The Daily Star

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Monday, December 22, 2014


News of: Tuesday, 2nd of December, 2008

Front Page

Multiple nomination lands EC in a mess

Political parties must settle on their picks for the constituencies where they have more than one candidate, and inform returning officers of the decisions before the scrutiny of nominations starts tomorrow morning.

BNP-Jamaat deal stuck in Dhaka-8

Discord between BNP and its ally in the four-party combine Jamaat-e-Islami over sharing of seats in the coming parliamentary polls appears to have intensified particularly centring a city constituency as two central leaders of the two parties have filed nomination papers for contesting for the seat.

Commotion over nomination brews

Political parties' picks for the parliamentary polls stirred up discontent and conflict between party grassroots in many constituencies across the country with people barricading roads and burning effigies in different areas.

Emergency to be lifted before polls

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda yesterday strongly hoped that the state of emergency would be lifted at a suitable time before the upcoming election, as the commission has already made a request to the government in this regard.

All Mumbai attackers from Pakistan: Delhi

India warned yesterday that the Mumbai attacks were a major setback to relations with Pakistan and promised a "stern" response, as Washington urged Islamabad to cooperate fully with investigations.

Anti-graft drive may face hurdles

Coping with the hurdles under an elected government would be a lot easier for the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) if the future leaders affirm opposition to graft.

UN meet kicks off; hope for new treaty

Amid the global financial turmoil, United Nations Climate Change Conference began yesterday in Poznan, Poland, with a hope to reach a consensus among least developed, developing and developed countries to sign a new treaty during next year's conference in Copenhagen.

AL confirms JP 50 seats

Awami League has confirmed Jatiya Party (JP) 50 seats for contesting the upcoming parliamentary election as a component of the AL-led grand electoral alliance, apparently bringing an end to hard bargain over seat sharing between the two parties.

Deliver election duties without fear, greed

Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday asked the civil bureaucrats to perform their election duties, rising above all sorts of fear, greed, pressure and influence.

JS poll runners barred from contesting upazila race

Individuals seeking candidacy in the upcoming parliamentary election are not qualified for contesting the January 22 upazila polls as the caretaker government has amended the upazila parishad ordinance to prevent them from contesting both the elections.

Terror fear prompts VIP security review

The Special Security Force (SSF) plans to introduce new dimension of security system besides enhancing safety measures for VIPs following the recent terror attacks in Mumbai and Islamabad.

War heroes vow to resist war criminals

Freedom fighters yesterday took oath to resist the war criminals getting elected in the upcoming parliamentary and upazila elections.

Realise losses due to donor policies

A Peoples' Tribunal yesterday asked the government to realise compensations from the World Bank, ADB and IMF for causing losses to the country through implementation of their policies in various sectors.

Nizami claims to be a writer by profession

Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami claims to be a professional writer in his nomination papers filed for the Pabna-1 constituency on November 30, sources say.

Warrant issued to arrest 8 Huji men

A Dhaka court yesterday issued arrest warrants against eight Harkatul Jihad (Huji) men, including the younger brother of detained former deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu, in connection with the Ramna Batamul bomb blast case.

Obama formally names Hillary secy of state

President-elect Barack Obama announced yesterday that Robert Gates would remain as defense secretary, making President Bush's Pentagon chief his own as he seeks to wind down the US role in Iraq.

HC stays EC rule barring Khulna mayor from JS polls

The High Court (HC) bench yesterday stayed until December 3 the operation of the Election Commission's (EC) decision banning Khulna City Corporation (KCC) Mayor Talukder Abdul Khaleque from contesting the parliamentary polls.

Editorial

Ramna bomb blast charge sheet

AT long last, after seven and a half years of the Ramna Batamul incident, charges have been formally pressed against the alleged perpetrators. We feel, however, that it has come several years too late, but nevertheless take the news with a sigh of relief.

Attack on 'Balaka'

IT is no doubt a worrying sign that obscurantism is threatening to undermine our cultural identity and heritage. The sculpture 'Balaka,' an object of innocuous beauty, has come under attack by the members of a religious outfit called Anjuman-e Al-Bayinat.

Vote for the right, veto for the wrong

THE voting vibe is beginning to build up to a crescendo with the election goal post not likely to be shifted any more. December 29 it is, and no hanky panky, brother. With a stupendous act of turnaround of the century the magic wand has gone to the possession of those who were once booed and then herded and thrown into dungeons to rot forever. They have come out and are now laughing the last laugh. This is the beauty of politics.

Toothless leaders

DOES it need grief to unite us? Where was Raj Thackeray when anonymous heroes from across the nation saved Mumbai from rabid vultures? Why did he not issue a diktat that he did not want any Bihari or Haryanvi or Malayali commando to save Mumbai.

Tackling terror

AFTER 62 hours of shooting and carnage, the terror attack that brought Mumbai to a standstill ended as Indian commandos killed the last gunman on November 29. The attacks on November 26 surpassed all other attacks in their intensity, scale, coordination and execution. They occurred in ten places, including in three posh hotels.

Sports

Brothers' big bite

Abahani crashed to their second defeat in the Citycell B. League when the defending champions went down 2-0 to a spirited Brothers Union yesterday.

Razzak suspended

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has suspended Bangladesh left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak from bowling in international cricket, an ICC media release confirmed yesterday.

Saikat steers Sylhet

Saikat Ali struck a fine century as hosts Sylhet posted an imposing total against leaders Barisal in one of three eighth round matches of the Ispahani Mirzapore Tea 10th National Cricket League that kicked off at different venues across the country yesterday.

Khulna in final

A magical spell of 10-5-9-3 by Mosaddik Iftikhar spearheaded Khulna into the final of the 29th National Cricket Championship with a seven-run win over Barisal at the Shamsul Huda Stadium in Jessore yesterday.

Dutch pain for Chelsea

Robin van Persie rocketed Arsenal back into the English Pre-mier League title race with a quickfire double that stunned leaders Chelsea in a 2-1 away win at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Lee seals series

Brett Lee's five-wicket haul was responsible for another disastrous performance from New Zealand's ailing batting order as Australia stormed to an innings and 62-run victory and a 2-0 series success over their perennial rivals at the Adelaide Oval on Monday.

World Cup '11 under cloud?

Continuous terror attacks in the sub-continent has cast a shadow over the 2011 Cricket World Cup to be jointly hosted by India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh with the International Cricket Council (ICC) contemplating of keeping a stand-by venue for the mega-event.

Mumbai set to resume cricket

First-class cricket returns to Mumbai from Tuesday, three days after security forces ended a bloody siege in India's financial capital.

England to tour after security clearance

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has informed the Indian board it has agreed to tour India and play two Tests, the first at Chennai from December 11-15 and the second at Mohali from December 19-23.

Milan crash at Palermo

AC Milan crashed 3-1 at Palermo on Sunday to hand city rivals and reigning champions Inter Milan a six-point lead at the top of the Serie A table following their 2-1 success over Napoli.

Scolari demands apology

Luiz Felipe Scolari has demanded that blundering Premier League officials say sorry for their mistakes.

Rennes stun PSG

Former Liverpool midfielder Bruno Cheyrou scored the only goal as unheralded Rennes beat Paris Saint Germain 1-0 on Sunday to move into second place in the French first division.

Villarreal close gap

Injury-hit Villarreal underlined their Spanish league title credentials with a 2-1 victory over rock-bottom Recreativo Huelva on Sunday to cut the gap on leaders Barcelona to four points.

Real blame fitness coach

Real Madrid officials are having misgivings about its "expensive" fitness coach, Italian Valter di Salvo, as the club's injury list continues to grow, Spanish sports newspapers said Monday.

Ghana win a thriller

Ghana came from two goals behind to edge Nigeria 3-2 in an African Nations Championship final qualifying round thriller at the weekend.

Yakubu out for season

Nigeria striker Ayegbeni Yakubu has been ruled out for the rest of the season after rupturing his Achilles in Everton's 1-0 win at Tottenham on Sunday, according to his manager David Moyes.

Spanish player alleges bribe

A player at Spanish second division side Tenerife has alleged he was paid to lose a match on the last day of last season that allowed opponents Malaga to win promotion to the first division, a Spanish newspaper said Monday.

Espanyol sack coach Marquez

Espanyol sacked coach Bartolome Marquez on Sunday after a 1-0 home defeat to Sporting Gijon left the Catalan club teetering on the edge of the Spanish first division relegation zone.

An Akram appeal

Former great Wasim Akram on Monday called on India not to break cricketing ties with Pakistan, suggesting both countries should instead play a Test match in terrorist-hit Mumbai to show solidarity.

ICC urges England to go back to India

International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Haroon Lorgat has pleaded with England's stars to return to India for next month's two-Test series.

Mohali comes into play

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are engaged in "positive discussions" to ensure the two-Test series goes ahead with Mohali and Chennai now believed to have been identified as the new venues.

Sharma has to be protected

Ishant Sharma, the teen pace sensation of Indian cricket team, is a treasure which India need to protect well to keep firing at the opposition batting line-ups, former India paceman T A Sekar said on Monday.

Watson awaits recall

Shane Watson could return to the Test team for Australia's first match against South Africa as the side considers taking a four-man pace attack to the WACA. The Perth Test begins on December 17 and Australia's captain Ricky Ponting said there was no guarantee a spinner would be required at a venue where pace has dominated in first-class cricket this season.

Business

Local investment plans up

Riding on textile- and apparel-based sectors, local entrepreneurs placed over Tk 17,000 crore investment plans to the government in the first 10 months of the current calendar year.

Sales of reconditioned cars on the rise

Sales of reconditioned vehicles have climbed in recent months following the government's approval to import vehicles aged up to six years, tied with a fall in the prices of used cars in the Japanese market.

SEC chief sees bright time for stocks

The country's capital market will surely witness significant growth over the next two years irrespective of the nature of the next elected government, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman said yesterday.

Govt mulls commodity stock exchange

The government is going to set up a commodity stock exchange in Dhaka considering price volatility of major international commodities, said Commerce Secretary Feroz Ahmed yesterday.

India says economy in safe hands after attacks

India's government reassured the nation Monday the economy was in safe hands after a cabinet reshuffle following the deadly assault by Islamic militants on the financial capital Mumbai.

Global crisis likely to hit LDCs hard: Aziz

Finance Adviser AB Mirza Azizul Islam said yesterday the global financial crisis is likely to cast a serious impact on exports, FDI, ODA and remittances of the least developed countries (LDCs) including Bangladesh.

GP’s spl package for BPO staff

Around 24,000 low-paid postmen will now be able to earn extra money as the country's largest mobile phone operator Grameenphone gave them a special connection yesterday with public phone facilities.

Bakhrabad Gas posts Tk 589cr net profit

Bakhrabad Gas Systems Ltd (BGSL) earned a net profit of Tk 589 crore 42 lakh during the financial year 2007-08, says a press release.

Vietnam economy faces ‘perfect storm’

Worried foreign business groups warned Monday that Vietnam, a darling of foreign investors until a year ago, now faces "a perfect storm" of challenges amid the global economic turmoil.

Silver lining for Bangladesh

Bangladesh has the possibility of profiting from the global downturn if consumers switch to low-priced goods, says the treasury head of a foreign bank in Bangladesh.

Export, remittance and GDP growth

I was privileged enough to attend two television talk shows, four discussions and read about 100 articles from home and abroad on the recent financial crisis and its possible impact on the global economy and Bangladesh. If one asks me about my takeaways from these sessions, my reply would be:

Asian stocks down

Asian stocks were mainly lower Monday as dealers remained cautious ahead of a slew of economic data from the United States, while also awaiting decisions on interest rates across the world.

DCCI gets new president

The new office bearers of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) took over charges yesterday.

Inject 2pc of GDP to save world economy

Countries should set aside one to two percent of their gross domestic product for rescue plans to prevent the world economy from shrinking even more next year, a senior UN official told AFP.

Silk fair begins in Rajshahi today

Bangladesh Silk Industry Owners Association organises a five-day Silk Fair here from today aiming to popularise and revive the decaying heritage of Rajshahi Silk.

GEF gets new president

Enayet Karim of Bangladesh has been elected president of Global Economist Forum (GEF) for 2009-10.

Maruti sales slide 24pc

Top Indian carmaker Maruti Suzuki reported Monday a 24.4-percent slide in car sales during November as high borrowing costs hit vehicle sales in Asia's fourth-largest car market.

German bank BayernLB unveils 5,600 job cuts, mostly in Asia

The troubled German regional bank BayernLB said on Monday that it would shed more than a quarter of its workforce by 2013, with Asian operations slated to bear the brunt of a rigourous downsizing.

Bank of Japan to announce new credit steps

The Bank of Japan will introduce new emergency measures to help struggling firms borrow money amid a recession in Asia's largest economy, media reports said Monday.

Survey of Chinese firms signals gloomy economic outlook

China's manufacturing activities hit a three-year low in November, state media reported Monday, as the global credit crisis begins to take hold in Asia's second biggest economy.

Oil down in Asia

World crude prices weakened in Asia Monday after the Opec oil cartel maintained existing production quotas at a weekend meeting amid a global downturn, dealers said.

Metropolitan

State of press freedom discussed

A delegation of the Intern-ational Press Institute (IPI) called on Awami League President Sheikh Hasina at her residence at Dhanmondi in the city yesterday.

Raise awareness to check spread of bird flu

Speakers at a workshop yesterday called for intensifying the campaign to raise awareness about bird flu to save the booming poultry industry and prevent spread of the virus to humans.

Youths most vulnerable to AIDS

With a view to strengthening the campaign to combat HIV/AIDS and to create mass awareness, the World AIDS Day was observed in the country yesterday as elsewhere across the globe.

Nat'l HR Commission begins journey to ensure justice

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) formally began its journey yesterday, with its chairman and two members joining the office amid high hopes of promoting human rights and justice.

DU students continue protest

Dhaka University (DU) students continued to stage demonstrations on the university campus yesterday protesting the attack on sculpture 'Balaka' by the activists of Ulama Anjuman-e Al-Bayinat in the capital's Motijheel on Saturday night.

Understanding media vital for PR managers

To bring the ethnic agenda into wider media coverage, and for optimum utilisation of media in focusing the programmes of an organisation, the official concerned should have proper understanding of media and its operational process, said the speakers at the closing session of a training programme on media relations in the city yesterday.

Call to boycott war criminals in polls

Amra Muktijoddhar Santan, a platform of freedom fighters' children, yesterday called upon the people to boycott war criminals in the upcoming national election.

McCain likely to arrive today

Senator John McCain, who was the Republican nominee for this year's US presidential election, is likely to arrive in Dhaka today.

2 murdered in city

Two people, including a woman, were murdered in separate incidents in the city yesterday and six alleged criminals were arrested in this connection.

2 bombs explode at BM College

Two bombs were exploded at Brojo Mohon (BM) College in Barisal yesterday.

'Introduce inclusive education at primary level'

Speakers at a view-exchange meeting yesterday called for immediate introduction of inclusive education at primary level for children with disability.

HC stays order against dismantling of oil tanker

The High Court (HC) Sunday issued a stay order against the dismantling of oil tanker MT Enterprise which Greenpeace blacklisted for containing hazardous substances.

RU controversial staffs begin strike

About 200 'controversially-appointed' fourth-class employees of Rajshahi University (RU) yesterday enforced an indefinite strike on the campus wearing shrouds demanding regularisation of their jobs.

Special steamer service on Eid

Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) has arranged an 11-day special steamer service in addition to normal service on Dhaka-Barisal-Khulna routes on the occasion of holy Eid-ul-Azha.

HC rule on JU authorities

The High Court yesterday issued a rule upon the Jahangirnagar University (JU) authorities to show cause why their decision to exonerate Sanowar Hossain Sunny, a teacher of the university, from charges of sexual harassment should not be declared illegal.

Moudud freed on HC bail

After over 19-month imprisonment, former law minister Barrister Moudud Ahmed was released yesterday from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) prison cell on a High Court (HC) bail.

Rab man beats 2 photojournos in Rajshahi

Two photojournalists were assaulted by a member of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and his friends at Chandipur in Rajshahi yesterday.

Navy New Entry Sailors' passing out parade held

The passing out parade marking the induction of 2008/B batch of New Entry Sailors of Bangladesh Navy was held at BNS Titumir parade ground here yesterday.

HC stays proceedings against Huda

The High Court (HC) yesterday stayed for six months the proceedings against former communications minister Nazmul Huda in two cases filed on charges of extortion and money embezzlement.

JICA distributes blankets among fire victims

Japan International Coopera-tion Agency (JICA) in association with Dhaka City Corporation yesterday distributed blankets among the 169 fire-affected families of the sweeper colony at Ganaktuli in the city's Hazaribagh area.

'Establish college for physiotherapy students'

Bangladesh Physiotherapy Student's Union (BPSU) yesterday demanded immediate establishment of a separate college for the physiotherapy students in the country.

HC asks govt to inform whereabouts of Liakat in 72 hrs

The High Court (HC) yesterday directed the government to inform it within 72 hours the whereabouts of Liakat Hossain, a former Jubo League leader and one of the 23 listed top criminals, said to have been held recently.

HC asks Fire Service DG to submit rescue equipment list

The High Court (HC) yesterday issued a rule upon the government to show cause as to why its inaction in arranging sufficient rescue equipment in case of earthquake disaster should not be declared illegal.

'Establish tobacco-free DU campus'

With a view to establishing a tobacco-free campus, a campaign will be held on Dhaka University (DU) campus today.

Programmes to mark Int'l Anti-Corruption Day

On the eve of the International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) and Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has chalked out elaborate programmes on Thursday and Friday.

JICA distributes blankets among fire victims

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in association with Dhaka City Corporation yesterday distributed blankets among the 169 fire-affected families of the sweeper colony at Ganaktuli in the city's Hazaribagh area.

Zafar Imam made DAG

Junior government attorney Mohammad Zafar Imam was promoted to Deputy Attorney General (DAG), says a notification issued on Sunday.

Brazil to open embassy in Dhaka

Foreign Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury yesterday said the decision of Brazil to open its Embassy in Dhaka would lead to enormous mutual benefits.

Newspaper holiday on Eid

The offices of all newspapers and news agencies will remain closed on December 8, 9 and 10 on account of Eid-ul-Azha.

Quamrul Hassan's birth anniversary today

Today is the 87th birth anniversary of Patua Quamrul Hassan, the designer of our national flag.

National

Supporters of rebel BNP man block road

Supporters of two rebel candidates have been continuing separate movements demanding cancellation of the BNP nomination to former MP GM Fazlul Haque in Chandpur-3 (Sadar-Haimchar) constituency.

Rebels put nine alliance nominees in trouble

Even on getting party tickets, at least 9 candidates of the 4-party alliance are in trouble as rebels have also filed nominations for the JS polls in the greater Sylhet region.

BNP aspirants in Barisal divn include 2 convicts

BNP candidates in Barisal division include two convicts who are former lawmakers and front ranking leaders of the party.

3 'criminals', 7 accused in Khagrachhari poll race

At least three candidates, who submitted nomination papers in Khagrachhari constituency comprising eight upazilas in the district, are listed criminals while seven of the 17 candidates in the constituency are facing a total of 51 cases.

Jamaat contestant's move widens rift with BNP

Rift between BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami has widened as Jamaat leader Abdul Wahed further expressed his determination to contest the poll in Kushtia-2 (Mirpur-Bheramara) constituency after submitting nomination paper.

Firm development promise now only way to win Kurigram vote

Development is now a buzzword ahead of the upcoming national election in Kurigram that failed to draw attention of previous governments.

5 rebels in BNP, one in AL

Six rebel candidates of BNP and Awami League have submitted their nomination papers in three out of five constituencies in Chandpur. Of them five are BNP rebels and one from Awami League.

Deprived AL leaders to run independent

Ticket deprived Awami League leaders in Tangail-3 and Tangail-6 constituencies have decided to contest in the upcoming parliament election independently as nomination of new faces in the two seats has created sharp reaction among party men.

2 ex-JCD leaders to fight BNP nominees

Two former Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) leaders have submitted nomination papers here to contest the upcoming Jatiya Sangsad (JS) elections as independent candidates.

Rebel AL leader to contest party nominee

Hundreds of agitated supporters of Awami League (AL) leader Dr Yunus Ali who was deprived of party nomination submitted nomination paper as an independent candidate to run the upcoming Jatiya Sangsad (JS) elections from Gaibandha-3 constituency where Brigadier Gen (Rtd) Mahamudul Haque got AL nomination.

International

Pakistan must cooperate in terror probe: Rice

The United States has told Pakistan it expects nothing short of complete cooperation in investigations into the terrorist rampage in nuclear rival India, and Pakistan's response will be a test of the will of the new civilian government, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday.

Fears of sectarian violence after Mumbai carnage

The Islamist militant attacks on Mumbai have led to fears that India could see a sectarian backlash as Hindu and Muslim groups exploit mutual suspicion for political and religious ends.

Muslims condemn Mumbai attacks, worry about image

Muslims from the Middle East to Britain and Austria condemned Sunday the Mumbai shooting rampage by suspected Islamic militants as senseless terrorism, but also found themselves on the defensive once again about bloodshed linked to their religion.

Lankan military seizes key rebel-held town

Sri Lankan soldiers captured a key town on the main highway to the headquarters of the country's Tamil rebels, 18 years after the insurgents seized the area by overrunning an army camp, the military said yesterday.

Pak troops kill 15 Taliban militants in tribal area

Pakistani jets and artillery killed 15 militants linked to the Taliban and al-Qaeda in a tribal area near the Afghan border while a suicide bomber killed 10 people in Swat Valley yesterday.

Israel blocks Libyan aid boat

Israeli warships on Monday prevented a Libyan cargo vessel from reaching the Gaza Strip, the impoverished Palestinian territory under a crippling Israeli blockade.

Taliban kill Afghan district governor

An Afghan district governor was shot dead Monday by two men on a motorcycle while a suicide bomber killed 10 Afghans in a crowded market in southern Afghanistan.

Owners get back control of Taj hotel

Indian security officials have handed control of Mumbai's landmark Taj Mahal hotel back to its owners, the company said yesterday.

Attacks against security forces in Iraq kill 33

At least 33 people were killed in a spate of attacks targeting security forces in the heart of Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul yesterday, the deadliest day in the country in three weeks.

Thai protesters leave PM's office for airports

Anti-government protesters camped at Thailand's government seat were shifting tactics to join colleagues at Bangkok's besieged airports Monday as the politically paralysed country struggled with more than 300,000 stranded travellers.

N Korea begins restricting border traffic

North Korea began restricting traffic through two checkpoints in its tightly sealed border with South Korea on Monday punishment for Seoul's hard-line stance toward the communist regime.

Arts & Entertainment

Enriching the cultural bank

"Throughout the centuries our cultural bank has been enriched by Lalon, Hason Raja, Tagore, Nazrul and innumerable artists. When one contributes to this bank, he/she does it altruistically. Contests like 'Celebrating Life' can play a key role in discovering talents, provide them with a much-needed exposure, and enhance our cultural bank in the process. The Daily Star and Standard Chartered Bank deserve accolades to put together this competition for budding lyricists, photographers and filmmakers. Hopefully, this initiative will blossom further and cover more areas of our culture," said renowned media personality Mustafa Monwar.

Bangladeshi theatre throughout the decades

Karigar organised a discussion programme on 'Post-Liberation Bengali Theatre: Current Context and Hope' at Natmondol (Dhaka University) on November 30. Dr. Afsar Ahmed, member of the National Film Grants Committee; Golam Sarwar, eminent theatre personality; and theatre exponent Pulak Raha spoke at the programme.

Annual programme by Coronation Dramatic Club

Local cultural organisation Coronation Dramatic Club (CDC), Tangail staged their annual programme at Bhasani Hall in the town last Sunday.

OP-ED

Where do the parties stand on human rights?

WITH just weeks left before parliamentary elections, voters can be excused if they don't know where the political parties stand on human rights. The main political parties have plenty of reasons to complain about how the government and security forces have behaved since January 2007, but they also need to look inward. What will they do to promote and protect human rights if they come to power? How will they improve their own poor human rights records of the past? Will they purge all elements who have abusive records?

This fire needs to be put out

MY first memories of the Taj Mahal hotel are probably of when I was 8 years old, going to the Sea Lounge restaurant with its lovely view of Mumbai's harbor to eat sev puri, a savory Indian treat. I also remember passing through its grand ballroom a few years later, while it was being decked out for a dinner in honor of the president of Bulgaria -- crystal chandeliers, ice sculptures, bouquets of roses, platters of shrimp carted around by liveried waiters.

Statistically speaking

ACCURATE and timely macroeconomic statistics are vital to policy makers, researchers and the business community, among others. Without them it is difficult to formulate appropriate and effective economic policies, to conduct research to inform the economic policy debate and to make well-informed investment decisions.



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