The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Sunday, September 21, 2014


News of: Tuesday, 4th of March, 2008

Front Page

Jalil flies to S'pore for treatment

Ailing Awami League (AL) General Secretary Abdul Jalil flew off to Singapore for treatment in the first hour of today after being released from detention on a 30-day parole last night.

Govt wants EC to hold upazila polls first

The caretaker government yesterday proposed that the Election Commission (EC) hold the long-over-due polls of upazila parishads before the stalled ninth parliamentary elections scheduled to be held this year.

Pvt banks offer trivial cut in lending rates

Private commercial banks yesterday submitted a proposal to the Bangladesh Bank (BB) suggesting a slight decrease in existing high lending rates and service charges.

Hasnat Abdullah jailed for 13 years

A special court yesterday sentenced Awami League leader and former chief whip Abul Hasnat Abdullah to 13 years' imprisonment for concealing information in wealth statement submitted to the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) and amassing wealth illegally.

3 more NGOs vanish with Tk 10 crore

Angry mobs ransacked 10 NGO offices and beat up officials as three more NGOs disappeared with Tk 10 crore seizing the opportunity of Natore district administration's lax management.

Khaleda counsel talks of plot to 'split, destroy BNP'

Former prime minister and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's counsel TH Khan yesterday told the High Court (HC) that the Election Commission (EC) wants to destroy BNP.

Info on public interest ensured in RTI

All organisations registered under the law of the land will be bound to provide citizens with information on matters of public interest once the right to information act, now in its draft form, comes into force.

Nat'l Museum displays artefacts brought back from Paris

The 42 artefacts brought back from France and another 143 relics that were selected to be sent for an exhibition at Guimet Museum in Paris were put on display yesterday at National Museum in the capital.

Crackdown launched on unfit launches

The customary practice of clamping down on owners of unfit vessels following every major fatal accident commenced again yesterday.

Proteas take series 2-0

There was no storm from series hero Dale Steyn on the fourth morning but it was left-arm spinner Robin Peterson who spun South Africa to complete yet another whitewash of Bangladesh by winning the second Test by an innings and 205 runs at the Chittagong Divisional Stadium yesterday.

Fortune seekers' yet another tragic mission

Three Bangladeshi migrant workers died on the high seas of dehydration and starvation, in their desperate dash to foreign coasts in search of sustainable jobs.

CA asks BDR to plan for creating poll atmosphere

Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday asked the BDR (Bangladesh Rifles) members to get ready and work out a detailed work plan to create an appropriate election atmosphere in the country through maintaining law and order and curbing militant and terrorist activities.

Hearing deferred for sixth time to March 9

The hearing on charge framing against detained former premier and Awami League (AL) chief Sheikh Hasina and seven others in the Tk 3 crore barge-mounted power plant graft case has been deferred for the sixth time until March 9.

Dhaka supports 'One China' policy, says Iftekhar

Foreign Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury yesterday said Bangladesh's support to "one China" policy will remain constant.

Extortion charges pressed against KCC mayor

Charges have been pressed against detained Khulna City Corporation (KCC) mayor Sheikh Tayebur Rahman and ten others in the Tk 15.9 lakh extortion case.

Private rescue efforts go on

Relatives of the missing passengers of the launch MV Sourav-1 that capsized in the River Buriganga on Thursday continued rescue efforts on their own and recovered another body yesterday, bringing the death toll to 47.

Pro-Khaleda BNP won't accept local govt polls first

Pro-Khaleda faction of BNP will not accept the government plans to hold local government elections before the parliamentary elections.

Gono Forum, BDB support EC move

Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh (BDB) and Gono Forum yesterday jointly expressed their support to the Election Commission's (EC) initiative to hold local government polls, including City corporation elections, before the parliamentary polls.

Government asks Bangladeshi workers to abide by Saudi laws

The Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment has again asked the Bangladeshi workers in Saudi Arabia to abide by local laws.

GMG plane stranded in Dubai returns after 31 hrs

A GMG aircraft, stranded at Dubai International Airport for about 31 hours due to engine problems, reached Zia International Airport (ZIA) safely with all passengers at 4:00 pm yesterday.

Edible oil export banned for six months

The government has banned export of edible oil for six months to ensure its "sufficient supply on the domestic market".

DU prof Arefin Siddique gets death threat

Former Dhaka University Teachers' Association (Duta) president Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique yesterday received another death threat a month after crude bombs were hurled into his residence compound in the capital on February 2.

IO appointed for Barapukuria graft case

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday appointed an investigation officer to probe into the Barapukuria coal mine corruption case against former premier Khaleda Zia and 15 others.

Israeli troops pull out of Gaza

Israeli ground troops pulled out of northern Gaza before daybreak yesterday, following the first extended sweep in an offensive against Palestinian rocket squads that has left more than 110 dead and led the Palestinian president to call off peace talks.

UNSC set to adopt Iran sanctions move

The UN Security Council has voted in favour of new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme.

Govt to let two ex-premiers go abroad for treatment

Communications Adviser Maj Gen (retd) Ghulam Quader yesterday said the government will be sympathetic to detained political leaders seeking medical treatment abroad.

2 more held, 2kg gold recovered

The Detective Branch (DB) of Police yesterday arrested two persons from Narayanganj with two kilograms of gold ornaments in their possession.

Editorial

Jalil on parole

BY the time this comment appears ailing Awami League General Secretary Abdul Jalil will have been receiving treatment in a Singapore hospital. We are relieved at the news of parole being granted for his treatment abroad at a rather critical phase of his health condition requiring dialysis leading to possibly kidney transplantation. He has had multiple health problems for a long time.

Dowry fatalities

THE death of a young housewife, who struggled for long nine days before succumbing to the burn injuries inflicted on her allegedly by the members of her husband's family, is another example of ghastly violence that our women are exposed to. The victim's family had reportedly failed to meet her husband's demand for dowry.

Will losers reject election results?

THOSE veteran election-mongers have gotten their best three-piece and designer pajama-kurta (politician brand) washed and ironed to go to the Election Commission (EC). They have sniffed the hint of election in the air, like those seasonal migratory birds that can sniff winter in the air and know where to go when.

Looting the vote bank

JOBS, unfortunately, are flexible. In a perfect world I would take just one year off and be a farmer on the eve of a P.C. Chidambaram election budget -- after having taken good care to avoid committing suicide the moment I became a son of the soil. We poor farmers can never quite escape the cycle of famine and flood, can we? After years of drought, it never rains but pours.

Why I voted for Barack Obama

LAST month, in the Maryland state primary, I cast my vote for Senator Barack Obama, praying that he will be the next president of the United States. As a seventy- year-old white American, I have to confess that until as recently as a few months ago, I never thought that I would have the opportunity to vote for a black man for president of the United States.

Sports

It takes time: Ashraful

It was another wonderful day for cricket with brilliant sunshine and pleasant weather in the port city. The fog hovered in the early morning hours but the sun came to light once the fourth day's proceedings started at the Chittagong Divisional Stadium yesterday.

'Tigers too young'

South African captain Graeme Smith said yesterday that Bangladesh should emphasise on experience if they want to survive in Test cricket.

Where have all the batsmen gone?

The fact that Bangladesh wrapped up the formalities of yet another Test match, albeit on the losing end of the bargain, without going the full distance against South Africa, should cause concerns for all connected with the game.

India could finish it today

The repercussions of a second finals defeat go further than Australia losing a tri-series that has been so important to the country over the past 29 years. Another slip on Tuesday would lead to two of the team's long-term players bowing out a couple of days early without a satisfactory send-off.

Baichung sinks Mohammedan

A brace by Baichung Bhutia helped Mohun Bagan come from a goal down and eliminate Mohammedan Sporting Club of Dhaka from the 113th IFA Shield with a 3-1 win in the final group match yesterday.

Ryan fit to play

England have been handed a major boost ahead of the first Test against New Zealand with the news that Ryan Sidebottom has been passed fit.

Nokia connects football

World's leading cellular phone makers Nokia yesterday officially announced their association with the Bangladesh national football team.

Elan up against guile

Arsenal and Manchester United, separated by just a point in the Premiership title race, return to European battle on Tuesday with the Gunners needing to fire in Milan if they are to reach the quarter-finals.

'Pakistan still unsafe'

Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) president Darren Lehmann said Monday he would not send a delegate on a pre-tour security inspection of Pakistan due to safety concerns.

Everton hold fourth spot

Everton beat Portsmouth 3-1 at Goodison Park on Sunday to move back into fourth place in the Premier League after their Merseyside rivals Liverpool briefly moved into the position earlier in the day.

Here comes Sybrand

Most of the South Africa Under-19 bowlers, barring their captain Wayne Parnell and his new-ball partner Matthew Arnold, will not strike fear into the hearts of opposition batsmen. The medium-pacers and spinners during the middle-overs will need an exceptional day to run through most teams; yet on Sunday they managed to restrict India, the strongest batting side of the Under-19 World Cup, to a meagre 159, thank to their fielders.

Lay-off for Robben

Real Madrid's Arjen Robben will be out of action for between three and six weeks with a severely sprained ankle, the Spanish club's doctors said on Monday.

Bhajji off the hook

Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh was cleared here Monday of making racist gestures and spitting at fans during his team's one-day win over Australia on Sunday.

Indian heroes get cash awards

India's cricket chiefs on Monday announced a cash award of 1.5 million rupees (37,500 US dollars) for each member of the under-19 World Cup-winning squad.

LOCAL SNIPPETS

Habib's fantastic all-round show gave Azad Sporting Club their fourth win in the First Division Cricket League at the Dhaka University ground yesterday.

Eduardo thanks physio

Arsenal striker Eduardo said the quick work of physio Gary Lewin after he had broken his leg against Birmingham City last week could have saved his career.

Villarreal blow chance

Third-placed Villarreal threw away the chance to close the gap on second-placed Barcelona in La Liga when they were held to a 0-0 draw by struggling Osasuna on Sunday.

Iran greet Daei appointment

Iran's sports press on Monday hailed the naming of a former star striker Ali Daei as new coach of the national football team after a months-long search for a trainer of an Asia heavyweight side.

Fiorentina beat Juve

Napoli produced a stunning display to inflict the first league defeat of the season on champions Inter Milan on Sunday and breathe new life into the Serie A title race.

Hubb happy with team

Hamburg coach Huub Stevens was a happy man as his side enjoyed a 4-1 romp against Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday to reclaim third in the Bundesliga while rivals Bayer Leverkusen were shocked at VfL Bochum.

Three-match ban for Bommel

Bayern Munich's Dutch midfielder Mark van Bommel has been hit with a three match ban and fined 15,000 euros (22,770 US dollars) for making an obscene gesture at a referee, the German Football Federation (DFB) announced on Sunday.

India manager blasts EPL

India manager Bob Houghton believes English Premier League clubs who try to establish links with Asian football are damaging the region's own leagues.

Poker for Becker!

Former world number one tennis star Boris Becker has begun a career as a professional poker player, according to a report in Sunday's edition of Germany daily newspaper Die Welt.

Norm O'Neill passes away

Norm O'Neill, one of the great Australian Test batsmen of the 1960s, died early on Monday at the age of 71, Cricket Australia said.

Business

Price war looms as BTTB plans to cut call charges

State-owned land phone operator BTTB plans to slash call tariffs as it battles to retain customers who are shifting to private landline and mobile operators.

Thai investment plans for hotels, highways and oil

The Thai ambassador in Dhaka yesterday unveiled a series of Thai investment proposals for Bangladesh ranging from highway construction to oil exploration and luxury hotels.

World stocks tumble on US recession fears

European equities dived on Monday after heavy falls earlier in Asia as markets were gripped by growing concern that the US economy was slipping into recession, dealers said.

India to shorten Safta negative list to 500 goods

India will shorten the negative list of goods with regard to the least developed countries -- Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives -- in the Saarc region to around 500 from 744, as it aims to expand trade in goods in the region.

Higher exports fail to help Vietnam farmers

Although the price of major agricultural exports has risen sharply, farmers continue to incur losses because they lack access to global market information.

HSBC takes massive $17b hit on credit crunch

Global banking giant HSBC said Monday it had to take a massive 17 billion dollar hit on its exposure to the collapsing US housing market and resulting global credit crunch last year but it still managed a record net profit.

The quiet industrial zones

The first thing you notice is the lack of tea stalls, buses and hurrying workers that normally crowd the roads outside the country's industrial zones….. ..then there is the quiet.

Sri Lanka tea growers set for party as prices soar

The tea industry in Sri Lanka, the world's second biggest exporter of the crop, is looking forward to good times again as prices soar on a global commodities boom.

Narayanganj dockyard undertakes Tk100cr scheme to build ship

The Dockyard and Engineering Works Ltd (DEW) run by Bangladesh Navy at Sonakanda in Narayanganj has undertaken a comprehensive plan for modernising the dockyard.

Rangpur dairy candy plants to start up in April

Two candy making plants of Rangpur Dairy Milk, a farm based in Rangpur district, are expected to go into operations in April.

6 more firms to join CDS for scripless trading

With six more companies joining the central depository system (CDS) for scripless trading on March 30 the number of total companies, operating under CDS, will reach 145, or 51.05 percent of the companies, listed on the Dhaka bourse.

Govt to give loans to jute farmers

The government will give loans to farmers to encourage jute cultivation to boost the country's jute sector.

ICC-B stresses practice of int'l trade, finance rules

International Chamber of Commerce-Bangladesh (ICC-B) President Mahbubur Rahman yesterday emphasised practice and adoption of various international trade and finance instruments, procedures and rules.

StanChart completes acquisition of American Express Bank

Standard Chartered PLC announced on Friday that it has received all the required approvals leading to the completion of its acquisition of American Express Bank (AEB) Ltd from the American Express Company (AXP).

NY-based ad firm debuts in Bangladesh

A New York-based ad firm, Ogilvy and Mather, started its direct operations in Bangladesh on a joint venture basis yesterday.

DEFTA Partners CEO due today

George Hara, group chairman and CEO of DEFTA Partners and Japanese prime minister's special commissioner on tax reform, is scheduled to arrive in Dhaka today with a 15-member business delegation, says a press release.

Pakistan opens micro-insurance agency

Pakistan has opened its first micro-insurance agency that is expected to make affordable life, health, and hospitalisation insurance available to hundreds of thousands of the country's poor.

Citi's new financial institutions head

Citibank NA Bangladesh has recently appointed Tawfiq Ali to head its financial institutions business in Bangladesh, says a press release.

Vietnam workers strike at South Korean garment plant

Nearly 1,500 Vietnamese workers went on strike at a South Korean-owned garment plant demanding more money amid rising prices, and half of them remained off work Monday, a company official said.

Gold price hits fresh record high in London

The price of gold rose to a record high 984.95 dollars an ounce Monday, extending gains on the back of a weak dollar and its safehaven status amid concerns about rising inflation, dealers said.

Thai inflation jumps to 5.4 pc

Thailand's inflation rate jumped to a 19-month high of 5.4 percent in February due to surging prices for energy and food, the Commerce Ministry said Monday.

Virgin mobile enters Indian telecom market

Virgin Mobile, part of British communications group Virgin Media, Sunday launched youth-oriented mobile services in India through telecom operator Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTL).

Metropolitan

Climate change causes infectious diseases

An integrated approach is needed to face the challenges of human and animal diseases, as climate change contributes to emergence of new infectious diseases, experts told a seminar yesterday.

Nobel Peace Prize Forum Colloquium from Mar 7

The 20th Annual Nobel Peace Prize Forum colloquium will be held at Concordia College Moorhead, Minnesota, USA, on March 7 and 8, says a press release.

Bangladesh-born US Navy officer visits Sidr-hit areas

United States Navy Lieutenant Commander Abu Hena Saiful Islam recently visited Bangladesh, says a press release.

3 held in Ctg for violating adolescent girl

Police arrested three persons on charges of violating an adolescent girl in the port city in the early hours of yesterday.

Tribute paid to Bazlur Rahman

Bazlur Rahman was not only an honest and fearless journalist, but he also fought his entire life for a democratic, progressive, secular and exploitation-free country, speakers at a memorial meeting said yesterday.

Court examines seven accused

A Chittagong court examined the accused in the sensational Bahodderhat eight murder case yesterday.

UN peacekeeper Flt Lt Nazmul Huda buried

Flight Lieutenant AKM Nazmul Huda, a Bangladeshi peacekeeper who died of malaria during a UN mission to Congo on February 26, was buried at his family graveyard in Bakerganj, Barisal, yesterday.

20 villagers fall sick from unknown diseases

Panic gripped the people of two villages in Bera after at least 20 people fell sick from unknown diseases yesterday.

Give more attention to science and IT education

President Iajuddin Ahmed yesterday urged the public and private universities to give more attention to science and information technology (IT) education along with conventional arts and commerce so that students can cope with the fast-changing world economic order.

Bidisha gets bail

A Dhaka court yesterday granted bail to Bidisha Siddique, estranged wife of former president HM Ershad, in a case filed against her for misappropriating Tk 75 lakh from a businessman in July 2001.

CMP seeks court instruction

Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) in a petition here yesterday sought court instruction on appointment of investigation officer (IO) for further investigation into the sensational Chittagong arms case.

Domestic help dies in rooftop fall in city

A domestic help died after he fell from the rooftop of a five-storey building at Laxmibazar in the city yesterday.

Three high officials transferred

Three additional secretary level officials have been transferred and given new postings in a latest reshuffle in the administration.

Tk 60000 for students with disabilities

Persona Hair and Beauty Ltd yesterday handed over Tk 60,000 to Development Assistance for Backward Society (DABS) for distributing the money as scholarships among 10 physically challenged students of Dhaka University.

'Airing of Dutch film on Holy Quran to be most unfortunate'

Foreign Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury said the airing of a Dutch film criticising the holy Quran will be most unfortunate.

Mahbubuzzaman passes away

Mohammad Mahbubuzzaman, a former minister, passed away at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore yesterday evening at the age of 82.

Road accidents kill 7

At least seven people were killed and 12 others injured in separate road accidents in Mymensingh, Savar, Rajbari and Bagerhat yesterday and on Sunday.

Dense fog disrupts bus, ferry services

Dense fog disrupted movement of night coaches and launches on different routes in various parts of the country for over five hours yesterday, causing a lot of suffering to passengers.

Hailstorm damages huge crops in Gaibandha

A violent hailstorm, accompanied by rains, yesterday hit Sadar upazila of the district, leaving 13 people injured and over 200 houses damaged.

US marines, Bangladesh army, navy to rebuild Bagerhat schools

US Marines with the III Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Okinawa, Japan, will soon start working alongside Bangladesh Army at Mongla Upazila in Bagerhat as part of an Engineer Civic Action Project (ENCAP), says a press release.

Turkish FM's special envoy meets foreign adviser

A special envoy of Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan called on Foreign Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury at the latter's office yesterday.

BAU confce on veterinary edn Saturday

Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) will organise a daylong conference and reception at the Faculty of Veterinary Science at 10:00am on Saturday, says a press release.

New AUST campus opens at Tejgaon

The new campus of Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology (AUST) was commissioned at Tejgaon in the city yesterday, says a press release.

US trade show's breakfast training

Breakfast training sessions were held at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel recently as part of the 17th US Trade Show, says a press release.

New Controller General Defence Finance

Md Delwar Hossain joined as Controller General Defence Finance on Sunday, says an ISPR press release.

Sanjay reelected Int'l Club president

Sanjay Saldanha has been reelected president of the International Recreation Club Ltd, an expatriate members' family club, for the 4th consecutive year, says a press release.

National

Outlaws regroup in SW dists with 7-pt plan

Outlawed parties in the country's southwestern region are regrouping with a 'seven point programme' to 'retaliate action by law enforcers' and increase their strength.

31 extremists, listed terrorists held in Khulna in 22 days

Thirty-one extremists and listed terrorists were arrested from nine upazilas of Khulna district in combing operations from February 5 to February 27, Police Superintendent Belalur Rahman has said.

Sandy Jamuna shoals turn greens

A massive agriculture rehabilitation programme is going on in Jamuna shoals in Gabsara, Aurjuna and Nikrail unions under Bhuapur upazila in the district under which farmers under supervision of army are raising rabi cash crops on hitherto uncultivated sandy lands.

Decision for Rangpur University hailed

Different socio-cultural organisations of Rangpur hailed the caretaker government for amending Rangpur University Ordinance to set up a separate public university.

Nation's conscience

The nation's conscience was not so cheap and small that it would be tainted with the trial of a few academics in the court of law. The nation has the deepest respect for academics, irrespective of their status. One may have aversion or disinclination to a particular incident or decision but a statement which ultimately created massive unrest warranting direct and prompt intervention by the law enforcing agencies was not desirable.

Correct info in draft voter list by tomorrow

The Election Commission (EC) authorities will receive applications for correction, addition or omission in the draft voter list of Sylhet City Corporation (SCC) till tomorrow.

No ad hoc appointment since my take over: RU VC

Rajshahi University (RU) Vice Chancellor Prof Altaf Hossain yesterday said the RU authorities closed all the ad hoc and daily basis appointments in the university after the present administration took charge.

Pichchi Hannan's close aide held in Chandpur

An alleged associate of top listed terror Pichchi Hannan was arrested Sunday night from Nayahat Bazar in Faridganj upazila of the district, police said yesterday.

Right plan can prevent Jamuna erosion Foreign specialists say

River specialists from Netherlands yesterday urged starting work with right and specific plan to prevent erosion by Jamuna River that changes its course frequently.

Special meeting on April 3, letters sent to high-ups

A special meeting of ward commissioners has been called on April 3 to press immediate withdrawal of chief executive officer (CEO) of Sylhet City Corporation (SCC) Kazi Abdul Noor.

43 contractors held in Netrakona

Netrakona Sadar police arrested 43 contractors including first class contractor Kamrul Islam Khan, Netrakona poura commissioner Amir Basher, pourasava employees Al-Mamun and Kamrul on Sunday night for violation of emergency power rules.

Small factories in Rajshahi to remain shut on Sundays

All small industries and factories in Rajshahi region have been asked to keep shutters down on Sundays to save power for its supply for Boro irrigation.

Letters

Obama's “audacity of hope”

Doris Lessing, the 89 year old English novelist who won the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature, fears that Barack Obama will be assassinated if he is elected as the next US President because of his race. The remarks seemed brazen and mysterious coming from an otherwise respectable, graceful and humble English woman who seems to have lost sight of the fact that the United States gained its independence from her country over 200 years ago and now has its own culture and history. At best, they confused me given Ms. Lessing was once banned from South Africa for taking a stand against its former racist regimes.

Car parking

A few days ago a police official fined some cars for parking in front of a “diagnostic centre” of Dhanmondi R/A. Afterwards the official left the place, but has he ever thought why people had to park the cars at that particular point and went inside for X-rays, blood tests etc urgently?

Harassment at DTCB

The so-called One Stop Cell of Rajuk has in reality become a centre for harassment of people who approach Rajuk for approval of building plan. According to “Dhaka Imarat Nirman Bidhimala 2007”, one has to obtain clearances from 20 different offices of the government to get a development permit! After obtaining the development permit one can prepare a detailed plan & design and submit it for Rajuk's approval. One has to face great obstructions and loss of time in getting the clearance. Although the above bidhimala specifies that various organisations should complete their observations in maximum 10 days after receipt of drawings and documents from Rajuk, but they take months. One of the government offices is Dhaka Transport Coordination Board (DTCB). DTCB has a committee comprising officials from BRTA, Planning Department of Rajuk, BUET, Traffic Department of metropolitan police and the Directorate of Architecture.

Rejoinder

We refer to the article published on February 27, 2008 on Page 11 (Point Counterpoint) of your daily. We have taken note of Mr. Ali Sheikholeslam's feedback on our service, and are concerned to hear about his experiences. We are looking into this matter and would welcome Mr. Sheikholeslam to write formally to our customer affairs team (customer. affairs@emirates.com), to aid us in our investigation.

International

Israel vows more Gaza strikes after deadly blitz

Israel vowed yesterday to keep hitting Gaza even as troops pulled out of the Hamas-run territory after clashes that killed more than 110 Palestinians and dealt a major blow to Middle East peacemaking.

‘Pak coalition accord in 2-day’

The Pakistan Muslim League-N on Sunday said the PPP, PML-N and ANP would finalise a power-sharing agreement in two days. He, however, added that his party would not be a part of any coalition with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).

Israel needs to talk to Hamas to halt rockets

Israel is likely to launch more deadly assaults on the Gaza Strip before it realises that it is an ineffective strategy for ending rocket attacks by militants, analysts warned on Monday, with one saying the Jewish state was acting like a "blind Goliath".

Ahmadinejad pokes Uncle Sam in eye with Iraq love-fest

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad poked his finger in the eye of Uncle Sam on his visit to Iraq on Sunday, displaying his country's regional influence in the face of 158,000 US soldiers in Iraq.

Kremlin transition key to Russia's future

With presidential elections behind it, Russia now enters a transition period that will provide important clues on the future direction of the nuclear-armed energy powerhouse, analysts said yesterday.

Western media ignored Pakistan polls 'rigging'

Benazir Bhutto's niece yesterday accused Western media of irresponsibility in their reporting of Pakistan, saying they disregarded heavy rigging in last month's polls -- including by Benazir Bhutto's party.

Chavez warns of war with Colombia

Venezuela and Ecuador have ordered troops to their borders with Colombia, raising concerns of a broader conflict after Colombia killed a top rebel leader on Ecuadorean soil.

Artillery duels kill 27 in Lankan war front

Artillery exchanges left at least 25 Tamil rebels and two Sri Lankan soldiers dead, the defence ministry said yesterday after the president vowed to destroy the separatist guerrillas.

Obama ups attack to end Hillary's White House quest

Barack Obama intensified his bid to end Hillary Clinton's White House quest in Tuesday's momentous nominating contests in Texas and Ohio, as both rivals geared up massive voter turnout drives.

US-led foreign forces must quit Iraq: Ahmadinejad

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on a landmark visit to Iraq, called on Monday for US-led foreign forces to leave the war-ravaged nation, saying without them the region will "live in peace."

23 people killed in Iraq bloodshed

At least 23 people were killed in bomb attacks and shootings around Iraq yesterday as US troops announced the discovery of a mass grave with the bodies of 14 men bound and shot in the head.

Insider Medvedev shows Kremlin's softer side

A former law professor who completed his meteoric rise to the Kremlin in a presidential election Sunday, Dmitry Medvedev is seen as a Kremlin insider with a liberal tinge.

China mulls change to one-child policy

China may consider changing its one-child policy because it has helped slow population growth over the last three decades, a Chinese official said Sunday.

Several Taliban killed in Afghanistan

US-led coalition forces killed several Taliban fighters and detained eight others during raids in southern Afghanistan, where a Canadian soldier also died in a roadside blast, military officials said.

UN helicopter crash kills 7 in Nepal

A United Nations helicopter crashed in Nepal on Monday, killing at least seven people, officials said.

UN envoy to visit Myanmar

UN troubleshooter Ibrahim Gambari will visit Myanmar this week to resume his mediation between the military junta and the Western-backed opposition, a UN spokeswoman said yesterday.

US launches missile strike in Somalia

The US military fired at least one cruise missile Monday into southern Somalia near the Kenyan border, targeting an Al-Qaeda leader, a US military official said.

Arts & Entertainment

A montage of genocides

As part of the two-day long 'International Conference on Genocide, Truth and Justice' organised by Liberation War Museum, Dhaka Theatre staged their production Nimojjon at the Experimental Theatre Hall, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on March 2. The conference ended on the same day at the BRAC Centre Inn.

Female strength and beauty

About Habiba Akhter Papia, who recently had her sculpture exhibition at the Zainul Gallery, noted artist Hamiduzzman Khan said, “This young woman who got a first class first in her department has done metal casing and wood and iron work side by side.”

Radha Raman Utshab held in Sylhet

Cultural activists and music enthusiasts in Sylhet attended the 'Radha Raman Utshab-1414' recently. The daylong festival began with a rendition of a Radha Raman song by noted folk singer Chandrabati Roy Burman at the M Saifur Rahman Auditorium.

A touch of Assam in Delhi

The evocatively titled 'Festival of Arts from the Banks of the Brahmaputra' was recently held in Delhi. On stage were a repertoire of Bihu songs of Boro, Missing and other communities; folk songs of Goalpara, Kamrup and Sivasagar; Dotara Gaan and Kushan Gaan of Goalpara; Bihu pepa recital with Dhol and Taal; Dhol Badan and modern songs of Assam in Hindi and Assamese, among others.

Discussion and cultural programme by Bengali International

The Rangpur branch of Bengali International (BI) observed the International Mother Language Day recently at the Rangpur Town Hall.

Poetry festival in Satkhira

The fourth poetry festival organised by Satkhira Kabita Parishad, an organisation of local poets, was held recently at the Shahid Abdur Razzak Park Auditorium with much enthusiasm.

Debate competition in Khagrachhari

At a discussion and prize-giving programme held recently, speakers said that the art of debate is a powerful instrument of social transformation. The occasion was the two-day long Second Inter-School Debate Competition at District Shilpakala Academy under the slogan “Prakritir Ujanay Khuji Juktir Sopan”.

OP-ED

Driving us crazy

EACH morning, the media carries news of lives lost on the roads and highways of Bangladesh. Most of these are avoidable, if only the automobiles responsible were driven skillfully and carefully.

The legacy of Benazir

THE elections are over in Pakistan, with all predictions coming true; a new government composed of the victorious Pakistan People's Party and Nawaz Sharif's Muslim League is about to take over. But the cry for President Musharraf to step down even before the dust has settled appears a little pre-mature and not in good taste.

How much change is change?

YOU hear a lot of moaning about how terrible things are in the United States now, but consider the situation 75 years ago this week when Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn in as president and delivered his stirring "only thing we have to fear is fear itself" Inaugural Address. Unemployment in Toledo, Ohio, was 80%.

Fast food and faster words

MY friend's daughter works in a fast food shop in an airport. I watched her and her friends in action the other day.



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