The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Wednesday, August 27, 2014


News of: Friday, 21st of March, 2008

Front Page

Security council on cards to deal with nat'l crises

The law adviser yesterday said the government will form a National Security Council to make decisions on security matters "not only regarding law and order but also about other national crises like disasters and food security issues".

ACC to launch drive against fertiliser graft

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is moving forward with a plan to clamp down on corruption in fertiliser sector and it is currently collecting relevant information in this regard from all over the country.

Death traps on rooftops

Billboards installed on rooftops have become death traps in the city as a number of people have been killed and many others injured when loosely held hoardings fell off during stormy weather.

AL plans street protests against price spiral

Awami League (AL) plans street agitation to press the government to check the skyrocketing prices of essentials and resolve the crises of food, fertiliser and power without delay.

US for lifting ban on assembly, free press

The US has urged the government to lift restrictions on freedoms of assembly and the press and hold dialogues with political parties to fulfil its pledge to hold free, fair and transparent elections by the end of this year.

Talk with politicians for next budget

The government should consider consulting political parties before adopting the budget for the next fiscal year so that the next elected government accepts it, Regulatory Reforms Commission (ACC) Chairman Akbar Ali Khan said yesterday.

Local govt polls in April-May

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda yesterday said the commission wants to hold the local government polls at the end of April or in the middle of May this year.

EC wants list of 'risky' polling centres

The Election Commission (EC) yesterday asked the police headquarters and Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) for the lists of polling stations they identified as vulnerable on security grounds before the cancelled general election last year.

Khaleda refuses to become voter ‘in protest’

Detained former premier and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia refused to become a voter as the government what she said detained her “illegally”.

Docs diagnose severe problem in Hasina's ears

Doctors at Square Hospital found severe hearing problems of detained Awami League President Sheikh Hasina after doing several medical tests.

Govt reacts to foreign envoys' public remarks

The government has sharply reacted to public remarks of some foreign diplomats.

Miladunnabi today

The holy Eid-e-Miladunnabi marking the birth and demise of Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SM) will be observed today across the country with due religious fervour and solemnity.

Prof Wahiduddin suggests introduction of ration cards

Eminent economist Prof Wahiduddin Mahmud yesterday asked the government to introduce ration cards for people of low income in urban areas to enable them buy essentials at a subsidised price.

Dhaka to host climate change meet next week

Dhaka will host the first country-specific conference on climate change next week where the government, donors and experts will thrash out a plan to campaign for mitigation and adaptation methods and financing.

SC Bar chief critical of stripping HC bench of writ jurisdiction

President of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Barrister M Amir-Ul Islam yesterday termed immoral the chief justice's exercise of discretionary power in stripping the High Court division bench, headed by Justice Shah Abu Nayeem Mominur Rahman, of its writ jurisdiction.

VCs to be appointed thru' open ad

Vice-chancellors of the public universities will now be appointed through open advertisement, the government announced yesterday.

Probe report placed to ACC

The investigation report of the Niko graft case filed against former premier and Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina and six others was submitted to the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday.

Atiqullah Khan jailed for third time

A special court dealing with corruption charges yesterday sentenced detained daily Janakantha Editor Atiqullah Khan Masud to seven years' imprisonment in a case filed in connection with forging building design.

Handover deadline extended till March 31

The housing and public works ministry has extended the deadline until March 31 for handing over to it the Nam flats the former lawmakers were allotted.

An instance of love for birds

The storm on Wednesday night knocked the Pariah kites off the trees on the Jagannath Hall premises, but it could not cause much harm to them. A few students of the Dhaka University hall took care of the wounded birds and set them free.

Coarse rice prices rise

Prices of coarse rice rose slightly in wholesale markets of the capital yesterday while prices of edible oil continued to drop after a sharp rise a couple of weeks ago.

Tarique may be quizzed at jail gate: HC

Disposing of two petitions, the High Court yesterday said detained BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Tarique Rahman may be interrogated at the jail gate in connection with two extortion cases.

Tigers secure series with easy win

After contrasting half-centuries by Shahriar Nafees and Aftab Ahmed, Forhad Reza's career-best bowling gave finishing touches to Bangladesh's crushing 84-run win over Ireland in the second one-day international yesterday.

Govt to amend law to define dos and don'ts

Since the 50-year-old Foreigners Act does not contain details of dos and don'ts to be followed by foreigners in the country, the government has taken an initiative to amend it and clarify the dos and don'ts.

China pours troops into Tibet to quell uprising

Thousands of soldiers were seen in Lhasa yesterday amid reports of a huge military build-up, as the Dalai Lama expressed fears China's crackdown on Tibetan protesters had caused many casualties.

Pak lawmakers to elect new PM Monday

President Pervez Musharraf yesterday summoned Pakistan's new parliament to convene on March 24 to elect a prime minister, his spokesman told AFP.

Laden warns Europe over Muhammad cartoons

al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden warned Europe Wednesday of a "reckoning" for publishing controversial cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (SM), US monitoring groups said.

Worsening polls reveal Obama's pastor problem

Democrat Barack Obama suffered in the polls yesterday after a much-acclaimed speech on race that, pundits said, had failed to defuse voters' anger over rage-filled sermons by his former pastor.

Editorial

Exalted image of the judiciary

THE reallocation of power of the HC division bench of Justice Shah Abu Nayeem Mominur Rahman and Justice Shahidul Islam from writ to civil appeal hearing would have passed off as a routine affair in normal circumstances. But given the particular backdrop it was set against, public mind couldn't but be exercised over the jurisdictional change of the bench concerned.

Eid-e-Miladunnabi

EID-e-Miladunnabi is that time of year when we go back to the values of life and faith as espoused by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In a larger sense, we renew on this day the principles that came into the lives of all those who believe in the oneness of the Almighty, indeed in the majesty of His power to inspire us into a full flowering of our intelligence and intellect. And within such a flowering comes the fundamental premise that life on earth is but a shadow of the bigger reality awaiting us in the life hereafter. That reality is but the idea that here on earth we follow a path set for us by the Almighty, a path that has been explained to us in all its finer details by His messenger.

We should take offence

A foreign diplomat is going door to door peddling wisdom to our political leaders. If you check the television footage of their meetings with her, you will be reminded of kindergarten students sitting in their class. The fawning politicians gather around the honourable guest, their faces dripping with humility and smiles. You don't have to be a wizard to guess whose wish is whose command.

Pakistan: The challenges ahead

THE complex and torturous process associated with any election to the Pakistan National Assembly and the Provincial Assemblies has finally been completed. Despite explosions, murders and suicide bombings, the Pakistan Election Commission has been able to conclude its responsibilities -- official notification of the results, and the distribution of the reserved seats for women and the minorities.

Stuck in Iraq loop

THERE is a paradox in the current situation in Iraq. We are told that the surge has worked brilliantly and violence is way down. And yet the plan to reduce troop levels -- which was at the heart of the original surge strategy -- must be postponed or all hell will once again break loose.

Sports

Tigers on song

After a long time, the Tigers were celebrating some success. If the first win against Ireland brought back smile in the Bangladesh camp after a lengthy losing streak since the World Cup last year, securing the series yesterday made them relieved and singing.

Domestic football in July

The football season of 2008 will kick of on July 1 with the Federation Cup, the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) and the professional league cubs announced yesterday.

Dhoni defends youth

Mahendra Singh Dhoni hopes India's "significant" victory in the CB Series will silence those who criticised the youth-oriented squad selection for the tournament. Asserting his role in the selection of the young one-day side -- he is India's ODI captain -- he said it was "sometimes very important to send the message across".

Local Snippets

CCS brought down giants Gazi Tank with a four-wicket victory in a First Division League match at the BKSP ground yesterday.

Sarwan back for WI

West Indies return to home international action for the first time since last year's World Cup when they take on Sri Lanka in Guyana from Saturday in the first of a two-test series.

SL to tour Pakistan

Sri Lanka will tour Pakistan for a five-match series of one-day internationals in April and May.

33 in 37 for C'Ron

Cristiano Ronaldo was hailed as a footballing "genius" after the Portugal winger eclipsed George Best as the highest-scoring winger in Manchester United's history and helped edge the Red Devils closer to another English title.

Pakistan, India in same group

Arch-rivals India and Pakistan have been placed in the same group for this year's Asia Cup, the Asian Cricket Council announced here on Thursday.

Thriller at the Lane

Chelsea lost ground in the Premier League title race as Avram Grant's side blew the lead three times in a dramatic 4-4 draw at Tottenham on Wednesday.

Rome coloured blue

AS Roma's Serie A title hopes suffered a cruel blow as Valon Behrami scored an injury time winner to give Lazio a 3-2 victory in the Rome derby at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday.

Klose propels Bayern

Germany striker Miroslav Klose scored his 20th goal for Bayern Munich to book his side's place in next month's German Cup final after Wednesday night's 2-0 semifinal win over VfL Wolfsburg.

Nadal avenges defeat

Rafael Nadal eked out a victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Wednesday, avenging an Australian Open defeat and reaching the quarterfinals of the Pacific Life Open.

Loew calls back Huth

Germany head coach Joachim Loew on Thursday recalled Middlesbrough defender Robert Huth for next Wednesday's Euro 2008 warm-up friendly against Switzerland in Basel.

France name four rookies

French coach Raymond Domenech has called up four new faces into his 39-strong squad for full and A internationals against England and Mali next week.

It's a recall for Beckham

David Beckham was recalled to the England squad on Thursday, putting the midfielder on track to win his 100th cap in next week's friendly against France in Paris next week.

Nistelrooy has ankle op

Real Madrid's Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy underwent surgery Wednesday to repair an ankle injury and could be out of action for six weeks, the club announced.

Carquefou shock Marseille

Amateur side Carquefou pulled off one of the biggest upsets in French Cup history late Wednesday by defeating mighty Marseille 1-0 to reach the quarterfinals.

Maria storms through

Australian Open champion Maria Sharapova ended Daniela Hantuchova's hopes of a second straight Pacific Life Open title Wednesday with a straight-sets quarterfinal victory.

Hair's moot oath

Controversial Australian umpire Darrell Hair said on Thursday he will focus on improved communication with players after his enforced spell away from top-level cricket.

Zondeki steps in

Monde Zondeki was Wednesday named as the replacement for fellow fast bowler Charl Langeveldt as the controversy over South Africa's selection policy continued.

West Bengal clinch title

West Bengal sprung a major surprise after they beat Japan 17-12 in the final of the Fresh Independence Day Women's Kabaddi Championship at the outer stadium Kabaddi court yesterday.

Robin to stay, says BCCI

The Indian cricket board said on Wednesday that fielding coach Robin Singh would be retained for the home test series against South Africa, denying media reports that said he would be fired.

Wari hold Youngmen's

Youngmen's Club Fakirerpool could not quite celebrate their Senior Division Football League triumph as they drew 1-1 with Sunrise in a super league match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.

Business

BB home loan scheme yet to reach mid-income people

The central bank's low-cost home loans under refinance scheme has so far failed to reach the target group -- the middle and lower income people mainly because the banks and other financial institutions believe the group is risky for repayment of loans.

Ceramic tiles feel the pinch of slump in housing market

Local ceramic tiles manufacturing has grown from almost nothing to a multi-billion taka industry in the past seven years, but is now experiencing slower growth due to the slump in the housing market and the rising prices of raw materials.

Widening social safety net only option to offset price spiral

Finance Adviser Mirza Azizul Islam yesterday said the government is passing a tough time due to skyrocketing prices of essentials, and now it has no alternative to widening the social safety net programmes to mitigate the sufferings of the poor.

BB asks banks to open desk for women entrepreneurs

Bangladesh Bank (BB) has asked all commercial banks and other financial institutions to open a dedicated desk for facilitating financing to small and medium women entrepreneurs under the BB-launched refinance scheme.

India's exports decline on rising rupee

The Indian government admitted that appreciation of rupee against the US dollar had resulted in the loss of about two million jobs and a decline in exports.

Legal action against VoIP device importers: BTRC

The country's telecom watchdog will go for legal action against the individuals and organisations involved in importing illegal VoIP devices in the name of different products and supplying those to the local unscrupulous traders.

Prices of MS rod increase Tk7, 000 a tonne in a week

Prices of MS (mild steel) rod, a vital construction material, have increased by Tk6, 000 to Tk7, 000 per tonne in the local market in the last one week due to soaring prices of raw materials in the international market.

Charka Textile to set up composite knitwear plant

Charka Textile Limited, a sister concern of PRAN-RFL Group, will set up a composite knitwear plant, says a press release.

Int'l textile fair begins in Ctg tomorrow

A four-day long international fair on textile and garment machinery will begin in Chittagong tomorrow.

Iftekhar suggests pro-active steps for Bangladeshi workers in KL

Chambers and business communities of both Bangladesh and Malaysia can play a proactive and positive role to help Bangladeshi workers in Malaysia and could fix a minimum wage for them, Foreign Adviser Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury yesterday said in Dhaka at the inaugural function of a three-day Malaysian trade fair 'Showcase Malaysia-2008'.

FBCCI recognises BWCCI

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) has recognised Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI) as 'A Class Chamber’ after seven years.

Business can be child's play

In a large room in Natun Bazaar, around 100 women sit on the floor surrounded by cotton yarn and small, knitted carrots, cauliflowers and cakes - complete with icing and cherries on top.

Domestic car sales to pick up in 2008

Domestic car sellers see 2008 as the year of recovery as sales of vehicles are picking up on good economic condition.

Global equity markets shaken by weak commodities

Volatile world equity markets were rattled on Thursday by falling commodity prices, a London share trading probe and stubborn concerns over worldwide squeeze on credit, analysts said.

Oil prices fall below $100

World oil prices fell below 100 dollars a barrel in late Asian trade Thursday, but are expected to remain volatile as investors continue to assess the US economy, dealers said.

Indian inflation leaps to nearly 6pc

India's inflation rate jumped by almost a full percentage point to hit a more than 10-month high, data showed Wednesday, dimming chances of an early interest rate cut to spur a slowing economy.

Toyota to sell Prius, Camry in S Korea next year

Japan's largest automaker Toyota Motor will start selling non-luxury models in South Korea next year, chairman Fujio Cho said Thursday.

Deutsche Telekom unit says to move 3,000 jobs to India

T-Systems, the computer services unit of Deutsche Telekom, said Wednesday it would move 3,000 jobs in Germany to India as a result of its partnership with the US group Cognizant.

Samorita okays10pc cash dividend

Samorita Hospital Limited has approved 10 percent cash dividend for its shareholders. The dividend was approved at the 22nd annual general meeting (AGM) of the institution, held recently in Dhaka, says a press release. Professor Abu Ahmed Chowdhury, chairman of Samorita Hospital, presided over the meeting. Directors, Managing Director Dr ABM Haroon and Company Secretary of the institution also attended the AGM.

Metropolitan

Revise draft RTI ordinance

Speakers at a roundtable yesterday called on the government to revise the draft of the Right to Information (RTI) ordinance, saying that it has a number of flaws and inconsistencies.

Tk 700cr UK help for English language programme

The British government will provide 50 million pounds sterling, equivalent to around Tk 700 crore, for developing English language skills in Bangladesh.

1000 tons of Thai rice arrive in Ctg

Bangladesh received 1000 tons of rice donated by the Thailand government in aid of Sidr-affected people on Wednesday.

Formulate stringent laws to protect migrant workers

A national conference in the city yesterday recommended framing of stringent laws both in labour sending and receiving countries to protect migrant workers and stop human trafficking and irregular migration.

Eco toilets in 4500 unions soon

With a view to achieving sanitation for all by 2010, eco toilets will be set up soon in 4500 unions of the country.

Relax new point-based immigration policy

Foreign Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury yesterday hoped that the British government would relax its newly announced point-based immigration policy to allow Bangladeshi chefs to work in popular curry restaurants in the UK.

'Form tribunal to try war criminals’

Bangabandhu Smriti Parishad yesterday demanded that a tribunal is immediately formed under the International Crimes Tribunal Act 1973 to try the war criminals.

Cartoonist Arifur Rahman discharged

A Dhaka court yesterday discharged former Prothom Alo cartoonist Arifur Rahman in connection with a case filed against him for a cartoon "hurting religious sentiments" published in the daily's satire magazine "Aalpin" on September 17 last year.

Tibet matters are China's internal affairs: Dhaka

Bangladesh expressed solidarity with China over the Tibetan troubles, saying that matters pertaining to Tibet are China's internal affairs.

3 chargesheeted in Dr Mofakkharul Murder Case

The Detective Branch (DB) of police yesterday pressed charges against three persons in a case for killing Bangladesh Medical College Hospital registrar Dr Mofakkharul Ahmed Sohel in January this year.

CA returns home

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed returned home late Wednesday night after attending the 11th OIC Summit in Dakar, the capital of Senegal.

Emon says his 10 arms already recovered

Dreaded criminal Sanjidul Islam Emon yesterday said the law enforcers have already recovered 10 of his firearms, including an AK-47 rifle, from his associates during their drives.

50 cheated job seekers return home

Fifty Bangladeshis, who were lured with jobs in Turkmenistan, Turkey and elsewhere by clandestine agents but were finally dumped in the bordering areas of Iraq, returned home on Wednesday.

Committee to monitor private TTCs soon

Education Adviser Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman yesterday said a committee will be formed very soon for monitoring the private teachers' training colleges (TTCs) and check the irregularities.

HC orders govt to maintain status quo

The High Court yesterday ordered the government to maintain status quo at the allocated 25 acres of land of Suhrawardy Udyan to Dhaka Club for golf course.

Dr Shetty gives consultations to patients over teleconference

After examining the medical reports of a Bangladeshi patient with heart blocks, renowned cardiologist Dr Devi Shetty of India advised him to continue taking medicines for six more months as prescribed by a local heart specialist.

Farmer shot by BSF in Jhenidah

A farmer was injured when the Border Security Force (BSF) of Indian Ranaghat camp opened fire at Jaluli frontier under Maheshpur upazila in Jhenidah on Thursday morning.

Outlaw stabbed to death in Pabna

A member of outlawed Purba Banglar Communist Party (Red Flag) was stabbed to death by his party rivals in the early hours of yesterday at Kumirgari village.

BPRA election April 11

The election of Bangladesh Public Relations Association (BPRA) will be held on April 11 at the association office in the city.

15 shops gutted in Kanaighat

Fifteen shops burned down in a fire in Kanaighat in the early hours of yesterday.

5 Khulna cops sued

A case has been filed against five officers of Batiaghata Police Station and two police informers on charges of killing an arrestee.

Reception to Bangladeshi artists in New York

America-Bangladesh Press Club in New York accorded a reception to a team of Bangladeshi artists at a restaurant in Jackson Heights in New York on Wednesday.

Bera municipality chairman held on corruption charge

The joint forces arrested the Bera municipality chairman and the executive committee member of the district Awami League yesterday on charge of corruption.

6-day book fair begins in Rajshahi

A six-day book fair began at Rajshahi Collegiate School playground yesterday.

Civic education programme concludes

A 12-day civic education programme for students concluded in Comilla on Wednesday, says a press release.

Four held with pilfered fuel

The Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) caught four members of an organised gang red handed yesterday when they were pilfering fuel from a government depot at Dapa Shailakara area near Fatulla.

Case sent back to CMM court

Khulna Divisional Speedy Trial Tribunal yesterday sent back the sensational journalist Manik Saha murder case to the court of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Mahbubur Rahman.

SCF nat'l convention today

The Sector Commanders Forum (SCF) will hold its national convention in the capital today with a call to form a special tribunal under the supervision of the United Nations immediately to try war criminals.

Obaidul Quader's flat attached

The government yesterday attached a flat owned by detained former state minister and Awami League Joint Secretary Obaidul Quader at Segunbagicha in the city following an order by a special court.

BBC Bangladesh Sanglap tomorrow

The fourth edition of the special series of BBC Bangladesh Sanglap titled 'Environment and Farakka' will be held on the Renwick embankment in Kushtia tomorrow.

2100 Yaba tablets seized, six held

Detective Branch (DB) of Police seized 2100 Yaba tablets and Tk 3.31 lakh during raids on different places in the city on Wednesday and also arrested six people in this connection.

Obaidur Rahman's death anniversary today

Today is the first death anniversary of KM Obaidur Rahman, an organiser of the War of Libera-tion and former secretary general of Bangladesh Nationalist Party, says a press release.

Nurul Momen Khan Mihir

Today is the 16th death anniversary of Nurul Momen Khan Mihir, a freedom fighter and former secretary, says a press release.

Letters

The legacy of Benazir

It is expected that a win should always be accompanied by magnanimity. What was painful was to see a tribal mentality on the part of the victorious PPP and especially Muslim League (N). No one expected a hit below the belt. It is natural for a political leader to gain and lose popularity. Personal involvements may or may not play any major role in it. It is the public adulation and public enduring interest that matter most. I was a little bit surprised that someone was commenting so harshly on a dead person.

Quota or merit?

With tangible development in quality of education and immense increase in the number of students at all levels of education leading to an unbelievably huge number of competent candidates in job market, a fierce competition comes as no surprise. Keeping in mind the fast-evolving nature of the current world which requires veritable competence in order to survive as a dignified nation, we can't afford compromise with the quality of public administration, a crucial organ of the state.

Contaminated water

Dhaka metropolitan city and Narayanganj dwellers are consumers of water supplied by Dhaka Wasa, a 100% government owned organisation. It is monopoly business for Wasa. No one can lift water from underground in Dhaka and Narayanganj city areas without obtaining permission from Wasa. We have learnt from the media that the government is enacting Consumer Protection Law to protect the rights of the consumers, while we observe supply of contaminated water by Wasa. Is it not self-contradictory? Twelve million city dwellers in Dhaka and Narayanganj have been consuming contaminated water supplied by Wasa every day.

EC, here and there

I feel cynical about my confidence in the typical style of our governance. However, thanks to the government for taking a step further to make the EC independent and free from govt. intervention.

Contempt of court ordinance

The Daily Star has carried a very brief review of the draft ordinance passed in principle by the cabinet of advisers. This is based on the briefing by the press secretary to the chief adviser. I think the readers would be more benefited if some elaboration is available with regard to the issue of "designed to ensure the people rights", and the rights of the press. There are few significant words like " good faith", " restrained language" and "constructive". These would remain subjective unless well defined by examples and references. The ultimate judgment would remain open and might be arbitrary.

Election financing

During the second round of talks on electoral reforms with the Election Commission, the Awami League (AL) proposed that the parties that obtained 10% of the vote in last election should be allocated Tk 15 lakh for each candidate they would field and Tk 50 crore for central engineering from the state fund. According to this proposal only the AL and the BNP qualify for the funds from public i.e. state exchequer. If accepted, these two parties would receive Tk 190 crore from the government for 300 candidates they normally nominate in the parliamentary election.

“Sangsker”

Perhaps the most pronounced term is now 'Sangsker'. First of all, it should be clear why Sangsker is necessary. After the Liberation in 1971, we saw both autocratic and democratic governments. In most of the cases, whether it is in the government or in party politics, decisions are taken the autocratic way.

Our bridge of sighs

These days our very sick Jamuna Bridge is very much in the news; unfortunately for all the wrong reasons! This largest engineering construction work undertaken in Bangladesh seems to be heading towards a national disaster! Kaptai dam, another monumental work, was however completed during Pakistan time. Here too we managed to make a mess of the water turbine generator's maintenance and repairs, possibly for penny pinching approach to it.

Pakistani journalist

I was shocked to hear on ATN's 7:00pm news on Feb 21st the comment of Pakistani columnist Ikram Sehgal to the effect that the Language Movement of 1952 was responsible for not only the current political turmoil in Pakistan but also for the separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan! The Pakistani journalist very conveniently forgot to mention that it was primarily because the then military government of Pakistan had refused to hand over power to the elected majority party of Sheikh Mujib.

Our language

I fully realise Mr Sazzad Hossain's concern regarding our highly valued Bangla language and its impact after the recognition of 21st February as the International Mother Language Day (Letters, 12/03/08). I would like to add a bit further.

An eye opener

The Star Weekend Magazine feature story "A Place to Call Home" should serve as an eye opener. We feel deeply for the sufferings, daily humiliation of the Palestinian people by the Israelis, whereas at home we have created the same for the Biharis.

Matri bhasha

The need to keep one's own language and culture was a huge motivating factor for the language martyrs and indeed for the creation of Bangladesh. Yet the same nation has often looked the other way as more and more pressure is put on the indigenous people of, for instance, the Chittagong division. The abuse of the most basic rights of these people has been time and again reported both nationally and internationally. While the present government is addressing corruption and thus the effects of some of the past injustices meted out against them, there is work to be done to ensure that all minorities are given the same opportunities as the majority. This does not mean just "treated in the same way", as the term equal opportunities is often translated. There needs to be a change of culture in the national psyche. Are some Bangladeshis less Bangladeshi because they speak English, Urdu or Changma Vaj as their first language?

Urdu

Many human rights groups emphasise the need for preserving the mother tongues of different tribal peoples such as Santal, Chakma, Marma and so on.

Whither Bangladesh cricket?

I am writing this with a heavy heart (a feeling shared by 150 million unfortunate people minus 11-14 cricketers and the cricket board, selectors etc). In a good article Mr. Imam writes, "What went wrong with Bangladesh cricket?" I just want to make a small correction- "What went right with Bangladesh cricket?"

CTG's performance

They are chasing the extremely corrupt officials such as those of Titas Gas. They should be commended for that. However, generally the economy has slowed down. The salaries of government officials need to be raised to a more realistic amount, given today's prices, that way the system won't force them into corruption. The government would benefit from external professional management consultants who can put in systems whereby the gas/electric employees cannot breathe without someone knowing about it. They also need to encourage and support business activities and stop the scare tactics which have stunted economic growth. This will lead to more employment and prosperity for the people and more tax for the government to use for projects.

Agony of an expatriate

We (myself and my wife) were on a holiday visit to Bangladesh for 4 weeks recently. Dhaka was the main place of our stay. On 19 January 2008, we intended to go to Barisal by coach at 8:00am from the bus stand opposite Notre Dame College. We took a rickshaw from Segun Bagicha at 7-30am. We turned left to Topkhana Road opposite Press Club. As the rickshaw came near the middle of Toyenbee Circular Road, the heart of Dhaka commercial zone, a blue taxi came suddenly from behind on the left side of our rickshaw and a criminal from the passengers' seat grabbed the large brown handbag of my wife and pulled hard. My wife cried out for help and the handbag was snatched away by the fast running taxi. I was seated on the right side of the rickshaw witnessing this terrible robbery at broad daylight helplessly. The handbag was pulled so forcibly that we were about to fall from the rickshaw. My wife was shocked to tears by this horrible experience. There was no police or Rab or anyone else to help us. The street was calm and clear. Our holiday mood was shattered by fear and shock. We approached the bus terminal and were told by the passengers that we were lucky that we were not harmed. This kind of incident was said to be common in Dhaka during morning hours or night. If we resisted further, we could be knifed or shot. It is not safe to travel from bus terminals or Sadar Ghat in the morning before office hours or late evening. Streets at that time are quiet and clear without any police or Rab patrols for exploitation by the professional criminals. Within 14 days of this incident, two murders took place in Dhaka .

International

US military deaths in Iraq near 4,000

The US military's death toll in Iraq is nearing the 4,000 mark as the conflict launched in March 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein's iron-fisted regime enters its sixth year.

Cheney expects new Pak

US Vice President Dick Cheney said yesterday he expected the new Pakistan government to be "good and effective" US allies, as he made a surprise visit to neighbouring Afghanistan.

Stop crackdown on Tibetan exiles

An international human rights group urged Nepal to stop doing Beijing's bidding yesterday and end its crackdown on Tibetan exiles protesting against China.

Thai court to hear vote fraud case against parliament speaker

Thailand's Supreme Court yesterday agreed to hear a vote fraud case against the speaker of parliament, which could lead to the sacking of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra's close ally.

Iraq withdrawal will hand victory to al-Qaeda: McCain

Withdrawing US forces from Iraq would hand victory to al-Qaeda, US Republican presidential hopeful John McCain said here yesterday on the fifth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Suicide blast at Pak army base kills 5

A suicide car bomber attacked a Pakistan army base in a troubled tribal region bordering Afghanistan yesterday, killing at least five soldiers and wounding a dozen others, officials said.

Bush to visit Croatia

US President George W Bush is to visit Croatia in two weeks, after a NATO summit at which the Balkan country is expected to be invited to join, the foreign ministry said yesterday.

Blast at Hamas training base kills two

An explosion rocked a Hamas training base in central Gaza Strip yesterday, killing two activists and wounding one, Palestinian medical officials said.

Oscar winner Paul Scofield passes away

British actor Paul Scofield, who won an Oscar for his role in "A Man For All Seasons," has died at the age of 86, his agent said yesterday.

Arts & Entertainment

“Je Shohor Chorabali”

The upcoming film Je Shohor Chorabali -- written and directed by Shubhashish -- features popular TV actor Rosy Siddiqui in the lead role. The artiste recently spoke to The Daily Star about her character in the film and her experiences in the course of filming.

Discovering Roma Das Gupta

My mother gets upset whenever she hears news of Suchitra Sen falling ill and undergoing treatment at some clinic. She reads three to four newspapers that week to get updates on the legendary screen diva's condition. I can sense she silently prays for her recovery and well-being. Why does she feel so strongly about Suchitra Sen? Is there an unknown bond between my mother and her? Not really, when 'Suchitra Sen', the 'Fist Lady of Bangla cinema' is concerned, but there was an undeniable bond between my mother and one Roma Sen Gupta from Pabna who moved to Calcutta (now Kolkata) during the Partition (1947).

"... I was hit on the head by a rolled out piece of paper!" --- Abida Sultana

Renowned singer Abida Sultana, also known as Shikha to her near and dear ones, recently took some time off from her busy schedule to have a brief chat with The Daily Star. The artiste can sing in multiple languages and has performed in the presence of several global personalities. Excerpts from the interview:

Learning the basics in mother language

A pre-primary school that will provide education in the mother language of the Garo children has been set up in Madhupur upazila, Tangail district -- the first institution of its kind in the region.

Theatre festival for the Old Dhaka audience

A nine-day theatre festival has been arranged jointly by Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) and Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation (BGTF) at the newly built Zahir Raihan Sanskritik Kendra at Loharpul, Sutrapur (Ward 82).

'Dol Purnima' celebration begins tomorrow

'Dol Purnima', the biggest celebration programme of the bauls, will be observed tomorrow at Chhewria, Kushtia. Followers of all of the ‘ghar' (guru-traditions or schools) of the mendicant sects will gather at the open ground opposite to the Lalon Academy Complex to take part in the three-day 'Dol Purnima' celebration, organised by Kushtia district authority in collaboration with the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.

Cheated by Oscar politics

While the Oscars is without doubt the grandest of all the awards ceremonies, it doesn't have the world stage to itself.

OP-ED

We need to get our facts straight

FOOD security is crucial for the survival of any country. Political, economic and social stability is jeopardised if food security is brought to the precipice. Starvation, death, and disorder follow. Governments, therefore, need to attach topmost priority to food security.

The greatest champion of women's rights

THE first person to advocate effectively the cause of women in history was, as it happens, a man, born not in Europe or America, not in the modern age, but in Arabia, in the sixth century. The first person to effectively champion and establish the rights and privileges of women was indeed the holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

The death of Christ and the message of reconciliation

WE live in a world where peace and reconciliation are most wanted. Man is alienated from God and his fellow beings. Reconciliation is harmony and peaceful co-existence and mutual trust. Jesus Christ sacrificed his life to atone for our sins, so that there is peace with God and also peace among men. The sacrifice of animals was inadequate for doing away with human sins. Theologian Philip Hughes observed: "A brute beast, by its very nature, is unqualified to serve as a substitute for man, the crown of God's creation."


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