The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Tuesday, September 30, 2014


News of: Sunday, 27th of April, 2008

Front Page

50pc higher trade deficit projected

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that high prices of food and oil will push up Bangladesh's trade deficit for FY08 to around $6 billion, which is around $2-3 billion higher compared to the previous fiscal years.

Delwar loyals sued for breaking EPR

The police on Friday night filed a case against about 60 people including four ex-MPs of the pro-Khaleda faction of BNP for violating the state of emergency through staging demonstrations at the Election Commission (EC) Secretariat gate on April 17.

CNG three-wheeler, taxi fares hiked

Two days after almost doubling of the price of compressed natural gas (CNG), the government yesterday raised fares for CNG-run autorickshaws to Tk 6 a km, non-air-conditioned taxis to Tk 8 and air-conditioned (AC) taxis to Tk 10.

Credible poll now big challenge

With a caretaker government working to prepare grounds for sustainable democracy through a fair election, political analysts feel that some recent developments appear to be major threats to holding a credible parliamentary election.

FAO warns of 'civil war' over food crisis

UN food agency chief Jacques Diouf on Friday warned of civil war in some countries because of global food shortages and called for a revamp of the international food system.

Govt asked not to give in to any pressure

Concerned at Islamists' recent moves in the name of protesting against Women Development Policy, 2008, eminent citizens yesterday said giving in to their pressure would push the country back to the Middle Ages.

Hasina sent back to sub-jail from hospital

Detained Awami League President Sheikh Hasina was sent back to the makeshift jail at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban complex yesterday after receiving treatment at the Square Hospitals for a week.

Saifur group sits alone with EC today

Saifur Rahman-led faction of BNP alone participates in electoral reform talks with the Election Commission (EC) today as the other faction loyal to detained BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has refused to take part in the dialogue together with them.

Saifur group for Bhuiyan, Hannan, Hafiz in BNP standing body

The pro-Saifur faction of BNP is pushing forward a new unity formula, urging its rival faction to accommodate Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, Maj (retd) Hafiz Uddin Ahmed and Brig Gen (retd) Hannan Shah in the standing committee of the party.

Fire causes damage in Lawachhara

A fire during 3D seismic survey of Chevron Bangladesh yesterday burnt down forestry in a large area while explosions during the survey caused around 30 structures in the Lawachhara National Forest to develop cracks in the last two days.

Partex Group chief sued for use of urea in board mill

Police has filed a case against the Partex Group Chairman MA Hashem, his son and three others under the Special Powers Act for illegal use of urea fertiliser in production of particleboards.

Those demanding release of the corrupt must be their cohorts

Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossein yesterday said that people demanding the release of corrupt politicians detained at the moment must be associates of the corrupt.

AL men asked to observe it strategically, not to violate EPR

Awami League (AL) leadership yesterday verbally instructed leaders of the party's district units across the country to observe 'strategically' the earlier announced token hunger strike on April 29 for the release of detained party President Sheikh Hasina and make the programme a success without violating the Emergency Power Rules (EPR).

China begins Tibet-Nepal rail link work

China has started to build a rail link between Tibet and Nepal that could drastically reduce Kathmandu's trade reliance on its giant southern neighbour India, officials said yesterday.

Prof Yunus opens Grameen America in New York

Nobel laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus inaugurated Grameen America, a micro-credit organisation, at Jackson Heights in New York on Friday.

45 held on return from Malaysia

Immigration officials at Zia International Airport Friday arrested 45 people on their return from Malaysia with fake passports. The arrestees, however, claimed they were forced to forge passports to return home since their employers in Malaysia kept the original ones.

Muggers stab baker to death

Muggers yesterday stabbed a bakery owner to death in the capital's Sutrapur.

Pakistan, Taliban keep up talks despite new attack

Pakistan's new government and Taliban militants said Friday that they would press ahead with peace talks despite American scepticism and a militant bombing that killed three people at a police station.

Democrats favored in electoral map

The electoral road to the White House favors Democrats this fall -- either Barack Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton -- and has Republican John McCain playing defence to thwart a presidential power shift.

Editorial

A blocked Dhaka-Aricha highway

The Dhaka-Aricha highway was forcibly closed off to traffic for two hours by the agitated workers of a garments factory in Savar on Friday. It happened because one of the workers had been run over by a speeding bus moments earlier. In the course of the uproar, no fewer than fifteen vehicles were damaged by the workers and the situation could only be brought under control after police, RAB and soldiers turned up on the scene. The menacing reality is that such incidents have regularly been taking place in the country. Buses and trucks have hit and left students, workers and others dead and have quickly made their exit from the spot. The consequences, for others using the same road, have been horrendous. Their vehicles have either come under frenzied attack or they have been left stranded on the road for hours because it has been occupied by the angry protesters.

Mro young men in CU

We congratulate the three Mro young men who have become the first in the community to enter Chittagong University (CU) to pursue higher studies. We are sure the entire community is basking in the glory of the three, and an example has been set for the people of other backward communities to follow. To get admission in Chittagong University is no mean feat, and the young men have done it with unwavering determination, sincerity and perseverance. We are sure they have won a big battle against many odds.

For food autarky

BANGLADESH is expecting a bumper boro harvest this year, and the government is hoping that this bumper crop production would somehow relieve them of the economic and political crisis. The government has set a target to procure twelve lakh tons of rice and three lakh tons of paddy at the rate of Tk 28 and Tk 18 per kg respectively in this crop season to build up a food buffer stock. The government has planned to deploy all of its resources and gear up all relevant agencies under its control to make the boro procurement drive a success.

What ails Bangladesh

DESPITE assurances repeatedly being given by the interim government and other forces, there appears to be an apprehension in some quarters that elections may not be held on time (or may not be held at all) as the Election Commission is believed to have been unable to fulfill its works to suit the declared time frame.

Race catches up with Barack Obama

THE average of all the polls predicted that Hillary Clinton would win the Pennsylvania primary on April 22 by 5%. She won by 10%. Polls had also shown Obama winning the New Hampshire primary in January by 13%; but it was Hillary Clinton who won by 3%! Pollsters are aware of one dirty little secret of polling Americans: many whites are reluctant to say that they will not vote for a black candidate.

Sports

Abahani lift title but Sonali win hearts

Abahani survived a second-half scare against spirited Sonali Bank in the exciting final of the Brac Bank Club Cup hockey to regain the title of the season's curtain-raiser tournament at the Maulana Bhasani National Stadium yesterday.

Amin speaks his mind

Maj Gen (retd) Amin Ahmed Chowdhury declared his panel's election manifesto yesterday with a slogan of a 'united effort' to breathe life into the country's languishing game.

NCA batsmen fail to fire

Paceman Mahbubul Alam Robin captured two wickets to put GP-BCB National Cricket Academy's (NCA) poor batting in the shade on the opening day of the first four-day match against Pakistan Cricket Academy (PCA) at the Shaheed Chandu Stadium yesterday.

Tigers train from Apr 29

The national cricketers will be back to training at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Tuesday.

Ballack keeps Blues alive

Chelsea mid-fielder Michael Ballack breathed new life into the Premier League title race as his late penalty clinched a dramatic 2-1 win over Manchester United on Saturday.

Bhajji 'slaps' Sree

The Indian Premier League (IPL) faced its first on-field controversy with allegations that Harbhajan Singh hit Sreesanth, his India teammate and IPL rival, after Friday's match between the Kings XI Punjab and the Mumbai Indians in Mohali. While Yuvraj Singh, Sreesanth's captain, said Harbhajan had apologised after the incident, it remains to be seen how the IPL will handle it as a disciplinary issue.

Local Snippets

Power Development Board crushed East End Boys in straight sets in the Premier Division Volleyball League at the Volleyball Stadium yesterday.

Hearing on April 28

Indian Premier League (IPL) match referee Farokh Engineer will conduct a hearing on April 28 inquiring into the Harbhajan Singh-Sreesanth row in Delhi. Both Harbhajan and Sreesanth will be present and video evidence, if any, will be used during the hearing which will be conducted as per the ICC Code of Conduct.

Inter ready to celebrate

Inter Milan could wrap up their third straight title on Sunday if they win at home to lowly Caglairi and stuttering AS Roma lose at home to Torino.

Austrians least bothered

The countdown clock outside Vienna's town hall tells passers-by there are only 43 days to go until Euro 2008 but many Austrians could not care less.

Modric joins Spurs

Dinamo Zagreb's Croatia midfield star Luka Modric is heading for Tottenham next season after agreeing a five-year-old deal with the Premier League side, both clubs confirmed on Saturday.

Rio is Capello's choice

Rio Ferdinand has emerged as Fabio Capello's preferred choice as England captain after impressing the national head coach with his form for club and country since the Italian took up the reins at Soho Square in the autumn.

Briatore, Real hold talks

Renault team chief Flavio Briatore and his fellow-director of English soccer club Queens Park Rangers, Bernie Ecclestone, the ring-master of Formula One, held two hours of talks with Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon late Friday.

'C'Ron needs a trophy'

Cristiano Ronaldo is the "best player in the Premier League" but needs to win a trophy in order to be crowned player of the year, fellow Portuguese Jose Mourinho said Saturday.

Frings eyes Euro glory

Germany midfielder Torsten Frings insists his side are capable of winning Euro 2008 in June to be crowned European champions for the fourth time.

Klasnic sues doctors

Croatian striker Ivan Klasnic has launched a 1.5 million euros (2.3 million US dollars) lawsuit against two Bremen doctors for "gross mishandling" of his kidney complaint which led to a transplant.

Malaysia threatens suspension

The Malaysian FA has threatened to suspend major domestic and international competitions in the country over a match-fixing scandal that has rocked local football.

Wenger furious with Inter

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger warned Inter Milan on Friday the Italian side will be reported to FIFA if they publicly express interest in signing Belarus midfielder Alexander Hleb.

Chennai crush Kolkata

Chennai Super Kings went on top of the Indian Premier League table after an efficient performance from the bowlers -- reckoned to be the team's weak link -- set up a convincing nine-wicket victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday.

Punjab pummel Mumbai

Football's truism -- money alone can't buy you a winning team -- found its echo in cricket as the Mumbai Indians, the Indian Premier League's (IPL) most expensive franchise, Friday lost their third consecutive game in a row to find themselves one place above the bottom of the table. They were outplayed by Kings XI Punjab, who secured their first win of the tournament with a fine team performance studded by some moments of individual brilliance.

Out of control

On the one hand, the early end of Malcolm Speed's tenure as International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive changes little within a blighted organisation. It had already been announced that he was to stand down in July, after seven turbulent years at the helm, and so all that has really changed is that he will now take no part in the ICC's annual conference, which will take place in Dubai instead of Lord's for the first time in the organisation's 99-year history.

Federer sets up Nadal clash

Roger Federer set up a Monte Carlo Masters final clash with defending champion Rafael Nadal for the third successive year on Saturday when Novak Djokovic retired from their semifinal because of illness.

Australia-Korea final today

Reigning Olympic champions Australia will play South Korea in the final of the four-nation field hockey tournament after beating the Koreans 3-2 in their final round-robin match here Saturday.

Sonali Otit beat Kolkata veterans

Sonali Otit Ekadash beat Shiliguri Veteran Players Association of Kolkata 2-1 in a friendly football match at the Garpara ground here yesterday.

Younis upset, won't play IPL

Younis Khan, who was scheduled to join the Rajasthan Royals after the series against Bangladesh, has decided to stay back in Pakistan due to "personal reasons", according to Darren Berry, the director of coaching of the Royals.

Mumbai in big trouble

With stand-in captain Harbhajan Singh in fresh controversy and a big question mark still there on Sachin Tendulkar's availability, winless Mumbai Indians will be under tremendous pressure against Deccan Chargers of Hyderabad in a battle for survival in the Indian Premier League here today.

Business

Traders attacked for charging card users more

Shops, restaurants, hotels and clubs are charging customers more if they use credit cards, breaking an agreement with card suppliers, bankers claimed.

Orange, SK Telecom, Etisalat eye investment

Delegates of three big telecoms companies-- UK-based Orange Telecom, South Korean SK Telecom and UAE's Etisalat -- start meeting telecoms regulator tomorrow to investigate investment opportunities in Bangladesh.

Six more knitwear makers to adopt lean production system

Six more leading knitwear manufacturers are going to adopt the lean production system, as the system has proved effective to enhance the output by 20 percent with the existing manpower and logistics, according to the trade body for the knitwear sector.

Vietnam rice export ban until June

Vietnam's government will ban new rice export contracts until June, despite a bumper harvest, to ensure food security and boost the value of the grain, state media reported Saturday.

Rising prices' whirlwind effect

High energy prices pose a monumental challenge to economic growth. Everyone knows this. But high food prices stir more visceral fears. The concern today is that the world faces a serious crisis as a result of accelerating prices of food staples.

Economic diplomacy par excellence: Inspiring instances for Bangladesh

Looking up from my plastic bucket chair at the departure lounge of the Incheon International Airport in South Korea, the geodesic design of the airport terminal finds a familiar chord with the designs of other recently built airport terminals in the region, namely, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Ctg port's operations to be privatised

The Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) will handover the operational activities at both the container terminals and general cargo berths (GCB) at the port to private sector and work only as a regulatory body to take care of maintenance, management and development of the port.

BB chief asks businesses to practise CSR

Banks and other corporate houses should practise corporate social responsibility (CSR) to assist the poor and the destitute, the central bank governor said yesterday.

Use of renewable energy underscored

Bangladesh could save a lot of money every year with the use of renewable energy, said speakers at a seminar in Dhaka yesterday.

Imports unlikely to contain MS rod prices

The government move to cool down the overheated market of MS rods and other steel products through allowing their frequent imports is unlikely to be successful due to counter-measures taken by neighbouring countries.

Need for creating new local brands stressed

Local entrepreneurs need to emphasise the development of new local brands, said Sariful Islam, convener of the Bangladesh Brand Forum (BBF), yesterday.

IT customers in Asia-Pacific turn to HP integrity system

Computer giant HP has announced that more than 50 IT customers in Asia-Pacific and Japan replaced legacy mainframe system with HP integrity system in the past eighteen months to minimize high hardware maintenance and software licensing costs, says a press release.

Oil strikes record, gold loses shine

Record-breaking oil prices roared close to 120 dollars this week as traders tracked supply concerns in Britain and Nigeria, and the changing fortunes of the US dollar, analysts said.

Japan to give $100m for food crisis

Japan will donate 100 million dollars in emergency aid to help poor countries cope with spiralling food prices, chief government spokesman Nobutaka Machimura said Friday.

JVC to axe TV operations in Japan, Britain

Japanese electronics maker JVC said Friday it will stop almost all domestic production of flat-panel televisions and shut a plant in Britain amid cut-throat competition.

Airbus to set up joint venture in China

European plane maker Airbus expects to launch a joint venture in China to make aircraft components, as part of its efforts to carve a larger slice of the world's fastest growing aircraft market.

Inflation jumps in India amid expectation of more tightening

India's inflation jumped again to a more than three-year high, according to data on Friday, days ahead of a key meeting of central bankers who are expected to tighten monetary policy further.

Microsoft deadline looms for Yahoo

Microsoft's unwanted courtship of Yahoo hits a critical point Saturday as a deadline arrives for the struggling Internet pioneer to accept the software giant's 44.6 billion dollar takeover offer.

India adds 10 mln cell phone subscribers in one month

India added a record 10 million mobile phone subscribers in March to overtake the US and become the world's second biggest cellphone market after China, the telecoms regulator said Friday.

EU still eyes WTO ministerial meeting by end-May

The European Union said on Friday it still hoped ministers would meet at the WTO at the end of May to end years of trade liberalisation talks despite scepticism within its own ranks.

Weekly Currency Roundup

April 20-April 24, 2008
Local FX Market
Local inter-bank FX market liquid throughout the week, and there was a healthy demand for US dollar. The BDT remained almost unchanged against the US dollar.

Metropolitan

Take lead in creating knowledge-based society

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday urged the teachers of the Dhaka University to take the lead in creating knowledge-based society in the country to catch up with the advanced world.

Press freedom a must for nation's survival

Free the democracy from its captivity to overcome the present crisis in mass media, said the speakers at a roundtable yesterday.

Growing JCD-BCL, factional clashes make DU tense

The atmosphere of Dhaka University (DU) campus is getting violent day by day as clashes and inter-clashes between the two largest student organisations JCD and BCL have been taking place frequently since last one and a half months.

UGC wants quota for students with disabilities at universities

The University Grants Commission (UGC) will hold meetings with public and private universities to allocate quota and provide other facilities to the students with disabilities in all universities, said UGC Chairman Prof Nazrul Islam yesterday.

B'baria blast: Prime suspect, 4 accomplices held

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested the prime suspect of the case filed for explosion of a bomb at a shop in Brahmanbaria on April 13 and his four accomplices with a hand bomb body, five electronic detonators and some Islamic books in the last three days.

CNG price hike not right decision

Politicians, civil society member and lawyer yesterday said the government did not take the right decision of increasing compressed natural gas (CNG) price in right time when the prices of other essentials went beyond common people's reach.

Four killed in road accidents

Four people were killed and six others injured in separate road accidents in Jhenidah, Jessore and Brahmanbaria yesterday.

Five women drown in boat capsize in Meghna

The bodies of five women who drowned in a boat capsize in the river Meghna near Bhasanir Char were recovered yesterday.

Newspaper holiday on May 1

Offices of all newspapers and news agencies will remain closed on May 1 on account of May Day.

Sher-e-Bangla's anniversary of death today

Today is the 46th death anniversary of Sher-e-Bangla Abul Kashem Fazlul Huq, a great leader of the Bangalees.

Seminar on peptic ulcer disease held

An international seminar on 'An Update on Peptic Ulcer Disease' was held at Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre in the city yesterday, says a press release.

President, CA greet Mbeki

President Iajuddin Ahmed and Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed have congratulated South African President Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki on the occasion of Freedom Day of the Country tomorrow.

Tk 4.9 lakh Aussie grant for persons with disabilities

“There is now common consensus about the inextricable links between disability, poverty and development and we all should work together to address this issue and support Bangladesh in achieving its development goals,” said Australian High Commissioner in Bangladesh Douglas Foskett recently, says a press release.

Bangladeshi channels to be broadcast in WB soon

Leaders of Cable Operators' Association of Bangladesh (COAB) and the Cable Operators' Association of India (COAI) yesterday said that broadcasting of Bangladeshi channels in West Bengal might start within a month.

DU student injured in bomb blast

A student of Dhaka University (DU) was injured yesterday following an explosion of a crude bomb in front of Sergeant Zahurul Haque Hall of the university.

Lifting of emergency demanded

Bangladesh Chhatra Moitree (BCM) observed the "Anti-Imperialism and Anti-Fundamentalism Day" on the Dhaka University (DU) campus yesterday.

Chhatra Union's founding anniversary observed

Bangladesh Chhatra Union (BCU), a left-leaning student organisation, yesterday observed its' 56th founding anniversary on Dhaka University (DU) campus amid a series of programmes.

Third death anniversary of Abdus Samad Azad

Today is the third death anniversary of former foreign minister and Awami League presidium member Abdus Samad Azad, says a press release.

National

21 south-western dists reel under power crisis

Unbearable loadshedding at short intervals has made life miserable in 21 south-western districts, also badly affecting the economy.

Police restore grabbed homestead in 48 hrs

A land grabber demolished a day labourer's house with tractor and planted banana saplings after occupying it. Within 48 hours, police cleared the homestead and rebuilt the house yesterday.

Tariqul to be brought to Jessore court today

Detained Former minister BNP leader Tariqul Islam will be produced in Jessore special court today for hearing on charge framing in a case filed for concealing wealth information.

Tk 10 crore seized timber rotting in Khagrachhari

Seized timber worth about Tk 10 crore, kept under the open sky, is rotting on the premises of various range offices of forest department.

No progress in probe, exhibits decaying

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) could not unearth the mystery behind bomb blasts at four cinemas in Sylhet city in 2004 while alamats (exhibits) of the sensational cases are ruining at Sylhet Kotwali Police Station.

Shift site for proposed nurse training centre

Residents in the site of proposed Manikganj nurse training centre (NTC) have demanded relocation of the site to an unused land nearby.

Gunpowder, arms recovered in Rangamati

Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) personnel yesterday recovered four firearms and gunpowder after an hour-long exchange of fire with gunrunners in remote Harirampur area in Baghaichhari upazila in Rangamati district.

Plan to reduce malaria deaths in CHT by 50pc

The government has taken up a plan to reduce deaths from malaria in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) and other malaria prone areas by 50 per cent within 2012, Health and Family Planning Secretary AKM Zafar Ullah Khan said at a discussion meeting here yesterday.

'Ensure ethnic people's right to land'

The indigenous people of Dinajpur at a workshop yesterday urged the caretaker government to adopt proper policies and implement it strictly to ensure their land security.

Vow to stop drug peddling

It was a unique event at Bahera, a remote village and also a den of drug peddlers in Debhata upazila.

Pabna medical college in the offing

With the government initiative to establish a medical college in Pabna, long cherished dream of the people the district now seem to be materialised soon.

27 get PhD, 11 M Phil from RU

Rajshahi University (RU) has awarded PhD degree to 27 researchers and M Phil degree to 11 others upon completion of their research work, says a press release of RU Public Relations Department on Saturday.

Letters

Biodiversity

Biodiversity means the distribution of flora and fauna in various places of the earth. The flora and fauna that occurs in earth system includes- Hydrosphere, Lithosphere and Atmosphere. The term of biodiversity refers to the word Biosphere. There are thousands of biological species in various spheres of earth system. God has created them for the welfare of human beings.

Traffic jam and underground railway

It is reported that because of tremendous road traffic jams and untold sufferings of the people our authorities concerned are contemplating building an underground railway in Dhaka city at a cost of about six thousand crore taka.

Jamuna Bridge

I have gone through the articles published in your daily on the above subject. I have also seen in the TV where different damaged parts of the bridge were clearly shown as well as compared the present alignment of the bridge. Further, different newspapers carried out detailed articles with pictures of displaced plates, missing bolts & nuts, which has in fact affected he alignment of the bridge.

Bangladesh cricket

The cricket lovers of Bangladesh have become sick and tired of the performance of their players. I am intentionally avoiding the word 'Tigers' as the actual tigers may be ashamed or feel belittled when…. Enough is enough. The entire team should be reshuffled and if necessary Bangladesh should opt out of ICC membership. It appeared to me that our batters have not learned even the alphabets of batting. So, what is the use of spending so much for them?

Rice farming with Myanmar

The report on the subject published in your 21st.April issue is an extremely pertinent and important matter. However as usual there is the predictable bureaucratic twist in it! Why and what have officials to go and see about contract farming there? What are our embassy officials doing there? Sucking their thumbs? It is a topmost priority for Bangladesh! Officials should not meddle in matters that need a private sector approach; if officials have any wisdom!

Earthquake

At the time of earthquake a huge amount of energy is released through shaking of the ground and things over it. We Bangladeshis are familiar with it, but we don't see the dangers associated with it.

Supermarkets

According to the business scholars, supermarkets and department stores are like a little oasis to the urban people because they provide the city dwellers a standard, noise free, hassle free shopping, but in Bangladesh, supermarkets and department stores not only fail to provide the standard shopping environment, but also cheat the customers.

Contract farming with Myanmar

I read with deep interest in DS today (20th April) about leasing at least 50,000 acres of land from Myanmar in its Rakhine state for cultivation on contract. This is an excellent idea and the Bangladesh government should do its utmost to materialise the plan. Both Bangladesh and Myanmar would be highly benefited economically by such activities.

Bangladeshi politicians and healthcare

I feel politicians of Bangladesh should not go abroad for treatment, since as public figures they are supposed to get service of the public health system. If this happens the health system may improve. They should remember how the people are suffering and how they are getting the treatment. In 2004, my brother was admitted in NICVD hospital, in one night I saw nearly 5 people dying, my brother survived the first night but passed away next day morning. He was a great freedom fighter and he never wanted any advantage from the government for being a freedom fighter. I felt sorry for myself and for my brother's family that includes three small children along with all the Bangladeshis, the victims of the bankrupt health system of Bangladesh. I cursed the politicians who are responsible for such condition of our healthcare system. Do we need these politicians who are not useful, who are nothing but looters?

Jamaat politics

There is a group that is called Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh Supporters Forum. The administrator of the group claims that "Jamaat is doing the most difficult and most appropriate task of building a prosperous Bangladesh." This group also welcomes individuals to join the group in support of this political party. The Jamaat is a fundamentalist group which participated in war crimes against Bangladeshis in 1971. These individuals and parties have never acknowledged the atrocities and systematic murder they helped orchestrate.

A dangerous livelihood

It was very disheartening to read about the plight of the workers of the re-rolling mills on your first page news “ A Dangerous Livelihood.” (DS April 21). The ones to be blamed are certainly the factory owners and successive governments. The factory owners, in not providing adequate safety measures, are violating the basic human rights of the workers. This unethical and immoral attitude on the part of the factory owners is reprehensible. Punitive measures must be taken against these ruthless owners immediately. And successive governments also share the blame. There are only 4 inspectors for 6,000 registered boilers! In addition, there are just 13 inspectors for more than 14,000 factories countrywide! The government immediately needs to expand the manpower of the department concerned. The government must also think about making it mandatory for the factories to have a standby doctor. And each factory must have adequate safety clothes and tools. Appropriate rules should be there to punish those owners who are violating the rules.

Pahela Baishakh and Hindi songs

This is in response to the letter of Ahmed Ferdous Bin Alam published in The Daily Star on 21 April. The writer got hugely disappointed with the Hindi song performance of the popular singer of our country James on Pahela Baishakh. He even went as far as saying that a singer like James should not have rendered a Hindi song on Pahela Baishakh in order to show his true patriotism!

Still privileged!

Even though the ex- prime ministers of Bangladesh are still behind bars, they should take some solace that they still receive exclusive facilities. A few are listed below:

Traffic jam

Traffic jam is one of the most irritating problems in Bangladesh. Everyone feels it but none seems to think about the situation or a possible solution. Communication is an important aspect of our day to day life. And as such the negative effect of traffic jam can better be felt than described.

Prices of CI sheets

We, the majority people in Bangladesh, live in rural areas and cannot construct RCC & brick based strong, comfortable and decent houses. We opt for building our houses with wood, bamboo and corrugated iron (CI) sheets, as those materials for constructing houses are less costly and more or less durable. But recently we have been observing with concern that prices of all these materials of house building have gone sky high. For example, a mature full-length bamboo that is suitable for house building costs Tk 180.00 per piece, which cost Tk 100.00 a few years back. In the retail market one cannot think of purchasing one cft garjan wood for less than Tk 1, 500.00, which was Tk 1,000.00 last year. The prices of CI sheets have gone too high. The retail price of a bundle of CI sheet of standard thickness to make roof is Tk.7, 500.00, whereas it was around Tk.2,800.00 three years back. We know that when an industrial product is produced in a country, people can enjoy the advantage of reduced prices. Two decades back CI sheets were imported from foreign counties, e.g. Australia, Japan etc. In the last and present decade a few large industrial factories have been set up in Dhaka and Chittagong to produce iron sheets and galvanizing those sheets, that is, CI sheets are produced in Bangladesh now. The country is self-sufficient in CI sheets. We do not have to import CI sheets from abroad anymore. So it is not understood why people are not benefited by it.

Unsafe roads and highways

I refer to your editorial on the above subject published on the first of April. I'm afraid I cannot agree with your conclusion that the solution lies in better law enforcement. Many years ago in a management school, I learnt that the solution to a problem is not necessarily one that is the best, or the ideal, but the solution that can be implemented. I believe that strict law enforcement such as speed control etc. will not solve the problem. It is just impossible to enforce. What is the speed limit on our national highways? Nobody knows, let alone enforce it. How does one enforce it, without radar speed detectors or similar equipment? And does the speed limit have any value when the roads are potted and rickshaws and pedestrians walk on the same road. I suggest instead that the only solution lies in the owners of such vehicles imposing proper driving habits on their drivers. This can only be done if the owners could be penalized for loss of life or injury caused by their vehicles, whatever the cause may be.

International

Abbas warns of 'difficult impasse' in peace talks

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas warned yesterday of an "extremely difficult impasse" if a peace deal is not reached with Israel before US President George W. Bush leaves office in January.

Lanka fears more bombings

The death toll from a bus blast outside Colombo rose to 26 on Saturday as Sri Lanka warned of more indiscriminate attacks against civilians while security forces remained locked in combat against Tamil rebels.

Gillani has 'no problem' with Musharraf

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani has indicated that he intends to work with President Pervez Musharraf, saying he does not think that his government "will have any problem" with the former military ruler.

24 die in Afghan unrest

Bomb blasts killed three Afghan policemen and four suspected Taliban yesterday, officials said, also reporting that 17 other people, including a population census official, died in unrest a day earlier.

Manmohan hopeful of Kashmir peace

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh lauded Pakistan's new leadership on Friday for its positive statements about the road ahead with India and offered hopes of building new bridges with Islamabad to bring peace to the region and also to combat the looming economic crisis together.

Iranian conservatives win big in parliamentary polls

Iranian conservatives won a big majority in parliament after two rounds of elections, according to final results Saturday, but the chamber could still prove critical of controversial President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Victorious Nepali Maoists face serious tests

Former rebel Maoists have secured a surprise win in landmark elections to shape Nepal's political future, but the ex-insurgents will struggle to keep pledges for massive reform, analysts said.

Recounts do not overturn any opposition wins

Zimbabwe's electoral commission says a recount has confirmed the original results for 10 disputed parliamentary seats.

Dalai Lama wants 'serious' talks with China

The Dalai Lama yesterday welcomed China's offer of talks to help resolve unrest in his Tibetan homeland but warned that anything other than "serious discussions" would be meaningless.

UN urges less fighting and more talk in Iraq

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged key players in Iraq on Friday to keep violence down and to put aside party, ethnic and sectarian interests so a real political dialogue and national reconciliation can take place.

'Open war' threat only against US: Sadr

Radical Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called for an end to Iraqi bloodshed on Friday and said his threat of an "open war" applies only to US-led foreign troops stepping back from a full-blown confrontation with the government over a crackdown against his followers.

Latest Lebanese presidential vote set for May 13

A 19th attempt to elect a president has been scheduled for May 13, a spokesman for parliament speaker Nabih Berri said on Saturday as Lebanon remained mired in political deadlock.

German agency many have spied on Afghan Ministers

Kabul believes Germany's foreign intelligence service may have spied on several Afghan ministers, a newspaper said yesterday, following news the agency illicitly monitored the economy minister's emails.

Pakistan to buy anti-terror equipment from China

Pakistan will purchase equipment from China to fight terrorist activity, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Friday.

Arts & Entertainment

Dancers nationwide unite to celebrate the labour of their love

Like their contemporaries worldwide, dancers in Bangladesh are all set to celebrate the International Dance Day (April 29). A three-day long elaborate programme at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy is underway; dancers from all spheres of the country will take part in the festivity. The celebrations begin today.

“Roshadhar Sudhadharer Rajyo”: Bongorongo's latest production

Theatre troupe Bongorongo staged their latest production Roshadhar Sudhadharer Rajyo (“Land of Sun and Moon” according to the brochure provided by the troupe) a satire addressing social corruption. The play was staged at the Mahila Samity auditorium on April 25.

Int'l Short and Independent Film Festival Ctg '08 begins

A five-day long film festival, titled International Short and Independent Film Festival Chittagong 2008, began here Friday. With its classical and superb films, the fest was a virtual feast for cinema lovers.

“Manusher Din Ashey”

In a quiet auditorium full of enthusiastic audience, noted recitor Hasan Arif rendered poems and excerpts from works of Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Shamsur Rahman and other contemporary poets.

A journey through colours

On the occasion of the inauguration of The Academy Gallery recently, it had a display of 30 works. These range from SM Sultan and Aminul Islam, Rafiqun Nabi, Abdus Satter, Jamal Ahmed, Kanak Chanpa Chakma to Tejosh Haldar Josh. Some of the pieces are new and unusual.

"Hiralal Sen Awards '08" held

The prestigious "Hiralal Sen Awards '08" was held on April 25 at the hall room of Nandan-2 in West Bengal, says a press release. Managing Director of Channel I, Faridur Reza Sagar and distinguished cinematographer Ramananda Sen Gupta of West Bengal, received awards for their works this year.

TV Serial "Amar Bou Shob Janey" on ntv

The 8th episode of drama serial Amar Bou Shob Janey will be telecast on ntv tonight at 8:15 pm.

Tom Cruise returns to Oprah show

Actor Tom Cruise is to return to The Oprah Winfrey Show, three years after he famously jumped up and down on the talk-show host's sofa.

OP-ED

Bumper boro crop: But what next?

BANGLADESH is at the threshold of a massive bumper boro crop. Reports from all across the country point to a potential boro output well above the ambitious government target of 17.5 million tons. This is certainly the best news for the country and the government besieged by the surge in rice price all across the globe and the danger of food shortage.

Energy security for Bangladesh

BANGLADESH seems to be already in the middle of a severe energy crunch. Business leaders and newspapers have voiced serious concerns about the power and energy shortages and the possible adverse impact on the country's manufacturing and business sector.

Time for Plan C?

TO all intents and purposes, the Kyoto Protocol is dead, and unless urgent action is taken its successor, the Copenhagen process, may turn out to be dead on arrival or comatose. Kyoto never delivered reductions of CO2 emissions, but still binds 174 nations until 2012. Meanwhile, global greenhouse gas emissions have steadily increased since the reference year of 1990.

Wanted: Stories not about lawyers and leggy blondes

YOUR Humble Narrator has just been to Australia for five minutes. Yes, that's right, five minutes. And no, it wasn't a brief touchdown in transit. It was an entire journey from Asia to Australia and back again for the purposes of an extremely short meeting.

Star City

Job insecurity haunts docs, staffs unpaid for months

Uncertainty has gripped the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) burn unit due to manpower shortage. Many of the skilled doctors have left the unit due to job insecurity.

No major renovation or addition for decades

It was 2:00pm in a sizzling summer day. An anxious five-year-old girl crept inside the tiny cockpit and waited for the aircraft to take off. Moments later as the cutesy plane finally left the ground and started to collect pace, the kid's face began to show signs of panic.

Wasa online billing gets poor response

Dhaka Water and Sewerage Authority's (Wasa) new online billing system has failed to receive encouraging response from Dhaka's water consumers, sources said.



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