The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Monday, September 22, 2014


News of: Monday, 11th of February, 2008

Front Page

Shibir, BCL men clash openly with lethal arms

Clashes between the activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) and Islami Chhatra Shibir over a trifling matter overnight left at least 40 students injured in Dhaka Polytechnic Institute yesterday.

Govt urges India not to block export

With rice import from India remaining suspended for the second day yesterday, the government said a process has been initiated to persuade the Indian authority so that its decision to stop rice export does not affect imports under L/Cs (letters of credit) opened already.

BNP unification move stops as Saifur wants no strings

The process of unity between two rival factions of BNP came to a grinding halt as pro-Saifur faction in a meeting yesterday decided not to pursue unification unless pro-Khaleda faction withdraws the conditions it had slapped on it.

SC re-fixes hearing date on govt appeal

In the face of objection from former premier Sheikh Hasina's counsel, the Supreme Court yesterday re-fixed the hearing for tomorrow on the government appeal against the landmark High Court verdict that quashed an extortion case against her.

BB pins economic prospect on stability, business confidence

The central bank in its quarterly report yesterday predicted that the economy would grow positively with heightened business confidence and socio-political stability against the backdrop of elections scheduled for late 2008.

CHT people facing acute food crisis

People in remote areas of Rangamati and Bandarban in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) are facing a severe food crisis following the recent invasion of rats on their jhum crop fields.

EC starts 2nd round talks next week

The Election Commission (EC) will start the second round of electoral reform talks with political parties from next week regardless of the result of the High Court hearing tomorrow on the dialogue with BNP, Election Commissioner Muhammed Sohul Hussain said yesterday.

Obama sweeps 3 US states

Sen Barack Obama swept the Louisiana primary and caucuses in Nebraska and Washington state Saturday night, slicing into Sen Hillary Rodham Clinton's slender delegate lead in their historic race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Charges framed against Huda, Sigma

A Dhaka court yesterday framed charges against detained former communications minister barrister Nazmul Huda and his wife advocate Sigma Huda in an extortion case filed by a former BNP lawmaker in July last year.

AL starts talks with allies for common stance

The Awami League (AL) yesterday started formal talks with its allies in the AL-led 14-party coalition, aiming to take a unified position on the issues to be discussed at the proposed reform dialogue with the government.

HC rule on ACC notices to Zafarullah, Koko

The High Court yesterday issued a rule upon the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to explain why its notice asking former prime minister Khaleda Zia's detained younger son Arafat Rahman Koko to submit his statement of wealth "should not be declared illegal".

4 robbers lynched in Chittagong

Four robbers, who shot dead a youth during a robbery, were beaten to death at Azampur village in Chittagong's Mirsarai upazila early yesterday.

BDR, BSF trade shots

Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) traded gunfire with Indian Border Security Force (BSF) at several points on Baliadangi border in Thakurgaon district early yesterday.

Anti-graft drive in education sector soon

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Chairman Lt Gen (retd) Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury yesterday said the anti-graft watchdog would soon launch a drive to free the educational institutions from corruption.

700 miners on strike for pay hike

At least 700 Bangladeshi miners of Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Ltd (BCMCL) continued their strike yesterday demanding conditional raise, among others, after talks with the authorities failed to produce any result.

Move taken to free man in jail for 15 years without sentence

Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Moulvibazar Md Alkama Siddique has taken an initiative to release Ali Hussain Allya who has been in jail for 15 years without any conviction in connection with a murder case.

Clarification

Inspector General of Police (Prisons) Brig Gen Zakir Hassan yesterday clarified one of his quotes in a report headlined "Dhaka Jail library left unused for years", published in The Daily Star on February 7.

Lanka army chief vows to crush Tigers

Sri Lanka's army chief has renewed a vow to defeat Tamil rebels, but refused to set a deadline for ending the decades-old conflict, saying the separatists remain a potent force, a report said yesterday.

Editorial

Disturbing run-up to Feb 18 Pak polls

With only a week to go before the parliamentary elections in Pakistan, there has been yet another suicide bombing attack in Charsadda in North West Frontier Province snuffing out 20 people and wounding 25 others. Just how haemorrhagic the wave of suicide blasts has proven since before the dastardly assassination of Benazir Bhutto can be gauged from the number of casualties claimed -- around 220 so far.

15 years without trial!

The poignant tale of Ali Hussain, who wasted 15 painful years in a jail without facing any trial, is a shocking reminder of flaws existing in our legal system. It is but a glaring example of an accused kept in custody for one and a half decades without his guilt being proven in a court of law. The man's tryst with law began when he was picked up by the law enforcing agencies in connection with a murder case along with some other accused. But since his arrest in 1992, he did not face any trial with the case having stayed for last 12 years following a High Court order.

Eulogy for a revolutionary

IN 1970, Jordan's infamous black September was enacted by Pakistan's Colonel Ziaul Huq (later the country's president) while on a tour of duty to the Hashemite Kingdom. He wreaked havoc with the Palestinian guerillas at the behest of royal authority, resulting in a bloodbath -- an event that hastened the death of a mortally shocked President Nasser as he strove to stitch afresh the Arab unity in an Arab summit convened by him.

A Nandigram near Nagpur?

WHAT do you do when you receive an official notice demanding that you surrender your land at a price, which is under one-hundredth its market value? What are your options when the land is your main source of livelihood, and is being acquired for a state-of-the-art airport and Special Economic Zone, which won't remotely benefit you?

Can humanity still be saved?

WE have inherited a single planet. But what have we made of it? The Earth is today an endangered heritage, and the species itself is at risk.

Sports

Abahani's Victory Day

Abahani triumphed the first tournament of the year when they edged underdogs Arambagh Krira Sangha 3-2 in an entertaining final of the Protiti Pharma Victory Day Club Cup yesterday.

Mashud's one last wish

For a big-name player it is very important to pick the right moment to retire and thus make a graceful exit that endures in the memory.

Sharma skins Australia

Teenage fast bowler Ishant Sharma reinforced his status as one of the most exciting young talents in world cricket with a man-of-the-match performance to inspire his side to victory in a tri-series match against Australia at the MCG here Sunday.

Rakib loses to Ukraine GM

Bangladeshi Grand Master Abdullah Al Rakib suffered his second defeat the International Chess Festival of Moscow Open Chess when he lost to GM Alexander Areshchenko of Ukraine in the eighth round on Saturday.

Local Snippets

Newcomers Sunrise Sporting Club recorded their third victory in the Senior Division Football League when they edged bottom-table City Club 1-0 at the Birshreshtha Shaheed Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur yesterday.

Arthur stays as selector

The turmoil at the top of South African cricket deepened on Sunday when the board's chief executive overruled a move to sack coach Mickey Arthur as a selector in a row over racial quotas.

City do MU double

Zimbabwean striker Benjani Mwaruwari struck a debut goal to seal Manchester City's first win at Old Trafford since 1974 as the Premier League champions crumbled to a 2-1 defeat against their local rivals here on Sunday.

Xavi the saviour again

For the second week running Spanish international Xavi came to Barcelona's rescue scoring a 75th minute equaliser to salvage a point in a 1-1 draw at ten-man Sevilla on Saturday.

Roma back on track

AS Roma bounced back from last week's dire 3-0 defeat at Siena to beat Reggina 2-0 on Saturday and keep their faint title hopes alive.

League remains defiant

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has defen-ded controversial plans to play league matches abroad.

Everton sitting pretty

Everton piled the pressure on Liverpool by grinding out a 1-0 win over Reading that tightens the Toffees grip on fourth place in the Premier League.

Oleguer breaks hand

Barcelona defender Presas Oleguer will be out for six weeks with a broken bone in his hand, the Spanish giants said Sunday.

Africa bans five nations

Clubs from five countries -- the Central African Republic, Chad, Kenya, Rwanda and Sierra Leone -- have been excluded from African continental club competition this year, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said on Sunday.

Dumplings for diplomacy!

Japan's footballers will be doing their bit for their country's often-strained relations with China by ordering dumplings at this month's East Asian Championships.

Ponting puzzled, Dhoni delighted

Ricky Ponting is still working out how to tackle Ishant Sharma. You could say he is a bit puzzled. The Australian captain admitted as much as Ishant waited to talk about his spoils at the post-match media briefing.

Bordeaux hot on the heels

Laurent Blanc's resurgent Bordeaux kept the pressure on French league leaders Lyon with a 3-0 win over rock-bottom Metz on Saturday.

Colly hints no change

England captain Paul Collingwood hinted that changes were unlikely for the second one-day international against New Zealand in Hamilton on Tuesday.

Lee sees the bright side

Fast bowler Brett Lee has expressed confidence that his board and BCCI would reach an agreement to allow the Australian cricketers play in the cash-rich Indian Premier League.

Moores upbeat about Flintoff future

England coach Peter Moores is confident Andrew Flintoff can play a full role in the team as an all-rounder.

Silent tribute respected

A minute's silence ahead of Sunday's Manchester derby in memory of those who died in the 1958 Munich air disaster was fully respected at Old Trafford.

Golden goal gets NZ into Olympics

New Zealand came from behind to win the Olympic field hockey qualifying tournament here Sunday, sinking Argentina 3-2 with a golden goal in the dying seconds of extra time.

ITF tennis back in Dhaka

The Dhaka Bank 22nd Bangladesh International Junior Tennis tournament (Group-3) began yesterday at the National Tennis Complex in Ramna with the qualifying round matches.

Ghana take bronze

The goals continued to flow at the 2008 African Nations Cup Saturday with a record created as hosts Ghana beat Ivory Coast 4-2 in the third place play-off.

VdV's not so happy birthday

Hamburg captain Rafael van der Vaart had his birthday celebrations spoiled as his side were held to a 1-1 draw at Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, failing in their bid to reclaim the Bundesliga's third place.

Bentley catches mentor's eye

Blackburn's David Bentley has the chance to confirm his status as one of the Premier League's rising stars on Monday by denting Arsenal's title challenge but Arsene Wenger has no regrets about selling the England winger.

USA meet France in quarters

Defending champions America and France, two of the most successful countries in Davis Cup history, will clash in this year's quarterfinals after cruising through their World Group first round ties.

Keegan unleashes his wrath

Kevin Keegan accused his Newcastle players of being bullied as their woeful run continued with a 4-1 Premier League defeat at Aston Villa.

Capello reassures Beckham

England manager Fabio Capello on Sunday assured David Beckham that he will win his coveted 100th cap if he gets fit playing for Los Angeles Galaxy.

Diego rules out Juve switch

Werder Bremen midfielder Diego has ruled out any switch to Italian giants Juventus, despite reports to the contrary, and insists he is enjoying his football as a star of the Bundesliga.

Poisoning in Iraq!

Two children have died and five other people are seriously ill after eating cake poisoned with thallium delivered to a football club in Baghdad, a team official and police said on Sunday.

Business

Make quick decisions on big investment proposals

Foreign investors' chamber has urged the government to immediately decide on the pending big investment proposals from Tata and Asia Energy.

United Airways to add two wide-bodied aircraft to fleet

United Airways is to add two wide-bodied aircraft to its fleet to operate on international routes.

As Asia food prices bite, analysts warn of worse to come

Rising food prices have hit Asia's poor so hard that many have taken to the streets in protest, but experts see few signs of respite from the growing problem.

Able corporate leadership key to exploiting outsourcing potential

Able corporate leadership is a must to utilise Bangladesh's potential in business process outsourcing, a discussion was told in Dhaka yesterday.

Low-cost Chinese toothbrushes outshine local competition

A flood of cheap Chinese toothbrushes is threatening to undermine the once thriving local toothbrush industry with Bangladeshi manufactures unable to compete on price.

Countries should consider fiscal boost: IMF chief

The head of the IMF on Saturday renewed his call for countries to consider fiscal measures to boost demand in the face of slowing economic growth caused by the US subprime loan crisis.

Salt farmers demand subsidy

Salt farmers have demanded that the government form a Salt Board in Cox's Bazar and provide sufficient subsidy for them considering salt cultivation an agricultural pursuit.

Policy soon to cut interest rate on import finance

Bangladesh Bank governor has said a policy would be formulated in the next one month to reduce import finance interest rates, L/C (letter of credit) commissions and other charges in a bid to help lower import costs.

Pak jute team arrives today

A high profile delegation of Pakistan Jute Mills Association (PJMA) comprising leading importers of jute arrives here today on a five-day visit to Bangladesh.

India may allow FDI for specific sectors

The Indian government may allow Foreign Direct Investment for specific sectors such as electronic and sports goods in retail if an expert study going into the issue foresees no impact on the neighbourhood mom and pop stores.

As US recession looms, analysts debate severity

As the grim notion of recession appears to be taking hold in the United States, debate among economists is shifting from whether a downturn will occur to how long and how severe the slump will be.

DCCI, Dubai portal sign cooperation agreement

In a bid to promote DCCI members' business in Dubai, a strategic cooperation agreement has been signed between Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) and Tejari FZ LLC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

RanksTel introduces two new packages

RanksTel, a private land phone company, has introduced two corporate packages -- 'Business Enterprise' and 'SME-Business Proceed' -- to mark Corporate Bazaar, an exhibition of corporate houses.

Correction

In a news item titled "Foreign aid not needed for budget if reforms executed" published yesterday, it was mistakenly mentioned that mobile phone users spend around US$ 115 million a year on making calls. Actually, the amount of money is spent a month.

Metropolitan

Present CHT situation threat for future

Expressing grave concern over the situation of the hill people in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), eminent citizens yesterday said it is frightening and might explode anytime, causing ripple effect across the country.

Pay special attention to marooned children

Speakers at a workshop yesterday laid emphasis on providing special attention to children and adolescents living in southwestern region where people are marooned over the years due to waterlogging.

BDB, JSD in favour of 'consensus govt' after election

The leaders of Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh (BDB) and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) yesterday said they would back the move for forming a 'consensus government' after the national election.

DU students clash with hawkers

Some students of Dhaka University (DU) blockaded the Mirpur Road near New Market for an hour yesterday after hawkers beat up a student.

2 killed, 60 hurt in Netrakona clashes

Two persons were killed and 60 others injured in separate villagers' clashes in Purbadhala and Khaliajuri upazilas, police said.

Call to ensure friendly environment for people with disability

Speakers at a function yesterday underlined the need for ensuring a friendly atmosphere for the people with disabilities, securing a dignified position for them in society.

Withdrawal of emergency demanded

Left Democratic Alliance yesterday demanded of the caretaker government to withdraw state of emergency and return the democratic rights of people immediately, says a press release.

67 new books arrive in Ekushey fair

A total of 67 new books arrived in the Ekushey Book Fair yesterday.

Osmani team wins inter-class debate

Speakers at a function yesterday called upon the students to build up themselves as rational and logical rather than emotional ones to take up the future leadership of the country.

'Preserve FF quota in all job sectors'

Amra Muktijoddhar Santan, a platform of the children of freedom fighters, yesterday urged the chief adviser to ensure that the freedom fighter quota is preserved in all job sectors, including the Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) examinations.

ACC to quiz Mamun soon

The Anti-Corruption Commission will interrogate detained businessman Giasuddin Al Mamun soon in connection with Niko graft case filed against detained former prime minister Khaleda Zia and four others.

14 killed in road accidents

At least 14 people were killed and 49 others injured in separate road accidents in Pabna, Khagrachhari, Chittagong, Natore and Satkhira yesterday and on Saturday.

Hannan Shah granted HC bail again

The High Court yesterday granted bail to BNP leader Brig Gen (retd) Hannan Shah in a case linked with alleged violation of the Emergency Power Rules (EPR).

30 hurt as train derails in Lalmonirhat

At least 30 people were injured yesterday as four compartments of a passenger train derailed near Lalmonirhat railway station.

One held in Ctg for submitting forged documents to draw Tk 1 cr

A man was held in the port city yesterday while trying to draw acquisition money of over Tk 1 crore by submitting forged documents.

Govt to hold election by end of 2008

The Pakistani High Commissioner in Bangladesh Alamgir Babar yesterday said the present caretaker government is pledge-bound to hold the national election by the end of 2008 in accordance with the roadmap of the election commission (EC).

Death threat to Prof Barakat condemned

Different socio-political and student organisations yesterday condemned the death threat to Prof Abul Barakat.

BNCU invites application for fellowships

The Bangladesh National Commission for Unesco (BNCU) invites applications for Unesco-Vocations Partrimoine Cosponsored Fellowships for World Heritage Site Managers 2008.

Saraswati Puja today

Members of the Hindu community will celebrate today one of their religious festival 'Saraswati Puja' with much fanfare and festivity seeking blessings of the Goddess of knowledge, wisdom, music and art.

$3m ECHO support for Sidr victims

The European Commission Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) has donated US$3 million to World Food Programme (WFP) for its emergency operations to feed the cyclone-hit people in Bangladesh, says a press release.

3,000 fowls culled in Tangail

A total of 3,000 fowls and 1,700 eggs infected by bird flu were culled and destroyed at a poultry farm at Madhupur upazila in Tangail district early yesterday morning.

Sultan Mela begins in Narail tomorrow

The seven-day 'Sultan Mela' will begin at Sultan Mancha at Narail Government Victoria College in Narail tomorrow.

Death anniversary of Tawfiq Aziz Khan today

Today is the seventh death anniversary of Tawfiq Aziz Khan, former executive editor of The Daily Star, sports writer and commentator.

Training course on news presentation concludes

The concluding and certificate awarding ceremony of a month-long training course on TV news presentation, organised by Bangladesh Institute of Journalism and Electronic Media (BIJEM), was held at BIJEM conference room in the city on Saturday, says a press release.

More donation for cancer hospital

Family members of late AHM Fakhruddin, former DIG of police, donated Tk 5 lakh for construction of the Ahsania Mission Cancer Hospital (AMCH), says a press release.

Gold ornaments, cash worth Tk 4 lakh looted

Miscreants looted gold ornaments and cash worth around Tk 4 lakh from the residence of a businessman in the city yesterday.

Workshop on autism spectrum disorders ends

A three-day workshop on proactive and reinforcement classroom strategies for teachers ended here yesterday with a call for understanding inattentive and hyperactive pupils.

Bird fair held on RU campus

A three-day bird fair, jointly organised by the Zoology department of Rajshahi University (RU) and Bangladesh Bird Club, was concluded on the RU campus yesterday.

National

Redistribute VGF cards withdrawn from Sidr victims

Political leaders, local body representatives and Sidr victims have appealed to the authorities that government VGF (vulnerable group feeding (VGF) cards withdrawn from affected areas in Patuakhali and Barguna because of duplication due to similar doles may be distributed among affected people who did not get any such relief.

ACC case against SCC chief engr, wife

The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has filed a case against Sylhet City Corporation (SCC) chief engineer of Saiful Islam and his wife Rozina Sultana Rimi for illegally accumulating wealth worth over Tk 12.5 crore.

Unsung language heroes

Several glorious sons of the soil, who contributed to spreading the spirit of February 1952 Language Movement among people in the then sub-divisional town Magura, are yet to get any recognition from the state.

PWD solar power plant in Rangamati of no use

The solar power plant installed by Power Development Board (PDB) at Baghachola village under Barkal upazila in Rangamati at a cost of Tk 8 lakhs is virtually of no use because of lack of proper maintenance.

82,000 Golapganj voters to give fingerprints again

A staggering 82,000 people out of 1,65,500 voters in Golapganj upazila of Sylhet will have to go to the registration centres again for getting their fingerprints taken.

Father, son hurt in Jhenidah bomb attack

Three persons were injured when some unidentified criminals hurled a bomb at a motor spares shop at Chuadanga bus stand in Jhenidah town yesterday evening.

Rangpur trade fair opens

A month-long Rangpur trade fair began at Police Lines School and College ground yesterday.

Bangladesh-born British MP visits Sharankhola

Visiting Bangladesh-born British MP Baroness Pola Manzila Uddin yesterday visited two Sidr-hit villages in Sharankhola upazila.

Court summons 3 PWs

Khulna Special Tribunal No 4 Judge Md Barekuzzaman issued summons against three prosecution witnesses (PWs) of a serial bomb blast case to appear before the court.

One killed, 30 hurt in clash in Chandpur

A farmer was killed and 30 others including a woman were injured in a clash between musclemen of landlords and landless farmers following a feud over bringing water from a river for irrigating paddy field at Terashikandi shoal in Haimchar upazila yesterday, police said.

Letters

Bangladesh and eco-tourism

As a destination for eco-tourism, Bangladesh is truly hard to beat. For a small country in South Asia that is only 144,470 square kilometres, there is definitely a lot to see, enjoy and do here.

Our future in Test cricket

Over the past couple of years, Bangladesh cricket team has shown a great deal of promise after the spectacular performances in both the 50 overs and 20 overs World Cup in the Caribbean and South Africa. However, all our hopes were shattered after their dismal performance recently against the Kiwis in New Zealand. Even though they won the T-20 match against the Kiwis, they however proved their inconsistency in the other formats of the game. I think we all know that this young Bangladeshi team is extremely talented, after seeing their amazing performance against great teams like Australia and South Africa, but they are not making the best use of this talent and the reason behind this, according to me, is their lack of confidence and self-belief. The T-20 format of the game is more suited for teams like Bangladesh, as they are used to collapsing suddenly after scoring some quick runs, but this habit of them certainly won't help them in the other versions of the game and we have seen a lot of disasters occurring due to this.

Bird flu

Bird flu has not only created health hazards but also made a very unfavourable impact on the rural economy, where thousands of affected chickens have been culled to prevent possible transmission of the decease to humans.

Graves of the martyrs

I would like to draw attention to the news item titled 'Freedom fighter Lt. Col. Qadir's grave traced after 36 years' published in the last column of page 16 in The Daily Star of 19 January 2008. In 1971, I was about 13 years old and lived with my parents in Chittagong and had near similar experience as Nadeem Qadir. Now I am working at the Directorate General of Health Services, Dhaka.

CTG's efforts

I commend the efforts of the CTG to put out of circulation the corrupt politicians of Bangladesh through the legal process. I also commend their courage to take on the two autocratic ladies who thought they were beyond the reach of the law. When Sheikh Hasina says that if voted to power she would continue the current anti-corruption drive and reform process, its credibility to me is a big zero.

Ekushey Boimela 2008

Bangla and Ekushey Boi Mela are integral part of our national identity and pride.

Poor postal service

I refer to the news published on page 22 of the Daily Star on 16 Jan. 2008 regarding the present "Postal Service in Bangladesh".

EPR

The lawyers' uniform opinion that, "trial of a crime, which had been committed before the promulgation of the Emergency Power Act, cannot be held under the ambit of Emergency Power Rules", defies all common sense and appears against all moral precepts.

RU students' campaign

It is great to see that the Bangladeshi youth is taking steps to promote two of the greatest natural resorts in the world. Enhancing the publicity that these destinations receive is an important step towards promoting tourism in Bangladesh.

Advertisements

Nowadays many people say that they like advertisements, rather than movies. I appreciate it. But my point of writing this letter is that after watching these advertisements, I could guess, that they cannot even remember the name of the product which has been advertised. So, I think the advertisers should concentrate on publicising the qualities of the product or on the theme they want to uphold.

Dialogue

The demand of the political parties to start a dialogue without any condition sounds good but there should be a guideline and well-defined agenda for discussion. The political parties must realise that there is no scope in future to run any government driven by the whims and caprices of the party in power.

DITF anomalies

As a local resident, I have been visiting the annual International Trade Fair in Dhaka since its inception. This year I visited the site around noon on 6 January for about two hours; and came back rather disappointed.

NGOs and recovery of loans

Chief Adviser Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed and Army chief Gen. Moeen U Ahmed have called upon the NGOs to write off the loans or to put off the collection of payment of loan instalments from the cyclone affected people for a period of four months on humanitarian grounds.

University teachers

I myself am an educator, and once taught at the University of Dhaka. I know from my experience, many of the university teachers in Bangladesh waste much of their valuable time doing dysfunctional politics. I believe time has come for the government and the people of the country to clean up the mess on the campus, bring academic law and order back to the campus, and ensure that the universities can never be used as the centres of dirty politics by the politicians in the future.

Smoking

Many smokers argue that cigarette smoking is a gift of modern times, and it is a fashion nowadays. Some of them claim that it increases the concentration to work. But their arguments are indeed baseless. Medical studies have confirmed that there is a direct link between nicotine, which is present in tobacco, and high incidence of heart attack and cancer in smokers. These are dreadful diseases, and even the innocent non-smoking people around the smokers can be harmed by them. So, we have no moral right to smoke in public places.

What is this?

A picture was published in your daily on January 16: some young boys are pushing an electric pole to block the street. It is astonishing that they are grinning as if it's a child's play.

International

Suicide attack heightens fears for Pak election

Pakistani police said yesterday they suspected Islamist militants based in the tribal areas on the Afghan border were behind a suicide attack that killed up to 20 people at an election rally in the northwest a day earlier.

Pakistani nukes safe despite militancy rise

The chief of the US military said Saturday that Pakistan's atomic weapons were secure despite rising Islamic militancy in the nuclear-armed South Asian country.

al-Qaeda, Taliban threat to Pakistan govt: Gates

al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in Pakistan's northwest frontier region pose a direct threat to the Islamabad government, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates warned here Sunday.

'Tensions worsening between Nepali peace partners'

Mounting tensions between the partners in Nepal's peace deal are posing a serious challenge to its stability two months ahead of polls meant to transform the country into a republic, analysts say.

Suu Kyi still junta's main challenger, even in detention

Aung San Suu Kyi's soft voice and demeanour belie a steely resolve in the long and painful struggle to bring democracy to Myanmar after decades of military dictatorship.

Sympathy for Laden drops in Pakistan

Sympathy for al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and the Taliban has dropped sharply in Pakistan amid a wave of deadly violence, according to the results of a recent opinion poll.

Pak bomb blast toll rises to 25

The death toll climbed to 25 from a suicide bombing at a weekend election rally in northwest Pakistan, officials said Sunday.

Israel threatens to hit Gaza Hamas leaders

Israel threatened yesterday to target Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip as pressure grew on the government to act after a boy hit by shrapnel in a rocket strike on southern Israel had a leg amputated.

Kenya on the verge of a peace deal

Kenya's feuding parties yesterday headed into a decisive week of negotiations on a compromise deal to end the conflict over disputed elections that has left more than 1,000 dead.

Stampede at Indonesian concert kills 10

A stampede at an Indonesian punk rock concert left 10 people dead and dozens injured, most of them teenagers, police said Sunday.

Villagers kill 15 bandits in Pakistan

Villagers in central Pakistan surrounded and killed at least 15 bandits early Sunday during an attempted robbery, police said.

McCain ekes out narrow win in Washington state

Arizona Senator John McCain eked out a narrow victory in the Republican Party's caucuses in the northwestern state of Washington, the state party chairman announced late Saturday.

Russia not seeking clash with West: Ivanov

Resource-rich Russia is not seeking confrontation with the West, but the resurgent country still intends to punch its weight on the world stage, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Sunday.

N Korea nuclear, China military programmes a worry: Japan

North Korea remains a nuclear proliferation risk and China's military programme lacks transparency, Japan's Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura warned here Saturday.

Myanmar poll date meaningless without Suu Kyi

Myanmar's unexpected announcement of a timetable for elections in 2010 could prove meaningless with Aung San Suu Kyi and other top democracy leaders locked away, analysts said yesterday.

Malaysia offers to help Thai Muslims in restive south

Malaysia has offered to work with Thailand's new government to aid Muslims in the restive south, which has been wracked by an insurgency for more than four years, state media reported yesterday.

Arts & Entertainment

Exhibition at Asiatic Society's art gallery

SPEAKING at the inauguration of the Mother Language Day Art Exhibition at the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh Gallery of Fine Arts, Professor SMA Faiz, VC of Dhaka University said that the Asiatic Society is something to be admired. It welcomed many artists from overseas, and this particular exhibition is a hub of many cultures, said Professor Faiz.

Amalesh Chakraborti: Highlighting socio-political issues in plays

At the ongoing theatre festival arranged by Samay Shanskritik Goshthi, Kolkata-based troupe Anik staged Punorujjibon, an adaptation of Ibsen's play When We Dead Awaken, yesterday. The troupe will stage the play in Chittagong tomorrow. Earlier Anik participated at two theatre festivals in Bangladesh in 1999 and 2000. On the occasion of Punorujjibon being staged, The Daily Star spoke with playwright-director Amalesh Chakraborti, the chief of Anik.

Pitha Uthshab at TSC

The 15th annual Pitha Uthshab, organised by the NGO Drishti, was held at the TSC Cafeteria, Dhaka University (DU) on February 9. Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique of DU was present as chief guest and the special guests were Golam Kuddus, general secretary of Sammilito Sanskritik Jote; writer Mitali Hussain and theatre personality and chairman of Drishti, Atiqul Haque Chowdhury.

Flute performance at Chhayanat

Noted flute artiste Murtuza Kabir Murad and his students performed at the Chhayanat Sanskriti Bhaban on February 9. The programme featured classical notes on banshi (bamboo flute).

Play highlighting negligence in health care

Sachetan Nagarik Committee, the Satkhira unit of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), recently held a cultural programme to generate awareness among the people to fight against corruption in the country.

Milestone for the Bangladesh Music Industry

Bangladeshi music has been introduced into the world's largest digital music market iTunes, says a press release. Now that it is being distributed on a global scale, people from every country has access to Bangladeshi music. Albums such as Habib's Panjabiwala, Balam's self-titled album, Arnob's Hok Kolorob and Ashiq's Ashiq O Ekota are among the first to be currently available on iTunes. This step was taken by ICE Technologies to promote Bangladeshi music internationally and to take an active stand against music piracy. Habib and Balam were present, along with Joshua Wayes Ahmed, head of operations and Abu Raihan, manager of IT, of ICE Technologies, at the programme.

OP-ED

Rice price, domestic politics, and policy response

THE sudden surge in rice price in Bangladesh has created tremendous uproar all over the country. It certainly has made it difficult for low-income urban families to make ends meet, and given an opportunity for many politicians to capitalise on this issue and blame the government for its failure in maintaining rice prices at pre-9/11 levels.

Reform in the services of the Republic

A Public Services Act to bring about a substantial reformation in the public services is under preparation. This act is meant to make the public services responsive, action oriented, accountable and free from political influence.

Idyllic Bangladesh

AS a destination for eco-tourism, Bangladesh is truly hard to beat. For a small country in South Asia, that is only 144,470 square kilometers, there is definitely a lot to see, enjoy and do here. Bangladesh means "country of Bonga (ancient name of Bangladesh)" in English, whose language and independence had been gained after enormous bloodshed in 1952 and 1971. Located between India to the north and the west and Myanmar to a small part of the southeast, Bangladesh is one of the most beautiful countries in South Asia, with tremendous economic potentials. Its tropical beach resorts on the Bay of Bengal should be paradise for the sun vacationers. But the main attraction of Bangladesh should be its opportunities for eco-tourism, with its variety of animals, birds, forests, hills and hillocks and aquatic life.

Nation vs. state

THE recent reminders by the Pakistani authorities that the media should stay "within limits" reflect the mindset of an authoritarian regime. As the legitimacy of the regime erodes further in the eyes of Pakistanis and the international community, the more its henchmen are likely to question the patriotism of those criticising it.

Star City

Galloping house rent makes tenants' life a misery

Taslima Alam (not real name), 32, and her three children live in a two-room flat at East Badda, said she is facing eviction as she cannot afford to pay the monthly rent that her landlord had suddenly increased -- from Tk 4,000 to Tk 6,500.

Little has been done to remember my father

Language Martyr Abdul Jabbar's son, M Nurul Islam Badal, has lamented that till date little has been done to remember and respect the memories of his father.

Legal battle likely alleging lack of environmental clearance

The LGRD ministry's project to build a bridge across Gulshan-Banani Lake may face a legal battle as environmentalist groups and locals are planning to file a writ petition against the project for “not having environmental clearance and impact assessment.”

"city express"

The latest crop of quotes from the city's press -- words worth repeating, we feel, for their humour, insight or sheer outrageousness. Star City does not necessarily support the opinions expressed in this column.



The Daily Star

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