The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Monday, December 22, 2014


News of: Monday, 14th of April, 2008

Front Page

ACC sues ex-adviser Justice Fazlul Haque

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday filed a case against former adviser to caretaker government Justice Fazlul Haque on charges of amassing assets illegally and concealing wealth information.

Nation gets ready to embrace Pahela Baishakh

As the Bangalees celebrate Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bangla year 1415 today, security agencies have already swung into high alert to prevent any terrorist attack on the festivities.

AL demands Hasina's release, date for polls

The Awami League (AL) yesterday placed before the caretaker government a five-point demand including release of its chief Sheikh Hasina, measures for her treatment abroad and a specific date for the ninth parliamentary polls.

Jamaat ex-MP Shahjahan, Faisal Morshed Khan get jail terms

Former Jamaat-e-Islami lawmaker Shahjahan Chowdhury was yesterday handed down 10 years' imprisonment for corruption while Faisal Morshed Khan, former foreign minister M Morshed Khan's son, seven years for aiding and abetting Shahjahan.

299 foreign prisoners languish in jails

At least 299 prisoners of foreign nationality are stuck in different jails of the country due to diplomatic and bureaucratic tangles, even though their jail terms expired.

Violence near Baitul Mukarram protested

A number of social and political organisations yesterday condemned the violent activities of some Islamist organisations which they said made the National Women Development Policy 2008 an issue in order to achieve political gain.

Train rolls to Kolkata from today

The historic resumption of Dhaka-Kolkata train service will go ahead today despite the recovery of four crude bombs near the rail lines on the Indian side of the border yesterday, officials said.

Leaders must quit party post if elected to local govt: CEC

Political leaders holding party posts will have to resign from their positions if they get elected to local government bodies, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda said yesterday.

Govt invites pro-Saifur BNP to talks

The caretaker government once again invited pro-Saifur faction of the BNP to an 'unofficial' talk with it, prompting the faction's leaders to seek more time for discussing the invitation among themselves as well as with leaders of the rival faction led by Khandaker Delwar Hossain.

CID starts quizzing suspect

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) started interrogating Arif Hasan Sumon, a suspect in the August 21, 2004 Awami League rally grenade attack case. Sumon has been remanded for five days to glean information about other attackers he knows.

Please sir, may I have some rice?

“Please sir, may I have some rice? I just want one kg, my family has not had a proper meal in two days.”

Tigers go down fighting

Bangladesh produced their best batting performance of the year under lights at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore yesterday. But it was not enough for them to avoid a third successive defeat against Pakistan in the five-match series.

BDR starts 25 more fair price shops

The members of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) yesterday began selling rice at its new 25 fair price outlets in the capital.

Women policy not anti-Islam

Law and Religious Affairs Adviser AF Hassan Ariff reiterated yesterday that the recently announced national women development policy does not contain anything that goes against the rules and spirit of Islam.

Demo continues in Fatulla, 600 sued for violence

After the violent clashes between law enforcers and garment workers Saturday at Fatullah of Narayanganj, 15,000-20,000 garment workers of four factories staged demonstrations inside their factories yesterday.

CUTA polls postponed

The election of Chittagong University Teachers' Association (CUTA) was postponed yesterday after police asked the authorities concerned to seek permission from the district administration to hold the election.

Lankan troops, Tigers lock in fierce fighting

Sri Lanka marked its traditional new year yesterday with security forces and Tamil separatists locked in fierce combat resulting in heavy losses on both sides, defence officials said.

Iran mosque blast kills 12, injures 200

Twelve people were killed and at least 202 wounded when an explosion ripped through a packed mosque in Iran's southern city of Shiraz during prayers by a prominent cleric, officials said yesterday.

Pakistan-based militants may attack US: Bush

President George W Bush believes another 9/11 attack on the United Sates should be considered a reality, and warned that such an attack could originate from Pakistan.

Editorial

Shubho Nababarsha

The advent of the Bangla New Year is once again an opportunity for us to celebrate the cultural heritage we as a nation are heir to. Baishakh is thus a season when we recall the spirit that has over a thousand years gone into the making of our identity as a people. Be it politics, be it culture, be it overall society, Baishakh has had a tremendous bearing on our consciousness as a people. As a free nation today, we remain fully aware of the import of the occasion and indeed rekindle in ourselves the feeling that every New Year is for us also a chance to branch out to the wider world outside our politico-cultural domain.

Power shutdown too frequent

Even for a people accustomed to living with reduced power supply, especially in summer, the latest frequency of electricity outages in the country comes as something of a rude shock. That is because, for more than a year now, we had got used to fairly an even supply of electricity through what we understand to have been better load management. But quite obviously, the gap between power generation and distribution has yawned so much that there is little room for manoeuvering.

Political party registration

WHEN three Americans get together, they form a club, a business firm is formed when three Britishers get together, and when three Bangladeshis get together, they form a political partyso goes a comical saying. But this comical saying is quite real for Bangladesh, as the country has got the highest number of political parties in the world.

Vindicating King's martyrdom

FORTY years ago, on April 4, Martin Luther King, the apostle of non-violence with regard to the US's once oppressive race relations, met a violent deathcompleting, however, his mission of crafting an America where, one day, a presidential hopeful like Barack Obama would emerge by breaking the racial barrier.

Indian communists at a crossroads

AFTER the triennial con-gresses of the Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM), where are they headed? The CPs' (CP) highest decision-making bodies met at a crucial juncture, when their support to the United Progressive Alliance is critical to the government's survival, and when they're expected to formulate new strategies.

Sports

Amin Ahmed to run for BFF presidency

The election of Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) received a sensational twist yesterday when Maj Gen (retd) Amin Ahmed Chowdhury announced his candidature for the president's post.

Nat'l booters form club

A group of national footballers formed a club named 'Sporting Independent Club' with a vision to lend support for the future talent across the country.

Academy tri-series from tomorrow

The Grameenphone Academy Cup one-day competition involving academy teams from South Africa, Pakistan and hosts Bangladesh will start tomorrow in Chittagong.

Abahani hit six past Wari

Abahani got off a flying start in the Brac Bank Club Cup hockey tournament as they handed a massive 6-1 defeat to Wari Club at the Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium yesterday.

India square series

Harbhajan Singh and Virender Sehwag triggered South Africa's collapse on an awkward pitch to help India square the series with an eight-wicket win in the third and final Test here on Sunday.

One-run win for BCAS

Bangladesh Cricket Academy and School (BCAS) secured an exciting one-run victory over Nabajagaran Sangsad in the Col Malek Smriti First Division Cricket League at the Shaheed Miraj-Tapan Stadium yesterday.

Bangladesh outplay Qatar

Bangladesh outplayed Qatar 3-0 in the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group 4 on the final day of the five-day meet at the Hasanal Bolkhia National Sports Complex in Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei yesterday.

Div II cricket from April 15

The Dhaka Second Division Cricket League will begin on Tuesday with two matches on the opening day at separate city venues.

Give players credit: Dhoni

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni yesterday attributed the "collective performance" of his team for their victory in the third and final Test against South Africa and said it would be unfair to devalue the players' effort just because the track was helpful to the hosts.

Hasina taken to hospital again for check-up

Detained Awami League President Sheikh Hasina was taken to Square Hospitals in the city for routine eye check-up yesterday.

Juve edge Milan in thriller

Juventus dealt a potentially fatal blow to 10-man AC Milan's Champions League hopes with a 3-2 win in blockbuster match in Turin on Saturday.

Recreativo hold Barca

Even Lionel Messi's return from injury failed to reignite Barcelona's title bid as Frank Rijkaard watched his side draw 2-2 with Recreativo Huelva on Saturday as they continue to gift the championship to rivals Real Madrid.

Everton lose ground on Reds

Everton missed out on the chance to go level on points with near-neighbours Liverpool in the battle for fourth place after Birmingham City claimed a point in a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park on Saturday.

Bremen rout Schalke

Werder Bremen thrashed Schalke 04 5-1 in the German championship on Saturday to inherit their second place behind leaders Bayern Munich.

Milan confirm Ronaldinho agreement

AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani confirmed on Sunday that the reigning European champions have come to an agreement with Brazil forward Ronaldinho over a possible summer transfer.

Marseille go third

Olympique Marseille boosted their Champions League hopes with a 2-1 win at relegated Metz on Saturday.

German police for Euro 2008

Around 500 German policemen from the regional state of Baden-Wurtemberg will be deployed to the Swiss cities of Basel and Zurich during the June 7-29 European football championships, it was announced Sunday.

Hicks wants Parry out

Tom Hicks is set to "formally request" Liverpool co-owner George Gillett approve his bid to sack Rick Parry after describing the club's chief executive as someone with "an inability to manage".

Slomka quits Schalke

Schalke 04 coach Mirko Slomka has quit the Bundesliga side, ousted in the Champions League in midweek by Barcelona, the club said on Sunday.

Rampant Shiv, Marlon

Sri Lanka ran into the rampant pair of Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Marlon Samuels, and lost the rain-marred second one-day international against West Indies by seven wickets under the Duckworth-Lewis Method on Saturday.

Mendis makes his mark

Ajantha Mendis's maiden one-day international performance has come in for praise from both the Sri Lankan and West Indian camps, with Dwayne Bravo expressing how difficult it was to pick the rookie spinner. Mendis bowled impressively to collect 3 for 39, flummoxing Chris Gayle and Darren Sammy with his crafty variations, as Sri Lanka narrowly failed to win the opening match of the three-game series.

Sharapova gets a walkover

Australian Open champ Maria Sharapova reached her first claycourt final Saturday after 16th seeded American Lindsay Davenport withdrew from their scheduled match due to illness.

Dyson delighted

West Indies coach John Dyson heaped praise on his side Sunday for clinching their One-day International series against Sri Lanka with a game to spare.

Younis has no plan to retire

Younis Khan's pullout midway from the ongoing ODI series against Bangladesh may have triggered speculation about his future but the senior Pakistani batsman yesterday said he has no intention of taking an early retirement.

Wright shocked by Kirby incident

Luke Wright has said it was 'scary' to see Steve Kirby, one of his best friends, lying on the dressing room floor after being knocked out by his bouncer on the second day of Sussex's match against MCC and Lord's on Friday.

Rainy season opener in England

Rain, as much a part of cricket in England as Lord's itself, had the last word here Sunday in the opening match of the 2008 English season when a persistent downpour washed out the final day's play in the traditional curtain-raiser between MCC and the county champions, Sussex.

Lochte smashes his own record

American Ryan Lochte smashed his own world record in the 100m individual medley on the final day of the World Short-Course Swimming Championships in Manchester on Sunday.

Business

Fresh move in $3b Tata investment plan

The government and Tata have agreed to restart talks over the Indian conglomerate's stalled US$3 billion, power, steel and fertilizer investment proposal.

Standard RMG export to cross $145m this year

Standard Group, one of the country's leading ready-made garment (RMG) manufacturing companies, said its export will increase by more than 10 percent this year exceeding US$ 145 million.

Biman-Boeing plane deal delay

Biman Bangladesh Airlines has extended the deadline for signing the final deal with Boeing by seven days on purchasing eight new aircraft worth US$1.265 billion.

Banks urge import of used ATMs

Local banks asked the government to allow import of refurbished financial devices, such as automated teller machines (ATMs), to meet the growing demands of the customers, experts said.

Food prices raising risk of war: IMF

Rising food prices could have terrible consequences for the world, including the risk of war, the IMF said Saturday, calling for action to keep inflation in check.

US commodity boom hurts food banks

Soaring commodity prices, while a boon to American farmers, have left US food banks scrambling for donations amid a spike in demand with the economic downturn forcing more people to their doors.

Higher cost of living prompts Europe-wide strike threats

Inflation in Europe, far from being throttled as suggested in some quarters only 18 months ago, is alive and kicking hard at the middle classes as well as ordinary workers.

Next budget to tempt investment

Taxation system in the next budget for fiscal year 2008-09 will be investment-friendly, as the government is desperately trying to lure both local and foreign investors, said the chairman of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) yesterday in Dhaka.

Govt mulls incentives for SME, food processing

Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Salehuddin Ahmed yesterday said the government is considering incentives for investing in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and food processing industry.

GDP growth to slow down to 5.7pc in current fiscal

Real GDP (gross domestic product) growth of Bangladesh will slow down to 5.7 percent in the current fiscal from 6.5 percent in the previous fiscal, but the growth will reach 6.2 percent in the next fiscal, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) forecasts.

Manila keen to sign air services deal with Dhaka

The Philippines is interested to have an air services agreement with Bangladesh for promoting bilateral cooperation.

StanChart group CEO arrives today

Peter Sands, group chief executive officer of Standard Chartered PLC, arrives in Dhaka today on a two-day official visit to Bangladesh, says a press release.

Tax holiday facility may be extended, says adviser

The government may extend tax holiday facility to industries for another one year or two, said Finance Adviser Mirza Azizul Islam yesterday.

Asian currencies up against dollar

Key Asian currencies rose against the dollar in a week when the Chinese yuan broke through the 7.000 barrier for the first time.

JCI World president due today

JCI World President Graham Hanlon arrives in Dhaka today, says a press release.

USTR delegation due this week

Officials from the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) arrive this week on a two-day visit in Dhaka for discussing with the government on bilateral trade issues including Bangladesh's access to the US markets under Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) facilities.

Indian firm to invest $4.63m in Dhaka EPZ

An Indian company will invest US$ 4.63 million, approximately Tk 32 crore, to set up a knit composite textile manufacturing company in Dhaka Export Processing Zone.

China retailers face big fines for violating plastic ban

Chinese retailers may be fined up to 10,000 yuan (US$1,430) for providing free plastic bags to shoppers, the China's ministry of commerce has proposed.

Top global retailers say India most sought-after market

India has been identified as the most sought-after market in a major survey of 300 global retailers seeking to expand outside their domestic markets.

Japan financial firms face $11.86b subprime losses

Japanese banks, insurers and other financial institutions are likely to suffer combined losses of more than 1.2 trillion yen (US$11.86 billion) related to subprime mortgage loans in fiscal 2007 on a consolidated basis, it was learned Friday.

FDI in China up 61pc in Q1

Foreign investment in China continued to surge in the first quarter of this year, according to the latest figures.

G7 for faster appreciation of yuan

China's move towards a more flexible currency regime is welcome but it should still allow the yuan to appreciate more quickly, the Group of Seven industrialized nations said on Friday.

Metropolitan

Dhaka-Beijing friendship will be further strengthened

Chinese Ambassador in Dhaka Zheng Qingdian yesterday said the long-term friendship and partnership between Bangladesh and China will be further strengthened in the coming days.

Arrest warrants against Aminul, ex-secy Zabiullah and his wife

A Dhaka court yesterday issued arrest warrants against former post and telecommunications minister barrister Aminul Haque and former environment secretary Ismail Zabiullah and his wife Ayesha Zabiullah in cases filed for amassing wealth illegally and concealing information in their wealth statements.

New Ctg traffic system from today

The traffic department of Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) clamps down on around 15,000 motorised three wheelers and 1,000 city service buses from today in a bid to ease the passengers' everyday hassles and streamline the commuter services within the periphery of 60-sq km area of the port city.

Special city traffic arrangement on Pahela Baishakh

The Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) has made some city roads off-limits to traffic for 16 hours from 5:00am today to mark the Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bangla New Year.

Khulna power plant shut down

The 110-megawatt (MW) power plant of Khulna Power Station (KPS) at Goalpara was shut down at about 11:00am yesterday due to technical glitch.

New ordn to boost commercial fishery, poultry, dairy output

The Council of Advisers yesterday approved the Fish Feed and Livestock Feed

Efforts to reach MDGs lauded

A high official of the Unicef has praised the government for keeping Bangladesh on track to reach some important million development goals (MDGs) such as reduction of child mortality, tackling of under-nutrition and enrollment in primary education.

Country in crisis

Speakers at a roundtable yesterday urged the government to increase allocation for agriculture in the next budget.

Final bid submission deferred by 5 weeks

Final bid submission date for 450 MW Bibiyan Power Plant has been deferred by five weeks responding to the plea from the prospective bidders.

Death anniversary of five martyrs tomorrow

Tomorrow is the 37th martyrdom anniversary of Shaheed Engineer Fazlur Rahman, Shaheed Hosne Akhter (an NGO trainer), Shaheed Mostafizur Rahman Moznu (college student), Shaheed Hasinur Rahman Hiron (school student) and Shaheed Azizur Rahman Babu (school student), says a press release.

Road accidents kill 8

At least eight people were killed and 12 others injured in separate road accidents in Manikganj, Savar, Comilla and Chapainawabganj yesterday.

Programmes to celebrate Pahela Baishakh

Different socio-cultural organisations have chalked out elaborate programmes to celebrate 'Pahela Baishakh,' the first day of the Bangla New Year-1415, with due traditional festivity.

3 CCC staffs suspended for stealing fuel

Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) authorities yesterday issued show cause notices against three officials and suspended three other staffs for stealing fuel.

RU staffs demand job regularisation

Scores of controversially appointed fourth-class employees of Rajshahi University (RU) yesterday staged an angry demonstration in front of the administrative building on the campus demanding regularisation of their jobs.

Three killed in trawler capsize in Munshiganj

Three people were killed when a trawler capsized in the Dhaleswari River at Char Kishoreganj in Sadar upazila on yesterday early morning.

'Free Hasina, Khaleda'

Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), student wing of Awami League (AL), and Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD), student wing of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), yesterday reiterated their demands for the release of Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia.

MoU signed for automation of Ctg customs house

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed yesterday between authorities of Customs House, Chittagong and Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) on automation of the customs house.

Drug peddlers attack cops in N'ganj

Three policemen of Bandar Police Station in Narayanganj were injured in an attack of the drug peddlers when they tried to arrest the peddlers on Saturday night.

Scout leaders workshop tomorrow

Girls in scout mate course and scout leaders workshop will begin tomorrow at Bahadurpur Rover Scout Training Centre in Gazipur, says a press release.

Govt urged to stop process of its amendment

Labour leaders and civil society members at a seminar yesterday demanded of the caretaker government (CG) to stop the process of amending the Labour Act 2006 because the move will undermine the labour rights violating the ILO conventions.

Employment for Bangladeshi workers in Saudi Arabia on rise

Employment of Bangladeshi workers in Saudi Arabia is once again on the rise following hectic diplomatic activity for reclaiming the labour market over there after a temporary lull in March for a smear campaign, according to an official disclosure.

BPRA executives

Mirza Tarequl Qader and ASM Bazlul Haque have been elected president and general secretary of Bangladesh Public Relations Association (BPRA) for 2008-09, says a press release.

Jharna Das wins Anannya award

Noted writer Jharna Das Purkayastha wins the Anannya Literary Award-1415 for her outstanding contribution, a press release said.

BTV dy director general Shahida suspended

The government yesterday suspended Shahida Alam, Deputy Director General of (news current charge) of Bangladesh Television (BTV) due to her professional inefficiency, according to an official handout.

Birth anniversary of Prof Mozaffar

The 87th birth anniversary of Prof Mozaffar Ahmed, president of National Awami Party (NAP), will be observed today, says a press release.

Salesman shot, robbed of Tk 1.90 lakh

A salesman of a flexiload agent of GrameenPhone was shot and robbed of Tk 1.90 lakh by a gang of muggers at Banashri Project at Rampura in the city yesterday.

English debate workshop held in Ctg

A day-long workshop titled 'English Debate Workshop' was held in the port city yesterday with a view to helping young debaters in developing their skills.

DU teachers to take class wearing black ribbons

The teachers of Dhaka University (DU) will take class wearing black ribbons on April 17 demanding immediate withdrawal of the state of emergency.

Arshad-uz Zaman laid to rest

Former ambassador Arshad-uz Zaman was laid to rest at Azimpur graveyard after namaz-e-janaza at Gulshan Azad Mosque after Johr prayers yesterday.

JCD blood donation at RU

A two-day free blood group test and blood donation programme began on the central library premises of Rajshahi University (RU) yesterday on the occasion of the Pahela Baishakh, first day of the Bangla New Year.

Death anniversary of Prof Sukhranjan today

Today is the 37th death anniversary of Prof Sukhranjan Samaddar of sanskrit department of Rajshahi University (RU), who was brutally killed by the Pakistan Army in 1971.

Dr Kamrunnahar

The first death anniversary of Dr Kamrunnahar, former doctor of gynecology department of Chittagong Medical College, will be observe tomorrow, says a press release.

Dr Saif-ud-Dahar

Today is the 10th death anniversary of comrade Dr Saif-ud-Dahar, one the leaders of the communist movement in the subcontinent, says a press release.

Apollo Hospitals celebrates centres of excellence

Apollo Hospitals Dhaka celebrated centres of excellence on the occasion of its 3rd founding anniversary at the hospital auditorium on April 7, says a press release.

Photo exhibition on char people begins

A 10-day photograph exhibition styled 'Nadi o Jibon: Dipcharbashir Jibonchitra (River and life: life sketch of char people)' by Syed Badrul Karim began at the Bengal Gallery in the city on Saturday, says a press release.

Inter-university drama festival begins

The Inter-University Drama Festival 2008, a drama festival of the private universities, began at the Shilpakala Academy in the city on Saturday, says a press release.

National

Renovation of 17km Jamuna dams uncertain before rains

Construction of three flood control embankments on the western bank of Jamuna River before the monsoon this year has become uncertain due to alleged negligence of construction firms and lack of supervision by Water Development Board (WDB).

3 hurt while making bombs in B'baria

At least three persons were injured when a bomb they were making exploded at a shoe factory near Bhadughar bus terminal in the town yesterday.

10 hurt as nor'wester lashes 3 districts

Nor'wester on Saturday night and early yesterday injured several people and damaged houses, crops and mango and lichi orchards in Lalmonirhat, Thakurgaon and Panchagarh districts.

3 killers arrested in B'baria

The clue to the murder of a train attendant was found one month after the incident following arrest of three killers by Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) Saturday night.

PBCP outlaw killed in shootout

A 'regional leader' of outlawed Purba Banglar Communist Party (PBCP-Janajuddah) was killed and two policemen were injured in a shootout with police in Jhenidah in the early hours of yesterday.

3 toll collectors held, 4 vehicles recovered

Joint forces arrested three alleged toll collectors and recovered 4 jeeps locally called as Chander Gari from Bethchhari in Kamalchhari union in the Sadar upazila of the district yesterday.

25 workers of Nahid cotton mill sent to jail

A court here yesterday sent 25 workers of Nahid Cotton Mills in Mirzapur upazila in Tangail to jail in a case filed for damaging the factory on March 24.

First batch trainees get certificate

The first batch participants of month-long training programme on sweater knitting and linking received certificates at a function in Nilphamari yesterday.

Letters

Good potato harvest

When the country is facing a shortage of staple food items, the bumper production of potatoes is a blessing from the Almighty.

City in distress

If my recollection is not wrong, recently one of the government officials remarked that Dhaka might have to be abandoned if necessary steps could not be taken in time to arrest decay and deterioration of civic amnesties. The fact is that Dhaka could no longer be termed a modern city. It is already in its death throes. The monsoon will set in soon. While the city floods will cause havoc, the city fathers will be making tall promises without finding and/or doing what is actually necessary to come out of this situation.

Hidden hunger or silent famine?

Dr. Akbar Ali Khan calls it Silent Famine; the Food Adviser calls it Hidden Hunger. Statistics coming out of Bangladesh says that over 50% of pregnant women are suffering from anaemia, and a similar percentage (50%)of under 5 years old children are under weight (every one can understand the long term effect). WHO reports on these health fundamentals. Bangladesh was one of the model states among the developing countries. We do not know, when and how our nation will come out of this terrible situation, but this time we must not fail to identify the culprits that created this situation. This calamity is no less serious than what the Pakis and their dalals brought on us in 1971,because this torture, this atrocity is SILENT. It has touched millions and millions of our homes across the country.

Barack Obama and Martin Luther King

Obama's recent speech on racial equality, though superficially powerful and rousing, was hypocritical and dishonest for it failed to recognise and fully appreciate the bedrock principle of human rights which guarantees racial equality. I refer to the principle enshrined in the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." That same principle is found in The US Declaration of Independence which clearly states "... all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

NSC

Since the present caretaker government took office, a big segment of civil society and some factions of political parties hailed them. With the massive support from national media under the state of emergency, this unusual form of government, leaped for over-ambitious policies with great confidence. Just within two months of stay in power, this government put National Security Council (NSC) on their agenda. Unlike other issues, drive against corruption, voter ID, national ID, Human Rights Commission, Election Commission reform, the idea of NSC did not get overwhelming support, rather it was viewed with suspicion, though some politicians supported it. Whatever the ends and objectives of the planners, NSC cannot have a strong basis without constitutional arrangement and constitutional arrangement is not plausible without a democratically elected government.

No overbridge

As citizens we have to get five basic things from the government: food, cloth, education, health, and shelter. But if we can't defend ourselves from the hazards like road accident we will fail to achieve any one of the basic needs. I am a resident of West Hazipara and also a student of Leading University. This road (Malibagh rail-gate to Gulshan) is one of the busiest in Dhaka city. It is the most densely populated area too. It is a matter of regret that we don't have any overbridge or subway in these localities (Rampura, Badda, Chowdhury Para) to cross the road. There is even no speed-breaker in these areas. We have only one overbridge at the Notun Bazar which is so far away from the Malibagh rail-gate. Can you imagine how people are crossing the road in these areas? How much risk we have to take to cross the road? There are many schools, colleges, garment factories, banks, markets, shopping malls etc situated on both sides of the road. I would appeal to the authorities concerned to build at least two overbridges and three or four speed-breakers in these areas to prevent road accidents.

Mugabe story

Just read a report that Mugabe is willing to quit as long as he doesn't face prosecution. Well, the best thing to do would be to promise him the immunity that he is so desperately asking for. But once the power is transferred, when his plane is on its way to his safe heaven (possibly a Mid-East country), bring his plane down, arrest him, and then put him on trial. He shouldn't get death penalty; give him hard-labour for the rest of his life so that he can understand the real value of a slice of bread.

Gas import

The recent initiative of Bangladesh to import gas from Myanmar has not been materialized due to the latter's negative attitude. Actually, China and India contacted Myanmar for importing gas long before Bangladesh's initiative. At present Bangladesh is thinking about importing gas but during the past BNP and AL regimes our politicians spoke of the benefits of exporting gas, obviously as per foreign prescription. Had we exported gas at that time, we would have faced acute shortage of it by this time.

Anti-drug drive

The drive against drugs, especially 'Yaba', lacking in persistency and follow-up, only stays as a symbolic action of the law enforcers. What we should assume is that there is no 'Yaba' on the streets of the city or the drugs dealers and peddlers both managed to go into hiding and are still running their trade. We want to know whether any system has been developed to trace the effect of that massive drive. For example, are the vulnerable groups safer than before or the 'drive' only boomeranged?

Gen. Moeen's suggestion

Army Chief General Moeen U Ahmed recently suggested that people develop a habit of eating potatoes with rice to reduce pressure on our staple food. He made this suggestion after visiting a farmers' market set up under the supervision of Bangladesh Army in Bogra town.

Famine and hunger

Our Hon. Food Adviser has advised us (published on 5th.April) not to call the nationwide hunger in Bangladesh a famine. He defines it as "hidden hunger"; his newly coined phrase! The adviser has great command over language! Would he kindly(of course if he has the time to spare for the citizens) illustrate to us with reference to the context in Bangladesh what is actually the food shortage leading to? Is it "silent hunger" or "unknown hunger" or just an expanded temporary aberration; harped upon by newsmen and women! Also what is the difference between "hidden" and "visible" hunger? A newspaper article on the subject from his capable pen would be most welcome.

Liberation War history

I would like to request you to write an article or arrange a roundtable meeting in Dhaka or all over Bangladesh with the help of all freedom fighters, teachers, intellectuals and those who were in the real battlefield during the time of liberation. Nowadays when we see the history of our liberation being distorted, we feel sad.

Patient confidentiality

One of the pillars of medical practice in the West is patient confidentiality. A medical practitioner does not disclose his patient's medical history or problems to anyone other than the next of kin, and that also with the consent of the patient. I am therefore astonished at the callous manner in which the medical problems of the high profile prisoners are being disclosed to the public. Prisoners also have the right to privacy.

Women's rights

March 8 was 'International Women's Day' & the theme was 'Investing in Women & Girls'. From the primitive days, women are oppressed in society. But now they are fighting back to get their rights established. Society should show due sensitivity to all such rights.

Dream shattered

A government becomes successful when it establishes the fundamental, civil and political rights of the people of the land. After the liberation war, we had a dream, a dream to make society free from exploitation. The constitution we framed after independence fully reflects our political will and dreams. But in the years to follow successive governments failed to live up to the spirit of our constitution.

Role of DCs

This is obviously a good attempt to hold an annual conference with the DCs. The Head of the Government and other Cabinet Ministers /Advisers get the opportunity to interact with the field level top functionaries and can realize the situation obtaining in the country. The DCs are responsible for coordinating all activities in the districts, from law and order to agricultural growth, communication, education, health service delivery etc.

CNG price hike?

This is a request to all those people who can make some difference in society or at least give it a try. Though our country suffered a lot of setbacks in the past but there are a few silent positive developments we can rejoice about. Availability of hand tube-wells for clean water, clean sanitary latrines in the remote areas, telephone/mobile network are among these achievements. One of the silent revolutions which took place in the recent years is Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). Thousands of transport vehicles are presently running on this pollution-free national resource.

Political dialogue

A broken dialogue has just begun with the AL. The party is not necessarily united, one can feel from the media reports that the attitude of the government is not serious enough to achieve any positive results from the dialogue. The broken BNP(s) will eventually come to their rescue as its basic policy does not differ from the politics of the present government. The Jammat is their safety net.

Obama and DS

Given the alacrity and enthusiasm with which The Daily Star prints every piece of positive article on Obama and highlights every negative article on Hillary Clinton, one can obviously see the lack of journalistic objectivity. Question is, why is The Daily Star so enamoured of Barack Obama? But then again if you are an Obama fan you believe in words and do not care for deeds.

International

175 terror groups active in Indian states

Manipur has the highest number of terror outfits, followed by Assam and Jammu and Kashmir, according to a list prepared by the Union Home Ministry in consultation with state governments and intelligence agencies.

Maoists maintain strong lead in Nepal polls

Nepal's Maoists yesterday extended a stunning early lead in historic polls on the country's political future, election officials said as vote counting continued.

Pakistan must help Kabul end violence: Kouchner

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Sunday that Taliban violence in Afghanistan could only be stopped with the aid of Pakistan, where rebels operate in lawless border areas.

Border attack start of push to end Gaza siege: Hamas

Hamas said on Sunday a deadly attack on the Gaza Strip's main fuel depot last week was the beginning of a new push to break a months-old Israeli blockade of the impoverished territory.

Talks with Chinese leader help ease tension

Taiwan's outgoing Vice President Annette Lu yesterday hailed her successor's historic meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao, which she said would reduce animosity between the two rivals.

Summit delivers no quick fix to Zimbabwe deadlock

Southern African leaders issued yesterday a guarded response to Zimbabwe's presidential election impasse, calling only for the result of the March 29 poll to be delivered as soon as possible.

Kurdish rebels in Iraq threaten to attack Iran

A Kurdish rebel group based in northern Iraq threatened on Sunday to launch bomb attacks inside Iran if Tehran fails to halt anti-Kurdish policies in the Islamic country.

Hu, Musharraf vow more cooperation

The leaders of 'all-weather friends' China and Pakistan vowed Friday to enhance cooperation on fighting terrorism and ensuring Olympic security.

30 terror plots against UK

Britain's interior minister told a Sunday newspaper that the security services were investigating 30 active terror plots as she made the case for giving them extended powers to combat extremists.

Obama's remarks give Hillary an opening

A political tempest over Barack Obama's comments about bitter voters in small towns has given rival Hillary Rodham Clinton a new opening to court working class Democrats 10 days before Pennsylvanians hold a primary that she must win to keep her presidential campaign alive.

China nets 9 monks for bombing in Tibet

China has detained nine Buddhist monks and accused them of planting a homemade bomb last month in a government office building in eastern Tibet, an official said Sunday.

US support to Musharraf 'miscalculated': Obama

The United States' decision “to put all [its] eggs in the Musharraf basket” was a result of miscalculation, Democratic presidential frontrunner Barrack Obama said on Saturday.

Arts & Entertainment

Chaitra Shankranti and Pahela Baishakh in rural Bangladesh

Most communities in rural Bangladesh celebrate Chaitra Shankranti and Pahela Baishakh according to age-old traditions. The celebrations bring together people, irrespective of creed and social differences. An interesting facet of these festivities is that Chaitra Shankranti gets a more colourful celebration than Pahela Baishakh.

Notes on Pahela Baishakh

Painters and sculptors associated with the Institute of Fine Arts (IFA) consider Pahela Baishakh an occasion to celebrate with food, flowers, music and new clothes. This they do with their families and friends with great gusto.

"Krishoker Baishakhi Anando" on Channel-i

The popular agro-documentary programme on Channel-i, Hridoy-e Mati O Manush has previously arranged the first-ever game show for farmers – Krishoker Eid Anando. Eminent media personality and agriculture development activist Shykh Seraj came up with the concept of the show. Seraj also directed and presented Krishoker Eid Anando, aired on Channel-i last year.

Capturing nature's magic spell

With all the experimentation going on by young painters, it was a treat to see Isme Azam's recent landscape paintings at the Zoom Gallery at Alliance Francaise. Realistic and full of emerald sweeps, the paintings brought in the rich green areas in the Dhaka city and outside.

Bob Dylan wins special Pulitzer Prize

Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan has received an honorary Pulitzer Prize for his "profound impact on popular music and American culture".

OP-ED

Aspirations in the Bangla New Year

BENGALI New Year in its absolute sense is the New Year for Bengalis which bears the essence of their innate cultural heritage and values that they have nurtured and cultivated from the ages immemorial. On this day we all yearn for something new and want to observe the occasion with enthusiasm and gaiety, irrespective of our material existence as rich or poor and dwelling either in the urban or rural areas. As a nation we were successful in our movement to secure our language in 1952, and then in 1971, our struggle for liberation saw reality. In 1991, through a mass public uprising, the political scenario changed and in 2006, we turned against the tide that was misdirecting the nation. But even after all this there is a marked discrepancy between what we achieved and what we still want to have. Why so? Like everybody, this question also haunts me. What is it that we do not have in our possession? We have a golden land endowed with marvelous fertility; we have very simple hearted but laborious people. The only thing lacking is an honest desire and an honest execution.

Music and sports play a role in diplomacy

MUSIC and sports could play an important role in the international political arena in improving the image of a country to a great extent. The performance by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in the last part of February this year in Pyongyang, North Korea, is a glowing case in point. North Korea has diplomatically been isolated by the western countries because of violation of human rights, and for enriching uranium. This iron- curtain communist country in Asia remains isolated as a result of its hard-core policy of ignoring the well-being of the people of the country.

Star City

Tale of a bachelors' kingdom

Jumbled up personal belongings, tangled mosquito net and untidy bed. Curtains hang loosely on the window of the small, dark room. Books and kitchen utensils are piled up right beside the bed. Clothes are in complete disarray on the veranda.

Beware of snatchers of car parts in guise of beggars

A white station wagon abruptly pulls up beside the pavement. The car door swings open and the driver scuttles off. He starts chasing someone -- a shabby looking figure. Within seconds, the figure disappears in the crowd followed by his pursuer.

DCC move to drive out playground occupants

Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) is going to remove structures of Gulshan Youth Club from the Gulshan Central Park and take control of the playground.

"city express"

The latest crop of quotes from the city's press -- words worth repeating, we feel, for their humour, insight or sheer outrageousness. Star City does not necessarily support the opinions expressed in this column.



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