News of: Tuesday, 8th of July, 2008
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Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday said his government is ready to extend to detained former premier Khaleda Zia the same gesture shown to another ex-premier Sheikh Hasina through her interim release for treatment abroad.
While prices of essential commodities are spinning out of reach of the people since prices of fuel oils were hiked a week ago, government efforts to monitor the market or curb the prices are yet to be discernible.
The sweeping electoral reforms brought by the Election Commission (EC) in an effort to have honest and competent candidates in elections, seem to have hit a major stumbling block as many 'qualified candidates' for the August 4 city corporation and municipality polls are accused in criminal cases.
Repeating her demand for the parliamentary election first, detained BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday proposed that the caretaker administration set a timeline for the next government to hold local body polls.
Female workers seeking jobs as domestic help in Middle Eastern countries are losing out on valuable job opportunities as the stringent rules set by the government make it very difficult for them to secure a work visa.
At least 21 people were killed and 24 injured as two passenger buses collided head-on on Dhaka-Chittagong Highway in Daudkandi, Comilla yesterday morning.
The High Court (HC) yesterday stayed for two months all proceedings of the Niko and barge-mounted power plant cases filed against former premier Sheikh Hasina by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
A Dhaka court yesterday issued an arrest warrant against Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) Mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka in a case filed against him for amassing wealth worth Tk 9.76 crore illegally and giving false information to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
The government's indifference towards nurse training results in poor quality nursing education which in turn deteriorates nursing service.
The government has decided to set up a board of trustee to operate a Tk 300-crore climate change fund allocated in the current budget for use mainly in adaptation programmes.
The nomination papers of 1,149 candidates out of 1,191 were declared valid yesterday, the last day of scrutiny for election to four city corporations.
The government will build 142 bridges to replace the small and medium-size narrow bridges in the country's eastern part.
Finance Adviser Mirza Azizul Islam yesterday said his Sunday's comment on price hike drawing a line between present times and Shayesta Khan's was not properly reported in the media, distorting the meaning.
A Dhaka court yesterday sentenced Bashundhara Group Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan alias Shah Alam, his wife and three sons to two years' rigorous imprisonment for illegally keeping local and foreign currencies amounting to Tk 23 lakh at their residence.
A suicide car bomber rammed the Indian embassy in Kabul yesterday, killing 41 people including two Indian envoys in the Afghan capital's deadliest attack since the 2001 fall of the Taliban, officials said.
Norwegian Nobel Committee Chairman Prof Ole Danbolt Mjos and Nobel Peace Center Director Bente Erichsen will arrive in Dhaka on July 15 for the inauguration of the Exhibition on Nobel Peace Prize in Bangladesh.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday pressed charges against Jubo League General Secretary Mirza Azam in a case filed for amassing wealth worth over Tk 53 lakh illegally and giving false wealth information to the commission.
Detained former prime minister Khaleda Zia yesterday filed a writ petition with the High Court (HC) challenging the legality of the Niko corruption case against her.
Crocodiles at the Reptiles Farm Ltd in Bhaluka upazila that runs crocodile farming on commercial basis have started laying eggs for the fourth time since April 17 this year.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is going to submit charge sheets in the graft cases filed against Barisal City Mayor Mujibor Rahman Sarwar, former state minister for power Prof Rafiqul Islam and DCC commissioner Monwar Hossain Dipjol.
A casual worker at Dhaka Cantonment was stabbed to death by muggers near Staff Road bus stop on Airport Road early yesterday.
Police arrested a senior consultant of the National Institute of Traumatology, Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation (NITOR), Dr Tozammel Hossain, from city's Mirpur area late on Sunday night on charge of killing his wife.
A writ petition was filed yesterday with the High Court (HC) challenging the legality of the Election Commission's schedule for holding the city corporation and municipality elections before publication of the final voter list.
Left parties will submit to President Pratibha Patil, their letter withdrawing support to the UPA government by July 10, said Forward Bloc general secretary Debabrata Biswas.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Monday said he was not too optimistic about prospects for a breakthrough with Iran on its suspect nuclear programme, saying: "It's difficult."
One person was killed and 37 others injured yesterday in a string of six bomb blasts in Pakistan's southern city of Karachi, raising tensions a day after a major suicide attack in the capital.
A five-storied building in Rajshahi has moved sideways and leaned on to another building. There was, of course, a mild earth tremor that caused such a condition. And as earthquakes go, the possibility of disasters is always there. But what is of greater significance in the present circumstances is the question of why a mild tremor should leave a building in precarious conditions. Over the last many years, the media have consistently drawn the attention of the authorities to the poor and sloppy manner in which buildings, especially high rise ones, are being constructed in the nation's urban areas. In the capital itself, there have been instances of buildings developing cracks not long after they have been constructed, with residents moving out in panic.
AN eminent educationist has held private coaching centres responsible for the deterioration of the quality of education in the country. He has further observed that the coaching centres are involved in all sorts of unethical activities, including leakage of question papers.
LIKE the unpredictable rivers of Bengal, the political tide is changing course erratically too, causing erosion on one side and chars (land) to come up on the other. In between the two it is the common people who get caught and get carried away to the void of uncertainty.
A few weeks ago, the Asian Development Bank, a Manila-based international financial institution, held its annual meeting in Madrid. The Bangladeshi delegation to the meeting was headed by Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam, the finance adviser, who is also an eminent economist and an international banker.
THE powerful block called "Group of Eight" started its journey back in 1975 as an alliance of six advanced countries of the West. In the course of 33 years, the G8 has twice been enlarged to accommodate other countries. The inclusion of Canada in 1976 did not create any controversy as the country belonged firmly to the western block and had been following an economic pattern that the West patronises. But Russia's road to full membership had never been smooth, since the country, though recognised as a powerful player of global politics, had not been evaluated positively by others from the economic standpoint.
The Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) will have to hold the Federation Cup in two phases in the wake of increasing teams for the season's curtain raiser tournament.
Chief selector Rafiqul Alam believes that the national players will make most of the A team's tour of England ahead of a tough series in Australia.
Roger Federer described his Wimbledon final defeat by Rafael Nadal as the most painful loss of his career, but vowed that he is not about to give up his world number one status to his great rival.
Newly-crowned Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal savou-red his greatest ever victo-ry but insisted that dethroned All England Club king Roger Federer was still the best player in the world.
Mitchell Johnson starred with the ball, following a strong batting performance, as Australia completed a rare ODI series sweep in the Caribbean, when they cruised to a 169-run victory in the fifth and final ODI against West Indies on Sunday.
Bangladesh A rode on an Imrul Kayes half-century to reach 115 for four against England Under-19s before rain stopped the second day's proceeding of the three-day match at the Hazelgrave Ground in Loughborough yesterday.
India face the four-yearly dile-mma of watching their favourite sport cricket or switching to the Olympics, and this time the Beijing extravaganza appears to be winning.
The 10th Standard Chartered School Chess tournament will start today at the federation hall-room.
Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) yesterday named 24 players for the Under-16 training camp.
Just one week after celebrating Spain's Euro 2008 football win, Spanish media were full of praise Monday for new national champion Rafael Nadal who became the first Spaniard to win Wimbledon in over 40 years on Sunday.
The nail-biting clash which saw Rafael Nadal snatch the Wimbledon crown of five-time champion Roger Federer after five sets was hailed as "the greatest final ever" by the British press Monday.
As well as euphoria, Rafael Nadal may actually be feeling a hint of frustration right now, for while the Spaniard has just won his first Wimbledon title and so become the first man to hold this Championship and the French Open since Bjorn Borg in 1980, he will surely be aware that the triumph may forever be overshadowed by the epic battle he had to endure to get there.
FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta survived a confidence vote held Sunday that was brought against him by a supporter who was angered by the Spanish club's second straight season without any major title, final results show.
Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo will likely stay at Manchester United next season because the English champions are not willing to let him go, Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon said Sunday.
Representatives of 10 countries have already confirmed that they will attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing on August 8.
Chelsea have put a big-money offer on the table for Brazilian playmaker Kaka, AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani said Sunday, without giving further details of the proposed deal.
Russia forward Andrei Arshavin is only interested in playing for Spanish club Barcelona despite reported interest from the English Premier League, his club claimed on Monday.
Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack has said he is in no rush to sign a new contract with Chelsea, but insists that he is keen to stay at Stamford Bridge.
Australia will play South Africa and the Netherlands in warm-up games in August and September ahead of their Asian World Cup qualifying campaign, Football Federation Australia said Monday.
Atletico Madrid announced Sunday the signing of Brazilian midfielder Paulo Assuncao from Portuguese first division side Porto for an undisclosed fee.
Captain Mahela Jayawardene hailed new spinning sensation Ajantha Mendis after he demolished India to help Sri Lanka retain the Asia Cup.
A fit-again Sachin Tendulkar and the controversial spinner Harbhajan Singh are set to return and beef up a struggling Indian team, to be picked here tomorrow, for the three-Test series against Sri Lanka starting later this month.
South Africa coach Mickey Arthur cannot wait for his side's Test series against England to get underway at Lord's and start what he hopes will be an historic campaign.
Lord knows how they classify Ajantha Mendis in other areas of the world but round these parts, people of a certain vintage will most likely refer to him as a finger bowler.
Bhola Lal of Sonargaon Hotel retained solo lead in the Premier Division of Delta Life Open Squash tournament securing 18 points after six rounds after crushing Swapan Parvez of Bashundhara Group 3-0 at the Dhaka Club yesterday.
The Western Australian Cricket Association said Monday it has signed an agreement to develop cricket in Malaysia.
World cricket chief Haroon Logart on Monday promised to pull the Champions Trophy out of Pakistan if there was any threat of violence, after a deadly suicide blast on the night of the Asia Cup final.
Projected a spoilt brat by the media, Shoaib Akhtar is actually a child in a man's body, says senior Pakistan batsman Younis Khan who feels the maverick pacer is in desperate need of some privacy to get his career back on track.
Bangladesh youth hockey team left for India by road yesterday to take part in the 6th Men's Junior (under-21) Asia Cup Hockey tournament.
Australian captain Ricky Ponting returned home Monday from the West Indies tour and underwent immediate wrist surgery, Cricket Australia said.
State-owned Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) is going to import essentials including edible oil, lentil, onion and gram ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, which begins in September.
Knitwear remains the highest contributor to Bangladesh's exports growth in the first 11 months of the just concluded fiscal year (2007-08), according to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
Egg prices have shot up abnormally as layer chicken farming marked a drastic slump on bird flu fear among farmers countrywide.
Grameenphone, the country's largest mobile phone operator, is likely to pay Tk250crore in fine to the telecoms regulator for its involvement in international call termination business, which is not permitted by law.
Leaders of the world's top industrial powers were under pressure Monday to live up to pledges to help Africa as they opened a summit dominated by skyrocketing oil and food prices.
Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) yesterday strongly opposed the government decision about relaxation of conditions on yarn import through Benapole land port for the 100 percent export-oriented knitwear industry.
Malaysian Minister for Home and Immigration Affairs Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Syed Jaafar Albar yesterday told visiting Bangladesh Foreign Adviser Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury that Bangladeshi workers are welcome to Malaysia.
Against the backdrop of skyrocketing prices of essentials both at local and international markets, the country's economy is battling against several challenges to keep the prices at a tolerable level, said the central bank governor yesterday.
The Citi Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Citigroup, yesterday launched the fourth Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA) programme in Bangladesh.
The coming months can be crucial for the country's agriculture sector due to price hike of commodities and climatic changes, a workshop was told yesterday.
Mancy Li wants to get her hands on Apple's newest version of the iPhone, but she won't bother to queue up in Hong Kong when it is released in Asia this week.
June 28 2008: Bill Gates, one of the richest men in the world, walked away from his full time role in the world's most valuable technology corporation, Microsoft Corporation, to work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He co-founded Microsoft with his friend Paul Allen in the year 1975. He handed over the reins to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Steve Ballmer, a Harvard classmate, whom he enticed to join him with his vision of a computer on every desk and every home, since the late 70s.
Indices on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) fell yesterday.
Nigeria has cancelled three lucrative oil concessions awarded to two Indian firms during a controversial round of bids last year, the independent This Day newspaper said Monday.
Victor Fung has taken over as the new chairman of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).
Warid Telecom is offering a special bonus talk-time for its Zem prepaid subscribers from Monday, says a press release.
The 2-day Bimstec ministerial meeting on poverty alleviation will begin here today.
Japanese shares closed 0.92 percent higher Monday, ending their longest losing streak in 54 years, supported by a weaker yen which boosts exports, dealers said.
British manufactured production declined by 0.5 percent in May from April and dipped by 0.8 percent on a 12-month basis, the Office for National Statistics said on Monday.
Oil prices eased in Asian trading Monday after Iran offered over the weekend to negotiate on its nuclear drive, dealers said.
German auto group Daimler has chosen Chennai, southern India, as the site for a new truck plant, it said Monday.
The German pharmaceutical company Fresenius said Monday it would acquire APP, a US specialist in intravenously-administered generic drugs for at least 3.7 billion dollars (2.4 billion euros).
Japanese electronics giant Canon said Monday it would build a new factory for digital cameras amid growing competition from domestic and foreign rivals.
South Asian nations should build up partnership to conduct comprehensive studies on the impacts of global warming in this region and find out sustainable solutions to the problem which is likely to hit mostly the poor people, said the environmentalists at a roundtable yesterday.
Political commitment is a must to prevent river erosion in the country, said the speakers at a discussion yesterday.
Confusion over the enrolment capacity of colleges in the country reigns as the education ministry and other research institutes gave different figures of the capacity.
All students in primary and secondary levels will get fresh and well-bound textbooks free from all kinds of errors next year, Education Adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman said yesterday.
Candidacy of eight persons who filed nomination papers to contest in the mayoral election of Golapganj Pourasabha was found to be valid after scrutiny by the Election Commision (EC) officials here yesterday.
Leaders of different labour rights organisations yesterday urged the government to withdraw the restriction on trade union activities completely.
Nagorik Sanghati (NS), a citizens' forum, yesterday staged a 'silent sit-in' on Dhaka University (DU) campus demanding compensation from the G-8 countries since the emission of greenhouse gas contributes to the climate change.
Speakers at a press conference yesterday urged the teachers to revive their image by taking steps to prevent sexual harassment of female students on the campus.
Thirty-seven eminent citizens of the country were awarded Mother Teresa Gold Medal yesterday for their outstanding contribution to different sectors.
Eleven people were killed and nine others injured in separate road accidents across the country yesterday.
A widow from Jhalakati has sought security of her family as a fraud who cheated her out of Tk 3 lakh has now been threatening her with death.
A Russian soldier yesterday went on a rampage killing three of his fellow troops and wounding another before turning the gun on himself, media reports and a defence ministry spokesman said.
A six-day annual urs sharif of Sultanul Hind Garib-e-Newaz Hazrat Khaza Mainuddin Chisti, Hasan Sanzar Ajmeri (RA) began at Garpara Enam Bari Darbar Sharif in Manikganj on Saturday, according to a press release.
Water transport workers yesterday staged a three-hour sit-in in front of the labour directorate demanding increase of their wages, says a press release.
Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina will return to the US on July 15 for follow-up treatment of her ear and eye.
Police yesterday intercepted a procession of Nirjatan Pratirod Chhatra Andolan (NPCA) on Dhaka University (DU) campus while they were proceeding to lay siege to the Chief Election Commission (CEC) office.
Mystery shrouded the death of three members of a family at Shafipur village in Kaliakoir upazila yesterday.
Speakers at a workshop held here yesterday stressed on creation of mass awareness on HIV/ AIDS.
A sexagenarian woman was found slaughtered at a house at Demra in the city on Sunday night.
Chhatra Odhikar, a platform of students of Dhaka University, will stage a demonstration on the campus today to press home their three-point demand, including government subsidy on food items in the hall canteens.
Department of Narcotics Control officials seized 2,000 pieces of contraband Yaba tablet and arrested eight persons including six Myanmar nationals in this connection from Alkaran area in Chittagong yesterday evening.
The Directorate of Technical Education transferred the principal of Dhaka Women Polytechnic Institute yesterday in the face of protest against her by the students.
Bangladesh Red Crescent Society and Swiss Red Cross yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to implement a post-Sidr rehabilitation project in the cyclone affected Bagerhat district, says a press release.
Police yesterday arrested nine transport brokers at Zia International Airport (ZIA) after two groups of brokers had clashed over taking a passenger.
A housewife died after falling from the rooftop of a three-storied building in Rajshahi city on Sunday evening.
Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (personnel) and Commissioner of Navy Scout Commodore M Farid Habib formally inaugurated the Navy Scout tree plantation campaign-2008 by planting a litchi sapling at the BN College compound in the city yesterday, says an ISPR press release.
Railway communications between Bhairab Railway Junction and the eastern zone was disrupted for more than two hours yesterday as four wheels of a Dhaka-bound goods train from Chittagong derailed between Bhairab Railway Bridge and Bhairab Junction.
Prof Selina Mohsin, senior education adviser to Programme Supporting Unit of Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), has been appointed Bangladesh High Commissioner to the Maldives.
A six-day training on leadership for the women with disabilities concluded yesterday at Biam Foundation in the city, says a press release.
A light earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale occurred yesterday morning.
With only four weeks before the Sylhet City Corporation (SCC) polls, the SCC authorities have floated tenders for development schemes amounting Tk 10.12 crore.
An unknown disease has claimed lives of two children in last one week at Barakpur union under Digholia upazila in Khulna district while 44 children are now under treatment at Upazila Health Complex.
Villagers have repaired about one km flood protection embankment along the Teesta at Nilarpar in Mornea union under Gangachara upazila.
A court in Satkhira yesterday rejected a bail prayer from former officer-in-charge Kazi Mizanur Rahman of Patkelghata police station and sent him to jail in the case for allegedly murdering his wife Sabiha Akhtar.
Thakurgaon district committee of Juba League in its first meeting since allowing indoor politics yesterday demanded permanent release of Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina and withdrawal all 'false' cases against her.
Agriculture and Water Resources Adviser Dr CS Karim yesterday said the nation should get ready to deal with challenges from nature amid climate change and frequent flood, cyclone and other disasters.
Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) here sent a notice to immediate past lawmaker and president of District Awami League (AL) Md Shamsur Rahman Sharif Dilu asking him to submit his wealth statement within seven days of receipt of the notice.
A Rajshahi court yesterday sentenced seven outlaws to life term imprisonment in a triple murder case in Pabna. The convicts are Hannan, Golger Hossain, Shafi Uddin, Joynal Abedin, Anis, Delwar Hossain and Abdul Malek.
A tiger killed a fisherman at Hakhati canal in the Sundarbans yesterday.
President Hamid Karzai said "enemies" of the strong friendship between Afghanistan and India had exploded a car bomb at the Indian embassy Monday that killed 40 people, including two senior diplomats.
The top elected official in Indian Kashmir announced his resignation yesterday after weeks of violent protests over the transfer of government land to a Hindu shrine in the Muslim-majority region.
Fifteen Tamil Tiger rebels and two soldiers were killed in fresh fighting in Sri Lanka's north, the defence ministry said yesterday.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived here yesterday for a G8 summit where he is expected to tell US President George W. Bush he will move ahead on a stalled bilateral nuclear energy deal.
Investigators yesterday examined the site of a suicide blast that targeted police in the nation's capital as officials sorted out clues about the alleged attacker.
Myanmar's premier promised better housing for cyclone victims in the devastated Irrawaddy Delta, where many people have received only a plastic sheet to use for shelter, state media said yesterday.
The government is seriously considering making public some of the evidence collected during the last three years about the proliferation network and Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan's alleged role in order to counter the recent media campaign of the detained nuclear scientist to establish his innocence.
Diplomats say the International Atomic Energy Agency has scheduled a July 28 board meeting to approve the agency's nuclear rules for India.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said yesterday that he is negotiating a deal with Washington that will provide for only a short-term US troop presence beyond this year and will also set a timetable for a full withdrawal.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday bluntly rejected as "repetitive" calls for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, as world powers reviewed its response to an offer to end the five-year nuclear crisis.
US President George W. Bush said Monday he was "extremely disappointed" with Zimbabwe's "sham" election, as world leaders ramped up pressure on President Robert Mugabe to restore democracy.
A Hamas delegation is to visit Egypt yesterday for talks on a fragile two-week-old truce deal with Israel in and around the Gaza Strip, the Islamist movement said.
US President George W. Bush praised Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Monday as a "smart guy" who means what he says, even as they clashed on US missile defence plans.
EU interior ministers pushed Monday for a rapid agreement on new guidelines for controlling immigration, rejecting concerns that the plan would create a fortress Europe.
Four people died and six were wounded late Sunday when an explosion rocked a cafe in Georgia's pro-Russian separatist province of Abkhazia, Interfax news agency reported Monday.
An accident in a northern Chinese coalmine has left 21 miners dead, state press reported Monday, citing a local provincial mining bureau.
Arts & Entertainment
Three fractions of Loko Natya Dal organised the 27th anniversary celebration programme at the same time at different venues on July 6, which confused the audiences, even theatre leaders.
Showcasing exquisite saris and glamorous salwar suits, Dhaka Fashion Week 2008 was inaugurated at the Gulshan Club on July 6, 2008. The event marks Dhaka's 400th anniversary celebration. Underlying theme of the first day was "Festivals and Culture of Dhaka." Pride Textiles and Farah Anjum Bari presented their prêt-à-porter, followed by a presentation of a bridal ensemble by Farzana Shakil. Segmented in four distinct flavours of the festivals of Dhaka, the "Celebration of Life" was a vibrant display in pastel hues and contrasting shades. The Fashion Week will continue till July 12, 2008. The event, organised by Tupa and Associates, was presented by Marico in association with The Daily Star.
Bangali Shamagra, an institution that works to preserve and display works of eminent Bengalis, has taken an initiative to publish a commemorative book on noted cinematographer and filmmaker Mohammad Abdus Samad, says a press release.
A daylong cultural programme was held at Mohanganj upazila headquarter in Netrakona district last Sunday to mark the reopening of the 10 km long Shialjani canal, recovered after 50 years. The celebration was organised by the upazila administration of Mohanganj and 'Dharmapasha' of Sunamganj district.
A two-daylong debate competition titled "Swapan duar khuley esho arun alokey" was held in Faridpur recently. The event was held at Kobi Jasimuddin hall, organised by Faridpur CDL Debate Forum.
THE price of crude oil has crossed $146 per barrel. Most of the economies are suffering because of this hike, global economic outlook is looking bad, and people are wondering where it will end up. Some analysts say it could be $150 per barrel before we see a correction, while others say it could even move up to $200. The price of fuel oil, on which the wheels of industrial civilisation run, has been climbing steeply for the last five years.
MUNIM Chowdhury's comments on Bangladesh and Western diplomacy (Daily Star 3/7/08) are factually correct but incomplete and out of context. It does not require much to be honest about the faults of others and to condemn them. It is far harder to be honest about our own faults and to condemn ourselves.
SHRIMP is not only the most popular seafood in the West, but is also an alternative to replace the loss due to the exhaustion of global fisheries. The annual global shrimp trade is valued at more than $10 billion at the farm-gate and more than $60 billion at the point of retail.
THESE days, everyone is a public speaker. There are now more Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs, Ladies' Circles, et cetera on this planet than there are people. So speaking invitations routinely go to all members of the human race plus a smattering of the more intelligent household pets.