The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Friday, August 22, 2014


News of: Friday, 4th of April, 2008

Front Page

Gas crisis to upset bid to ease outage

The government's bid to drastically reduce the unbearable load shedding by adding 900 megawatts of power to the national grid in the next few months may be upset as Petrobangla is not yet ready to supply the gas needed to run these power plants, says a top power ministry source.

Rice deal with Delhi signed

Bangladesh yesterday signed an agreement with four Indian state-owned agencies on importing the remaining 4 lakh tonnes of rice out of the 5 lakh tonnes at $430 per tonne.

Court defers hearing as Hasina falls sick

The Special Court dealing with the barge-mounted power plant graft case against detained former premier Sheikh Hasina and seven others yesterday adjourned the arraignment hearing until April 7 as Hasina's health condition deteriorated inside the courtroom.

List of 1,597 war criminals released

War Crimes Facts Finding Committee (WCFFC), a research organisation, yesterday unveiled a list of 1,597 war criminals responsible for the mass killings, rapes and other atrocities during the Liberation War.

Huda handed 12yrs for ill-gotten wealth

A special court yesterday sentenced former BNP communications minister Nazmul Huda to 12 years' imprisonment on charges of concealing wealth information in his statement submitted to the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) and illegally amassing wealth.

EC lags behind reform roadmap

The Election Commission (EC) could not complete electoral reforms in over a year, raising doubts if it would be able to have the political parties registered by June as per its time frame.

Truth Commission should not spare any 'particular party,' says ACC chief

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Chairman Lt Gen (retd) Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury said yesterday the proposed Truth Commission should not have any scope to spare any 'particular party' in its operation, and that must be ensured through law.

Only MPs have right to stay in Nam flats

A number of former Awami League, BNP and Jatiya Party lawmakers yesterday said only the elected legislators have the right to stay in the Nam flats as those are parliament property.

Deal on Dhaka-Kolkata rail service by Apr 14

Bangladesh and India yesterday finalised all technical issues including schedules and fare for the Dhaka-Kolkata passenger train service ahead of its scheduled launching on April 14.

Food adviser rules out possibility of famine

Food and Disaster Management Adviser AMM Shawkat Ali yesterday ruled out any possibility of a famine in the country, saying the prevailing situation can at best be described as an increase in “hidden hunger”.

Govt calls for austerity in power, gas use

The government called on the people yesterday to observe austerity in electricity and gas consumption in view of the prevailing power generation shortfall.

Iftekhar urges rich nations to rein in rising food prices

Foreign Affairs Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury Wednesday urged the food-surplus developed countries to do more to rein in the rising food prices.

Concern over arbitrary price hike of local newsprint

Newspapers Owners Association of Bangladesh (Noab) and Bangladesh Sangbadpatra Parishad (BSP) have expressed deep concern over the arbitrary increase of the price of newsprint by local manufactures Shahjalal Newsprint of Bashundhara Group and Capital Newsprint.

Govt to take $217.7m from IMF to offset pressure on BoP

Bangladesh is taking a $217.7 million loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stave off pressure on its balance of payments (BoP) from high import prices.

Celebrating Life

Standard Chartered Bank and The Daily Star yesterday jointly launched a contest styled “Celebrating Life” on short documentary and fiction films, photography and lyrics to encourage new talents and project a better image of Bangladesh.

CID allowed to probe role of Khaleda, Nizami

Criminal Investigation Department (CID) yesterday received permission to probe the case filed by a victim against detained former premier Khaleda Zia, her son Tarique Rahman, Jamaat chief Matiur Rahman Nizami and 25 others for the grenade attack on an Awami League (AL) rally on August 21, 2004.

Atiqullah Khan jailed for 13yrs

A special court dealing with corruption cases yesterday sentenced editor of the daily Janakantha Atiqullah Khan Masud to 13 years' imprisonment for amassing wealth illegally and concealing information in his wealth statement submitted to the ACC.

AL, BNP welcome dialogue

The Awami League and the BNP yesterday welcomed the government-sponsored dialogue to be held this month, which aims at holding the general election in a free, fair and credible manner.

WB for global fight against hunger

The World Bank yesterday called on the international community to mount a wide-ranging fight against hunger as skyrocketing food prices critically threaten the world's poor.

250 industries asked to cut gas usage

The Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited has requested around 250 industries to cut gas usage from 6:00pm to 11:00pm.

Delhi signs transport deal with Yangon

India and Myanmar Wednesday signed an agreement for India's investment of $130 million to develop a multi-modal transport project in western Myanmar enhancing connectivity between the two countries.

N Korea cuts contacts with South amid rising tensions

North Korea announced yesterday it was suspending all dialogue with South Korea and closing the border to Seoul officials, its toughest action in a week of growing cross-border tensions.

UN enemy of Islam, says al-Qaeda No 2

al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri launched a blistering attack on the United Nations Wednesday calling it the enemy of Islam and Muslims in an online audiofile.

Editorial

The Truth Commission

The government has its rationale behind the setting up of a proposed Truth and Accountability Commission. As the draft Voluntary Disclosure Ordinance 2008 notes, the length of the normal legal process as well as the associated backlog has necessitated the establishment of such a commission. While we understand the argument, we also must note that the commission, once it is in place, will function for only six months. Our question now is rather simple: what happens once the Truth and Accountability Commission is no longer in existence? Let us stretch the thought. There may well be a number of cases the commission may not have time to deal with. Does that mean that while some people accused of corruption go free once they have confessed to their crimes before the commission, others will go through the normal legal process only because the commission will have ceased to exist?

Power supply goes erratic

We are not into the summer yet, but the old problem is back to cause us misery again. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the people to bear with load-shedding, the situation made worse for the students who are taking the SSC exams. And the problem is not restricted to the capital only but has also affected almost the entire country.

Our milkman paradox

One of the many dilemmas of democracy is whether it works better bottom up or top down, and one more time it looks like it will be dictated from the bully pulpit of a few wise men. Sit tight and wait for the coming attractions. The Truth Commission is going to break box-office record. We are told that the National Security Council is also ready for release. Hold your horses, ladies and gentlemen! It's coming soon to a theater near you.

On corruption and inflation

Few days back, I was watching an interview of an owner of a jewelry shop in old Dhaka on a private TV channel. To cut a long story short, the shop owner could not produce any documents related to his purchase of gold for a business with a turnover of several crores of Takas each year.

A possible new war in the Middle East

I have just read a disturbing report in the Economist (March 15-21). Writing on Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza on Israeli border towns and Israel's recent mini- invasion of Gaza in which it killed more than 120 Palestinians, the Economist commented that "there are serious people in the region and the wider world who think the Gaza skirmishes could at any moment provoke a full many-fronted war, involving not just Israel and the Palestinians but Lebanon, Syria and, indirectly, Iran as well."

Sports

Biman above all

As expected, Bangladesh Biman finished on top of the Premier League table on the concluding day of the competition's first phase yesterday but not the easy way.

Kutub new BOA secy gen

Kutubuddin Ahmed had the last laugh in the election of the Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) yesterday when the councillors chose him to be the secretary-general of the country's Olympic committee.

India Steyn-gunned

Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers consolidated South Africa's position with half-centuries after Dale Steyn sparked a sensational Indian collapse in the second Test here on Thursday.

Usha sign 9 players

The ten out of 11 national hockey players who did not find any team during last week's Premier League transfers, were finally signed by two clubs yesterday.

National Sports Awards to be given Apr 8

The prestigious National Sports Awards for 2007 will be handed over to 10 sports personalities of the country at a function at the Osmani Memorial Hall on April 8.

Women's v'ball from today

The 11th Inter-district women's volleyball tournament will begin today at the Dhaka Volleyball Stadium.

Shoaib sued for $3m

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) sued paceman Shoaib Akhtar for 200 million rupees (three million dollars) on Thursday for making allegedly defamatory comments after he was banned for five years.

Indians were scared: Dale

Young South African speedster Dale Steyn yesterday added insult to injury for the Indian team claiming the home team's batsmen panicked after losing a couple of early wickets and lacked a proper game plan.

'He can't play IPL'

Pakistan's banned fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar will not be allowed to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) until his suspension is lifted, league chairman Lalit Modi said on Thursday.

Fenerbahce stun Chelsea

Fenerbahce midfielder Deivid went from zero to hero as his side came from behind to beat Chelsea 2-1 in Wednesday's Champions League quarterfinal, first leg.

L'pool frustrate Gunners

A moment of genius from Steven Gerrard gave Liverpool the narrowest of advantages in their Champions League quarterfinal tie with Arsenal after a pulsating first leg at the Emirates finished 1-1 on Wednesday.

Euro 2008 Briefs

The 2008 European football championship in brief:
FOOTBALL AND CRYSTAL BALLS
The winners of Euro 2008 are already known, two months before the first kick-off - according to one Austrian fortune teller. Rosalinde Haller, who accurately predicted the 2004 Asian tsunami, says that Italy will win this year's trophy after defeating Portugal in the final. Croatia and France will reach the semis, while Germany will go out in the quarters. But these results could still change "with a little physical and mental training," according to Haller. Don't place your bets yet!

'Leave him alone'

Barcelona's three-time African Footballer of the Year Samuel Eto'o on Wednesday urged the media to stop speculating about the leg muscle problem that has caused his teammate Ronaldinho to miss the club's last four Spanish league matches.

Vidic blow for MU

Manchester United have lost the services of Serbian centreback Nemanja Vidic for up to three weeks following the knee injury he suffered during Tuesday's Champions League win over Roma.

Penalty decision puzzles Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he could not understand why Dutch referee Pieter Vink did not award his side a penalty against Liverpool in Wednesday's 1-1 draw in the Champions League quarterfinals.

Jarolim gets 4-match ban

Czech international David Jarolim has been slapped with a four-match ban by Bundesliga disciplinary chiefs after he was ruled to have squeezed an opponent's genitals.

FA punishes Mascherano

Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano was given an additional two-match ban and fined 15,000 pounds ($29,800) by the English FA on Thursday following his sending off against Manchester United on March 23.

Barca dismiss Rijkaard exit talks

Spanish giants Barcelona have denied they will replace their under-fire Dutch coach Frank Rijkaard at the end of the season.

Diane earns PSG win

A goal by second-half substitute Aruna Diane gave Paris Saint Germain a 1-0 win over fellow strugglers Strasbourg here on Wednesday and was enough to see the League Cup winners move out of the bottom three.

'PCB should be sacked'

Former captain Imran Khan called Thursday on the new Pakistani government to disband the country's cricket board after it banned fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar for five years.

Media concern over IPL

Two weeks before its launch, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has raised a potential controversy by placing unprecedented demands on media organisations planning to cover the tournament, including a regulation that prevents photographs appearing on news websites.

Lorgat set for ICC job

The International Cricket Council (ICC) appears to have taken a huge step forward in appointing a new chief executive with Haroon Lorgat, the former convenor of Cricket South Africa's selection committee, accepting an official offer to take up the job.

'Match-fixing is a cancer'

Asian Football Confederation chief Mohamed bin Hammam on Thursday called match-fixing a "cancer" that is destroying the game after an illegal approach to players in Singapore.

Nadal enters semis

World number two Rafael Nadal rallied for a three-set victory Wednesday over James Blake to book his semifinal berth at the ATP and WTA Sony Ericsson Open.

Liam breaks 50m backstroke WR

British swimmer Liam Tancock broke the 50 metres backstroke world record of 24.47 seconds at the British Olympic trials in Sheffield here on Wednesday.

Dhumketu's 2nd win in a row

Dhumketu recorded a hard-fought 69-60 in against Bangladesh Police in yesterday's Independence Day Basketball Tournament at the Dhanmondi basketball gymnasium.

Malik can now travel

Disgraced former Pakistan captain Salim Malik, serving a life ban for alleged match-fixing, has got some reprieve after his name was removed from the exit control list which prevented him from travelling abroad.

Akhtar claims he received bribe offers

Banned fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar claims he was offered cash to underperform in matches in South Africa and India, but he refused to take part in any match-fixing.

'My demotion wasn't wrong'

Chris Gayle has rejected suggestions from Sri Lanka that his drop down the order in the first Test was a negative move, but he has refused to say where he will bat in the final match.

Business

Industry, banks row over rates escalates

Corporate Bangladesh has lambasted commercial banks for not delivering on their promises to reduce lending rates and charges on services.

Govt loses Tk 5 crore on BCFCC mismanagement

The government incurred a loss of around Tk 5 crore in the last four years besides missing out an opportunity to make a bigger profit on leasing out the Bangladesh China Friendship Conference Centre (BCFCC) to the Agrabad Accom-Consortium Ltd. (AACL), a sister concern of the financial scam-ridden Orion Group.

Mittal wants to develop $500m township in Ctg

UK-based Mittal is exploring a $ 500-million investment in Chittagong. It plans to develop a coastal township along the Bay of Bengal, which could house residential and industrial blocks besides having its own airstrip and shallow port.

Business costs increase on constant power outages

Businesspeople say doing business in Dhaka's major commercial hubs now costs much on extra consumption of diesel in generators to run corporate offices because of frequent power outage.

Lanka banks on Myanmar rice

Sri Lanka's trade minister said Thursday he will travel to Myanmar at the weekend to negotiate terms for the import of as much as 100,000 tonnes of rice in the coming year.

Direct credit of IPO refunds now

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday made it mandatory for bankers to a public issue to refund IPO funds by directly crediting the applicants' bank account from now. This, it said, would not only stop the use of fake bank account numbers in IPOs, but also expedite the refund process.

Dhaka goes to Hollywood

It took the intervention of James Bond actor Sean Connery, but now the label “Made in Bangladesh” appears on some of the most gruesome make-up products used by Hollywood and on film sets and theatres around the globe.

Wedding gold loses its glitter

Zaman looked very uneasy in the jewelry shop on Thursday evening, but his daughter Joya assured him that she would be happy whatever the amount of gold he managed to buy her to wear in her wedding ceremony.

Full steam ahead for Vietnam port boom

Japanese naval destroyers making a port call, untold numbers of containers waiting to be unloaded -- and tourists piling out of their cruise ships in the middle of it all.

Lack of policy support puts power transmission equipment makers in trouble

Bangladesh's power transmission equipment makers, who hold one-fourth of domestic market, struggle to stay competitive due to lack of policy support.

Possibilities of micro-credit expansion in Russia discussed

Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus met the Deputy Premier of Russian Federation AD Zhukov and discussed the possibilities for expanding and strengthening of micro-credit in Russia on Wednesday.

Businesspeople for Saarc common market

Saarc countries should aim for a greater intra-regional cooperation and strive to create a common market such as European Union (EU) to develop a stronger regional economy, business leaders of Bangladesh and India told a meeting here yesterday.

Tax ombudsman submits annual report

Annual Report for the year 2007 of the Tax Ombudsman's office was submitted to President Professor Dr Iajuddin Ahmed in Dhaka yesterday.

Ahsania Mission handicraft project's 2nd outlet opens

Nogordola, an innovative handicraft and handloom project of Dhaka Ahsania Mission, spread its wings with Wednesday's inauguration of its second city outlet marking its second year of establishment.

Asian stocks close mostly higher

Asian stocks closed mostly higher on Thursday amid improving hopes for the United States subprime housing industry but prospects of a US recession continued to weigh on sentiment.

IIDFC okays 25pc stock Dividend

Industrial and Infrastructure Development Finance Company Limited (IIDFC) has approved a 25 percent stock dividend for its shareholders for the year 2007.

United Leasing declares cash, bonus share dividends

United Leasing Company Limited has declared a cash dividend of Tk 20 per share and one bonus share for every 10-share for the shareholders for the year 2007.

Shinepukur Ceramics gets nat’l export trophy

Shinepukur Ceramics Ltd has received National Export Trophy (Gold) for achieving highest export of ceramic tableware from Bangladesh in the 2002-03 fiscal.

Dollar crawls higher ahead of US jobs data

The dollar edged higher against the euro and the yen in Asian trade on Thursday on the eve of a key monthly US jobs report.

Dollar crawls higher ahead of US jobs data

The dollar edged higher against the euro and the yen in Asian trade on Thursday on the eve of a key monthly US jobs report.

Bernanke says recession possible, defends Bear Stearns move

Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke acknowledged Wednesday a US recession may have begun and defended the rescue of investment firm Bear Stearns as a move to avert a potential economic calamity.

Privatization of major US airport attracts foreign interest

Foreign investors are lining up to bid to operate Chicago's Midway International Airport, the first major US airport to be privatized under a federal initiative launched more than a decade ago.

Motorola to shut Singapore mobile phone plant

Struggling US telecom giant Motorola will close its mobile phone manufacturing plant in Singapore as part of the company's 500-million US dollar global cost cutting exercise, it said Thursday.

Metropolitan

StanChart, Daily Star launch film, photo, lyrics contest

Standard Chartered Bank and The Daily Star jointly launched a contest styled 'Celebrating Life' on film, photography and lyrics to encourage new talents and project a better image of Bangladesh by highlighting its natural beauty and cultural heritage.

'Help autistic children lead normal life'

Speakers at a discussion called upon all to be aware of autism and come forward to help autistic children lead normal life.

Jonojuddho cadre killed

A rival party cadre of outlawed Jonojuddho, one of the factions of Purbo Banglar Communist Party (PBCP-ML), was slaughtered

Road crashes kill seven

At least seven people were killed and 19 others injured in separate road accidents in Mymensingh, Manikganj, Sirajganj and Gaibandha yesterday.

Involve UN in trial process

Sector Commanders' Forum (SCF) President Air Vice Marshal (retd) AK Khandaker yesterday said the message from the discussion between the foreign adviser and the UN Secretary General on the issue of the trial of war criminals is not clear.

7 get life for killing 6 people

A Tangail court yesterday sentenced seven people to life imprisonment in two cases filed for blasting bombs at a fair at Failya Pagla's Shrine under Shafipur upazila in 2003, and killing six people.

Hearing on April 9

A court here yesterday called for the dockets in connection with a case against 23 BNP leaders and activists including former ministers Abdullah Al Noman and Mir Nasir as a naraji (no confidence) petition was filed after police submitted the final report of the case.

90pc of kidney patients die without proper treatment

There are about two crore kidney patients in the country and 90 per cent of them die without proper treatment because of its high cost and lack of availability, specialists said yesterday.

Non-MPO teachers' ultimatum to govt

Teachers of non-MPO (monthly payment order) educational institutions have set an ultimatum to the government of April 20 to bring them under MPO, otherwise they would launch tougher actions including black-badge wearing, class abstention and hunger strike from April 23.

2nd Dhaka int'l edn fair begins

A four-day Second Dhaka International Education Fair-2008 began yesterday at Bashundhara City in the capital where admission information of different public and private universities are being provided.

JCD activist stabbed in Sylhet

A group of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) activists stabbed an activist of their rival faction at Subidbazar area in the city yesterday evening.

DU students protest price hike of essentials

A group of students of Dhaka University (DU) yesterday demonstrated on the campus protesting the price hike of essential commodities.

Jute workers' ultimatum to BJMC

Workers of six jute mills of Khulna-Jessore industrial belt yesterday announced to go for agitation if their demands are not met by April 5 as committed by Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) Chairman Ataharul Islam.

VoIP equipment worth Tk 50 lakh seized in city

Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) seized Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) equipment worth about Tk 50 lakh in a business office in the city's Dhanmondi area last night and arrested its three staffs.

Smuggled motor parts seized in Benapole

Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) personnel seized smuggled motor parts worth Tk 86.31 lakh from Benapole check post areas yesterday, while Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) recovered 1,500 bottles of phensidyl from Lauzan in Jessore.

Applications for ALA Scholarships invited

Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Douglas Foskett yesterday announced that applications are now being invited for the 2009 Australian Leadership Awards (ALA) Scholarships, says a press release.

Three arrested for cheque forgery

Police yesterday arrested three youths for their bid to draw about Tk 93 lakh from a bank in the town by forging signatures.

Bazlur Rahman's chehlum today

Chehlum of journalist Bazlur Rahman will be held at his apartment at Ramna in the city after Asr prayers today, says a press release.

'Build nation on liberation war ideologies'

Speakers at a condolence meeting yesterday said the nation should be built on the basis of the ideologies of the liberation war.

Over 100 shanties gutted in city

Over 100 shanties were gutted at Rayerbazar Pukurpar slum in the city yesterday evening, leaving several hundred people homeless.

Letters

Contaminated water

We the city dwellers in capital Dhaka and Narayanganj solely depend on Wasa for our water. There is no other source of water in these places. Wasa is a government owned water supply agency, a semi-autonomous body under the administrative control of the LGRD ministry. Wasa is supposed to supply pure water suitable for human consumption. But it has miserably failed to perform its task of supplying safe water. Recently, the city dwellers have been observing with concern that Wasa is supplying water, which is muddy and smelly. This has been going on for a pretty long time. In the 21st century it may sound incredible, but it is the reality in Bangladesh.

Globalisation and free market

Nowadays one of the most talked about issues is globalisation and free market economy. This theory is advanced by the developed world. Now they are trying to reach their goals. We have to think about it seriously.

Nursery for women entrepreneurs

Small loans could help millions of poor women create jobs, support their families and narrow the gender gap, according to the United Nations and banking experts. According to International Labour Organisation (ILO) data released on 7 March, 2008, there are now 1.2 billion women working around the world, some 200 million more than a decade ago. Susan Maybud of the ILO's bureau for gender equality said that micro-financing -- small loans given to the poor, generally at slightly elevated interest rates-- could play an important role in empowering women with no other economic lifeline. She also said to Reuters, 'Micro-finance is really their one glimmer of hope, their one way out of poverty'.

Hasina's health

I wish to thank you for your forthright comments about the people's right to know the condition of Hasina's health. And you are right to tell the govt. that the nation has the right to know about the health and well-being of the former prime minister of the country. The behaviour of the present caretaker govt. is indicative of their total disregard for accountability. That's what we have been witnessing from the very beginning of their dealing with Hasina and Khaleda.

Rice and potatoes

Some people are advocating more consumption of potatoes, instead of rice. I think that's a logical proposition. Price of potatoes is less; nearly half in comparison to price of rice and the food value is the same. Surprisingly, many politicians and intellectuals don't support that. The question is why? Is it illogical?

Lessons of history

Reading history is a pleasant pastime of living as a tourist actively in the past, when the book is not treated as a textbook. Reading about fast changes in history in a daily newspaper is a different thing, especially in today's global village.

Appointment of VC

Recently, the government has taken an unprecedented decision to appoint Vice Chancellors of public universities through advertisement.

Sheikh Hasina

This is a reference to the news presented by the media regarding attendance of Sk. Hasina in court last Sunday. We have heard the version of Sk. Hasina and the response from the jail authorities. The IG Prison has refuted the charges brought by Sheikh Hasina, a former PM, of her being forced to attend the court despite illness. Now the question is whom should we believe? The ex PM or the IG Prison?

Biman and Boeing

Biman has recently acquired a 32-year old dilapidated Boeing 747-B aircraft with another one of the bit older scrap on the way. These two pieces of decrepit junk have reportedly been procured from Nigeria and Sudan. Over the years it has become clear to all old airplane sham salesmen that anytime Biman is about to buy or lease a used plane, it is time to spruce up their decaying grounded aircraft to unload it on Biman for an ample profit as long as they can grease a few palms.

Old beggar

It was pathetic news. A 97 years old man was jailed for begging on the street. This unfortunate man, Jumman Ali, was jailed for three days. Not only that, we are also told that more than 2,000 suspected beggars have been arrested in the last three months. However, my question to the government is: could you please tell us what will they do when people have to live by having only one meal a day?

Dignity?

Honestly speaking, the news of ex-MPs' unity to resist the government move regarding allocation of Nam Bhaban flats made me laugh out loud! How funny ! As the report had it, our "honourable" ex-MPs have taken a firm stance to protect the "dignity and property" of parliament. I have nothing to say if the word 'dignity' were omitted.

Labour law reform

For the last few days one important piece of news is being served by the media that the government is contemplating allowing only one trade union in the seaports. As a loyal citizen of the country and a researcher on Labour Economics, I would suggest the policy makers not to take the other extreme step of allowing too many trade unions.

Diseased jackfruit trees

Maona of Sreepur upazila is well known for jackfruits. People earn more than 50% of their annual cash income from selling jackfruits. Jackfruit trees are planted in and around homesteads, raised marginal land, roadside and in the crop-fields. The trees bear fruit for several years. Some grow pineapple underneath. It gives additional income to the farm families.

Good piece

Hats off to Mohammad Badrul Ahsan! He has written a brilliant piece on Tagore's analysis of the Bengali psyche in Friday's DS under the heading "Take it from Tagore". He has put into perspective what Tagore in his interview said about his observation of the character of Bengalees. We have to honestly admit that our negative traits have kept us divided, despite our many positive qualities and potentialities as a people and a nation. No one could have written a better description of the nature of our fellowmen than Tagore who traversed the world in search of treasures and found it right in the heart of his golden Bengal; "a single dewdrop on a single blade of grass". No one could have analysed Tagore's observation better than the writer who went into the very heart and soul of our national character!

Price hike and election

Prices of daily commodities are increasing day by day. People are just dragging on their lives. They hardly can buy all the necessary things from the market. The government is trying to keep the prices under control, but it has not succeeded so far. On the other hand, the government is determined to arrange the national election within the scheduled timeframe and almost every day we hear something about it. My question is, if the people do not survive, then who will vote in the national polls?

What does it mean?

I was there for seven years and participated in every National Day programmes held on Rajshahi University Central Shaheed Minar premises. I was not an activist of any organisation, not even any cultural organisation. I love independence and I love my university. But it is regrettable that the RU authorities allowed Chattra Shibir backed cultural organisation Bikolpo to hold programmes at RU Central Shaheed Minar on the Independence Day. Central Shaheed Minar is not a place for anti-liberation forces. It is a place for liberal people and Chattra Shibir does not belong to that category.

Yet another committee!

I was surprised to see the latest news regarding formation of yet another committee to review the recently approved National Policy on Women's Development ( which was highly appreciated and welcomed internationally and by the majority of the Bangladeshis).

Is it a joke?

'Cigarette Company Paid for Lung Cancer Study'. This is a report of The New York Times. It reveals that a study on lung cancers is going to be funded by a cigarette company. Is it a joke or a sign of benevolence? We don't discourage the funding on research; it is highly needed. But my point of objection is whether it is fair to conduct a research funded by one responsible for lung cancer.

International

Nato keeps Georgia and Ukraine in the cold

European leaders kept Georgia and Ukraine waiting at Nato's doorstep yesterday in a major setback for US President George W. Bush at his last summit of the transatlantic alliance.

Tigers resisting Lanka military onslaught

Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers said yesterday they were resisting a major military thrust into rebel-held territory and claimed to have killed at least 25 government troops in two days of fighting.

Pakistan asks US to refrain from direct military action

Pakistan on Wednesday advised the United States to refrain from creating an impression of 'divergences' on counter-terrorism and speaking about direct action in Pakistan's tribal areas.

Mugabe’s party ready for run-off to save president

Zimbabwe's ruling party geared up for a final battle to save Robert Mugabe's 28-year presidency, saying Thursday it was ready for an election run-off with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Smallest black hole proves a giant find for science

The discovery in our own galaxy of the smallest black hole known in the universe is a feather in the cap for Nasa, but it will present new challenges to future space travellers who may venture too close.

Sadr calls for massive anti-US march

Radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has called for millions of Iraqis to turn out next week in massive anti-US protests, his office announced yesterday.

Chinese HR activist Hu Jia jailed for 3 yrs

Activist Hu Jia was yesterday jailed for three years and six months for subversion, his lawyer said, amid what rights groups charge is a campaign by China to silence dissent before the Olympics.

Benazir's party woos Musharraf allies

Pakistan's ruling party said yesterday it has buried its rivalry with a group of former supporters of President Pervez Musharraf, further isolating the US-backed president.

Arts & Entertainment

Charukala gearing up for Pahela Baishakh

Pahela Baishakh, the first day of the Bengali New Year, the largest secular celebration in the country is at the door. Preparations are on. The parade -- decked with vivid, flamboyant masks and life-size replicas of birds, animals and other motifs -- brought out by the students and teachers of Institute of Fine Arts (IFA), Dhaka University is one of the biggest attractions of Pahela Baishakh.

Anushilon Theatre Festival begins

A four-day long theatre festival highlighting a message against oppression began on April 2 at the Experimental Theatre Stage, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA). Anushilon Natya Dal has arranged the festival to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Celebrating the power of recitation

With a four-day festival that began on April 2 at the Shawkat Osman Memorial Auditorium, Public Library, recitation organisation Swarakalpan Abritti Chakra is celebrating its 12th anniversary. Human rights activist and advocate Sultana Kamal inaugurated the event. Eminent cultural personality Asaduzzaman Noor, president of Bangladesh Abritti Shamonnoy Parishad was the chief guest at the programme. Recitation artiste Ahkamullah, general secretary of Bangladesh Abritti Shamonnoy Parishad was the special guest.

Dhaka Padatik Theatre Festival begins

With the beat of dhol played by Dashorath Da, along with dance, the activists of Dhaka Padatik celebrated the group's 28th anniversary. On the occasion a ten-day long festival titled Dhaka Padatik Atlas Natyotshob '08 was inaugurated by eminent playwright Syed Shamsul Haq on April 2 at the National Theatre Stage, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA).

World Autism Awareness Day observed

On December 18, 2007, The United Nations General Assembly designated April 2 as the 'World Autism Awareness Day'. To mark the day -- for the first time in Bangladesh -- and to create awareness on autism among the masses, Society for the Welfare of Autistic Children (SWAC) in cooperation with ActionAid Bangladesh and NFOWD arranged a daylong programme at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture on April 2. The programme featured an arts and crafts fair, general discussion and a cultural programme.

Farooki and Amitav Reza in tonight's “Aainaghar”

The second episode of Aainaghar, a talk show featuring celebrity guests, on Ekushey TV will be aired tonight. Tonight's episode features TV play director and ad-maker Mostofa Sarwar Farooki; Amitav Reza and model-turned actress Jenny.

Talent hunt...

Twenty upcoming dancers performed on the second day (April 2) of the talent hunt programme organised by the Department of Dance and Music, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA). The programme ended yesterday. The event started at 6:30 pm with a discussion. Noted dancers Shukla Sarkar and Munmun Ahmed spoke at the discussion.

OP-ED

Massive investment in agriculture: An answer

Sustainable economy to ensure long-term food security cannot be achieved without making substantial investment in agriculture to contribute towards increasing gross domestic products.

Participatory democracy

It is a fundamental right of a citizen that he can express ideas on how to improve the way his country is managed, even if that may be a novel idea not supported by the constitution. Thus, I venture to share my thoughts on an alternative kind of democracy, which I feel could solve many of the problems that are plaguing our total political system.

Responsibility of diplomats in the host country

Article 41 paragraph 1 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations states in unequivocal terms: "Without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state. They also have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that state." The paragraph does not lend itself to any confusion or conflict in interpretation, and it is respected in every world capital except Dhaka, unfortunately.

StarTech

Gadgets galore woo many

The Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS) organised a weeklong mega exposition of IT accessories, BCS IT Expo 2008, at ECS Computer City in Dhaka. The fair began March 30 and will continue through April 5.

Another light at the end of the tunnel

In October 2002, a national ICT policy was approved with the aim of building an ICT-driven nation, comprising a knowledge-based society, by the year 2006. Even after two years, we have not been able to achieve the goals and very little has been done.

Kaspersky antivirus launched

Office Extract, local distributor of Kaspersky, a renowned antivirus product, announced the availability of the product in the local market at a kick-off event on April 2 at Bangladesh China Friendship Conference Centre.

ADC Krone unveils TrueNet network products in local market

ADC Krone, a global leader in connectivity and cabling infrastructure solutions, unveiled their latest range of TrueNet network products and services in Bangladesh at an event 'Strategies for implementing reliable Data Centre' on March 31 at a local hotel.


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