indian government to set mandatory fuel efficiency standards for cars, warning vehicle emissions will contribute significantly to climate change.

Sarkozy to push for five new UN Security Council members

Calling for urgent reform of the United Nations, President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged yesterday to help Brazil, Germany, India, Japan and a major African country join the UN Security Council as permanent members.

Arts & Entertainment

A mature and meaningful venture

The group of over-fifties artists, which includes Nasreen Begum, Jamal Ahmed, Kuhu and others, are having their vibrant display of paintings, sculpture pieces and prints with a gusto. Many of them are now absorbed in commercial art out of compulsion to make a living which free-lancing does not always permit. But they have all been working on fine arts, off and on, and after decades they got together like some merry reunion calling themselves “10+2 souls” in the current exhibition at Shilpangan.

Pitha festival at Eden Girls College

Eden Girls College arranged a Pitha festival yesterday at its premises. Culinary expert Keka Ferdousi was the chief guest at the event. Popular TV host Sharmin Lucky and Sylvana Sadia were honorary judges. Professor Yasmin Ahmed, Principal of the College presided over the programme. Part of the proceeds from the festival will be donated to the Sidr victims.

Dance and music, exuding passion and fervour

Culture vultures descended in droves for a recent flamenco concert at the India International Centre in Delhi. Aptly titled Cuerdas y Tacon (Strings and Heels), the performance featured superb flamenco dances and expert guitar playing. The artistes were the lovely Judith Martinez (dance and vocal) and Christophe Perez (guitar) who recounted tales of sadness, loneliness, imprisonment, festivity and joy.

“Mastermoshai”: Homage to Santosh Gupta

On the occasion of noted journalist and author Santosh Gupta's 84th birth anniversary, Channel i will air a documentary film on his life and work.

Kite festival by Cubic Art School

Like the last few years, Cubic Art School is organising a Kite festival this year as well, says a press release.

OP-ED

The NRB conference: A good idea that can be bettered

As an idea, it cannot be said to be something new and unique. And in reality, too, the trend has its own history tracing back more than half a century. Bangladeshis have been venturing around the world since the 1950s, when the first group of expatriate Bengalis settled in England and gradually expanded their own world by taking their family members and close relatives.

Food grain: 'Beg, buy or borrow'

The year 2008 brings no good news for the people of Bangladesh. On the very first day of the year, the price of rice went up by Taka 5 a kilo. The prediction is that, rice, now selling at Taka 32-40 a kilo (up by 67 percent in the last one year), is going to be even costlier in the days ahead because of sharp decline in production of rice at home and abroad and increase of price in the international market.

What people will die for

In the press conference at which the 19-year-old son of Benazir Bhutto was crowned co-head of the Pakistan Peoples Party, one note was striking. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari's brief comments began with a pledge to "stand as a symbol of federation." His words were carefully chosen. Pakistan's deepest cleavage is not between religious extremism and liberalism, nor even dictatorship and democracy. It is between the country's various regions. And in this regard, Pakistan is part of a growing phenomenon -- the persistence and growing strength of sub-national groups. With the end of the battle of ideologies --communism, socialism, liberalism -- human beings' oldest identities have moved to the core of politics. It is why people vote and what they will die for.

My grandson and the American doctor

My grandson's paternal ancestors came
From the biggest sub-district in Bangladesh.
My grandson is born in the biggest state of the U.S.A.
Before he is one year and six months old
He plays lasso-lasso with a rope, thread or an wire
And dons a tilted sombrero on his head.
When my grandson was born
We wanted to put a drop of honey in its mouth
But the American doctor
Said: "No. Not within one year.”
We said: "In our country we pour a drop of honey
In the mouth of the newborn baby
Hoping that it to be a sweet-tongued baby.”
The doctor said in a supercilious manner:
"Why then you Bangladeshis do not bother
To be a little kinder to each other.”
Alas! There is no collyrium in his eyes
No collyrium dot on his left temple
To ward off the evil .
The doctor said:
" With thousands and thousands of collyrium dots
Could you ward off the flood and tornadoes
That cause you so much of tormenting woes.”
Every American is very proud of his life's range
And turns up his nose to any thing that is strange.
I felt very bad,
A little low and sad.
Now my grandson is running after
The garrulous daughter
Of the Mexican baby-sitter.
Both Spanish and English he speaks so well
That he has got every chance as well,
To the top of his bent,
Of being thefirst President,
Of Bangladeshi origin,
Of U.S.A.
We will then pour a drop of honey in his mouth
And put a big collyrium dot on his left temple
To ward off the evil.

Corrigendum

The designation of the writer of the article "Gender bias in National Identity (ID) card,"printed on 7-1-08, was inadvertently given as Asst. Professor. She is an MSS student of International Relations at Dhaka University. The error is regretted.

Star City

Mushrooming illegal outlets at Wonderland raise eyebrows

Authorities of Wonderland amusement park in Gulshan are setting up unauthorised restaurants and shops on the park premises one after another adding to public nuisance and traffic congestions in the neighborhood, local residents alleged.

Rearing the rare plants

The garden in front of the pharmacy department at Dhaka University may appear as an ordinary garden. But it is more than what a visitor sees.

Winter birds bring JU lakes to life

Migratory birds have finally graced the Jahangirnagar University lakes with their presence, though more than a month later than the usual time.

Cases of mugging by doping finally on the decline

Law enforcers claim that the activities of "agyan and malom parties" -- gangs of muggers who rob their victims after doping them with drug-tainted food or putting irritating balm in their eyes -- in the streets of Dhaka has declined recently.

Star Chittagong

Plan to take stern action against polluters of Karnaphuli

The Department of Environment (DoE) will take stern action against the industrial units that have failed to meet the deadline of October 31, 2007 for dumping wastes after refining in the river Karnaphuli.

Allotment of plots within a month likely

The Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) is likely to start allotment of plots under its largest-ever housing project in the Ananya Residential Area within a month.


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