The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Wednesday, July 30, 2014


News of: Sunday, 4th of May, 2008

Front Page

Food crisis to go, spike in price to last

The good news is the country at present has no shortage of food grains due to a bumper Boro harvest in progress and a huge import in the recent months.

High alert in 5 N-dists

Security was put on high alert in five northern districts and a massive combing operation launched in Bagmara upazila of Rajshahi with arrest of 21 people yesterday, a day after killing of a policeman at Taherpur.

AL given go-ahead for hunger strike

Awami League (AL) yesterday got permission from the authorities to go on its token hunger strike planned earlier for May 5 demanding release of its detained President Sheikh Hasina, albeit for only in its central and Dhanmondi offices in the capital.

Blasts blown out of proportion

The heat was stifling. Sweat rolled down in drops and showed through T-shirts. In the deep Lawachhara rain forest, the workers in bright red overalls and red helmets were busy securing the explosive line. And then there was nothing else to do but wait. The big yellow remote explosion box with a long antennae lay on the ground, occasionally the wireless fixed to it cackling--the man at the other end of a wave recording van somewhere in a far away tea garden called for patience. Somewhere the explosive lines had been disrupted.

8 killed, 50 hurt as nor'westers strike

At least eight people were killed and over 50 injured as nor'westers swept over Natore, Sirajganj, Bagerhat, Rajbari and Jessore districts on Friday night.

EC wants it only for pre-poll period

The Election Commission (EC) might bring changes to the proposed code of conduct for parliamentary political parties, making it effective for only the pre-poll period, scrapping the earlier proposal for having the rules effective for an indefinite period of time.

Govt faces Tk 40 lakh loss for free pipeline to housing cos

The government incurred a loss of at least Tk 40 lakh as a few unscrupulous PGCL (Pashchimancal Gas Company Limited) officials laid gas pipelines for two private housing companies free of charge, said sources at PGCL.

Hold public hearings at grassroots level

Law Adviser AF Hassan Ariff yesterday urged the media to arrange grassroots-level public hearings so that people who cannot reach local administration for solutions to their problems or place their demands could be heard.

Gas crisis in Bogra, Pabna, Sirajganj

The PGCL (Pashchimancal Gas Company Limited) has stopped providing any new connection to industrial establishments and CNG refuelling stations in Bogra, Pabna and Sirajganj due to acute shortage of gas.

No arrest in murder of 2 schoolboys

No one could be arrested as of yesterday evening in connection with the brutal murder of two schoolboys in the capital.

ADB to provide loans for food subsidy

The Asian Development Bank will provide a "sizeable" amount in budgetary support to nations affected by the spike in food prices that is affecting one billion people in the region, its president said here Saturday.

BTTB to offer links within 24 hours

Intending subscribers of the state-owned BTTB will get telephone connections within 24 hours of payment of their demand note money.

Jamaat rejects constituency delimitation

Jamaat Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid yesterday demanded withdrawal of the Election Commission's draft gazette notification re-demarcating 133 out of the 300 parliamentary constituencies.

No polls with Khaleda in jail

The BNP is moving step by step towards street agitations, said pro-Khaleda BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain yesterday, asking party leaders and workers to be prepared for that.

Phulbari highway blocked over coalmine issue

Angry residents blocked the Phulbari highway yesterday demanding immediate resignation of Dr Tamim, special assistant to Chief Advisor, for his controversial role over the Phulbari open pit coal mine.

Bodies of three found after car plunge in Padma

The bodies of three of a family, who went missing as their car plunged into the Padma at Maowa ferryghat on Friday, were recovered yesterday morning.

2 youths shot dead, motorbike taken away

Miscreants shot dead two youths and took away a motorbike at Sajanpur in Bhederganj upazila of the district on Friday night.

3 of a family burnt to death

Fire killed three members of a family and injured 10 others at Ghonarpara in the town early yesterday.

Huji man Suman remanded again

Harkatul Jihad al Islami (Huji) operative Arif Hasan Sumon was placed on a fresh two-day remand yesterday in connection with the Ramna Batamul blast during Pahela Baishakh celebrations in 2001.

Country far away from democracy

Regulatory Reforms Commission (RRC) Chairman Akbar Ali Khan yesterday said Bangladesh is still far away from real democracy.

Indian prices at 3-year high

Indian inflation is at its highest in over three years as food and energy costs continue to rise, official figures show.

Musharraf ready to give up power to dissolve parliament

President Pervez Musharraf has agreed to give up his powers to dissolve parliament and dismiss the prime minister following several rounds of secret parleys with the ruling Pakistan People's Party, a media report said yesterday.

Cuba lifts ban on home computers

The first legalised home computers have gone on sale in Cuba, but a ban remains on internet access.

Over 150 Kurdish rebels killed in Iraq raids

More than 150 Kurdish rebels from the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party have been killed in Turkish bombing raids carried out in northern Iraq this week, the Turkish army said yesterday.

Thai PM harasses reporters

Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej routinely harasses reporters and attempts to intimidate the media with his foul mouth, a coalition of Thai journalism groups charged yesterday.

Editorial

Redrawing of electoral boundaries

THE move by the Election Commission to redraw the boundaries of 133 electoral constituencies on a district-wise basis has drawn flak from the political parties. Indeed, some politicians smell something of the negative and even the conspiratorial in such a move. While the reaction from the parties was only to be expected, we nevertheless feel that the EC has done nothing beyond its remit. In fact, the constitution obliges the EC to go for a delimitation and readjustment of constituencies. More pertinently, it is the demographic realities (the last census was conducted in 2001) that necessitate a redrawing of constituencies. At this newspaper, we believe that constituencies must be so arranged as to provide for an equitable distribution of population and electoral representation within them. There is surely concern when two constituencies, of 100,000 people and 5,00,000 people respectively, are each represented in Parliament by a lawmaker. The discrepancy in the numbers becomes glaring. Moreover, there is the important question of expenditure ceiling applicable for election campaigns. How could the same limit hold good for constituencies of widely different sizes?

A spurt in crime

A number of murders of macabre proportion have taken place in the metropolitan city and elsewhere in the country compelling us to wonder about the competence of the law enforcing agencies. In the recent months, a lady was murdered in her own flat in Dhanmondi while two more met the same fate in a Banani flat. We remember, only a couple of days ago, an army personnel was knifed to death by a group of snatchers when he tried to catch one of them. And as recently as on Thursday last, a trader was shot dead by local extortionists when he refused to oblige them. The discovery of the dead bodies of two young schoolboys in an abandoned house in the city added yet another gruesome dimension to crime situation in the country. These are examples of some recent crime committed in the city. In the rural areas, a major crime that was reported from Bagmara upazila on Thursday was the murder of a police constable and infliction of grievous injury on four others by some outlaws. They had raided the police camp and looted their firearms.

Worries on women's rights

THE pitched battles that some radical Islamist groups fought recently with the police for two consecutive days around the Baitul Mukarram national mosque to protest against certain provisions of giving women equal rights in the National Women Development Policy (NWDP), have engendered a deep sense of concern among the conscious people.

Bangladesh in a non-polar world

IN the light of the Anglo-American opposition to military rule in Bangladesh one cannot but be reminded of Ambassador Richard Hass's essay on The Age of Non-Polar World (May/June Foreign Affairs) in which he tries to analyze the pros and cons of the present state of global affairs in the absence of “hegemonic stability.”

Rev. Wright derails Barack Obama's campaign again

AFTER lying low for six weeks in the aftermath of his controversial snippets airing on Fox News and YouTube, Rev. Jeremiah Wright suddenly resurfaced on April 25 and gave an interview to Bill Moyers, defending his reputation, making Barack Obama cringe. Then on April 28, in front of a national television audience Wright reiterated all the outrageous assertions he had made in those snippets, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, making Obama furious.

Sports

Salma leads historic win

Captain Salma Khatun led Bangladesh from the front to a memorable victory over Pakistan by four wickets in the Women's Asia Cup at the Welegedara Stadium in Kurunegala yesterday.

MSC fashion amazing win

Mohammedan Sporting Club came from two-nil down to win 3-2 over Ajax Sporting Club in an exciting encounter of the Green Delta Insurance Premier Division Hockey League at the Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium yesterday.

PCA take slim lead

Pakistan Cricket Academy took a slender 12-run first innings lead over GP-BCB National Cricket Academy (NCA) on the second day of the second four-day game at the Rajshahi Divisional Stadium yesterday.

Zia still on top

Grand Master Ziaur Rahman maintained solo lead in the 34th National Chess Championship at the federation hallroom yesterday.

Narrow win for Narail

Narail and Joypurhat narrowly escaped with close victories while Chittagong and Tangail won comfortably in the opening day matches of the 28th National Cricket Championship yesterday.

Suspension of ban sought by Shoaib

Shoaib Akhtar's lawyers have asked for a suspension of his five-year ban in a bid to allow him to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and are set once again to approach the Appellate Tribunal looking into his appeal.

Bangalore clinch thriller

They may have been scraping the bottom of the points table, but the Bangalore Royal Challengers and Deccan Chargers dished out one of the best games of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Saturday.

Delhi snap Chennai streak

A clinical Delhi Daredevils recorded an eight-wicket win to bump their opponents, Chennai Super Kings, off the No. 1 spot and end Mahendra Singh Dhoni's 100 per cent record at the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Friday. The match was effectively decided by a century stand inside 12 overs between Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir after Chennai's innings floundered in the absence of their Australian batting stars.

C'Ron leads Hammers rout

A Cristiano Ronaldo double helped Manchester United coast to a 4-1 win over West Ham that leaves them on the brink of retaining the Premier League title.

Materazzi dreams of title

Inter Milan's robust centre-back Marco Materazzi said it would be a dream to sew up the Serie A title in Sunday's crunch derby against AC Milan at the San Siro.

Rio eyes England armband

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand admitted Saturday he would like the England captaincy on a regular basis.

Revenge motivates Everton

Everton will be motivated by revenge as they try to wrap up a UEFA Cup spot against Arsenal on Sunday.

Gattuso wants to play in England

AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso admitted on Friday that he dreams of playing in the English Premier League.

Kaiser slams "joggers"

Bayern Munich president and German World Cup winner as player and coach Franz Beckenbauer on Saturday slammed the club's current crop as "joggers" after their UEFA Cup semifinal slaughter in St Petersburg.

I deserve Italy recall: Del Piero

Juventus captain Alessandro Del Piero believes he deserves an Italy recall for Euro 2008 after scoring 18 goals in Serie A this season.

Boca severely punished

The South American Football Federation (CONMEBOL) on Friday ordered that Boca Juniors' stadium be closed and the Argentine club be fined 30,000 dollars after a referee's assistant was attacked during a Copa Libertadores match.

Japanese ref cleared

Japanese football authorities cleared a leading referee Friday of an accusation that he had told a player to "drop dead" for complaining about a decision during a J-League match.

Zlatan would be fit for Euro 2008

Sweden's star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic insisted Saturday that he was confident he would be fit for Euro 2008 despite suffering from a lingering knee injury.

China upset S Korea

China will play Olympic champions Australia in the final of the four-nations field hockey tournament after a 3-1 upset victory over South Korea here on Saturday.

Local Snippets

Jamalpur experienced a mixed day in the Exim Bank 19th National Handball Championship at the Rajshahi Divisional Women's Sports Complex yesterday.

A day of Marshalls

New Zealander James Marshall and twin brother Hamish helped put the news of a suspected dislocated finger for England opener Alastair Cook into the shade with a century against Essex on Friday.

ACA for world club event

The Australian Cricketers' Association has outlined its push for an international club competition that would "spread the workload" of its players. Following the initial success of the city-based franchises of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Paul Marsh, the ACA chief executive, has called for a reduction in traditional contests, an ICC-sanctioned window for Twenty20 tournaments and an end to the "counter-productive" official views on the rival Indian events.

ACA for world club event

The Australian Cricketers' Association has outlined its push for an international club competition that would "spread the workload" of its players. Following the initial success of the city-based franchises of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Paul Marsh, the ACA chief executive, has called for a reduction in traditional contests, an ICC-sanctioned window for Twenty20 tournaments and an end to the "counter-productive" official views on the rival Indian events.

Missing the 'Big Three'

Term it whatever you want -- the law of averages, or an off day -- but Chennai slumped to their lowest score after their batting order had taken a severe hit. They were shorn of three first-choice overseas players: their two highest runs-scorers, Matthew Hayden and Michael Hussey, and an all-rounder, Jacob Oram and the loss of this formidable trio eventually hurt.

Only Sachin can pull Mumbai up

Rampaging Delhi Daredevils, who have shot to the top of the table and are firing on all cylinders, take on the wobbly Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League clash at the D Y Patil Stadium today in hot and humid conditions.

Fox and Nine combine for 2011 WC

Channel Ten's move into cricket broadcasting with the Indian Premier League has not yet extended to international coverage after Fox Sports and the Nine Network picked up the rights to all ICC events until 2011.

Rajasthan Royals exude confidence

Now that the Chennai Super Kings have lost their aura of invincibility, a buoyant Shane Warne and his Rajasthan Royals teammates are optimistic of pulling off their fifth straight win when they host the MS Dhoni-led side in the Indian Premier League match here today.

Blatter wishes Salahuddin

FIFA president Sep Blatter congratulated newly-elected Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) chief Kazi Salahuddin.

Mushie's knee operated on

Sussex spinner Mushtaq Ahmed could be out of action for up to three weeks after undergoing keyhole knee surgery, his club revealed Thursday.

New EC body of Swadhinata formed

The executive committee for 2008-09 of the Swadhinata Krira Sangha was formed recently with Md Jasim Uddin Khan Khokon and Syed Saifur Rahman Tulu made president and general secretary respectively.

Business

BSTI licence renewal soars amid drive against malpractice

The number products and services licence renewal from standards authorities soared in seven months of the current fiscal year with the government agencies launching drives against business irregularities and food adulteration.

United Airways flies beyond border by July

Local private airline United Airways plans to fly beyond the border by early July with an aim to reach a break-even level, an official of the carrier said yesterday.

Garment makers getting ready for duty-free export to India

Bangladesh readymade garments (RMG) exporters are now getting ready to send 8 million pieces to India this year as all uncertainty goes on a recent notification by Delhi government that allows a duty-free benefit for the yearly export of these garments under the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (Safta).

BB, businesses concerned at high interest spread

Indicators show a significant improvement in the health of the banking industry during the third quarter (January-March) of the 2007-08 fiscal, reveals a central bank report.

BB to monitor banks' promises

The central bank governor yesterday announced that Bangladesh Bank (BB) would monitor whether commercial banks are actually shortening the spread between the lending and deposit rates in keeping with their promises to do so.

With modest job losses, US defies doomsayers

The US labour market held up better than expected in April, with 20,000 jobs cut in the month, according to data Friday that analysts said signaled a mild economic downturn but not a calamity.

The meme of learning and development

I know, I know. You must be wondering what is meme (pronounced 'meem'). The ubiquitous internet Wikipedia explains that a meme is any unit of cultural information, such as a practice or idea, that gets transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.

Food price hike pushes 80pc people below poverty level

A renowned economist yesterday said unprecedented food price hike might have pushed 80 per cent people of the country down to the poverty level.

10 knitwear units awarded for compliance

The Ministry of Labour and Employment and BKMEA jointly awarded prizes to 10 knitwear-manufacturing units in recognition of strict observance of labour laws and compliances, said a BKMEA statement yesterday.

Commodity prices retreat after oil hits record high

World commodity markets mostly fell this week on easing concerns over tight supplies, a strengthening dollar and hopes that the worst of the global credit crisis was over, analysts said.

Wall Street embraces fragile recovery

With shaky conviction, Wall Street investors are starting to come out from their shell in anticipation of global credit squeeze easing and a skirting of a major US economic downturn.

GM sales down 16pc

General Motors Corporation said Thursday its US sales slid 16 percent in April from a year ago on weak demand for trucks amid soaring gasoline prices and a supplier strike that slashed fleet deliveries.

Microsoft, Yahoo in takeover talks

Microsoft and Yahoo began takeover talks Friday with the US software giant open to raising its 44.6-billion-dollar bid for the struggling Internet pioneer, a source close to the situation told AFP.

India inflation hits 42-month high of 7.57pc

India's inflation rate accelerated to a 42-month peak of 7.57 percent, driven by higher food costs, according to official data on Friday, dealing a fresh blow to the government.

No US economic recovery this year: IMF chief

International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said Friday that he does not see the US economy recovering from its current doldrums this year.

Tata eyes stake in Indonesia's Krakatau Steel

India's Tata Steel could bid for a stake in Indonesia's largest steel maker PT Krakatau Steel, according to a report here Saturday.

Citi, State Street to sell CitiStreet for $900m

Boston and New York Citigroup Inc and State Street Corporation has announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement to sell CitiStreet, a benefits servicing business, to ING Group in an all-cash transaction valued at $900 million, says a press release.

KL to spend $778m on food security

Malaysia will spend 2.49 billion ringgit (778 million dollars) this year to increase food production, a top minister said Friday, amid soaring costs globally for staple items like rice.

EBL loan product for women entrepreneurs

Eastern Bank has launched a loan product titled 'EBL Mukti' for women entrepreneurs.

Thai food festival at Westin Dhaka

Food lovers can enjoy Thai cuisine in The Westin Dhaka as a Thai food festival began at the hotel yesterday.

ROK inflation close to 4-yr high

South Korea's inflation hit the highest level in almost four years in April on increased fuel costs, breaching the target range for the fifth consecutive month, government statistics showed Thursday.

Weekly Currency Roundup

April 27 April 30, 2008
Local FX Market
Local inter-bank FX market was tight throughout the week, and there was a high demand for US dollar. The BDT remained almost unchanged against the US dollar.

Metropolitan

Protect migrant workers' rights for shared interests

While remittances sent by migrant workers plays a crucial role in the country's economy, authorities are not doing enough to protect their rights, said the speakers at a seminar yesterday.

'Democracy a must for free press'

Only law is not enough, the mindset of people to hide information must be changed to ensure freedom of press and right to information, said the speakers at the inaugural session of a celebration yesterday.

Formulate law to ensure rights of persons with disabilities

Speakers at a solidarity meeting yesterday urged the government to formulate laws to ensure the rights of the persons with disabilities, as Bangladesh is a signatory to the Charter on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Declare election date

Workers’ Party of Bangladesh President Rashed Khan Menon yesterday warned the government of not playing games with the election.

Accounting career fair begins at DU

A three-day 'Accounting Career Fair' began on the premises of the Faculty of Business Studies at Dhaka University (DU) yesterday in a bid to make students familiar with the existing facilities in the corporate market.

Vow to bring war criminals to book

Speakers at a discussion yesterday vowed to embody the dreams of Shaheed Janani Jahanara Imam and try the war criminals.

Form commission to protect lands of indigenous people

Leaders of indigenous Shantal community yesterday demanded formation of a special land commission to protect their land from grabbers.

Car rally to create mass awareness about autism

The Association of Parents and Teachers of Autistic Children (Aptac) yesterday organised a car rally in the city in a bid to create mass awareness about autism.

Card game friends come to aid of poor woman

British High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury and his card game friends last night handed over their entry fees and winnings of Tk 1.3 lakh to a poor woman.

'242 journos fell victims to repression last year'

The last one year was the worst time for journalists as considerable number of repressions on journalists took place during the period in the country, speakers said this yesterday at a discussion to mark the World Press Freedom Day.

Road accident kills schoolgirl

A schoolgirl was crushed under the wheels of a pickup van on Shialkol-Bohuli road at Bramhokhola in Sirajganj Sadar yesterday morning.

60kg cannabis seized

Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) yesterday seized 60kgs of cannabis in a drive at a train at Airport Railway Station in the city.

CPB demands adequate paddy purchasing centres

Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) yesterday demanded adequate paddy purchasing centres at villages, employment schemes and, planned and corruption-free money for work programme, says a press release.

Road crash kills woman in city

An identified woman was killed in a road accident in the city last night.

Shibir activist assaults CU asst proctor

An activist of Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS) assaulted an assistant proctor of Chittagong University (CU) in front of the Proctor Office yesterday.

University student kidnapped, stabbed

Armed miscreants yesterday kidnapped a private university student and left him in critical condition in front of the Sylhet Osmani Medical College Hospital (SOMCH) gate.

One held on charge of kidnapping SUST student

Sylhet Kotwali Police yesterday arrested a close associate of the prime accused in a case for kidnapping and torturing a student of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST).

Members reject new body of Satkhira Red Crescent Society

Most of the life members of Satkhira Red Crescent Society condemned reorganising Satkhira Red Crescent unit with local leaders and activists of BNP and Jamaat.

Emon remanded again for 2 days

Top criminal Sanjidul Islam Emon was placed on a two-day fresh remand yesterday in the Rafiqul Islam Azad murder case.

'Temple for RU Hindu students within 2 months'

The teachers, students and employees from Hindu community of Rajshahi University (RU) urged the university authorities to immediately construct a full-fledged Puja mandir (temple) on the Matiher Hall premises of the university.

Trader stabbed, robbed of Tk10000 in city

A gang of muggers stabbed a trader and snatched Tk 10,000 in cash and a cellphone from him at Motijheel in the city last night.

St Alfred's High School platinum jubilee Dec 27-28

St Alfred's High School will celebrate its platinum jubilee on December 27-28, says a press release.

National

Open pit mining in Phulbari to harm agriculture, industry

Businessmen of greater Rangpur and Dinajpur yesterday strongly opposed the idea of open pit coal-mining in Phulbari, saying that the project will threaten growing agriculture industry in the region and eventually prove as an impracticable venture.

Release Hasina, announce polls schedule

Awami League Presidium member Abdur Razzak yesterday demanded release of party chief Sheikh Hasina considering her sickness and allowing her to go abroad for better treatment.

'Retain Patuakhali-1,Barguna-3 constituencies'

Local people including political leaders have protested the proposed delimitation of Patuakhali-1 and Barguna-3 constituencies. Patuakhali-1 now comprises Patuakhali Sadar, Mirjagonj and Dumki upazials and Barguna-3 comprises Amtali and Taltali upazilas.

Function boycotted as Jamaat man invited

A large number of former students of Rangpur Carmichael College boycotted a reunion at the college on Friday as alleged war criminal and former Jamaat-e-Islami lawmaker Moulana Abdul Aziz was invited as special guest.

Road blocked, Tamim's resignation demanded

Aggrieved people of Phulbari, Nawabganj and Birampur upazilas in Dinajpur district yesterday blocked a road at Aftabganj in Nawabganj upazila and demanded resignation of Chief Adviser's Special Assistant Dr Tamim for his controversial role over Phulbari coalmine.

Tea processing factory opens in Panchagarh

Karotoa Tea Processing Factory was inaugurated at Kazipara in Panchagarh Sadar upazila yesterday.

Dinajpur doctor commits suicide

A doctor of Dinajpur Medical College Hospital (DMCH) allegedly committed suicide by hanging from a sealing fan at his dormitory Friday evening, police said yesterday.

Tk 2.2 lakh mugged in Sylhet

Armed miscreants looted Tk 2,20,000 from two persons on Sylhet-Golapganj road yesterday afternoon.

Letters

Heat wave

As the summer has set in, we are made to feel the intensity of the heat wave. In other words, daily temperature is shooting up --each new dawn heralds in another hot day. Even we can feel the wrath of the sun early in the morning. At midday the heat becomes so unbearable that you need something, say an umbrella, over your head. To make matters worse, the supply of electricity is being disrupted--the ceiling fans are not moving!

Depoliticise public universities

In this globalised and competitive economies, a nation will be just withering away without highly skilled manpower and technological edge over others. The public universities need to be overhauled thoroughly to make these institutions effective for generating and enhancing knowledge to create skilled manpower. Public universities are on the verge of collapse, to say the least. The last BNP-Jamaat government made public universities subservient wholly to their party interest. Appointed VCs were from among nasty party cadres having serious corruption scandals (appeared in the national dailies against some of them). These party cadre VCs still persist in some universities. The Ministry of Education recently advertised for appointing new VCs in 7 public universities where the posts are now lying vacant. Why shouldn't the BNP-Jamaat cadre VCs be removed from all other public universities for the sake of fairness and to depoliticise all the universities before the proposed general elections on a plain field of politics. Why the BNP-Jamaat should get an upper hand in the public universities during the elections under a neutral caretaker government? Why public universities are by-passed in the reform agenda?

Our cricket

It has been a long journey for Bangladesh cricket. But it seems our performance is still the same as it was 10 years before. We try to be very confident sometimes and at times we perform very badly at the international level. As it is the prime sport of Bangladesh, we can expect at least some fighting performances. We understand all the problems but when we see players not concentrating or playing some risky strokes when the team is in trouble, we feel bad.

Commuters' woes

Movement of people, especially the middle class, has become very difficult in Dhaka metropolis. An affordable transport is required to attend a marriage ceremony or to attend a social gathering with the members of the family. Majority city dwellers do not have cars. They have to depend on rented vehicles. Taxicabs are not always available.

Two questions

On food shortage, I humbly submit two questions--

Environment

We should show due sensitivity to the environment. Things are going wrong in many areas, but we appear to be unmoved. That's suicidal, to say the least.

Gas consumption

Mr. Mridha's column on the subject published by you on 22 April regrets the lack of response by industrialists on gas consumption reduction. On this subject the letter by Titas Gas asking industrial users for a six hour stoppage of gas use daily does not sound logical. It can only result in increasing specific gas usage per unit of output!

Women's rights

I was impressed and energized by Syed Badrul Ahsan's article entitled “Ground Realities, Bengali women, equal rights and obscurantism” in your paper.

Rickshaw free capital

I strongly support the opinion and ideas of Mr. Mohammed Rahat to make Dhaka, the capital city, free of rickshaws. The mega city Dhaka is the most densely populated city on earth but the minimum urban amenities are not there. Mr. Rahat has elaborated the issue from all important angles and showed the way out. I would like to reinforce his arguments by adding the following:

Well done!

On behalf of the residents of Gulshan Model Town, I offer the heartiest kudos to the law enforcers for removing unauthorised cars from all the roads of Gulshan on the first day of April 2008. Some business companies park their vehicles in such a haphazard way in and around their billion dollar offices whole day and even at night that we, the tax payer-residents, almost were unable to think or recall that the roads are not owned by these companies engaged in “crass commercialisation” of the “Model Town.” Any complaint, grief, pain or discontent about their illegal and unauthorized parking was never entertained, rather disregarded.

Consultation with PSC

Thanks to the DS for publishing a very important news report concerning the mandatory obligation of the government to consult the PSC under Article 140(2) of the constitution. It appears that not only the question of separation of the EC Secretariat is related to this Article of the constitution, but also the question of appointment of the 3 commissioners, and other important appointments made for the service of the Republic are included in it. I am not aware whether the appointment of the advisers is covered under this article or their provision of appointment is outside the purview of Article 140(2). I understand that the service of the advisers is also for the service of the Republic.

EC's job

The whole country is now anxious about the stalemate in the Election Commission over the BNP's inner conflicts. There are many opinions that we get in the print and news media on how the EC could avoid or overcome the crisis. The success of EC's own roadmap is now subject to the end of BNP's leadership crisis.

Tale of a nation

Is there any government in this country? Everything is crumbling. The prices of essential commodities are increasing day by day, pick-pocketing and mugging have increased at an alarming rate, and the people are fed up with the number of times electricity goes off. Can't the government see all this chaos around them? Or are they totally ignorant about these facts? The government is showing its inefficiency in every way.

Cricketers fail

The debacle in Pakistan did not surprise me. It's inevitable. The ability of our batsmen is not unknown to me. The pitches in Pakistan are not suitable for the bowlers. Batsmen play the pivotal role in these pitches. Look at the Pakistan batsmen, they showed their sublime form. When they batted it looked like a paradise for them. On the other hand, the same pitch appeared to be a minefield for our batsmen. They fell like nine pins. Only Shakib & Tamim showed some resistance.

Poor performance

For God's sake, stop the "Pancho Pandap" from giving any more trouble to us with their vast textbook knowledge on politics They lack, in my judgment, the most necessary knowledge one acquires through his or her experience i.e. common sense. They have already created many controversies by their known and unknown activities surrounding the National Women Development Policy.

Attacking travellers

Once again an expatriate traveller has been severely beaten and tortured at Zia International Airport. But I am surprised by the strange silence of Bangladesh media on this issue. The incident happened on April 14. The victim is a well-known humanitarian aid worker from the UK, Barrister Rizwan Hussain. He returned to the UK with a broken arm and leg. As if that wasn't enough, those elements had the audacity to force Mr. Hussain to sign a declaration admitting that he was illegally trafficking humans. Even if we accept that Mr. Hussain did something wrong, it still doesn't give anyone the right to start beating a traveller right there and then. If someone is guilty then it is the court of law that decides on the punishment.

Power shortage

Electricity shortage and load shedding have become a black spot for the country, despite all big talks about development and other progress claims. This one failure, reported practically everyday in all the dailies, is a major problem overshadowing everything else!

International

London mayor ousted as Brown suffers polls 'bloodbath'

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown suffered a crushing election "bloodbath" yesterday, as his party lost control of London's City Hall on top of its worst poll results for 40 years across the country.

14 die in Lanka fighting

Scattered gunbattles and a roadside bomb blast in Sri Lanka's embattled north killed 11 Tamil Tiger rebels and three government soldiers, the military said Saturday.

Dalai Lama envoys start talks with China today

Chinese media railed against the Dalai Lama and his supporters Saturday and pledged to crush any campaign seeking independence for Tibet, ahead of a meeting between Beijing and envoys of the exiled spiritual leader.

US religious rights panel wants Vietnam, Pakistan blacklisted

A US religious freedom watchdog on Friday asked the State Department to include Vietnam, Pakistan and Turkmenistan in its global blacklist of religious freedom violators, and maintained Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, on a watchlist.

Pak military operation in Balochistan stopped

Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has said that the military operation in Balochistan has been stopped.

Power out as cyclone hits Myanmar's main city

Severe tropical cyclone Nargis lashed Myanmar's main city yesterday, downing power lines and tearing roofs off houses as residents took shelter in their homes and waited for the storm to pass.

Bush seeks $70b for Iraq, Afghan war

US President George W. Bush on Friday formally asked lawmakers for 70 billion dollars to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan into early next year, when his successor takes over.

US airstrikes hits Baghdad hospital

A US airstrike damaged a hospital in the Iraqi capital's violent Shia stronghold of Sadr City on Saturday, injuring 20 people, as American forces claimed to have killed 14 militiamen.

World powers ask Iran to suspend enrichment

Russia on Saturday said that world powers concerned about Iran's nuclear programme were asking Tehran only to suspend uranium enrichment during a period of talks.

Zimbabwe opposition weighs election run-off

Zimbabwe's opposition yesterday debated taking part in an election run-off against the embattled President Robert Mugabe despite claiming outright victory as tensions in the country mounted.

Bush too blames India for rising food prices

US President George W Bush joined US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in blaming the rising prosperity of India's huge middle class for the spiralling global food prices.

UN calls for Myanmar referendum to be inclusive

The UN Security Council on Friday called on Myanmar's military government to ensure that "fundamental political freedoms" are respected in this month's referendum on a new constitution.

Pakistan stays execution of Sarabjit Singh, says official

Pakistan's government has delayed until further order the execution of an Indian man on death row over terrorism charges, a jail official said Friday.

Twisters tear up parts of 4 US states

Violent storms unleashed tornadoes, high winds and hail in four central states and killed eight people in Arkansas, including a teenager who died when a tree fell into her bedroom as she slept.

Guam chooses between Hillary and Obama

The tiny Pacific island of Guam weighed in Saturday on the epic political between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton while the Democratic rivals chased voters for the next key primaries in the United States.

3 Yemeni cops, 2 rebels killed in gunfight

Three Yemeni policemen were killed as their checkpoint came under fire in the northwestern region of Saada, shortly after a blast killed 18 people, tribal sources said on Saturday.

Rice back to boost ME peace bid ahead of Bush visit

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice returns to the region yesterday to provide a badly-needed shot in the arm for the Middle East peace process ahead of a visit by President George W Bush.

Indigenous people demand say in climate change policies

Representatives of the world's 370 million indigenous people called on Friday for a say in decisions on how to combat global climate change, at the end of a two-week session focused on the environment.

US govt to tighten lead emissions standards

The US Environmental Protection Agency unveiled plans on Thursday to significantly strengthen lead emissions standards, in the first revision of the regulations for 30 years.

Arts & Entertainment

Union of Uniqueness

An 18-day group exhibition by Bangladeshi artist Javed Jalil and Indian artist Avijit Mukherjee is going on at Art Club, at Gulshan. The exhibition, inaugurated by High Commissioner of India Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, has been jointly organised by Art Club of Bangladesh and Kolkata based Creative Art and Craft Centre. Earlier the organisations jointly arranged another exhibition in Mumbai.

When music is the musician's soul

Mahjabeen Rahman has been teaching at the Ecole de Musique, Alliance Francaise for nine years, apart from her career as an English Language teacher at Stamford University. She's been into music since her childhood and plays the flute plus sings in concerts and churches. She has had training in both eastern ( Rabindra Shangeet and Nazrul Shangeet)and western classical and contemporary music.

Shooting of "Rupantor" underway

The cinematography of Abu Sayeed's latest venture Rupantor is almost complete. The shooting commenced on April 9. The various scenes have been shot at Madhutila Eco- Park in Sherpur and the premises of Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC). The film features dance sequences by several santal artistes and the participation of adivasi artistes.

Andrew Biraj wins World Press Photo JoopSwart Masterclass award

Young Bangladeshi photojournalist, Andrew Biraj, won the prestigious World Press Photo JoopSwart Masterclass award, says a press release. The award was announced recently from Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Business Hour on Baishakhi

Business based TV programme Business Hour, will be aired on Baishakhi Television tonight at 10:30pm. The show involves discussions on the country's economy, trade and commerce.

Moore film opens Cannes festival

Blindness, a thriller starring Julianne Moore, is to open the Cannes Film Festival in France this month.

Nandita Das: Taking a social conscience to the screen

With a master's degree in social work, Indian actress Nandita Das is keen to talk about women's empowerment and human rights than participate in the glamour of Bollywood.

OP-ED

Leaving a questionable legacy?

SINCE her arrest last July, Sheikh Hasina has been constantly apprehensive about getting fair trials for all the legal suits that have been brought against her for all the wrong-doings she allegedly had committed a decade or so earlier. In front of the trial judges in the make-shift court houses she repeatedly declared her apprehensions that the verdicts have already been decided and the trial judges, in her words, have no other option but to hand them down regardless of the merits of the incriminations which are expected to unfold during the trial proceedings.

Rashida Muhiuddin -- my soft-spoken, elegant friend

IT was a declining afternoon back in 2001 when Rashida Muhiuddin called. She sounded happy, to the point of being thrilled. Could I come over to her Sheraton office for tea? Within the next half hour I was there. She was radiant, with that serene beauty in her giving off a glow of contentment. She had just been nominated by the Awami League for a Jatiyo Sangsad seat in Muktagachha and in celebration wished to share the moment with her friends. I thought myself fortunate in being one of them.

On missing the politicians

TO miss someone, one has to be fond of someone. This is truism and it reflects the term endearment. This is based on the scale of positive relationship. But it is also possible not to miss someone on the basis of dislike, disgust, or revulsion. Here works a vicarious solace in not so missing someone. This relationship is based on negative emotions and unsavoury experiences. There is a third dimension to the relationship or mental connectivity. One can perfectly remain a "stoic" or a "cynic" in the philosophical sense and maintain a stoical or cynical frame of mind, distancing oneself from whatever happens to others. Where do our people stand on the trichotomous attitudinal scale? This question seems relevant with regard to the plight of our ubiquitous politicians in the present day dispensation.

Games begin early but nobody notices

CONTRARY to foreign devil media speculation, we are pleased to announce that absolutely everything related to the 2008 Olympic Games is going brilliantly well. As proof of this, we have decided to begin the games early.

Star City

Three-pronged woes of HSC examinees

Frequent load shedding amid unbearable heat and mosquito menace are hampering seriously the preparation of this year's HSC examinees.

DCC takes up high-rise project ignoring legal obligations

Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) has embarked on a massive commercial move with construction of three commercial/residential high-rise buildings in Gulshan and Banani without building approval and land use clearance from the authorities concerned.

When road sweepers and strollers draw near

It was 8:00 o'clock in the morning. A band of joggers was returning home amid a cloud of dust. Using hands to shield their eyes from the dust blowing in the wind, they strode forward in their sneakers and tracksuits.


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