The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Wednesday, October 22, 2014


News of: Monday, 17th of March, 2008

Front Page

Govt to empower EC to disqualify contestants

The LGRD and Cooperatives Ministry rejected the Election Commission's (EC) much talked about proposal for disqualifying political leaders holding party posts from contesting in elections to city corporations and municipalities.

GMG plans to buy 6 Boeings for $900m

GMG Airlines in a landmark move yesterday unveiled its plan to buy six new generation aircraft from US plane maker Boeing at $900 million (Tk 6,200 crore) in a bid to expand routes and capture the growing market share.

Now a case of over production

Steady record coal production at the Barapukuria mine has created a new problem for the authorities: the 250MW power plant at the site cannot consume enough of it and the mine's coal yard is rapidly filling up.

Duty on edible oil to be withdrawn

The government is going to withdraw customs duty on imported edible oil and considering a new programme to help the middle class cope with soaring prices of essentials.

SC rebukes govt law officers for being late

The Supreme Court yesterday censured government law officers, including the attorney general, for staying away from the court at the start of a case that would decide the fate of a great lot of other cases under the emergency rules.

Moeen seeks to dispel fear of silent famine

Chief of Army Staff General Moeen U Ahmed yesterday dismissed the fear of 'silent famine' in the country, saying the government has overcome the fallout of consecutive floods and a devastating cyclone.

UN pledges food aid for Bangladesh

The UN will give budgetary and food assistance to Bangladesh to help the people hit hard by sky rocketing food prices, visiting head of UNDP, Kemal Dervis, said yesterday.

Bangabandhu's birthday today

The 88th birth anniversary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of the nation, will be observed today.

Babar hired criminal to kill BNP rival

Former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar hired top criminal Sanjidul Islam Emon to kill a BNP leader and pourasabha chairman of Netrakona.

Lift emergency, declare poll date

Leaders of mainstream political parties yesterday demanded that the caretaker government immediately withdraw the state emergency and declare the schedule of general elections to dispel people's apprehension over the national polls.

Standoff in rice import from India to end soon: Govt

The government looks to end the impasse in rice import from India through discussions with the Indian delegation that reached Dhaka yesterday.

Sircar calls govt 'irregular' administration

Speaker Jamiruddin Sircar yesterday termed the present caretaker government an “irregular administration” for its failure to hold elections within 90 days as per the constitution.

CA arrives in London

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed arrived in London yesterday on a three-day official visit after attending the 11th summit of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) in Dakar of Senegal.

WB MD in Dhaka to talk key challenges

World Bank (WB) Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala arrived in Dhaka yesterday on a four-day visit to provide an in-depth view on key challenges facing the country and ways to deal with them.

ACC allowed to quiz MK Alamgir at jail gate

A Dhaka court yesterday allowed the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) to interrogate detained former state minister for planning Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir at the jail gate in connection with a Tk 94 lakh misappropriation case.

Convention date re-fixed

Sector Commanders' Forum (SCF), a platform of sector commanders of the liberation war, yesterday announced March 21 for holding its postponed national convention.

2 foreigners held for cheating bid

Two foreigners, a Congolese and the other an Ivorian, were arrested at a hotel in the city's Gulshan neighbourhood yesterday on charges of attempted cheating.

Ex-Jamaat MP Shahjahan indicted in extortion case

Charge sheets in two separate extortion cases against former Jamaat lawmaker Shahjahan Chowdhury and 35 others were submitted to a Chittagong court yesterday.

AL demands medical board with personal, hospital docs

Awami League (AL) yesterday demanded that the caretaker government arranges coordinated treatment for its detained chief Sheikh Hasina, by forming a medical team comprising her personal physicians and physicians from Square Hospital.

Missile strike kills 16 in Pak tribal belt

A missile strike in Pakistan's tribal belt killed 16 people yesterday, witnesses and state media said, a day after a bomb targeting foreigners at an Islamabad restaurant left a Turkish woman dead.

New Pakistan parliament sits today

Pakistan's new parliament convenes today setting the stage for a power struggle between US-backed President Pervez Musharraf and a new coalition government that has vowed to assail his already diminished powers.

Pakistani troops shoot dead civilian woman

Pakistani troops shot dead a civilian woman yesterday after opening fire on a suspect vehicle when it failed to stop at a checkpost in a curfew-hit northwestern region, the army said.

Rejoinder, our reply

Petrobangla in a rejoinder to a news published in The Daily Star on March 13, headlined 'Petrobangla gets license for the first time to tap coal, Ministry pushes for deal with obscure Korean consortium', said the energy ministry never pushed Petrobangla for deals with the Korean consortium.

Editorial

English medium schools prove their worth

EVERY year as we bring into national focus the outstanding 'O' and 'A' level results of our children, we rejoice in the heights that sons and daughters of the soil are scaling in a competitive world despite the limitations at home. The sheer brilliance of their achievement comes through the scorecard: 640 students of 'O' level achieved six or more As and 243 'A' level students scored a minimum of three As. To top it off, 55 'O' and 'A' level students top-scored in their subjects on a global basis.

Dakar Declaration

THE Dakar Declaration at the end of the 11th summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) pledged to preserve world peace and security, face the challenges of Muslim Ummah and ensure development of the member countries. It may sound a mouthful but we believe all of this is extremely relevant in the context of present global economic and security situation. We also believe all of this is definitely doable. But, this needs to be mentioned at the same time, that the onus rests on the shoulders of the oil-rich members of OIC that have enormous resources at their disposal, which they need to share with the developing Muslim countries for the ultimate progress of the Ummah.

Lessons under strain

PERHAPS only the incorrigible skeptics will not agree that the deficiencies in our democracy should be made up by more doses of democracy. They would disparagingly point to the modus operandi of our politicians, that allegedly took populism beyond sensible parameters while failing to come to terms with ground realities.

The long onion road

A shortcut is often the longest road in politics. As the time to the next general election shortens to months from years, both the Congress and the BJP are searching for a shortcut to power.

The Fed and the ECB

BEN Bernanke, the current Fed chairman has recently made several cuts in the Federal Funds rate (from 5.25% to 3%) and it is widely expected that on March 18 he will announce further cuts. But in a recent statement, Jean-Claude Trichet, the president of the European Central Bank ruled out all possibilities of lowering its benchmark interest rate (4%) in the near future. So the question is: Why are the Fed and the ECB pursuing such divergent interest rate policies?

Sports

Twenty20 Abahani's

Abahani outclassed City Club by six wickets yesterday to clinch the Premier League Twenty20 trophy at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

Ashraful blows his top

Bangladesh cricket team plunged into more trouble on Sunday when captain Mohammad Ashraful reportedly got involved in a scuffle during practice.

Irish promise good cricket

The Ireland team promised to play good cricket during the three-match one-day series against Bangladesh which will kick off tomorrow at the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

BCB to take report from Rumi

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has asked national team manager Omar Khalid Rumi to submit a report on whether three national cricketers breached the 'code of conduct' by playing in a tournament in Narail on Saturday.

Call to end transfer deadlock

Footballers yesterday appealed to the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) to take initiative to sit with the clubs in a bid to end the recent stalemate.

Death anniversary of Rana, Shetu observed

The first death anniversary of national cricketer Manzarul Islam Rana and Khulna divisional captain Sajjadul Hassan Shetu was observed here yesterday.

Torun take third place

It took Surjo Torun only 8.5 overs to take third place of the Premier League Twenty20 tournament in the play-off match after their nine-wicket win over Victoria Sporting Club at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.

4 wickets v 196 runs

England could scent victory over New Zealand after snapping a Brendon McCullum and Jacob Oram partnership with the penultimate ball on the fourth day of the second Test here on Sunday.

Boro hold Gunners

Manchester United's grip on the English Premier League trophy tightened on Saturday as rivals Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Middlesbrough.

Roma keep up pressure

An inspired double substitution from AS Roma coach Luciano Spalletti propelled the Champions League quarterfinalists to a vital 2-1 victory over AC Milan at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday.

Cottbus stun Bayern

Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld rued a "black day" for Bayern Munich and admitted his side's complacent streak had been exposed as the league leaders were humbled at struggling Energie Cottbus on Saturday.

Real's Riazor jinx goes on

An own goal by defender Pepe consigned Real Madrid to a 1-0 defeat at Deportivo La Coruna to extend the Spanish champion's wretched record at the Riazor Stadium.

Hamilton wins in Australia

Lewis Hamilton put a line under McLaren's tumultuous last season with an emphatic opening-season victory in the Australian Grand Prix as world champions Ferrari melted in the Melbourne heat on Sunday.

Torres fills Fowler boots

Fernando Torres became the first Liverpool striker since Robbie Fowler to hit 20 league goals in a season as Rafa Benitez's team overturned Marek Matejovsky's early opener to clinch a 2-1 win over Reading at Anfield on Saturday.

Supporter dies in Argentina

A supporter in Argentina has died from gun shot wounds sustained in an attack which led to the match between Velez Sarsfeld and San Lorenzo being abandoned on Saturday, Velez Sarsfield said.

Lyon extend lead

An Abdul Kader Keita double score propelled Lyon to a 3-0 thrashing of Monaco on Saturday to leave them nine points ahead at the top of the French league.

Local Snippets

Relegation League leaders Purbachal Parisad shared points with Arambagh Krira Sangha in a goalless draw in yesterday's lone match of the Senior Division Football league at the Birshreshtha Shaheed Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur.

Pakistan may go for experiment

Pakistan will try out youngsters for the five one-dayers against Bangladesh next month at home. But though some new players will be given a chance, chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed said Pakistan would not take Bangladesh lightly.

Bad news for Windies

West Indies suffered twin blows on Saturday when bowler Pedro Collins pulled out of the home series against Sri Lanka and the news that a trio of key players may be competing in the lucrative Indian Premier League rather than the May series with Australia.

SL open WI tour today

Sri Lanka open their tour of the Caribbean on Monday against an inexperienced West Indies Select XI at the Guyana National Stadium.

Top seeds sail through

Rafael Nadal launched his defense of the Indian Wells ATP Masters Series title with a victory Saturday while last year's runner-up, Novak Djokovic, also made a triumphant debut.

Gambhir eyes Test recall

Indian top-order batsman Gautam Gambhir is hopeful his solid showing in the tri-series win in Australia would earn a recall into the Test squad for the home series against South Africa.

'Light decision umpires' call’

The decision to allow England to bowl one over with the second new ball in failing light was the umpires' and New Zealand would have to live with it, batsman Ross Taylor said on Sunday.

Gilchrist felt like a 'cow’

Adam Gilchrist may have felt like 'a cow' after being auctioned at the cash-rich Indian Premier League, but the just-retired Australian wicketkeeper-batsman says he does not mind being part of the "unique and interesting" venture.

Matty sorry for Bhajji remarks

Regretting his "obnoxious weed" remark on Harbhajan Singh, Australian opener Matthew Hayden said he made a mistake and was keen to patch up with the Indian off-spinner.

ICC's important board meeting begins today

The International Cricket Council (ICC) will finalise a shortened 2011 one-day World Cup format and a successor to chief executive Malcolm Speed at a two-day board meeting starting on Monday in Dubai.

Oram fined

New Zealand all-rounder Jacob Oram has been fined for showing dissent during the second cricket Test against England at the Basin Reserve.

Business

Poor control of unlicensed micro-credit institutions

Micro-credit Regulatory Authority (MRA) is poorly equipped to deal with hundreds of unlicensed micro-finance institutions (MFIs) despite the fact that it is the sole authority to regulate the institutions, officials at the agency admitted yesterday.

RMG export growth under threat on yarn price hike

The apparels export growth is now under threat on persistent yarn price hike in the local market, according to industry insiders.

Asian prospects weighed down by oil, food prices

Runaway oil prices, rocketing food costs and a feeble US economy will hurt Asia-Pacific economic growth prospects this year and create social problems especially among the poor, analysts said.

Dollar's plunge pushes eurozone past US

The dollar's plunge has made the eurozone the world's biggest economy by one measure and has underscored shifts that are reorienting the 15-nation bloc towards Asia, Russia and oil-rich Gulf states, analysts say.

Nokia keeps connecting

On the ground floor of Gulshan's Shopper's World groups of people finger the Nokia handsets on display, poking buttons, flipping lids and caressing the plastic.

Falling dollar costs Vietnam's exporters

The continued strengthening of the Vietnamese dong against the US dollar is costing Viet Nam's exporters dear.

FBCCI polls today

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) goes into polls today to elect 24 directors, 12 each from both chamber and association groups.

Tea prospect shines on favourable weather

Endowed with a favourable weather, the prospect of tea production seems better this year than that of last year, according to tea experts and producers.

Ctg Customs auctions off fishing boats after decade of seizure

Chittagong Customs yesterday auctioned off around 180 fishing boats and sampans (local country boat), which had been seized by the authorities over the last few years.

Automobile sector demands lower duty on car import

Local automotive dealers and distributors have demanded lower tax on car import and easy bank loans to make automobiles more affordable to the middle class.

Wall St may deliver some relief in coming weeks

Investors nursing whiplash symptoms after watching the market's recent wild swings may find that Wall Street will deliver some relief in the coming weeks.

Citigroup, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley unveil 'carbon principles'

Three of the world's leading financial institutions -- Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley-- have announced the formation of the carbon principles, climate change guidelines for advisors and lenders to power companies in the US, says a press release.

Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 opens

The British queen on Friday officially opened British Airways' exclusive new £4.3 billion home, Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5, says a press release.

Bank Asia branch opens in Keraniganj

Bank Asia Ltd opened its 30th branch at Rohitpur under Keraniganj upazila in Dhaka yesterday, says a press release.

High wheat prices raise US grocery costs

If you think the cost of gassing up your car is outrageous, wait until you need to restock your pantry.

India not to allow any FDI in retail sector

The government of India is not considering any proposal to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail sector, agriculture minister, Mr Sharad Pawar said.

China union calls for regular wage hikes

National union leaders said on Friday they would to secure regular pay rises for workers across the country to counter the effects of surging consumer prices.

Metropolitan

Junk food causes appetite loss, slows down brain dev

School going children have developed a culture of taking junk foods in the name of fast food although such junk foods that contain excessive fat and carbohydrate are bad for health.

Shorten exemption list for maximum disclosure

Speakers at a roundtable yesterday called for shortening the list of exemptions in the proposed right to information act to ensure maximum disclosure of information.

2009 to begin with new parliament

Election Commissioner Brig Gen (Retd) M Sakhawat Hussain stoked up the hope that next year, 2009, would begin with a new parliament, allaying skepticism about the polls under their roadmap.

Ultimatum to publish report by March 29

The Dhaka University (DU) students who have been demonstrating on the campus under the banner of Quota Reform Movement (QRM) yesterday gave an ultimatum to the government to publish the report of the two-member committee, formed to evaluate the quota system for the Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) examinations, within March 29.

Police to collect information about hotel guests from today

Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) will distribute forms in the residential hotels from today to collect the personal information about the guests in the metropolitan area so that police can get necessary details after any incident of crimes in the hotels.

17 injured in stampede in Ctg RMG factory

At least 17 female garment workers were injured in a stampede fearing an outbreak of fire at Fakirhat area in Chittagong yesterday morning.

Top polluters divided on climate change goals

The world's top 20 greenhouse gas emitters agreed yesterday to work together to draft a successor to the Kyoto Protocol but rich and developing nations remained divided on their roles.

'Build up resistance against price spiral of essentials’

Workers' Party yesterday called for building up public resistance against price spiral of essentials.

Road accidents kill five

At least five people were killed and three others injured in separate road accidents in Magura, Joypurhat, Sirajganj and Khulna yesterday.

Gen Musharraf’s good jobs negated by his political ambition

Ikram Sehgal, editor of Pakistan Defence Journal, said here yesterday that army should not stay longer and get involved in day-to-day affairs of a country, as it affects their professionalism.

Senate confirms Moriarty as US envoy in Dhaka

The US Senate has confirmed nomination of James Francis Moriarty as the new ambassador to Bangladesh.

1000 tons Thai rice for Sidr victims

Thailand has donated 1000 tons of rice in aid of Sidr-affected people of Bangladesh.

Airfare fixed at Tk 93,150 for hajj pilgrims

Government yesterday fixed the airfare of Bangladesh Biman for both the ballottee (hajj performed under government management) and non- ballottee hajj pilgrims at Tk 93,150.

7 injured in blast near police van

Seven people were severely injured as a powerful bomb went off near a police patrol van at around 10:00pm on Saturday at Noapara rail station under Abhoynagar upazila in Jessore.

Proceedings of 2 cases against Atiqullah Masud declared illegal

The High Court yesterday declared illegal the proceedings of two separate cases against detained Atiqullah Khan Masud, owner of Janakantha Shilpa Paribar and Globe Construction Limited, in connection with hiding his income.

20 shanties gutted at Lalbagh

At least 20 shanties were gutted in a fire in the Shahidnagar area at Lalbagh in the city yesterday.

Platinum Jute Mill project director closed

State-owned Platinum Jubilee Jute Mill Project Director (PD) Md Mohiuddin Ahmed was closed to BJMC Zonal Office.

Free surgery for eye patients

Renowned eye surgeon of Pakistan Dr Syed Mohamad Asif will conduct free phaco surgery from today at Lion A Badal Eye Hospital in the city.

'Prof Sitara Parvin will be remembered for her unique traits’

Prof Dr Sitara Parvin is a glittering example of honesty, morality, devotion, discipline and punctuality and she will be remembered amongst her admirers, colleagues and students for her unique traits, speakers at the publication ceremony of a memorial book said yesterday.

A delegation of British Bangladeshis arrives today

A 5-member delegation of prominent British Bangladeshis will arrive in Dhaka today on a four-day visit.

Geeta Pasi urges Jamaat to hold dialogue with CG

US Charge d'Affaires Geeta Pasi yesterday urged Jamaat-e-Islami to commit itself to dialogue with the government and also reminded it of the political parties' responsibility towards holding a successful election.

IOJ Chair Misbahur Rahman Chy sued

A lawyer yesterday filed a money suit with a Dhaka court against Misbahur Rahman Chowdhury, chairman of a faction of the Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ) claiming Tk 100 crore as compensation on charge of making statement against him.

Ctg Miladunnabi programme begins tomorrow

A four-day programme to mark the Eid-E Miladunnabi (Sm) begins in the port city tomorrow.

Workshop on ECCD beings in city

A four-day international workshop on early childhood care and development (ECCD) was inaugurated yesterday at Asia Pacific Blossom Hotel in the city, says a press release.

Indian Eastern Naval Command chief due Tomorrow

Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Naval Command of India Vice Admiral Raman Prem Suthan in a three-day goodwill visit will arrive in Bangladesh tomorrow.

Valuables worth Tk 5 lakh looted in N'ganj

Robbers looted valuables worth Tk 5 lakh at Pagla in Fatullah in the early hours of yesterday.

'Rab to use helicopter to fight crimes if necessary’

Khandakar Hasan Mahmud, director general of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) said Rab will use helicopter and most modern watercrafts if necessary to combat crimes and arrest criminals.

Indian envoy visits RU

Indian High Commissioner Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty visited Rajshahi University campus yesterday.

Apollo Hospitals observes World Kidney Day

Apollo Hospitals Dhaka observed the World Kidney Day on Thursday, says a press release.

National

Sanitation, safe water projects fail in Dakop upazila

Two projects for sustainable sanitation and safe water supply systems in Dakop upazila of Khulna district have flopped due to use of low quality equipment, installation of improper equipment, water crisis and lack of training for using the new sanitation system.

Hill people fear food crisis as bamboo clusters flowering

Bamboo clusters in Khagrachhari are flowering and fruiting in a massive scale, giving an ominous sign of food crisis in the hills.

3 food officials, an SI held

Three food officials and a police sub-inspector were arrested yesterday for their alleged involvement in misappropriating 158 tonnes of rice from government's Muladuli CSD (Central Supply Depot) godowns in Ishwardi upazila in Pabna district.

2 policemen hurt in Satkhira shootout

Two policemen were injured in an exchange of fire with drive-by criminals on board a Pajero jeep at Itagachha intersection in the town Saturday night.

Gaibandha BNP chief gets 3-yr RI in another case

Gaibandha BNP president Hamidul Haq Channa and seven others were given two year's rigorous imprisonment yesterday in an extortion case.

B'baria teachers vow to resist crimes

About 75 teachers of 30 colleges and schools in the district took a vow to resist crime at a seminar held here yesterday.

UNDP team visits projects in Barisal slum

An eight-member UNDP team led by administrator Kemal Dervish yesterday visited Balur Math Bosti, a slum area of Barisal city, and inspected different slum development projects funded by the UNDP.

Indian HC visits RU, donates books

Indian High Commissioner (HC) Pinak Ranjan Chakrabarty yesterday visited Rajshahi University (RU) and donated books, campus sources said.

Anti-graft rally held at Kulaura

Kulaura upazila unit of 'The Social Movement against Corruption', a social organisation working for creating awareness against corruption, formed a human chain and held rally at Kulaura upazila town yesterday.

Voter listing begins in Dighinala

Work on voter registration with photographs began in remote Dighinala upazila yesterday.

Grameenphone holds eye camp

Grameenphone organised a free eye camp in Gournodi upazila in Barisal district recently, says a press release.

Letters

Police reform

I read with interest Nurul Huda's 14th March editorial: Pilloried police and pompous platitudes in responding positively to an earlier piece on the subject by Badrul Ahsan in your daily. Huda concludes the piece appropriately that Police has to be organisationally accountable, operationally autonomous and free and functionally responsive. This conclusion has almost universal acceptance in society and was supported by all leading studies including the first systematic work on police in an UNDP research on Human Security in Bangladesh in1997 in which Huda participated under my guidance. Recently, a Police Reform proposal based on last few years of intensive UNDP research work and other public opinion surveys has been finalized and was expected to be implemented.

Rupali Bank

A few days back there were headlines on Rupali Bank news of cancellation of an expected sale deal with a Saudi Prince. The officials of this bank expressed a big sigh of relief and profusely thanked the media for their contribution reportedly in compelling the government to take that decision. Some of the employees of this bank were telling in front of the media cameras how their promotions were held up for many years due to indecision about the fate of this bank.

Jamuna Bridge

My attention has been drawn to the piece on Jamuna Bridge published in your daily on March 5 by Engr. Saikh Wazir. Apparently, his technical analysis of bridge construction contains valuable suggestions. It is presumed that he has visited the site and made visual inspection before making such detailed technical advice on the physical aspects of this mammoth construction.

Tigers' performance

It wasn't the biggest surprise to watch the recent performances of our so called "(little) TIGERS" sitting from the gallery as we are used to experiencing similar dramas over and over again. Unfortunately, enhancement of performance by the Bengal TIGERS has stopped after their impressive World Cup campaign. Under the new captain and coach, their recent performances against Sri Lanka, New Zealand and South Africa seemed very depressing to the cricket lovers of Bangladesh. All we witnessed is how our TIGERS were surrendering. This would be hard to accept if it continues this way.

Is a flu pandemic imminent?

Despite massive culling by authorities to control the outbreak, the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of bird flu continues spreading among the poultry in Bangladesh. A total of 47 districts out of 64 have been affected by this avian flu virus, and more than 50 percent of the poultry farms has been closed. This virus strain is regarded to be the most likely cause of the next human flu pandemic.

International Women's Day

Every year International Women's Day is observed nationally and internationally. This day is significant for women's empowerment and emancipation from all discrimination. But Bangladesh is different from other countries. Women become victims of rape, murder, acid violence, dowry and many types of crimes. We can see this discrimination in all spheres and sectors of life. Every year many women commit suicide because of violence and insecurity. Though in recent years, women are getting involved in all sectors, there is no proper working environment for them.

Leasing of Myanmar land

Both people and the government of Bangladesh are in great difficulties because of galloping prices of essentials, particularly rice. It is out of the reach of the middle and lower income people, let alone the poor ones.

A practical solution

The Election Commission is going to conduct its 2nd round of meetings with the political parties. They should invite all the political parties. But EC's stand on inviting the BNP, one of the most popular political parties in Bangladesh, which formed the last political government, is not understood by us. The EC is unnecessarily wasting time on the issue of court verdict. As both the factions of this divided party consist of senior leaders including former ministers, MPs and BNP standing committee members, so what is wrong about holding two separate meetings with the two factions? The meetings are arranged for holding talks between the EC and the political parties, so that they can exchange their views about the upcoming polls. The EC and the political parties will only express their opinions and will give suggestions to make the polls more credible. So, nothing will go wrong if the two factions of the BNP headed by pro-Khaleda leader Khandakar Delwar and reformist leader Saifur Rahman are invited separately.

Ancient treasures

Bangladesh lost a very rare opportunity to display its national art treasures in the cultural capital of the western world. The fiasco involving the exhibition of its cultural artefacts in the Musee Guimet in Paris must be treated as a well conceived plan to foil the presentation of the true historical image of Bangladesh as a very old nation of Bengalis before the international community. The eminent persons, celebrities, academics and civil society luminaries including the print media that opposed the exhibition and launched a vigorous campaign to abort the show had played unknowingly into the hands of the forces who want to depict us as a nation without any heritage. It was really very painful to watch the short-sightedness of these standard bearers of Bengali culture who argued that the artefacts would be impounded by the Musee Guimet once they get hold of them!!! It was a laughable assumption. Without being disrespectful to them, I must say that they had no idea how such exchange programmes take place these days among the civilized nations to promote the image of the country as a modern, progressive, developed and tolerant multicultural society.

Influence of MPs

The influence of the MPs on upazila administration should be eliminated for good. People's representatives in parliament should concentrate on the parliamentary procedures and on framing appropriate laws for the nation. The tendency to become MP for the purpose of exercising power on local officials should not be allowed to continue in the years to come. Help the bureaucracy act and decide independently.

Election!

News - March 6, 2008 (DS) --Assailants gunned down a thana unit BNP leader last night at Jigatala under Dhanmondi in the capital.

People and leaders

In response to one of your valued readers, may I please apprise him of the fact that farmers, masons, blacksmiths, butchers, teachers, writers, engineers, singers, military personnel, bureaucrats, doctors ... all participated in our war for freedom. Not only 'farmers and chashis'. Each has a respective place in society and there they look good. A mason should not lead a nation, nor a 'farmer or chashi'.

Food taboos

As a result of wrong & unscientific belief, a number of foods are excluded from the list of food items by people. Most of these affect pregnant women & lactating mothers & convalescent people greatly. This is a common belief, for instance, that the pregnant mother should eat less to keep the size of the baby minimum for easy delivery. This is totally misleading & dangerous. A pregnant mother should eat one-fourth amount of food more than her normal requirement. Since she needs to eat for her baby as well. Another food taboo prohibits intake of water at the time of delivery of a baby. But the truth is that during delivery a mother loses huge amount of water as sweat , along with blood & delivery fluid. To compensate for this loss, & to save the mother from dehydration, sufficient amount of liquid should be given.

International

Tibet death toll goes up to 80

At least 80 people have been killed in unrest following protests by Tibetans against Chinese rule, the Tibetan government in exile says.

Pakistan parliament set for Musharraf showdown

Pakistan's new parliament is set for a bruising confrontation with President Pervez Musharraf when it meets today after the key US ally's supporters lost heavily in elections, analysts say.

PPP stands for free judiciary: Zardari

PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari reiterated on Saturday that his party is committed to the Murree Declaration that pledges to restore deposed judges and make judiciary independent.

Anwar accuses govt of stoking racial tension

Malaysia's opposition figurehead Anwar Ibrahim has accused ruling party leaders of stoking racial tensions over plans to dismantle discrimination policies favouring ethnic Muslim Malays.

McCain brushes up own image as Democrats campaign on

US Republican presidential hopeful John McCain surfaced in Iraq yesterday as he moved to burnish his foreign policy credentials while Democrat Barack Obama gained more convention delegate votes.

British PM struggles to change Iraq policy

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown wants to turn a page on Iraq by pulling out troops controversially sent in by his predecessor Tony Blair, but his hands are tied politically, experts say.

Iran polls were not free, or fair: EU

Iran's conservatives were yesterday set to win two-thirds of the seats in parliament after dominating legislative elections, despite a respectable showing by reformists who suffered heavy pre-vote vetoes.

Kosovo faces possible Serb secession

A month after it declared independence, Kosovo has come under a threat of possible secession of its Serb minority amid fears of fresh violence that could compromise the international community's efforts to push the new state on a promising path.

Islamabad on alert after deadly blast

Pakistan's capital was on high alert yesterday and embassies reviewed security measures after a bomb struck an Italian restaurant crowded with foreigners, killing a Turkish aid worker and wounding at least 12 other people.

22 burned alive in Iran bus fire

Twenty-two university students were killed in a fire when their bus collided with a vehicle transporting fuel in western Iran, the official IRNA news agency reported yesterday.

China's Wen re-elected for 5 years

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was re-elected yesterday for five more years as simmering unrest in Tibet threatened to badly tarnish his government's image just months before the Olympics.

Former Lankan parliament speaker dies

Sri Lanka's former parliament speaker and son of two prime ministers, Anura Bandaranaike, died yetserday after a brief battle with liver cancer, a family friend said.

Three killed as Israel strikes Gaza

An Israeli air strike on Saturday killed three Islamic Jihad militants readying to fire rockets from Gaza, medics and the radical Palestinian group said, while a fourth Palestinian died from tank shelling.

Mideast negotiators likely to meet this week

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are set to meet this week, an Israeli official said yesterday, in what would be their first meeting since peace talks came to a halt after a deadly Gaza blitz.

Indonesia's ex-president to run for post again

Former Indonesian president Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid said yesterday that he intends to run in next year's presidential elections, a report said.

Escaped JI suspect still in S'pore

An alleged Islamic extremist leader who escaped last month from a detention centre is still in Singapore amid a massive manhunt for him, authorities were quoted as saying in local media yesterday.

Search go on for victims in Albania blast

Rescue workers yesterday resumed the search for victims of a series of powerful blasts at an army depot housing communist-era munitions near Tirana, killing at least seven people and injuring over 200, according to the latest toll.

Zimbabwe to screen foreign journalists

Zimbabwe plans to closely screen foreign media intending to cover upcoming elections amid suspicions uninvited observers and security personnel might impersonate Western journalists, state media reported yetserday.

China union calls for regular wage hikes

National union leaders said on Friday they would to secure regular pay rises for workers across the country to counter the effects of surging consumer prices.

EU hopeful of new nuke talks with Iran

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said yesterday that he hoped to meet Iran's top nuclear negotiator within the next three months, a day after Iran ruled out further talks with major world powers.

Britain to expel upto 1000 Zimbabweans

Britain is preparing to expel hundreds of failed asylum-seekers back to Zimbabwe because the government believes they are at no "general risk" in their home country, a newspaper reported yesterday.

Fighting kills 30 in Lanka

Suspected separatist Tamil rebels killed a police officer and a soldier in separate attacks in northern Sri Lanka oyesterday, the military said, taking the death toll from two days of violence to 30.

EU states lining up to sign US visa deals

US Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff said yesterday that up to four more EU countries are ready to sign visa deals with Washington next week and others are lining up to do so.

7 killed in China protest

At least seven Tibetans were killed as police opened fire yesterday on an anti-China protest in the southwest of the country, two activist groups said, citing witness reports.

Arts & Entertainment

A montage of poems on Liberation War

To mark the occasion of our Independence Day, Sangbrita -- an organisation of recitors -- staged their production Jotirmoy Aguney Aloy at the Liberation War Museum on March 15. Directed by noted recitor Mahidul Islam, the production features a collection of poems on the Liberation War.

Call to invigorate the cultural arena

At a discussion held at the 27th Jatiya Rabindra Sangeet Sammi-lan, the cultural activists of the country criticised the political parties who previously ruled the country for failing to develop and boost the cultural scene and education sector of the country.

A musical presentation highlighting the divinity of Krishna

A performance of Padaboli Kirtan, highlighting the divinity of Lord Krishna, was staged at the Sri Sri Baradeswari Kalimata Temple, Rajarbag, Madartek.

Quixotic collage in portraits

"This exhibition 'Spirits of the Cities' was born from the desire to show a glamorous Bangladesh personified by creative baroque and cultivated spirits. Through my aesthetic prism, I created portraits of historians, dancers, writers, artists, journalists, female entrepreneurs, students, and everyday people I met on the streets," says Pascal Monteil who had his exhibition recently at the Alliance Francaise.

Poets honoured in Mymensingh

A reception was accorded to poets of West Bengal at the local Muslim Institute on recently. The event organised by Swatantra Sahitya Patra was presided over by poet Farid Ahmed Dulal.

Special telefilm “Achena Bondor” on ATN Bangla

ATN Bangla will air special tele-film Achena Bondor on the Independence Day (March 26) at 2:40 pm. The telefilm has been written and directed by Mamunur Rashid.

Stories from a world in motion

A timeworn piece of Hollywood wisdom (occasionally attributed to Dostoevsky, John Gardner or some other writer) holds that every narrative arises from one of two situations: Someone goes on a journey, or a stranger comes to town. The immigrant's story, in its basic form, fulfills both of these archetypes. An individual or a family leaves a familiar world, by either choice, necessity or some perceived combination of the two, and arrives in a place that is as strange to the newcomers as they are to it.

Khagrachhari Theatre stages “Rangdhanu”

Local troupe, Khagrachhari Theatre, recently staged their production Rangdhanu at the Apar Perachhara village under Sadar Upazila. The play written by M.A Murtaza Palash features a message to encourage children to go to school.

A book on Bengali experience in the pre and post-Liberation War Pakistan

A book titled Pancha Shindhu Nadiyo Katha on pre and post 1972 experience of Bengalis in Pakistan by Mahbubur Rahman was launched recently at Kabi Sufia Kamal auditorium, National Museum. March is the month when Bengalis tend to recall the events of Pakistani atrocities and the nine-month long Liberation War.

OP-ED

Food price hike: Investment is the answer

FOOD prices are soaring like wildfire, and showing no sign of coming down. It appears from the volatile domestic food market that no price ceiling is enough, and prices are surging almost on a daily basis.

Good-bye to the military in Pakistan?

THE March 9, 2008 agreement between Pakistan's largest political parties to form a coalition government could mark the beginning of the end of military-bureaucratic rule in Pakistan. Until now, Pakistan has been governed by an alliance of politicised generals, bureaucrats, intelligence operatives and professionals or technocrats who have prevented politics from taking its course.

The end of backyard poultry

OUTBREAKS of bird flu (Avian influenza H5N1) in Bangladesh and West Bengal are continuing. Most families living in rural Bengal own chickens which roam freely around their backyards and courtyards. It is no secret that backyard chickens are particularly vulnerable to the bird flu virus.

In Asia we all drive round the bend

THERE'S something bizarre about road travel in Asia. If you are in a country where people drive in a careful, orderly way, like Japan, cars have a special seatbelt for every bodily protuberance and there's a death penalty for not wearing the lot. But if you are in a country where people drive like suicidal banshees with their tails on fire (like the countries of Indo-China), many cars have no seatbelts and some don't even have doors. Life-saving devices are only provided when you don't need them.

Star City

Loving to live amid monkey business

She was lurking behind the iron grill of an old house and with keen eyes looking at a banana at a child's hand. As the little girl became unmindful for a single moment she snatched the banana like an eagle.

Plot claimants start fresh encroachment on Gulshan-Baridhara lake

A number of private plot claimants have again started encroaching on the Gulshan-Baridhara Lake at Shahjahadpur ‘jheelpar’ point in violation of the Wetland Protection Act and a High Court ban.

Quest for a better outlook on human rights

“I am now more conscious about human rights of our citizens including the criminals,” said a Rab official, who had just participated in a training course on human rights.



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