The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Wednesday, August 20, 2014


News of: Monday, 23rd of June, 2008

Front Page

Country gets into election gears

The country gets into election gears for the first time since emergency was declared last year although major political parties are still tuned to the boycott mode even after the Election Commission (EC) declared poll schedules for city corporations and municipalities on June 20.

Polls to be free of black money, muscle power

Reaffirming the caretaker government's commitment to hold general elections in December, Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday said his administration is working to ensure that the elections are free from the influence of money, muscle and misuse of authority.

IMF to discuss govt's hike plan

A mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) visiting the country next month will discuss with the government whether the pay hike in public service adds to private sector wage pressures and impacts on inflation.

Govt sectors limp with low manpower

Shortage of officials is hampering activities in government sectors as about 8,000 cadre service posts are vacant with no fresh recruitment in three years.

Personal details to be on EC website

The new election rules promulgated by the Election Commission (EC) ensure public access to information about candidates in the August 4 polls to four city corporations and nine municipalities.

Altaf charged with amassing Tk 2.5cr wealth illegally

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday pressed charges against detained former home minister Altaf Hossain Choudhury in a case filed for amassing wealth illegally and giving false information in his wealth statement submitted to the commission.

32 jobseekers end up in KL camp

At least 32 Bangladeshi workers are facing acute water and food crises for last five days at a camp near Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Security to be upped during local govt polls

Police will beef up security steps ahead of the local elections scheduled for August 4.

No constitutional bar to holding local polls first

Eminent jurist and Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain yesterday said there is no constitutional bar to holding the local government polls prior to the national elections.

Delwar seeks UN probe into 'HR violation'

Khandaker Delwar Hossain, secretary general of pro-Khaleda faction of BNP, yesterday urged the United Nations to investigate human rights violations in the country including alleged torture of Tarique Rahman, elder son of party chairperson Khaleda Zia.

Non-govt teachers too get 20pc DA

The 20 percent dearness allowance declared for the public servants will be applicable to the teachers of non-government high schools, colleges and madrasas under MPO (monthly pay order) as well, Finance Adviser Mirza Azizul Islam said yesterday.

No discrimination against Khaleda

Communications Adviser Ghulam Quader yesterday ruled out any discrimination towards detained BNP chief Khaleda Zia and said she has been given every offer of treatment at home or abroad.

Matin sees no major anti-graft drive before polls

Home Affairs Adviser MA Matin yesterday said there would be no major anti-corruption drive before general elections slated for December.

New UK envoy Stephen Evans arrives today

The newly appointed British high commissioner to Bangladesh, Stephen Evans, arrives in the country today.

From mother's lap to wheels of truck

A five-year-old girl was killed early yesterday morning when a speeding truck hit a rickshaw in which the girl was travelling with her family in city's Badda area.

Moudud's trial stayed for two weeks

The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday stayed for two weeks the trial proceedings of a corruption case filed by Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) against former law, justice and parliamentary affairs minister barrister Moudud Ahmed.

Charge-framing hearing deferred until June 25

A special court yesterday deferred the hearing on charge framing in the Niko graft case against former prime minister Sheikh Hasina and eight others to June 25.

Hasina goes to Florida for ear treatment on Wednesday

Awami League President Sheikh Hasina plans to go to Orlando in Florida on Wednesday for ear treatment.

UK hosts meet on democracy in Bangladesh from tomorrow

The British foreign office will host a two-day conference, starting from tomorrow, in London on strengthening democracy in Bangladeshi.

Proshika chief, son sued for graft

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday sued Proshika Chairman Kazi Faruque Ahmed and his son Rubayet Ahmed and another for misappropriation of over Tk 1.03 crore.

9 killed as microbus collides with bus

At least nine microbus passengers, including two children, were killed and six others injured in a fatal road accident at Chakaria upazila on the Chittagong-Cox's Bazar highway yesterday.

Ferry with 750 aboard sinks in Philippines

At least 229 people are confirmed dead and at least six missing after Typhoon Fengshen ravaged the central and southern Philippines, Red Cross and civil defence officials said yesterday.

Suicide bomber kills 16 in Iraq

A woman suicide bomber blew herself up in the centre of the Iraqi city of Baquba on Sunday, killing at least 16 people and wounding 40, a medic told AFP.

Saudi Arabia to raise oil production

Saudi Arabia is willing to produce more oil if customers need it, the kingdom's oil minister said yesterday without citing any specific output increase.

Editorial

Food productivity challenge

IN a technology-driven world where new cultivation techniques are being applied in the agriculture sector to maximise output, Bangladesh has not been able to capitalise on such modern technology well within our reach. A Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) study says that while present per annum yield of rice hovers around 3.5crore tonnes, Bangladesh could actually increase production to 7.00crore tonnes through introducing modern irrigation system, proper use of fertilizer and bringing more fallow land under cultivation.

WASA losses

IT is a horrendous figure -- but true -- the Dhaka Water & Sewerage Authority(WASA) loses Tk 35 crore every year due to system loss. The loss takes place in various ways -- but most of all due to the connivance of some of its corrupt officials and employees who dispense illegal services to those willing to pay for illegal benefits.

The BNP's pied pipers

HUMBUG is what has often been the BNP's forte. During her fairly long years in polities and two stints as prime minister, the party supreme mastered well the art of gobbledygook and developed a malignant arrogance that borders on paranoia. Madam Zia took refuge behind this when flummoxed, and thought that it was the means to absolve her past sins for which she is yet to be chastised.

Indo-US nuclear treaty: Uncertainty looms large

EFFORTS for the implementation of the Indo-United States civilian nuclear agreement have suffered another setback with the crucial talks between the Indian government and its leftists allies getting postponed, much to the dismay of the enthusiasts of the accord. The parleys, that were expected to narrow down the differences between the two sides on the issue, did not take place last Tuesday, understandably because of the fear of failure to hammer out the differences.

Barack Obama pulling away

THE latest Newsweek poll has Barack Obama leading John McCain by fifteen points (51% to 36%) in the presidential race. A month ago, in the same poll, the two presumptive presidential nominees were tied at 46%. Either this is the bounce the pundits were predicting after Obama clinched the nomination, or this poll is an outlier.

Sports

Tigers look to next round

There is a touch of planning in everything in Lahore. From the roads to the shopping malls and the elegant houses there is a definite sense of order and purpose. The red-brick laden Gaddafi Stadium, so curiously named after the leader of a nation which does not even have the remotest link to cricket is otherwise a dream venue which is bound to inspire anyone associated with the game. Bangladesh's Asia Cup ambitions start here with a match against the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday and if you are looking for motivation, a ticket to the next round is quite a decent prize.

Bangladesh win first trophy abroad

Bangladesh maintained their supremacy over the lesser Asian nations when the favourites bagged the 3rd Men's AHF Cup hockey title yesterday with a 6-1 thrashing of Oman in the final in Singapore.

Abahani's rude awakening

Abahani's return to international football was harsh when the Bangladesh professional league champions crashed 4-0 to the Nepalese amateurs in the opening match of the AFC President's Cup Group A qualifiers yesterday.

Spain cursed no more

Spain beat Italy 4-2 on penalties here on Sunday to reach the Euro 2008 semifinals and in so doing break a number of painful hoodoos.

Curtain falls on veterans

Holland's elimination from Euro 2008 on Saturday by Russia looks certain to have brought down the international curtain on several of their older players - even if some have yet to admit it.

Wimbledon starts today

Ana Ivanovic and Maria Sharapova are determined to prove that their ruthless tennis packs just as much power as their supermodel looks at this year's Wimbledon.

Bangladesh A play first 3-dayer today

Bangladesh A team will launch their campaign today when they meet Ireland A in a three-day match in Dublin.

Maharoof out of Asia Cup

Sri Lankan paceman Farveez Maharoof has been ruled out of the Asia Cup tournament in Pakistan due to an abdominal strain. He will be replaced by Thilan Thushara, the left-arm medium-fast bowler.

Guus magic goes on

Dutchman Guus Hiddink's magic touch on the international stage continued as his Russia side broke Holland's hearts with a shock 3-1 win to knock the Dutch out of Euro 2008.

Arshavin at his zenith

According to his club manager, Dick Advocaat, this was the night Zenit Saint Petersburg forward Andrei Arshavin could convince someone in the big leagues of Europe they should sign the 27-year-old.

Russians ecstatic

Hundreds of thousands poured out into the streets all over Russia early Sunday to a cacophony of honking and shouting as news came in of Russia's historic Euro 2008 quarterfinal win over the Netherlands.

Netherlands are hurting

Disappointed Dutchman Arjen Robben admits the Holland team are hurting from their shock 3-1 defeat by Russia in Saturday's Euro 2008 quarterfinal and says it will take time to get over it.

Keeper to play in outfield

Turkey are so decimated by injury and suspension ahead of Wednesday's Euro 2008 semifinal against Germany they may resort to playing reserve keeper Tolga Zengin as an outfield player, according to coach Fatih Terim.

Citizenship for Hiddink

Russia's Dutch coach Guus Hiddink could be offered Russian citizenship after he guided the national side into the Euro 2008 semifinals, according to Russia president Dmitri Medvedev on Sunday

Germans taking Turks seriously

Three-time champions Germany will not be taking Turkey for granted in their Euro 2008 semifinal on Wednesday, German captain Michael Ballack said on Sunday.

Pak Asia Cup squad named

Pakistan have included uncapped spinner Saeed Ajmal in their 15-man squad for the Asia Cup starting here Tuesday.

Massa regains lead

Brazilian Felipe Massa regained the leadership of the Formula One drivers world championship Sunday when he drove to a commanding victory for Ferrari in the French Grand Prix.

Nadal, Djokovic aim to snap Federer streak

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic aim to transform Roger Federer's golden era into a new dark age and destroy the Swiss superstar's dream of a record sixth successive Wimbledon crown.

Asif will pay for his case

Mohammad Asif will have to pay up the money that the Pakistan Cricket Board spent on defending him in the drug possession case in Dubai if he is found guilty in the internal inquiry to be conducted by the PCB.

Khan retains C'wealth title

Amir Khan had to pick himself up off the floor before successfully defending his Commonwealth lightweight title with a fifth round stoppage of Michael Gomez at the National Indoor Arena here Saturday.

Match-fixing at Wimbledon?

In a revelation that is bound to send shockwaves through the tennis world, 18 players competing in this year's Wimbledon are suspected to have thrown their matches for money at The All England Club on previous occasions.

Jane McGrath passes away

The wife of former Australian cricketer Glenn McGrath died in Sydney on Sunday after a decade long battle with cancer, her family said in a statement.

Div II cricket

Kulfa Gosthi registered a four-wicket victory over Kishan in the Sunlife Insurance Second Division Cricket League at the Shahid Miraj-Tapan Stadium yesterday.

Div I kabaddi

Matuail Smriti Sangsad defeated Singna Sangha 69-24 in the First Division Kabaddi League at the kabaddi stadium yesterday.

Business

Quantity limit on packed consumer goods irks makers

A government decision to make a specific ceiling for the quantity in retail packs instead of a fraction amount evoked huge reaction among consumer product manufacturers.

Govt fixes cotton waste price at $1.60 a kg

The government has fixed the minimum export price of cotton waste, a by-product from spinning mills, at US$1.60 per kg.

NBR hunts for rogue vehicle importers

The Central Intelligence Cell (CIC) of National Board of Revenue (NBR) is investigating import of vehicles by five big importers to unearth a possible scam over a sudden influx of imported vehicles at Chittagong Port.

Consumer pressure exposes Opec divisions at oil summit

Consumer nations pressed the main oil powers to increase production at an international summit here Sunday seeking a strategy against spiralling crude prices.

Trading of ICB Islamic Bank resumes tomorrow

Trading of shares of ICB Islamic Bank, formerly known as Oriental Bank, will resume on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) tomorrow.

ACU to take euro as second currency

Asian Clearing Union (ACU), a group of eight countries including Bangladesh, has decided to adopt euro as the second currency to settle bills of intra-regional trade with effect from January next year.

Governor refutes 'liquidity crisis' in banks

Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Salehuddin Ahmed yesterday refuted the allegation that banks are faced with liquidity crisis.

Software developers seek tax exemption

The country's software developers yesterday urged the government to exempt certain IT based services from income tax.

Bank owners meet CA tomorrow to seek tax benefits

Bangladesh Association of Banks (BAB) would urge the government to provide tax rebates to the banking companies, including reduction of corporate income tax from 45 percent to 40 percent.

S'pore Asia's Switzerland for millionaires

Got at least five million US dollars?

Indians fear repeat of 1990s as inflation soars

With inflation shooting to a dizzying 13-year high, Indians are wondering whether they're watching a rerun of an old horror movie they'd rather not see again.

Share prices tumble

Panic gripped small investors yesterday as nearly all shares on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) slumped.

S Korea, US agree on beef deal

South Korea said it will resume imports of U.S. beef after American and South Korean suppliers agreed to block meat from older cattle, aiming Saturday to soothe health concerns that sparked weeks of demonstrations against new President Lee Myung-bak.

22 get CIP status

The industries ministry yesterday handed out Commercially Important Person (CIP) cards to 22 industrialists for this year in recognition of their contribution to their respective fields.

S'pore banks to face volatile times

Singapore banks are likely to have peaked in their financial performance and will face weaker and more volatile earnings for the next year or so, said Moody's Investors Service.

Fed unlikely to boost rates

The tough talk on inflation from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues is unlikely to lead to a boost in interest rates -- at least for now, economists say.

Luxury goods prices spike in Vietnam

Consumers can expect a price rise for mobile phones, cosmetics, alcohol and other luxury products, following an import duty hike that takes effect Friday.

India lags behind China: Survey

India is likely to witness the largest growth in its share of overall foreign investment over the next five years and should become the world leader for investment in manufacturing. But it is China that will corner the biggest chunk of corporate investment by 2013-14, moving ahead of even the US, global think-tank KPMG says in its latest survey released on Thursday.

Korea's graduate employment rate near OECD bottom

The employment rate of college and university graduates in South Korea was the second-lowest among member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2005, government data showed Thursday.

EU set to clash over fishing

The European Commission faces fresh frictions with some member states at a meeting on Tuesday with EU fisheries ministers over the early closure of the tuna fishing season and soaring fuel prices.

Iraq to award oil contracts to foreign firms

Iraq will award contracts to 41 foreign oil firms in a bid to ramp up production that gives multinationals a potentially lucrative foothold in the nation's huge oil fields, an official said on Sunday.

Ibn Sina Pharma approves 23pc dividend

The Ibn Sina Pharmaceutical Industry Ltd has approved a 23 percent dividend for its shareholders for the year 2007.

World Bank VP Patel due today

Praful C. Patel, vice president, South Asia region of the World Bank, arrives here today on a two-day visit following an invitation by Bangladesh government.

Japan's business bosses say expansion already over

The majority of Japan's top executives have said an expanding phase of the nation's economy has already been over, a poll showed on Sunday.

Metropolitan

545 acres of arable land lost a day

Speakers at a view exchange meeting yesterday said that within 2088 there would be no cultivable land in Bangladesh if the present rate of conversion of farmlands into non-cultivable ones remains so.

Drive against illegal structures continues

The Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) yesterday demolished around 10 shanties on the Begunbari canal near Rampura Bridge.

AL 59th founding anniversary today

The 59th founding anniversary of the Awami League (AL) is being observed today.

Tk 50.60cr Buet budget okayed

Without raising any student fee, a Tk 50.60 crore original budget of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) for 2008-09 fiscal was approved at the Syndicate meeting yesterday.

Ombudsman (Amend) Ordn sent back for further examination

The Council of Advisers yesterday discussed the Ombudsman (Amendment) Ordinance 2008 and sent it back for further examination pending approval.

Hong Kong's carbon trading move too little, too late

Hong Kong has joined the international carbon trading structure with a promise to slash emissions, but analysts say the move will fail to produce any serious reductions in greenhouse gases.

Home, community-based strategies can reduce neonatal mortality

Speakers at a press conference yesterday said home and community-based strategies can significantly reduce neonatal mortality by improving newborn care, including identification and management of newborn illnesses outside of a healthcare facility.

Cirdap ministerial meet begins in Delhi tomorrow

The government of India and Cirdap are jointly organising a ministerial meeting followed by a ministerial retreat of rural development ministers of 14 countries of the Asia-Pacific region to be held from June 24-26 in New Delhi, says a press release.

Kanak's Palace on verge of destruction

Lack of renovation and preservation has pushed the 500-year-old King Kanak's Palace on the verge of destruction.

Helen Keller Int'l president arrives in city today

Helen Keller International (HKI) President and CEO Kathy Spahn arrives in the city today for a five-day official visit to observe the 30th anniversary of the organisation's work in Bangladesh, says a press release.

4 new OCs take office in Ctg

Four new officer-in-charges (OCs) took their offices while another seven officers were posted at different branches and stations under Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) yesterday.

BSF returns 24 Bangladeshis

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) handed over 24 Bangladeshi citizens, who served different terms in Indian jails after being trafficked across the border, to Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) through Benapole check post yesterday afternoon.

Father, son robbed of Tk 64000

Members of 'Ogyan Party' yesterday robbed a man and his son off Tk 64,000 and snatched two cellphone sets from their possession from a Dhaka-bound bus in Gazipur.

Release of 5 indigenous people demanded

Jatiya Mukti Council (JMC) in a statement yesterday demanded release of five indigenous people, including Gonotantrik Jubo Forum leader Alokesh Chakma, says a press release.

Moni Singh-Farhad Trust executives

Dr Fauzia Moslem and Dr Rabiul Haque were elected president and treasurer of Moni Singh-Farhad Memorial Trust, says a press release.

Vitti Sthapati, RAOWA sign agreement

Vitti Sthapati Brinda Ltd has been appointed consultant for the preparation of detail master plan, drawing, design, soil test and complete supervision of the construction of Retired Arms Forces Officers' Welfare Association (RAOWA) Complex at VIP Road, New DOHS in the city, says a press release.

Tk 5,000 minimum wage for workers demanded

Leaders of Jatiya Sramik Federation yesterday proposed to the caretaker government that it should fix Tk 5,000 as minimum wage of a worker and reconstitute a wage board for different industries.

2 murdered in city

Police recovered the body of a youth from an abandoned house at Lalbagh while a decomposed body of a young woman from a wetland at Madinabagh in the city yesterday.

Trader robbed of Tk 3 lakh

The armed muggers snatched Tk 3 lakh from a shoe trader when he was returning home after drawing the money from a bank in the city yesterday.

'Appoint VC from among teachers'

Teachers, officials and employees of Sher-e-Bangla Agriculture University yesterday brought out a silent procession on the campus to press home their demand of appointing new vice chancellor among the professors of the university.

Haj orientation from June 26

Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) will arrange a three-day orientation camp for interested persons who wish to perform haj, says a press release.

2nd round of 'Ek Chumukei Pepsi Star' contest held in Chittagong

The second round of the competition titled 'Ek Chumukei Pepsi Star' was held in the port city yesterday amid much enthusiasm among the youngsters.

Road accidents kill 2

Two people were killed and three others were injured in separate road accidents in Gaibandha and Sirajganj yesterday.

Four muggers arrested in city

Police arrested four muggers on Saturday night after they snatched a mobile phone set and a laptop from a man on a CNG-run three-wheeler at Easkaton in the city.

Matra awards winners of SMS contest

Matra, an advertising agency, yesterday awarded the ten winners of its SMS competition, held to create awareness about HIV/AIDS among the youths.

Indian saree worth Tk 1.5cr seized

Bangladesh Rifles, in separate drives, seized 76 bales of Indian saree worth Tk 1.5 crore in Comilla and Brahmanbaria yesterday.

Chevron scholarships for underprivileged students

Chevron Bangladesh under its annual scholarship program distributed scholarships to 96 students from three schools in Sylhet recently, says a press release.

GC Dev centenary July 4

Dhaka University Philosophy Department Alumni Association has taken up a day-long programme on July 4 to celebrate the centenary of eminent philosopher and Liberation War martyr Dr GC Dev.

National

Nilphamari flooding still precarious

Flooding of Dimla and Jaldhaka upazilas in Nilphamari district with the rise of Teeta and its tributaries and other rivers in Nilphamari including Saniajan, Buri Teesta, Deunai, Burikhora, Charalkanta, Jamuneswari, Panga still remains at a precarious level.

Hold national election before local govt polls

Central leaders of Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) at their district conference in Dianajpur yesterday urged the caretaker government to hold national election before local government polls.

Hold national election before local govt polls

Central leaders of Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) at their district conference in Dianajpur yesterday urged the caretaker government to hold national election before local government polls.

Villagers share views on UP budget in Satkhira

It was a different day for the residents of Romjan Nagar union in Shyamnagar upazila in the district as over 2,000 enthusiastic people took part in a daylong 'open budget session' held at Bhetkhali Bazar in the union adjacent to the Sundarbans yesterday.

Wife strangled for dowry in Barisal

A woman was strangled by her husband for dowry at Hizla-Gourabdi in Hizala upazila yesterday, police and locals said.

BCL urges Ruet VC to meet 6-pt demand

Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (Ruet) unit of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), at a press conference held in Rajshahi yesterday, called upon the vice chancellor (VC), Prof Anwarul Haque to meet their six-point demand.

Killer gets life in Panchagarh

A Panchagarh court yesterday sentenced one person to life term rigorous imprisonment (RI) for killing an elderly man at Meherpara village in Sadar upazila in 1999.

Youth killed in Faridpur

Police found a dead body from a jute field at Bilmamudpur of Aliabad union under Sadar upazila of the district yesterday morning.

Engineer found dead at house

Kotwali police yesterday recovered body of an engineer from his Barisal Pally Biddut Samity quarter at Rupatali here, police said.

Revolver, bullets seized

Members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) yesterday recovered a revolver, four bullets and three knives from a house near Barisal Cadet College in Babuganj Police Station, Rab said.

'Missing' man's skeleton found

Police recovered a skeleton from an abandoned safety tank of Agaroani primary school at village Agaroani in Sadar upazila on Saturday afternoon.

Letters

A new Bangladesh

In 1971, a new country was created and in the past 36 years its people have struggled to build a prosperous society.

Violence against women

The constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh ensures equal rights for all citizens, irrespective of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. Thus women enjoy the fundamental rights of freedom of speech and expression, association and assembly which form the basis of political activity in a civil society. But in practice women are neglected and oppressed.

Cricket over-publicised

The way Bangladesh cricket is advancing is alarming. As we have seen, Bangladesh cricket is not attracting spectators these days (The tri-nation tournament is an example). The main reason is poor performance. As a cricket fan of the Tigers, I believe and agree with the rest of my fellow cricket fans that our performance is nose-diving. But there are many reasons behind it too. I would blame Poor Team Selection & Excessive Publicity among many reasons for the nose dive.

Air pollution

It is a matter of great concern that the quality of the air of the big cities of our country is deteriorating at an alarming pace. Fumes from the industries, vehicular emissions, smoke from the brickfields--all contribute to the degradation of the quality of air. According to a study the amount of lead in Dhaka's air is 463 nanograms per cubic meter---the highest in the world. The very smell of the city's air is sickening--to say the least.

August 21 grenade attack

In the latest development, the CID has submitted report to Dhaka Metropolitan Court implicating 22 persons in the gruesome attack. We have known through different media about how fake stories were made public regarding the nefarious attack under the previous political government.

Transport issue

Mahbubun Nabi's article on the subject published in your pages on 14 June is an interesting and pragmatic way to solve Dhaka's transport gridlock. More so it is not so capital intensive, can be done phase wise spread over a few years, without a large one time solution. It is indeed a very reasonable approach, which should be a lesson for our city planners and the people at the top. They should read, understand and implement the ideas put forward in the article.

US presidential election

The people of the United States should elect a man as their president who will have the energy and sagacity to deal with the challenges of our times.

Future of democracy

I am writing this letter in response to what eminent jurist Dr. Kamal Hossain and convener of the newly formed Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) Dr Quershi had to say regarding the temporary release of former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Although I have tremendous level of respect for both of these house-hold names in Bangladeshi politics, but it disheartens me to see that none of these leaders see the reality of the situation. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in his book quite rightly put it, when he said that it is very difficult to integrate idealism with realism. It seems to me that his saying can hold true for the statements and comments made by these two eminent politicians. It is sad to see that they have not been able to see the reality of the situation and rather has stuck by their idealistic nature. Now let us face the reality, the release of Sheikh Hasina and also that of Begum Khaleda Zia is needed to ensure that their respective political parties take part in the upcoming elections and also to lend credibility to the election process. Simultaneously, we would also like to see the return to democracy in Bangladesh. Keeping that in mind, I therefore urge our politicians to consider the reality of the situation. The people of this country want a return to democracy which is only possible through a credible, free and fair election.

“Ray of hope”

To pave the way for smooth implementation of the election roadmap, the govt is opening up all roads for politicians to participate in the election.

Why not free all criminals?

The caretaker government has freed Sheikh Hasina, seemingly for better treatment abroad. It's fine with us. Most likely, it will also let go Khaleda Zia in the coming days on a similar pretext. That would be fine, too. What is baffling, and perhaps not right, is that our envoys greeted her in London and Boston. It sends a wrong signal. Here is a nation that accuses its leaders of serious wrongdoings and the next day treats them as VVIPs! We understand that there may be reasons to make deals with the two ex-prime ministers to secure a safe exit, but this is not the way to go about. We also hear about other measures on the card, such as releasing confiscated properties of politicians serving jail terms, and letting them participate in elections.

Bangladesh-Myanmar road

It is heartening news that the much-talked about construction of the direct link road from Bangladesh up to the national road of Myanmar is going to start next year.

Construction of road

Reference to the report published in The Daily Star on 25 May 2008.

Crusade against corruption

Corruption had been a buzzword. It is now widely believed that due to the anti- corruption drive led by the interim govt, corruption has decreased. The government's crusade against corruption has succeeded to a great extent as they nabbed notorious criminals. Among the corrupt, many politicians are now languishing in jail.

Child labour

An estimated 158 million children aged 5-14 are engaged in child labour - one in every six children in the world. Millions of children are engaged in hazardous jobs or conditions, such as working in mines, working with chemicals and pesticides or working with dangerous machinery. They are everywhere but invisible, toiling as domestic servants in homes, labouring behind the walls of workshops, hidden from view in plantations. Children living in the poorest households in rural areas are most likely to be engaged in child labour.

A good proposal

Recently, there was an article by a Professor of BUET (?) on the future of Dhaka city NOT being via any of the expensive but ineffective proposals to 'improve' its transport systems but via a government policy to empty the city of many of its inhabitants by moving many government offices to some major provincial centres around the country that should be encouraged to develop a life of their own.

Good move, but…

First of all, I would like to thank the higher authorities for taking a wonderful step, that is, the counter-service for all transports. Most probably, it has been introduced for the first time in Chittagong. It has been introduced for ensuring better passenger service. It was our expectation that we people would enjoy a more comfortable transport service. We want to reach our destinations in due time. At the same time, it will partially stop traffic blockage here & there. But it is an irony that in our country it is very tough to implement the rules & policies.

Obama: is he different?

In the primaries “Change” is the jingle that Obama has stamped in the American mind. His winning the Democratic presidential nomination against the impressive Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former first lady, confirms an aspiration to see life differently among many of his countrymen. When the Republicans are beset by countless messy affairsboth internal and international, of the Bush administration, what could be better for a Democratic presidential hopeful than gaining precious electoral currency by pressing for a change? Mr. Obama is wise enough not to miss it and so finds himself in the position to become the 44th American president.

International

Nato strikes militants hiding in Pakistan

Nato launched a pair of artillery strikes across the border into Pakistan after attackers hiding there fired a barrage of rockets into Afghanistan that killed a woman and three children, officials said yesterday.

Frustration in Gaza despite slight easing of blockade

Dozens of Palestinian lorry drivers waited to load their goods in the scorching sun on Sunday as Israel said it had started to ease its blockade of Gaza on the fourth day of a truce in and around the territory.

No military solution to Lanka conflict: India

India has signalled to Sri Lanka that it wants to see an end to the island's military campaign to help solve the decades-old Tamil separatist conflict, diplomats and officials said yesterday.

No compromise on nuke programme

Pakistan's nuclear programme will continue unabated and it will not be compromised, according to President Pervez Musharaf.

Pak troops infiltrated, influenced by Taliban militants

The Pakistani Frontier Corps has been heavily infiltrated and influenced by Taliban militants, according to classified US documents appeared in a daily here yesterday.

Zimbabwe opposition chief quits run-off polls

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai quit the country's bitterly fought run-off election on Sunday, saying the vote cannot be free and fair.

Snap polls a mere possibility in India

Early general election is a mere possibility in India despite the standoff between India's Congress-led government and its Left allies over Indo-US nuclear deal and sudden withdrawal of support by Mayawati-led BSP.

'Pak to hold talks with Kashmiri leaders before dialogue'

Pakistan will hold talks with Kashmiri separatist leaders before starting the next round of the Composite Dialogue with India later this month, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said.

Indian troops kill 4 cross-border rebels in Kashmir

Indian troops shot dead four militants on Saturday in revolt-hit Kashmir after the rebels snuck across a militarised border from adjoining Pakistan, police said.

Iran warns of 'limitless' response to any military strike

Iran yesterday dismissed reports that Israel had been practising for air strikes against its nuclear drive as "psychological operations" but warned of a limitless response to any attack.

10,000 British soldiers unfit for frontline

More than 10,000 British soldiers are unfit for frontline duty as the pressure of supplying troops for years of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan takes its toll on the army, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

Bill Gates surrendering Microsoft helm

A Harvard University dropout who ushered in the home computer age and made billions of dollars along the way will have his last official day of work at Microsoft on June 27.

Indian girl-boy ratios at 'all-time low'

The number of girls to boys in India has hit a record low, British charity ActionAid said on Saturday as it urged the government in New Delhi to take "sustained action" to prevent a lost generation of women.

Pakistan reports new bird flu outbreak

Pakistani authorities yesterday reported a new outbreak of avian flu at a commercial poultry farm in the country's northwest, killing thousands of birds, officials said.

Roadside blast kills 2 police commandos in Sri Lanka

Tamil Tiger rebels yesterday set off a roadside mine killing two police commandos in eastern Sri Lanka, the defence ministry said.

Arts & Entertainment

Safiuddin Ahmed: Living legend in prints and paints

Safiuddin Ahmed, whose exhibition is currently being held at the Bengal Gallery to celebrate his 86th birthday, is the oldest celebrated artist alive in Bangladesh. Safiuddin went into fine arts with the support of his mother when his father had passed away in the times of British Raj. He studied in Calcutta. Safiuddin has been famous for his lyrical prints from the time of Partition (1947). Along with Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin and Qamrul Hassan, he helped establish the Dhaka Art College, teaching and print making for decades, as long as his health permitted.

Getting acquainted with “Jalalgeetika”

Without knowing the name of the bard, perhaps many of us have listened to Jalal Khan's mystic songs such as Keho kore becha kena keho kandey and O amar dorodi. Born in Netrokona, a popular area for great bards and bauls whose ballads have been compiled in Mymensigh Geetika and Purbabanga Geetika, Jalal Khan (1894-1972) is one of the foremost mystic bards of the 20th century.

World Music Day celebration at Hotel Sonargaon

To celebrate the World Music Day, Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in association with Eastern Bank Ltd. arranged a programme at the hotel's Grand Ball Room on June 21. The World Music Day, which was first introduced in France in 1982, is not a familiar concept in the Bangladesh but in recent years the celebration is catching on.

Photographer Munem Wasif wins F25 Award

Bangladeshi photographer Munem Wasif has won the prestigious F25 Award for his extensive work on Old Dhaka. Hundred and forty-three entries from photographers of forty countries were submitted to the jury of F award, a contest promoted by Fabrica, Research Centre on Communication, Treviso, and Forma, International Centre of Photography, Milano.

Nirmalandu Goun's birthday celebrated in Netrakona

Renowned poet Nirmalandu Goun's 64th birthday was observed in a befitting manner last Saturday at his native village Kashtola under Barhatta upazila in Netrakona district. The celebration was organised by 'Kabi Nirmalandu Goun Janma Jayanti Udjapon Parishad'.

Last episode of "Dhaka Nibash" to be aired tonight

The last episode of TV serial Dhaka Nibash will be aired tonight at 9:45 pm on ntv. Written by Kazi Shahidul Islam, the serial is directed by Taher Shipon.

Picasso painting breaks Australian record

An abstract painting by Picasso has sold in Sydney for $6.9m AUS (£3.32m), making it the most expensive piece of art sold at auction in Australia.

OP-ED

Political party reform

ONCE elected, representatives from political parties assume the role of governance of state, either by exercising executive power or by providing necessary guidance and cross-check of government activities. Elected representatives are provided with necessary power and authority, especially the members of the government.

Community cooperation in development

OF late, there has been something of a consensus amongst the academia and development activists regarding the topicality and urgency of involving local communities in any meaningful development initiative or project. Notwithstanding such rhetoric and emphasis, however, the challenge of effectively engaging communities and ensuring adequate cooperation from them remains as daunting as ever.

Mr. Prime Minister, keep your paranoia in check, please

THAI Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej claims he isn't afraid to confront the opposition in parliament. But, in the same breath, he also says he won't accept the challenge of a legitimate debate. He is too scared to admit he is scared.

The conquest of America and the Redneck tribes

TODAY, boys and girls, we are going to study an important part of world history: the discovery of America.

Star City

Unchanging woes of dancers

Life in the metropolis is changing with time but the odd social attitude towards dance artistes still remains a major challenge to the most ancient form of art. Dance troupes and emerging artistes also do not have necessary floors for rehearsal, strong patrons or any specialised stage for performance.

Buses to have electronic ticketing system soon

Syed Ashraful Huq normally goes to work hanging off a door of an overloaded bus that belches smoke and goes nowhere fast in Dhaka, the gritty, traffic-clogged capital.

In quest of the roots of local dances

Besides performance-oriented problems a big void is palpable in the field of dance as there has been no significant research on the performing art.

"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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