The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Wednesday, November 26, 2014


News of: Friday, 15th of February, 2008

Front Page

EC restarts talks with parties Feb 24

The Election Commission (EC) kicks off the second round electoral reforms talks with political parties on February 24.

Relaxing emergency a must for polls

Law Adviser AF Hassan Ariff yesterday said that relaxing of state of emergency is a must before polls as it blocks pre-election activities of the political parties.

Offshore exploration bidding opened

Petrobangla yesterday announced the 2008 offshore oil and gas exploration bidding round inviting offers from international companies by May 7.

Maya jailed for 13yrs for amassing ill-gotten wealth

A special court yesterday sentenced former state minister for shipping Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya to 13 years imprisonment for amassing wealth illegally and concealing wealth information.

Import of rice below $510 price stopped

Import of rice from India through Benapole land port was hampered yesterday as the Indian customs authorities suddenly imposed restriction on the export of rice that is priced below $ 510 a tonne.

24-acre Pallabi land recovered in drive against illegal structures

National Housing Authority (NHA) yesterday started bulldozing illegal structures on 24 acres of land at a Wakf Estate in Doaripara in Pallabi, leaving over 5,000 families homeless.

Link with second undersea cable soon

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday said the government has taken steps to get connected with a second submarine cable soon to overcome some weaknesses that have limited the adoption of ICT in all sectors.

$900m sought for cash-strapped BPC

The Energy Division has requested the finance ministry to arrange a loan of $900 million for Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) as it is going through huge financial losses due to under-pricing of imported petroleum products.

Dhaka, Delhi sign deal to double flights

Bangladesh and India signed an air service agreement on Wednesday raising the number of weekly flights from 30 to 61.

Hannan Shah out of jail again

Adviser to BNP chairperson Brig Gen (retd) Hannan Shah was released on bail yesterday after he spent a night in Joydebpur Police Station in Gazipur in connection with an extortion case.

Oct 29 BNP standing body meet illegal

Detained BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday declared illegal her party's October 29 standing committee meeting that nominated M Saifur Rahman as acting chairperson and Maj (retd) Hafizuddin Ahmed acting secretary general.

Property of ex-DAB leader Zahid to be attached

A Dhaka court yesterday ordered the attachment of properties of AZM Zahid Hossain, former leader of Doctors' Association of Bangladesh (DAB), his wife Rifat Hossain and advocate Mujahidul Islam in a case filed in connection with concealing information in their wealth statements.

Death traps in workplaces

Construction, sea fishing and readymade garment (RMG) sectors topped the most hazardous occupations in the country in 2007, according to a survey based on newspaper reports.

Draft voter list to be published on Feb 18

The Election Commission (EC) will publish a draft voter list for four city corporations and seven municipalities on February 18 and finalise it next month aiming to hold polls to those local government bodies in April.

Poppy farming again in hills

Poppy cultivation has begun once again in the bordering hilly areas of Thanchi and Alikadam upazilas in Bandarban.

4 traders held with 12lbs cobra poison

The Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) has arrested four traders with around 12 pounds of cobra snake poison, worth at least a few crore taka, from Tiarpara village in Bonwarinagar Union under Faridpur upazila yesterday.

Ex-MP Ilyas Ali shows Tk 4cr wealth

Former BNP lawmaker and convener of Sylhet district BNP M Ilyas Ali filed his wealth statement with the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday evening claiming his wealth to be worth Tk 3.99 crore.

Further probe ordered for smuggling case too

A Chittagong court yesterday ordered further investigation also into the smuggling case filed under the Special Powers Act in connection with the haul of 10 truck-load of deadly arms and ammunition at Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Ltd (CUFL) jetty on April 02, 2004.

Swiss group declared fit to buy Oriental Bank stake

Switzerland-based ICB Global Finance Group Holdings AG has received the central bank approval to buy 50.1 percent stake in the troubled Oriental Bank for Tk 350.77 crore.

Rangpur college principal gets death threat

The Principal of Rangpur Carmichael College, Dipkendra Nath Das has filed a GD with the police after receiving a death threat by post yesterday.

Power handover to elected govt a must to keep int'l backing

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has said that the caretaker government in Bangladesh has to hand over power to an elected government if it wants to take the country forward and also keep the support of the international community.

Massive fire at Mohammadpur slum

A devastating fire gutted around 1,000 shanties leaving about 4,000 people homeless at a slum in the city's Bijli Moholla under Mohammadpur police station in the early hours yesterday.

Commissioners of DCC ask for honorarium

A few Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) commissioners sometimes adopt unfair means since DCC commissioners are not given any honorarium or money to run their offices, a number of commissioners yesterday claimed.

Dr Toufiq still detained, now shown held in Niko graft case

Detained former power and energy secretary Dr Toufiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury couldn't come out of jail on High Court bail in the barge-mounted power plant case, as he has been shown arrested in another graft case involving Niko gas deal.

Musharraf warns against any poll results protest

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf pledged yesterday that next week's elections will be free and fair and on time, but warned that any protests against the result would not be tolerated.

Editorial

Indigenous peoples need dignity and space

CULTURAL diversity is one of the major ideas that underpin societies in our times. There is a growing acknowledgement worldwide of the traditional rights of indigenous communities, a point that has engaged the attention of such global bodies as the United Nations. The latest instance of how ethnic diversity constitutes a crucial component of national culture as well as global realities comes through the formal apology offered by the new Australian government of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to Australia's ethnic minority. Without question, the step takes Australia to a new path in politics because it formally endorses the idea of an inclusive society that will be the priority from here on.

Spurt in criminal activities

IT is disconcerting to note the increase in criminal activities in Savar industrial area, so close to the capital. This is perhaps a reflection of the general trend of law and order, despite the state of emergency.

Winds of change in global politics

THE world is watching with great interest, and a degree of amazement, the presidential primaries now being fought by the contenders for party nomination of the Republicans and Democrats. The procedure being followed is complex, and the money (in millions of dollars) and energy spent would certainly satisfy many political scientists, for example German Jorgen Habermas, who says "the state's raison d'être does not lie primarily in the protection of equal individual rights but in the guarantee of an inclusive process of opinion-and-will formation in which free and equal citizens reach an understanding on which goals and norms lie in equal interest of all."

The promise of October 12, 1999

THE February 18 election is supposedly meant to provide a transition from an autocratic government to a more welcome democratic one. What a turnaround from October 12, 1999, when an autocratic regime was welcomed with great enthusiasm by the people of Pakistan on the overthrow of a democratic one. Less than a week before February 18, one should analyse why the expectations of the people in the great promise of October 12 were dashed, and what the future holds for Pakistan.

Cross-border investment and sovereign wealth funds

THE recent sub-prime mortgage market meltdown in the United States forced big investment banks like Merrill Lynch, Citibank, Morgan Stanley, etc. to announce massive write-downs, creating a huge crisis of confidence in the entire financial system.

Sports

Proteas in town

South Africa captain Graeme Smith vowed to continue their re-cent success when they play in a two Test and three-match one-day series against the Tigers during their month-long tour in Bangladesh.

BKSP stun MSC

Newly promoted sides BKSP and Surjo Tarun upset the Premier League applecart yesterday with victories over Mohammedan Sporting Club and Old DOHS in the opening day of the Twenty20 competition at the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium.

First bat for Tamim since NZ

Coach Jamie Siddons should be a relieved man to see his batsmen score runs during the practice match yesterday and the most encouraging fact was that left-handed opener Tamim Iqbal returned to action after a long break.

Ranjan keeps local hopes alive

Ranjan Ram stormed into the last 16 of boys' singles in the Dhaka Bank 22nd Bangladesh International Junior Tennis Championships yesterday.

SL target hosts' flaws

Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene vowed here Thursday to target Australian frailties as the tourists bid for top spot in the tri-series table.

Pilot the 'Chor'

A first-ball duck; a win for his new club in the afternoon, but former national captain Khaled Mashud Pilot reserved his best for his followers at night -- a Valentine's Day special drama in which he played the role of Chor (thief).

Dusk on Fleming

Record-breaking former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming announced Thursday he will retire from international cricket after the third and final Test against England next month.

The end for Ronaldo?

Revisiting his injury-blighted past, Brazilian veteran Ronaldo prepared to fly to Paris for surgery on Thursday after rupturing a tendon in his right knee during AC Milan's 1-1 draw with Livorno, media reports said.

Big boys sail

Werder Bremen goalkeeper Tim Wiese saved two first-half penalties as the Bundesliga side began their UEFA Cup campaign with a 3-0 win over Braga on Wednesday.

Frustrating day for Milan

AC Milan needed a controversial penalty to earn a disappointing 1-1 home draw against minnows Livorno at the San Siro on Wednesday night in a game that also saw them lose Brazil striker Ronaldo.

Tsonga's flat French return

France's surprise Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga suffered a disappointing return to France on Wednesday as he was beaten 7-5, 7-6 (7/3) in straight sets by Croatian Mario Ancic in the first round of the Marseille Open.

Hammam slams EPL

AFC president Mohamed bin Hammam has lashed out at the powerbrokers of the English Premier League for putting "money before responsibility" in their plan to play matches overseas.

Pele separates from wife

Brazilian football legend Pele separated from his wife of 13 years on Wednesday, it was announced by his press officer.

Aragones confirmed until Euros

Luis Aragones will stay as Spain coach until the end of Euro 2008 in June, the Spanish football federation (RFEF) announced on Wednesday.

Local Snippets

Bangladesh Cricket Board yesterday named the match officials for the three Twenty20 matches between Bangladesh and West Bengal this month in the 2nd Indo-Bangladesh Bangla Games.

NZ eye series wrap

New Zealand will be pushing to wrap up their one-day cricket series against England early and complete a remarkable transformation when the third match is played here on Friday.

Bangladesh get raw deal

India is often accused of abusing its power to suit its ends, but Australia has been equally culpable in manipulating the international programme this week.

Captain cool

In a country used to being dismissed, perhaps unfairly, as a minor player in world cricket, Stephen Fleming has been a giant. New Zealand's population of four million is smaller than most of their rivals, they have produced fewer superstars and enjoyed less major tournament triumphs, but they provided one of the most respected captains of the modern era.

'A reality check'

Kevin Pietersen says England have experienced the "reality check" they needed on their New Zealand tour with two heavy defeats in four days.

Dar, Bucknor to stand in both Tests

West Indies' controversial umpire Steve Bucknor will be paired with Aleem Dar for the two Test matches between Bangladesh and visiting South Africa.

Wajed Ali passes away

Syed Wajed Ali, former administrative officer of Bangladesh Forest Department, died of old age complications at the Bangladesh Medical College Hospital on Wednesday night. He was 73.

Badda snap Victoria run

Victoria Sporting Club's nine-match unbeaten run came to an end when the table-toppers suffered a solitary goal defeat to Badda Jagarani in the Senior Division Football League yesterday.

Ardiles' damning verdict

As one of the first high-profile overseas footballers to play in England, Ossie Ardiles is in a unique position to comment on the difficulties now facing the English game.

Successful op for Metzelder

Real Madrid's German international central defender Christoph Metzelder underwent a successful operation on his left foot on Wednesday and could be back playing earlier than expected, according to the Spanish media.

Trapattoni confirms Ireland job

Former Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni will take charge of the Republic of Ireland's bid to reach the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa after his appointment was confirmed by the Football Association of Ireland (FAI).

FA taking steps for supervision

England's Football Association on Thursday moved to tighten its supervision of transfer dealings, notably setting up a "whistle blower" telephone line designed to help uncover suspect financial transactions.

Player jailed for match-fixing

A player from former Singapore football league side Liaoning Guangyuan was sentenced to seven months in jail Thursday for match-fixing.

Business

Swiss firm to buy 50pc stake in Oriental Bank for Tk 350.77cr

Switzerland-based ICB Global Finance Group Holdings AG has received the central bank approval to buy 50.1 percent stake in the troubled Oriental Bank for Tk 350.77 crore.

Move to send remittance to remote areas

A local private commercial bank has tied up with a leading micro-credit lender to reach out remittances to its beneficiaries in rural remote areas fast.

Bangladeshi made robot at BASIS fair

ANTS can sing, welcome the guests and walk around, and perhaps one day this Bangladeshi robot will be able to clean the floor as well.

E-learning pilot scheme at 20 schools this year

National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) will take up a 3-year pilot programme on e-learning as a teaching method in 20 secondary schools from this year, its chairman said yesterday.

India competes to draw big-name automakers

When South Korean automaker Hyundai first drove to India in 1996, it scouted around before choosing to build its factory in a southern Indian village of rice paddies and wetlands.

Adequate storage of essentials key to fighting syndicates Roundtable told

The government can ensure adequate storage of essential commodities to fight 'syndicates' who try to control prices, a roundtable was told yesterday in Dhaka.

Obaidul Karim's son asks bidders not to buy 50,560 Oriental shares

An attorney has asked bidders not to buy 50,560 shares in Oriental Bank, which he said are held by his client, Salman Karim.

Old vehicle dealers seek duty waiver

Bangladesh Reconditioned Vehicles Importers and Dealers Association (Barvida) has asked the government for the waiver of duty on the import of reconditioned multi excel truck and delivery van.

Apparel, fabrics, accessories show begins in Ctg

A three-day apparel fabrics and accessories show began in Chittagong yesterday.

China suffers first defeat at WTO

China suffered its first defeat at the World Trade Organisation after it upheld a complaint by the United States, European Union and Canada over import tariffs on car parts, sources close to the case said.

Lafarge reports 39pc profit rise

Demand for cement is still rising after 20 years of uninterrupted growth despite economic cycles, French building materials group Lafarge noted Thursday when reporting a 39-percent rise in net profit last year.

Metropolitan

Utilise every inch of land for boosting food output

Chief of Army Staff General Moeen U Ahmed called for utilising every inch of land for boosting food output.

Reserve 5pc quota for people with disabilities in govt jobs

Speakers at a press conference yesterday urged the government to reserve five percent quota in government services for the people with disabilities to bring them into the mainstream of society.

Edn UK Exhibition to strengthen ties

The 10th Education UK Exhibition 2008 began at Sheraton Hotel in the city yesterday.

Annisul Huq, Rouf Chy may contest for president

Former BGMEA president Annisul Huq was declared nominated director of FBCCI yesterday as the election board of the apex trade body published the list of valid candidates to contest its upcoming election.

Govt mulls Bibiyana deal in July

The government plans to sign a contract for the 450MW Bibiyana power plant project by the end of July this year.

Marks All Rounder Zone-2 contests today

The contests of 'Marks All Rounder' under Zone-2 would be held on Ispahani Public School and College premises in the port city today.

Free, fair polls a must for democracy: Zillur

Awami League Acting President Zillur Rahman yesterday said democracy and the rule of law would be established in the country through a free and fair election and the release of detained party President Sheikh Hasina.

UK hopes for fair polls, not Kenya-like ones

British Foreign Minister David Miliband has expressed optimism about holding of a free, fair and credible election in Bangladesh, saying the British government does not like to see Kenya model elections.

SC hearing on appeal Mar 9

The Supreme Court yesterday adjourned until March 9 the hearing on an appeal against the High Court judgment declaring illegal the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) notice asking detained former prime minister Sheikh Hasina to submit her wealth statement.

Hasina has no confidence in treatment arranged by jail authorities

Detained Awami League President Sheikh Hasina yesterday said she has no confidence in the treatment and medical tests arranged by the jail authorities.

Book fair begins in Ctg today

A 21-day-long book fair begins in the port city today to mark the Amar Ekushey.

Declare Feb 14 as Sundarbans Day

Environmentalists at a discussion yesterday urged the government to declare February 14 as Sundarbans Day.

Simplify visa procedure

Indian High Commissioner Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty yesterday requested for simplifying visa procedure for paving the way for visit of eminent Indian personalities to Bangladesh.

Huge VoIP equipment seized in Ctg

Members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) yesterday seized huge illegal Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) equipment from an apartment owned by Khalilur Rahman, chairman of KDS Group, and arrested one person in this connection.

US mission closed on Feb 17, 21

The American Embassy, including the Consular Section and the Public Affairs Section with the Archer K. Blood American Centre Library and the Student Advising Centre, will remain closed on February 17 in observance of President George Washington's birthday, an American national holiday.

Lawyers demand release of Hasina

Some 201 lawyers of the Supreme Court yesterday demanded release of detained ailing Awami League President Sheikh Hasina to send her abroad for proper treatment.

Tanjila Sara footbridge opens

A newly constructed footbridge opens in Paribagh, a busiest area of the Dhaka city, yesterday.

Khulna varsity VC resigns

Khulna University Vice-chancellor (VC) Prof Mohammod Mahbubur Rahaman has resigned.

Sightsavers Int'l, Brac sign deal on eye care service

Sightsavers International, UK, and Brac recently signed an agreement for providing eye care services to the beneficiaries of 'Support to Targeted Ultra-poor people (STUP)' programme of Brac, says a press release.

Ustad Jagadananda passes away

Noted musician Ustad Jagadananda Barua died of old age complications at the city's Centre Point Hospital early yesterday at the age of 88.

'Lift emergency to resolve crises’

Leaders of Gonotantrik Bam Morcha, a platform of left-leaning parties, yesterday called on the government to lift the state of emergency and establish the democratic rights of the people as a step towards resolving the prevailing crises.

‘Resolve issues of indigenous people politically’

Various issues of the indigenous people, including their land rights, have to be resolved politically, speakers at a roundtable said yesterday.

Brac to celebrate 35th anniversary today

Brac will celebrate its 35th anniversary at the Army Stadium in the city today through an evening of music and entertainment.

Letters

How can one govern Bangladesh?

How can one govern Bangladesh when we find:

Sound pollution at DITF

A few days ago I visited DITF with my mother. The fair covers a big area. Moving from stall to stall is actually difficult for the aged. Young people also get tired if they want to visit every stall of the fair. The overall arrangement for the fair was satisfactory but the objectionable and disturbing thing was the sound pollution created through the mikes and big speakers for advertisement of commodities inside the fair. Even I was facing difficulty to talk to the sellers as I had to shout to bargain with them.

Police reform

Police reform is indeed a very good idea of the present caretaker government. Police have lost their image. The police law was enacted during the British period in 1861. It is not befitting for the present time. So, the police law must be modernised for developing a fully-fledged service oriented institution.

Obama's background

What prompted me to write this letter is the report I found in Internet about the Muslim background of Obama, the Democratic Presidential candidate.

Rodent attack in CHT

The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) is the home to many ethnic communities having rich cultural heritage. Sadly, People of the CHT have never been given due opportunities to develop and have consistently been victims of discrimination in many sectors. To make their lives even worse this year, rodent attack has deprived them of the expected harvest.

Age limit of 28th BCS

I was very happy to see the 28th BCS circular but when I saw the age limit I was shocked. This circular has been declared after two and a half years. The circular of 27th BCS was published in 2005.Owing to reforms in the PSC and the exam procedure, the circular has come late. And for this reason, almost 50 thousand candidates won't be able to appear in this exam this year.

We salute the teachers!

Whatever I may have achieved as a physician in terms of education, finances, service to humanity, I have always felt that, sum total of all that is credited in my account, will never be equivalent to that of a university teacher. I have pursued studies to earn degrees, I have been reading occasionally to overcome certain professional problems, I have been attending (at times speaking in),seminars, workshops and conferences, to meet requirements for continued professional registration, but, a University teacher produces people like me, earning and disbursing knowledge is their day to day work, so are the seminars and conferences. I have seen wherever I have gone and worked, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America they, the University teachers, are at the top most strata of admiration.

Dhaka Metro

I look forward to the days when metro train will be running in Dhaka city and we will be freed, even if partially, from the agonising and punishing traffic jam.

Graffiti and posters

This is in reference to a news item appearing in your daily recently regarding the proposed ban on graffiti and posters. I would like to extend my heartiest congrats to the caretaker govt. for the bold decision. I had been very vocal on this issue and feel elated that my concerns received due attention. The LGRD has drafted an ordinance proposing a ban on graffiti and pasting of posters on the walls of houses and establishments across the country. In order to keep the cities and roads clean and beautiful, the decision is very timely and has no alternatives. It would be appreciated if the proposed ordinance is extended to cover all the banners, arches and billboards. It would be interesting to observe the implementation of the law through stringent punishment to the violators.

Ekushey Padak

It is good that every year some people get Ekushey Padak for their outstanding achievements and service to the country or humanity, but it pains me when I see that some Padaks are awarded posthumously. Why the govt waits for their death, or is it given as a solace to the bereaved family? Why the award was not given during their lifetime is still a puzzle to me.

Smoking and heart disease

Nowadays there are many health related programmes on satellite television channels, which are very encouraging. Many physicians come on TV and answers questions of the viewers. However, it is sad to get the wrong information from them. I was watching one such programme and one of the doctors was saying that there was no relationship between heart attack and smoking. This is not true.

BCS recruitment

People are posted in government service through BCS (Bangladesh Civil Service) exams. It is an old recruiting system of this subcontinent.

Aamir Khan's masterpiece

Aamir Khan is the most talented and respected actor of his generation. May be his popularity is less than other two Khans, Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan but Aamir Khan is a superstar in his own right. And he has proved it yet again. His directorial debut “Taare Zameen Par” was the only movie last year, which brought tears in my eyes. Audience became a part of the film while watching it. Many of them felt, it was their story or the story of their children. It educated us. After watching the movie, we do feel there needs to be a change in the education system of our country as well.

Torture in custody

An editorial on the subject (Jan:26) in a local English daily was very timely, pertinent and necessary. While one appreciates the CTG's actions against corruption, under the same criteria action against alleged torture of victims on detention and remand also needs to be speedily taken. This is a far worse crime than any form of corruption, be it for monitory gain, influence peddling or misuse of power and authority for personal gain; none of which physically harms anyone!

A tribute to Justice Sobhan

I had the privilege of being introduced with Justice Sobhan. The last time I came in contact with him was in the Human Rights Summer School organised by ELCOP on 10 December 2007 in Proshika Centre, Manikgonj. Justice Sobhan went there to preside over the moot court session. When I met him he inquired of my well being addressing me by name. I was astounded a little bit. Because I thought that he might have identified my face but recalling the name would be a remote possibility. I informed him that I was thinking to opt for judicial service. He discouraged me and said, “You are quite perfect for an academic discipline.” I told, “You are always campaigning for improving the judicial system, then do you not think that I would be of use for that purpose?” “Good academicians are also not out of the ambit of anti-generic lawyering”- he retorted. Such was Justice K. M. Sobhan. I did not contemplate then that we, as a last bite of 2007 (31 December 2007), would lose the star of progressive movement, a relentless campaigner of human rights and a loud voice for trial of the war criminals and their aides of 1971.

Preventing cancer

We can prevent cancer epidemic in many ways but at least three things we can do:

Indo European origin

This is indeed a most interesting subject and I congratulate you on publishing the review of the book, "The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture" by Edwin Bryant (19 Jan 08). Another authoritative book by the archaeologist John V. Day entitled, " Indo European Origin: The anthropological Evidence" published by the Institute for the study of Man, Washington D.C discusses in scholarly detail with full references this topic and considers various scientific techniques like genetic and anthropological study of modern humans as well as remains found in various ancient gravesites in Europe and Asia, archaeological and linguistic evidences etc and is a gold mine for researchers.

5-day working week - a luxury?

Bangladesh is passing through a critical period of major reforms social, political, economic, moral, and cultural. It is time to review the 5-day working week imposed by some previous political regime; for more output, every minute of each hour; as our systems losses are very high, due to politics of patronisation. It lowered social discipline, and established black spots for lawlessness, and other undesirable activities in public life. How to focus on clearly defined national goals?

International

Red Cross appalled by Lanka deaths

Civilian casualties have reached "appalling levels" in Sri Lanka's civil war, the Red Cross said Wednesday as the military announced its troops killed 50 more ethnic Tamil rebels in clashes across the island nation's restive north.

Waterboarding not legal

A senior Justice Department official says laws and other limits enacted since three terrorism suspects were waterboarded has eliminated the technique from what is now legally allowed, going a step beyond what CIA Director Michael Hayden has said.

Nablus tests Middle East peace efforts

Local Hamas activists have pledged to obey the law, Middle East envoy Tony Blair has taken a stroll through once gunman-infested neighbourhoods and policemen are now the only ones carrying weapons in public in this former militant hub.

Musharraf an obstacle to Pak stability: Study

President Pervez Musharraf's popularity has nosedived ahead of elections next week, with a majority of Pakistanis viewing him as an "obstacle" to the stability of the country, a survey said Thursday.

Hillary's edge slips with whites, women

Hillary Rodham Clinton's crushing losses in Maryland and Virginia highlight an erosion in what had been solid advantages among women, whites and older and working-class voters.

Putin aims to be powerful Russian premier

Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed Thursday that he plans to become prime minister after leaving the Kremlin and signalled he will exercise maximum power in the post.

Serbia moves against Kosovo independence

Serbia and Russia stepped up warnings Thursday over an imminent independence declaration by Kosovo, saying the Western-backed move would be an illegal assault on Serbian sovereignty.

Top Myanmar rebel leader assassinated in Thailand: Police

A top leader of Myanmar's rebel Karen National Union who was also a key figure in the democracy movement was assassinated Thursday at his home in Thailand, Thai police and political exiles said.

Several Taliban, 2 civilians killed in Afghanistan

US-led coalition swoops on Taliban leaders left several insurgents dead while two civilians transporting construction materials were blown up by a rebel bomb, officials said Thursday.

Arts & Entertainment

Pijush and Joya: Heart to heart

THE Bengali month of Falgun is associated with romance, as it initiates the season of spring. Pahela Falgun (February 13), the first day of spring is celebrated in our culture with much gusto. The recent trend of celebrating Valentine's Day (February 14) in our urban areas has made both the occasions more significant. On this amorous occasion, The Daily Star talked to eminent cultural personality Pijush Bandyopadhyay and his wife, theatre and TV actress Joya.

Cultural struggle and Akhtaruzzaman Elias

On the occasion of litterateur Akhtaruzzaman Elias' (1943-1997) 65th birth anniversary, Jono-shangskrtiti Moncho, a “politically conscious” cultural organisation, arranged a discussion at the Ramesh Chandra Majumdar Auditorium, Dhaka University (DU) on February 12. Professor Salimullah Khan of Stamford University, Piash Karim of BRAC University, Mohammad Azam of DU and columnist Faruque Wasif spoke at the discussion presided over by Professor Anu Mohammed of Jahangirnagar University.

Boshonto Uthshob in Chittagong

Boshonto Uthshob, the first day of Falgun (the first month of spring) was celebrated here in the port city last Wednesday amid much enthusiasm.

Humanism in theatre: In conversation with Goutam Roy Chowdhury

Goutam Roy Chowdhury is the chief of the Indian troupe Hrittik, which staged two plays -- Deshodrohi and Meghoboti -- at the theatre festival arranged by Samay Shanskritik Goshthi. Roy Chowdhury is the playwright and director of all 22 plays produced by Hrittik.

Today's play “Konjush”

As part of the festival organised by Samay Shanskritik Goshthi, Loko Natya Dal will stage Konjush, an adaptation of the Moliere satire, The Miser, at the National Theatre Stage.

"Khona": The woman behind the myth

Subachan Natya Sangsad staged its latest production, Khona, at the Experimental Theatre Hall, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on February 13. Written by Samina Lutfa Nitra and directed by Mohammad Ali Haider, Khona is the 30th production of Subachan Natya Sangsad.

Cultural programme marking Saraswati Puja

Speakers at a discussion last Tuesday urged the students to work for the betterment of society and the people. If the students followed the directions of their respective religions, they would never stray. Both religion and education are necessary to enlighten the society, they added.

Samageet celebrates Pohela Falgun

To celebrate Pahela Falgun, the first day of spring, cultural organisation Samageet Shangskriti Prangan arranged a musical soiree at the Arts Faculty Building, Dhaka University on February 13. Members of the organisation along with invited artistes and organisations performed at the soiree.

TV play “Hashi” on Channel-i today

On the occasion of Valentine's Day, Channel-i will telecast a special single-episode TV play Hashi today at 3:05 pm. Actor Adnan Faruk Hillol has directed the play. The play marks Hillol's debut as a TV play director.

"Music Jam" on ntv

To mark Valentine's Day, ntv will telecast a special episode of the musical programme Music Jam tonight at 9:00 pm. Produced by Tanvir Khan, singer Tishma hosts the programme.

OP-ED

Blueprint for democracy

THE success of democracy depends on various factors. Education is perhaps number one on the list. Then comes human rights. This would include freedom of expression, right to information, tolerance for each other's philosophies, and rule of law. All these factors have to come together to bring success to democracy.

An urgent call for the CTG

THE caretaker government (CTG) of Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed completed one year in office on January 11 this year. The CTG took charge with lots of promises, which kept on fading as the days passed by. Unfortunately, within this short time, the people are getting somewhat disenchanted, at least as far as their economic well-being is concerned.

The old and the new

MORE and more, we see the rise of two opposing political camps in Bangladesh. One is the old that wants to revive politics through immediate parliamentary polls. The other is the new that emerged after January 2007, and wishes never to return to old political dominance by dynasties, lawlessness, and the inability or reluctance of elected governments to bring reforms.

Environment

Increased CO2 level threatens coral reefs

A coral reef is made up of thin layers of calcium carbonate (limestone) secreted over thousands of years by billions of tiny soft bodied animals called coral polyps. Coral reefs are the world's most miscellaneous marine ecosystems and are home to twenty-five percent of identified marine species, including 4,000 species of fish, 700 species of coral and thousands of other plants and animals. Coral reefs occupy less than one quarter of one percent of the Earth's marine environment, yet they are home to more than a quarter of all known fish species.

Impacts of climate change: Global to local

The UN climate advisory body Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that global environmental change will entail increasing climate variability and increased occurrence of extreme weather events. Since 1750s onwards overall accelerated human-societal development led to activities like burning of fossil fuel, land use change and extensive agricultural practices which have ensued irreversible loss to the bio-capacity of present earth. Best estimation shows about sixty percent of the ecosystems are being degraded or exploited unsustainably across the globe; and these sorts of pressures increase the risk of trade-offs in ecosystem functions.

Conserving biodiversity : International efforts

Biodiversity is disappearing from the natural ecosystems of forests, savannahs, pastures and rangelands, deserts, tundras, rivers, lakes and seas .This is largely the result of human activity and represents a serious threat to human development. To protect these precious resources for human kind various environmental conservation organisations are working world-wide.



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