The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Wednesday, July 30, 2014


News of: Saturday, 29th of March, 2008

Front Page

Offenders to get pardon at cost of polls ambition

The government is about to finalise a new law for launching the Truth and Accountability Commission to prevent corrupt persons from participating in any election and holding public offices and posts in financial organisations for five years without trial.

Tax holiday to 999 units makes positive impact

Tax holiday facilities to 999 industries in last two fiscal years have brought positive impact as production values were 30 times and export value 17 times more than the revenue losses due to the facilities, reveals a study by NBR.

FFs fought valiantly to free Bangladesh in ’71 war

Former chief of the Indian army's eastern command Lt Gen (retd) JFR Jacob yesterday said it was the freedom fighters’ gallantry that liberated Bangladesh from Pakistan occupation.

Bangladesh must learn to live thru’ climate change

Climate change is an issue of justice and security that poses a serious challenge to the country already faced with numerous problems, experts told a discussion yesterday.

Criminals steal 3,500 metal clips from rails in city

Trains to and from Dhaka early yesterday could have run into fatal accidents as criminals stole around 3,510 metal clips that tie rails to the sleepers between Banani and Cantonment railway stations in the city.

Rice supply crisis grips Asia

Philippine activists warn about possible riots. Aid agencies across Asia worry how they will feed the hungry. Governments dig deeper every day to fund subsidies.

Retailers fix prices of essentials at will

Retailers at different kitchen markets in the capital are charging prices of some essentials at will although the prices fell in the wholesale markets in the last two weeks.

3,000 Bangladeshis lead ‘slave life’ in Yemen

Around 3,000 Bangladeshis who were hired for jobs in Yemen are now working there in conditions close to indentured servitude.

Govt to take up dev projects in CHT: CA

Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed has said various projects will be taken up for the development of underprivileged tribal people of the CHT region with special emphasis on education.

Ex-state minister Tuku freed on parole for 4 hrs

Former state minister Iqbal Hasan Mahmood Tuku was yesterday released from Kashimpur jail on parole for four hours following death of his mother-in-law Mamjuda Chowdhury.

Try war criminals without delay

Leaders of Sector Commanders Forum and local freedom fighters yesterday demanded that the government begin the trial of the war criminals as soon as possible.

Injured Kajol dies at hospital

Jagannath University student Kajal Debnath, who received severe injuries during a clash between two groups of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) on the university campus on March 22, died at Rashmono Hospital in the city yesterday.

Accused dies in police custody

A man accused of murder reportedly committed suicide by hanging himself from the toilet ceiling of Mirpur Police Station early yesterday.

Keramat Ali of Bagerhat wins Channel i Krishi Padak

The farmers have been playing a vital role in building the country's economy by providing food since independence, but the nation is yet to recognise their contributions, speakers at a ceremony yesterday said.

B Chy says sorry for not bringing war criminals to book

Bikolpadhara Bangladesh President AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury yesterday sought apology for their failure to try the war criminals while he was part of the government.

Former Indian army veterans visit Comilla

The visiting former Indian army officers, who participated in Bangladesh's War of Independence in 1971, arrived here yesterday morning and visited different places.

Formation of body to review women policy protested

Samajik Protirodh Committee, a body comprising different women, human rights and development orgnisations, yesterday protested formation of a high-powered committee to review the National Women Policy 2008.

‘Time to expand ties beyond South Asia, Asean states’

Foreign Adviser Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury yesterday called for greater cooperation among Asian nations to foster development and peace, and establish a culture of pluralism.

Emon says he controlled most tenders in city

Criminal Sanjidul Islam Emon yesterday told the detectives that he and another dreaded criminal Tanvirul Islam Joy, now in West Bengal jail, had controlled most of the big tenders in the city during the rule of the BNP-led alliance government.

Birer Protyabartan opens today

A monument, commemorating the 37th anniversary of independence of the country, will be inaugurated at Badda in the city today.

Sehwag hits fastest triple-ton

India opener Virender Sehwag hit the fastest recorded triple-century in Test history -- in terms of balls faced -- on day three of the first Test against South Africa yesterday.

Prof Asaduzzaman passes away

Former chairman of University Grants Commission (UGC) Prof Mohammad Asaduzzaman died of cardiac arrest at Birdem Hospital yesterday morning. He was 60.

Angry N Korea tests short-range missiles

North Korea underscored its anger over South Korea's tough new stance toward the communist country with the test-firing of short-range missiles.

Maliki makes cash-for-arms offer to end Iraq fighting

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki offered Basra residents a cash-for-weapons deal on Friday to cut the arms flow to Shia militia in a bid to end violent clashes across Iraq that have cost more than 150 lives.

No famine in country: Aziz

Dismissing the claim by various quarters that a 'silent famine' is stalking through the country, Finance Adviser Dr Mirza Azizul Islam said the price of rice will come down after the harvest of Boro paddy.

Editorial

Pakistan at a historic crossroads

THIS is perhaps for the first time in Pakistan's troubled history that she is going through challenging moments of extreme danger as well as genuine opportunity to emerge as an arbiter of its own destiny solely based on the long cherished aspirations of her people. The new Pakistan prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani heading a coalition government of Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and Muslim League (Nawaz) has taken a clear direction for change setting the tone and tenor of his government at the earliest opportunity.

Highway police in name only

OUR highway networks, substantial as these are, have regrettably become not just accident-prone but also scenes of crime of different types, more perhaps at night than at day time. Ranging from traffic violations of overloading, speeding, overtaking and scuffles over fares through accidents and post-accident violence including clashes between transport operators and police, students and police and factory workers and police, nearly every kind of untoward incident happens on arterial network. The list of troubles is only growing with highway robbery, snatching, cheating by application of deadly potion, carriage of contrabands including purveying of small arms.

Strategic implications of water availability

I was going through a book the other day that deals specially with the potential global crisis related to the problem of right to water, the commodity which is as precious as clean air. The book, entitled 'Blue Covenant' is written by Maude Barlow, the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, chairperson of Food and Water Watch in the US and co-founder of the Blue Planet Project, which is instrumental in the international community in working for the right to water for all people.

Our parliament and parliamentarians

IN Bangladesh political process seems to have gone aground. Besides politicians, some people from other walks of life have been deliberating on the issue of electoral reforms to suit to a system of democracy that the country would like to practice. So far little progress appears to have been made. The Election Commission, on the other hand is organising to have dialogues with some of the political parties on certain issues which have not been clearly spelled out. There appears to be a lack of courage of conviction.

How long a populated area can remain water-logged?

BHOBODOHO is a small place in Jessore, accommodating ing of about 8,000 families. It was fertile like many other places of Bangladesh even a few years back. It had been yielding three crops of paddy a year, various vegetables during winter, fruits like mangoes, berries, jack-fruits during summer. The place used to be crowded with school-going children, market-going peasants, mosque and temple-bound worshippers. But currently the situation has reversed. Having been water-logged almost throughout the year ,no crops are harvested, no fruits, vegetables or even grass for cattle feeding are grown. Consequently there is every day shortage of food. The area used to grow Tk 80 crore worth of agricultural produce, this has dropped down awfully. Most of the dwellings being submerged by water, cooking food and eating it, collecting pure drinking water, washing clothes, taking bath etc have become difficult and unhygienic. Sanitation system has broken down completely.

Sports

Biman soaring high

Mashrafe Bin Mortaza came back to haunt his old club with a blazing half-century as Biman pulled off a comfortable 70-run victory over Abahani in the Premier Cricket League at the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday.

DOHS end MSC run

Mehrab Hossain led from the front as his struggling mid-table side Old DOHS upset title contenders Mohammedan Sporting Club by four wickets in yesterday's Premier Cricket League.

Bangladesh eye whitewash

Bangladesh women's cricket team play their fourth and final one-day match against Hong Kong at the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium today.

Hammam to start groundwork of artificial turf

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohamed Bin Hammam will lay the foundation stone of the artificial turf at the Arambagh 'Balur math' adjacent to the BFF Bhaban this afternoon.

Nazeef spearheads Bangladesh U-15s

Iftedar Nazeef Ahmed guided Bangladesh Under-15 team to a five-wicket win over Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) Under-15s in the first two-day match at Coochbehar, India yesterday.

GM Zia shares lead with two

Grandmaster Ziaur Rahman won the fifth round board against second ranked Armenian GM Smbat Lputian to share the lead along with two other players in the 3rd Kolkata Grandmaster Chess Tournament at the Gorky Sadan in Kolkata yesterday.

Sehwag plunders 309

Virender Sehwag smashed the fastest recorded triple century in history as India gave South Africa a dose of their own medicine in the first Test here on Friday.

'Sacking stirred me'

Virender Sehwag, who smashed the fastest recorded triple century in Test history on Friday, said his sacking from the India team in 2007 fired him up.

SL tour match cancelled

Sri Lanka's scheduled three-day tour match against West Indies 'A', planned for this weekend, was cancelled on Thursday because of flight problems.

Crunch time now

AS Roma travel to lowly Cagliari on Saturday knowing victory would put them within a point of leaders Inter Milan, for a few hours at least.

Battle for fourth spot

Liverpool head into the Merseyside derby at Anfield on Sunday (1500) knowing that victory would just about kill off Everton's hopes of Champions League football next season.

Signs bad for Trezeguet

Striker David Trezeguet's chances of securing a place in France's Euro 2008 squad were damaged on Wednesday after his teammates failed to provide him with any service during the 1-0 friendly win over England.

Real aim to end crisis

After losing five of their last eight games, Spanish leaders Real Madrid are determined to dispel talk of a crisis by beating Sevilla at home on Sunday (kickoff 1900 GMT).

Bayern's yardstick test

Bayern Munich have the chance to prove just how far they've come in 14 months under Ottmar Hitzfeld when they travel to face Nuremberg in Saturday's Bavarian derby.

'Ronaldinho's time is up'

Ronaldinho's time at Barcelona is at an end, according to the club's former coach Carles Rexach.

Italy still team to beat: Zoff

Despite Italy's 1-0 away defeat to Spain, former Azzurri international goalkeeper Dino Zoff insisted Thursday that the world champions will be the team to beat at Euro 2008.

Henin named WTA's best

Belgian world number one Justine Henin reaped yet another reward for her outstanding 2007 season on Thursday as she was named the WTA player of the year.

Mascherano admits FA's charge

Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano has admitted a Football Association charge of improper conduct and asked for a personal hearing, the FA said on Friday.

Podolski tired of the bench

Germany striker Lukas Podolski will consider his future at Bayern Munich once the season is over after getting fed up with his role as a substitute.

Pato delighted with debut

Teenage star Pato said Thursday he was delighted with his Brazil debut, where he scored the winner in a 1-0 success over Sweden in London on Wednesday.

Metz deducted point for racism

Ligue 1 bottom club Metz will be docked a point and must play a home match behind closed doors after a racist incident there last month, the French Professional Football League (LFP) said on Thursday.

Altintop out for the season

Turkey midfielder Hamit Altintop may miss June's Euro 2008 tournament after the Bayern Munich player underwent surgery for a foot injury on Thursday.

Local Snippets

Narinda Government High School will face Ansar and VDP School in the boys' final while Viqarunnissa Noon School meet Sunnydale in the girls' final of the 17th Bata School handball tournament today.

Warne calls time

Shane Warne will not return to play for Hampshire this season in a move that affectively signalled the end of the leg-spin legend's first-class career.

Racism blights int'l sport

Abuse directed at Grand Prix racer Lewis Hamilton in Spain and an ugly confrontation between the India and Australia cricket sides provide depressing evidence that racism continues to blight international sport.

Naved eligible to play

Pakistan pace bowler Rana Naved will be eligible to play for Yorkshire during the 2008 season, the English county announced on Thursday.

Sullivan sets trials alight

Australia's Eamon Sullivan headlined another night of top-class action as he swam to an astonishing second 50-metre freestyle record in as many days at the Australian Olympic trials here.

Gibbs arrested for drink-driving

South African opening batsman Herschelle Gibbs was arrested in the early hours of Friday morning for drink-driving in Cape Town, reports said on Friday.

'IPL could be rescheduled'

The chairman of the billion-dollar Twenty20 Indian Premier League series says he is prepared to move his season forward to accommodate England cricket's big names.

Pakistan want SA filler

Pakistan is aiming for a home or away Test cricket series against South Africa in October after Australia pulled out of a tour due to security fears, the country's cricket chief said.

Metropolitan

Rise of domestic entrepreneurs raises hope

A rise of domestic entrepreneurs, supported by cheap and young labour force, has created a hope for Bangladesh to become a middle-income country by the next decade, said the experts at a roundtable yesterday.

Muslim countries, Europeans condemn anti-Islam film

An anti-Islam film posted online by a far-right Dutch deputy drew fire yesterday from Muslims and European officials, and a call for calm from Muslims in The Netherlands fearing a violent response.

Invest in ICT sector

Bangladesh team at a country-showcasing event at the United Nations on Wednesday called for more investment in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector by global investors.

‘Expand JSC course in dists to ensure education for all’

Participants at a conference yesterday called for expanding Junior School Certificate (JSC) programme for disadvantaged students, who dropped out from regular education, in all districts with a view to ensure education for all by 2015.

'Meeting basic needs, life of dignity must be ensured'

Meeting the basic needs of the people and a life of dignity must be ensured before Bangladesh can be called a 'truly' middle-income country, development practitioners said at a roundtable yesterday.

Tk 3418 crore loss in land revenue for corruption

The government lost Tk 3417.60 crore in land revenue in last three decades due to alleged widespread corruption and irregularities at the 64 ADC (Revenue) offices across the country.

Mymensingh road crashes kill 5

Five people, including two children, were killed and 10 others injured in separate road accidents in the district in the last two days.

Embassy in Dhaka soon: Algerian envoy

Algeria is going to establish its embassy in Dhaka soon to further promote trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.

'CG should take no decision on offshore gas exploration'

Speakers at a discussion yesterday called on the caretaker government not to take any decision regarding the offshore exploration for oil and gas, saying that it has no jurisdiction to deal with the issues of natural resources.

40 NGOs receive Tk 52 lakh

Bangladesh NGO Foundation yesterday distributed Tk 52.5 lakh among 40 non-governmental organisations (NGOs), says a press release.

Dhaka condemns web posting of Dutch film on Quran

A spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned in the strongest terms the website posting of a film by a Dutch right-wing politician critical of the holy Quran.

ALRD lauds CA's speech on CHT

Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD) greeted the speech of the chief adviser about Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) and said the upcoming initiatives of the government will bring the CHT people in the main stream of the development.

Kashmir group wants graves opened to find 'disappeared'

A human rights group in Indian Kashmir called yesterday for a probe into whether nearly 1,000 unmarked graves held bodies of people who have "disappeared" in a deadly revolt in the region.

Bangladesh Scouts workshop held

A national workshop on strategic planning of Bangladesh Scouts was held yesterday at its headquarters at Kakrail in the city, says a press release.

Workers urged not to go to Kurdistan illegally

A spokesman for the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment yesterday made a strong appeal to Bangladeshi workers not to go to Kurdistan illegally.

5 homemade bombs seized in Chittagong

Police recovered five homemade bombs in an abandoned condition from Chan Mian Munsi Lane under Bakalia Police Station in Chittagong yesterday.

Iftekhar Husain full-fledged PIO

Iftekhar Husain has been promoted to full-fledged Principal Information Officer (PIO) of the Press Information Department (PID), says a PID handout.

Russia links help in Afghanistan to Nato expansion

Russia yesterday offered to come to the aid of Nato's hard-pressed forces in Afghanistan, Interfax news agency reported, but linked this to the alliance halting membership bids by ex-Soviet Georgia and Ukraine.

Wheelchairs for people with disability

Wheelchairs, the most important aid for the people with disability, will now be available at Dhaka Central Jail and domestic routes of a private airlines.

2 more Probashi Kalyan Desk in Ctg, Sylhet

Foreign Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury yesterday said two more 'Probashi Kalyan Desk' (expatriate welfare desk) will be opened at Chittagong and Sylhet International Airport soon.

BBC Bangladesh Sanglap today

The fifth edition of the special series of BBC Bangladesh Sanglap titled 'Trade and Investment' will be held at the Theatre Institute Auditorium in Chittagong today.

National

Half of Daillah Lake in Khagrachhari grabbed

The 15-acre government Daillah lake in Matiranga is shrinking fast as land grabbers are constructing buildings and makeshift structures by filling it up.

Labour of love for 'life saving embankment'

Over 15 thousand people of 34 villages under Barhatta upazila in Netrakona district are giving voluntary service to construct a seven-kilometre long embankment on the bank of River Kongsa.

Journo held in 'false' case in Rajshahi

Police in Durgapur upazila yesterday arrested a local journalist, allegedly implicating him in a false robbery case.

'Protect consumers' rights'

Speakers at a discussion yesterday urged the caretaker government to formulate stringent laws to protect the rights of consumers.

Voters decline in Barisal city

The number of voters in Barisal City Corporation (BCC) has declined by 39,632.

Expats urged to invest in stock market

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Faruque Ahmed Siddiqi yesterday said non-resident Bangladeshis, who have been contributing greatly to our national economy, can easily get involved in the country's stock market.

100 hurt in nor'wester

At least 100 people were injured in a nor'wester that tore down 600 houses in 15 villages in Juri upazila in the district Thursday afternoon.

Fire at Eco Park near Jamuna Bridge

A fire burnt a number of trees and plants at the Eco Park on the western side of Jamuna Bridge in Sirajganj yesterday.

International

No meddling to save Musharraf, says US

A senior US envoy promised Thursday that Washington would not interfere in Pakistan's politics to save longtime ally President Pervez Musharraf, but he was cautious on the new government's hopes to talk peace with pro-Taliban forces.

Arab leaders gather for low-turnout summit

Almost half of Arab leaders are boycotting a weekend summit hosted by Syria, an Arab League official said on Friday, as US allies snub Damascus over the political crisis in Lebanon.

Baghdad's highway of death takes on new life

Sales in Baghdad of peaked caps boasting "I survived Route Irish" have slumped as reaching the capital's international airport is no longer the perilous dash it used to be.

US 'fully prepared' to move forward on Indian N-deal

The US has said it was "fully prepared" to move forward on the civilian nuclear agreement with India once New Delhi takes a decision on domestic political issues related to it.

Pakistan for resolution of Kashmir issue

Pakistan will move forward to resolve the Kashmir issue with India through a peaceful dialogue and the nation's new government will continue confidence-building measures initiated by the previous regime, Pakistan People's Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari said on Friday.

Dalai Lama appeals for talks with Beijing

The Dalai Lama appealed to China yesterday to enter into "meaningful dialogue" over the crisis in Tibet, and asserted he did not want to undermine the Beijing Olympics and was not seeking independence.

26 killed in Lanka fighting

Twenty-six people, including two civilians, were killed in new fighting in civil war-wracked Sri Lanka, the military said yesterday.

Taliban attack anti-drugs police: 12 dead

Taliban rebels attacked a counter-narcotics police force in western Afghanistan on Friday, triggering a fierce clash that left 10 militants and two police dead, a governor said.

Hillary, Obama vow Democrats will unite

Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have vowed the Democratic Party will heal its wounds, whoever wins their toxic White House race, and unite to thwart Republican John McCain.

Israeli minister reveals new attempts to revive talks with Syria

Israel is seeking to revive peace talks with Syria which have been stalled for eight years, a senior Israeli minister said on Friday.

Climate change now a UN human rights issue

Climate change is now officially a human rights issue, as the UN Human Rights Council on Friday passed a resolution on the subject, recognising that the world's poor are particularly vulnerable.

Human ancestor fossil found in Europe

A small piece of jawbone unearthed in a cave in Spain is the oldest known fossil of a human ancestor in Europe and suggests that people lived on the continent much earlier than previously believed, scientists say.

Two Pak agents on al-Qaeda trail shot dead

Unidentified gunmen shot dead two Pakistani intelligence agents involved in tracking down al-Qaeda militants in the troubled port city of Karachi, officials said Friday.

Nepal royals took money from conservation fund: Official

Nepal's royal family allegedly took cash from a nature conservation fund to pay for foreign trips, lavish parties and health check-ups abroad for family members, a report charged on Friday.

Dempsey to become Central Command chief

One of the Army's most Iraq-savvy generals is taking charge, at least temporarily, of arguably the most important command in the US military, with responsibility for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

BA struggles to ease chaos at new Heathrow terminal

British Airways cancelled more flights Friday from Heathrow airport's expensive new terminal the day after a disastrous launch, but warned of more disruption as the airline's boss said sorry to passengers.

Gates orders inventory of US nukes

Defence Secretary Robert Gates has ordered a full inventory of all nuclear weapons and related materials after the mistaken delivery of ballistic missile fuses to Taiwan, the Pentagon said Thursday.

Thai PM warns of coup plot

Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said yesterday he had been warned of a coup plot against his government, but refused to say who was scheming against him.

US sees 'excellent' ties with Taiwan under new leader

The head of the US representative office in Taiwan said yesterday he was confident of "excellent" relations with its incoming president but gave no word on whether he would be granted a Washington visit.

Nepal to place soldiers on Everest to prevent Tibet protests

Nepal is to deploy soldiers on its side of Mount Everest to prevent pro-Tibet protests when China carries the Olympic torch to the summit in early May, officials told AFP yesterday.

Arts & Entertainment

Ripples in a western pond

Come April, over sixty paintings by thirty-one renowned Bangladeshi artists will go on show in Brussels, in the heart of Europe. Credit goes to the efforts of the EC Delegation to Bangladesh, in conjunction with the Bengal Gallery.

Independence Day celebration at Shilpakala Academy

A discussion and cultural programme was arranged by Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) on the occasion of the 37th Independence Day. The event was held at the National Music and Dance Centre of the academy.

Window to the world

The first International Children's Film Festival was held in Dhaka in January 2008 with an objective to open up a new world of cinema to the children of Bangladesh and to give them an exposure to the cultures and traditions of different countries. The festival was organised by the Children's Film Society Bangladesh. After getting an impressive positive response from the young audience, a decision was taken to organise a 'Travelling Film Festival for Children'. The event titled "Travelling Children's Film festival for a Beautiful Tomorrow" was held in Khagrachhari from March 19 to 21, according to a press release.

Discussion and cultural programme at IER, Dhaka University

On the occasion of the Independence Day, Institute of Education and Research (IER), Dhaka University arranged a discussion and cultural programme at the department on March 27. The students of IER staged the Munier Chowdhury play Kabor at the programme.

Mahanagar Natyotshab '08

The ongoing Mahanagar Natyotshob '08 at the newly built Zahir Raihan Sanskritik Kendra has become a source of recreation for the residents of Old Dhaka. Each day a sizeable audience is enjoying theatre performances at the festival jointly organised by the Dhaka City Corporation and Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation.

"Zahir Raihan Sanskritik Kendra is a successful project” – Chief Engineer of DCC

Chief Engineer of Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) Colonel M. Ashfaqul Islam is the convenor of the ongoing Mahanagor Natyotshob '08. The festival is being held at the newly built Zahir Raihan Sanskritik Kendra.

OP-ED

Politics and the lure of lucre

The high profile criminal cases of corruption lodged against a number of our political heavyweights perhaps demonstrate that the minds of many public leaders have impoverished on account of single-minded pursuit of money. It appears that such relentless pursuit has also desiccated their heart. The malaise seems to be not only persistent but also prone to aggravation.

Putting people first . . .

The historian Arnold Toynbee said the twentieth century would be remembered not for political conflicts or technical inventions, but as an age when people dared to think of the health of the whole human race as a practical objective.

Should we import teachers?

It may surprise many if not all, to know that acute crisis of experienced and qualified teachers in Bangladesh will soon necessitate import of teachers. M. Saifur Rahman who enjoyed longest tenure as Finance Minister, predicted such a possibility in a London assembly of Bangladeshi citizens in the early part of the last four party alliance government. He made this statement out of disgust in the face of serious shortage of English teachers in the country resulting in dearth of Bangladeshis who could communicate fluently in English required for employment prospects in the United Kingdom. With the passage of time and continued negligence of our policy makers at the helm of affairs, the crisis has deepened further bringing it to the present impasse, which draws serious attention to the non availability of teachers of Mathematics and Science subjects also. To speak the truth, even teachers who can teach Bangla with correct pronunciation and adequate knowledge in the subject, have also become rare now.

Environment

Climate change threatens plant diversity in Bangladesh

Forests cover one third of the earth's surface and estimation is that more than two thirds of all available terrestrial species are found in the forests. Bangladesh also supports a wealth of plant diversity and is located in transition of two mega-biodiversity hot spots of Indo-Malayan region. The country has been endowed with rich plant diversity because of its fertile alluvial land, warm and humid climate. More than 5,700 angiosperm species and several sub-species are available in Bangladesh. The diverse agro-ecological (30 agro-ecological zones) regions or the 12 Bio-ecological zones of the country have sustained rich genetic resources of crop plants, which are unique to this country. The forest of Bangladesh covers approximately 2.60 million ha which is about 17.62 percent of the land area of the country. Of these, the hills consist of moist tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, which extend from northeast to southeast of the country. The forests are generally uneven-aged and multistoried with the valuable tropical species of Dipterocarpus turbinatus, D. alatus, D. costatus, Swintonia floribunda, Aphanamaxis polystachya, Artocarpus chaplasha, Tetrameles nudiflora, Duabanga grandifolia and Pterygota alata. The understorey is a tangle of shrubs, creepers, climbers, ferns and orchids. The species were adapted to the different ecosystems after a long successional process.

Conserving the Sundarban tigers

The tiger is arguably the most magnificent and recognized of all animals, but is facing a very real risk of extinction in the wild. As human populations continue to soar, the tiger's forest home has reduced to about 7 percent of its former extent. This severe habitat destruction as well aspoaching and prey depletion has reduced tiger numbers to probably less than 5,000 worldwide. In Bangladesh, this same forest destruction means that less than 10 percent of the country remains forested and the Sundarbans makes up around half the remainder. The Sundarbans ecosystem is essential for human existence, supplying oxygen, absorbing greenhouse gases, regulating weather patterns, protecting the country from cyclones and securing sources of fish, golpatta, wood and honey. The tiger is an integral part of the Sundarbans ecosystem and its protection will also secure the protection of its forest home. The tiger is also the national symbol of Bangladesh and often referred to in the country's literature. Conserving the tiger both in its own right and as guardian of the Sundarbans, will therefore preserve a cultural icon and help protect humans and their livelihoods. So, if we understand the tiger's importance and the threats it faces then why do tiger numbers continue to plummet, and what can we do about it?

Literature

Shanta

It was a deafening roar. The fighter planes thundered by close to the rooftops, then it was quiet for a few minutes and then it started all over again. For a few muddled moments the silence sounded as loud as the roars. Shanta pulled her shawl closer and covered her ears without knowing what she was trying to muffle: the deafening roar or the steely December silence.

Talking With Vassanji in Toronto

M G Vassanji, who describes himself as an Indo-African Canadian writer, was born in Kenya on 30 May, 1950. Being of Indian descent, raised in an Indian-African community in Tanzania and having studied in the US, several languages and cultures have contributed to the making of the man and the author. In 1989, with the publication of his first novel, The Gunny Sack, he wound up a career in nuclear physics. He was awarded the Giller prize twice in 1994 for his The Book of Secrets, and for In-Between World of Vikram Lall in 2003. His most recent novel The Assassin's Song was published in 2007. His other works include novels No New Land (1991), Amriika (1999) and two short story collections: Uhuru Street (1992), and When She Was Queen (2005).

Dhaka Memories

It's been a little more than five months since I have been back from Dhaka and with the passage of time Bangladesh is ceasing to be a place, a geographical location, a physical reality which I can point in the map and exclaim “I have been here,” because I am no longer sure any more whether I have really been there. Feeling like a deserted lover, Bangladesh haunts me, creeps upon me when I least expect it, in the most unlikely of ways in the reflection of a woman's sunglass, in the tinkle of a certain laughter, in the rear view of a car, in the folds of a billowing shalwar, in the act of crossing roads, or in the columns of cigarette smoke. Abruptly out of nowhere bits and parts of experience rise in front of me, like sudden flashes of déjà vu, mingle with the sense, smell, din, traffic roar, twittering bird, thuk-thuk of keyboard keys, television volume, suffuse with the teeny-tiny particles floating in the air and play out its course. I pause, and become a mute witness, while deep, very deep in my heart something stirs.

Star Health

Coping with sufferings before menstruation

Mood swings, tender breasts, a swollen abdomen, food cravings, fatigue, irritability and depression ... ... if you experience some or all of these problems in days before your menstruation, better known as monthly period, you may have premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Tuberculosis: Global emergency and our national priority

Tuberculosis (TB) has been a major public health problem for centuries. It is a leading infectious disease that represents more than a quarter of the world’s preventable deaths. Increase in the incidence of TB in the developing countries and its re-emergence in the developed world led the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare TB as a global emergency in 1993.

Vegan diet may help ease rheumatoid arthritis: study

A gluten-free vegan diet full of nuts, sunflower seeds, fruit and vegetables appears to offer protection against heart attacks and strokes for people with rheumatoid arthritis, Swedish researchers said.

Metformin may delay diabetes onset in those at risk

In people who are at risk of developing diabetes, treatment with metformin (an oral drug used in the treatment of diabetes) leads to modest improvements in weight, lipid (fat) profiles and fasting blood sugar. In addition, substantial reductions in insulin resistance, a condition that usually precedes diabetes, are seen, as well as the actual development of diabetes, according to a large review of published studies on this topic.

Raw-scam in pharma industry raises safety scare

Recently China has identified a contaminant in batches of blood-thinner heparin supplied by a U.S.-owned plant in China for export to the United States that has been linked to serious reactions and deaths.

Teens turn deaf ear to risks of MP3 players

Teenagers seem to know that loud music can damage their hearing, yet most see no reason to lower the volume on their iPods, a small study suggests.

"Jibon Kheya"

Fozilot Khatun (in the photo) of Horina village of Chandpur had been suffering from breast cancer undiagnosed. She got admitted in the newly inaugurated 4-bed unit named “Jibon Kheya” at Japan Bangladesh Friendship Hospital (JBFH) in the capital from a health camp jointly organised by JBFH and Channel i.

Strategic Issues

Endless negotiations, deterrence and balance of fear

The Israeli security doctrine is currently in a total deadlock. The last Israeli incursion into Gabalia, in the northern part of Gaza, failed to achieve its goals. The Israeli government has realized the ineffectiveness of using its arms capabilities in civilian areas. The limited Israeli penetration caused 130 Palestinian casualties of which two-thirds were civilians.

Iraq war: Victims and villains

Most wars have heroes, victims and villains. Not the Iraq War. It has no heroes, only victims and villains. The war's fifth anniversary on 19 March 2008 is a good time to examine who these are.

Japan voices concern over China space program

TOKYO - A Japanese defense ministry think-tank has warned that China's space program could pose a military threat to other countries.

Changed scenario in Pakistan and Kashmir

The events of 9/11 and the subsequent American "war on terror" brought a perceptible shift in the course of Pakistan's foreign policy, evident from its volte face, particularly in its relations with its immediate neighbourhood. President Gen. Pervaiz Mushharaf is credited as the doyen of the gradual change in Pakistan's traditional Kashmir policy. He has always talked about finding an "out of the box solution", besides meeting India "half-way" in order to carve out a solution to this chronic problem. Accordingly he drew up a "four-point formula" which created a stir in the valley and bisected the separatist camp - one supporting it and the other opposing it.

Star Books Review

A poetic soul nourished by geography

Khondakar Ashraf Hossain is perhaps the finest voice on the literary horizon of Bangladesh, particularly in the field of poetic activity, at the present time. He has made his mark on the literary scene as a Bengali poet and has published several volumes of Bengali poems. On Behula's Raft is his first collection of English poems written on a kaleidoscopic variety of themes. Although the poems are written in English, Ashraf Hossain does not claim to be an English poet. His soul, as he says in the preface to this volume, is nourished and nurtured by the alluvial soil of Bangladesh the lush green countryside with clusters of boats sailing on the river, hosts of plants and flowers dancing in the breeze, the twittering of birds in the sky have always been a source of inspiration for his poetic creativity.

History taken with a pinch of salt

The title of the novel is a most fascinating one, particularly to a reader who is a Bengali in spirit. The title sends out vibrations of musical elements to one's images. It is a family saga based on stories and events that actually had happened over a long period of time dating back roughly to 1950 and ending sometime in early 1971. The locale is the then East Pakistan where the father, an ICS officer, was posted in various places both small and relatively big, raising a family of six children along with his hardy and well-educated wife. Also part of the family was Nanibibi who was looked upon as a much dependable person, particularly by the children as they grew up.

The general in his own eyes

Military governments or army-driven governments usually erupt in poorer countries. They even try to rule in countries that are at break-even point vis-a-vis prosperity. They do not have a chance in countries like the United Kingdom, the United States or even Saudi Arabia --- nations that have already become prosperous and where the 'poverty' jargon does not work any longer for the ruling class.

A leader's story

There have been, since 15 August 1975, several attempts by different authors to write a meaningful biography of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Unfortunately, they have been either fragmentary or superficial. In most cases, the treatment of the subject and his era were also not comprehensive.

At A Glance

Fault Lines
Stories of 1971
Eds. Niaz Zaman, Asif Farrukhi
The University Press Limited

An invaluable collection of short stories based on the 1971 Bangladesh War, this work is simply an eye opener. For history buffs all across the South Asian subcontinent, a new and positive understanding of a tumultuous period in the region is what these stories promise. Each story is a gripping read.


The Daily Star

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