The Daily Star

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Monday, April 21, 2014


News of: Wednesday, 11th of June, 2008

Front Page

Budget aims at 8 major objectives

Finance Adviser Mirza Azizul Islam yesterday said the proposed budget for the next fiscal year is "realistic", not a very big one, and, if duly implemented, will help overcome the crisis the country is presently facing.

Hasina gets Canadian visa, may fly tomorrow

Still detained former premier also Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina got a visa for Canada yesterday while she already had visas for the US and UK on her passport, returned to her the day before, signalling her readiness to leave the country very soon.

Budget investment friendly, populist

Any instability in the political climate and disturbances in transition to democracy will bring in major challenges for implementation of the proposed budget, the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) observed in a post budget analysis yesterday.

Khaleda demands sons' treatment abroad

Detained former prime minister and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday demanded that her detained two sons are sent abroad for proper treatment for the sake of their lives.

Hiked duty on children's books kicks up an uproar

Middle class families that send their children to English medium schools will feel the crunch in the next fiscal year as a 25 percent import duty on pictorials and drawing books has been proposed in the national budget.

Manju jailed for 7yrs in bribery case

A special court yesterday sentenced Jatiya Party (JP-Manju) Chairman Anwar Hossain Manju to seven years' rigorous imprisonment (RI) in a bribery case.

BDR-run shops reopen with hiked rice price

The BDR outlets drew few consumers yesterday on reopening after four days as they have started selling coarse rice at Tk 30 per kg, a Tk 5 hike from the previous rate.

Truth commission office set up

The government has set up the office of the much-talked-about Truth and Accountability Commission and started appointment of the necessary staff so that the commission may start functioning immediately after its formation.

EC to seek lifting or relaxing emergency

The Election Commission (EC) plans to meet the chief adviser in a couple of days to ask again to create an environment conducive to beginning local government elections from July, either by lifting or relaxing the state of emergency in the areas concerned.

Mysterious booms rock city

Panic gripped city dwellers in the early hours yesterday when sounds of several explosions rocked parts of the capital city.

ACC permitted to quiz Khaleda, Koko for graft

A Dhaka court yesterday gave the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) permission to interrogate BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia at her subjail gate in connection with misappropriation of funds from the Zia Orphanage Trust.

BNP factions wait on Hasina's departure

Both factions of BNP will decide on their next course of action after the possible departure of Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina from the country for treatment.

Charge-framing hearing to resume June 16

A special court yesterday deferred charge-framing hearing in Niko graft case against Awami League President Sheikh Hasina and eight other people till June 16.

2 businessmen hacked to death in city

An industrialist and his businessman friend were hacked to death by a criminal and his accomplices in city's Jatrabari in the early hours yesterday.

ACC chairman returns home

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Chairman Lt Gen (retd) Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury returned home last night after his 22-day foreign trip.

Mixed reaction among parties

In a mixed reaction to the proposed budget for 2008-09, political parties and socio-economic organisations yesterday urged the government to talk to political parties before finalising it.

India close to victory

India were heading for a rare cakewalk against Pakistan in the second one-day match of the tri-nation Kitply Cup at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.

City vegetable vendor killed

The decomposed body of a young vegetable vendor was recovered from an abandoned house in the city yesterday.

Pintu, brothers, Mufti Hannan among 22 to be charged

Twenty-two people including BNP leader and former deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu, his two brothers and Harkat-ul-Jihad Al Islami top leader Mufti Hannan have been made accused in the long-awaited charge sheet of the sensational August 21 grenade attack case.

3 killed in 'shootouts' with law enforcers

Three people--a robber, an outlaw and a suspected criminal--were killed during “shootouts” between their cohorts and the law enforcers in Kishoreganj, Pabna and Joypurhat early yesterday.

Hearings on objections start tomorrow

The hearings on the written objections about delimitation of the parliamentary constituencies will begin tomorrow.

15 injured in JCD-BCL clash

At least 15 students of Dhaka Polytechnic Institute were injured in a clash between the activists of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) and Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) on the campus yesterday.

4 Huji cadres jailed in Magura

A court in Magura yesterday sentenced four Harkat-ul-Jihad (Huji) cadres to 20 years rigorous imprisonment (RI) each for possessing arms and explosives.

1,605 more picked up

The joint forces during its drives arrested 1,605 people across the country in 24 hours until 8:00am yesterday, raising the total number of arrestees to 21,607 in last 12 days.

Nepali king leaves palace today

Nepal's ex-king Gyanendra will leave his palace today, a day before the expiry of a deadline set by a constitutional assembly which abolished the monarchy, a palace official said.

Charge sheet framed to impeach Musharraf

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif-led PML-N has framed a 10-point chargesheet to press for the impeachment of embattled President Pervez Musharraf, urging its allies in ruling coalition to move against the former military strongman if he does not resign.

Lanka fighting kills another 20

Fighting across Sri Lanka's embattled northern region left at least 18 Tamil Tigers and two soldiers dead, the defence ministry said yesterday.

Flash flood inundates US town

For nearly a year, this tiny southwestern Wisconsin village has struggled to survive after a devastating flood. A new deluge may have sealed its fate.

Clarification

The Prisons Directorate has sent a clarification of a news item titled “Hasina, Khaleda may be allowed to have treatment abroad by end-June”, published in The Daily Star on Sunday, saying that it did not make any recommendations for forming a medical board for Tarique Rahman, son of former prime minister Khaleda Zia.

Correction

In a news item headlined "Borrowing bothers economists" printed yesterday, a comment of Zaid Bakht should read as "the government will have to depend on huge bank borrowings to cover the budget deficit" instead of "the government will have to borrow between Tk 30,000 crore and Tk 35,000 crore from the banking sector to meet the deficit".

Editorial

Budget with a human face

Theoretically, the current budget shows an income-expenditure balance as most of its predecessors had done -- on paper. But when chips came down at the end of the year, the mismatch between calculations and achievements proved to be rather glaring. This truism might hold good even more with the present budget. For, apart from the mega-size of the budget of Tk100,000crore, even though partly explained by inflationary erosion of money value, what is really jarring is the sheer extent of the budgetary deficit exceeding well over Tk30,000crore. How is the money going to be garnered or the deficit met? The sources of revenue and other receipts have been elaborated alright; but the deficit can possibly only be met by the government borrowing money from the banking sector or external sources.

Vulnerability to landslides in Khagrachhari

Fifty thousand people inhabiting the hilly regions of Khagrachhari district are faced with the threat of landslides with the onset of rains. The news, disturbing though it is, is not really surprising. That is because of the enormity of the damage done to the environment already. The destruction of the hills, which in most instances has meant a slicing away at them, has now compounded the problem. Added to that is the rampant nature of the felling of trees and a building of homes and office buildings in and around the hills. Obviously, the destruction of the hills and the cutting down of the trees have been resorted to by the very people who now are worried about future landslides destroying their homes and lives.

The point, in the end, is politics

THERE are things that this government, seeing that it is provisional in duration and caretaker in nature, should not be doing. But, of course, there are a whole lot of areas it has in these past sixteen months stepped into, some of them full of landmines. Those steps ought not to have been taken in the broad interest of democracy.

Barack Obama's slew of firsts

BEING first comes naturally to Barack Obama. In securing the presumptive nomination of the Democratic Party, he scored a slew of firsts.

Papa Bongo's big smile

WHAT does a dictator look like? I don't think it's an easy question to answer. More because of the fact that the two dictators many of us have the unhappy memory of encountering in our brief history look so different makes this easy question a much more difficult one to answer. One had an inborn inability to smile, and the other, though keeping a smiling face most of the time, had a foxy cunning look full of deception and dishonesty. So, if anyone is looking for a facial expression of a dictator that might resemble or symbolise Gabriel Garcia Marquez's patriarch in his twilight by looking at our own dictators is bound to be disappointed.

Sports

Where is the craze?

Back in May 2000, India played Pakistan in the Asia Cup at the Bangabandhu National Stadium. The bowl was not only packed but several hundred fans waited outside the stadium for a ticket and be a part of the frenzy.

It can't get any worse

Flashback April 3, 2006: Bangladesh-Guam 3:0.

'All about starts'

India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni finally appeared in front of the media after his side pulled off a massive 140-run victory over their perennial rivals Pakistan in the second match of the Kitply Cup at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday.

Villa vanquishes Russia

David Villa fired a terrific hat-trick as Spain opened their Euro 2008 campaign with an eye-catching 4-1 triumph over Russia in Group D.

Pak embassy to handle Asif case

Mohammad Asif's fate remains in the balance with Nadeem Akram, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official handling the case, set to return home from Dubai where the fast bowler has been detained since June 1 for the possession of an illegal substance.

Bierhoff confident

Germany manager Oliver Bierhoff says the Euro 2008 side can emulate their Euro 1996-winning predecessors after finally breaking their 12-year winless streak in the competition.

Peter awaits tougher NZ

England coach Peter Moores expects New Zealand to be a far tougher proposition in the upcoming one-day series than they were in a lopsided Test campaign.

Pioneer League

Sentu slammed a hattrick to inspire KR Boys Samaj Kalyan Sangsad's 8-2 victory over Noor Sporting Club in a West Zone match of the Pioneer Football League at the Outer Stadium yesterday.

Nat'l shooting on

The 22nd National Shooting Championships began yesterday afternoon at the BKSP shooting range in Savar.

Italy drown in Oranje

Netherlands romped to a stunning 3-0 win over world champions Italy in the first clash of the heavyweights at Euro 2008 in the Stade de Suisse on Monday.

Coach defends his staff

John Bracewell, New Zealand's coach, has defended the role played by his coaching team during the 2-0 Test series defeat by England.

Media scorn Azzurri

Italian media lambasted the world champions on Tuesday for a woeful performance in their 3-0 defeat by the Dutch in their Euro 2008 Group C opener.

Co-hosts expect a battle

Switzerland star Tranquillo Barnetta is steeling himself for a "hard-fought and aggressive" clash with Turkey as the two countries go head-to-head for the first time since their last match ended in a notorious brawl.

Teams seek to progress

Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari says his side will be confident -- but not too confident -- when they face the Czech Republic here on Wednesday with a Euro 2008 quarterfinal place at stake.

Basten in dreamland

Marco van Basten believes Holland have earned the right to dream of glory at Euro 2008 after their 3-0 demolition of world champions Italy kicked the tournament into life.

'Goal was not offside'

Ruud van Nistelrooy's opener in Holland's 3-0 demolition of Italy here on Monday was not offside, the chairman of Austria's refereeing commission Gerhard Kapl insisted after the game.

C'Ron the most handsome

Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo is the hottest player at this year's European football championship and not just because of his dribbling skills, according to a Europe-wide women's survey.

Cloud over T20 League

Plans for a Twenty20 Champions League this autumn could already be in trouble because of the insistence of Lalit Modi, the Indian Premier League (IPL) commissioner, that no player with links to the rival Indian Cricket League (ICL) will be allowed to take part.

Riquelme, Veron recalled

Playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme and midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron have been recalled by Argentina for this month's World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Brazil.

Morkel eyes a treble

Albie Morkel, the South African all-rounder, is already assured of taking part in the Twenty20 Champions League, having qualified with both the Titans from South Africa and Chennai in the Indian Premier League (IPL). However, he is desperate to add a third team to his list as he prepares for his stint with Durham.

MU report Real to FIFA

Manchester United have lodged an official complaint with FIFA over Real Madrid's pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo, the English champions confirmed on Monday.

Wessels will decide later

Kepler Wessels, the coach of the Chennai Super Kings who helped guide the team to the final of the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL), has said he has not yet decided on committing to another season with the franchise.

IPL salary cap to stay: Modi

Lalit Modi, the Indian Premier League (IPL) commissioner, has insisted the 5-million-dollar salary cap on franchisees will remain in place for at least the next two years. Modi said in a statement that the players are legally bound by their three-year contract with franchises.

Bangalore want Jennings as coach?

Ray Jennings, the former coach of South Africa, has said he was approached by the Bangalore Royal Challengers franchise for the possibility of a coaching assignment in the second season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Business

Rising knitwear exports on track to exceed targets

The sharp rebound in knitwear exports shows no signs of letting up, with the weak dollar, peaceful political environment and aggressive marketing helping the sector to exceed export targets.

Chambers hail proposed budget

Chamber bodies, associations and other organisations have hailed the proposed budgetary provisions for tackling the challenges facing the country's economy.

Cigarette prices up in retail market

Traders yesterday voiced that they are not sure as to how the budget will affect the wholesale and retail prices of different products as certain clauses of the budget proposal are still not clear to them and as there might be some changes in the proposed budget.

Pharma, shipbuilding sectors unhappy

Entrepreneurs of pharmaceuticals and shipbuilding sectors have expressed their frustration over the new proposed budget saying that government did not give any specific guideline for the country's two most potential sectors.

Exporters urge govt to lift procedural duty on capital machinery

Exporters of different sectors yesterday urged the government to withdraw the procedural duty on imports of capital machinery and spare parts to bolster the country's industrial growth.

SEC asks bourses for strict monitoring

Concerns over the current stock market situation were expressed at a meeting in Dhaka yesterday.

Govt set to make policies for shrimp industry

The government is set to frame a policy for one of the country's main export earners, the shrimp industry, aiming to ensure a disciplined and environment-friendly growth of the sector, a top government functionary said yesterday.

Govt’s increased bank borrowing won't affect private sector credit needs: CPD

The caretaker government has to take into account that increased bank borrowing by it for the next year's deficit budget will not affect the need of the private sector credit, observed the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) in its post-budget analysis yesterday.

A century of oil in Iran: A bounty and a curse

It was just before dawn on May 26, 1908, and G B Reynolds was drilling one more hole in a final attempt to find oil in Iran before his superiors ended what had been an expensive and fruitless project.

Measures taken to ease remittance transfer

Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Salehuddin Ahmed on Monday said the government has taken steps including creation of automated clearinghouses so that the expatriate Bangladeshi workers can send their money within short time.

Malaysia Airlines offers low fares in Bangladesh

Malaysia Airlines yesterday announced the availability of more compelling deals for travellers in Bangladesh with an offer of a one-way fare from Dhaka to Kuala Lumpur starting from US$29, says a press release.

Mutual Trust Bank okays rights share, stock dividend

Mutual Trust Bank Ltd has declared 5:1 rights shares (one rights share against 5 shares) and 25 percent bonus share for its shareholders.

Grey Worldwide Bangladesh official made regional director

Urfi Ahmad, client services director of Grey Worldwide Bangladesh, has been promoted as regional director for Asia Pacific and will be moving to Grey's regional centre based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, says a press release.

European markets chase Asia lower on inflation fears

European equities sank on Tuesday after sharper falls in Asia on widespread concern that sky-high oil prices will stoke inflation and force central banks to tighten credit, analysts said.

China asks US to help stabilise dollar

The Chinese ambassador to the World Trade Organization on Monday asked the US to take action to stabilise the dollar, which has fallen sharply in the past year.

US accuses India of trying to wreck WTO talks

The United States on Monday accused India of trying to wreck world trade liberalisation talks, saying the Asian power was looking at the Doha Round negotiations as a "donor's conference."

Japan vows to ratify free trade accord with Asean

Japan's government, saying its honour was on the line, vowed Tuesday to ratify a free-trade accord with Asean by extending a parliament session hampered by feuding with the opposition.

China's economy to grow about 10pc in 2008

China's economy is likely to grow about 10 percent in 2008 despite the global slowdown, and the government expects to rein in inflation, state media reported Tuesday, citing a senior economist.

EU working rules deal gets warm welcome

An EU deal on working rules won a warm welcome on Wednesday after European labour ministers broke years of deadlock over temporary agency workers rights and working time limits.

Metropolitan

Form nat'l commission to ensure indigenous people's rights

A study of Bangladesh Society for the Enforcement of Human Rights (BSEHR) yesterday revealed that some 61.44 percent of indigenous people still face discrimination, 41.86 percent are victims of corruptions, and 18.67 percent evicted from their ancestors' land.

Create alternative force to overcome present crisis

Leaders of different small political parties yesterday called for unity among themselves to create an alternative force to help overcome the present crisis.

Call to establish democratic rights of people with disabilities

A national convention on 'Democratic rights of people with disabilities' will be held in the city tomorrow with a view to establishing democratic rights for the physically challenged people in the country.

Strict laws, teachings of tolerance can establish disciplined society

Academicians at a discussion yesterday called for framing stringent laws and spreading the teachings of tolerance in the educational institutions to check anarchy and establish a disciplined society.

IOJ proposes polls in October

Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ) yesterday called on the caretaker government to hold the general election in October, not in December, so that Hajis can cast their votes.

Verdict in writ petition against tender process today

The High Court will deliver its order today in a writ petition challenging the legality of the government action of inviting tender from international oil companies for oil and gas exploration in the Bay of Bengal.

Safe water supply coverage widens to 87pc in rural areas: Adviser

Finance Adviser Mirza Azizul Islam on Monday said the supply coverage of safe drinking water in rural areas has widened to 87 percent from 83 percent while such coverage in the urban areas has increased to 60 percent in the current fiscal.

Declare local govt polls schedule before national election

Members of Bangladesh Upazila Chairman Association have demanded declaration of the local government election schedule before the national election.

Steps underway to outsource management

A programme is underway to outsource the management of 342 community clinics and 130 union health and family welfare centres and hospitals to the private sector, Finance Adviser ABM Mirza Azizul Islam said on Monday.

JBIC team arrives in Ctg today to conduct study

A 14-member team of Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) arrives in Chittagong today to conduct a special assistance for project formation study for two projects to develop road network and flood protection embankments.

UK firm keen to introduce WiMax tech in Bangladesh

Augere, a UK-based broadband infrastructure developer, has expressed interests to introduce WiMax technology in Bangladesh.

56 Bangladeshis return home after serving in Indian jail

A total of 56 Bangladeshi citizens, who served two years in Indian jail, were handed over yesterday to the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) personnel and immigration police by the Border Security Force (BSF).

24 get life for killing 4

A court in Faridpur yesterday sentenced 24 people to life imprisonment in sensational four murder case.

Release of Khaleda demanded

Jatiyatabadi Mahila Dal Rajshahi city unit yesterday demanded immediate release of party chief Khaleda Zia and hers sons Tarique Rahman and Arafat Rahman Koko.

Human chain to save N'ganj Kumudini sports ground

Sportsmen, sports organisers and leaders of different local organisations yesterday formed a human chain in front of the district press club demanding steps to save Kumudini sports ground in Narayanganj, says a press release.

Sexagenarian farmer drowns in Padma

A sexagenarian farmer drowned as he fell from a trawler in the river Padma here yesterday.

Prof Ali Imdad passes away

Former Pro-Vice Chancellor of Chittagong University Prof Ali Imdad Khan died on Monday night at his Dhaka residence at the age of 73.

Prof Rahman Math Society president

Prof M Shamsur Rahman, a mathematician and fellow of the World Innovation Foundation, has been elected president of the Bangladesh Mathematical Society for the year 2008-09, says a press release.

Tax-free ICT sector up to 2011 sought

Noted economist M Shoeb Chowdhury yesterday called for keeping software and information and communication technology (ICT) sector free from tax in the proposed budget for fiscal 2008-09 up to 2011.

4 OCs stand released in Chittagong

Officers-in-charge (OC) of four police stations under Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) were stand released at a time here yesterday.

'Declare DA for non-govt teachers'

Shikkhak Karmachari Oikya Jote yesterday demanded the government declare dearness allowance for non-government teachers by June 16, says a press release.

PK Roy made council chair of Lions Clubs International

Ln PK Roy was elected council chairperson of Lions Clubs International, Multiple District 315 for 2008-2009, says a press release.

Criminal held at Benapole

Police arrested top-notch criminal Alamin with a pistol from his village home at Amtala Gatipara at Sharsha upazila in Benapole in the early hours of yesterday.

1010 bottles of phensidyl seized

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) seized a shutter gun from Shikri Battala and 1010 bottles of phensidyl from Shamlagachi village at Sharsha in at Benapole in the early hours of yesterday.

Baira clarification

President of Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (Baira) Ghulam Mustafa has sent a clarification to a report headlined 'Manpower Export: Bangladesh suffers from image problems' published in The Daily Star on June 8.

Supreme Court rejects BSS appeal

The appellate division of the Supreme Court on Monday upheld a High Court verdict declaring illegal the Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) authorities' action of dismissing MD Haroon Habib as its managing director.

Workshop on acid violence, rape ends

A three-day training workshop on resisting acid violence and rape ended in the city yesterday.

PSP urges govt to stop mass arrests

Peshajibi Samannoy Parishad (PSP), a platform for professionals, has urged the government to stop mass arrests, lift emergency, release detained former prime minister Hasina and send her abroad for treatment.

Abducted girl rescued

The police yesterday rescued a 12-year-old girl, who was abducted on June 7, in front of the Eastern Plaza Market at Hatirpool in the city.

Common HR vision for IT industry

IT industry leaders proposed a common vision of human resources (HR) for the industry at a meeting of a forum for human resources, says a press release.

Get-together of Dhaka College '63-65 batch July 5

A get-together of the students of 1963-1965 batch of Dhaka College will be held on July 5 in the city.

Agreement to fight irregular migration

Australian High Commission yesterday signed an agreement with International Organisation for Migration (IOM) for South Asia to continue an extended phase of the project titled 'Enhancing Capacity of the Immigration Officials to Combat Irregular Migration in Bangladesh', says a press release.

Doa mahfil for early recovery of Reazuddin

Former president of Jatiya Press Club and Editor of The News Today Reazuddin Ahmed underwent a bypass surgery at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore on Monday.

National

Ex-Jamaat MP charge-sheeted for trying to save killers

Investigation authorities have submitted charge sheet against five people including former Jamaat lawmaker Maulana Abdul Khaleque Mondal in sensational China Khatun murder case.

12 Rajakars sued for killing two Khulna freedom fighters

Wife of a slain Freedom Fighter (FFs) on Monday lodged an FIR with Morrelganj police station accusing 12 Rajakars for killing her husband and another freedom fighter during liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971.

DC-led body sits today for decision

Additional Deputy Commissioner Masud Ahmed yesterday visited several spots in Khagrachhari district where thousands of people are vulnerable to hill slides as they built their houses, business centres and other structures cutting the natural hills and without any environmentally plan.

Case recorded against Sylhet magistrate's wife

Sylhet Kotwali police yesterday recorded the case against the wife of Sylhet chief judicial magistrate for alleged physical torture on a minor housemaid.

Constable held for snatching

A police constable was arrested here yesterday on charge of snatching, police said.

UNO foils 9 child marriages arranged by NGO

The upazila nirbahi officer of Sharnkhola in Bagerhat district yesterday prevented early marriages of nine girls.

Trader held with bombs, gun in Khulna

Members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) Monday night arrested a trader and recovered a gun and two bombs from his bedroom at Alka village in Phultala upazila.

2200 urea bags seized, 5 held

Bangladesh Coastguard seized a trawler carrying 2,200 sacks of urea fertiliser from Dakatia River near Chandpur riverport yesterday afternoon.

Drive against sale of carbide-ripened mango

A mobile court in Rajshahi yesterday launched a drive at Nawhata Mango Bazar and realised Tk 20,000 as fine from a businessman for selling carbide mixed mango.

International

US, allies threaten tougher Iran sanctions

President Bush and European allies yesterday threatened tougher sanctions to squeeze Iran's finances and derail its potential pursuit of a nuclear weapon. Bush said the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran would endanger world peace.

3 Hamas gunmen killed as Israel mulls Gaza offensive

Three Hamas gunmen were killed by Israeli troops in Gaza on Tuesday as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was set to meet top ministers to weigh up a possible military offensive on the territory in a bid to stop militant rocket fire.

Pakistan elements aiding Taliban insurgents

Members of Pakistan's intelligence services and its paramilitaries are supporting Taliban insurgents who enter Afghanistan to attack US and Nato forces, a US think-tank said in a report released Monday.

'Musharraf allowed CIA base in Pakistan'

President Pervez Musharraf permitted the CIA to establish a base in northern Pakistan to launch strikes by drones on Islamist militants, says writer-journalist Ahmed Rashid.

Water gushes out of China's 'quake lake'

Water finally began gushing out of China's quake lake yesterday, flowing through flattened towns and villages in an operation aimed at heading off a disaster for more than a million people.

Obama ramps up search for a running mate

Barack Obama ramped up his search for a running mate on Monday, consulting with one congressional ally by phone and dispatching members of his vice presidential vetting team to the Capitol for meetings. Sen Dick Durbin said he had spoken with Obama, his fellow Illinois senator.

It will be 'tragic for India' to forgo nuke deal: US

Seeking quick implementation of the civil nuclear agreement, the US has said it would be "tragic" for India if it forgoes this opportunity for a strategic partnership with the US.

Pak defence spending to be reduced: Gilani

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani told the National Assembly on Monday his government would freeze and practically reduce defence spending in the next budget as a show of its desire for peace with neighbours, and voiced a belated hope of reciprocity from nuclear rival India, which hiked is defence budget three months ago.

Bomb kills head of Saddam's tribe

Iraqi police say the head of Saddam Hussein's tribe has been killed by a bomb that was planted on his car.

First China, Taiwan talks in 9 years to boost ties

Negotiators from both sides of the Taiwan Straits will hold talks from Wednesday, the first in more than nine years, rekindling hopes of closer ties.

Arts & Entertainment

Witnessing the wonders of Chhou dance

The 15-day workshop on Chhou Nritya concluded with a grand dance programme, which was held at the Teachers-Students Centre (TSC), Dhaka University on June 9. Jointly organised by Nrityanchal and Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, the workshop was conducted by Swapan Majumder from Delhi. Around 70 young artistes participated in the workshop.

Mastering the tunes of Nazrul

Nazrul singer Nasima Shaheen's last solo album Akashe Bhorer Tara was produced by Bengal Foundation. The album is a compilation of 12 Nazrul Sangeet rendered by Nasima, who had also been nominated in the last Citycell-Channel i Music Awards.

Promising artistes present Tagore and Nazrul songs

To promote the young Tagore and Nazrul singers of the country, Department of Dance and Music, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) organised a two-day programme at the Dance and Music Centre. The programme began on June 9.

"Brishti Tomaye Dilam"

The premiere of Brishti Tomaye Dilam, a one-hour TV play, was held at the Bengal Gallery, Dhanmondi recently. Written and directed by Debashish Biswas, the play is an adaptation of a story by Indian filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh.

The importance of being Alanis

Alanis Morissette busted out of the gate 13 years ago with "Jagged Little Pill," an album that redefined romantic purging. And while she's turned out some interesting music since, nothing has matched the emotional wallop of Morissette's debut.

"Masterda Shurjo Sen" on ATN Bangla

The 16th episode of Masterda Shurjo Sen will be aired tonight at 8 pm on ATN Bangla. Fazlur Rahman Babu, Chandni, Sharmin Shila, Afroza Banu, Tomalika, Joyraj, Lutfar Rahman George and Dihan play the central roles in the serial.

IPSA's assessment of the book "O United Nations"

International Political Science Association (IPSA) has recently made a brief but valuable assessment of the book "O United Nations" -- composed in a prosaic poetry style -- says a press release. The book, the first of its kind on the United Nations, by Sinha M.A. Sayeed focuses the organisation's past, present and future, and has been published by Bangladesh Political Science Association (BPSA).

OP-ED

Fiscal exuberance

IT was not expected that a second successive national budget would be proposed by the non-party caretaker government. Nor was it expected that global economic growth would slow down at a time of financial and economic globalisation, and that Bangladesh would face the internal shocks of two floods, a devastating cyclone Sidr, and the external shocks of abnormal increases in world food, oil, and fertiliser prices by way of adverse terms-of-trade effects.

Dialogue and its future

THE topic that is being very widely discussed these days is "dialogue." The caretaker government (CTG) has been inviting different stakeholders of the coming national election and future governance for dialogue one at a time.

How to sell locust beans and seaweed to kids

MY wife bought a box of "Fruit By The Foot" strawberry snacks. From the package, one might assume it would contain foot-long (30 cm) snacks made of strawberries.

Star City

Cute new babies of endangered species bustle round zoo

Dhaka Zoo is bustling with cute new faces as four endangered species -- freshwater crocodile, baboon, sambar and vulture -- gave birth to babies in the past few months.

Housing remains slum dwellers' dream

On a chilly afternoon of January 24 last year, Moktar Hossain was on his way home to his shanty in Dhaka's Bhasantek area. He spent the day looking for a job with no results.


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