The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Thursday, November 27, 2014


News of: Friday, 14th of March, 2008

Front Page

Publication of draft voter list this month

The Election Commission (EC) plans to start publishing draft voter lists with photographs of around 100 upazilas this month and finalise those in May.

SC says ACC notice legal

The Supreme Court yesterday cancelled the High Court verdict that declared illegal issuance of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) notice asking former premier and Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina to submit her wealth statement.

Load-shedding creeps up to 500MW

A shortfall in gas supply coupled with rising demand for power with the arrival of warmer weather is causing daily official load shedding of 400MW-500MW.

Bangladesh outshines India, Pakistan

Bangladesh outperforms India and Pakistan in many areas concerning women's status and gender equality, though the picture of their access to reproductive health services, labour markets and decision-making is still bleak, said a World Bank report.

CA urges united efforts to face challenges for Muslim Ummah

Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed has called for addressing the challenges facing the Muslim Ummah unitedly, urgently and effectively.

Tk 22 lakh seized from house in Natore

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) recovered Tk 22 lakh in cash and ornaments worth Tk 70,000 from the house of an NGO director's relative in Bharatmaria village in Puthia, Rajshahi yesterday.

Airstrike, rocket fire end Gaza lull

Israeli warplanes hit Hamas-run Gaza yesterday after militants rattled the Jewish state with rocket fire, ending a five-day lull and threatening efforts to push forward Middle East peace talks.

Govt says US HR report lacks balance

The government yesterday termed the US state department's Human Rights Practices Report 2007 on Bangladesh disappointing for its "lack of balance" in presenting the country's ground realities.

Probe report on Khaleda placed before ACC

The investigation report in the Niko graft case against former premier Khaleda Zia and four others was submitted to the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday with a proposal for indicting nine more persons.

Order for return of Hasina's passport stayed

A Dhaka court that had ordered the government Wednesday to return detained Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina her seized passport stayed the order yesterday until March 31.

Sector commanders denied permission for convention

Sector Commanders' Forum (SCF) postponed the national convention it planned for tomorrow as the government yesterday refused them the permission to hold the gathering.

DMC students take to street to protest power outage

Several hundred students of Fazle Rabbi Hall of Dhaka Medical College (DMC) blockaded the city's Bakshi Bazar intersection for about three hours last night protesting frequent power cuts.

Strengthen democracy for continued US support

Congressman Joseph Crowley, co-chair of the US Congressional Bangladesh Caucus, has stressed the need for strengthening democracy in Bangladesh through a free, fair and transparent election for receiving continued US support.

Barge-mount plant case hearing deferred

The hearing on charge framing against Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina in the barge-mounted power plant graft case was deferred till March 17 as she could not appear at the court yesterday due to illness.

Hearing on Hasina's plea concludes

The hearing on detained Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina's application for staying the High Court verdict that revived the MiG-29 scam case filed against her concluded yesterday at the Supreme Court.

Indian customs bar rice exports despite Delhi's approval

Indian customs at Petrapole did not allow lorries loaded with rice exported to Bangladesh at $510 per tonne to cross the border despite the Indian government's approval for the export.

Import of 20,000 MT Myanmar rice okayed

The Advisers' Committee on Public Purchase yesterday approved two tender proposals for the import of 20,000 metric tons of non-boiled (atap) rice from Myanmar as part of the government's bid to control soaring rice prices.

Hannan demands Khaleda's release before Mar 26

Adviser to BNP Chairperson Brig Gen (retd) Hannan Shah yesterday demanded release of party chairperson Khaleda Zia and her two sons before the Independence Day as a mark of respect to late president Ziaur Rahman.

Tigers play final ODI today

All-rounder Forhad Reza is set to replace left-arm spinner Mosharraf Hossain as Bangladesh go for further damage limitation today in the third and final one-day international after conceding the series 2-0 to the visiting South Africans.

Editorial

US' critique on our human rights situation

It is ironic that the US with its own stained human rights records should have seen it fit to admonish other countries on their performance in the sensitive area. This is not to preclude criticism where it is due in order to improve upon poor records but to point at a holier than thou attitude that is clearly not morally tenable.

Dealing with swindler NGOs

News coming in from Natore about the vanishing acts resorted to by some NGOs does little to cheer us, naturally. But what surely leaves everyone perplexed is the extent to which the district administration there has failed to take action against such NGOs even after reports about their negative activities were circulated widely. It is a lax administration we are speaking of here, for the very simple reason that despite the detection of as many as 30 fraudulent NGOs in the district, no punitive measures appear to have been taken against the people behind them. Just how serious the problem is turning out to be is to be seen from the way in which a million people have been swindled out of an altogether Taka 500 crore in eight north-western districts by these fake NGOs.

Pilloried police and pompous platitudes

Readers of The Daily Star cannot but congratulate Syed Badrul Ahsan for his intensely thought-provoking and eloquent piece on how he would like to see our police perform. This writer is referring to Mr. Ahsan's column of March 5th wherein, amongst others, it was observed very poignantly that..."the real, paramount, need today is for a batch of educated, sophisticated men and women, those attuned to the ways of the world, to make it into the police service, indeed into any areas of public activity. Let there arise circumstances where the policemen in your neighbourhood and mine will give us little or no reason to gripe about their performance."

Bread,electricity and water

Given that Mian Nawaz Sharif considers confrontation to be the essence of politics, the general public perception is that converting him from confrontation to politics of compromise would be nothing short of a miracle.

Ahmedinajad in Baghdad

One of the significant events that has taken place amidst the insurgency torn tragic happenings in Iraq is the state visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Baghdad in the first week of March. Once an arch foe, personified by Saddam Hossain who was aided and abetted by the United States of America immediately after the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Iraq fought a ten year bloody war with Iran. A million people died.

Sports

One last chance

The series is over after South Africa sealed it quite comfortably by winning the first two games, but there are still some interest left for both sides when they meet in the third and final one-day international at the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium today.

Jahurul steers Abahani

Abahani maintained their unbeaten run in the Premier Cricket League when the defending champions handed a massive 105-run defeat to Partex SC in the fourth round yesterday.

'They're defensive'

Sachin Tendulkar has said the current Australian team is more defensive than its predecessors. "In 1991, they did not go on the defensive if an Indian batsman played a couple of shots," Tendulkar told the Hindu.

Pakistan want Australia to participate

Hosts Pakistan are confident the other teams in the Champions Trophy can persuade Australia to compete in the September tournament.

Tim & Paul's rescue act

Test novice Tim Ambrose forged an unbroken 155-run partnership with Paul Collingwood to rescue England on the first day of the second Test against New Zealand here Thursday.

Chelsea demolish Derby

Avram Grant can breathe a little easier after Frank Lampard came to the rescue of his beleaguered manager with a four-goal haul in his side's 6-1 demolition of Derby on Wednesday.

Mancini not leaving Inter

Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini will not leave the Serie A side at the end of the season as he had announced, club president Massimo Moratti told the Italian press Wednesday.

Pompey down Birmingham

Jermain Defoe scored twice for Portsmouth as the FA Cup favourites beat Birmingham City 4-2 to move into seventh place at Fratton Park here Wednesday.

Boro hold Villa

Gareth Barry's second-half penalty cancelled out Stewart Downing's fine opener to earn Aston Villa a 1-1 Premier League draw with Middlesbrough here Wednesday but a point did neither side's ambitions much good.

Bad night for English clubs

England's night of UEFA Cup action ended in penalty shootout defeats for both Tottenham and Everton while Marseille's elimination ended France's participation in European club action this season.

Ronaldo not giving up yet

Former three-time world player of the year Ronaldo said Wednesday that it was too early to make a decision on his future in football.

MU fear no one

Park Ji-Sung insists Manchester United fear no one ahead of the draw for the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

Henry hates comparison

France's Thierry Henry said Wednesday his performance at Barcelona is not comparable to his time at Arsenal since he has been assigned a different role on the pitch at the Spanish side.

Messi to return to Argentina

Barcelona have reached an agreement with the medical staff of the Argentine Football Federation (AFA) for forward Lionel Messi to return to Argentina to recover from the thigh injury he sustained during his side's victory over Celtic in the last 16 of the Champions League last week.

UEFA Cup results

Collated UEFA Cup results on Wednesday:

Viqarunnisa's 5th v'ball title

Viqarunnisa Noon School girls triumphed their fifth school volleyball title on the concluding day of the South Breeze School volleyball tournament yesterday.

Local Snippets

Purbachal Parisad defeated Wari Club 2-1 in yesterday's relegation leg of the Senior Division Football League at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.

Cricket should talk: Kumble

Indian Test captain Anil Kumble, who led the team in the controversy-ridden series against Australia, said cricket should do the talking to counter sledging.

WI vow to keep status

West Indies cricket chiefs have vowed they will fight any attempts to reduce their team to that of a 'second-tier' Test match nation when the executive board of the International Cricket Council (ICC) meets at the governing body's Dubai headquarters next week.

Nel going nowhere

Gerald Majola, the chief executive of Cricket South Africa (CSA), has said that Andre Nel will continue to play for the country and denied reports that he is planning to quit international cricket after being omitted from the India-bound Test squad. However, Cricinfo has learned that the unofficial Indian Cricket League are in discussions with Nel to sign him up.

Sreesanth's first cool exposure

Paceman Shanthakumaran Sreesanth said during the tri-series in Australia he made the effort to keep his emotions under control and maintained his composure for the first time.

BFF asks clubs' reconsideration

Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) yesterday requested the Dhaka professional league clubs to reconsider their decision to not take part in this month's B. League transfers and the proposed Swadhinata Cup tournament.

BDR make it 17 out of 18

Bangladesh Rifles retained the national handball title when they defeated Bangladesh Police 28-15 in the Exim Bank 18th National Men's Handball Championship at the Outer Stadium handball ground yesterday.

Ispahani title sponsor for BD-Ire series

Ispahani won the title sponsorship of this month's three-match one-day series between Bangladesh and Ireland.

'Let seniors and juniors co-exist'

The Board of Control for Cricket in India bosses and cricketing pundits may be singing paeans to youth after the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side's thumping win against Australia in the CB Series, but celebrated coach John Buchanan is certain that a combination of fresh legs and old warhorses is needed for a team's success on the cricket field.

Business

New patent rights of drugs suspended

The government has suspended the issuance of new patent rights of medicines and agricultural chemicals, as the country is exempted from issuing patent registrations until 2016 under a WTO deal.

Asian stocks walloped by credit woes

Asian stocks were battered by fresh credit woes and a slumping dollar Thursday, with Tokyo hitting a 30-month low as initial euphoria over the Federal Reserve's cash injection evaporated.

Privatising commercial activities of BPC under consideration

The government plans to privatise the commercial activities of Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC), chairman of the corporation said when the country's revenue from tourism declined last year due to floods and cyclone Sidr.

Tight US immigration forces outsourcing: Bill Gates

US high-tech firms are forced to outsource jobs overseas because of immigration restrictions, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said Wednesday as Congress debated a visa program for skilled workers.

Chase big loan defaulters

The Bangaldesh Bank governor has cautioned bankers that big loan defaulters should be chased properly, not the small ones.

Designed in Bangladesh

Millions of European and US consumers are used to finding the Made in Bangladesh label inside their shirts and skirts, but few realise that the branded fashion garments they buy may also have been designed here.

Fuel-cell cars still far from showroom

Work is moving ahead to build a next-generation eco-friendly car running on fuel cells but it will take years to make it commercially viable, the head of auto giant Toyota said Thursday.

Disputes to be settled locally

All tax-related disputes will now be settled in respective districts, said Tax Ombudsman Khariuzzaman Chowdhury here yesterday.

DVD failure to cost Toshiba nearly a billion dollars

Japan's Toshiba expects to post nearly one billion dollars in losses this year as it shuts down its HD DVD business after losing to rival Sony's Blu-ray format, a newspaper said Thursday.

Lankan bank to replicate Bangladesh experience of Islamic banking

A leading bank of Sri Lanka is going to replicate Bangladesh experience in introducing Islamic banking there to cater to the Muslims' growing demand for such banking, according to the visiting senior officials of the bank.

BTMA demands lifting of duty from import of capital machinery, raw material

BTMA (Bangladesh Textile Mills Association) in its pre-budget proposal demanded withdrawal of the duty on import of capital machinery for domestic textile production and some raw materials in the 2008-09 fiscal.

New labour wings can be opened in overseas missions: Govt body

An inter-ministerial committee has recommended steps to assess demands for manpower in various sectors, both at home and abroad, and develop skills accordingly to reduce unemployment rate.

Continued progress in RMG sector ensured: Adviser

The government has taken necessary steps for continued progress in the country's garment sector, said Textiles and Jute Adviser Mohammed Anwarul Iqbal.

Cathay Pacific to add Dhaka to its freighter network

Cathay Pacific Airways has announced it will add Dhaka to its freighter network with effect from March 11, says a press release.

Office bearers of ICMAB Dhaka branch

Swapan Kumar Bala, associate professor of Department of Accounting & Information Systems of Dhaka University, has been elected chairman of Dhaka Branch Council (DBC) of the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh (ICMAB) for 2008, says a press release.

Euro hits record high $1.56

The euro struck a new record high against the dollar on Thursday, breaching 1.56 dollars for the first time amid mounting concerns over the US economy, dealers said.

Gold price sparkles at record high $997.10

The price of gold soared to a fresh record peak on Thursday close to 1,000 dollars per ounce, propelled by the plunging value of the US currency, dealers said.

Islamic bond market seen topping $100b

The global market for Islamic bonds, or sukuk, could top 100 billion US dollars in the next few years after exceeding 60 billion dollars last year, Standard and Poor's said Thursday.

BMW net profit reaches 3.13b euros in 2007

The German luxury car maker BMW posted a nine percent increase in 2007 net profit Thursday to 3.13 billion euros (4.88 billion dollars).

US company buys majority stakes in local telecom distribution firm

Brightstar Corporation of US has acquired majority stakes in a local telecommunications distribution company, Ice Telecom Limited, says a press release.

Vietnam to hike taxes on imported cars

Vietnam will raise taxes on imported cars by 10 percent in a move state media Thursday said was to curb rampant traffic congestion in the communist country.

StanChart, ACI conclude pound-dollar derivative deal

Standard Chartered Bank and ACI Limited have successfully concluded a GBP/USD range forward deal.

Metropolitan

IGP promises better vigilance to fight child trafficking

Police chief Nur Mohammad yesterday said his department would tighten vigilance at airports and border points to help prevent trafficking of children.

UK introduces toughest immigration system

The British government is introducing the toughest immigration processes in 45 years with a point-based system to ensure only the best can work in the UK, licences for businesses who want to employ overseas workers and on-the-spot fines for those to be found hiring illegal workers.

'Include journalists in info commission'

Speakers at a seminar yesterday called for inclusion of journalists in the information commission as proposed in the draft of Right to Information (RTI) Ordinance 2008 because they are the major stakeholders.

No provision incorporated that goes against Quran, Sunnah

Law Adviser AF Hassan Ariff yesterday said the interim government has not incorporated any provision in the law of inheritance that might go against Quran and Sunnah.

$35m WB grant for persons with disabilities

The government yesterday successfully completed negotiations with the World Bank for a $35 million interest-free credit from the International Development Association (IDA) to increase the use of social and rehabilitation services by persons with disabilities, vulnerable children and adolescents, says a press release.

EC asks govt to relax emergency for polls

The Election Commission (EC) has asked the government to relax the state of emergency since, they say, elections cannot be held with hands and feet tied.

'Steps taken to preserve Chameli House'

The Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (Cirdap) said steps have already been taken to preserve the Chameli House, which has been housing its headquarters since 1984.

Children submit report on child rights to UN

A huge number of children are still deprived of education because of negligence of their parents who do not send their children to school, according to an alternative report prepared by the children.

Manjurul Imam was killed in intra-party clash

Veteran Awami League leader Advocate Manjurul Imam was killed in intra-party clash.

Hold UZ polls before national elections

Bangladesh Union Parishad Oikya Jote yesterday called on the caretaker government to hold upazila elections before the parliamentary elections.

Specific policy for hazardous waste management stressed

Environment experts at a workshop in the city yesterday underlined the need for formulating a specific policy to manage industrial hazardous waste properly for ensuring sustainable and environment-friendly development.

Anti-corruption rally in Ctg tomorrow

Anti-Corruption Committee (ACC), Chittagong city unit will take out a grand procession in the port city tomorrow for creating mass awareness against corruption.

6 cops sued on charge of taking bribe

A case was filed against eight people, including the OC and five policemen of Morelganj Police Station on charge of taking bribe and corruption.

FFs' unity could expedite dev: Akbar Ali

Regulatory Reform Commission (RRC) Chairman Dr Akbar Ali Khan yesterday said rich-poor gap and disparity between urban and rural people have widened due to lack of proper utilisation of national resources.

Help civil admin build corruption-free society

Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Sarwar Jahan Nizam yesterday urged the naval personnel to help civil administration build a corruption free society, says an ISPR release.

Mob sets fire to bus in Ctg

Mob set fire to a passenger bus when it rammed a rickshaw, killed the rickshaw-puller on the spot and injured two others in front of Hazera-Taju Degree College under Chandgaon Police Station yesterday morning.

4 deer die in Sirajganj eco park

Four deer, out of 14 that were released in the eco park near Jamuna Bridge in Sirajganj, have died within four days of the park's inception.

Cancellation of Private Security Service Act demanded

Differing with the government decisions, two associations of private security companies yesterday demanded the cancellation of Private Security Service Act 2006 and Private Security Service Rules 2007.

Ramesh of Indian Air Force gets trophy

The certificate award ceremony of No. 40 Flight Safety Officers' Course of Bangladesh Air Force was held at Flight Safety Institute (FSI) at Dhaka Cantonment yesterday.

Islamic leaders discuss Women Dev Policy with home adviser

A group of Islamic leaders yesterday met with Home Adviser Major Gen (Retd) MA Matin and discussed the recently announced National Women Development Policy 2008.

Release of BNP leaders demanded

Activist of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) Chittagong University (CU) unit yesterday formed a human chain in front of Chittagong University Central Students' Union (CUCSU) building on the campus demanding release of BNP chairperson and other party leaders.

Antique idol of Krishna seized

Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) seized an antique idol of Lord Krishna worth about Tk one crore at a village in Rajoir yesterday.

'Implement Nat'l Women Dev Policy soon'

Women rights activists yesterday demanded steps to implement the National Women Development Policy 2008 immediately.

Youth gunned down in city

An armed gang gunned down a youth in the city's Golapbagh area last night.

Poet Jasimuddin's anniversary of death today

Today is the 32nd death anniversary of poet Jasimuddin popularly known as Palli Kabi.

Birth anniversary of Dr MA Hasan today

Today is the 58th birth anniversary of Dr MA Hasan, a freedom fighter and human rights activist.

Rab workshop on human rights ends

A 12-day training workshop on human rights for Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) officials ended in the city yesterday with a call to the participants to disseminate their newly acquired knowledge among other Rab members.

Letters

Disaster management

This is simply impossible to draw the picture of death and destruction wrought by cyclone Sidr last year. The state machinery was engaged immediately in rehabilitation work along with other national and international agencies. As a result tremendous short-term success has been achieved and the government is actively formulating long term polices and projects now.

DU admission rules

I remember the elation I felt at the moment when I learned that I had passed the D-unit admission test of Dhaka University and stood within the top ninety in the merit list. It was no small feat for a student with English medium background and one with no coaching. I was quiet sure I would get English, as I got more than twenty-four and twenty in compulsory and advanced English respectively; which were above the required minimum. But the interview burst my bubble in the worst possible way. Not only was I frowned upon for being from English medium but I was also denied the subject on the sole ground that I did not have English in my A-Levels, the fact that I had an A grade in English in O-Levels didn't seem to prove my competence either. Seriously, not even five percent of A-Levels students take English, but that does not mean they don't want to study it. Since it is not compulsory to have those particular subjects in A-Levels that we want to take in undergraduate level then why this is different for English, which has been the medium of our studies? But while I was denied English, others who had it as a third or fourth choice were taking it up as their more favoured subjects were unavailable. So, they would rather take in reluctant people than eager and capable just because of rules that show little logic. This has happened not only with me but with quiet a few others.

Dwindling tiger population

According to information available, tigers are being killed. During research by anaesthesia and radio-collaring, two tigers are reported to have been killed, which is extremely regrettable. The unfortunate situation needs a permanent solution prior to the extinction of these majestic animals from our country, which only timely action would prevent.

Commuters' predicament

It has been reported that the government is contemplating introduction of 4000 new CNG taxi cabs/auto rickshaws on Dhaka city roads. I would congratulate the government for its efforts in mitigating the sufferings of commuters.

Political scenario

The political cloud is disappearing, slowly but steadily. One can see some rationale behind the CEC's firm attitude to hold the election on time or quit. He is opening up his mind with new hints and gestures. May be I am totally wrong, but I get the feeling that the election will be held as planned in a different scenario. Major political parties or players might opt not to participate in the election because of the circumstances obtaining around two interned political leaders; or, there might be a split in the party with regard to participation in the election, and deflection of prominent members cannot be ruled out.

Random thoughts

Whenever someone in the government is asked about the election, you will automatically hear a standard answer that it is the responsibility of the Election Commission to arrange it. And if you put the same question to the gentlemen of the Election Commission, you are almost sure to hear that they are almost ready and it is the government which has to create the congenial atmosphere and facilitate holding of this grand event. The question is a normative one. And both the answers are correct, politically. But is something missing?

Dhaka and architects

After going through the article of architect Dr Nizamuddin Ahmed (The Daily Star 1/2/08), I was rather surprised to find that he knows all the problems and the probable solutions about our current repulsive architectural culture prevailing in society. But the influence on our architects in Dhaka is negligible. It is the motivation factor, which is distorted [by market conditions].

Bangladesh today

Two letters to editor by readers in a local daily on 20th February made interesting and contrasting reading; with fairly reasonable viewpoints! One was by Juliet Kausar from Iran giving the writer's views on the issue of "custodial torture", and the trampling down of "human dignity" and the "arrogance of power" with a real life example! The fact remains that this is the reality of Bangladesh today!

CTG

The present caretaker government should stay for the next five years to protect democracy.

Amar or Omor Ekushey?

A report by BSS-Dhaka about celebration of Ekushey in our missions abroad, published in a local daily on 22nd February, began as follows: "Amar Ekushey- the International Mother Language Day......etc." I was somewhat confused, as I believe it should have been "Omor Ekushey" and not "Amar Ekushey"; as phonetically the meaning of the two words differ markedly. While "Amar" in Bangla means "Ours", "Omor" means "Immortal". I believe we mean "immortal" and not "ours"; more so as the day is now recognised internationally.

Pervez Musharraf

Through your newspaper, I would like to appeal to Pervez Musharraf to step down as president. The people of Pakistan have already given the verdict against him in election 2008. All of his allies and his army of ministers have been badly defeated in the elections. It is the best time for him to resign with honour; otherwise there will be a time when he will be forced to leave the office disgracefully.

Restore democracy

Pakistanis are inherently undemocratic and they bow to authoritarianism, but ironically, Pakistan has just completed a free, fair and credible election.

Derogatory observation

I was shocked to read the observation of one of your writers Mr. S I Zaman (March 11, 2008) while he was taking a swipe at the two main political parties. “And you brag of being the main party, which has the support of 99% of the electorate! But, whose 90% (a conservative estimate) consists mostly of rural based uneducated farmers who have no notion of democracy.” To, probably, Mr. Zaman's sheer disappointment, these are 'farmers and chashis' whose children joined our great war of liberation and created our nation.

Enemies of liberation

The dogs were in their worst form during the Liberation War. They did not want to get liberated, they wanted to lick their West Pakistani masters' feet all the time.

International

Myanmar nationals stage anti-junta rally in Tokyo

Hundreds of Myanmar nationals marched through Tokyo yesterday demanding the release of political detainees including opposition democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

41 Taliban killed in battle in Afghanistan

Afghan and international forces killed 41 Taliban militants in a battle in southern Afghanistan, while a suicide car bomb attack targeting a convoy of US troops left six Afghan civilians dead in Kabul.

Iran eyes big turnout in today’s parliament polls

Conservatives are expected to tighten their grip on Iran's parliament in an election dismissed by the United States but seen by its leaders as the chance to send a defiant message to the West.

Serbian president dissolves parliament, calls early polls

Serbian President Boris Tadic yesterday dissolved the parliament and called early legislative elections for May 11, following the collapse of the ruling coalition in a policy rift over ties with the EU and Kosovo's disputed independence.

Car bomb kills 18 in Baghdad

At least 18 people were killed and 64 wounded in a suicide car bombing in central Baghdad yesterday, medical officials told AFP.

Indian police arrest 100 Tibetan exiles

Indian police yesterday arrested 100 Tibetan exiles trying to walk to their homeland as part of a major protest ahead of the Beijing Olympics, although the demonstrators vowed the march would go on.

Pakistan protests after US strike kills 4 civilians

Pakistan lodged a protest with coalition forces in Afghanistan yesterday after two Pakistani women and two children were killed by US fire from across the border, the army said.

Four killed in Assam police firing

Four people were killed and four injured when police opened fire on a mob protesting the demolition of an office in the country's insurgency-hit northeast yesterday, an official said.

Hillary aide quits over race row

A key Hillary Clinton ally quit her White House campaign on Wednesday after comments about Barack Obama stirred an ugly race row, as the Democratic foes dug in for a testy six-week haul to their next nominating clash.

Iranian army shells Iraqi border villages

The Iranian military yesterday subjected three Iraqi border villages to an early-morning barrage of shelling, causing no injuries or damage but scaring residents, an Iraqi official said.

11 die after downpour in Angola

Eleven people died yesterday after a downpour in Angola's coastal province of Benguela, about 500 kilometres (300 miles) south of Luanda, state radio RNA reported.

2 charged with British teen murder in India

Police in the Indian coastal state of Goa confirmed yesterday they have charged two men with the murder of a British teenager.

Arts & Entertainment

“Naristan”: Drawing inspiration from “Sultana's Dream”

“Now that they are accustomed to the purdah system and have ceased to grumble at their seclusion, we call the system 'murdana' instead of 'zenana'.” -- Sultana's Dream.

“Kakababur Toy House” A book on Ajit Kumar Guha

“I wrote the book, while living abroad, based on my memories of Ajit Kumar Guha. The theme of the book is the discrimination against the minorities prior to the Liberation War through my reminiscence on Ajit Guha,” said author of the book Kakababur Toy House, Dinu Billah. The expatriate writer and cultural activist spoke at the publication ceremony of the book. The book launch was held at the Liberation War Museum on March 12.

“Namamrito”: Chanting holy names in different ragas

Namamrito or Namakirtan, one of the three genres of kirtan, was presented at the Sri Sri Baredswari Kalimata Temple in Rajarbagh, Madartek. Eight professional kirtan troupes from different corners of the country presented Namamrito, chanting the names of Lord Krishna and Ram in the formats of different ragas, for 48 prohars (24 hours a day, for six consecutive days) at the programme.

The TV commercial industry at the moment

Syed Apon Ahsan is one of the busiest TV commercial (TVC) makers of the country. Many TVCs made by Apon for Aarong, RC Cola and Cosmos brands have won appreciation. Each year he directs around 10 TVCs.

27th Jatiya Rabindra Sangeet Sammilan begins in Joypurhat

The three-day long '27th Jatiya Rabindra Sangeet Sammilan' begins today at the Joypurhat Stadium. The event is set to be a lively affair with participation by hundreds of renowned cultural personalities.

Ferdousi Mojumdar honoured

Eminent theatre personality Ferdousi Majumdar was honoured at the ongoing theatre festival organised by Jahangirnagar Theatre on March 11, says a press release.

“Closeup 1 Tomakei Khujchhey Bangladesh” is back

The popular talent hunt Closeup 1 Tomakei Khujchhey Bangladesh is back again. Naushad Chowdhury, Brands and Development Director,Unilever Bangladesh Limited made the announcement yesterday at a press conference held at Spectra Convention Centre. Enayetur Rahman, managing director, ntv and Geeteara Safiya Choudhury, chairperson of Adcom were present at the event.

Britney Spears is animated superhero in new video

Pop star Britney Spears released a music video last Wednesday that features the troubled singer as an animated superhero in a futuristic world.

OP-ED

Freeing local governments

Plainly speaking, local governments are established by the local people to administer to their convenience and comfort by providing, through an elected body, for the repairing, cleaning and lighting of the streets, the construction of footpaths and the distribution of water to public fountains and private houses. In Bangladesh, local governments remained weak and inefficient because of negligence of the central government.

Not the people's princess

Death by assassination confers a saintly halo, especially on this subcontinent with a craving for dynasties, heroes, fathers and kings. Consider the hosannas for Benazir Bhutto in, of all places, the Bangla media. And now will that halo transfer to Zardari as the new emperor-king of the family business known as PPP.

Saddam's mom and Bush's dad

It was early in the morning after the Iraq war had taken place. Someone knocked on our door.

16 ways life in Asia has changed

In a speech which mentioned Einstein (whose birthday is today), an Asian leader used the phrase “the good old days” about the region's past. Good? Who is he kidding? I reckon it would be more accurate to use terms such as “interesting”, “exciting”, “hair-raising” or perhaps “trouser-staining”.

StarTech

Towards a social transformation

TECHNOLOGY has become an integral part of human life, dramatically reshaping the existing socio-economic structure and driving the modern civilisation towards a destination where only a knowledgeable community will survive.

Kuet student develops tracking software

Mohammod Momtazur Rahman a.k.a Niloy, a fourth year student at electrical and electronic engineering department of Khulna University of Engineering & Technology (Kuet) has developed a software through which any individual's motion and location through his cell phone can be measured accurately.

Jetro usher new opportunities for local IT firms

JAPAN External Trade Organisation (Jetro), whose Bangladesh chapter is known as "Jetro Dhaka", is involved in creating opportunity for the local IT industry so that they can expand their business in the Japanese market and draw more investment in Bangladesh.

CSL offers HP Pavilion PCs at lower cost

COMPUTER Source Ltd (CSL), a leading computer accessory vendor, formally announced the availability of the popular Hewlett Packard (HP) Pavilion and Business PCs with 15” CRT monitors at a lower cost in the local market.

Finer images with higher resolution

Global Brand Pvt. Ltd. (GBPL), one of the leading IT vendors of the country, recently unveiled the VW198T model of Asus LCD monitor in the local market.



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