News of: Tuesday, 22nd of July, 2008
Central and local level leaders of some political parties have violated the electoral code of conduct by campaigning for candidates in the August 4 polls, says an Election Commission (EC) circular.
Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday said the time is not yet ripe for fully lifting the state of emergency, as some reasons still exist “justifying its enforcement”.
Waterlogging due to poor drainage has left West Monipur area in the capital under ankle-deep water for a week following heavy rains.
Around 5,000 Bangladeshi workers went on an indefinite strike in Kuwait City yesterday protesting underpayment and irregular wages, and not getting other facilities promised by the Kuwaiti company they work for.
Employees of Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTCL), former Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB), misappropriated over Tk 45 crore in three sectors involving transportation between 2000-2001 and 2007-2008.
The country's rice and wheat importers have refrained from importing the food grains for the last several months, triggering a shortage in the local market as well as raising their prices, observed traders and officials concerned.
Mayoral and councillorship hopefuls in Rajshahi City Corporation elections yesterday at a meeting with local administration raised allegations of gross code of conduct violations.
The government Monthly Pay Orders (MPO) to 48 educational institutions, mostly girls high schools of Dinajpur, Thakurgaon, Panchagarh and Joypurhat, have been cancelled as they had zero percent pass rate in the 2007 SSC exams.
Chief Election Commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda yesterday voiced frustration over lack of quality candidates in the upcoming city corporation and municipality polls.
The Council of Advisers in its first meeting here yesterday approved in principle Bangladesh Economic Zones Ordinance 2008 as well as a 12-point package for development of Sylhet region.
The High Court (HC) yesterday adjourned for a week the hearing of the petitions filed by 15 high-profile politicians, including Awami League President Sheikh Hasina, former ministers Abdul Jalil, Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan and Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, for granting bail and quashing the cases against them.
The hearing on charge framing in the MiG-29 corruption case against former premier Sheikh Hasina and six others has been adjourned till July 29.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday filed a case against former BNP lawmaker and Sylhet BNP Convener M Ilyas Ali and his wife Taslima Rushdi for amassing wealth illegally and concealing information about it.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) makes little headway in the investigation into institutional graft in education sector as most of the officials involved in MPO (monthly pay order) enlistment of educational institutions have already retired and become unreachable.
The government has decided to resume Open Market Sale (OMS) from the third week of next month instead of September to keep the rice market stable during Ramadan, said government officials.
A fire yesterday gutted around 100 makeshift houses in the capital's Shahjadpur area.
Thirty-seven years after the barbaric Pakistani army and their local collaborators devastated her simple existence, Birangana Husna Banu died on July 8 last without seeing the trial of the perpetrators.
The High Court (HC) yesterday commuted the death sentence of Azam Reza to life term imprisonment in the case filed in connection with the murder of Jayanti Reza, Azam's wife who was an architect and a schoolteacher.
A private firm employee was murdered in the capital's Mirpur on Sunday night.
A Special Court yesterday sentenced Nazma Hossain, the wife of Sonali Bank Collective Bargaining Agent (CBA) leader BM Bakir Hossain, to nine years' imprisonment for evading taxes and concealing information from the National Board of Revenue (NBR).
The Election Commission (EC) is going to celebrate the completion of voter registration at field level by holding a high-profile function at Radisson Hotel here today.
Lawmakers in Nepal voted in the Himalayan nation's first post-royal president Monday, but their rejection of a candidate backed by the Maoists was likely to lead to more political deadlock.
India's embattled Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday moved a motion in the Lok Sabha seeking confidence of the House in his government's performance in the last four years as the trial of strength appeared set to go down to the wire.
At least six Pakistani paramilitary troops and 30 separatist rebels have been killed in clashes in the troubled southwestern province of Baluchistan, security officials said yesterday.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accused Iran yesterday of not being serious at weekend talks about its disputed nuclear programme despite the presence of a senior US diplomat, and warned it may soon face new sanctions.
A very bad instance of blatant disregard for public money to feather political nests, have come to light through a report in The Daily Star relating to misuse of MPO (monthly pay order) facility. The practice of including educational institutions on the MPO list, disregarding the set criteria -- which was resorted to by both the political parties when in power -- has cost the public Tk600 crore annually. It highlights once again the political-bureaucratic nexus to circumvent rules and procedures - for pecuniary and political gains and does very little to generate public confidence in the system of governance. A further scope of corruption in the system, reportedly, is that no MPO cheque is ever passed without greasing the palms of the related officers in the ministry or the department of secondary and higher education (DSHE).
At a time when reform is a crucial aspect of governance in Bangladesh, especially under the present caretaker government, the matter of reforming the bureaucracy appears to have fallen flat. The much-vaunted idea of having the civil administration transformed into a more efficient and dynamic machinery has curiously run into a blind alley. In other words, all too familiar lethargy has now come over the entire reforms issue, with the result that between now and the arrival of a new elected government not much can be expected to happen in this field.
BANGLADESHI and Indian foreign secretaries, M. Tauhid Hossain and Shiv Shankar Menon, met in New Delhi on July17-18. Judging from media reports, it seems both of them attempted to break the deadlock in a number of issues that remain pending between the two neighbouring countries. In that sense, it can be viewed as a success.
ONLY weeks ago, members of India's Left parties would have said the United Progressive Alliance shouldn't be toppled on the issue of the US-India nuclear deal.
IRAQIS are mystified by Barack Obama. As he kicked off his tour in Europe and the Middle East -- including a stop in Baghdad -- this week, both leaders and ordinary people here were trying to size up the Democratic candidate. For many, opinions are distorted by decades of misinformation and years of post-war cynicism about American motives in general. If you ask unemployed, 34-year-old, Uday Ahmed whether he views Obama as a Muslim, because his father was Muslim, or as a Christian, which is the candidate's religion, he answers: "I think he is Jewish."
Country's most successful club Mohammedan came up with a surprisingly ordinary squad last year to frustrate their huge fan base. The mediocre side, however, finished runners-up -- although a distant second -- in the B. League, the only competition held last season.
Anik Islam continued his impressive show in the pool when he became champion in the four events including a new national record on the second day of the Keya 24th National Age Group Swimming Championships at the National Swimming Complex in Mirpur yesterday.
Left-arm spinner Musharraf Hossain picked up three wickets but still Derbyshire were in command against Bangladesh A on the first day of the three-day match at the County Ground, Derby yesterday.
Andrew Flintoff was doing his best to delay South Africa as the Proteas closed in on an innings victory in the second Test at Headingley here on Monday.
Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar's bid to become the world's leading scorer will dominate the three-Test series against Sri Lanka starting here on Wednesday.
China's talisman Yao Ming was downbeat about his team's chances of winning a medal despite returning from injury to help them win two of three matches at the Stankovic Cup Olympic warm-up tournament in Hangzhou.
Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) yesterday named a large 9-member National Team Management Committee (NTMC).
Australian world champion walker Nathan Deakes has been forced to pull out of next month's Beijing Olympics because of a hamstring injury.
Tangail Football Club blanked Noakhali Football Academy 2-0 in a Group B match in the second phase of the Dhaka City Corporation Pioneer Football League at the Birshreshtha Shaheed Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur yesterday.
Sri Lanka, the official alternate venue for the Champions Trophy, is "very confident" of staging the tournament within the short preparation time available if Pakistan, the official host, is ruled out by the International Cricket Council board due to security reasons, Duleep Mendis, Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) chief executive has said.
Chelsea on Monday denied tabling a sensational world-record offer for AC Milan's Kaka as the transfer rumour mill went into overdrive at the start of their Asian tour.
Portugal winger Ricardo Quaresma is on the verge of becoming new Inter boss Jose Mourinho's second summer signing, according to the Gazetta dello Sport on Monday.
Some Bundesliga players are threatening to defy their clubs in a dispute over whether they can play in the Beijing Olympics. FIFA and the IOC are also stepping up pressure to force teams to back down.
Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari on Monday rubbished renewed speculation that Didier Drogba was headed for the exit after the want-away striker pulled out of a pre-season tour with a knee injury.
Barcelona's out-of-favour striker Samuel Eto'o said Monday he has received offers from Chelsea, Tottenham and Inter Milan.
AB de Villiers said the taunts of the Headingley crowd provided all the motivation he needed to score a century that put South Africa firmly in command of the second Test against England.
Former captain Rahul Dravid says India need to be at their best to beat Sri Lanka in home conditions in a three-Test series starting here on Wednesday.
Spin bowlers will be centre of attention during the Test series between India and Sri Lanka starting here on Wednesday as three stars with a combined tally of more than 1,600 wickets do battle.
Senior Australian opening batsman Matthew Hayden said Monday he wants to play in September's Champions Trophy, but not if his safety is compromised in host nation Pakistan.
Cricket's world governing body will take a decision acceptable to all competing nations about the hosting of the Champions Trophy amidst security fears in Pakistan, a top official said Monday.
Yuvraj Singh's mother Shabnam on Monday lashed out at Kapil Dev for criticising her son's party animal image, saying the former India captain is no angel himself.
Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) is considering to hold the qualifying rounds of the Citycell Federation Cup outside Dhaka.
The National Sports Council (NSC) yesterday replaced the temporary executive committee of the Bangladesh Women's Sports Federation (BWSF) with an ad-hoc committee.
Northern Ireland striker David Healy came under fire on Sunday after he mimicked an Orange marcher in Fulham's 3-1 friendly against Celtic on Saturday.
Taiwanese entrepreneurs are relocating their shoe, furniture and tent fabric manufacturing units to Bangladesh from China and Vietnam as the US and EU imposed anti-dumping duties on the two Asian countries.
Taka gained slightly by 2 paisa against US dollar on Sunday due to an increase in the inflow of foreign currency in the market, Bangladesh Bank (BB) sources said.
The United States and European Union took aim at emerging economies at crucial WTO trade talks in Geneva on Monday, warning them to open up their markets if the seven-year Doha Round is to succeed.
Dhaka stocks ended yesterday lower for the sixth straight day, led mainly by the falling prices of the shares of market heavyweight Square Pharma due to lower than expected dividend postings, market operators said.
Furnace oil-run small and medium factories across the country are struggling to keep their production running in the face of high prices of furnace oil, industry insiders said.
A job fair titled Campus Career Festival, organised by the country's leading online job portal Bdjobs.com, begins on July 26.
Malaysian halal goods and services makers will begin a campaign titled 'Halal Malaysia Week 2008-Dhaka' from tomorrow in a bid to explore the Bangladeshi halal market.
Communist Vietnam hiked retail petrol prices by more than 30 percent Monday to pass on high global oil costs, state media reported, a move likely to further accelerate double-digit inflation.
Hong Kong's inflation rate hit 6.1 percent in June as food and energy costs continued to spiral upwards, official figures showed Monday in the latest sign of Asia's battle with surging prices.
Leaning on the handlebars of his Iranian-made three-wheel motorbike, Safar Abdul is just one of millions of Iraqis enjoying the tidal wave of goods flooding into war-ravaged Iraq from former foe Iran.
Last Thursday evening Valerio, one of our resident Italian technicians, put in his papers. His reason: the 42 km journey from his home in Gulshan to the factory where he works, in Shafipur. The journey that should take 40 minutes normally took 120 minutes and now regularly takes 180 minutes. One way. As an Italian he is no stranger to traffic jams but even for him this is too much.
Southeast Asian foreign ministers called for action Monday to reduce soaring commodity prices and urged Myanmar's junta to immediately release democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
US companies remain cautious about the economy despite some signs of improvement as they battle rising costs and squeeze profit margins, a survey of business economists showed Monday.
Yahoo announced Monday it has reached an agreement with corporate raider Carl Icahn ending his effort to oust the Internet giant's board over its handling of a takeover bid from Microsoft.
Golam Mainuddin has been appointed chairman of British American Tobacco Bangladesh Company Limited (BAT Bangladesh) with effect from 3 August, says a press release.
M Wahidul Haque and Sajedur Seraj have been elected chairman and vice chairman respectively of AB Bank Limited, says a press release.
Finlay has re-launched it green tea blend with improved quality and new packaging, says a press release.
Top Indian car maker Maruti Suzuki India said Monday that first quarter net profit fell seven percent, hit by higher input costs and fuel prices.
China's national pension fund faces "grave challenges" as it tries to shore up its investment yields for the year while the stock market is in a tailspin, state media reported Monday.
Malaysia's inflation rate could hit seven percent in June in a "one-off" hike, a senior minister warned Monday following the recent 41 percent rise in fuel prices.
Pakistan has again increased fuel prices by up to 17 percent in response to the soaring cost of global oil, the state regulator said Monday.
Egypt's Suez Canal Authority said on Monday that its revenue had surged in the first six months of 2008 to more than 2.6 billion dollars.
Political leaders at a discussion yesterday called for waging a movement to remove the obstacles to restoring democracy through addressing the root cause of the present crisis.
Bonya and Barsha, three months and 28 days old conjoined twins, are waiting for their surgical separation at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) in the city.
The maternal mortality rate (MMR) is still 3.2 per thousand live births in the country, which should be reduced to 1.47 by 2015, said the speakers at an award giving ceremony at a city hotel yesterday.
Students of Dhaka University and freedom fighters took to the streets yesterday demanding trial of the war criminals.
A court in Chittagong yesterday sentenced 10 people including four brothers to life imprisonment for killing a man over a land dispute in 1996.
A Chuadanga court yesterday sentenced four of a family, including a woman, to death for killing a housewife in 2006.
British High Commissioner in Dhaka Stephen Evans yesterday said social responsibility is now a vital component in international trade.
The police yesterday recovered a cellphone set of a Supreme Court judge after a massive search in the passenger buses bound for northern districts from Dhaka and arrested his domestic help in Gaibandha.
The owner of Dewan Jewellers at a press conference yesterday demanded immediate recovery of the 700 tolas of gold that were looted from his shop at Mirpur Shah Ali Shopping Complex Market in the city on July 8 and punishment to the people responsible.
The latest directive of Election Commission (EC) not allowing any subsidised programme in the areas where election will be held puts food ministry in a dilemma over launching a 100-day employment-generating programme.
Students of Asian University of Bangladesh (AUB), who were expelled on charges of assaulting a female student of the university and injuring her brother in May, staged a sit-in on its Uttara campus in the city yesterday by putting the gate of the university building under lock and key.
Renowned writer Mahmudul Haque passed away in the city at the age of 68, says a press release.
BNP in a joint meeting yesterday decided to send organisational teams to the district level soon to monitor the party activities.
The government yesterday appointed 10 officers of BCS (Administration) cadre as executive magistrates for conducting mobile courts in different parts of the city for the next two months.
Headmasters of various schools in Demra, Shyampur and Jatrabari areas in the city yesterday strongly protested the attack on Dania AK High School and College by Safar Ali, an expelled leader of Awami League, and his group.
Pro-JSD Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) yesterday demanded to make public the documents of the trial of freedom fighter Colonel Abu Taher.
A workshop on 'Safe migration procedure for professional workers: Social participation' was held at the conference room of Barisal deputy commissioner yesterday.
A group of debaters of Dhaka University (DU) yesterday brought out a silent procession on the campus protesting assault on freedom fighter Sheikh Mohamamd Ali Aman by the Shibir cadres.
A three-day 9th congress of the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) will begin in the city on August 7, says a press release.
Police in separate drives in the last three days arrested six members of 'Tana Party' a syndicate of the snatchers who take away belongings from the people boarding on CNG-run autorickshaw and motorbike, from different places in Chittagong and seized four firearms from their possession.
The body of poet Samudra Gupta will be kept at the Central Shaheed Minar in the city from 11:00am to 12:30pm today for the people to pay their last respects to him.
Government of India has so far supplied 19,212mts of rice and 1,000mts of skimmed milk powder to Bangladesh from December 2007 to June 2008.
An extortionist was beaten to death by a mob at Pallabi in the city on Sunday.
A young man was awarded life term for raping a poor girl in a remote village of Mohanganj five years ago.
Noted comedian AFM Abdul Ali Lalu, popularly known as Lalu Bhai, passed away due to old age complications at his residence at Brahmapalli in the town yesterday at the age of 90.
Low-lying areas of the district have gone under water as the river Padma crossed the danger mark at Bhagyakul yesterday.
A boy was killed in a road accident at Beltali under sadar upazila yesterday.
Students of the Institute of Education and Research (IER) of Dhaka University (DU) boycotted their classes yesterday protesting the assault on four students of the institute by a group of activists of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD), student wing of BNP.
Acting Mayor BNP leader Moniruzzaman Moni, who is seeking election to his post, is 'concerned' as he can not rely on his Jamaat vote bank in the coming Khulna City Corporation (KCC) election.
Protesters in Rajshahi and Brahmanbaria yesterday demanded immediate arrest of Jamaat-Shibir cadres who assaulted a freedom fighter in the capital on July 11 and trial of war criminals.
Anti-Corruption Commission Chairman Lt Gen (retd) Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury yesterday called upon the government officials to check corruption at all levels of administration to relieve people from harassment.
About 15,000 people of Budunti, Chandura and Harashpur unions in Brahmanbaria Sadar upazila yesterday blocked the DhakaSylhet highway for one and a half hours by forming a human chain to protest delimitation of Brahmanbaria 2 and 3 constituencies.
Local leaders of the major political parties at a press conference yesterday urged the Election Commission (EC) to retain Satkhira-4 (Kaliganj-Debhata upazilas) constituency as it was before.
Four mayoral and sixty councillor candidates in Chuadanga municipality yesterday pledged to work together with people to free the area from crime and corruption.
Barisal District and Sessions Judge Court yesterday sentenced five representatives of local government bodies including a female chairman to 14 years rigorous imprisonment (RI) for misappropriating 54 bags of rice meant for Food for Work Project (FWP).
Mayoral candidates in the upcoming Khulna City Corporation (KCC) polls have launched websites and opened e-mail addresses as part of their election campaign.
A tribunal for trial of juvenile criminals here sentenced a 13-year-old madrasha student to seven years imprisonment for killing another fellow student.
It was a different day for people of Noapara, a remote union in Debhata upazila.
Two outlaws were allegedly killed by party rivals at Sonakandor village in Santhia upazila on Sunday.
Australian Deputy High Commissioner Kilmeny Beckering Vinckers paid a two-day visit to Rajshahi to monitor the situation here before the Rajshahi City Corporation election.
Hopes for the release of Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi were raised and then quickly faded at a meeting of Southeast Asian ministers, as officials said Monday that comments indicating she could be freed within months had been misinterpreted.
India yesterday said its peace process with Pakistan was "under stress," repeating allegations that "elements" in Islamabad were behind this month's suicide attack against its Kabul embassy.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh predicted yesterday his government will survive a confidence vote triggered by a controversial nuclear deal with Washington.
The government of North West Frontier Province on Monday vowed to continue a peace dialogue with militants but said it would keep the option of force as last resort, officials said.
An international soldier and nearly two-dozen insurgents were killed in new attacks in Afghanistan while Taliban militants captured a remote district, authorities said yesterday.
Lawyers say a court has eased some restrictions on the disgraced architect of Pakistan's nuclear programme, allowing him travel inside the country to meet with relatives.
Sri Lankan troops have killed dozens of Tamil Tiger rebels during ground battles across the war-torn island's northern district, the defence ministry said yesterday.
Indian troops killed two Islamic militants in Kashmir after thwarting an attempt by rebels to attack a convoy of Hindu pilgrims visiting the state, police said Monday.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned Iran yesterday it must freeze sensitive nuclear work or face more sanctions, in the first address by a British premier to the Israeli parliament.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama began Monday his first on-the-ground inspection of Iraq since launching his bid for the White House, with US commanders ready to brief him on progress in a war he long opposed and Iraqi leaders wanting more details of his proposals for troop withdrawals.
Zimbabwe's ruling party and opposition were set to sign a pivotal deal on Monday that would pave the way for fully-fledged talks on resolving the country's protracted political crisis.
Cambodian and Thai military leaders held talks yesterday aimed at reducing simmering tensions over disputed territory near a World Heritage Site temple, where more than 4,000 troops from the two sides have been deployed.
Conditions in Afghanistan are "precarious and urgent," Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama warned in an interview aired Sunday as he renewed his call for an immediate increase in US troops there.
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim yesterday vowed to topple the prime minister despite what he called attempts to "demonise and intimidate" him.
China and Russia signed an agreement Monday to end a long-running dispute over the demarcation of their eastern border, the scene of military clashes between the once-bitter Communist rivals.
Visiting Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said on Monday that Damascus was keen to open a new chapter in its relations with Lebanon and to delineate the border between both countries.
A woman jumped onto a Beijing subway track in an apparent failed suicide attempt yesterday, bringing the line to a halt just as the city revs up its transportation network for the Olympics, state media said.
Arts & Entertainment
To mark the 400th anniversary of Dhaka as a capital city, several organisations and institutions have chalk out special programmes. An ongoing photo exhibition, sponsored by the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) Limited, at Drik Gallery features the architectural heritage of Old Dhaka, minute details of designs and festivals that are an indelible part of Dhaka life.
Farah Deeba Zaman, who recently had her solo painting exhibition at the Russian Centre for Science and Culture, is a self-taught artist. She has, nevertheless, charmed her viewers with her paintings of portraits, still-life, landscapes and semi abstractions. Many of her paintings in her exhibition "Striking thoughts of a silent soul" are accompanied by lines of her poems, commenting and elaborating on her pieces.
TVC (TV commercial) and TV play director Abu Sufian Biplab's career is on the roll. Recently, Biplab made a TVC of a Thai tea brand, Linnet Tea, to be aired on Thai TV channels.
Mostofa Sarwar Farooki is all set to shoot his third film with Impress Telefilm, Third Person Singular Number. The mahorot of the film was held at the Star Cineplex, Basundhara City Mall recently. The film, scripted by writer Anisul Haque and Farooki, is an adaptation of Syed Manzurul Islum's novel Tin Parber Jibon.
Bollywood is set to see another celebrity couple -- actress Konkona Sen Sharma and actor Ranbir Shorey.
Zabarang Kallyan Samity, a local non-government organisation arranged a cultural programme to generate awareness among people on primary education in their mother language.
On a visit to Bangladesh, Ole Danbolt Mjos, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, spoke to Syed Badrul Ahsan, Editor, Current Affairs, The Daily Star, on the history of the Nobel Prize and the possibilities before Bangladesh.
SECRETARY level talks on various Indo-Bangladesh issues have just concluded in New Delhi recently. Both sides put forward their agenda of interests. The Bangladesh foreign secretary was hopeful of positive results relating to economy and border. He said that Bangladesh would not give any concession regarding transit but would be willing to discuss strengthening security to tackle the terrorists on both sides of the border. He also took up issues of reducing trade gap (removal of non-tariff barriers, duty-free access, exporting more products from Bangladesh) border demarcation in remaining 6.5kms, unfettered access through Tin Bigha corridor, exchange of enclaves, and unsettled territories.
THE arrest of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was a black eye for Malaysia. It showed how paranoid the leaders are about the former deputy prime minister's political potential in the weeks and months to come.
THIS piece was written during my flight from Delhi to Dhaka on July 20. While in Delhi for almost a week on a professional visit, it seemed that what happened to Indian politics since the G8 meeting in Japan was certainly quite extraordinary. Finally, the PM struck a deal with President Bush on the sideline of the G8 meeting on India's nuclear-deal with the US. At home, the nationalist right, BJP, and the communist left, CPI (M), had other ideas. They are determined to bring down the UPA government for the n-deal in a trust-vote in the Lok Sabha on July 22.
I once wrote an article about music copyright in China and the guy in charge was a Mr. Song. And another about a Hong Kong car mechanic called To Bar, pronounced "Tow Bar."