The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Tuesday, July 29, 2014


News of: Tuesday, 11th of March, 2008

Front Page

Biman to buy 8 aircraft

Biman Bangladesh Airlines Ltd yesterday unveiled its plan to buy eight new-generation aircraft from Boeing at a cost of $1.265 billion (Tk 8,728 crore).

Prices of essentials spiral further up

Prices of coarse rice continued to rise for the third consecutive day yesterday on retail and wholesale markets in the capital due to India's latest restriction on exporting the commodity at prices lower than $650 a metric ton.

ACC scrutinising Truth Commission dossier

The government has asked the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for opinion on the proposed Truth Commission.

Govt to admit Hasina to hospital this week

Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina did not yet consent to being admitted to any local hospital.

Something more explosive yet to come

It was unbelievable for Musharraf camp. March 9, 2007 was a bad day for Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry when he was removed from his office.

Issuance to start by July next year

The government will start issuing machine-readable passport (MRP) by July next year and is going to float a tender for a project in this regard shortly.

Rupali sale process cancelled at last

After two years of deals and negotiations the Advisory Committee on Economic Affairs yesterday cancelled the process of Rupali Bank sale to Saudi Prince Bandar Bin Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al-Saud.

Nizami lobbied for top criminal's release

Dreaded criminal Sanjidul Islam Emon told CID interrogators that Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Maulana Motiur Rahman Nizami had tried to influence former state minister for home affairs Lutfozzaman Babar to relieve Emon and his associate Shahadat of a murder charge.

E-9 education ministers meet today in Bali

Education ministers from nine high-population and low to middle-income countries including Bangladesh will kick off the seventh E-9 meeting at Bali today.

Rice price gone beyond tolerable level

Food and Disaster Management Adviser AMM Shawkat Ali has admitted that the price of rice has gone beyond the tolerable level despite the government's hectic efforts to control it.

Cabinet okays amendment

The council of advisers yesterday finalised the proposed amendment to the Upazila Parishad Act to revoke power of parliament members over the parishads and empower the Election Commission (EC) to announce schedules for holding polls to the parishads.

Excavation resumes at Wari-Bateshwar

Archaeologists yesterday resumed excavation work at Wari-Bateshwar in Narsingdi, hoping to discover more structures and evidence of the 2,500-year-old civilisation that once flourished there.

Plan to slap more penalty for traffic rule violation

The government has taken an initiative to enact Motor Vehicle Ordinance, 2007 increasing the existing minimum fine of Tk 50 for violation of motor vehicle rules to Tk 500 and the highest fine to Tk 10,000 from Tk 5,000 for changing vehicle structure.

Judicial probe report to be made public

The Council of Advisers yesterday okayed a proposal for making public the findings of a one-member judicial committee that probed the August 20-22 violence at Dhaka University.

CA leaves for Dakar tonight

Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed leaves here tonight for Dakar to attend the 11th summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to be held in the Senegalese capital on March 13-14.

Hasina enroled as voter

The Election Commission yesterday listed detained former prime minister Sheikh Hasina as voter.

Govt okays arrest of 3 officials

The Cabinet Division yesterday gave the nod to arrest three government officials accused in two separate cases filed by the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC).

Proshika chief, wife own assets worth Tk 1.14cr

Proshika (non-governmental organisation) Chairman Kazi Faruque Ahmed and his wife own wealth worth about Tk 1.14 crore, according to his wealth report submitted to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Thursday.

Khaleda's counsel argues for judicial review of intra-party dispute

The chief counsel of detained BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia told the High Court (HC) yesterday that disputes within a political party may be considered for judicial review.

ACC allowed to quiz Paban

A Dhaka court yesterday allowed the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to interrogate Akhter Hamid Paban, son of Khaleda Zia-backed BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain, at the jail gate in a case for amassing Tk 1.02 crore illegally.

Teachers against ban on private tuition

Teachers of non-government high schools, colleges and madrasas yesterday demanded that the caretaker government withdraw the notice issued recently imposing a ban on private tuition.

JP wants to form alliance before national polls

Jatiya Party (Ershad) will form a new alliance of 'progressive nationalist force' ahead of the next general elections.

Gold traders call off strike

Trade of bullion, gold, jewels and stones has been carrying out in the country without any rules and regulations, allowing traders not to maintain any documents allegedly to evade taxes.

Malaysian PM sworn in despite polls setback

Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was sworn in for a second term yesterday, winning the backing of his ruling coalition despite unprecedented losses in weekend elections.

House files contempt lawsuit against top ex-Bush aides

The House Judiciary Committee filed suit Monday to force former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten to provide information about the firing of U.S. attorneys.

Musharraf meets aides after Pakistan coalition pact

President Pervez Musharraf huddled with key aides yesterday after Pakistan's main opposition parties agreed to form a coalition and reinstate the judges he sacked last year, officials said.

Editorial

US' support for our democracy roadmap

We take note of the US charge d'affaires (CDA) Geeta Pasi's Sunday meetings with the senior leaders of AL and a faction of the BNP. This along with her plans to meet few other political leaders is likely to give an impression of her evincing more than normal diplomatic interest in our internal politics. We welcome some aspects of the US' interest, but unambiguously state that it is our people who will ultimately protect and determine the future course of our democracy, not foreign powers.

Local government bodies

The government move to revoke the powers of the Members of Parliament over upazila parishads is quite in keeping with the generally accepted plan of ensuring more functional autonomy for the local government bodies, of which the upazila parishad is an important tier. In fact, the local government system is the corner stone of participatory democracy and the more it enjoys operational freedom, the greater will be the decentralization of power.

The twin terrors

THE prospect is horrifying. Barren fields, dried up wells, and hunger on a scale never before known by humanity are now a reality. That is what Lester Brown, president of the World Watch Institute in Washington predicted (in early 2000) for 2050, when the earth's population will have doubled to nearly 10 billion and the capacity of science to devise methods for coaxing more food out of the soil will, in his view, be greatly diminished.

It's not a farmer's budget!

CONTRARY to media hype, Finance Minister P Chidambaram's latest budget does not set a new direction. Nor does it address the huge imbalances in India's growth pattern. The decision to write off farmers' loans worth Rs 60,000 crores is a belated acknowledgement of the grave agrarian crisis, which has driven 150,000 farmers to suicide in a decade.

Unity in diversity

While the CTG is justifiably giving importance to the affairs of the NRBs to promote investment and remittances to the country, and there are several initiatives and proposals being considered, it is also time for the NRBs to offer a unified approach to strengthen this partnership. It is genuinely a two-way street, and unless both parties learn to tango in tandem these good intentions and efforts are unlikely to produce the desired effects or results.

Sports

Abahani maintain streak

New ball pair Ziaur Rahman and Talha Jubair ripped the heart out of City Club to maintain Abahani's winning spree in the Premier Division Cricket League at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium yesterday.

Orphans better Proteas!

The visiting South Africa cricket team enjoyed some light moments while playing a friendly match at the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday.

'It's cricket, not money'

India's limited-overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has dismissed notions that the auction of cricketers for the Indian Premier League (IPL) would adversely affect the youngsters' performance.

2nd IPL auction today

The second Indian Premier League (IPL) auction takes place in Mumbai on Tuesday, with the Rajasthan Royals best placed to make the most of the situation. Eighteen players are up for grabs, with 16 Under-19 players being decided by draft pick.

Salahuddin to run for BFF presidency

Bangladesh football legend Kazi Salahuddin promised to bring back the golden days of football in the country if he is elected president of the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF).

School v'ball underway

The School Volleyball championships under the aegis of the Bangladesh Volleyball Federation and sponsored by South Breeze School kick-started at the Volleyball Stadium yesterday.

India fail to book Beijing ticket; Carvalho quits

India's field hockey coach Joaquim Carvalho resigned on Monday after the eight-time Olympic champions failed to qualify for the Beijing Games.

Purbachal beat Dipali

Purbachal Parishad blanked bottom-placed Dipali Jubo Sangha 2-0 in a relegation league match of the Metropolis Senior Division Football League at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.

'No need to panic'

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawar-dene said Monday there was no need to panic following the team's repeated batting failures in recent one-day internationals.

Villarreal down Barca

Barcelona's title hopes are hanging by a thread with Frank Rijkaard's team eight points behind Real Madrid after a late goal from Jon-Dahl Tomasson helped Villarreal to a 2-1 win at Camp Nou on Sunday.

Inter seek a miracle

Inter Milan have problems in defence for Tuesday's Champions League last 16, second leg against Liverpool where the Serie A leaders must overhaul a 2-0 first-leg deficit.

Shocks continue to flow

The FA Cup will boast one Premier League side in the last four after Cardiff City continued a weekend of shocks by beating Middlesbrough 2-0 on Sunday.

Gunners fire blanks

Premier League leaders Arsenal suffered a comedown from their midweek Champions League win over AC Milan as they were held to a 0-0 draw at strugglers Wigan Athletic on Sunday.

Totti remains cautious

Francesco Totti scored a penalty as he played his 500th match for AS Roma in the 2-0 defeat of Napoli but despite his side's stirling form he is still not talking up their title chances.

Camacho quits Benfica

Spaniard Jose Antonio Camacho has resigned as Benfica coach, the Lisbon club's president Luis Filipe Vieira said on Sunday.

Players are to blame: Anelka

Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka said the players should take the blame for Saturday's FA Cup humiliation at Barnsley rather than manager Avram Grant.

Unholy priest

A footballing priest has been sent off in a church tournament for throwing his shirt at the referee, Italian media reported on Sunday.

Queiroz apologises to Taylor

Manchester United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz has apologised to Martin Taylor for suggesting the Birmingham defender was a violent player.

JFA Cup finals start today

The final round of the 4th JFA Cup Under-15 Football Tournament kicks off at the Rajshahi Stadium today.

Nat'l handball

The semifinal line-ups of the Exim Bank 18th National Men's Handball Championship were completed yesterday.

Rumi's death anniversary today

Today is the fifth death anniversary of renowned sports journalist and freedom fighter Masud Ahmed Rumi.

Moores hints at change

Peter Moores, the England coach, has said a change in the team is likely for the second Test in Wellington starting Thursday. England lost the first Test in Hamilton by 189 runs after they were bowled out for 110 chasing 300 on the fifth day.

No toasts yet for Cardiff

Cardiff manager Dave Jones insisted he wouldn't be breaking out the champagne after his troubled Championship club booked a place in the FA Cup semifinals.

Bangalore Open goes to Serena

Serena Williams won the 600,000-dollar WTA Bangalore Open on Sunday, giving the world number 11 her first title of the year on her maiden visit to India.

Soboleva betters her own mark

Russia's Yelena Soboleva improved on her own world 1500m record on Sunday as she clinched gold on the final day of the World Indoor Championships here.

Kolkata ticket row may end today

Top officials from Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan's Red Chillies Entertainment, the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Kolkata franchise, and the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) will meet in the city on Tuesday to break the deadlock on hosting league matches at Eden Gardens, one of the world's biggest cricket venues.

Bhajji asked not to talk to media

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has gagged Harbhajan Singh from speaking to the media, following complaints from Cricket Australia (CA) over his alleged remarks about Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist.

Business

Raw material scarcity forces closure of 100 re-rolling mills

The high price and scarcity of raw materials have forced around 100 of the country's steel re-rolling mills to close in the past two years, with the loss of tens of thousands of jobs, according to industry leaders.

Philippines, Thailand among most corrupt Asian economies: Survey

The Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and China are among the most corrupt Asian economies, according to results of a regional poll of expatriate businessmen released Monday.

DSE, SEC to decide on resuming trade

The Dhaka bourse and the market regulator will sit today to take decision on resumption of trading of Rupali Bank shares, as the privatisation process of the state-run bank has been cancelled.

Govt to ratify int'l treaty to reduce borrowing costs of airlines

The government will ratify an international treaty that will cut the cost of international borrowing for the country's airline industry, which is growing 8 percent a year.

Soft loan rescheduling for relocated tanneries at Savar

The advisory committee on economic affairs yesterday agreed to soften rules regarding rescheduling of loans and waiver of interests for the tannery factories to be relocated at the Savar industrial park.

The slow death of Mongla

In the last two years no buyer has been found for the house, but its owner, dock worker Shamol Sarker, is still hopeful that one-day someone will come to purchase his property and help him wrap up his 39 years in Mongla.

With strings attached…

Whilst engaging in the national pastime of talking shop and talking politics, I am always deeply impressed by the passion and strength of conviction of those who engage in discourse about the pros and cons of accepting foreign debt from donors. When the target is our favourite bugbear of the World Bank then one is guaranteed rhetoric and vitriol worthy of any Paltan Maidan speech.

Tourism fair from Thursday

A three-day international tourism fair will begin at Winter Garden of Dhaka Sheraton Hotel on Thursday, says a press release.

Developing nations oppose new WTO rules

Developing countries expressed concern over a set of new multilateral rules, proposed at the World Trade Organization (WTO), to restrict subsidies to the fisheries sector, contending that these would have an adverse impact on the livelihood of poor fishermen.

Asian stocks tumble on US recession prospects

Asian stocks tumbled Monday with Tokyo hitting a 30-month low as recession alarm bells rang louder in the United States following a shock drop in employment, dealers said.

Jute mill goes into trial run in Kurigram, creating jobs for 250

A private jute mill in Kurigram district has begun trial production, creating jobs for 250 people.

DSE up for 5th straight day

The Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) maintains a bullish trend for the fifth straight day yesterday amid a relatively poorer turnover in the previous couple of days.

Oil eases below $105 in Asian trade

Oil prices fell below 105 dollars per barrel in Asian trade Monday, off last week's record levels amid fresh concerns over the US economy, the world's biggest energy user, dealers said.

Prime Bank launches ATM services at 11 branches

Prime Bank Limited yesterday launched its ATM card services in its 11 city branches, aiming to provide 24-hour service, including ready cash, balance searching and instant mini-statement facilities, to its depositors.

Greenback languishes

The dollar slid Monday close to record lows against the euro and fell heavily versus the yen as the US currency suffered from recession fears in the United States, dealers said.

Japan pledges fresh loans to India

Japan said Monday it would offer some 185.58 billion yen (1.8 billion dollars) in low-interest loans to India to help fund infrastructure projects, including expanding the New Delhi metro.

Foreign investment into Philippines at $2.9b in 2007

Foreign direct investment in the Philippines reached 2.9 billion dollars in calendar 2007, the central bank said Monday.

Electricity crisis pinches S African construction

South Africa's once booming construction sector has become the latest to feel the pinch of a national electricity crisis that is smothering industry and clipping much-needed economic growth.

Japan machinery orders post fastest growth in seven years

Japan said Monday core machinery orders, a closely watched barometer of business investment, surged at the fastest pace in more than seven years, easing fears of an imminent recession.

Soaring oil prices hit fight against poverty: Arroyo

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo said soaring oil prices had hurt her country's fight against widespread poverty despite high economic growth last year.

Urban, rural income disparity keeps growing in China

The income gap between urban and rural areas in China kept growing last year and there is a long way to go to narrow it down, a senior agricultural official said Monday.

Kuwait telecom giant okays 125pc capital increase

Shareholders in Kuwait's Mobile Telecommunications Co (Zain) gave their approval on Monday to a 125 percent increase in the group's capital to fund future global expansion.

Metropolitan

Share ideas to foster peace, dev in South Asian region

South Asian sociologists yesterday called for better cooperation among themselves to conduct researches and share ideas on the social changes shaping the world and contribute to the processes of fostering development and peace in the region.

Women still deprived of equal rights

Women are still deprived of equal rights in many fields and the vested quarters sometimes try to use religion as a tool to oppress them, Sultana Kamal, former adviser to the caretaker government, said yesterday.

Work together to offset inpacts of global climate change

Speakers at a discussion yesterday called upon all to work together to offset the impacts of global climate change.

Peacekeepers earn fame for country

The Bangladeshi peacekeepers in Liberia earned fame for restoring peace and starting rehabilitation process in the war-torn country.

Access to credit should be recognised as human right

Terming poverty an artificial problem created by society, Nobel laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus said access to credit should be recognised as a basic human right.

Hearing on Hasina's application tomorrow

The hearing of an application for stay on the operation of the High Court verdict that revived the Mig-29 purchase-scam case against former prime minister Sheikh Hasina and others will be held at the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court tomorrow.

Scrap Oct 29 meet decisions to reunite BNP

Leader of pro-Khaleda faction of BNP, Goyeshwar Chandra Roy, yesterday said leaders of the rival 'reformist' faction will have to remove on their own, all obstacles to party unity, like the decisions of the latter's October 29, 2007 meeting, if they want to reunite the organisation.

'Women most vulnerable to climate change'

Women, the primary caregiver in family, are the most vulnerable group to climate change, said the speakers at a seminar yesterday.

Death penalty awarded JMB member dies at DMCH

A member of militant organisation Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), who was sentenced to death by a court, died on Sunday while he was undergoing treatment at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH).

114 ex-BAC staffs get postings in ACC

Some 114, out of 263 former employees, of the now-defunct Bureau of Anti-Corruption (BAC), recently absorbed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), have got their postings.

Road crashes kill 6, injure 90

At least six people were killed and 90 others injured in separate road accidents in Dhaka, Netrakona, Gopalganj, Sylhet and Sirajganj yesterday.

Tk 102cr Japanese help for Sidr damage reconstruction

The Japanese government has approved the utilisation of Japan Debt Relief Grant Assistance Counterpart Fund amounting Tk 102 crore (approximately US$ 15 million) for reconstruction of houses damaged by cyclone Sidr in the coastal belt of Bangladesh.

Release of BCL leader Roton demanded

Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the student wing of Awami League, on Sunday demanded release of BCL Central Committee General Secretary Mahfujul Haider Roton.

1120 bottles phensidyl seized in Ctg

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) seized 1120 bottles of phensidyl and arrested two drug-peddlers from Chhalimpur under Sitakunda Upazila in Chittagong early yesterday.

Ensure best use of IT

President Iajuddin Ahmed yesterday called upon all concerned to provide the cutting edge of information technology and ensure best use of it for the greater interest of the country.

JCD cadres beat student at DU

A group of activists of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD), student wing of BNP, severely beat up a third year student of finance department of Dhaka University (DU) on Sunday night.

SCF National convention on March 15

Sector Commanders' Forum (SCF), a platform of sector commanders of the liberation war, will organise a national convention on March 15 at the Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre in the capital as part of its move for trying the war criminals.

Confce on women, biodiversity begins in Tangail today

A three-day South Asian conference on 'Women and Biodiversity' begins in Tangail today.

Install speed governor seal on all public transport

The High Court yesterday directed the government to install 'speed governor seal' on all modes of public transport, like bus, minibus and truck, plying across the country to avoid road accidents.

Nine muggers arrested

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested nine alleged muggers in the Bhasani Stadium area in the city and recovered 71 old mobile phone sets from their possession on Sunday night.

US journalist to deliver lecture on war, ethics

Brian Palmer, a US war correspondent and documentary maker, will deliver a lecture on 'Notes from occupation: War and ethics of journalism' and later will take part in an open discussion at RC Majumder auditorium of Dhaka University at 1:00pm today, says a press release.

Concern over murder by Satkhira OC

Five human rights organisations have expressed concern over the murder of a woman by the officer-in-charge (OC) of Patkelghata Police Station under Satkhira district.

Apollo Hospitals' clarification

Apollo Hospitals Dhaka has clarified a news item on demonstration by its doctors and nurses published in several national dailies on March 9.

Sirajul re-appointed Law Commission member

Retired Judge Md Sirajul Islam was re-appointed member of the Law Commission for one year, said a handout Monday.

Roundtable on draft today

A roundtable on the draft of the Right to Information Ordinance-2008 will be held in the conference room of LGED Bhaban in the city today.

EC launches drawing contest for children

The European Commission (EC) has launched a drawing competition for the children on the occasion of the International Women's Day on Saturday.

Bangladeshi shot dead by BSF

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) shot dead a Bangladeshi youth on Kalabari border under Patgram upazila of Lalmonirhat district yesterday morning.

Training for health cadre officials begins

A two-month long foundation-training course for 40 BCS (health) cadre officials began at the Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development (BARD) in Comilla yesterday, says a press release.

17th anniversary of death of Abul Kashem today

Today is the 17th death anniversary of Abul Kashem, one of the architects of the Language Movement and the founder of Mirpur Bangla College, says a press release.

Donation for cancer hospital

Roushan Ara Khan, a housewife, donated Tk 10 lakh for the construction of Ahsania Mission Cancer Hospital (AMCH), says a press release.

BNCU invites applications for fellowship

Bangladesh National Commission for Unesco (BNCU) invites applications for China Great Wall Fellowships 2008, says a press release.

Nawab Estate Assoc executives

Begum Waheeda Wasiuddin and Syed Nadeem Rahman were elected president and general secretary of Dhaka Nawab Estate Proprietors Association for a period of four years on Wednesday, says a press release yesterday.

National

No progress in probe in eight months

There is virtually no progress in investigation of the extortion case against three former Jamaat-e-Islami lawmakers, a former BJP lawmaker and seven others, eight months after its filing.

Thakurgaon farmers expect bumper wheat production

The farmers of five upazilas in Thakurgaon district are expecting a bumper production of wheat in the current season.

Try war criminals

Speakers at view exchange meeting yesterday said the present caretaker government cannot ignore the demand for trial of war criminals as it is the demand of the people.

Wife demands fresh probe

Wife of slain Awami League leader advocate Manjurul Imam, Mosammat Meherunnesa has demanded that the government include her husband's murder case in the monitoring cell of the Ministry of Home Affairs and its reinvestigation.

OC Mizanur suspended, victim's body exhumed

Patkelghata Police Station officer in charge (OC) Kazi Mizanur Rahman who allegedly beat up his wife Sadia Akhtar that led to her death on Thursday, was suspended yesterday following record of the case with the same police station.

ASP transferred for playing biased role

Akhterul Islam, assistant superintendent of police in Gournadi circle of Barisal district, has been transferred to Bogura and his salary increments postponed for negligence and misuse of power.

Mayor Tayebur faces another extortion case

Detained Khulna City Corporation mayor Sheikh Tayebur Rahman has faced another extortion case.

Gang leader beaten dead

A gang leader was beaten to death at Harishankarpur in the town early yesterday.

Bhola-Laxmipur ferry service formally opens today

Ferry service on Bhola-Laxmipur route would be formally inaugurated today after successful trials since February 26.

14 bombs recovered in C'nawabganj

Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) Sunday night recovered 14 bombs at Terorashia village of Islampur union in Sadar upazila, police said.

Gangni Poura chairman suspended

Gangni Pourasabha chairman Ahmed Ali who is now under arrest has been suspended from chairmanship of the municipality.

Khagrachhari BNP leader sent to jail

Organising secretary of Khagra-chhari district BNP Mostafizur Rahman Millat was sent to jail yesterday when he surrendered to the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate here.

Students demand removal of college teacher

Students of botany in Sirajganj University College brought out a silent procession with black badges on the college campus yesterday demanding removal of the head of the department.

Letters

Benazir Bhutto

In his write-up, “The Legacy of Benazir” (DS, March 4), Mr. Moinuddin Chisti, after commenting on Benazir and her Pakistan, finally asks a few questions which are:

Jamuna Bridge

The Daily Star must be applauded for bringing the authority's attention to the need for the immediate repair of the Jamuna Bridge (Editorial, Jamuna Bridge in Jeopardy? Tuesday, February 26, 2008). This bridge is indeed a national treasure and can be considered the most important economic lifeline for Bangladesh. To save the bridge, and possibly many lives, and to avoid the nightmare of a closed bridge or even the cost of a more extensive repair or replacement in the case of a collapse, the authorities must repair the bridge immediately. In the past, at the request of the residents of California, the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) sent teams of in-house expert bridge design and maintenance engineers to other countries to investigate the causes of bridge damage and to provide repair recommendations.

East Timor and we

The shooting of East Timor President Jose Ramos Horta and Father of the Nation and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao brings back memories of the conspiracies that Bangladesh went through in its childhood. There are amazing similarities between these two nations in terms of events in the pre-independence, independence and post-independence eras. Consider the following:

Niketon -Gulshan walkway

The walkway constructed from Niketon Bridge to Mohakhali Road on the Gulshan-1 side is one of the more laudatory projects of Dhaka City Corporation. Its picture really deserved its pride of place in the Star City section of DS some days ago. However, like most such projects of DCC it has been left incomplete. Here is why:

Al Gore?

According to many observers, in the Democratic convention in August, “Al Gore, the former Vice-President, could emerge as a compromise candidate.” It may be recalled that Al Gore, already a Nobel Laureate, has since become a grand ecologist and he appears more a benefactor of the mother earth than just a politician of the United States. He has been lecturing on the topic of global warming, which he labels as "the climate crisis." Despite all these, the public speculation is already there in the United States as also in the rest of the world over the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. However, Gore frequently stated that "I have no plans to run". At this stage, no one can say for sure as to who is going to be the next President of the United States although a very few can gainsay that Al Gore, if nominated by the Democrats, could prove to be one of the best Presidents the United States ever had.

Steve Bucknor

Jamaican Umpire Steve Bucknor raises the question again: should he stand in a Test match after wrongly judging Rafique LBW in our 1st Test match against the South Africans.

Age limit of 28th BCS

I would request you to write a befitting column and urge the PSC to reconsider the age limit of the 28th BCS exams. You know that almost after 30 month the PSC has recently issued the circular of the 28th BCS exams. Already, a good number of candidates have crossed the age limit.

Save the trees

During a recent visit to a relative in Gulshan 2, I was surprised to see that half the road was dug up and the otherwise quiet, pleasant area was a complete mess. I enquired about what was going on and was told that they wanted to expand the road from building to building. First of all, I would like to know where the pavement will be for the pedestrians. Secondly, this is a residential area and doesn't need more expansion of the roads. Thirdly, with half of Gulshan lake being taken by encroachers all the time, shouldn't the DCC have other priorities rather than to break up an already nicely kept area? I then realised that the government bodies don't normally take action unless they are forced to by higher powers or there is some profit in it. I looked carefully at the tree lined roads and therein lies the clue! This is obviously a pretence to cut down all the beautiful trees of Gulshan-2 and make some timber money. This will not be the first time people would wake up to see all the trees gone overnight; this happened during the BNP government.

Dr. Kamal's stand

Nice to know that “Dr Kamal vows to resist any move against poll roadmap” (Re. report by your staff correspondent dated Feb 25, 2008), but why did he “keep silent ” when asked “whether the constitution permits formation of a government based on national consensus”?

International

Hillary, Obama prepare for Mississippi mission

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton prepared yesterday for their next skirmish in Mississippi as Democratic bosses grew rattled about where their presidential nomination war was headed.

Opposition gets to business as new premier sworn in

The Malaysian opposition, led by former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim -- who has made a stunning political comeback after his sacking and jailing a decade ago -- was getting down to business yesterday as the prime minister Abdullah Badawi was sworn in for a second term.

UN envoy ends Myanmar mission without promises

UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari left Myanmar for Singapore yesterday, ending a five-day mission that included two meetings with democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi but few tangible concessions from the regime.

Blunder may prove costly to Badawi

Malaysia's prime minister may have made his biggest political blunder by calling early elections that only exposed public anger over simmering racial tensions and his perceived missteps.

11 killed in separate suicide bombings in Iraq

At least 11 people, including five US soldiers were killed in Iraq yesterday in three separate suicide bombings.

Call for proper probe into Brit teen’s death

The mother of a British teenager murdered in the Indian resort of Goa called yesterday for a proper inquiry to catch her daughter's killers, saying she had no faith in local police.

Israel scales back Gaza operation

The Israeli government has ordered its military to reduce its activities in the Gaza Strip, Israeli officials said yesterday.

Socialists win Spain election

Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has promised a new era in Spanish politics, after winning another four year term in office.

Lebanon vote postponed for 16th time

A parliamentary session to elect Lebanon's president has been postponed from today to March 25 amid continued deadlock between rival political leaders, the speaker's office announced yesterday.

Cheney visits middle east next week

US Vice President Richard Cheney will visit the Middle East next week, the White House announced yesterday.

Sarkozy suffers setback in local polls

President Nicolas Sarkozy's rightwing party suffered losses in local elections seen yesterday as a warning to the French leader of voter disappointment with his 10 months in office.

BBC launches Arabic channel today

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) launches its new Arabic-language cable and satellite television channel today, laying down the gauntlet to existing pan-Arab stations.

Iraq costs US 12b dollars per month

The flow of blood may be ebbing, but the flood of money into the Iraq war is steadily rising, new analyses show. In 2008, its sixth year, the war will cost approximately $12 billion a month, triple the "burn" rate of its earliest years, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and co-author Linda J. Bilmes report in a new book.

Bhutto murder suspects back in Pak court

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court yesterday presented charge sheets to five suspected militants accused of involvement in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, court officials said.

Major storms sweep Britain, France

Heavy storms disrupted air, sea and road transport in Britain yesterday, while a cargo ship was swept onto a beach in France and one person reported missing, emergency officials said.

Tibetan exiles clash with Nepal police

Hundreds of Tibetan activists clashed with police in Nepal's capital yetserday when protesters tried to march to the Chinese embassy, an AFP reporter said.

Blast kills one in Colombo as polls held in Batticaola

A powerful bomb ripped through a commercial area of Sri Lanka's capital yesterday, killing one man and wounding six others, police said as troops and Tamil Tigers were locked in heavy combat elsewhere.

UN to accelerate Afghan work under new envoy

The United Nations said yesterday it would accelerate its work in support of the people of war-torn Afghanistan under the world body's new special envoy, a Norwegian diplomat.

Serbia to dissolve parliament

Serbia's government was to meet yesterday to formally propose the parliament's dissolution and new elections following a rift over breakaway Kosovo and EU integration.

New charges filed against Thaksin

Military-backed investigators said they filed new criminal corruption charges yesterday against deposed Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, accusing him of wrongly legalising a lottery scheme.

Court acquits Imelda Marcos

A Manila court yesterday acquitted the flamboyant widow of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos of 32 counts of illegally transferring wealth abroad during her husband's 20-year rule.

Sudan demands compensation from EU

Sudan has asked EU peacekeepers to pay tens of thousands of dollars in compensation for four nomads killed in the recovery of a dead French soldier, the foreign ministry said yetserday.

Arts & Entertainment

Second Manabadhikar Natya Utsab begins

This year the United Nations is observing the 60th anniversary of

Francophonie celebrations in Dhaka

La Francophonie, founded in 1970 in Niger, is a large network of 68 members and participating governments that view French culture and language as an important part of their identity. It is a community of people who speak or use French. In Bangladesh, a considerable number of people speak or use French to varying degrees.

Shivratri Festival in Joypurhat

The two day-long Shivratri Festival at the Baro Shivalay Temple in Joypurhat ended recently. One of the traditional Hindu festivals, the celebrations began on March 6 and drew thousands of devotees.

“Eet Kaather Khancha”: A close look at relationships

Eet Kaather Khancha, a new drama serial, is set to air on ntv, starting from tonight at 8:15pm. The serial is written and directed by Shihab Shaheen.

Madonna inducted in “Rock N Roll” Hall of Fame

When Madonna was writhing around onstage in a wedding gown to Like a Virgin years ago, the last place many would expect to see her was in something called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Time has a way of changing things. On Monday, Madonna came to the stage of the Waldorf-Astoria to accept enshrinement. Classmate John Mellencamp, who also churned out hit after hit in the 1980s, joined her.

From Darkness into Light

Parts of his village, Hurka in Bagerhat, were only recently electrified, but young artist, Biplab Biprodas, seems to have had an illuminated childhood. He remembers starting early, filling any blank paper he could lay his hands on with sketches, and helping out with decorations during festivals and school plays. Despite its remoteness, the village received the Indian High Commission's Bharat Bichitra newsletter; Biplab pored over and was fascinated by the artwork within. During his formative years, he was often compared unfavourably with an older village artist, driving him to participate in local art competitions, repeatedly winning the top award. Thriving on peer recognition, he basked in the compliments proffered by regional student artists.

K.D. Lang: “I'm a musical nomad”

The first minute of K.D. Lang's new disc Watershed feels like a quick trip through her musical life.

OP-ED

Of people and politicians

WE are weary of politicians like Hannan, Delwar et al, and Zillur, Suranjit et al fuming at the CTG with their cliché-ridden rhetoric on how the nation would go to the dogs unless the parliamentary election was held at the earliest opportunity. Some of these noted leaders have nothing much to say except, "early restoration of democracy is imperative for the nation's health" -- as though democracy is a totka or a quack medicine your granny or your mum used to give you when you were sick as a child!

The environment is our future

I am delighted to be providing this message for Commonwealth Day (March 10) -- the day when the UK reflects on its Commonwealth membership and heritage, and looks ahead to the challenges facing us and our fellow member states.

First impressions

IT's a foggy morning in Dhaka, and our trip, months in the planning, gets off to a slow start. Travel writer Nick Redmayne, our first arrival, is delayed due to fog, and his plane is rerouted to Chiang Mai for a three-hour delay before it makes the journey to Dhaka. Then, luggage claims slow things down even further.

When we had Sars in our eyes

ONE OF THE NASTIEST flu bugs for years is now doing the rounds of Asia, exactly five years after the region was hit by Sars. In fact, it was five years ago today that a friend of mine bustled her kids to the airport. "Adios," she said. "I'm taking the kids home where it's safer."


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