The Daily Star

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Sunday, May 27, 2018

News of: Sunday, 17th of February, 2008

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Satkhira grenades similar to ones used on Aug 21

The 41 grenades seized in Satkhira on Friday night are identical to those used in the August 21 blasts at an Awami League (AL) rally in 2004.

Pro-Saifur faction of BNP sits with parties

Pro-Saifur faction of BNP and some other political parties on Friday started a discussion among themselves on forming a new political alliance to win the upcoming election.

1.65 lakh fowls culling begins in city farm

The culling of some 1.65 lakh chickens at a poultry farm at Badda in the capital began yesterday after the detection of deadly avian influenza virus, which the officials say is the biggest ever culling in the country so far.

Suicide attack kills 37 as Pak polls campaign ends

A suicide car bomber struck a rally by slain Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto's party yesterday, killing 37 people and increasing security fears with just two days until elections.

Sulphur-rich imported coal polluting air

The import of substandard Indian coal is being sanctioned by the government even though the polluting fossil fuel exceeds the sulphur level set by the government itself.

IOJ reveals list of 'war criminals'

A faction of Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ) yesterday disclosed a list consisting names of 15 'war criminals', including Jamaat-e-Islami chief Matiur Rahman Nizami, who directly took part in the mass killings during the Liberation War.

Dhaka slates cartoon on Prophet in Danish paper

Bangladesh yesterday condemned the re-publication of cartoons of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) by some Danish newspapers, saying it could fuel resentment that may turn out to be destabilising.

Govt to apply today for permission to appeal against verdict

The government is likely to file application today seeking permission to appeal against the High Court judgment that declared illegal bringing the Tk 2.99 crore extortion case against detained former prime minister Sheikh Hasina under the Emergency Powers Rules (EPR) and also scrapped the case.

The Daily Star turns 18

Leading figures from academia, arts, politics, business, media and civil society last night gathered at a reception hosted by The Daily Star in celebration of its 17th anniversary.

Process must start by March 26

Sector Commanders Forum, a platform of sector commanders of the Liberation War, yesterday demanded that the process of bringing the war criminals to justice must start by March 26.

3 firemen killed as train rams fire truck

Three firemen were killed and four others injured as a passenger train rammed a fire truck on a level crossing in Kulaura upazila of Moulvibazar early morning yesterday.

AL to arrange Hasina's treatment in US, if govt allows

The Awami League (AL) presidium yesterday said the party, if the government agrees, will arrange in the USA the treatment of Sheikh Hasina's ears badly damaged due to the impact of grenade attacks on her rally in the city on August 21, 2004.

Huda, Altaf Chy shifted to N'ganj jail

Detained former ministers Air Vice Marshal (retd) Altaf Hossain Chowdhury and barrister Nazmul Huda were shifted to Narayanganj jail on Thursday for using mobile phones in Dhaka Central Jail violating the jail code.

3 killed in cylinder blast

Three people were killed and five others injured as the gas cylinder of a truck exploded at a CNG-filling station here yesterday.

CA's first meet today with establishment ministry officials

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed will exchange views with officials of the establishment ministry on Wednesday in the first such meeting since he took over charge of the establishment portfolio over a year ago.

Dr Yunus takes microfinance model to US

Grameen Bank, founded by Bangladeshi Nobel Prize winner Dr Muhammad Yunus, is taking its pioneering microfinance model to the United States, the Financial Times reported Saturday.

Future of Musharraf after Feb 18?

Pervez Musharraf cannot afford a fair and free election on February 18 in Pakistan. That is why rigging is the writing on the wall. Musharraf claimed that Pakistanis will have the mother of all elections on February 18, but many observers think it will be the mother of all riggings.

Forex worth Tk 91 lakh seized at ZIA

Customs officials at Zia International Airport (ZIA) seized foreign currency worth Tk 91.65 lakh from a passenger of a Singapore-bound flight and arrested him on Friday night.

Fund crunch holds back loss assessment

Although the Cyclone Sidr left a trail of destruction in the Sundarbans three months ago, the committee formed to assess the colossal losses in the mangrove forest could not yet start its work for lack of funds.

111 truckloads of Indian relief arrives

West Bengal's Transport and Sports Minister Subhash Chakrabarty yesterday handed over 111 truckloads of relief materials for Sidr affected people in Bangladesh at the Benapole border.

Kosovo inches closer to independence declaration

Kosovo inched closer to a widely expected declaration of independence on Sunday, amid rising political tension and Serbia's determination to resist what it considers an illegal breakaway.


Live grenade haul

WE commend the Rab team's digging out of 46 live grenades from the bank of a pond in Satkhira. This is the latest in a series of such discoveries from city's Banani and Moghbazar, Nalitabari in Sherpur, Barobari in Pirganj, Thakurgaon, Sirajganj, Botiaghata in Khulna, Sonatila in Khagrachhari and Shalipur in Savar. The wide territorial range of the findings should be an eye opener to the tentacles of the terrorist threats.

Ekushey book fair energises us

THE Ekushey book fair goes on apace. And that is as it should be, for in recent years the publications that have come before us in the season when we observe the anniversary of the struggle for language have pointed to the strong cultural ethos that underpins our history. The Ekushey book fair is an occasion which takes us onward from an observance of a politico-cultural movement to a celebration of our heritage as a people. Judging by the enthusiasm this year at the fair, one can surely rest back in the knowledge that Bengalis, for all the political issues that have of late been exercising their minds, feel themselves on firm ground when it comes to a renewed awareness of their cultural sense of belonging.

The Bangladeshi brands

CONSUMER perception of the word "brand" is usually associated with quality. In the western world, with the variety and options available, it is the concept of brands that help consumers decipher and match their needs to that of the products available in the market.

Poorer than we thought

THE economics profession underwent a revolution in December last year, as economic understanding of the world suddenly shifted.

Bangladesh still bleeds from war wounds

OUT of sheer frustration I remained out of the ongoing debate on the trial of those accused of crimes against humanity during Bangladesh's 1971 Independence War. I am still skeptical with my past experience, but thought it was worth pondering.


Shakib to hold back spin

Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons will take a good look at his charges' progress when Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) XI take on the visiting South Africa in the three-day tour opener at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium today.

Stars back U-19 kids

Cricket's brightest young talent will not be short of inspiration when they contest the International Cricket Council's under-19 World Cup starting here on Sunday.

Rumi made manager

Former national cricketer Omar Khalid Rumi has been named Bangladesh team manager for the upcoming series against South Africa.

Fourth JFA Cup from today

The zonal round matches of the 4th JFA Cup Under-15 football championship begins at eight venues across the country today.

More draws in Sr Div soccer

Wari Club played out a one-all draw with City Club in the Metropolis Senior Division Football League at the Bir Shreshtha Shaheed Sepoy Mohammad Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur yesterday.

Lee's absence crucial

It remains to be seen if India can take advantage of Brett Lee's absence as they take on Australia for the third time in the league phase of the CB Series at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday. Lee earns a well-deserved rest after working tirelessly to establish himself as the bowler of the season, taking 40 wickets in six Tests and eight in the triangular ODI tournament so far. His absence could be a significant plus for an Indian team which has been pushed to second place after Australia's convincing win against Sri Lanka in Perth on Friday.

FTP important: Modi

The ICC's Future Tours Program (FTP) remains paramount for the Indian Premier League, Lalit Modi, the IPL chairman and commissioner, has told Cricinfo. Modi also reiterated the IPL would strictly follow the two-year freeze on players post their retirement, to prevent a rush of active cricketers towards the financially lucrative Twenty20 league.

Sourav would have retired from ODIs

Surprisingly sidelined for the one-day cricket tri-series against Australia, Sourav Ganguly has confessed that he was anyway considering retirement from the limited overs version in next 7-8 months.

Nannu's death mourned

Different organisations yesterday condemned the untimely death of renowned ex-national footballer Monawar Hossain Nannu.

The irreplaceable Nannu

It was at around two in the afternoon yesterday when a small crowd gathered just in front of the players' lounge at the Bangabandhu National Stadium. The audience, in a sombre mood, lined up one after another to show their last respect to someone whose white pair of boots, immaculate skills, sliding tackles and defence-splitting through passes enthralled millions on this very ground in the 1970s.

England's WC bid safe

England's bid for the 2018 World Cup will not be put in danger by ground-breaking proposals to play league matches abroad, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said.

Keegan's work cut out

Former Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson has said Kevin Keegan faces a "mammoth job" to turn round the fortunes of the north-east side in his second spell as boss at St James' Park.

Driven by fear of failure

Arsene Wenger shuddered as he contemplated the feeling he hates more than any other - losing.

'I was just lucky'

Real Madrid's iconic former striker Alfredo di Stefano claimed on Saturday that he had just been lucky to play at the level he did because there were 40 other guys in his neighbourhood who had been better than him.

Portuguese focus on 12 referees

The disciplinary commission of the Portuguese football federation (FPF) on Friday said it had opened proceedings against 12 referees suspected of corruption in matches.

Seedorf worries for friend

AC Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf said Friday he was concerned that teammate Ronaldo's latest knee injury would mean the end of the star's career even as club vice-president Adriano Galliani voiced hope the Brazilian would return.

Drone to police hooligans

Eastern German state Saxony on Friday adopted a remote-controlled drone to keep tabs on football fans' behaviour from the skies, the state government said.

Goodbye, Whacker

A private net session before his teammates arrived provided the platform for Adam Gilchrist's farewell one-day international century at the WACA Ground on Friday.

'Ponting feels the strain'

Adam Gilchrist said here Friday that he believed the stress of a long and often troubled campaign was affecting the form of Australian skipper Ricky Ponting.

Adam's relief with ton

Australia's Adam Gilchrist admitted he was relieved to have successfully completed an emotional WACA farewell after his match-winning century against Sri Lanka.

Ranjan moves to doubles' semis

Local boy Ranjan Ram and his doubles partner Lin from Chinese Taipei moved into the semifinal of the Dhaka Bank 22nd International Junior Tennis tournament at the Ramna National Tennis Complex yesterday.

Second phase of golf training starts

Forty-seven young and talented golfers will receive free training as part of an initiative to improve the state of golf in the country.

Mahela asks batsmen to fire

Mahela Jayawardene has urged his side to adopt a smarter approach following Sri Lanka's 63-run loss to Australia in the sixth CB Series match in Perth.

Arendse, Majola say sorry

Cricket South Africa (CSA) President Norman Arendse and CEO Gerald Majola have apologised for their roles in the controversy surrounding team selection for the tour of Bangladesh.

IPL faces a new wall

A quirky Cricket Australia regulation has provided a last-minute hitch in negotiations to allow its contract holders to take part in the Indian Premier League. Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, has set a Sunday deadline for registration for Thursday's player auction, but that is in doubt due to a condition that prevents more than two Australians appearing in the same overseas team.

Mahimaganj ride on Shahidul

Mahimaganj High School crushed Gaibandha Police Line School by nine wickets in the Standard Chartered Young Tigers school cricket competition at the local stadium here yesterday.


Biman set to improve financial health

Biman Bangladesh Airlines' measures to cease operation on losing routes, down size staff, and curb corruption have began to pay off as the once loss making national flag carrier is on its way to improving financial health.

One seeks loan from BB women entrepreneurs' fund in a year

Only one woman entrepreneur has applied for a loan from a Bangladesh Bank fund worth Tk 95 crore set up a year ago to give cheap credit to the country's women entrepreneurs, BB sources said.

Govt to assess Boro output to ensure reliable data for future strategies

The agriculture adviser has said the government is to make an independent assessment of this year's Boro output to ensure reliable data for its future plan and strategies.

Bangladesh needs policy change to tap ICT potential

The sooner Bangladesh brings about changes in policies the better develop its ICT industry, a Danish information technology expert has observed.

India's IT sector confident to ride out global slowdown

India's top technology and outsourcing body said it is confident it can ride out the challenge of a stronger rupee and a global economic slowdown as it wrapped up its annual meeting here.

Bangladesh exports to US up in 2007

Bangladesh's exports to the US have shown some increase in 2007 .

Canada's fur trade route leads to Russia, China

For 400 years, Canada sold most of its wild animal pelts to Europe but now Russia and China have become its biggest markets as their booming economies breed a wealth of fur fashionistas.

Internet tariff to be cut further BTRC chief says

Internet tariff will be reduced further for the development of information and communication technology (ICT), Major General Manzurul Alam (retd), chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), told a seminar yesterday.

26 local RMG makers taking part in 2 US shows

Twenty-six readymade garment (RMG) manufacturers from Bangladesh are taking part in two different apparel shows -- ASAP Global Sourcing Show and the MAGIC Show -- in Las Vegas, USA.

Seminar on capital market in Khulna

A seminar on capital market was held in Khulna yesterday.

US retailers impose new toy safety rules

After facing recall after recall of millions of Chinese-made items, the nation's biggest toy sellers are imposing stricter measures on their suppliers, including tougher standards for lead content, to get ahead of expected new federal legislation.

2 HK firms to invest $105m in Dhaka EPZ

Two Hong Kong-based companies will set up two textile plants in Dhaka Export Processing Zone with an investment of US$105 million, says a press release.

Tata Capital to ally with Japanese firm

Tata Capital on Friday decided to enter into a strategic alliance with Mizuho Securities Co of Japan for private equity and investment banking businesses.

Dollar slips on soft economic data

The dollar traded mostly lower Friday as traders soft US economic data and mulled generally downbeat comments a day earlier by Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke.

Oil prices surge

Oil prices rose sharply this week back towards 100 dollars as the market focused on supply disruptions rather than forecasts of weaker energy demand resulting from a US economic slowdown.

Toshiba plans to pull out of HD DVD business

Japan's Toshiba, which has led the HD DVD video disks format, plans to withdraw from the business as it is losing the battle against rival Sony's Blu-ray format, a report said Saturday.

Regulators to tighten up on British supermarkets

The competition watchdog on Friday said it was proposing a series of measures designed to ensure British supermarkets face a real competitive environment.


Nation needs enlightened people to remove darkness

The nation badly needs enlightened people to show lights amid darkness all around and only reading books can help build up such enlightened people, said the speakers on the concluding day of a prize giving ceremony in the capital yesterday.

Nat'l Math Festival ends with hope for greater success in future

The two-day National Mathematics Festival 2008 ended at St Joseph's Higher Secondary School in the city yesterday with a hope to achieve greater success in future in the field of maths and science internationally.

Ordinance by next week to revitalise 2 seaports

The government will promulgate an ordinance within next week abolishing port dock management board and all but one trade union for revitalising two seaports, Labour and Employment Adviser Anwarul Iqbal said yesterday.

Road accidents kill 9, injure 40

At least nine people were killed and 40 others injured in separate road accidents in Dinajpur, Faridpur, Bagerhat and Jhenidah yesterday.

Illegal VoIP equipment worth Tk 50 lakh seized

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) seized huge illegal VoIP equipment worth about Tk 50 lakh at Mirpur in the city yesterday.

'Issue of nat'l consensus govt raised to delay election'

The issue of the formation of a government of national consensus has been brought to the fore to cause confusion in a bid to delay the parliamentary election, leaders of major political parties, including Awami League, BNP and Jatiya Party, said yesterday.

'Use Bangla in every sphere of life'

Speakers at a roundtable yesterday called for using Bangla in every sphere of life.

CPU training on environmental reporting begins today

A five-day training course on environmental reporting for Bangladeshi journalists with the theme 'Environment-reporting the issues currently threatening the globe' kicks off at the UNB training room in the city today.

Call to hold elections without delay

Speakers at a view exchange meeting yesterday stressed the need to hold the parliamentary and upazila elections simultaneously and without delay.

Baul artistes to perform in Japan

A team of Bangladeshi Baul artistes left for Japan yesterday at the invitation of Japan Folk Art Association (JFAA) and the Ministry of Culture of Japan.

Sri Lankan dy edn minister calls on DU VC

Visiting Sri Lankan Deputy Minister of Higher Education Mohammed Mustaffa yesterday called on Dhaka University (DU) Vice Chancellor Prof SMA Faiz at the Senate Bhaban of the university.

Trader shot by extortionists in city

Extortionists shot a businessman at Mirpur in the city yesterday when he refused to pay them toll.

Project to supply arsenic-free water

Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) has undertaken a project to supply arsenic-free drinking water among the rural people through pipeline.

Three more held in Brac Bank heist

The police arrested three people from a house at Morshed Sarak in Mongla early yesterday in connection with the Brac Bank heist in Dhaka.

Jute mill workers give ultimatum to BJMC

Retired jute mill workers yesterday gave an ultimatum to Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) to meet their five-point demand, including payment of dues and arrears, by February 24 or face tougher agitation.

2 arrested with hemp, phensidyl, liquor in Comilla

Police and Narcotics Control Task Force, in separate drives, seized 13 kgs of hemp, phensidyl syrup and liquor and arrested two people from Burichang and Monohorganj upazilas of the district on Thursday.

Citi-Ananda Alo Literary Award introduced

Ananda Alo, a fortnightly entertainment magazine, in collaboration with Citibank NA, Bangladesh has introduced an award titled 'Citi-Ananda Alo Literary Award', says a press release.

College girl commits suicide jumping under train

A female college student allegedly committed suicide by jumping under a train in Tan Ghorashal area of Palash upazila on Thursday.

UP chairman arrested for VGF rice graft

A Union Parishad chairman was arrested on Friday on charges of misappropriating VGF rice.

Career Vision launched

The University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) in collaboration with Jobs-ICT launched a programme titled 'Career Vision' yesterday to train and prepare its graduates to face the challenges in the present competitive job markets, says a press release.

Rajshahi Metro Press Club executives

Bulbul Chowdhury of Rajshahi bureau chief of the daily Jugantor and Anisuzzaman of the daily Janakantha were elected president and general secretary of Rajshahi Metropolitan Press Club on Friday.

Fertility centre opens at Apollo Hospitals

Apollo Fertility Centre, equipped with all the world-class facilities to meet up the personalised demand of the infertile couples, was inaugurated at Apollo Hospitals Dhaka on Thursday, says a press release.


Earth lifting from Ichhamoti causes erosion in Sirajganj

Hundreds of dwelling houses, about 1.5 km stretch of important Sirajganj-Bogra road, a large area of cultivable lands and several installations are now threatened by erosion due to sand and earth lifting from Ichhamoti riverbed at Kuthirchar Sengati in Kamarkhanda upazila of Sirajganj district.

B'Baria Shishu Mela brings joy for children

A different type of children's fair (Shishu Mela) was held here yesterday where at least 6,000 children took part in a jovial mood.

Skill dev training for poor women

About 22 poor women were given skill development training on cell (mobile) phone servicing and information technology (IT) at Madhobdi in Narsingdi district recently, says a press release.

Govt mulls withdrawal of ban on parlour politics outside capital: Matin

Home Adviser Maj Gen (rtd) MA Matin yesterday said the interim government is considering withdrawal of the ban on parlour politics outside the capital as its prime target is to hold a free, fair and acceptable general election for handing over power to an elected government.

2 killed, 35 hurt as villagers clash in Netrakona

Two persons were killed and 35 others injured in separate clashes in Durgapur and Purbadhala upazila in the district yesterday morning.

Contributions of language heroes recalled

'Nilmon Gallery', a research organization, held a meeting to recall the contributions of language heroes at Pabna Central Shahid Minar on Friday .

600 cft smuggled timber seized, 4 held

Police seized 600 CFT smuggled Indian Segun timbers worth about Tk 6 lakh from Kailati village on the bank of Kongsha River in Durgapur upazila in the district yesterday morning and arrested four people in this connection.


Emerging Asia vs. US recession

With the US economy sinking into recession, the question, which arises, is whether Asia is recession immune. Many had thought that the “decoupling” theory would work i.e. the theory that Asian economies are unlikely to be affected by US recession. While it is true that the “decoupling” theory may not have worked as was expected (since the MSCI Emerging Asia Index was down by 25% at one point from its October high, this week), one can still say that this time around the emerging economies would be in a much better position compared to previous US downturns.

Save Sundarbans

It has transpired from the recent round table conference held under the auspices of the daily Prothom Alo that indiscriminate cutting of trees as well as illegal collection of other forest resources and materials are the root causes for gradual extinction of the forest. The Sundarbans is one of the largest mangrove forests in the world having many rear species of animals and trees. Hundreds of canals and tributaries have passed through the forestland. Thousands of local inhabitants are mostly dependant on the Sundarbans for their livelihood. They collect honey, fish, woods and other materials. Illegal collection, which is also rampant, in connivance with dishonest and corrupt officials of the forest department is putting tremendous pressure on the forests.


Reference is made to an article published in a daily newspaper.

DU teachers

The caretaker government has shown its goodwill to the teaching community by securing presidential pardon for the convicted Dhaka University teachers. We just hope that they would now return the gesture and the efforts of all others to see them released by focusing on their paid-for primary responsibilityteaching and scholarly research.

EC's role

Since the inception of the reconstructed, independent and autonomous Election Commission, it has certainly taken some successful initiatives for which it really deserves credit. At least we now are hopeful about its mission of conducting a credible election. But what fills us with apprehension is the unwanted smack of procrastination in implementing the plans in accordance with the roadmap. It seems that still the Commission is waiting for the favourable moment, instead of creating it through its own efforts.

Our postal service

Thanks to Mr. Ihsanul Haq for his brilliant suggestion regarding improving the postal services in Bangladesh. Mr Haq perhaps does not know that we Bangladeshis earn billions of dollars working as expatriates and in this situation do we still need to hire technical experts for improving our postal services?

Of sledging and bullying

It appears that the Indian Cricket Board is intent on exercising the same control outside the field as Australian players are exercising inside. Moreover, their methods of doing so are surprisingly similar. Much sympathy has been spared for India after a few umpiring mistakes cost them dearly. The Australian squad has been chastised for their on-field antics and their furious desire to win at all costs. They were also imprudent not to defuse on field tensions between themselves. But what the Indian Board and players did after the Test just revealed that maybe the ICC is not cricket's supreme authority after all.

Criminals at work!

I would like to draw your kind attention to the danger that I faced a few days ago.

AL's decision

We are pleased to hear that the AL is going to begin talks with other parties to form an electoral alliance like the previous "Moha Oikkyo Jote". We are also happy to note that this time the AL is not entering into any electoral alliance with Dr. Kamal's Gono Forum or with the fundamentalist parties.


Gaza situation 'grim', says top UN official

The eight-month closure of Gaza has created "grim and miserable" conditions that deprive Palestinians of their basic dignity, the UN's humanitarian chief said Friday.

13 cops killed in India Maoist attack

Maoist rebels in eastern India have shot dead 13 police and a civilian in the worst attack by the leftist insurgents in months, officials said yesterday.

US Senator asks govt to cut off military aid if Pakistan polls rigged

The United States should cut off military aid to Pakistan if upcoming parliamentary elections are not free and fair, an influential US senator on foreign affairs said on Friday.

Lankan civil war spreads to Colombo

As a raging civil war killed thousands in the country's northeast, Sri Lankans in Colombo and other southern cities shopped, held picnics and cheered their children at soccer matches.

Obama sets sights on Wisconsin after union endorsement

Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama, his momentum building up, sought on Saturday to maintain his winning streak in Wisconsin and Hawaii that hold primary contests next Tuesday.

Kenya rivals agree to review election

Kenya's political rivals announced on Friday a 10-point plan to resolve their political crisis after weeks of negotiations but they remained deadlocked over power sharing.

Bush pushes on Kenya, Darfur in Africa tour

President George W Bush yesterday launched a five-country Africa swing, highlighting US-backed victories against disease and poverty and calling for action to help "trouble spots" Darfur and Kenya.

Expelled EU diplomat defends Taliban dialogue

An Irish diplomat who was expelled from Afghanistan for talking to Taliban-linked insurgents defended his actions Saturday, insisting that dialogue could persuade militants to abandon violence.

Canada extradites Nazi to Italy

An 83-year-old former SS prison guard who was sentenced to life in prison in Italy for Nazi war crimes was jailed near Naples Saturday, hours after he was extradited from Canada.

4 Ulfa rebels killed in Assam

Four separatist rebels were killed in a gunbattle with security forces on Saturday in India's insurgency-hit northeast, police said.

French FM urges Israel to lift Gaza blockade

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner urged Israel to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip and to freeze its policy of building settlements in the West Bank, at the start of a visit to the region yesterday.

Malaysia police fire teargas at flower protest

Malaysian police yesterday fired teargas and water cannons to disperse ethnic Indians clutching flowers and gathered in the capital, in the latest crackdown on public protests, witnesses said.Some 300 people defied a police ban and attempted to gather in Independence Square in downtown Kuala Lumpur to protest alleged discrimination, before police moved in, an AFP correspondent witnessed.

India opens massive arms fair, denies arming for war

A massive defence fair opened in India's capital yesterday with hundreds of global weapons firms competing for billions of dollars of sales to one of the world's largest armies and biggest spenders.

Japan mulls peacekeeping mission in S Sudan

Japan's government is considering sending peacekeeping troops to southern Sudan to help implement a 2005 peace deal that ended more than two decades of war, a report said yesterday.

Indonesia reports 104th bird flu death

A 16-year-old Indonesian boy who died last week had bird flu, the health ministry said yesterday, bringing the toll to 104 in the nation worst hit by the disease.

US university shooter identified as bright but erratic

The gunman who shot dead five people at a university here has been identified as an "outstanding" graduate student with no history of trouble but signs of erratic behavior in the last two weeks.

2 shot dead in Thai Muslim south

Separatist militants shot dead two men in separate attacks yesterday in Thailand's restive Muslim-majority south, police said.

Rice starts Asia visit Feb 23 to talk N Korea's N-programme

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will leave here February 23 for South Korea, China and Japan as part of diplomatic efforts to scrap North Korea's nuclear arms program, her spokesman said Friday.

Arts & Entertainment

Sultan Mela in Narail

Every year devotees from far and wide gather at the Sultan Mela (fair), Narail, to pay homage to SM Sultan. Hundreds of stalls are erected all around an open stage and cultural functions are performed at the Narail Victoria College premises. The programme, thronged by thousands, continues till 11 pm everyday. This year the fair will end on February 18.

Three plays to be staged today

Three plays will be staged at the opening day of the theatre festival titled 'Whither theatre' arranged by Bangladesh Centre of the International Theatre Institute (BCITI). Moreover, dance troupe Nrityadhara will perform at the National Theatre Stage after the opening ceremony, which will be inaugurated by Rasheda K. Chowdhury, adviser to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.

Celebrating 35 years of BRAC

To mark its 35th anniversary, BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee), one of the leading NGOs in our country held a grand cultural programme at the Army Stadium on February 15. The event transformed the stadium into one single giant gathering of BRAC officials and employees across the country, with about 15,000 present on the occasion.

"Bangladeshi theatre is well appreciated in international arena --Ataur Rahman

General Secretary of Bangladesh Centre of the International Theatre Institute (BCITI), Ataur Rahman discussing the activities of the organisation said, "The International Theatre Institute is a common platform for the activists of performing art forms like drama, dance and others.” He said that because of the successful publication (World of Theatre) by BCITI, we have bagged many prestigious posts in the ITI World Committee, including vice president and chairperson of different important sub-committees. The 125th session of ITI Worldwide Executive Council will be held in Dhaka during the festival.”

Musical soiree by Prachya Shilpocharcha Parishad

The second arrangement of Ghoroa Gaaner Ashor, a regular musical soiree arranged by Prachya Shilpocharcha Parishad (Centre for Oriental Art Appreciation) was held on February 14 at the Alamgir Kabir Film Centre Auditorium. Prameela Chakraborty, Arjumand Ara Bakul and Tapan Mojumdar performed songs of three poets; DL Roy, Rajanikanto Sen and Atul Prashad; songs of Pagla Kanai and Radharaman and some old numbers at the event.

Valentine's Celebration

On the occasion of Valentine's Day, Concord Entertainment Co. Ltd. (CenCL) organised the 'Shark Energy Drinks Valentine's Celebration' and a Fashion show on February 15 at the Water Kingdom, says a press release. The daylong event was attended by a huge crowd, where LRB was the main highlight. Along with LRB's evergreen numbers, popular bands and musicians such as Yaatri and Mila also performed much to the delight of the music lovers. Meanwhile, DJ Rahat was rocking the day with his hip mixes and popular numbers. Visitors of all ages were seen enjoying themselves at the Water Pool the whole day as well. There were also a raffle draw, a few game shows and an acrobat show for the audience. Sponsored by 'Shark Energy Drinks', the show was hosted by Neda Shakiba

Bondhon Chirokaler

Bondhon Chirokaler, a live concert, was organised on Valentine's Day by the mobile operator company Aktel on February 14, says a press release. Held at Rabindra Sharobar, well known bands and musicians namely Souls, Black, S.I. Tutul, Mila and Mahadi (Close Up 1 contestent) performed at the concert. "It is the love of our customers that always inspires us to do a little extra for their delight," said Zafrul Hassan, AGM Marketing of Aktel on the event.


Obama surging, Hillary Clinton in trouble

WITH 22 delegate-rich states holding Democratic primaries and caucuses, February 5 was supposed to be Hillary Clinton's coronation night. Instead, a white knight from Camelot ignored the damsel in distress and unchivalrously rode right past her to potentially his own coronation.

Following in Indira's footsteps?

HERE is a quiz question for all readers. Who told London's Sunday Times: "It is wholly wrong to say that I resorted to emergency to keep myself in office … The extra-constitutional challenge was constitutionally met." The "emergency was declared to save the country from disruption and collapse;" it had "enabled us to put through the new economic program" and led to "a new sense of national confidence."

The puzzle of soil fertility

SOLIDS, liquids, and gases are three forms of matter in soil. Solids constitute soil reserves of most nutrients, provide physical support for plants and provide a means of holding added nutrients in the root zone. Soil water is the immediate source of most nutrients absorbed by plant roots. Soil gases occupy the soil pores with water.

Nobody's puppet

ALTHOUGH sceptics may view the leadership of Samak Sundaravej as a prelude to the return of Thaksin Shinawatra, the prime minister has sent out a clear message he's not warming up the seat for anyone but himself.

Star City

Nimtali Deuri falling apart

Nimtali Deuri, the last remaining gateway to the now-extinct 18th century Nimtali Palace, is now in a ramshackle state due to the lack of necessary steps to preserve it.

Ganaktuli sweepers still live in cracked building

As renovation of the damaged building in Ganaktuli Sweeper Colony goes on at a very slow pace, residents of the building are still in fear of accidents.

No steps yet to enforce building code

The government has not adopted any mechanism to enforce Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC) properly, letting accidents to occur at the construction sites and allowing flaws in building construction and demolition.

Star Health

How to cope with IBS

The very fact about irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is — in most of the cases when we fail to settle the diagnoses with the complaints and sign-symptoms related to abdomen, we just end up with this IBS.

Need of health research policy in Bangladesh

Research is a term attached with something very much academic. It is not affordable in poor countries like ours — is the usual notion amongst most health professionals in our country.

6th SAARC Otolaryngology -Head & Neck Surgery Conference held

With a view to exchange knowledge and skills among physicians in the SAARC region and boost up the treatment of diseases related to ear, nose and throat, the 6th SAARC Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery Conference kicked off at a local hotel in the city on Friday last.

Parents' drinking influences teenagers

When it comes to alcohol, many teenagers may take a cue from their parents, new research suggests.

Airport noise instantly boosts blood pressure

Living near an airport is not just irritating, it is also unhealthy, researchers said in a study that showed loud noise instantly boosts a sleeping person's blood pressure.

The Daily Star

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