The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Tuesday, September 2, 2014


News of: Monday, 16th of June, 2008

Front Page

MPs lose power over upazilas

The cabinet approved the Upazila Ordinance yesterday, giving full decision-making and implementation powers to upazila parishads while stripping members of the parliament (MP) of any role in local governance.

Khaleda may talk today on govt offer for her release

Detained BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia is likely to announce today her decision in response to a government proposal for submitting an application seeking her release, lawyers say.

Rock lifting frenzy in the North

Without caring at all for the government permission or maintaining environment codes, people are lifting rocks from vast patches of cultivable land in Panchagarh and some parts of Lalmonirhat and Nilphamari.

Convicts who served half their terms may be freed

The government has started an initiative to free convicts, who have served half of their punishment, under special consideration since jails are overcrowded with inmates.

Local govt candidates cannot have party link

The Election Commission (EC) is ready to promulgate today or tomorrow the code of conduct for candidates in city corporation and municipality elections, barring them from using their political affiliations in poll campaigns.

Legal experts oppose anti-terror ordinance

Legal experts and human rights activists have strongly opposed the recently approved Anti-Terrorism Ordinance 2008 that provides death sentence as the maximum punishment or life imprisonment for an offender, their patrons and shelter providers.

No major pledges for development

Dhaka City Corporation yesterday unveiled Tk 1009.41 crore budget for the fiscal year 2008-09, without committing much to development programmes for the capital.

Govt starts massive gas distribution projects in N region

The government has started implementing four gas distribution projects worth Tk 1,600 crore in the country's north and southwest even though availability of gas for the region is still uncertain, said senior officials at Petrobangla and the project directors.

HC rules on govt

The High Court (HC) yesterday issued a rule upon the government to explain as to why a number of the provisions for death penalty and disallowing bail in Emergency Powers Ordinance, 2007 and Emergency Power Rules, 2007 should not be declared illegal and unconstitutional.

Custodial torture got Tarique crippled

Torture in custody caused serious spinal injury to Tarique Rahman, the senior joint secretary general of BNP, said his attorney to a special court yesterday, urging it to look into the matter.

Extortion case against Hasina shifted to special court

The Tk 2.99-crore extortion case filed against former premier Sheikh Hasina, now on parole, her sister Sheikh Rehana and their cousin Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim was transferred to a special court on the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban premises yesterday for trial.

Govt mulls advisory body to help PAC under next JS

The government is assessing alternative arrangements of forming a high-powered advisory committee for the interim period to assist the incoming Public Accounts Committee (PAC) under the next parliament, a World Bank press release yesterday said.

Power-cut to cost priceless documents

Around 1,300 important microfilms and sensitive machinery worth a few crore taka and other old priceless documents preserved in the National Library Bhaban are on the verge of ruin as the building has been without electricity for the last 26 days.

Hearing of ACC appeal against HC order adjourned for a month

The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday adjourned for one month the hearing of the Anti-corruption Commission's (ACC) appeals against the High Court (HC) order that granted bail to detained former premier Khaleda Zia and her son Arafat Rahman Koko in the Gatco corruption case and stayed case proceedings.

2 Huji cadres handed 20yrs for possessing grenades

A court in Satkhira yesterday sentenced two Harkatul Jihad al Islami (Huji) cadres to 20 years rigorous imprisonment (RI) each for possession of 44 Arges grenades.

AL ready for reforms, EC registration

Awami League (AL) acting general secretary Syed Ashraful Islam yesterday said his organisation is ready to carry out intra-party reforms and register with the Election Commission (EC).

ACC sues five home ministry officials

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday pressed charges against eight people, including five home ministry officials, in a case filed for misappropriating Tk 1 crore from the ministry's fund.

MK Anwar, family sued for extortion

Former agriculture minister MK Anwar, his son, brother and five other people were sued on extortion charges in Comilla yesterday.

Pulses get dearer

The price of pulses rose by Tk 3-5 per kilogram (kg) in the last three days in the city kitchen markets while the wholesale price of potato came down by Tk 3-4 per kg in the past four days.

Five AL leaders dropped from supplementary charge sheet

The supplementary charge sheet in the Awami League (AL) leader advocate Manjurul Imam murder case was submitted yesterday, dropping the names of five local AL leaders from the charge sheet due to lack of evidence.

Mashhud says Hasina's release not unlawful

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Chairman Lt Gen (retd) Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury yesterday said no unlawful steps were taken in temporarily releasing Awami League President Sheikh Hasina from prison.

Family accuses husband of the killing for dowry

The identity of the young woman found dead in a fruit crate at Satrasta truck stand in Tejgaon early Friday was confirmed yesterday by her family members who alleged that her husband, a schoolteacher in Rajshahi, had killed her for dowry.

Bitter power struggle rocks Nepal

Nepal has abolished its 240-year-old monarchy and booted the king out of his palace, but the former rebel Maoists and mainstream parties remain bitterly at odds and unable to form a government.

Kabul threatens to attack Taliban insurgents on Pakistani soil

Afghan President Hamid Karzai yesterday threatened to attack Taliban insurgents on Pakistani soil, saying his war-torn country had a right to do so out of "self-defence."

Sharif's party begins to rally lawmakers for Musharraf's impeachment

With PML(N) Chief Nawaz Sharif raising the pitch for President Pervez Mushrarraf's trial, his party MPs yesterday said they have launched a signature campaign calling for the former general's impeachment.

Editorial

Review of EPR

THE government's move to relax some of the major provisions of the emergency power rules (EPR) is a welcome step. A committee set up to address the issue has also met recently. Although the focus of the government apparently is on the issue of granting bail, particularly in the cases relating to corruption, we are heartened to learn that the said committee will also look at all other aspects of the EPR that would permit, according to an advisor, the strengthening of the environment of confidence. And we presume that the confidence he was referring to relates to the political milieu that occurs in the country at the moment.

Spurt in export growth

IT is morale-boosting news that the country's export has seen 14.66 percent growth during the July-April period, compared to the performance during the corresponding period last fiscal. During this period (FY 2007-2008) export earning was registered at US$ 11.37 billion and we feel it is no insignificant figure for a developing country like Bangladesh.

Towards a greater purpose

AMID rumours and speculations for sometime past, Sheikh Hasina, the AL chief has been freed at long last after almost one year of incarceration following her indictment in an extortion case, the proceedings of which are still going on.

Calculator versus calendar

HAS Mrs. Sonia Gandhi begun the Congress campaign for the next general election? June has already witnessed a trip to Mizoram after a decade and a half; later in the month, she will be in Aurangabad on a schedule that has taken the Maharashtra Congress a bit by surprise. The Northeast and Maharashtra are regions where support for her party has softened, but, according to her strategists, not beyond recovery. If the Congress cannot retain these seats, it is going to be in boiling hot water.

European Union: Is this the end of a dream?

IN a nation-wide referendum held on June 12, the Irish rejected the Treaty of Lisbon, thus plunging the European Union into a constitutional crisis. It also created one more headache for the already beleaguered president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, who will become the president of the EU on July1, when France starts its six-month presidency.

Sports

Tourists leave in batches

India's Yuvraj Singh was the first player to fly out of Dhaka in the early hours of yesterday, but his destination was the Swiss city of Basel, not Punjab.

Turkey's last-minute win

Ten-man Turkey made the greatest of escapes to book their Euro 2008 quarterfinal berth as they came from 2-0 down to stun the Czech Republic 3-2 here on Sunday and take their place in the last eight.

Swiss end on a high

Switzerland departed Euro 2008 with their heads held high after beating a second-string Portugal side 2-0 here on Sunday.

Aragones will ring changes

Spain coach Luis Aragones admitted he will make changes to his side for their final Euro 2008 Group D match against Greece on Wednesday.

WI up against uphill task

Australia removed Chris Gayle but their normally reliable catching let them down as West Indies made a confident start on Sunday in chasing 475 to win the third and final Test.

Pietersen powers Eng

Kevin Pietersen's unbeaten 110 was the cornerstone of England's 114 run thrashing of New Zealand in the first one-day international at the Riverside here Sunday which saw them go 1-0 up in the five-match series.

'My tournament starts now'

Spanish coach Luis Aragones took him off in the first game and he wasn't happy about it at all -- but it wasn't personal and a buzzing Fernando Torres says his tournament starts now with the Furia Roja already in the last eight.

Tigers train from today

Bangladesh cricket team will return to training today for the upcoming Asia Cup to be played in Pakistan from June 24.

BFF boss in AFC audit committee

Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) president Kazi Salahuddin has accepted an invitation by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to join its international audit committee as a member.

Bangladesh's second win

High-flying Bangladesh recorded a hard-fought 3-2 win against Chinese Taipei on the second day of the 3rd Men's AHF Cup hockey tournament in Singapore yesterday.

Three records in national shooting

Army Shooting Association topped the medal table of the 22nd National Shooting Championships which concluded on Saturday at BKSP.

Russia end Greek reign

Greece's reign as European champions came to an early end here on Saturday as Russia beat them 1-0 in their Group D Euro 2008 clash.

Old foes face scrap

What a difference two years makes. In 2006 Italy overcame France at Berlin's majestic Olympic stadium to be crowned champions of the world.

Hosts seek a miracle

Euro 2008 co-hosts Austria will invoke the spirit of Cordoba against Germany on Monday and the prize this time could be more than just a sense of schadenfreude.

Time to reward fans

Poland need to beat Croatia on Monday even if it only amounts to a graceful exit from Euro 2008, said defender Michal Zewlakow.

Nikopolidis to quit after Euro

Greece's Euro 2004 winning goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis announced that he would be retiring from international football after Wednesday's final Euro 2008 match with Group D winners Spain.

Gekas breaks cheekbone

Greek striker Theofanis Gekas suffered a broken cheekbone during the deposed titleholder's 1-0 Euro 2008 Group D defeat to Russia on Saturday.

German players clear the air

Germany's players held a candid meeting to pick over individual and collective mistakes in their defeat by Croatia, captain Michael Ballack said on Sunday.

Mutu sorry for penalty miss

Romania's star striker Adrian Mutu apologised on Sunday for missing the penalty -- his first in seven years on the international stage -- against world champions Italy in their Euro 2008 Group C 1-1 draw on Friday.

Nadal king of Queen's

Rafael Nadal was crowned king of Queen's after beating Novak Djokovic 7-6 (8/6), 7-5 in Sunday's final to claim his first grasscourt title and deliver a timely Wimbledon warning to Roger Federer.

Scolari no tough guy

Luiz Felipe Scolari has vowed to lead Chelsea's bid to knock Manchester United off their perch at the top of English football with a smile on his face.

KP fears for ODIs

Kevin Pietersen had a simple answer when asked if the prospect of earning one million dollars each in Antigua in November would make England players more selfish.

Federer's fifth

World number one Roger Federer won his fifth title at the 713,000-euro Halle ATP tournament here on Sunday, beating Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets.

'Asif verdict in 10-12 days'

The Attorney General in Dubai took up the Mohammad Asif detention case yesterday but Pakistan embassy officials did not see a verdict coming before another 10 to 12 days.

Business

Banks fail to reach rural borrowers

The percentage of bank lending going to rural areas has fallen by 50 percent during the past decade, despite concerted attempts by the government to increase access to credit in the countryside.

Local yarn prices decline on lean knitwear output

Yarn prices in local market have marked a decline over the last 15 days on a lean production season, industry people said.

NBR hunt for tax-dodgers goes on

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) won't stop its hunt for the tax-dodgers despite the government declared amnesty for undisclosed money holders for four months in the new budget.

Finance chiefs from Asia, Europe debate global turbulence

Finance chiefs from 43 Asian and European countries began talks Sunday on ways to tackle the recent global financial turmoil and soaring oil and commodity prices.

BEA doubts proper budget implementation

Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA) yesterday expressed doubt about proper implementation of the proposed budget for fiscal year 2008-09, as the association said the budget is faced with many risks.

Call for poverty reduction thru' implementation of village plans

Speakers at roundtable in Dhaka yesterday emphasised strengthening the country's local government institutions to remove poverty through implementation of village plans in rural areas.

Separate industrial development plan for north demanded

Welcoming the proposed budget, business community and economists in Rajshahi have urged the government to formulate a separate plan for industrial growth of the northern part of the country.

National Tourism Authority next month

Mahbub Jamil, special assistant to the chief adviser, has announced National Tourism Authority (NTA) would be formed next month.

Budgetary allocation for tourism sought

Tourism Developers Association of Bangladesh (TDAB) yesterday demanded that the government allocate fund for the development of tourism sector in the budget for fiscal year 2008-2009.

Is Wal-Mart too liberal?

For investors, most annual meetings are anything but a hot ticket. They're typically held in small auditoriums and feature an agenda that makes C-Span look like an action thriller. Then there's Wal-Mart, the Arkansas-based retailer whose shareholder meetings are celebrity-packed, high-wattage showcases. Last year's gathering featured the comedian Sinbad and musical numbers by Jennifer Lopez and the cast of "High School Musical." But amid these surprise performances, the most unexpected moment came when shareholder activists were each given three minutes at the podium. Most offered run-of-the-mill liberal criticisms that hit every large company: a Roman Catholic nun urged Wal-Mart to support universal health insurance; several speakers suggested the company rein in executives' huge paychecks. But from the other end of the spectrum came Peter Flaherty, lambasting Wal-Mart for being too nice to unions, too concerned about the environment and too accommodating to gays and lesbians. "People shop at Wal-Mart because of low prices, not because the company is politically correct," Flaherty shouted at the crowd.

Bangladesh growth potential re-affirmed at Harvard

Bangladesh stands out among developing nations, courtesy of a few positive aspects that clearly differentiates it from other nations in similar phases of economic development. Its substantial human resources, cheap labour, diverse foreign investment opportunities, the prospect of doubling foreign remittances, its proactive civil society and many achievements of its vast network of NGOs, and a rapidly expanding private sector, make it clear that Bangladesh has the potential for an extremely bright future.

Trading halt to 4 companies' shares pulls down Dhaka stocks

A halt to trading of four companies shares pushed the Dhaka stocks down yesterday, with a 50-point drop in the bourse's benchmark index.

GMG to add another plane

GMG Airlines will add another aircraft to its fleet to carry more passengers towards the Middle East, a GMG official said yesterday.

Raise funds from stock market

Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) has reiterated its plea to the entrepreneurs to raise funds from stock market instead of borrowing from banks.

GP opens centres in Ctg hill tracts

Grameenphone Ltd opened a Grameenphone Center (GPC) and two Community Information Centers (CICs) in Chittagong hill tracts yesterday.

Banglalink now covers Rangamati

The country's second largest mobile operator Banglalink has started its operations in Chittagong hill tracts (CHT) with the formal launch of its network in Rangamati, says a press release.

Truckers cripple ROK ports

South Korea's ports threatened to grind to a halt Sunday as thousands of truck drivers extended their strike over soaring fuel prices, which has added to the woes of new President Lee Myung-Bak.

Toshiba's S Asia brand ambassador

Toshiba Singapore Pte Ltd's Computer Systems Division on Thursday announced Vidya Balan, an Indian film actress, as the company's brand ambassador to South Asia region, says a press release.

Inflation in Asia to rise, may endanger growth: ADB

Inflation in Asia will hit 5.1 percent in 2008 due to surging food and fuel prices and could threaten economic growth in the region, the Asian Development Bank warned Sunday.

US, China set for talks to address economic concerns

With their economies in crisis, top policy makers from the United States and China hold talks this week in a bid to ease currency concerns, counter protectionist pressures and boost energy security.

UN chief, Saudis agree on need to tackle rising oil, food prices

UN chief Ban Ki-moon and Saudi King Abdullah reached common ground here Saturday on the need to tackle rising prices of oil and food, and the problem of climate change, a UN spokesman said.

Sri Lanka raises new debt despite warnings

Sri Lanka on Saturday sought investors to buy 200 million dollars worth of bonds despite warnings from credit rating agencies and international lenders that the island is depending too much on debt.

Metropolitan

Stay alert so that public life not disturbed anyway: CA

Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday said the issue of security is multi-dimensional and not confined only to ensure physical safety in this modern age.

3-yr plan to make police service-oriented

Bangladesh Police yesterday launched a three-year strategic plan to make it a modern service-oriented organisation.

Expand job market to use talent, potential of fresh graduates

President Iajuddin Ahmed called upon all concerned to help upgrade the standard of higher education and expand job market to provide fresh graduates so the nation could be more benefited by using their talent and potential.

Make budget child sensitive

Save the Children Sweden-Denmark (SCSD), a leading international organisation fighting for the rights of children, and its partner organisations at a press conference have demanded a child sensitive revised budget.

Advisory Council okays dissolution of Desa

The Council of Advisors yesterday approved in principle the replacement of Dhaka Electric Supply Authority (Desa) by Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC) Ltd, which may start working from July 1 once it receives the green light from the government.

Raise awareness to eliminate TB

Health and media experts yesterday called for more cooperation between the two sectors for raising mass awareness to eliminate tuberculosis (TB), a deadly disease killing millions of people across the world.

Petrobangla report Wednesday likely

Petrobangla is planning to submit the evaluation report of the 3rd round international bidding for hydrocarbon exploration in the country's maritime territory to the Energy Ministry on Wednesday.

‘RMG workers’ interest ignored in budget’

Speakers at a discussion yesterday said the interest of workers in the garment industry, the powerhouse of the country's export economy, has been ignored in the proposed national budget for the fiscal 2008-09.

899 Bangladeshis die abroad in 5 months

At least 899 Bangladeshis working abroad died due to various reasons during the first five months of this year (January-May), according to an official data.

'Violence discourages women in politics'

Speakers at a conference yesterday said women's participation in politics is hindered severely due to violence, which should be checked immediately to ensure women's political empowerment.

Fruit-Bearing Tree Plantation Fortnight-2008 begins today

The National Fruit-bearing Tree Plantation Fortnight-2008 begins today across the country.

NFTE memo to CA for DA

Teachers of non-government high schools, colleges and madrasas yesterday submitted memorandums to chief adviser through upazila nirbahi officers (UNOs) demanding funds for 50 percent dearness allowance in the national budget.

SFX Greenherald Int'l School alumni assoc

The alumni association of SFX Greenherald International School was launched at a meeting on Friday, says a press release.

Brazil offers help to Grameen Healthcare Trust

Brazil offered to provide financial and technical assistance to Grameen Healthcare Trust to give better healthcare services to the rural people.

CCC evicts 30 shanties at foothills of Matijharna

Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) authorities evicted 30 shanties situated at the risky foothills of Matijharna area at Lalkhan Bazar yesterday.

No probe report yet after 7 years of N'ganj AL office attack

The bomb attack at district Awami League office here, killing 20 people and injuring over 100 others on June 16, 2001, completes its seven years today.

Arrest of criminals demanded

Karmojibi Nari in a statement yesterday condemned the killing of a young woman at Sutrapur in the city and the incident of rape at Shakhipur in Tangail.

Bullet-hit body recovered

Police yesterday recovered a bullet-hit body of a driver from a paddy field at Satarkul at Badda in the city yesterday.

Lessee accuses R&H officials of demanding bribe

The lessee of Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge (Buriganga Bridge-1) yesterday accused two officials of the Roads and Highways Department (R&HD) of demanding bribe and harassing him.

Road crashes kill three

Three people were killed and six others injured in separate road accidents in Magura and Gopalganj yesterday.

Low over Bay may intensify

A low pressure that has developed over north Bay and adjoining area likely to intensify further.

2 die in Padma boat capsize

The bodies of two day labours were recovered from the river Padma at Louhojong upazila in Munshiganj yesterday afternoon.

Cuta members resign en masse

Leaders and members of Chittagong University Teachers' Association (Cuta), including its president and secretary, resigned yesterday.

Army initiates massive tree plantation campaign

Bangladesh Army have undertaken a massive programme to make the National Tree Plantation Campaign 2008 a success, says an ISPR press release.

Seven arrested in Ctg

Railway security force caught red-handed seven people, including four railway staffs, for stealing scrap metal from its bridge factory at Kadamtali area in Chittagong yesterday.

National

Tk 20cr new plan to recover canals, improve drainage

The Sylhet City Corporation (SCC) has taken up a new two-year project involving Tk 20 crore to resolve the water-logging problem in the city by restoring the nine canals and improving drainage system.

'Mastermind' Jamaat leader arrested

CID police yesterday arrested a Jamaat-e-Islami leader and Union Parishad chairman from Ullapara Bazaar in Sirajganj for his alleged involvement in the sensational four-murder case.

Victims' families demand CID probe in Dinajpur

Leaders of Jatiya Adibashi Parishad, a body of indigenous people, at a press conference here yesterday demanded fair investigation by CID (Criminal Investigation Department) into the murder of two indigenous brothers last week.

Funds set to go back as 2 govt depts clamour over authority

Renovation of Arpara-Shalikha road has come to a halt as the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) and the Roads and Highways (R & H) Department are fighting over management of the road while Tk 70 lakh assistance by Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the project is also on way to be returned, official sources said.

Bomb, grenade recovered

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) recovered a powerful bomb and a British-made hand grenade from Khoair Bagan village in Sadar upazila on Saturday night.

380 fertiliser bags seized, 2 govt staff held

Police on Saturday night seized 380 sacks of fertiliser hoarded by a sub-dealer and arrested two government officials for their alleged involvement with the incident at Madna village in Damurhuda upazila in Chuadanga district.

Pabna farmers decline to give paddy for irrigation

Farmers of Atghoria upazila under the district in a press conference yesterday demanded introducing payment of cash money instead of giving one-fourth of the paddy yield as irrigation charge to the deep tube-well owners.

'Outlaw' killed in Jhenidah

An activist of an outlawed party was killed by unknown assailants at Mirzapur village in Sadar upazila Saturday night, police said.

EC training for polls aspirants in Sylhet tomorrow

For the first time in the country, the Election Commission is going to hold a day-long training workshop tomorrow in Sylhet for aspirants for posts of ward commissioner and mayor.

Netrakona AL president suspended

Netrakona district Awami League president Shamsujjuha has been suspended for breaking party discipline, party sources said here yesterday.

'Submit genuine documents for UK visa'

Speakers at a seminar held here yesterday said that people who intend to go to the United Kingdom (UK) for study or other purpose should abstain from submitting false or forged documents.

Letters

Accident and vandalism

Some accidents are unavoidable and some are due to human errors. In Bangladesh, road accidents are very rampant. The accidents do not always occur due to the fault of drivers. Sometimes the victims are also responsible for accidents due to careless crossing, walking or treading on the roads. In the developed world the incidents are spot examined by the traffic control officials and insurance men. Nearby people do not rush in like bees and attack the driver! The traffic managers take charge of the situation and the question of violence or vandalism doesn't arise.

Future of Bangladesh

We have learnt to live with the harsh realities of the day-to-day struggles.

Saline water intrusion

Salt water intrusion into fresh groundwater formations generally results inadvertently from activities of man. Most large sources of fresh groundwater are in close proximity to the sea, to natural bodies of saline groundwater, or to salts from effluent wastes released by human activities. The occurrence of saline water intrusion is extensive and represents a special category of groundwater pollution. Water in the aquifer has a high concentration of salt, which currently makes it unstable for irrigation.

Hillary Clinton

It is really unfortunate as well as shocking to note that the United States will need some more decades to have the first woman president. Democratic candidate for the presidential nomination Senator Hillary Clinton could not collect the expected number of votes in the primaries.

Metro rail

The Chief Adviser has once again addressed the issue of mass transport system to mitigate traffic congestion of the capital. Earlier in January 2008 he declared in his speech to the nation that metro rail would be introduced after the approval of the project by the CCEA.

Arrests, yes or no?

The two contradictory front page reports on June 4 make a mockery of the reported mass arrests published by you earlier! While the IG of Police calls it a routine measure (daily, weekly or monthly routine?), and also adds that "there is no deterioration in law and order", contradicting the adviser of the CTG makes the whole matter murkier and murkier!

Oil price hike

Oil price hike round the world is looming large threatening industrial growth and economic development, especially in the developing countries. Last week international market experienced a surge in oil price leading up to 135$ per barrel which is nearly 90% increase compared with the prices in July last year when it was 72$ per barrel.

SUVs

While driving around in Dhaka, the sight of government, NGO, and international organisation SUVs (sports utility vehicle) are quite common. Given that Bangladesh has to purchase oil with hard earned cash and scarce foreign exchange, I do not see why public money should be spent on vehicles that cost about 5 times more than a comparable sedan, has fuel efficiency which is 4 times less, has significantly high maintenance costs, and requires greater space for mobility on our limited roads. This rule should apply to all public offices and projects, including grants and loan funded projects financed by foreign agencies and governments.

Female teachers

Women are deprived in our country not only in family but also in other spheres of life. If you look at the public universities, the number of female teachers is very much inadequate. Although every university has more than 30% female students and their performance is also good, the number of female teachers recruited in public universities is quite insignificant. For example in Dhaka University, out of 1705 teachers, there are 307 female teachers. The situation is more or less the same in other public universities. So, I would like to request all vice chancellors and policy makers to recruit more female teachers in public universities.

Mass arrests

Twelve thousand arrested in four days! People being driven like cattle--the sight pinpoints the highhanded ways of the law enforcers. Since our prisons are already bursting at the seams, the arrival of the newcomers will certainly aggravate the situation. It is also common knowledge that our prisons fail to act as correction centres. Many people --especially the destitute ones --are apprehended on suspicion. Poor people who land in these prisons come in contact with hardened criminals--and this leads to their initiation into the world of crime.

Learning English

Here and there, everywhere we see lots of coaching centres and teaching homes. Knowing English is a matter of pride today. That's why the profitable business is to establish an English coaching centre. We must acquire the basic knowledge of it. But the ultimate result is totally different. Unexpectedly, in the on-going HSC exams, a record number of examinees didn't appear in English 1st paper. Why this fear?

Top two

I read your article, "Medical board examines health of Khaleda" with interest. I seriously hope that the government is not trying to find excuses to remove Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia from politics by sending them abroad. This would undermine everything the caretaker government has done so far.

Export prices

A report was published in a local English daily on June 8, focussing on problems faced by our exporters due to declining prices overseas. It is an oft-repeated scenario in our export trade. Meanwhile, prices of whatever we import go on rising steadily! For example, in the last six months, oil prices have nearly tripled, but has oil consumption increased in the same ratio over the last six months?

Coaching centres

Coaching centres are mushrooming in Dhaka as the education sector is becoming a big business nowadays. For a reputed school, many coaching centres are established. In Siddheswari Road alone, there are no fewer than fifty coaching centres. It seems that students need not go to school or need not study at home, rather they just need to go to coaching centres. As a result, they cannot learn many basic things.

Bus route needed

From ward 27 of Dhaka City Corporation, no buses ply to other parts in the city. Local people of Bashabo, Goran , Madartek, Nandipara etc have been facing communication problems. It is not possible to rent taxi or CNG autorickshaws regularly as their fares are too high.

“Missing” stipend money

Your leading article on June 4 informed your readers of the Tk 346 crore of missing stipend money from government schools in Rangpur that have managed to 'overlook' 13 lakh 'pupils'. The extent of the fraud is shocking but not the existence of it, as some of us know that, in some government schools throughout the country, little interest is taken in the children whose names appear on the school list.

Leaders and people

It is only the power hungry, the so called political leaders of the two parties, and not the vast majority of the 150 million, who are busy shouting for the unconditional release of their two leaders.

Paradigm of underdevelopment

The paradigm of underdevelopment, a notion thought up by Beatirz Merino, former prime minister of Peru, foretells failure of a constructive action. The failure becomes forthcoming because the action, though intended to march towards a development, is looked upon as “a zero sum game in which whoever wins does so at the expense of another.”

International

Afghan forces kill 15 in hunt for escaped prison inmates

US-led coalition and Afghan forces killed more than 15 insurgents during a hunt for inmates who fled prison after a sophisticated Taliban attack that set hundreds free, while Afghan forces recaptured 20 prisoners, officials said yesterday.

Lanka hits Tiger base, 17 killed in clashes

Sri Lankan war planes destroyed a suspected Tamil Tiger logistics base in the island's northeast yesterday after ground battles left 15 guerrillas and two soldiers dead, the defence ministry said.

Pak Taliban walk out of peace talks

The Taliban walked out of government-sponsored peace talks in the Mohmand Agency on Saturday, citing an incident earlier this week in which a militant was killed in a clash with paramilitary forces.

Israel sees progress toward Gaza truce

A top Israeli official on Sunday reported "significant progress" toward a possible truce with the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas although it would not include the release of a captured soldier.

Bhutan's new PM vows to keep corruption out of politics

The premier of the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan, which ended its absolute monarchy in March, has vowed to keep politics free of corruption that is otherwise rampant in South Asia.

More sanctions against Iran if it rejects N-offer

Iran will likely face further UN sanctions if it rejects a new offer on Saturday to halt sensitive nuclear work, a senior US official said while acknowledging disappointment with its initial response.

No timetable for Iraq withdrawals: Bush

US President George W Bush said there should be no definitive timetable for the withdrawal of Coalition forces from Iraq, according to a British Sunday newspaper.

Gujjars to hold further talks with Raje govt

The Gujjar leadership today decided to hold further talks with the Rajasthan Government after community patriach Kirori Singh Bainsla was briefed on the proposals made by the state authorities for ending the 24-day-old agitation for ST status.

Blueprints for advanced nukes possibly sold

A report compiled by a former UN arms inspector warns that an international smuggling ring that sold bomb-related parts to Libya, Iran and North Korea also managed to acquire blueprints for an advanced nuclear weapon, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

Sadr group to boycott Iraqi local elections

In a fresh blow to Iraq's embattled political process, the movement of hardline Shia leader Moqtada al-Sadr said on Sunday it will boycott the provincial elections in October.

2 killed in Nepali bomb blast

A bomb exploded at a busy bus station in south Nepal, killing two people and wounding 12, officials said Sunday.

Obama, McCain both offer new departure for US

There is plenty of partisan fodder on the White House campaign trail but also evidence of common ground between Barack Obama and John McCain that would take the United States in a new direction.

Kidnapped Japanese tourist freed in Iran

Tokyo confirmed a report early yesterday that rebels in southeastern Iran had freed a Japanese tourist kidnapped in October.

Arts & Entertainment

"Borsha Utsab" at IFA

To welcome the monsoon, cultural organisation Udichi Shilpi Gosthi, organised Borsha Utsab 1415 yesterday -- welcoming the first day of Ashar -- at Bokultola, Institute of Fine Arts (IFA).

Drive to strengthen regional ties

Sea, sand and palm tree-dotted silvery beaches -- that is what the western Indian state of Goa is known for. It has become the permanent venue for the prestigious International Film Festival of India for the last three years and the state is now all set to host for the first time the South Asian Film Festival where young Bangladeshi director Razibul Hossain's feature film "Unadittya" will see its world premiere later this month.

Painting competition for differently-abled children

The differently-abled children of 'SWID Bangladesh, Pabna' participated in a painting competition last Saturday. The event was arranged by Pabna Drama Circle, a leading cultural organisation in the district. Around 25 children of the organisation took part in the competition.

Pabna Shilpakala Academy celebrates Rabindra-Nazrul Jayanti

Pabna Shilpakala Academy celebrated Rabindra-Nazrul Jayanti on June 13 in. A discussion and cultural programme were held in Pabna Bonomali auditorium.

Dhaka Divisional Conference of BGTF held in Mymensingh

Dhaka Divisional Conference of Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation (BGTF) was held at the Zilla Shilpakala Academy auditorium last Friday. Md. Nazmul Hasan Khan, additional district magistrate of Mymensingh inaugurated the conference.

OP-ED

Pro-people and investment-friendly budget

LAST year, we passed through one of the most critical years for our economy due to repeated natural disasters, rising energy and food prices in the international market, political restlessness, and rampant corruption. This resulted in the inability to fulfill many commitments made by government during the last fiscal year. The confidence of the business community has been only partly restored, inflation has not been contained, and there is no visible improvement in the power sector. Poverty level has gone up and economic growth has gone down.

Correct attitude to boost democracy

HE used the word "change" 16 times in his speech, but he gave two paragraphs to Hillary Clinton, whom the crowd greeted with sustained applause.

In Nigeria, oil wealth delivers grief

WITH the price of oil skyrocketing, the search is on for explanation. One reason is violence and unrest in Nigeria, which has reduced production by at least a quarter, according to some estimates. The economic and political failures that lay behind rebel violence in Nigeria's oil-bearing Delta, however, are not amenable to any easy fix.

In Asia, anyone can be leader, especially mannequins

I was standing by a news-stand which sells a range of Asian papers when I noticed almost all of them had glowing articles about Obama Bin Laden, who is now applying for the job of US president. Cheeky man!

Star City

'Now how to get my voter ID card, Sir?’

Many people in the city are yet to get their voter ID cards and in a fix since they do not know from where to collect those.

New breed of street vendors

A knock on the car window wakes up the drowsy commuter.

Hassles of the helpless commuters

When Mushfiqur Rahman set off for a job interview in a late June morning, he thought it was going to be a great day.

"city express"

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


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