The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Monday, October 20, 2014


News of: Thursday, 13th of March, 2008

Front Page

Govt asked to return Hasina's passport

In a latest development, a Dhaka Court yesterday directed the government to return the passport of detained Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina to its owner, who has been undergoing treatment in Square Hospital in the capital.

Petrobangla gets licence for first time to tap coal

In a landmark move, the government for the first time has awarded Petrobangla a license to explore Dighipara coal zone in a joint venture with a competent private mine developer, to be selected as the strategic partner through an open tender.

Over 10 lakh tonne rice to be imported by June

Over 10 lakh metric tons of rice will be imported through public and private channels chiefly from India and Myanmar by June, Food and Disaster Management Adviser AMM Shawkat Ali said yesterday.

HR record worsens under emergency

The US Department of State in its annual report "Human Rights Practices 2007" on Bangladesh reveals that human rights record worsened in the country as the state of emergency continued to be in effect with elections remaining postponed.

Last of the wild in concrete jungle

A few species of mammals, reptiles and amphibians are fighting their seemingly last battle to survive in concrete jungles in the capital, either by taking refuge in the diminishing green patches or niches in structures.

Fresh hike soon in CNG, diesel, power prices

The government plans to hike the prices of CNG by the end of this month and diesel and electricity after the Boro season to overcome the deficit in national economy.

Lax admin control, irregularities led to crisis

Taking advantage of lax administration and irregularities at social welfare office, 30 fraud NGOs swindled about 10 lakh people out of around Tk 500 crore in eight northwestern districts.

Robbers loot train, kill attendant

An attendant of a Dhaka-bound train from Chittagong was killed by a gang of robbers that attacked the passengers and looted money and valuables between Akhaura junction and Imambari station early yesterday.

3 muggers beaten to death in Ctg

Three muggers were beaten to death and four of their gang injured by a mob at Faujdarhat in Chittagong's Sitakunda upazila yesterday.

9 JMB cadres get life

Nine cadres of the outlawed Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) were sentenced to rigorous life imprisonment yesterday for carrying out serial bomb blasts in Barguna on August 17 in 2005.

Hearing starts on plea for stay on MiG-29 case

The hearing on an application seeking stay on the operation of the High Court verdict that revived the MiG-29 scam case against detained former prime minister Sheikh Hasina began at the Supreme Court yesterday.

Ex-whip Suja gets 13yrs

Former Awami League lawmaker and former whip Mostafa Rashidi Suja was sentenced to 13 years' rigorous imprisonment by a special court in Dhaka yesterday for acquiring illegal wealth and providing false and baseless wealth statement.

Ex-Jamaat MP charged with kidnap bid, extortion

Police yesterday pressed charges against former Jamaat lawmaker Shahjahan Chowdhury and 35 others in two separate cases--extortion and attempt to kidnap.

Century-old monasteries in ruins

Two century-old monasteries in Mirzapur upazila of Tangail have become worn out because of lack of care and renovation and turned into a den of local drug addicts and gamblers.

CEC's role made EC controversial

Barrister Masood R Sobhan, counsel for reformist BNP leader Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, told the High Court yesterday that the role of the chief election commissioner has made the Election Commission (EC) controversial.

Coarse rice price unstable

The price of coarse rice in the city market remains unstable with truckloads of rice stuck on the Indian side of the border due to export restrictions.

Poll timetable only after local govt laws: CEC

Schedules for city corporation and municipal elections will not be declared until the Election Commission gets the gazette notification of the new laws governing the local bodies.

Hannan says he is ready to meet Saifur

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's adviser Brig Gen (retd) Hannan Shah yesterday said he is ready to meet Saifur Rahman, leader of the other faction of the party, if the latter invites him.

Cop held for abduction attempt

A policeman was arrested while trying to abduct a female student of Chittagong University (CU) at Nandir Haat of Hathazari upazila on Tuesday evening.

Don't criticise women policy without reading

Women and Children Affairs Adviser Rasheda K Choudhury yesterday asked people not to criticise the newly adopted National Women Development Policy without reading it first, saying that the policy does not include anything against the Quran and the Hadith.

Private car of ex-Ramna cop seized

Kendua police yesterday seized a private car of Sub-Inspector (SI) Sanwar Hossain, formerly posted at Ramna Police Station, following newspaper reports that Sanjidul Islam Emon, a criminal recently deported from India, has a close link with him.

Proteas take series with easy win

South Africa clinched the one-day series with a seven-wicket victory over Bangladesh in the second game at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.

SC verdict today on ACC appeal

The Supreme Court will give its judgment today on the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) appeal for overturning the High Court verdict that declared illegal the ACC notice asking detained former prime minister Sheikh Hasina to submit her wealth report.

Iftekhar talks workers' issue with Saudi minister

Foreign Affairs Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury held a meeting with Saudi State Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Nizar Obeid Madani on Tuesday on the sidelines of the OIC foreign ministers conference and discussed Bangladeshi workers issue as well as Saudi investment in Bangladesh..

Tax-dodging case against Pankaj illegal

The High Court (HC) yesterday declared illegal the proceedings of a tax-dodging case against jailed Awami Swechhasebak League leader Pankaj Debnath.

Leased Boeing from Nigeria joins Biman

A Boeing 747-200 aircraft was added yesterday to the fleet of Biman Bangladesh Airlines Ltd.

Obama beats Hillary in Mississippi

Barack Obama trounced Hillary Clinton in Mississippi's Democratic primary, riding huge support from African Americans, as a nasty new race row rocked their White House battle.

Scandal-hit NY governor resigns

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has resigned, after being linked to a prostitution ring.

Editorial

Send Hasina abroad for medical treatment

OVER the last two months, the question of whether Sheikh Hasina's health conditions, especially her hearing problem, are treatable at home or these required specialist care abroad has been a subject-matter of verbal duel between the top physicians of the country and the jail authority.

Teachers who go missing abroad

IN a civilised society, it is the teaching community from which flow the high ideals that people aspire to. Unfortunately, given what has lately been happening regarding the conduct of a section of teachers at Dhaka University, we are constrained to say that some in the teaching community have disappointed us beyond measure. The other day the authorities of Dhaka University took the action of dismissing twelve teachers from service because they have overstayed their periods of higher studies abroad and indeed did not deign to inform their parent organisation of their plans. It is a situation we have gone through before and yet our surprise at teachers doing such disservice to themselves and to their students and institutions remains.

National Security Council

NATIONAL Security Council (NSC) is in the news again. In Bangladesh it is hardly possible to talk about NSC without it being seen as a mechanism for providing a role to the military in the governance of the country.

Such hopes and so many fears

PAKISTANIS remain enveloped in euphoria after the February 18 election. The electoral process is being prolonged needlessly, and the new governments are still weeks away. But the sense of optimism is palpable almost everywhere.

Craig Baxter: Friend of Bangladesh

TEACHER, scholar, diplomat, and institution-builder, Professor Craig Baxter, was a devoted friend of Bangladesh. He retained lively ties with Bangladesh until he breathed his last on February 7.

Sports

Heat on Ashraful

What both captains observed after the match was that it could have been a different story altogether if there had been a 230-plus score on board for the Proteas to chase against the Tigers yesterday.

SA name squad for India

South African selection convenor Joubert Strydom admitted Wednesday there had been "a lot of discussion" before the announcement of a 14-man squad for a Test series in India.

Clubs decline transfer

An April start for the second B. League looks uncertain after the clubs opposed the idea of going into the transfers from next Saturday.

L'pool complete formality

Inter Milan's ill discipline cost them again as Liverpool won 1-0 at the San Siro on Tuesday to progress to the Champions League quarterfinals 3-0 on aggregate.

LOCAL SNIPPETS

Victoria Sporting Club's title hopes were heavily dashed when they suffered a 3-0 defeat to fellow contenders Jatrabari KC in a super six match of the Senior Division Football League yesterday.

'Pakistan paying price'

Cricket legend Imran Khan said Wednesday that Pakistan was paying the price for backing the US-led "war on terror" after Australia postponed a tour of the troubled country.

Ronaldinho out, Pato in

Milan's 18-year-old striker Alexandre Pato is to make his Brazil debut after being named in the squad for the friendly against Sweden in London later this month.

Second Test against NZ from today

England have axed experienced pace bowlers Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard in a bid to save the Test series against New Zealand after their humiliating 189-run first Test loss.

Mancini to quit Inter

Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini stunned Italian and European football by announcing he will step down at the end of the season following his team's Champions League elimination against Liverpool.

Aussie players relieved

Australia's cricketers said Wednesday they were relieved Cricket Australia cancelled their planned tour of Pakistan this month over security concerns, admitting they feared for their safety.

Riquelme, Tevez left out

Argentina have left out midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme and forward Carlos Tevez from their squad for this month's friendly away to African champions Egypt.

Pakistan papers accuse Aussies

Pakistani newspapers on Wednesday accused Australia's cricket team of handing a victory to "terrorists" after the world champions refused to tour the country due to security concerns.

Bookies back Mourinho

Former Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho has been installed as the Italian media's favourite for the Inter Milan job after Roberto Mancini's surprise announcement that he was leaving at the end of the season.

BOA election on April 3

The long due election of the Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) will be held on April 3, the election commission headed by BKSP DG Brig Gen Shawkat Hossain announced yesterday.

Lanka leave veterans out

Sri Lanka on Wednesday left out senior pros Sanath Jayasuriya and Muttiah Muralidaran from a 15-man squad for the upcoming one-day series in the West Indies.

Sharma rubbishes Buchanan's idea

Pace sensation Ishant Sharma yesterday refused to follow the advice of former Australian coach John Buchanan that he needed to "build muscles" so that his wiry frame could sustain pressures of international cricket.

Pakistan slams death of cricket fan in Indian jail

Pakistan's foreign ministry on Wednesday demanded an explanation from India over the "mysterious" death in custody of one of its nationals who crossed the border to watch a cricket match.

Windies bring in new faces

Spinners Sulieman Benn and Amit Jaggernauth were called-up to the full West Indies squad for the first time on Tuesday and could make their debuts against Sri Lanka later this month.

Kahn wowed by Ribery

Bayern Munich insist their star midfielder Franck Ribery is not for sale with captain Oliver Kahn describing the Frenchman as the new Zinedine Zidane after a string of world-class performances.

Parma appoint Cuper

Argentine Hector Cuper will be the new coach of Parma, the club's president Tommaso Ghirardi said on Tuesday.

'Spain will be at Euros'

UEFA president Michel Platini said on Wednesday he was confident Spain would play at Euro 2008 but that it was up to FIFA to resolve a row with the government that could cost them their place.

Italians eye up Super Mario

VfB Stuttgart are resigned to losing striker Mario Gomez - the Bundelsiga's joint top-scorer - after his haul of 14 goals this season has attracted interest from Italy's top sides.

Bayern-Germany clash for Kahn

Former Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn has been granted a testimonial game between the German national side and Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in September, it was announced on Tuesday.

Alonso delivers

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez said after Tuesday's Champions League win over Inter Milan that he would still be calling on the services of key midfielder Xabi Alonso, who missed the game to be with his girlfriend as she gave birth.

Red is the colour!

Football clubs with red team strips are more successful than those with other colours, according to a study by British scientists released Wednesday.

Business

Apollo Hospital running at 50pc of capacity

Apollo Hospital Dhaka is running at only 50 percent of its capacity as competition heats up at the top end of the private healthcare market in the capital.

Banglalink subscribers double in 2007

Customers of Banglalink, the private mobile telephone operator, more than doubled in the year 2007 with a 116 percent growth to 7.1 million, forecasting to grab more than 22 percent market share by the current year.

BB makes draft policy to appoint directors from bank depositors

Bangladesh Bank has set a draft guideline on appointment of directors from the depositors' side to ensure their representation for protecting their interests, according to sources.

Fertiliser subsidy to come under review

The government will review the existing subsidy for fertiliser in order to maximise its benefits for the farmers, agriculture adviser CS Karim said yesterday.

Govt now to go for reactivation of Rupali Bank

The government will go for reactivation of state-run Rupali Bank before taking any policy decision on the bank's future.

China keen to invest in textile sector

The Chinese are keen to invest in Bangladesh textile sector, according to the head of a visiting business delegation from China.

Candidates vow to work for a vibrant economy

A. Rouf Chowdhury and Annisul Huq, candidates in FBCCI presidential election, vowed yesterday to work for making the country's economy more vibrant if they are elected.

No collateral... no loan

For the last seven years Nahida Sharmin has been running a fashion and design house in Dhaka embroidering cloth that she sells to order.

Finding opportunities in record oil prices

Global crude oil prices touched $ 109 per barrel this week with few signs that the financial market meltdown in developed economies, or indeed growing evidence that the US economy was moving into recession, is having much impact. Yet while the higher cost of fuel may hurt, the need of oil producers to re-invest their petrodollars could be a real opportunity for Bangladesh.

Fashion designers aim to help Asian poor with eco-chic

As Western fashion brands look to Asia to provide cheap skilled labour, two Hong Kong-based designers are bucking the trend.

Novartis again top medicine exporter

Novartis (Bangladesh) Limited has once again become the highest pharmaceutical exporter of the country with its global Sandoz brand products.

8-month revenue grows 24.17pc

Government revenue income has increased by 24.17 percent over the first eight months of current fiscal compared to the corresponding period of previous year.

Global markets rally on huge cash injection

Asian and European equities surged higher on Wednesday, mirroring an overnight rebound on Wall Street after major central banks announced a massive cash injection for stressed financial markets.

UPS looks globally for growth

Economic uncertainty in the United States means UPS Inc. will have to focus more on growth opportunities overseas, the chief executive of the world's largest shipping carrier said Wednesday.

Dollar eases back in Asia

The dollar eased back against other major currencies in Asian trade on Wednesday as an overnight rally sparked by central bank action to bolster ailing credit markets ran out of steam, dealers said.

$7.2 m chemical industry in Comilla EPZ soon

Bangladesh and Indonesia will jointly set up a chemicals industry in Comilla Export Processing Zone with an investment of US$ 7.2 million.

RanksTel package price down to Tk2500

RanksTel Limited recently reduced its package price to Tk 2,500, says a press release.

India may overtake UK as favoured investment destination

India may soon overtake Britain as a favoured investment destination in the world unless Chancellor Alistair Darling cut taxes in Wednesday's budget, a leading consultant agency has said in its report.

Chinese foreign direct investment up sharply

Foreign direct investment into China jumped 75.2 percent in January and February from a year ago, the government said Wednesday, as Asia's number two economy remained a top investment destination.

Gulf states in race to build world's tallest tower

Gulf Arab states, flush with proceeds from record high oil prices, are racing to build the world's tallest tower.

FOODEX Japan begins

The four-day FOODEX Japan 2008, the biggest food and beverage exhibition in Asia and Asia Pacific region, began in Japan on Tuesday.

Metropolitan

Four to die, five others get life

Four people, including two brothers, were sentenced to death yesterday for killing a woman and her daughter in Deobhog area under Fatulla Police Station.

Call for effective laws to curb domestic violence

Speakers at a roundtable yesterday called for effective laws to curb domestic violence against women.

E-9 meet ends with adoption of Bali Declaration

The 7th E-9 ministerial meeting concluded here yesterday with nine biggest middle and low-income countries, including Bangladesh, pledging more money for teachers' salaries and training to attract 18 million primary school teachers required to achieve 'education for all' (EFA) by 2015.

Develop tools to combat extremism

Dr Rohan Gunaratna, an international counter-terrorism expert, yesterday called on the government to develop counter-terrorism tools immediately to combat extremism in the country in a proper way.

It is high time to bring reforms to police

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Nur Mohammad yesterday said it is high time to bring radical reforms to the police force to make it a service-oriented institution.

Stand against unjust, inhuman activities

The final rounds of inter-class debate competition of Sunshine Grammar School and College and Chittagong Sunshine School and College for the Star Campus-Drishty Debate for Generation Next '08 was held at Sunshine Grammar School yesterday.

Bangladeshis in S Arabia face serious image crisis

Over 15 lakh Bangladeshis living in Saudi Arabia are undergoing serious image crisis, as some vested quarters have magnified a few petty crimes of Bangladeshis in local media and identified Rohingyas engaged in criminal activities as Bangladeshis, said the expatriates yesterday.

103 arms seized in Khulna in Feb

Police recovered 103 illegal firearms, 71 explosives and 533 rounds of bullet in Khulna in February.

Unite against fanatics

The religious fanatics have violated the constitution by opposing the National Women Development Policy, which calls for equal rights of women as enshrined in the constitution, women's rights activists said at a discussion yesterday.

No step taken to change Sharia law

Law Adviser AF Hassan Ariff yesterday said the ministry has not taken any step to change the Sharia law and there are no chances of changing it.

2nd phase work on city circular waterway begins

The 2nd phase of work on a circular waterway around Dhaka city, involving Tk 47.50 crore, has begun.

Rab nabs 16 for cheating

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) in the last two days arrested 16 people for trying to cheat a man in the guise of executives of a cellphone company.

CU school students protest fee hike

Students of Chittagong University (CU) School and College yesterday staged a sit-in in front of Chittagong University Central Students' Union (CUCSU) building on the university campus protesting the recent fee hike at the institution.

Bangladesh secures 2nd position

Bangladesh secured second position in the elocution competition under the Commonwealth Youth Programme in the Maldives capital Male yesterday.

200 new ASPs get postings

The Police Headquarters has given postings to 200 newly recruited assistant superintendents of police (ASP) at various districts across the country.

'Implement Nat'l Women Dev Policy soon'

Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) yesterday called on the council of advisers to take necessary steps to implement the National Women Development Policy 2008 immediately.

Edn exhibition begins tomorrow

The Sixth International Education Exhibition-2008 will begin at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel tomorrow.

Border forces agree to maintain peace

Border security forces of Bangladesh and India at a sector commander level meeting yesterday agreed to maintain peace along the border.

Microsoft official meets Akbar Ali

Chief of Microsoft Asia-Pacific Chris Etkinson and Senior Vice President of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (Basis) Shoyeb Chowdhury called on Regulatory Reforms Commission (RCC) Chairman Dr Akbar Ali Khan at his office here on Tuesday.

Road accidents kill 8, injure 28

At least eight people were killed and 28 others injured in separate road accidents in Sylhet, Khagrachhari, Chandpur, Sirajganj and Rajshahi yesterday and on Tuesday night.

Homoeopathy Fed executives

A 47-member executive committee of the Bangladesh chapter of World Federation of Homoeopathy was formed recently with Dr Md Mosharraf Hossain, Dr Md Mannan Kabir and Dr Md Abul Qusem Bhuiyan as its president, secretary general and treasurer for 2008-10, says a press release.

New BTTB chairman takes charge

Md Ashraful Alim took over charge of Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) chairman yesterday, says a press release.

Robbers kill one in Gazipur

Armed robbers killed a house owner and injured five house inmates and looted valuables worth about Tk one lakh at Majkhan village under Sadar Upazila on early Wednesday.

India to launch advanced meteorological satellite

Reflecting a sense of urgency, experts from Saarc countries have begun discussing use of satellite products in day-to-day weather forecasting as India offered to share its satellites providing such information to the region prone to most of the world's major natural disasters.

Sudan wants Bangladesh role in economic progress

Sudan wants Bangladesh to participate in Sudan's economic progress as there has scope for Bangladeshi skilled and semi-skilled manpower in Sudanese development.

Int'l telecom may interrupt on March 15

International telecommunication through submarine cable may be interrupted from 2:00am to 5:00am on March 15 due to emergency repair work of Chittagong-Cox's Bazar optical fiber line, an official handout said here yesterday.

National

1 lakh Sidr victims in Sharankhola still facing water crisis

Victims of cyclonic storm Sidr that hit the southern region of the country in mid-November last year, over one lakh people of Sharankhola upazila are still suffering from acute crisis of pure drinking water.

Netrakona farmers expect bumper Boro output

Farmers of the district are expecting an all-time record and bumper Boro production this season.

Swedish team visit reproductive health centre at MMCH

A Swedish team led by Jan Knutsson, Director General, Development Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden visited Reproductive Health Services Training and Education Programme (RHSTEP) centre at Mymensingh Medical College Hospital (MMCH) on Tuesday.

Khulna jail super to show cause for not producing 2 JMB men

The Additional District and Sessions Judge in Khulna Md Barekuzzaman has directed Superintendent of Khulna district Jail Md Solaiman Ali and other concerned persons to show cause by April 6 for their failure to produce before the court two JMB-militants on last March 10 for trial of a bomb blast case filed on August 17 in 2005.

700 trucks of rice wait due to strike in India land port

Some 700 of rice-laden trucks waiting to start for Bangladesh remained stranded at Ghojadanga land port yesterday evening as the Indian labourers refused to unload the goods due to a conflict between two Indian labour organisations.

100 Imams visit Lawachhara forest

About 100 Imams of mosques yesterday visited Lawachhera Reserve Forest in Kamalganj upazila to get first hand knowledge about bio-diversity so that they can create awareness among people about it later on.

Rajshahi College students demand withdrawal of additional fess

Students of Rajshahi College, mostly studying in the fourth year, yesterday staged demonstration in front of college principal's office demanding withdrawal of additional examination fees.

Postmaster sued for embezzling depositors' money

A defalcation case was filed with Kalaroa Police Station against postmaster of Kalaroa upazila main post office Mir Abdul Haque for misappropriating Tk 28,50,500 from depositors' fund yesterday night.

Patuakhali fishermen not getting money for saving jatka

Poor and jobless fishermen in six upazilas of Patuakhaliu district are yet to receive subsistence money allotted for their survival during the seven months ban on catching jatka.

Letters

Padma, past and present

Once full of water, it is just like a barren desert now. People in those days shivered if they heard the name of Padma but now even the old walk upon the sandbars and go from one side to the other. The sandbars have been increasing in size in recent years. Padma doesn't exist any longer!

Women as leading force

Women are now contributing to society in various ways. Educated women are now showing their capability along with men in every sphere of life, both at home and abroad. Most of them have proved their competence in various fields. But what is the real condition of our women in general? They are still not the decision makers in their families.

The politician and DS

This is in reference to Dr. Kamal Hossain using the phrase “dead horse” (DS, 6 March 2008) in connection with the Begum Khaleda Zia lawsuit to ascertain the legitimate party representative in the cancelled BNP-EC dialogue. The term perhaps more aptly and succinctly portrays his current political status and utter lack of appeal to the masses. As a lawyer backing the EC/government stance, he has to use everything at his disposal to obfuscate the issue and cause doubt, ambiguity and confusion to get a verdict in favour of his client. That is understandable.

Safeguard our interests

We all must stand against the rollback of progress made in Bangladesh. Hopefully, the progress made under this neutral government will be the foundation for the future government to use this as a launching pad for further progress. We should be rejecting any notion of rolling back the progress made in meting out justice, fighting against corruption, making corrupt politicians responsible for their acts and promoting the interest of common people.

Who are responsible?

As a student of Chemical Engineering at BUET, I would like to share my views regarding university ranking issue.

Foreign branch of political parties

All the major political parties of Bangladesh have their foreign branch offices in different countries of the world. These foreign branch offices are funded and maintained by some unscrupulous Bangladeshis living abroad who have their specific personal interests.

International

US denies Iraq policy shift

The resignation of the commander of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan does not signal a policy change on Iran, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates says.

Pakistan blasts rock Qaeda policies

Pakistan's crisis deepened after two suicide bombings killed 27 people and wounded more than 200 in this normally peaceful city Tuesday, and pressure grew for more dialogue with militants as a new government prepares to take office.

Kosovo must stay under UN rule

Serbia's foreign minister on Tuesday warned against any transfer of authority from the UN mission in Kosovo to a European Union body as he again urged the world not to recognize Kosovo's secession.

Penang minister unveils multiracial line-up

The new ethnic Chinese chief minister of Malaysia's Penang state on yesterday picked a Malay and an Indian as his deputies, underlining the opposition's multiracial image.

Human rights abuses in Asia come under US fire

The United States ranked North Korea and Myanmar Tuesday among the world's worst violators of human rights and took other Asian countries to task for alleged abuses.

Fahim sends notice to PML-N leader

Pakistan People's Party's (PPP) senior vice-chairman Makhdoom Amin Fahim sent a legal notice on Tuesday to PML-N's MNA-elect Khwaja Mohammad Asif demanding a “complete retraction and withdrawal” of a “defamatory statement” about his alleged contacts with President Pervez Musharraf.

Israel has to take steps for Gaza truce: Hamas

Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said yesterday that Israel had to take the next step in regard to a possible truce in and around the Islamists' Gaza Strip stronghold.

Iran makes final push for votes in low-key polls

Iranian political factions yesterday made a final effort to win votes on the last full day of a brief and muted campaign for an election expected to consolidate hardliners' grip on parliament.

Court dismisses another charge against Zardari

A Pakistani court yesterday quashed another graft charge against Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of assassinated former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and co-chairman of Pakistan People's Party (PPP).

Pak bomb victims buried

Mourners offered funeral prayers yesterday for 27 people killed in two suicide blasts in Pakistan, which have piled pressure on the incoming government to tackle Islamic militancy.

28 more Tigers killed in Sri Lanka

At least another 28 Tamil Tiger rebels have been killed by security forces in fresh fighting across Sri Lanka's embattled north, the defence ministry said yesterday.

Copernicus first edition up for sale

A bookseller is offering a rare first edition of Nicolaus Copernicus' revolutionary book on the solar system at a Tokyo fair.

Goa police make progress in Brit teen case

Indian police investigating the murder of British teenager Scarlett Keeling in the resort of Goa said yesterday they were close to solving the case.

17 die in Iraq clashes

At least 17 people have been killed, including five children, in fierce clashes between militants and Iraqi and US forces in the Shiite city of Kut, a local medic told AFP yesterday.

Four die in Afghan fighting

Two Afghan women and two children were killed when NATO soldiers were attacked by insurgents in southern Afghanistan and returned fire, the alliance force said yesterday.

Bomb kills US soldier in Iraq

A roadside bomb has killed an American soldier and wounded two others in central south Iraq, the US command in the country said yesterday.

Israel kills Palestinian in W Bank

A Palestinian militant from the radical Islamic Jihad group was killed early yesterday by the Israeli army in the north of the occupied West Bank, witnesses and security sources said.

Cypriot leaders to meet on March 21

New Cypriot President Demetris Christofias is to meet Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat for talks on March 21 on the future of the divided island, the United Nations said yesterday.

Thaksin pleads not guilty in Thai court

Ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra pleaded not guilty yesterday before the Supreme Court in one of two criminal corruption cases against him.

Arts & Entertainment

Thoughts of a playwright

As a playwright, Brindaban Das is equally busy writing plays for theatre and TV. He is a member of the theatre troupe Prachyanat and some of the plays written by him, aired on TV have become quite popular. In a recent interview with The Daily Star, this cordial writer, an introvert shared his thoughts and experiences of becoming a scriptwriter.

British-Bengali choreographer crossing continents with new show

With dancers from China, a Bengali title and a score of Asian electronica, choreographer Akram Khan's new show focuses on cultural identity at its European premiere in culture capital Liverpool.

2nd International Nazrul Conference to be held in August

The International Nazrul Research Centre's steering committee arranged a meeting on March 10 at the Baton Rouge Restaurant, Gulshan. Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hasan Farazandeh was the chief guest at the event, says a press release. Nazrul researcher and the chairman of the committee Asadul Haque presided over the conference and secretary general Rashedul Hassan gave the welcome speech.

Ceramics with a dash of colour

At a recent exhibition of ceramics at the Institute of Fine Arts, DU one saw the works of Afroja Khatun Lipy, Anowar Hossain Jony, Ashim Haldar Sagor, Sunandha Day Santha and Tarak Mahadi. These consisted of terracotta tiles with fine decorations, items of household ware like mugs, jugs, tea sets, lamps and bowls of various sizes and shapes, worked on with 3-D effects.

TV serial “Poribibi” on Ekushey TV tonight

TV serial Poribibi will be aired on Ekushey TV tonight on 8:30pm. The 26- episode serial has been written by Rezwan Khan and directed by Abdullah Al Mamun. Mohona Audio Visuals has produced the serial.

DUFS set to arrange 2nd Internationall Short Film Festival

Dhaka University Film Society (DUFS) in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Bangladesh is going to arrange the 'International Inter-University Short Film Festival' for the second time, according to a press release. The festival will be held from April 17 to 19, 2008 at the auditorium of Goethe-Institut.

Birsreshtha Hamidur Rahman Museum and Library opens

Shaheed Sipahi Hamidur Rahman book fair, museum and library have recently been inaugurated in Rahman's memory at Khordo Khalishpur village under Moheshpur upazila, Jhenidah. Bir Uttam Major General (Retd) CR Datta, commander of Sector 4 during the Liberation War, inaugurated the event.

Festival of Tibet films held in India

Delhi's cultural circuit has been humming with activity recently. Among the high points of the last week was a festival of gripping Tibetan films at the plush India Habitat Centre.

“Blind Mountain”: Imprisonment and forced servitude in rural China

Every so often in his slow-to-boil, hard-to-shake drama Blind Mountain, the Chinese director Li Yang slips in a moment of beauty -- a blooming valley wreathed in mist, a shepherd tending his flock -- of the sort you find in glossy travel magazines. These pastoral visions initially feel like a reprieve, a respite from the story's increasing heaviness, but there's something about these bucolic images that begins to gnaw at you too. This native, touristy fantasy about the unspoiled China, you realise, comes with a brutal price tag.

OP-ED

The folded hills and clouded valleys of Bandarban

In July 2009, Bradt Travel Guides will release a new travel guidebook for Bangladesh around the world. A group of five international travel writers and travel agents, including the book author, is currently exploring Bangladesh's tourism potential. Their goal is to explore Bangladesh's tourism potential. What follows is part two of the trip diary.

The International Year of the Potato

I must say I was quite startled to learn that the humble spud has been given an international honour by none other than the United Nations which has declared 2008 The International Year of the Potato.

Hillary Clinton throws out the baby with the bath water

People are beginning to wonder which side Hillary Clinton is on. Surrounded by American flags and generals, at a March 5 press conference in Washington, DC, Hillary Clinton declared that she and Senator McCain will bring a life time of "experience" to the presidency, whereas Barack Obama will bring "a speech" -- adding that she and McCain had "passed the commander-in-chief test … as for Senator Obama, you have to ask him!"

New words for a new age

TODAY IS THE ANNIVERSARY of the discovery of the planet Uranus. I’ll never forget the time I was asked in front of a school audience to name the seventh planet, and I pronounced it in a way that give rise to much sniggering among the schoolboys.

Star Chittagong

Poultry trade sees ray of hope

Poultry traders in the port city receive a ray of hope again with the increased sale of eggs and chickens since early this week after the business facing a severe crisis during the last two months due to avian influenza in the region.

Fate of 600 graft cases uncertain

Fate of 600 graft cases filed during the now defunct Bureau of Anti-Corruption (BAC) has become uncertain due to absence of witnesses under five districts in greater Chittagong.

The Week That Was

Sandhani distributes Hepatitis B vaccine
Sandhani, Chittagong Medical College (CMC) unit gave Hepatitis-b vaccine to 250 people on Friday at a cheaper rate.



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