The Daily Star

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Sunday, September 21, 2014


News of: Friday, 29th of February, 2008

Front Page

32 die as launch sinks

At least 32 people--most of them women and children--died after a launch with around 140 passengers was hit by a sand-laden cargo vessel and sank in the Buriganga in South Keraniganj yesterday.

Emergency to go fully before polls

Law Adviser AF Hassan Ariff yesterday said the government is considering withdrawing fully the emergency rules before the next general election.

Low-cost airlines may get govt nod

An inter-ministerial committee strongly recommends that the government allow low-cost airliners from Dhaka to save huge foreign exchange and earn huge revenue from aviation and other sectors.

EC waits on BNP issue for next move

Demands for barring anti-Liberation War forces from elections, announcement of a specific date for the next parliamentary polls and lifting of the state of emergency dominated the second round electoral reform talks between the Election Commission (EC) and 15 political parties that ended yesterday.

Covert political talks on for consensus

A section of key leaders from major political parties including Awami League, BNP and Jatiya Party and different left leaning parties will hold inter-party discussions before having their political dialogue with the caretaker government.

ADB projects GDP growth below 6pc

The GDP growth of the country will drop in FY08 due to a slowdown in the economic activities in the first half of the current fiscal year, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said yesterday.

Arrest of accused not off ACC list

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday said they are not considering any move at this time seeking arrest of 13 accused in the Barapukuria coal mine graft case.

Nawaz Sharif says no to presidency

PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif has ruled himself out as a candidate for the post of president and said his party could become part of Pakistan's new government only if President Pervez Musharraf steps down.

Survived only to sink in an endless abyss

It was surely her closest brush with death.

Jalil improves slightly

The physical condition of detained Awami League (AL) General Secretary Abdul Jalil improved slightly last night, attending physicians said.

Top humourist Vittachi joins The Daily Star

Top Asian columnist Nury Vittachi is to join The Daily Star in March. He'll be writing humour columns which will run every week day. This newspaper will be the only place in Bangladesh where you'll find his columns which we'll bring to you exclusively, even before they appear on his own website.

Charges pressed against ex-JP MP, 12 others

Airport police yesterday pressed charge against former Jatiya Party lawmaker Anwara Begum, two ringleaders of a smuggling gang operating at Zia International Airport (ZIA), and 10 others in the case filed for stealing two Vishnu statuettes.

Militant groups patronised by some parties

Home Secretary Abdul Karim yesterday said Bangladeshi Islamist militant groups are home grown as they finance themselves domestically and are patronised by particular political parties.

Bashar dropped in Rafique's final Test

The second Test begins in Chittagong today with a mooted desire of a fitting farewell to wily left-arm spinner Mohammad Rafique and a cruel awakening for Bangladesh's most capped Test player Habibul Bashar.

Khulna mayor, 3 others to be asked for wealth info

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) will issue notice on four corruption suspects including detained Khulna City Corporation (KCC) mayor Sheikh Tayebur Rahman asking them to submit their wealth statements to the commission.

Gen Moeen might meet Buddhadeb today

Chief of Army Staff General Moeen U Ahmed, now on a weeklong visit to India, arrived in Kolkata yesterday evening and is expected to wrap up his tour by meeting West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today.

Hasina, Khaleda to become voters today

The Election Commission will enrol the two detained former premiers --Awami League President Sheikh Hasina and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia -- as voters today under the countrywide task of voter listing in the interim period.

Deadline for wealth report submission ends

Government employees were busy preparing their wealth statements yesterday -- the last day for the submission of the statements.

Saifur-Delwar meet anytime

BNP leaders Saifur Rahman and Khandker Delwar Hossain are likely to meet anytime to unite the party, as political exigencies have brought the two rival groups closer.

25,369 more fowls culled

About 25,369 chickens infected with bird flu were culled and 2,372 eggs were destroyed at eight farms in three districts in the last two days.

ACC permitted to quiz Moudud at jail gate

A Dhaka court yesterday granted the petition of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to interrogate detained former law minister barrister Moudud Ahmed at the jail gate in connection with a case filed against him for concealing information in his wealth statement and amassing assets through illegal means.

Thaksin out on bail after homecoming

Deposed Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra returned yesterday from 17 months in exile to face corruption charges, receiving a hero's welcome from supporters and vowing to restore his reputation following his ouster in a coup.

Editorial

Govt's anti-money laundering drive

THE government's formation of a 10-member high-powered committee styled as National Committee on Anti-money Laundering -- Combating Terrorist Financing reflects its desire to provide an organised basis to the fight against illegal international monetary transactions and financing of terrorist networks. So far as we understand, the national committee will principally act as a policy-making body while a working committee consisting of representatives from the similar ministries and bodies as are represented on the NC will assist the latter on the implementation side. Additionally, the new body is to help recover money stashed away abroad. There are thus three functions before the committees: one, combating money laundering; two, fighting terror financing; and three, bringing back unearned incomes of Bangladeshi citizens kept in foreign financial institutions.

Rights of the physically challenged

THE problems faced by the physically handicapped in Bangladesh ought to have been tackled decisively a long time ago. That we yet have to emphasise the need for people with disability to be provided with the rights that are applicable to others demonstrates, in a big way, the insensitivities such individuals have been subjected to over the years. It is against this background that the call by the Chief Adviser for a protection of the rights of the disabled assumes significance. Indeed, the campaign for rights to be ensured for the disabled has been there since long before the remarks made by the head of the caretaker government. His intervention in the matter only reconfirms the public conviction that the time to address such issues is here and now.

Marching forth

DON'T get me wrong. I think Hillary Clinton would make a superb president. For what it's worth, I even think that John McCain would be a significant improvement over the current occupant of the White House. Aside from his faith in America's imperial destiny, McCain is actually not that bad, as far as Republicans go.

National unity government?

WHILE disasters tend to unite the nation, it is infinitely better that the nation closes ranks before any impending disaster. With world recession looming in our faces, we do not have the economic resilience to cushion the impact. Coupled with shortages of food, fuel and electricity, and increase in suicide bombings, only a monumental effort by all and sundry will see the country through a long hot summer.

Good for America, good for the world

As the US primary election season approaches its decisive phase with two of the delegate rich states of Texas and Ohio, the desperation in the presidential bid of Sen. Hillary Clinton may turn into a doomsday despair unless she wins both states by 65% of the votes cast on February 5 -- a nearly unrealistic proposition according to most pollsters.

Sports

Runs craved on flat deck

It was a different scenario in the Bangladesh tent prior to the second Test match against South Africa which starts at the Chittagong Divisional Stadium today. Former national skipper Habibul Bashar and Mohammad Rafique got special attentions rather than what the Tigers were going to show in the second and final Test after their encouraging show in Mirpur.

Rafique bowls a beamer

Before what is expected to be his last international match, Mohammad Rafique came up with a typical salvo saying that he had taken the decision of quitting the game because of some incumbent officials at the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).

CDS needs better drainage

The met office here yesterday heralded good news for the cricket fans who are eager to watch the Bangladesh-South Africa second Test starting today at the Chittagong Divisional Stadium (CDS) alias Bir Shreshtha Shaheed Ruhul Amin Stadium.

Abahani, City in final

Abahani won at a canter to enter the semifinal of the Premier Twenty20 tournament when they cruised past Surjo Torun by seven wickets at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium yesterday.

Bashar rules out int'l exit

It seems that Bangladesh cricket is all set to enter a new era after the departure of some senior cricketers. Mohammad Rafique has already announced his international retirement, while Khaled Mashud's career is all but finished and the omission of Habibul Bashar from the second Test against South Africa simply enhanced the notion.

Bangladesh in easy group

Bangladesh have drawn Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bhutan in a rather easier Group B in the SAFF Football Championship, which commences June 3 in Sri Lanka and Maldives.

'Finals begin now'

Australia will treat Friday's dead-rubber against Sri Lanka as their first final ahead of the best-of-three CB Series deciders with India starting on Sunday. Sri Lanka have only pride to play for but Australia know they cannot afford to lose momentum after winning their past four games of the tournament.

MSC draw in their IFA opener

Mohammedan Sporting Club of Dhaka shared points with Kolkata Mohammedan in a goalless draw in their opening match of the 113th IFA Shield at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata yesterday.

Barca ride on Xavi

A goal well into injury-time by Xavi gave Barcelona a 1-1 draw at home to Valencia in their Spanish Cup semifinal first leg clash here on Wednesday.

Roma hold Inter

Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini couldn't contain his joy after his side scraped a 1-1 home draw against AS Roma to maintain their nine-point lead at the top of Serie A.

Boro scrape through

Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate admitted his side had enjoyed a huge slice of luck after a freakish extra-time winner sent them into the last eight of the FA Cup with a 1-0 win over Sheffield United.

Bayern enter last four

French midfielder Franck Ribery booked Bayern Munich's place in the last four of the German Cup with a dramatic penalty in the 122nd minute of their quarterfinal win over second-division 1860 Munich.

Book on Munna published

A commemorative book on legendary defender late Monem Munna -- King Back Monem Munna -- hit the stalls at the Ekushey Boi Mela on Wednesday.

Lens clinch a thriller

Lens will face fellow relegation candidates Paris Saint Germain in the French League Cup final after they won an astonishing semifinal 5-4 over Le Mans on Wednesday.

EPL flop hurts Gerrard

Not even a sixth European Cup will make up for the disappointment of Liverpool's failure to mount a serious challenge in this season's Premier League title race, Reds captain Steven Gerrard has admitted.

Boca fans prefer Riquelme

Fallen Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona suffered another blow to his prestige on Wednesday when it was revealed that playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme was leading him convincingly in a poll of Boca Junior fans.

Henin survives a scare

Justine Henin suffered an opening match scare for the second successive year as she sought to maintain an unbeaten record by winning her fifth title in a row at the Dubai Open.

Eduardo leaves hospital

Arsenal striker Eduardo da Silva has been released from hospital following the broken leg he suffered in a tackle last weekend, the English Premier League side said Wednesday.

Nistelrooy ruled out

Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy has been ruled out of Real Madrid's Spanish league away match against Recreativo on Saturday due to an ankle injury, the club said on its Internet site.

Ireland to face Colombia

The Republic of Ireland will face Colombia in a friendly at English Premier League Fulham's Craven Cottage ground on May 29, the Football Association of Ireland has announced

Local Snippets

Bangladesh's chances to reach the qualifying rounds of the Junior Davis Cup was damaged as they slumped to fourth place on the penultimate day of the tournament's Asia-Oceania zone pre-qualifiers in Malaysia.

A needless dig

Claims and counter-claims flew Thursday after senior Australian batsman Matthew Hayden was officially reprimanded for calling Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh an "obnoxious little weed."

Sixth place for youths

Australia progressed to the final of the fifth place play-off in the ICC Under-19 World Cup, after their match against Bangladesh at the Bayuemas Oval was abandoned due to rain yesterday.

Bond deal under siege

Shane Bond's contract to play for English county Hampshire this season has been called into question because of the player's links with the 'rebel' Indian Cricket League (ICL) after officials warned it would be taken into account when assessing his registration.

Gilly defends Hayden

Batting star Adam Gilchrist Thursday defended Matthew Hayden, at the centre of the latest spat between Australia and India, saying he does not care what others think about his fellow opener.

Brothers sail, Jatrabari fail

Brothers Union and Azad Sporting Club completed their third victories by the same margin in the First Division Cricket League in two venues of BKSP in Savar yesterday.

Chittagong in zonal final

Chittagong edged Feni 1-0 in the semifinal at the Cox's Bazar Stadium yesterday to reach the zonal final of the 4th JFA Cup Under-15 Football Championship.

Lankan pair bag team glory

Sri Lanka clinched the Cotton Group 23rd Bangladesh Amateur Golf Championship at the Kurmitola Golf Club yesterday.

Misbah signs for Kolkata

Pakistan's batting mainstay Misbahul Haq on Wednesday signed up to play for the Kolkata team in the Indian Premier League set to start from April 18.

Youngmen's closer to top

Youngmen's Club Fakirerpool moved within one point of leaders Victoria Sporting Club with a match in hand when they blanked Dipali Juba Sangha 2-0 in yesterday's Senior Division Football League at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.

Amla, Harris get ODI spot

South Africa named batsman Hashim Amla and left-arm spinner Paul Harris in a 14-man squad for upcoming one-day clashes against Bangladesh yesterday.

Jalal receives BCB support

Bangladesh Cricket Board yesterday handed a Tk 2 lakh cheque to cricket operations committee member Jalal Ahmed Chowdhury, who recently underwent angioplasty at the Ibrahim Memorial Hospital in Dhaka.

Pearu's death anniversary

Today is the fourth death anniversary of footballer and organiser Khairul Anwar Pearu, who was shot to death by gunmen at the Dhanmondi Club premises.

Business

Oriental Bank to expand with Islamic banking

Switzerland-based ICB Financial Group Holdings AG, the new majority owner of Oriental Bank, plans to turn the once scandal-ridden bank into one of the country's biggest, focusing on Shariah-based banking.

Dhaka Sheraton keeps up pace in battle for guests

Dhaka Sheraton Hotel made an operating profit of US$ 4.16 million in 2007 and said it had expanded its business, despite intense competition from new rivals, a senior official claimed.

China RMG makers shift from exports to home market

Zhang Yang, the driving force behind a major Sino-foreign joint venture knitwear exporter in East China's Zhejiang Province, has cultivated a habit of opening his computer and checking the daily exchange rate when he enters his spacious office.

Banks fail to keep pace with agri-credit needs

Commercial banks have failed to keep pace with the credit requirement to help recover the agriculture output losses from two recurrent floods and devastating cyclone Sidr.

53 in FBCCI polls fray

As four candidates withdrew their nominations from the election race yesterday, fifty-three candidates -- 26 from association group and 27 from chamber group -- will vie for directorship of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI).

Jamuna Bridge differs with ICB over securitised bond size

A dispute has emerged between Jamuna bridge authority and ICB on how much money will be raised through the securitisation of bridge over the Jamuna River.

Fee fixed at $788 for Korea-bound Bangladeshi worker

The government has fixed US$ 788 as total fee for a Bangladeshi worker who will go to South Korea for work under the newly introduced Employment Permit System (EPS).

Govt to take steps to tackle regional growth inequality

The government will address regional poverty, growth and income inequality issues by taking budgetary measures, finance and planning adviser said yesterday.

A woman with good Ideas

Colourful clay masks, wall hangings, jute bags and purses crowd the walls and shelves in “Ideas”, a small store squeezed between the stairway and a bookstore on the first floor of Aziz supermarket.

Golfers help swing exports on course

When you look closely at some of the world's professional golfers it's not only their clothes that may be manufactured in Bangladesh.

Sonamasjid revenue surpasses target

Customs House of Sonamasjid land port earned about Tk.81 crore 24 lakh in revenue during the first 6 months of the current fiscal, which is Tk. 11 crore 61 lakh more than the target set for the period.

HTC mobile handsets in Bangladesh

HTC, a handset maker, has introduced six PDA mobile phones in Bangladesh.

Falling dollar, weak US economy irk stocks

Asian shares fell Thursday as worries about the sickly US economy were exacerbated by a falling dollar, which could prop up US firms at the expense of Asia's exporters.

Scientists unveil corn genome

US researchers have sequenced the corn genome almost in its entirety, a development that could help improve crops to meet growing global needs for food and fuel, a US university has announced.

Japanese cellphones to turn Into 'robot' buddies

For those who feel a bit lonely just talking on the phone, a Japanese company is offering a cellphone that turns into a robot buddy ready to chat.

India faces big challenges to higher growth

India faces big challenges to boost economic growth to double-digits, the government said Thursday on the eve of an expected pump-priming budget seen as kick-starting its campaign for the next elections.

Vietnam exports rise 29pc

Viet Nam's export value in the first two months of the year reached US$8.7 billion, up 29.2 per cent over the same period last year, according to latest data from the General Statistics Office (GSO).

Split in EU over globalisation

EU trade chief Peter Mandelson was defeated by fellow European commissioners Wednesday when they overruled him on an anti-dumping decision that underscores the split within the bloc over globalisation.

Metropolitan

Speed up electoral reforms

Gono Forum and Workers Party of Bangladesh yesterday called on the government and the Election Commission (EC) to expedite the reform process for a free and fair election.

12 to die for triple murder

A Chuadanga court yesterday sentenced 12 people to death for murdering three people, including father and son, three years ago.

Husband, 2 others to die

Husband and two others were sentenced to death yesterday for killing schoolteacher Tahmina Sharmin Tania, 28, in January last year.

'Start coal extraction soon to avoid fuel crisis'

Planning Commission Member AMM Nasir Uddin has underscored the need for starting the process of coal extraction immediately to save the country from a serious fuel crisis.

Environmentalists plan to go to court to stop Chevron

Environmental and civil society groups are planning to go to court next week in a bid to stop US oil company Chevron from conducting three-dimensional seismic survey at eco-sensitive Lawachhera Reserve Forest near Moulvibazar gas field.

Call for separate juvenile justice system

A separate juvenile justice system is a must to ensure the rights of the children in conflict with the law, said the speakers at a press briefing in the city yesterday.

All 11 accused acquitted

Rajshahi Speedy Trial Tribunal yesterday acquitted all 11 accused in BNP leader Prof Abdul Wahed Murder Case.

BSTI inspector arrested for receiving bribes

An inspector of Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) was arrested at his office in Chittagong city yesterday on charges of receiving bribes from a trader.

Help reform public institutions

Communications Adviser Maj Gen (retd) Ghulam Quader yesterday said civil society can help the government in bringing reforms in different public institutions for ensuring human security in the country.

34 tin-roofed houses burn down in Ctg

About 34 tin-roofed houses burned down as a fire tore through Dobhas Colony at Alkaran in Chittagong early yesterday.

AK 47 seized in Ctg

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) recovered one AK-47 rifle, a magazine and 16 rounds of bullet from Noapara under Raozan Upazila in Chittagong early yesterday.

Footbridge named after Pasha opens

A footbridge named after journalist Yusuf Pasha was inaugurated at Banglamotor in the city yesterday.

Qulkhwani of Bazlur Rahman today

Qulkhwani of Bazlur Rahman, one of the country's most prominent journalists and editor of the daily Sangbad, will be held today, says a press release.

'Preserve bio-diversity to save civilisation'

Bio-diversity preservation along with people's love for wildlife is an urgent need of the time to save the civilisation and face the challenges of the 21st century, said the speakers at a function in the city yesterday.

$1.6m Korean grant for ICT project

Korea International Cooperation Agency (Koica) and the Economic Relations Division (ERD) yesterday signed Record of Discussions for establishing a $ 1.58 million ICT project, says a press release.

Women dev policy soon

Women and Children Affairs Adviser Rasheda K Chowdhury said a policy will be announced soon for development of women.

BDB, Samyabadi Dal Leaders Exchange Views

Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh (BDB) and Samyabadi Dal yesterday called for building a national consensus in order to resolve various problems facing the country.

$62.6m IDA aid to revitalise agri technology

Bangladesh yesterday signed a loan agreement with International Development Association (IDA) under which it will receive 62.6 million US dollar to improve agricultural productivity and farm income by revitalising the national agricultural technology system.

Brac Bank MD Imran passes away

Imran Rahman, managing director and CEO of Brac Bank Limited, passed away due to a cardiac arrest in Canada in the early hours of yesterday at the age of 45, says a press release.

Dr Abdus Suttar Khan

Dr Abdus Suttar Khan, an aerospace researcher, passed away in Florida, USA on January 31 at the age of 67, says a press release.

Letters

The spirit of Ekushey …

Amar Ekushey once again stepped into the collective consciousness of the people of Bangladesh. It is on this day during the Language Movement in 1952 against the Pakistani ruling junta that Bengalees had to sacrifice their blood and lives to uphold the dignity of Banglatheir mother tongue.

Bird flu scare

“Bird flu and mass hysteria” by Mr Saif Ahmed (The Daily Star; Friday 22nd Feb 2008) is really appreciable and carries in brief the real picture of bird flu phobia. Do we (our reporters) or livestock dept. ever think about the effects of publishing the news on chicken culling? According to WHO the total number of deaths from bird flu since 2003 is 225 all over the world as of February 16, 2007. Compare that to these numbers:

War criminals and election

The Election Commission has again expressed the "wish" not to allow the war criminals to participate in the election, provided the court gives ruling as to who are the war criminals. The " wish " need not be elaborated for public understanding. This provisional "wish" is nothing but another gimmick of the EC.

Dhaka traffic

The traffic situation of Dhaka is far from satisfactory--roads have become stagnant and traffic authorities don't know exactly how many vehicles should ply on the roads. Percentage of roads is far below the standard. We have the Ministry of Communications, DTCB, BRTC, BRTA etc. but yet the problem of traffic congestion is not solved.

Hazardous wastes

I am quite hopeful to read the article “Hospitals Continue to Dispose Hazardous Wastes in Public Bins”. (Source: The Daily Star, 20 Feb). While the entire world, including Asia, is engaged in controlling wastes, you have at least raised the voice against medical wastes!

Beijing Olympics

The Beijing Olympics 2008 are to be held in August. But even before the Olympic Games have started, China is already facing certain obstacles. A few days back, Spielberg (the famous director), who was supposed to be an artistic adviser for the opening and closing ceremonies, has decided to step down from the post. He believes that China needs to do a lot more to stop the ever increasing violence in Darfur (however, he must know that America itself is remaining mum on this issue). A group of Nobel laureates and athletes also ventilated their frustration at China's lucrative business deals with the Sudanese government, through a letter to the British daily The Independent.

Appeal to AL leaders

What remains to be requested is that please convene urgent meetings of your presidium and ALWC and kindly resolve to pull out from all talks with the EC and the CTG until Sk. Hasina is sent abroad for treatment.

Newspaper advertisements

It is gathered that newspapers, especially those having less circulation, are facing problems in getting advertisements from different public organisations. Even the newspapers which are getting advertisements are experiencing troubles in collecting bills, particularly from the organisations situated at district level. Now it is felt that the previous system of distribution of govt. advertisements through the Department of Films & Publications (DFP) should be re-introduced!

CTG's options

The newly appointed energy adviser has opened up a new front with Burma and India by going for international tender for offshore oil and gas search. In response to a query of the reporters, he mentioned that Bangladesh would start the work in the area which Bangladesh considers its maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal. If any dispute arises with the neighbouring countries, they would stop the work and go for negotiation to resolve the issue. The spirit of the adviser is definitely patriotic but missing the ground reality of international maritime boundary issues being not finalized yet with India or Burma. I am not sure whether international bidders would respond to our tender before the issue of maritime boundary with India or Burma is clarified. This is a hypothetical question considering our relation with our neighbour.

Public funds and higher education

I would like to the draw attention of the taxpayers in Bangladesh (especially the business community) who contribute a huge amount of their hard earned money through taxes and a large portion of which goes to higher education spending.

A visionless government

The current caretaker government's (CTG) popularity took a nosedive over the past few months. Unnecessary interference in political matters, negative attitude towards political institutions, and soaring prices of goods and services were the main reasons for this much of depreciation in its popularity:

Amir Khan's film

Citing the slogan "every child is special", the film "Tare zameen par" underlines importance of child grooming for future, and understanding their world. It was the Bollywood superstar Amir Khan's first endeavour to promote himself as director. The film embodied one of the underlying mental problems of a child which the parents found difficult to realise, because of having stereotyped ideas about child rearing.

Titas story

Nowadays reports on graft cases are always there in the newspapers. The story of a Titas Gas sales assistant is one of those, although it is claimed by reporters that it probably surpassed all previous records. As an employee drawing only Tk. 4,000 in monthly salary when at the career's peak, he accumulated wealth worth over Tk. 2100 crore, though he claims the amount to be only 208 crore! Sounds unbelievable and the matter is beyond everyone's comprehension. It has come to light through the efforts of the National Coordination Committee against Corruption and Serious Crimes. In the mean time, under the supervision of the task force, the process of returning ill-gotten wealth of over 400 crore by a group of corrupt employees of Titas Gas has started.

Whither rule of law?

The government has claimed to have done so many good (or bad) things to put the country on a right (or wrong) track, which, as the government and its backers claim, was severely mishandled by the politicians in the last 36 years. Their initial actions, especially the ones taken to contain corruption and establishment of rule of law received support from general public, non-politicians (!) and even a group of politicians, who claimed themselves to be so-called reformists, but have a long track record of corruption, abuse of power and political cruelty on opposition leaders, workers and supporters.

International

Israel pounds Hamas-run Gaza after rocket attacks

Israel pounded militants in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip with deadly strikes yesterday as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed to make the Islamists pay a heavy price for rocket attacks.

8 Lankan civilians killed in bomb attacks

Two bombs left at least eight civilians dead in guerrilla-held territory in northern Sri Lanka, Tamil rebels said Thursday as the defence ministry reported killing nine militants.

29 militants killed in south Afghanistan

A militant ambush of an opium poppy eradication force sparked clashes that left 25 Taliban fighters and a policeman dead, a provincial police chief said yesterday. Four other militants died when a bomb went off.

Musharraf 'eighth worst dictator' in the world

Pakistan's beleaguered President Pervez Musharraf has been named the eighth worst dictator in the world by the widely circulated Parade magazine in New York.

Myanmar voters 'cannot accept' junta's charter

The party of Myanmar's detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Thursday that the junta's proposed constitution "cannot be accepted by the people" when it goes to a referendum in May.

No more politics, says Thaksin

Ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday vowed to stay out of politics at his first press conference since arriving back in Thailand after 17 months in exile.

India shrugs off US nuke accord warning

India's foreign secretary yesterday said he was working to seal a civilian nuclear deal with the United States, but cautioned that he did not see a deadline based on the US political calendar.

Top civil rights icon defects to Obama

Hillary Clinton's troubled White House hopes suffered another body blow as civil rights hero and Democratic elder John Lewis defected to surging rival Barack Obama.

Baby born on train toilet survives fall on rail track

A baby girl born on the toilet of an Indian train survived after falling down the metal tube onto the tracks, The Times of India newspaper reported yesterday.

Battle for control of Tagore museum

Two Indian Union ministries are locked in a battle for control of Rabindranath Tagore's legacy after the unexplained disappearance of hundreds of precious art objects from a museum and another facility at Visva-Bharati University.

Philippine govt rejects call for snap elections

The Philippine government has rejected the call by evangelist Brother Eddie Villanueva for a snap election as President Gloria Arroyo continues to be besieged by allegations of massive corruption.

Arts & Entertainment

Folk Music Festival '08

Diverse traditional performing art forms of the different ethnic groups are highlighted at the ongoing Bangladesh Folk Music Festival '08. Bangladesh Asiatic Society (BAS) has arranged the three-day folk music festival.

“Hridayaragam”

Sitar player Alif Laila's audio-visual production, Hridayaragam, Melodies of the Heart, will be released at the Smithsonian Institute at Washington DC on March 23. The album, recorded in Kerala, India, includes renditions of three ragas and features Nitin Mitta on the tabla.

“Ittyadi”: Two decades of entertainment

Popular TV show Ittyadi's new episode will be aired tonight at 9 pm on BTV. With this episode, the show will be completing its twenty years. The show, hosted by noted TV personality Hanif Sanket, has been at the peak of popularity for twenty years at a stretch, which is a rare achievement.

Community radio and access to information

A roundtable discussion was held on "Community Radio and Access to Information" at the BIAM Foundation Auditorium on February 27. The discussion was organised by UNESCO Bangladesh, in partnership with Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) and Mass-line Media Centre (MMC).

Children's fair in Pabna ends

A two-day children's fair, titled 'Shishuder Jonno Ha Bolun', concluded on February 26 in Pabna. The fair was jointly organised by the District Information office and the upazila administration at the Atghoria Upazila Parishad premises. The objective was to build awareness on children and women's rights, gender equality, the hazards of early marriages and violence against women and children. A colourful rally was organised on the inauguration day.

“Jodhaa Akbar”: Once upon a time in India

They may not make them like they used to in Hollywood, but sometimes in India they still do. Jodhaa Akbar, a historical romance directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, is filmmaking on the grand scale of Cecil B. DeMille, with romance, stirring battles, a cast of thousands and enough elephants and gold to sink the Titanic.



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