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News of: Thursday, 14th of February, 2008

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68 Titas staff gobbled up Tk 10,000 crore

A taskforce of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) to Combat Corruption and Serious Crimes, designated to investigate graft in Titas Gas, sent to the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) a list of alleged illegal properties of 68 former and present staff of the agency.

EC seeks Tk 570cr for elections

The Election Commission (EC) has asked the caretaker government to allocate over Tk 570 crore in the budget for fiscal 2008-09 for holding the elections to parliament and local government bodies.

Hasina not produced before court

The special court dealing with the Tk 3 crore graft case against Sheikh Hasina and other accused yesterday deferred again the hearing on framing charge until February 19 as Hasina was not produced before the court because of illness.

BoP goes into a rare $63m deficit

Bangladesh's balance of payments (BoP) went into a deficit for the first time in six years due to an astronomic rise in food, fertiliser and petroleum imports, and experts fear it may blow out to $200 million by June this year.

Crime wave hits Savar industrial belt

The levels of crime witness an upward trend in a part of Savar industrial belt despite the state of emergency, creating feelings of insecurity in the area.

'Social emergency' if economic crises persist

The ongoing emergency in the political and economic arena may create a 'social emergency' in the country unless the government deals with the economic problems properly, Dr Akbar Ali Khan, chairman of Regulatory Reforms Commission (RRC), yesterday said.

Pintu's bail petition rejected

A Dhaka court yesterday rejected bail petition of detained former deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu in connection with the August 21 grenade attack case.

Hannan Shah held again 24hrs after release

In around 24 hours after being released from jail, Brig Gen (retd) Hannan Shah, an adviser to the BNP chairperson, was arrested again at 9:00 last night.

All accused in Khulna journo Balu murder case acquitted

A Khulna speedy trial tribunal yesterday acquitted all seven accused in journalist Humayun Kabir Balu murder case.

Move to honour Birsreshthas, language martyrs

The caretaker government has decided to rename the nine villages and one union of seven Birsreshthas and three language martyrs for their heroic deeds and struggles in 1971 and 1952.

6,500 MT rice imported at higher price

About 6,500 tonnes of rice were imported from India yesterday through Benapole land port at a hiked price of $505 to 510 per tonne.

Gen Moeen to visit India this month

Chief of Army Staff General Moeen U Ahmed is expected to pay a weeklong visit to India in the last week of this month to hold meetings with high officials of the Indian government and military.

2 robbers killed in gunfight with law enforcers

Two robbers were killed and 18 others, including 10 police and ansar men, injured in a gunfight between the law enforcers and the bandits at Araji Chandpur in Rajshahi's Bagha upazila early yesterday.

22,000 fowls culled in 2 districts

A total of 22,127 fowls were culled in Pabna and Khulna on Tuesday night as bird flu infection continues to spread in different regions of the country.

Hotel manager brutally killed in city

The manager of a residential hotel in Nawabpur in old Dhaka was slaughtered by an ex-employee and his hired goons early yesterday morning over a dispute.

Prof Yunus for consensus among parties

Nobel laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus yesterday said all the political parties would have to reach a consensus for the greater interest of the country.

Obama hammers Hillary in primary clean sweep

Barack Obama routed Hillary Clinton in a trio of Washington DC-area nominating clashes, carving into his faltering White House rival's core power base of white, women and working class voters.

Zardari, Sharif put up united front, mull coalition

The leaders of Pakistan's main opposition parties put up a united front yesterday for next week's general elections after polls showed them pulling ahead of President Pervez Musharraf's allies.


Brac yesterday clarified a report headlined “Abducted Brac official buys freedom” published in The Daily Star on Tuesday.


Chittagong arms haul case

It is welcome news that that a court has ordered a fresh probe into the Chittagong arms and ammunition haul, in which 10 truck-loads of combat-grade weapons and ammunition were seized by the police on April 2, 2004. The investigators failed to unearth the mystery behind the huge quantity of arms found on a jetty, even after 46 months.

An ambassador goes missing

The disappearance the other day of Pakistan's ambassador to Kabul together with the abduction of two nuclear experts raises fresh and very alarming questions about conditions in Pakistan at present. The feeling cannot be ignored that chaos may be overtaking the country. One certainly hopes that that does not actually happen. In these past many months, with terrorism and religious militancy taking an acute turn for the worse, concerns have grown in the region as well as beyond it of the threats that Islamabad faces from a diversity of forces at this point. With the internal political situation already thrown into turmoil by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December last year, the external threats symbolised by the creeping entry of the Taliban as also al-Qaeda have now brought the country to the edge of uncertainty.

Let the guilty men (and women) retire

A common question that one very often hears these days being asked is whether the parliamentary elections will be held as per the timeframe as expressed by the Election Commission. While on the matter of elections, one is reminded of an anecdote that is associated with the late president Ziaul Huq of Pakistan.

Now or never

FIVE crises engulf Pakistan: Firstly, a virtually new Islam wants to rule the polity -- while democracy moves many. Secondly, the ongoing struggle between civil society and the erstwhile military dictator is a growing polarisation; lawyers are striving to end Musharraf's, and the military's, control.

The dumpling puzzle leaves a bitter taste

DUMPLING is a tasty food item devoured by the lovers of Chinese cuisine. Like many things making their way into Japan from the Asian mainland of China, the dumpling, too, made its headway eastward long back in history, and since then has become an essential part of the Japanese diet.


Siddons awaits progress

The Graeme Smith-led South Africa cricket team will arrive in Dhaka this morning to play in two Tests and a three-match one-day series against the hosts.

3rd party movement on?

A group of footballers yesterday urged the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) to hold its election as soon as possible to save the game from plunging into an abyss.

Cricket gathers pace

Twenty20 defending champions Mohammedan Sporting Club will look to overcome a player crisis as they take on newly promoted BKSP in one of six opening day matches of the Premier League's curtain raiser event today.

Mithun hits 75 but U-19s lose

Bangladesh Under-19 stumbled to a five-wicket defeat against their Pakistani counterparts in the second warm-up game of the ICC Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia yesterday.

Tug of war likely over Swadhinata Cup

The Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) looks set for a collision course with Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra over the Swadhinata Cup football tournament.

Facile win for Sunrise

Sunrise SC moved to fourth place in the Senior Division Football League with a rushing 3-0 win against Agrani Bank in yesterday's match at the Birshreshtha Shaheed Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur.

Sakib new CCS president

First Division side Cricket Coaching School (CCS) formed a working committee with Sakib Ali as club president and Parvez Yousuf Chowdhury as general secretary.

Games fixture finalised

The organisers have finalised the fixture and venues of all nine disciplines to be held at the 2nd Indo-Bangladesh Bangla Games (February 22-26).

Ranjan, Delwar in 2nd round

Local boys Ranjan Ram and Delwar Hossain moved into the second round of the Dhaka Bank 22nd International Junior Tennis Championships yesterday.

Local Snippets

Shamima Akhter Liza maintained her winning run in the Preliminary Phase of the Aromatic Gold 29th Women's National Chess Championship when she won her sixth consecutive match yesterday.

Back to 'dark days'?

South Africa has been plunged into a fresh debate over the racial make-up of its sports teams 14 years after the country emerged from apartheid into a unifying "rainbow nation".

Aussies told not to tour

Australian cricket officials have told their Pakistani counterparts that they have received security advice against touring Pakistan because of political unrest and violence, an official said Wednesday.

England's back against the wall

Eleven of England's cricketers went straight back into the nets on their day off, in a bid to turn their fortunes around after one of the most humiliating defeats of their careers. Tuesday's ten-wicket loss to New Zealand at Hamilton has left England needing three straight wins in a row to rescue the series, with the next match getting underway in Auckland on Friday.

Real top rich list

Real Madrid held its position as the world's richest soccer club as English clubs climbed the rankings to claim three of the top five slots in an annual survey by accountancy firm Deloitte.

Scots face Bayern test

Aberdeen manager Jimmy Calderwood has called on the Dons supporters to roar them to glory against German giants Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup first leg last 32 clash on Thursday.

Chambers feels alienated

Juventus and Roma meet at Turin's Olympic stadium on Saturday in a vital clash for each side's fortunes with both teams harbouring hopes of moving upwards in the Serie A standings.

2m clamour for tickets

With applications set to close at midnight on Tuesday, a staggering two million tickets have been requested by Germany fans for the 14,400 available for their country's three Euro 2008 pool games in Austria.

Head-butting Adriano faces suspension

Troubled Brazilian international striker Adriano could face over a year's suspension for assaulting another player during a match last Sunday it was revealed by his club Sao Paulo on Tuesday.

England top fairplay rankings

England are top of UEFA's fair play rankings and could benefit from an additional UEFA Cup spot next season, European soccer's governing body said on Tuesday.

Double standards!

Urawa Reds players were forced to squeeze into the cheap seats when they flew to Guam for pre-season training while striker Naohiro Takahara relaxed in business class.

Hope for young and old

AC Milan's teenage striker Alberto Paloschi could start Wednesday's Serie A game against Livorno while Ronaldo's career at the San Siro is far from over, coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Tuesday.

Afro-Asia Cup may take a new look

The Afro-Asian Cup, the second staging of which took place in Bangalore in June last year, looks likely to undergo a radical overhaul of its format.

Real to honour Di Stefano

Real Madrid's iconic striker Alfredo di Stefano is set to be honoured by the club on Sunday with a large statue of himself being unveiled in front of the entrance to the team's training ground.


GP profits fall on lower prices, competition

Grameenphone's operating profits fell by 33 per cent in 2007, as the country's number one mobile phone operator struggled with lower call prices, higher marketing costs and the need to compensate the government for its role in the illegal call termination business.

Janata Bank eyes business expansion

Janata Bank, the loss making state owned bank, could be profitable within three years, according to the new CEO SM Aminur Rahman who warned however that such a transformation would need a major change of attitude among staff.

$125m Catalyst loan to ASA for overseas operations

Catalyst Microfinance Investors (CMI) will provide US$ 125 million to one of Bangladesh's leading micro-finance institutions, ASA, to fund its rapid establishment and growth in Asia and Africa.

Ease lending system for SMEs run by women entrepreneurs

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed has asked banks and other financial institutions to ease their lending system so that loans at a reduced interest rate for any SME (small and medium enterprise) scheme taken up by women entrepreneurs are ensured.

22pc rise in yarn price to hit knitwear exports

Prices of cotton yarn have increased by 20-22 percent in the local market as compared to Indian market, posing a threat to the projected growth of knitwear exports.

Industry claims local IT, software save Tk500cr annually

Local information technology and software service providers yesterday claimed that they were helping Bangladesh to save Tk 500 crore foreign currency annually.

GP CellBazaar wins Global Mobile Award

CellBazaar, an innovative market-access service from mobile phone operator Grameenphone Ltd, has won the '3GSMA Global Mobile Award 2008' in the category of 'Best Use of Mobile for Social & Economic Development', says a press release.

Govt relaxes rules on 'cost of fund recovery' to waive interest

The government has relaxed rules on the cost of fund recovery regarding waiver of interest against loans provided by the state owned banks, a finance ministry circular issued Tuesday said.

Price of edible oil to be fixed fortnightly

The price of edible oil will be adjusted fortnightly with the international price, a meeting at the commerce ministry decided yesterday.

CSR, compliance issues stressed to better business

Business houses should ensure corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices and address other compliance issues for their smooth operations, said deputy British high commissioner to Bangladesh at a seminar in Dhaka yesterday.

Biscuit, bread makers want lower rates

Biscuit and bread makers have demanded that government take initiative to bring down bank interest rates on loans below 10 percent.

New senior GM of Ceylon Bank

Dilip Das Gupta has been promoted to the post of senior general manager of Commercial Bank of Ceylon Ltd, says a press release.

Malaysia's trade surplus second highest ever

Malaysia chalked up its 10th consecutive year of trade surplus and the amount of 100.53 billion ringgit (US$31.06 billion) was the second highest ever on record, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz.


Trade relations with Bangladesh growing

Newly appointed French Ambassador Charley Causeret yesterday paid a courtesy call on Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed and discussed bilateral cooperation, trade, business and investment during the meeting.

Apply customary laws of indigenous people in dispute resolution

Legal experts yesterday called for effective application of customary laws of the indigenous people in dispute resolution at the preliminary level.

Titas graft suspects

A taskforce of the National Coordination Committee to Combat Corruption and Serious Crimes has sent the documents of ill-gotten gains of 68 former and present employees of Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Co. Ltd. to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

Call for large-scale intervention by govt, NGOs in tackling arsenic contamination

Experts at the 7th international conference yesterday called for immediate large-scale intervention by the government and non-government organisations in tackling arsenic contamination of groundwater, which has affected millions of people in the country.

2 DU students get bail

A Dhaka court yesterday granted bail to two Dhaka University (DU) students in connection with the case filed against them on charge of torching an army vehicle and assaulting an army man at Shahbagh intersection during the August violence last year.

Two books on Liberation War launched

The government should take necessary steps to write the sector-wise history of the Liberation War, freedom fighters at a book publication ceremony said yesterday.

Children from poorest families benefit less from pry edn spending

Children from the poorest families benefit less from primary education spending, according to a study carried out by the World Bank on the status of Bangladesh in terms of achieving the Education for All (EFA) Goals.

Three Ctg cops sent to jail

The assistant commissioner of Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) and his two colleagues arrested on charge of robbery were sent to jail yesterday.

'Media cell at all ministries needed'

Close coordination between the Information Department and the media was underscored at a meeting of the information officers at the secretariat yesterday for implementation of government policies and development programmes.

Desa steps to address suffering of customers

Dhaka Electric Supply Authority (Desa) has introduced decentralised billing system and centralised monitoring to address the suffering of its subscribers, Desa Chairman Brig Gen Nazrul Hasan said yesterday.

Prisoner dies in N'ganj hospital

A prisoner in Narayanganj jail who was accused of killing his wife died of a heart attack yesterday 13 days into his arrest.

Family rejects probe findings

Family members and colleagues of slain Dr Mofakkharul Ahmed Sohel yesterday rejected the findings unearthed so far during the police investigation into the murder.

Autocracy resistance day today

Different organisations will observe today the Swairashashok Protirodh Dibash (autocracy resistance day), a day when students revolted against the autocratic government in 1983.

BSF kills 2 Bangladeshis

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) yesterday shot dead two Bangladeshi cattle traders and injured another on Banglabandha border in Panchagarh.

Ex-MP Ali Reza's wife sued in Jessore

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed a case against Firoza Reza Raju, wife of former Awamil League lawmaker Ali Reza Raju, on charge of concealing information on her wealth statement on Tuesday.

Pahela Falgun celebrated

Pahela Falgun, the first day of the spring, was celebrated with due festivity in the city yesterday.

Late teacher on exam committee

Inclusion of the name of a late teacher as questioner and examiner of four courses at the Islamic History and Culture Department of Chittagong University (CU) was reported yesterday.

Ctg Zoo lion dies due to old age

A lion died due to old age complications at Chittagong Zoo yesterday.

Gaziul Haq's birthday celebrated

Leaders and activists of Bangabandhu Sangskritik Jote yesterday celebrated the 81st birth anniversary of ailing Language Movement veteran Advocate Gaziul Haq, says a press release.

Death anniversary

Today is the 24th death anniversary of Md Asaf-ud-Dowla Reza, a renowned journalist, says a press release.

OLsA meeting today

Old Laboratorians Association (OLsA), the alumni association of Government Laboratory High School, Dhaka will organise its next reunion and publish a membership directory in April 2008, says a press release.


5.7 lakh families get VGF cards in five northern districts

About 5.7 lakh hardcore poor families in five monga prone districts of greater Rangpur have been brought under VGF (vulnerable group feeding) programme.

'Protect culture of CHT ethnic people'

Speakers in a workshop yesterday made 17-point suggestions to the government to protect culture and heritages of 11 ethnic communities in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).

Citizens' participation stressed for good local governance

Speakers at a view exchange meeting yesterday said transparency, accountability and citizens' participation in different development works and in formulation of budgets have become essential for good local governance as well as poverty reduction.

Principal sued for 'abusing' female teacher, taking bribe

A case was filed yesterdays with Kalaroa police station against local BNP leader and Boalia Muktijoddha College principal Farooque Hossain allegedly for realising Tk 1.5 lakh from a female teacher to include her name in monthly pay order (MPO).

Steps taken to save Hakaluki fowls from bird flu

The district administration has taken steps to prevent spread of Avian Influenza (bird flue) among migratory birds in Hakaluki haor.

Jute goods fair opens in Sylhet today

A 5-day fair of jute goods will begin today at the Zila Parishad auditorium in the city.

3 kg opium seeds, firearm recovered in Thanchi

Joint forces seized 3 kilograms of opium seeds, gun powder and a rifle with bullets in a drive in Thanchi upazila in the district yesterday.


Nepal hit by strike as political tensions mount

Nepal's ethnically tense south was hit by an indefinite strike launched yesterday, compounding a fuel shortage in the impoverished and landlocked nation's capital and fears for the peace process.

Malaysian PM dissolves parliament for snap polls

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi dissolved parliament yesterday to pave the way for snap elections which are expected to see the ruling coalition's majority eroded.

Serbia, Russia demand UN meet on Kosovo

Serbia and Russia have demanded an emergency UN Security Council meeting on Kosovo's moves toward independence, EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero Waldner said yesterday.

Pakistan tests N-capable missile

Pakistani troops fired a short-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile during exercises yesterday in the third such training launch in as many weeks, the army said.

India's tiger population declines

India's tiger population has declined by more than half in the last five yearsfrom 3,500 in 2002 to 1,411 in 2007, according to the latest census by the government.

Abducted envoy still alive, says Pak foreign office

Pakistan's foreign office said yesterday it was "sure" that the country's ambassador to Afghanistan is still alive after being abducted in a tribal region where Islamic militants are active.

Bomb kills 3 Afghan soldiers

A bomb ripped into an Afghan army convoy near a former Taliban stronghold yesterday, killing three soldiers a day after gunmen attacked the home of the area's leader, the official said.

Australian govt apologise to aborigines

The Australian government has made a formal apology for the past wrongs caused by successive governments on the indigenous aboriginal population.

Arts & Entertainment

Ushering in spring

AT Bakultala, Charukala (Institute of Fine Arts) premises, members of Jatiyo Bashonto Udjapon Parishad ushered in Pahela Falgun (the first day of spring in the Bengali calendar) with an elaborate cultural programme.

Love Bites: Concert celebrating Valentine's Day

On the occasion of Valentine's Day, Macomm Resolve in association with Nestle Bangladesh Ltd organised a daylong event at the Winter Garden, Dhaka Sheraton Hotel on February 12. Titled “Nescafe Love Bites -- A valentine celebration”, the programme was a treat for young couples.

“Chor” on Banglavision

On February 14, Valentine's Day, Banglavision will air a single-episode play Chor. The play features cricketer Khaled Masud Pilot in one of the lead roles.

“Hoytoba Bhalobasha” on Ekushey TV

On the occasion of Valentine's Day, Ekushey Television will air a single-episode TV play Hoytoba Bhalobasha tonight at 9:30 pm. Directed by Kaushik Shankar Das, the play features the interaction between two strangers on crossroads.

Today's play “Meghoboti”

As part of the ongoing theatre festival arranged by Samay Sanskritik Goshthi, Indian troupe Hrittik will stage Meghoboti today at the National Theatre Stage.

Valentine's Day celebration at Fantasy Kingdom

On the occasion of Valentine's Day, February 14, Concord Entertainment Co. Ltd. has arranged two-day programmes at Fantasy Kingdom, Water Kingdom and Foy's Lake, says a press release. A concert featuring Nagorbaul, Souls and Kaniz Suborna will be held today. A fashion show and concert featuring LRB, Yaatri and Mila will be held on February 15 at Water Kingdom,


NRBs: Not Really Bangladeshis?

THE recent interest in, of, and by NRBs (Non-resident Bangladeshis) is a healthy sign reflecting their possible role and contribution to national development and emancipation. Among others, Zafar Sobhan of the Daily Star called for a Ministry of NRB Affairs, and the need to integrate the NRBs into the mainstream economy (May 19, 2006 Daily Star). Then December 2007 saw many NRBs participating in a well-intentioned conference in the capital.

A time for new love and old romance

FEBRUARY has, since the Middle Ages, been the season for a celebration of love. Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as St.Valentine's Day around 498 A.D. It was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of the birds' mating season and so should be a day for romance.

The theatre of big change

THE word "change" is now so overused that it's in danger of sliding past platitude into meaninglessness. But it must be working, because a freshman black senator won 13 out of 22 states last week by selling it -- and himself -- to a surprisingly broad cross-section of Americans.

The Daily Star

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