The Daily Star

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014


News of: Wednesday, 16th of January, 2008

Front Page

Mirpur sizzles in death rumour

Several thousand garment workers in the capital's Mirpur area clashed with police intermittently throughout the day yesterday, leaving at least 30 people injured and traffic obstructed for hours.

Hopes for talk buzz in political circle

Newly appointed Food and Health Adviser MM Shawkat Ali yesterday made a phone call to Awami League (AL) Presidium Member Motia Chowdhury to know about AL's stance on the proposed talks between the government and the political parties.

Matin given reins of home ministry

In an unprecedented shuffle in the administration, Shipping Adviser Maj Gen (retd) MA Matin yesterday was given the charge of the home ministry, which traditionally had been kept in the hands of chief advisers during the rule of past caretaker governments.

Edible oil exporters' tricky way to make money

When the country was facing an acute dearth of edible oil supply last year, two business groups exported over 20,000 tonnes of edible oil to India at rates below those of local and international markets to get tax benefits on importing from traders there.

WFP's urgent appeal for $22m more

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) yesterday made an urgent appeal to international donors for an additional US$22 million to continue WFP's emergency assistance to more than 2 million victims of Cyclone Sidr.

DU demos demand unconditional release

Dhaka University (DU) teachers, students and family members of the detained teachers and a student of the university yesterday continued their demonstration demanding their "unconditional release with dignity".

Offenders warned

The government will take punitive actions against those involved in the recent labour unrest in the garment factories in city's Mirpur area.

BNP to skip polls without Khaleda

The pro-Khaleda faction of BNP will not participate in dialogue with the government or in the upcoming election without the consent of detained party chairperson Khaleda Zia.

No undue favour taken from Hasina

Summit Group Chairman Muhammed Aziz Khan yesterday said he did not take any undue favour from former premier Sheikh Hasina against his Tk 3 crore donation to the Bangabandhu Memorial Trust to establish Bangabandhu Museum.

Crime rate falls, probes make little headway

The overall law and order marked an improvement in 2007 except some stray incident as the country went through the state of emergency from the beginning of the year.

Donors start assessing Sidr loss

A team of representatives from various donor agencies on Sunday started assessing the government's request of $2.10 billion in assistance for the restoration and rehabilitation work in the areas affected by Cyclone Sidr.

Foreign adviser updates envoys on govt actions

Foreign Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury met the foreign envoys yesterday to brief them about the government's actions over the past year and outlined challenges the government may face this year.

Kazi Zafarullah freed on bail

Awami League Presidium Member Kazi Zafarullah was released from the Dhaka Central Jail yesterday afternoon following the court granted him bail.

Selim Bhuiyan admits dealing with Niko

Former Dhaka Club president Selim Bhuiyan, who is accused in Niko scam case, yesterday admitted that all the dealings between Bangladesh government and the Canadian energy company were made through him, sources said.

Necessity of emergency lessened

Newly appointed Law Adviser Hassan Ariff yesterday said the necessity for the state of emergency has lessened and that the regime would not be needed at all if normalcy prevails in the country.

HC asks govt not to remand Tarique

The High Court (HC) yesterday directed the government not to take former premier Khaleda Zia's son Tarique Rahman on police remand and quiz him instead at jail gate if it is necessary for investigation.

IGP suggests raising fine for violating traffic rules

The inspector general of police (IGP) yesterday suggested heavy financial penalties for violating traffic rules in a bid to prevent drivers from committing traffic offences repeatedly.

AL asks govt not to redraw constituencies

Awami League (AL) Acting President, Zillur Rahman yesterday urged the caretaker government not to redraw the parliamentary constituencies as it could hamper the announced electoral roadmap.

France to send all artefacts back to Dhaka

The French government would send back all the Bangladeshi artefacts that were flown to Paris for an exhibition at Guimet Museum last month, the newly appointed French ambassador yesterday said.

Glowing tribute to Selim Al Deen

Renowned Indian actor, director and cultural critic Rudraprasad Sengupta has paid glowing tributes to legendary drama icon Selim Al Deen saying he should be remembered with utmost reverence and sincerity for the sake of future of Bengali theatre.

Court completes taking statement of witnesses in one case

A Dhaka court yesterday finished recording the depositions of witnesses in one of the two cases filed against four teachers and 15 students of Dhaka University (DU) in connection with violating Emergency Power Rules (EPR) on August last year.

500 tonnes of rice seized in Chuadanga

About 500 tonnes of rice were seized in this tiny border district town in an anti-hoarding drive yesterday.

India for nuclear energy cooperation with China

With a controversial nuclear deal with the United States now in limbo, India held out the possibility yesterday of civilian nuclear cooperation with China.

Musharraf faces call to quit over violence

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf faced new calls for his resignation yesterday after a bomb killed 10 people in this teeming port city ahead of key February elections, sparking violent protests.

4 killed in explosion targeting US vehicle in Beirut

An explosion targeting a US Embassy vehicle yesterday in northern Beirut killed four Lebanese and injured a local embassy employee, an American official said.

Benazir husband gives evidence to Scotland Yard

The widower of slain Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto said on Tuesday that he had given evidence to a team of British detectives who are investigating her assassination.

Bush urges Opec nations to pump more oil

President Bush urged Opec nations yesterday to put more oil on the world market and warned that soaring prices could cause an economic slowdown in the United States.

Editorial

Delimitation of constituencies

The process of delimitation of constituencies that has got underway is an eminently logical, timely and necessary step. We welcome it. This is in keeping with the need for administrative convenience as well as taking the population density factor into consideration so that the number of voters is about the same in all the constituencies except of course for the hill districts, where there are three seats in all.

A man of unbounded creativity

The death of Selim Al Deen brings to an end the career of a man whose contributions to the cause of literature and theatre in Bangladesh have been of an elevated kind. He belonged to that group of young men, back in the days immediately after the liberation of the country, who believed that a new ethos needed to be shaped in aesthetics. It was a constant enrichment of Bengali culture that these young men emphasised through their works. And Al Deen was one individual who believed that a nation's heritage was doomed to decline unless it was endlessly and periodically refurbished by new ideas.

Of foreign policy, of scholar diplomats

IT is as good a time as any, once more, to raise the issue of where Bangladesh's diplomacy is going. Or you could ask if there is any diplomacy at work, if there is a foreign policy that we can truly call our own. Something there is about the structure of our diplomacy that is deeply worrying. One would have thought that the tranche of reforms the caretaker government took upon itself to pursue and implement would include a very fundamental need to recast the modalities upon which the country has been interacting with nations around the world.

Legal position of special assistants to the chief adviser

THERE has been a debate on the constitutional legality of appointment of special assistants to the chief adviser with the rank and status of a state minister.

Sports

Tigers easy prey

"We are not going to be easy prey for New Zealand this time". The man who made this comment was none other than our national cricket captain Mohammad Ashraful and of course it was said before the series.

BCB reveals U-19 WC squad

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) announced the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup squad to be held in Malaysia in February after the upcoming home series against Nepal and West Indies.

Time for cricket

Australia captain Ricky Ponting on Tuesday said he was glad to have held clear-the-air talks with India's Anil Kumble after coming under intense pressure following the infamous Sydney Test.

Prime Bank's no to BFF

Football suffered another blow at the start of 2008 as Prime Bank refused to sponsor Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) this year due its engagement in other sports.

WACA no worry: Anil

Ever since he took over as captain, Anil Kumble has insisted on 'taking the pitch and conditions out of the equation' and urged his side not to get too worked up about the WACA pitch too. Of the current batch only Sachin Tendulkar has played a Test on this ground but Kumble hoped the rest would draw on their experience to counter the challenge.

Brothers set to drop the case

The uncertainty over this year's Premier Division Cricket League is likely to be removed after it was learnt that Brothers Union is all set to withdraw its legal battle against the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).

Sania leads Asian blitz

China's Li Na and India's Sania Mirza led an Asian blitz into the second round of the Australian Open Tuesday, with Japan's Akiko Morigami and the region's top men's player Lee Hyung-Taik joining them.

'Desperate for 17th'

Adam Gilchrist believes that though Australia have retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, there is still plenty to play for in the last two Tests of the series. Speaking after the end of the team's practice session at the WACA two days ahead of the third Test, Gilchrist said the players were hungry for the record 17th successive victory.

8 matches today

The Pepsi Media Cricket Tourna-ment will begin today at the Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium with 24 teams taking part in the popular event of journalists.

Fed Express starts rolling

Roger Federer and Venus Williams stormed into the Australian Open second round Tuesday, with the Swiss great emphatically erasing any fitness concerns after a virus disrupted his preparations.

Record breaking Real

Defending champions Real Madrid have wracked up a record 47 points during the first half of the season and are seemingly unstoppable in the drive towards their 31st Spanish league title, thanks to a favourable fixtures calendar and its players' fitness level.

No favours for Beckham

Fabio Capello has warned David Beckham he won't be influenced by sentiment when he decides if the England midfielder deserves to win his 100th cap against Switzerland.

Fans pepper-sprayed

A group of rowdy fans were pepper-sprayed by police at the Australian Open on Tuesday as ugly scenes blighted the tournament for a second year.

Hammers gear up for City

West Ham winger Freddie Ljungberg plans to make up for lost time against Man-chester City in Wednesday's FA Cup third round replay after finally solving his injury problems.

Barca ask for explanation

Barcelona called to account striker Lionel Messi for having gone to Qatar without telling them while injured, Catalonian daily El Periodico on Tuesday.

Argentina appoint Batista

Argentina have named Sergio Batista, a midfielder in their victorious 1986 World Cup team, as coach of their Olympic side for this year's Games in Beijing.

Bolivian leader slams FIFA

Bolivian President Evo Morales on Monday accused FIFA of killing off football in high-altitude nations by making an adaptation period obligatory for matches played at over 2,500 metres.

Brazil line up Sweden

Brazil are to face Sweden in a friendly international in London on March 26, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) said on its Web site (http://cbfnews.uol.com.br).

Le Monde fined 300,000 euros

French newspaper Le Monde and one of its journalists were handed a court order here on Tuesday to pay 300,000 euros in damages to Barcelona football club after the paper published a defamatory article on alleged doping practices at the Catalan club.

Agger could miss season

Liverpool defender Daniel Agger has suffered a recurrence of a foot injury that threatens to wreck his season.

Jamshed flays Zimbabwe

Opener Nasir Jamshed hit a sparkling hundred as Pakistan's Patron's XI strengthened their position in the four-day match against Zimbabwe on Tuesday.

Sunrise fire blank again

Newcomers Sunrise Krira Chakra picked up their third point in the Senior Division Football League yesterday when they shared a goalless draw with Purbachal Parisad at the Birshreshtha Shaheed Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur.

DC School kabaddi

The Dhaka Deputy Commissioner's School kabaddi tournament for boys and girls will begin at the Outer Stadium kabaddi court tomorrow.

Aga Khan Gold Cup golf held

Saad Rahim Choudhary won men's title while Luna Sarker clinched the women's crown in the Aga Khan Gold Cup Golf Tournament at the Kurmitola Golf Club (KGC) course recently.

Easy wins for Army, Navy

Bangladesh Amy got off to a bright start in the President Cup Super Four volleyball tournament yesterday when they blanked title contenders Bangladesh Rifles in straight sets.

Akmal Hossain's qulkhwani today

The qulkhwani of Sheikh Akmal Hossain, former general secretary of Bangladesh Football Federation and life member of Mohammedan Sporting Club, will be held after the Asr prayers today at his residence in Old DOHS (House No. 73, Road No. 6).

Patience pays for Rogers

Openings for Australian openers are rare and Chris Rogers must have wondered whether he had missed his chance when he spent the first Test of the home summer in rehabilitation instead of at the Gabba. Rogers and Phil Jaques had been trying to out-stare each other since the retirement of Justin Langer last January, but the battle between two men who swear they are friends ended in October when Rogers experienced serious stomach pain.

Fast and furious

Chris Rogers has called it hellish and Adam Gilchrist thinks it has the fire to shock. Gary Kirsten, India's coach in waiting, has included it in the document he's prepared for the team. Dennis Lillee has ensured it regains some of its old glory and, going by all the chatter, Shaun Tait is obviously licking his lips. Welcome to the WACA, the ground that houses the world's most popular pitch.

Bhajji appeal hearing put back

Controversial Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh will be able to play through the acrimonious four-Test series with Australia as his appeal against a three-match ban was on Monday set for after the final ball has been bowled.

To err is human: Bucknor

Embattled cricket umpire Steve Bucknor expressed disappointment Monday in being sent home from the Test series between India and Australia.

'I never called Procter racist'

Under-fire Indian batting great Sunil Gavaskar Tuesday said he never called Mike Procter a racist and the word has been wrongly attributed to him in his column back home.

Business

Labour leaders blame price hikes, low wages for RMG unrest

Poor industrial relations have plagued the ready made garment industry since it began to boom in the 1990s and labour leaders warned yesterday that recent price increases have set the stage for more unrest in the country's premier export earner.

Exports rebound to grow 2.4pc Jul-Nov

Led by a vibrant knitwear sector, exports rose 2.4 percent in the first 5 months of the current fiscal (2007-08) on the same period a year earlier, clawing back a weak start to the year.

Finance adviser moves to replace ex-officio directors on SoE boards

Finance Adviser Mirza Azizul Islam yesterday said he has taken initiative to replace ex-officio directors on boards of state-owned enterprises (SoE) under his jurisdiction so that the enterprises can run more efficiently.

Tk1.4b Citibank term loan for Brac

Brac, a leading non-governmental organisation, has entered into a term financing of Tk 1.40 billion with Citibank NA, Bangladesh with the support of Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) of the USA

SEC bars errant firm directors from selling, buying of their shares

Directors and sponsor directors of errant companies cannot sell, buy or transfer their shares in companies from today, the Securities and Exchange Commission ruled yesterday.

Texas Group named 'aamra'

Texas Group, which is involved in textile, ICT, fashion and other businesses, has changed its name to 'aamra' (we), and made an announcement to expand its operations abroad.

NBR starts identifying tax dodgers

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has started identifying tax dodgers to fulfill this year's revenue target.

Emirates to add 2 flights to ME

Emirates, a Dubai-based airline, will add two additional flights to its fleet by the end of January to carry more Bangladeshi workers to Middle East.

Citi announces full year 2007 revenues of $81.7b

Citigroup Inc yesterday reported a full year revenue of US$ 81.7 billion with a net after tax income of US$ 3.62 billion, says a press release.

Hertz to offer special rates to GP users

Hertz Rent-a-Car Bangladesh will offer special rates to Grameenphone's Business Solutions subscribers, says a press release.

Oil prices fall

World oil prices fell slightly in Asian trade Tuesday amid tensions in key crude producers Iran and Nigeria that offset concerns that US oil demand could decline amid economic uncertainty, traders said.

UK envoy launches CRS project today

The British High Commission to Dhaka will launch a project today to help Bangladeshi businesses to maintain a leading edge, through recognising and harnessing the commercial benefits of adopting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices.

Metropolitan

Call for comprehensive policy for adolescents

The country still lacks a comprehensive policy or guideline for the development of adolescents who account for about 2.8 crore of the total population, speakers at the 2nd National Adolescent Convention said yesterday.

Help brighten image of judiciary

Chief Justice Mohammad Ruhul Amin yesterday asked the judges and magistrates to help brighten the image of the judiciary and boost the people's confidence in the justice system through their performance.

Hearing on Bijoy TV scam case begins

Hearing on Bijoy TV scam case involving Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) Mayor ABM Mohiuddin Chowdhury started here yesterday.

DU student found dead at husband's residence

A female student of Dhaka University (DU) was found dead at the residence of her husband on Monday.

Media should reflect issues related to poverty cut

Issues relating to poverty reduction should be prominently reflected in the media to create platforms for debates leading to formulation of pro-poor policies, said the media and development experts at a discussion yesterday.

Road accidents kill 11, injure 165

At least 11 people were killed and 165 others injured in separate road accidents in Gopalganj, Barguna, Brahmanbaria, Thakurgaon and Chapainawabganj yesterday and on Monday night.

JU BCL leader beaten up by JCD cadres

A leader of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) was beaten up by the cadres of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) on the campus of Jahangirnagar University (JU) on Monday night.

'Link research to national problems'

A two-day symposium on 'advanced materials' organised by Bangladesh Physical Society in collaboration with Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission and Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden began at Buet yesterday, says a press release.

Tk 2.6 cr foreign currencies seized, three air passengers held

Customs and intelligence officials seized foreign currencies worth Tk 2.6 crore from three outgoing passengers at Zia International Airport (ZIA) in the city on Monday night.

'Withdraw emergency in phases’

Bangladesh Kalyan Party (BKP) Chairman Maj Gen (retd) Syed Muhammad Ibrahim yesterday demanded withdrawal of emergency in phases and lifting ban on indoor politics in all districts by the end of this month.

MIST launches executive MBA programme

The Military Institute of Science and Technology (MIST) has launched the evening executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme under its Management Studies Department.

BNS Sangu leaves for Port Blair to join military exercise

Bangladesh Navy ship SANGU yesterday left for Port Blair in the Andamans to join the military exercise of Indian Ocean Rim countries.

Desa officials to listen to complaints From clients

Chairman of Dhaka Electricity Supply Authority (Desa) and its board members will listen problems and complaints directly from its clients residing at Shamibag, Narinda, Bangshal and Banglabazar at the local office of the areas today.

Newspaper holiday on Sunday

In accordance with the decision of the Executive Committee, members of the Newspapers Owners' Association of Bangladesh (NOAB) will observe holiday on Sunday on the occasion of the holy Ashura.

Bangladeshi doctor honoured

Prof Dr Mohammad SI Mullick, an eminent Bangladeshi psychiatrist, has been selected as the winner of Asian Family Health Research Award, says a press release.

Switzerland to spend 20m francs annually for dev projects for five yrs

Ambassador of Switzerland to Bangladesh Dora Rapold yesterday said her country would spend up to 20 million Swiss francs annually for different development projects for next five years.

USAID official visits Sidr-hit Morelganj

Mark S Ward, senior deputy assistant administrator for the Bureau for Asia and Near East for USAID, recently visited Sidr-hit Morelganj in Bagerhat district.

RMG worker stabbed to death in Ctg

A young garment worker was stabbed to death allegedly by his cousin in the port city yesterday.

Resignation of NU VC demanded

Students of Dhaka College and Shaheed Titumir College yesterday staged demonstrations protesting the postponement of English compulsory examinations of the National University (NU) for the second time upon allegation of question paper leakage.

Houston mayor declares Jan 14 'Yunus Day'

Houston, one of the America's largest cities, has declared January 14 'Muhammad Yunus Day' to honour Nobel laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus who is currently on a tour of the US.

Selim Al Deen to be laid to rest today

The nation will pay homage to Selim Al Deen, the legendary drama icon of the country, at Central Shaheed Minar in the city today before his burial on Jahangirnagar University (JU) campus.

RU students lodge appeal against verdict

Ten convicted students of Rajshahi University (RU) yesterday challenged the verdict against them in the case of torching a DGFI vehicle in last year's August 22 campus violence and lodged an appeal with the district and session judge's court of Rajshahi.

Joint forces raid Nanak's residence

Members of the joint forces conducted a raid on the residence of Jubo League Chairman Jahangir Kabir Nanak at Green Road in the city last night.

8 criminals arrested in Pallabi

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested eight members of a gang led by listed criminal Shahadat from the city's Pallabi area and recovered four firearms along with 19 bullets in the early hours of yesterday.

Citizens’ probe demanded

Speakers at a discussion yesterday demanded forming a citizens' probe committee to identify the real culprits behind the killing of journalist Manik Saha.

RU teacher gets bail

Rajshahi Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Court yesterday granted bail to Rajshahi University (RU) teacher M Faruk-uz-Zaman after he surrendered before the court.

National

240kg Baghair steals the show, sells at Tk 90,000

Nasir Mian demanded Tk 1,20,000 for a Baghair and sold the 240 kg fish at Tk 90,000. It was netted from Kushiyara river.

10,000 fowls culled in Barisal city in a night

Officials, joined by law enforcers including Rab, cordoned about two-kilometre area in Barisal city Monday night, caught about 10,000 fowls from houses and small farms and culled them after detection of bird flu in two indigenous dead hens.

Charge framing tomorrow

Charges against 11 out of 13 accused of journalist Manik Saha murder case will be framed tomorrow in Khulna Divisional Speedy Trial Tribunal.

Agitation on at RU for release of students

After attending classes, students with mouths covered with black cloths, marched Rajshahi University (RU) campus streets, held rallies and staged sit-in demanding release of 10 students convicted in the DGFI vehicle torching case.

46 tonnes urea seized, 4 held

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) on Monday night recovered 46 tonnes of Urea in Shailkupa upazila in Jhenidah and arrested four people for illegal hoarding of the fertiliser.

EU starts aid for 6,000 Sidr victim families

European Union (EU) yesterday started supply of food to 6,000 Sidr affected families in four unions under Galachipa upazila in the district.

Selim Al Deen's death condoled

Teachers and students of Music and Drama Department of Rajshahi University yesterday brought out a mourning procession on the campus at the death of legendary drama icon Selim Al Deen.

Letters

Spiralling prices

I want to convey my sincere thanks to Dr. M. Moniruzzaman for his article on price stability published in The Daily Star on 4 January 2008. He has dissected the root cause of volatile market instability and suggested how we can come out of this problem and counter the situation in the coming days. It (scarcity of rice) may worsen due to increasing population and loss of cultivable land due to natural disasters like global warming or floods. While reading the article, I remember that in 1973-74, we used to go weekly to bring rice, wheat, edible oil, butter oil, salt and sugar from nearby ration dealer and it's stamped with date in that card that we took the ration for the said duration. So, no one could have their ration before the next scheduled date. Now, the government should handle the situation strongly and must implement VGD, VGF, TR, RMP and FFW to help the poor and vulnerable groups.

Vote for Bangladesh!

Two of our most beautiful tourist sports are at the top of the list of Seven Wonders of Nature.

Batting debacle

I am always amazed to see how Bangladesh cricket team's batting collapses on a regular basis.

Save Osmani Udyan

Osmany Udyan is facing the greed of some powerful land-grabbers. Since 2001, this group has been trying to grab about three acres land of Osmani Udyan, but they have failed because of the alertness of the Save Osmani Udyan Committee, Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan and other eminent civil society individuals and environmentalists.

Global warming and America

Americans are experiencing their worst nightmare of natural catastrophes such as wild forest fire, storms, blizzards, heavy rains etc. Millions of Americans are now rendered homeless in different states having no shelter, food and power due to all these natural calamities. Now the question is, seeing all these miseries of their own people, will the Bush administration become serious enough to go for the resolution to actively participate in lessening global warming? As we all know, global warming is the main cause of all these disasters. We also believe that now it is time that the recently concluded seminar in Bali, Indonesia, on global warming should act as an eye opener for Americans and they must participate and take the leading role to contain global warming.

Sheikh Hasina's treatment

The four specialist professors have every right to give opinion as to the medical condition of their patient. It, however, is pretty odd for physicians to suggest a definite country for the purpose of treatment. As I can gather from the newspapers reports, Sheikh Hasina is suffering from multiple disease processes including hypertension, eye problem (not specified in the news report) and hearing problem. It is also suggested that she might be suffering from kidney problems too.

Wake up!

In my opinion the learned society of Bangladesh does not do enough to pressurize the government into making some significant decisions. I draw on the example of the internet tariff set by BTTB. In an article published by The Daily Star on 31/12/2007 we, the general people, got to know about the BTTB's myopic vision. It seems we have left it for India to earn easy cash! Does it not strike them that with reduced rates there will be a huge number of people taking their services which in turn will be a win-win situation for the govt., BTTB and the people. The private sector can then groom the unemployed youths and provide an avenue for 'significant employment'. We are already lagging behind and still our authorities don't take effective decisions which could benefit the nation.

PPP in post-Benazir era

Keeping in line with the politics of dynasty, Pakistan and the PPP has again proved it could not rise above the petty ideals of short-term political gains. They had to elect Benazir Bhutto's son and father to lead the party! The latter is already smeared with an aura of corruption and the former is an untested adolescent with no political experience whatsoever. Unfortunately, the same goes for current Bangladesh. Even after the massive changes of 1/11, the political dynasties seem to enjoy significant control over the national politics. It is still quite difficult to imagine a political landscape without Sheikh Hasina or Khaleda Zia.

Phensidyl menace

Quite frequently we come across news reports on TV and newspaper that a huge number of Indian Phensidyl bottles have been seized or destroyed by the law enforcing agencies.

Comments

Mohammad Badrul Ahsan's write-up “Curse or Coincidence” explains the tragedy that has befallen the Bhutto family. But he misses out two very important points -

Rice shortage and solution

There was an article about recent food shortage in Bangladesh on the 4 January issue of The Daily Star.

Wanted: new leaders

We have burning examples in front of us of our "leaders" having corrupt sons. How can some people seek again their leadership knowing very well that if they cannot control their children at home they cannot control/govern a country?

Can we try constitutional monarchy?

It seems that the present government has been trying to get the country's two politically dominant families Zia family and Bangabandhu family off politics since the interim administration came to power a year back. They have so far tried a number of options that include keeping Hasina and Khaleda out of the country and replacing them as heads of their respective political parties the AL and the BNP. I think these efforts will not succeed, as these steps by nature go against human rights and are unacceptable to all democracy-loving people both inside and outside the country or, at least, these would look odd in such an emerging democracy, unlike Pakistan. Besides, even though these are done, they will merely be temporary, as we have observed in the cases of Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan. Under the circumstances, the present government can try an option of setting up constitutional monarchy that will replace the current position of the President of Bangladesh with Queen or King. Under this formula, the Bangabandhu family will be made the royal family with no political powers while the Zia family will be put on the 'free market politics' (real competition in elections) where the 'market forces' (quality of competing parties and leaders) will determine the value of the BNP with Zia family at the party helm. If the present government organises a referendum before introduction of such a monarchy, the whole thing will be democratic as well as legitimate.

Women bashing

Women in our country are always the target of violence and oppression. They are to be dominated by men--the stronger sex. This is a common scene in Bangladesh--a country where the independent thinking of a woman is very much subjected to social criticism. In our country women cannot get the recognition that they deserve because their credibility is suppressed by the conservative mentality of society. A woman working alone on her own would often have to endure ugly remarks thrown at her if her job is considered “disrespectful” when it is not. For instance, a woman working as a garments worker whose wage is poor may fall victim to insulting comments which she may or may not be able to wash off her hands. Sometimes, working overtime especially in late hours may cause an unfortunate female worker to become susceptible to sexual assaults. A housewife would often have to pay a comparatively higher price for the same kilogram of vegetables when her male counterpart would easily get away with paying a lesser price. A desperate mother who is a single parent working after 6.00pm would be teased and be a topic of backbiting in our society when all she is to be blamed for is to choose to earn her own living for her children, instead of sitting idle at home. These are some of the many examples of discrimination which the women in our country face every day and there is nothing to do about it.

Our hopes

A new year has once again begun with new hopes and dreams. The last year was not a good one for our country as the catastrophic Sidr and floods struck the southern areas, leaving millions homeless. Our achievements and expectations are not so high still we, Bangladeshis, are resilient and invincible and will never give up. The Sidr struck people have once again started building their houses, cultivating paddy and thus getting life started anew. But some of them are still being neglected and are just dreaming of at least some help coming which will enable them to build up life once again. People who are well off can extend a hand towards them. They can donate foods and clothes to those people who have a real need at this moment.

Double standards

The nation is shocked by the way the learned teachers and the students have been dealt with. We consider it a shame for all of us.

Cry for democracy

The outcry by the local political leaders for democracy in Bangladesh continues as usual. But if we carefully analyse the interests behind this outcry it becomes very clear that their cries are merely for their own benefits. They merely use democracy as a means to grab power, a ladder to climb on to the top. Unfortunately, very few political leaders in Bangladesh ever practised democracy when they were in any kind of power. That is why we saw whenever they were in power the leaders made their brothers or sisters MPs, brother in laws ministers, nephews and cousins ministers, sons future leaders of the parties, irrespective of their qualifications or experience! They do not like to see democracy within their own parties/institutions, in their ways of business. They are intolerant to any kind of opposition. They like democracy only when the result of an election goes in favour of them. They are not ashamed of rigging the election to get their own candidates elected. They are not ashamed of modifying election rules to influence the election. Even after all these, if the outcome goes against them they start crying foul, start street agitation. They do not care about ordinary people being killed.

Dinajpur mine blast

This refers to the featured news "Dinajpur 'mine blast tragedy' day today: Hundreds of FFs were killed on this day in 1972" (January 06, 2008). The accidental mine blast on January 06, 1972 at the Dinajpur Maharaja Girizanath High School Mukti Bahini Transit Camp is a tragic episode of the Bangladesh Liberation war. Hundreds of freedom fighters lost their lives and about an equal number of them were seriously injured. This was the highest number of casualties among the FFs in a single incident. Around that time a similar tragic accident happened in the eastern sector. Very sadly, now few people know and remember these unfortunate incidents of Bangladesh Liberation War.

International

Israeli troops kill 15 Palestinians in Gaza

At least 15 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces on Tuesday as fighting around the Hamas-run Gaza Strip escalated a day after the two sides launched talks on the core issues of their conflict.

Lanka kills rebels, hits back at foreign critics

Sri Lanka's government claimed yesterday its forces had killed 22 more Tamil Tiger rebels and brushed off international concerns over the island's slide back into all-out war.

Bush in new Saudi talks after arms deal

US President George W Bush holds a second day of talks in Saudi Arabia yesterday after his administration announced it was taking the first steps in a multi-billion-dollar arms deal with the kingdom.

Attack on Kabul luxury hotel kills 7

Militants stormed Kabul's most popular luxury hotel Monday, hunting down Westerners who cowered in a gym during a coordinated assault that killed seven people and could signal a new era of brazen Taliban attacks.

Orphaned Bangladeshi conjoined twins set for separation

Orphaned Bangladeshi conjoined twins have survived an initial operation, but it will be another six months before they can be separated, the Australian charity looking after them said Tuesday.

Taliban attack shows need to address terror threat: UN chief

UN chief Ban Ki-moon suggested that the deadly attack by Taliban militants on a Kabul luxury hotel targeted the Norwegian foreign minister and said it highlighted the need for action against extremist violence.

Voting underway in Michigan presidential primary

Polls opened across Michigan early yesterday where Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney faced a make-or-break battle in his lagging White House campaign.

Gandhi's ashes to be scattered at sea

Sixty years after he was assassinated, some of peace icon Mohandas K Gandhi's ashes will be scattered in the Arabian Sea at the family's request and not publicly displayed, a museum trustee said yesterday.

Australia reverses plan to sell uranium to India

The new Australian government will scrap a landmark deal to sell uranium to India for its nuclear energy programme, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith indicated Tuesday.

Arts & Entertainment

Boosting the Sri Lankan film industry

FOR the fourth consecutive time renowned Sri Lankan director-writer-producer Somaratne Dissanayake has come to Dhaka to participate at the Dhaka International Film Festival. His films -- Saroja, Punchi Suranganavi, Sooriya Arana, Punchi Suranganavi and Samanalu Thatu -- have captivated audiences from all walks of life, all over the world. Sooriya Arana is apparently the most popular Sri Lankan film. Dissanayake received the Sri Lanka National Icon Award as the Best Non Performing Artist in 2005.

Promoting thrash metal in Bangladeshi music scene

POWERSURGE (vocalist: Jamshed, guitars: Nahian and Samir, bass: Arefin, drums: Samiul) is a band with a strong thrash metal influence on their music. The band first came to spotlight after winning the DRockstars contest.

Today's films

On the seventh day of the ongoing 10th Dhaka International Film Festival nine movies will be screened at two venues -- Central Public Library Auditorium and National Museum Auditorium.

Recalling January 6, 1972

THE people of Dinajpur recently observed the January 6th mine blast tragedy, where hundreds of freedom fighters were killed at a transit camp set up at Maharaja Girijanath High School premises.

“Rupali Manush” on ATN Bangla today

The 18th episode of drama serial Rupali Manush will be aired at 3:10 pm on ATN Bangla today. Written by Fazlul Karim, the serial is directed by Fakhrul Abedin.

Workshop on school theatre

To inspire the creative activities among children all over the country, People's Theatre Association and RAKHAL (Regenerative Action for Kaleidoscopic Human Activity and Learning) arranged a five-day long workshop on school theatre at different institutions in Nababganj, says a press release.

OP-ED

When the Shah of Iran lost his throne . . .

ON January 16, 1979, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Aryamehr, Light of the Aryans, Shahinshah of Iran, left Tehran with his royal family for what was given out as a holiday. Within Iran and in the outside world, though, it was known only too well that the Shah and his family would never return to take charge of their kingdom again. The kingdom had reached its final stages of collapse, even though the increasingly beleaguered monarch had put his final hopes on Shahpour Bakhtiar, the prime minister he was leaving in charge.

If only ...

IF only we could stick to our respective assigned tasks and did what we knew best, instead of unduly interfering into others' territory of operations and expertise, surely things would have been far less complicated and it would have been easier to salvage and sustain whatever progress we have made so far. Just consider this, how would the scenario appear if the cobbler all too suddenly turned into a goldsmith, likewise a rickshaw puller into a racing car driver or, for that matter, a fruit seller into an economist. Frankly, most of us are doing exactly all that we are not supposed to, and for which we are not duly qualified either.

Self reliance for food security

WITH empty shelves in Caracas, food riots in West Bengal, Mexico, Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal and Yemen, warnings of hunger in Jamaica, Nepal, the Philippines and sub-Saharan Africa, soaring prices of basic foods all around the globe have brought into light a looming global food crisis. In the recent past, Argentines boycotted tomatoes when the vegetable became more expensive than meat; and in Italy, shoppers organised a one-day boycott of pasta to protest rising prices; the Russian government, hoping to ease tensions, announced a price freeze for milk, bread and other foods.

The protection business

In Iraq there are about 78,000 armed individuals dubbed Concerned Local Citizens (CLCs). Their jobs: to protect their fellow Iraqis, staff checkpoints and help rid the country of terrorists. They're also pulling down a collective $23.4 million monthly, at $10 a day each. Joining the United States to defeat al-Qaeda and assorted insurgents is a noble enough endeavor that carries considerable risk, but it is also a sizable business. And in a country where tribal allegiances are paramount and loyalty to outside entities fluid, the chance to make money and gain power -- not national pride -- may be the key drivers for the Iraqis' civic activities.

Star City

Filthy, suffocating and crowded all the time

Filthy, unhygienic and congested atmosphere, scarce water supply, insufficient number of bathrooms, poor ventilation and male visitors crowding the area -- this should be enough to illustrate the state of the Labour Ward at Mitford Hospital.

Uneven width and woeful ballad of over one lakh commuters

Inconsistent width of Basabo-Nandipara Road, the main thoroughfare for over one lakh inhabitants of Basabo, Madartek, Nandipara, Dakkhingaon and Trimohoni areas, is seriously affecting vehicular movement.

Viability of metro for mass transport still questioned

Government decision to go for underground railway for Dhaka's mass transport system is not based on any feasibility study, said leading transport experts.

Postal services slide but charges go up

The government has increased postal charges at a time when its services have marked sharp decline with the advent of cellular phones, emails and courier services.

Star Chittagong

CCC to construct six more foot overbridges

Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) will construct six more foot overbridges in the busy areas to check intolerable gridlock as well as to facilitate the smooth movement of pedestrians in the port city.

Renovation of dilapidated roads continues

Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) has continued its renovation work of the dilapidated thoroughfares in the port city using asphalt plant, a modern and sustainable technology, for smooth movement of the commuters.


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