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News of: Tuesday, 20th of May, 2008
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The system for pre-shipment inspection (PSI) of imports has become riddled with corruption, and plagued by tax dodging and money laundering, depriving the country of huge amounts of revenue, reveals an investigation by The Daily Star.
Awami League's (AL) decision whether to participate in the dialogue with the government and the election without its President Sheikh Hasina will be based on opinions of the grassroots- and national-level committees.
Pro-Khaleda faction of BNP yesterday rejected the government letter inviting them to participate in the formal dialogue, saying it did not address party secretary general Khandaker Delwar Hossain properly.
Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami was sent to jail yesterday after being produced before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's (CMM) Court of Dhaka in connection with the Gatco graft case.
Finance Adviser Mirza Azizul Islam yesterday said the next budget would be somewhere near Tk one lakh crore with concentration on agriculture, power and rural infrastructure.
The government will import five lakh tonnes of fertiliser from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Qatar under state arrangement to ease fertiliser crisis and boost rice production in the next fiscal year.
At least 50 people were injured as Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) personnel beat up people demonstrating against assault of a Pourasava commissioner by BDR men here yesterday.
The much-awaited dialogue between the caretaker government and the political parties begins Thursday with some small parties sitting first to discuss reforms and ways to hold a free and fair election.
Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami, who enjoyed leniency of the past governments, is now at an isolated cell of Dhaka Central Jail thanks to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) implicating him in the Gatco graft case that eventually led to his arrest on Sunday night.
The Election Commission (EC) is going to publish a report on its electoral reforms talks with political parties, drawing the government's attention to some crucial issues including trial of war criminals to keep them away from polls.
Pakistani High Commissioner to Bangladesh Alamgir Babar said yesterday that his country is ready to share nuclear technology for civilian purposes with Bangladesh, to help tackle the country's massive energy crisis.
Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed last night said his government is working relentlessly and uncompromisingly to empower people and ensure their right to choose their representatives without fear or intimidation.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Naim Ahmed yesterday said their efforts to arrest the absconding accused in Gatco scam case, including former agriculture minister and BNP leader MK Anwar, will continue.
Jatiya Party (JP) Chairman HM Ershad yesterday said his party will join the dialogue with the caretaker government but will not sign any national charter as proposed by the chief adviser.
A day of fierce clashes in Sri Lanka's embattled north has left 61 Tamil Tiger rebels and 17 soldiers dead, the military said yesterday.
Osama bin Laden released a new message on Sunday denouncing Arab leaders for sacrificing the Palestinians and saying the head of the Shia militant group Hezbollah did not really have the strength to take on Israel.
The crusade against corruption has been carried out on three levels with varying degrees of seriousness. The first to be taken on by the ACC was corruption in high places; the second that has got underway relates to probing graft in institutions; and the third concerns itself with money making by minions turning into multimillionaires unnoticed behind the façade of a low profile.
The economic backwardness of people living in certain places in the northern districts, which experience a near famine-like situation (monga) almost every year, is an indicator of the grinding poverty that has shamefully become a perennial feature there.
Today we are going to talk about bridges; bridges that were to do what they were supposed to do -- bridge the gaps between two sides underneath which rivers and canals crisscrossed at will. The landscape of Bangladesh demands numerous bridges and culverts over rivers and canals so that people can safely cross over to the other side. In the past, the rural landscape was dotted with bridges made of bamboo, very delicate and dangerous, but they served the purpose.
Digging deep into the data files of the Brac-supported survey of 62 villages, that contain information of the same households for two decades, we considered three cases of the tedious paths that poor households pursue in their lifecycles. Small household size, access to credit, healthy earning members and a mix of farm and non-farm occupations could sometimes help them graduate, as the following case studies might show.
Imagine being asked whether you'd undergo a high-risk operation under a surgeon who's unaccountable to you. Or let a distant, supposedly wise, uncle decide about your family's safety in your absence during civil war conditions.
After the 'elite' footballers' anger was initially defused by the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) officials on Sunday, it was the turn of the 'commoners' to express their anguish and concern.
Leaders Usha Krira Chakra will be put the test by an young and energetic Mohammedan Sporting Club when the two sides meet in today's Green Delta Premier Hockey League match.
Bangladeshi Grandmaster Ziaur Rahman clinched third place in the Mayors Cup 1st International Chess tournament which finished in Mumbai, India yesterday.
Shefat Nusrat Baishakhi became the first Bangladeshi to achieve the Arthur Ashe Jr Collegiate Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship, 2008, in America.
Jacob Oram's 101 secured a draw for New Zealand on the fifth and final day of the first Test against England at Lord's on Monday.
Bangalore Royal Challengers are out of contention for a spot in the semifinals of the Indian Premier League following a five-wicket defeat at the hands of the Delhi Daredevils at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Monday.
England captain Michael Vaughan fought a gripping personal duel with his opposite number Daniel Vettori on Sunday while steering his team to a 42-run first innings lead on the fourth day of the first Test at Lord's.
A day after Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was barred entry to his team's dressing room, the Indian Premier League (IPL) authorities yesterday issued fresh guidelines which has cleared the deck for the presence of a franchise owner in the team dug-out for the Twenty20 matches.
Mumbai Indians' last meeting with the Deccan Chargers ended in a fourth straight defeat but the return game on Sunday provided plenty of cheer, producing their sixth successive win, the best run in the Indian Premier League so far.
Shane Warne has not ruled out a dramatic return to international cricket for the next Ashes series if Australia's problems with trying to fill his spin position continue.
Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza has expressed disappointment over her missing this year's French Open -- second Grand Slam of the year -- because of a prolonged wrist injury.
The 2007/08 Spanish league season will be remembered as the season when Barcelona performed the guard of honour at the Santiago Bernabeu to applaud the title success of their arch rivals Real Madrid.
Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has hinted that he could retire when his current Old Trafford contract expires in 12 months time - and he is determined to bow out with at least one more Champions League winners' medal to his name.
Real Mallorca's Daniel Guiza is the recipient of this season's Pichichi crown for the top scorer in the Spanish first division with his tally of 27 goals three better than Sevilla's Luis Fabiano.
Diego Maradona, star of Bosnian director Emir Kusturica's documentary to be released Tuesday at the Cannes Film Festival, was a footballing genius upon whom Argentina fans bestowed godlike status even before he starred in their 1986 World Cup success.
Greece's triumph in the 2004 Euro-pean Champion-ships was a shot in the dark but the proud Greeks will be dead set on ensuring it wasn't a one-off when the present edition gets underway in Austria and Switzerland on June 7.
AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti admitted on Sunday that his team of under-achievers have a season in purgatory ahead of them after missing out on Champions League qualification.
Brazil's two-time World player of the Year Ronaldinho is set to leave Barcelona, the club president Joan Laporta has said.
Wayne Rooney wants Manchester United strike partner Carlos Tevez to stay on at Old Trafford when his loan period expires next year.
Spanish champions Real Madrid moved swiftly on Monday to secure their first recruit for next season as they outlayed a reported 10million euros for Argentinian defender Ezequiel Garay from Racing Santander.
AC Milan have told Brazil that they will not release star midfielder Kaka to take part in the Beijing Olympics football tournament in August.
Russia's coach Guus Hiddink said Monday that Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Igor Denisov had rejected his invitation to join his squad in their preparations for the European championship's finals.
Cute has become sponsors of the national women's handball team that leaves Dhaka for India on Tuesday to take part in the third South Asian Handball Championship.
An International Cricket Council (ICC) delegation has completed a security assessment of the volatile Pakistani city of Karachi for this year's Champions Trophy, an official said Monday.
Despite scoring 73 off 54 balls in Kolkata Knight Riders' narrow three-run defeat in the Indian Premier League against Chennai Super Kings in the curtailed game at Eden Gardens on Sunday, Salman Butt was unhappy for more reasons than one.
Heavy rain prevented Australia from completing victory, after Simon Katich enhanced his claims for a place in the opening Test against West Indies, when he helped them into a match-winning position on the third and final day of their tour match against Jamaica which ended in a draw on Sunday.
Australia slumped to a 2-1 defeat against Germany while the Netherlands saw off China 3-1 on the second day of the women's Champions Trophy field hockey tournament here Sunday.
The United States will take their first tentative steps on the long, gruelling road to the 2011 World Cup from Friday in the unlikely company of the likes of Germany, Nepal and Afghanistan.
American men's tennis number one Andy Roddick withdrew from next week's French Open as he is still nursing a shoulder injury, his brother John announced on Monday.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced in-house doping tests for all its players before the Asia Cup, which begins from June 24.
The fourth death anniversary of eminent sports organiser and Bangladesh Olympic Association secretary general Zafar Imam will be observed today in Dhaka and Rajshahi.
Sweden's former men's world number one Stefan Edberg, who has not played competitive tennis since he retired 12 years ago, could be set to face old rival Pete Sampras after agreeing to play two events on the Tour of Champions.
IT Consultants Limited (ITC), a manager of Q-cash brand of ATM and different cards, has decided to go for initial public offerings to raise Tk 150 crore, according to the company officials.
A joint venture agri-business company, ACI Godrej Agrovet Private Ltd, hopes to hit over Tk 100 crore turnover in 2008 as it is set to launch new products in a couple of months.
Vietnam may permanently reduce rice exports by 2010 and beyond to ensure food security for its growing population, state media reports and government officials said on Monday.
Payouts by Chinese insurance companies in the aftermath of last week’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake would not likely significantly impact the industry, analysts said.
Changes in traditional mindset are needed for the development of women entrepreneurs, a workshop was told in Dhaka yesterday.
The gap in salaries between managers and clerics in Indonesia widened last year from 2006 in part because of a shortage in talent amid the country's growing economy, a global study says.
Singapore's exports rallied last month, easily beating expectations, as petrochemical firms lifted overseas shipments and offset slumping sales of drugs and electronics.
On the production floors of the Mohammadi Fashions Limited, a concern of Mohammadi Group, and the Irish Fashion garment factories in Dhaka, traditional dancers twist and shimmy in front of a crowd of workers preparing for their lunch break.
Global English is an 8-year old company with about 100 employees, revenues of USD 20-30 million and profitable. Their business: teaching English to employees of multinationals using unique online methods. What is fascinating is the growth of its business in India, which has traditionally been regarded as endowed with a large English speaking human resource base. But as Mr. Desai the CEO put it: “People need to learn how to converse in different situations”, so its more than just the language.
Dr Mizanur Rahman Shelley has been reelected chairman of Premier Leasing and Finance Limited at a meeting of the board of directors of the company held in Dhaka recently.
Asian stocks closed mostly up Monday with the Japanese market jumping to a four-month high and Taiwanese shares rising sharply, continuing a period of better regional investor sentiment.
Australia said on Monday that it would withdraw as a shareholder of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in 2010 after judging that its work was nearing completion in the former Soviet bloc.
Indian officials are expected in Finland as early as August to sign a revised bilateral air services agreement aimed at increasing capacity between the two countries, currently linked by Nordic carrier Finnair.
The dollar was steady in Asian trade Monday as investors waited for upcoming data amid concern that inflation in the US economy could pick up even as growth slows, dealers said.
World oil prices crept toward the 127-dollar level in Asian trade Monday amid predictions of costlier crude despite Saudi Arabia's disclosure that it had boosted production, analysts said.
Microsoft said Sunday it was considering some kind of new deal with Yahoo that would not involve a new takeover bid, two weeks after withdrawing its offer to acquire the struggling Internet pioneer.
An advisory panel called on Japan's government Monday to help remove barriers to foreign investment amid calls overseas for the world's second-largest economy to open up more.
The Philippines will try to generate electricity from sea currents under a project funded by an Italian grant, an official said Monday.
Nissan Motor Co., playing catch-up in fuel-efficient motoring, said Monday that it and NEC Corp. will invest 115 million dollars to mass produce new batteries for electric, hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles.
Prince Karim Aga Khan yesterday said a continuing spirit of close partnership would be required to materialise the major development agenda of Bangladesh.
The government has decided to build a number of new food godowns up to upazila levels across the country spending more than Tk 350 crore in next three years, Food and Disaster Management Adviser Dr AMM Shawkat Ali said yesterday.
Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday urged Rotary International to help rehabilitate permanently the Sidr victims of the country.
The War Crimes Facts Finding Committee yesterday welcomed a ruling by the High Court that the Biharis living in the country are citizens of Bangladesh, while the Stranded Pakistanis General Repatriation Committee said it would not bring any good to the stranded Pakistanis.
Around 2.5 lakh people get infected with hepatitis viruses a year in the country, experts at a discussion said yesterday.
A police officer died of a cardiac arrest after seeing the brutality inflicted on a robber by a mob in Sonargaon on Sunday night.
Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh (BDB) President AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury yesterday called on the government to include labourers' representatives in the proposed dialogue.
Unidentified criminals stabbed a contractor to death at Kamalapur in the city in the early hours of yesterday.
The Supreme Court (SC) is likely to hear today the government's leave to appeal against High Court (HC) order staying operation of the Supreme Judicial Commission.
Five people, including two women, were killed and six others were injured in separate road accidents in Narayanganj, Chittagong and Comilla districts yesterday.
At least five people, including three women of a family, drowned last night when a boat capsized in the Ichhamati at Mostafapur in Kaliganj upazila while they were coming to Bangladesh from India crossing the river.
Angry workers of state-owned Platinum Jubilee Jute Mills chased the general manager when he was leaving the office yesterday and damaged his official car.
A storm lashed Sadar and Subarnachar upazilas early yesterday, damaging over one hundred kutcha houses, some educational institutions and shops.
A fish farm owner was killed by unidentified assailants at Arhgoria village in Sadar upazila yesterday.
The Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) has arrested four youths and seized arms and ammunitions from their possession in the city.
Meghna-Gomati Bridge on Dhaka-Chittagong highway at Daudkandi will remain closed to traffic from 6:00pm today to 10:00am tomorrow for concrete work for the bridge, said an official handout.
Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) members yesterday recovered Tk 1.3 lakh mugged money and arrested five people in connection with the snatching of Tk 24.50 lakh at Lalbagh in the city on May 6.
Workers' Party of Bangladesh and Gonotantrik Bam Morcha (Democratic Left Front) yesterday condemned the Anti-terrorism Ordinance 2008 approved by the Council of Advisers on Sunday.
President Iajuddin Ahmed and his wife Dr. Anwara Begum yesterday hosted a reception for the members of the Buddhist community at Bangabhaban on the occasion of Buddha Purnima.
After fighting for life for three days, a cellphone mechanic succumbed to his stab injuries in the city in the early hours of yesterday.
Members of Bangladesh Coast Guard (east zone) seized 620 bottles of foreign liquor from Alokdia at Sitakunda upazila in Chittagong early yesterday.
Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested a JMB member, chargesheeted in an arms loot case, from Uttar Moheshpur village in Khetlal upazila yesterday.
An unidentified woman was crushed under the wheels of a train at Kotchandpur upazila in Jhenidah yesterday.
Dhaka Club Ltd organised a condolence meeting in memory of Khandaker Mahbubuzzaman, a permanent member of the club, at the club lounge recently, says a press release.
Md Aminul Hasan, a student of Chittagong University who has been suffering from blood cancer, has appealed for financial assistance for his treatment, says a press release.
BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami are facing leadership crisis in Nilphamari district as most of the front ranking leaders, faced with a number of cases, are in jail, absconding or inactive.
Chuadanga police announced reward for providing information to law enforcers on three absconding outlaws who broke out of Chuadanga jail Thursday night, police said.
Although harvest of Boro crops is nearly complete in most areas, price of rice in the local markets is yet to see significant reduction, as solvent farmers, middlemen and traders are stockpiling paddy with hope to gain more profit when the crop gets further price hike.
Speakers at a seminar yesterday said a staggering 70 per cent children in the char areas of the district drop out at the primary level, indicating a frustrating condition of schooling in the poverty-stricken area.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has started investigating property and wealth belonging to Khulna Mayor Sheikh Tayebur Rahman and six other members of his family.
Joint forces arrested the complainant of an extortion case filed against Khulna City Corporation mayor Tayebur Rahman from Children's Park here on Sunday afternoon.
A journalist was electrocuted in Tangail town in the early hours of yesterday.
Taking note of "major and significant developments" in the Indo-Pak ties, US President George W Bush has said the Kashmir issue is "ripe" for resolution.
About 70 percent of Myanmar's hungry cyclone survivors remain without UN food aid more than two weeks after the disaster, forcing them to leave their villages, relief workers said yesterday.
Keen to take the peace process with Pakistan forward, India is expected to press for launch of more cross-LoC bus services and early operationalisation of the truck service when the two sides resume the composite dialogue in Islamabad today.
Myanmar agreed yesterday to an international relief effort led by its regional allies to help more than two million cyclone victims still critically short of life-saving food, shelter and medicines.
A suicide bombing in the northwestern Pakistani city of Mardan on Sunday killed at least 13 people and wounded many others, a government minister said.
China stood still and sirens wailed Monday to mourn the country's tens of thousands of earthquake victims, as the search for survivors increasingly became a search for bodies.
The US military is holding about 500 juveniles suspected of being "unlawful enemy combatants" in detention centres in Iraq and has about 10 detained in Afghanistan, the United States has told the United Nations.
Emmerson Ziso fled hunger and repression in neighbouring Zimbabwe, but now he wants to go back. Even his violent, chaotic homeland seems a haven compared to Johannesburg, where weekend attacks on foreigners left at least 12 dead.
Republican White House hopeful John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama both face a balancing act to placate their parties' bases while also courting the floating voters of the political centre.
A unique colony of tens of millions of starfish-like creatures has been discovered on a mountain peak lying below the ocean in sub-Antarctic waters south of New Zealand, scientists said Monday.
A top official of Zimbabwe's opposition party on Monday accused the government's military intelligence of plotting to assassinate its leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
A Pakistani court on Monday acquitted Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, of decade-old charges of drugs smuggling, his lawyer said.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday launched an online version of his weekly question-and-answer session in parliament, vowing to give let the public grill him directly, on YouTube.
The death toll in violence in Murshidabad district during the last phase of Panchayat elections yesterday rose to 19 today with 231 people admitted to different hospitals, as fresh armed clash between the CPI-M and Congress claimed one more life in the district.
Grave by mass grave, South Korea is unearthing the skeletons and buried truths of a cold-blooded slaughter from early in the Korean War, when this nation's US-backed regime killed untold thousands of leftists and hapless peasants in a summer of terror in 1950.
In a major setback for Malaysia's embattled Premier Abdullah Badawi, his mentor and influential predecessor Mahathir Mohammad today sprang a surprise by quitting the ruling party to press for leadership change following the party's recent electoral losses.
Up to 20 people were killed yesterday and dozens are missing presumed dead after a packed passenger bus skidded off a mountain road and plunged into a river in Nepal, local media reported.
Arts & Entertainment
Rabindra Jayanti was held with much festivity at the Shahzadpur Kacharibari in Sirajganj recently. It is opportune to consider the subsequent generations of Tagore's 250 palanquin bearers (commonly known as "Bagdi") from the Bagdipara village in Shahzadpur who now live amidst penury and hardship.
The 16th Young Artists' Art Exhibition, scheduled to be held in 2006, was inaugurated on May 18, at the National Art Gallery. The exhibition and competition will continue till June 6. Department of Fine Arts, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) has been organising exhibitions featuring talented young artists' work biennially since 1975.
Tony Dias, a familiar face on the small screen is also busy behind the scenes. The popular actor has also been directing plays. ATN Bangla will air Hotath Dekha -- a single episode TV play directed by Tony -- tonight at 8:45 pm. Written by Shahrukh Shahid the play features a moving story of a young man, Ronju (played by Tony) who is shunned by all, after he becomes infected with HIV through blood transfusion.
United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP) has launched a campaign called "Walk the World" recently, says a press release. The chief objective of the campaign is to alleviate hunger around the world by 2015. This year, WFP and its partners arranged special events in Bangladesh to raise funds for underprivileged school children.
Donna Summer was dubbed "The Queen of Disco" after a series of hit singles in the 1970s: now the singer pokes fun at that title in a new song included in her first studio album in 17 years.
The Bangladesh Embassy in Washington, D.C. organised an 'open house' on May 17, as part of Cultural Tourism, DC's new annual celebration of international culture showcasing embassies and cultural organisations.
Every day, 25,000 people die from hunger-related causes. And when food accounts for more than half a poor family's spending, price rises can be truly devastating for millions living on the edge.
If any nation knows what it is like to be rocked by a natural disaster, it is Indonesia. When the Indian Ocean tsunami hit in December 2004 a series of high tidal waves roared along the east and west coast of Aceh, leaving 132,000 dead or missing and 500,000 homeless.
WHEN I was a junior reporter, I worked for an editorial department head who used to copy my work and re-sell it to other newspapers.