The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Friday, June 20, 2014


News of: Sunday, 7th of December, 2008

Front Page

Nomination rejects flood EC with appeal

On the first day of hearing yesterday, the Election Commission (EC) settled 57 appeals by candidates disqualified during scrutiny, declaring as many as 30 nominations valid and rejecting 27.

AL pledges metro tunnel, circular rail

Awami League (AL) has finalised its manifesto with a pledge, among many others, to construct metro tunnel and circular rail to remove traffic jam and solve transport problems if voted to power.

Over 2m head for Arafat

Saudi Arabia has mobilised a force of 100,000 men to protect an estimated two million Muslim pilgrims starting hajj yesterday, amid fears of attack or deadly stampedes.

BNP draws 100-day plan for economy

BNP's draft election manifesto promises a 100-day crash programme for boosting the country's economy and for creating temporary employment for the poor to deal with the country's existing economic crisis, said a highly placed party source.

Go all out to make JS polls free, fair

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday asked field-level government officials to take all necessary measures to hold free and transparent national elections on December 29 for building a corruption and terrorism-free country.

Hasina, Khaleda kick off race Dec 12, after Sylhet prayers

Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia will hit the campaign trail on December 12.

Alert at Indian airports on plane hijack report

Security at airports across India was stepped up yesterday on new information about possible jet hijackings, officials said, one week after gunmen went on a shooting spree in Mumbai, killing 163 people.

Ghee of 10 BSTI-certified brands found adulterated

Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) in a recent test found that the samples of 10 ghee brands and a butter oil brand, all certified by the BSTI itself, are adulterated.

UN summit talks debt relief

Bangladesh has demanded cancellation of overseas development assistance (ODA) debts of the least developed countries (LDCs) when they are affected by the adverse impacts of global climate change.

Mad rush home for Eid begins

People of the capital have been leaving for their homes outside the city since Thursday evening to spend the Eid holidays with the mad rush for home gathered pace yesterday.

Troops to be deployed from Dec 20

Army Chief General Moeen U Ahmed yesterday said troops would be deployed countrywide from December 20 for holding upcoming elections properly.

Loan for rawhide 18pc less this season

The state-owned banks (SOBs) are giving 18 per cent less loan to leather sector this Eid-ul-Azha season compared to that of last season as previous loans to this sector were not repaid and prices of leather goods have slumped in the global market.

3 killed in 'crossfire'

Three suspected criminals were killed in 'crossfire' during separate incidents of shootout between their cohorts and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) in the capital and on its outskirts early yesterday.

SQ Chy made 'no election pledges' in life

BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury never pledged anything to the people who voted him lawmaker five times in Chittagong-7 and Chittagong-6 constituencies.

CPB to focus on checking price hike

Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) yesterday announced its 24-point manifesto for the upcoming national election, giving much priority over controlling prices of essentials, food autarky and increase investment in government and private sectors of the country.

Pressure heaps on Zimbabwe's Mugabe amid cholera crisis

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe came under fresh international pressure yesterday over his country's economic collapse as his government announced plans to introduce a 200 million dollar bill.

Obama discusses economic plan to save, create jobs

President-elect Barack Obama said yesterday he's asked his economic team for a recovery plan that saves or creates more than 2 million jobs, makes public buildings more energy-efficient and invests in the country's roads and schools.

Editorial

Disqualification facing parliamentary nominees

ONE cannot but be amazed at the large number of parliamentary candidates facing disqualification at the general elections later this month owing to their defaulting on bank loans and non-clearance of utility bills. These individuals belong to all the major parties, namely, the Awami League, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, the Jatiya Party and the Jamaat-e-Islami. What boggles the mind even more is that despite the government's having thrice relaxed the RPO in respect of a repayment or rescheduling of loan repayment and clearing utility bills, these parties went ahead with nominating such a large number of candidates -- 130 to be precise -- for the Jatiya Sangsad elections. It is common wisdom that given the nature of parliament as the focal point of all politics and as the symbolism of morality, the political parties will nominate for it candidates of impeccable reputation. That they did not do so, that indeed they pressurised the authorities thrice to have the relevant provisions amended, is one more reminder of why politics has been taking a beating in this country.

UN climate summit

AT the UN climate change summit at Poznan, Poland, Bangladesh has come in for two positive references against an otherwise grim prediction of how much she is likely to be at the receiving end of the adversities of climate change.

Evidence of post-ballot count manipulation?

USING publicly available election data, we have been analysing the results of past three elections, with the first analysis already published on December 4.1

Nomination game

ALL the registered politics parties have announced the names of their nominees to contest in the ninth parliamentary polls slated for December 29. But one gets a sinking feeling scanning through the list of nominees of the major political parties, particularly of BNP, as it has nominated large number of individuals who were so long in jail on the charges of crime and corruption under the Emergency Power Rules and released on bail.

Terrorism in Mumbai

THE mindless massacre in Mumbai defies any explanation that would be acceptable to reason. Under any law of war, India would have the right to get its pound of flesh only if such an action had not been so costly to all parties concerned. According to the US National Counter-Terrorism Center, in 2007 India had the second largest number of casualties, after Iraq, from terrorism.

Sports

BU ride on Zahid

Zahid Hossain slammed two goals in the space of two minutes as Brothers Union went home happy with a 2-1 victory against giant-killers Rahmatganj in the last Citycell B. League match before the Eid break at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.

Watch out for Smith

Australia will encounter a changed Graeme Smith when the South African cricket team arrives in Perth Sunday.

Jewel-Mushtaque match on Victory Day

Shaheed Jewel XI will look to avenge last year's defeat at the hands of Shaheed Mushtaque XI in the traditional Victory Day match on December 26.

Diego conquers Kolkata

Diego Maradona came, saw and conquered a city that poured out in multitudes to see and honour him. Thousands of soccer-crazy fans thronged Maheshtala, in the southern fringes of the city, to watch the Argentinian legend lay the foundation stone of the Indian Football School. The 48-year-old newly appointed coach of Argentina was accompanied by his girlfiend Veronica.

Eng decide on tour today

A final verdict on the fate of the two-match Test series between England and India, under a cloud of uncertainty following the terror attacks in Mumbai, is expected to come out today when the England and Wales Cricket Board's security expert gives his report on the security scenario.

Toni's timely strike

Italian striker Luca Toni scored an injury-time winner to give Bayern Munich a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Hoffenheim on Friday to pull level with their opponents at the top of the Bundesliga.

Four-match ban for Evra

Manchester United defender Patrice Evra was on Friday banned for four matches and fined 15,000 pounds (17,300 euros) for his part in an ugly post-match brawl at bitter rivals Chelsea last season.

Forget about Essien, Scolari tells Inter

Luiz Felipe Scolari has warned Jose Mourinho to forget about signing Michael Essien as the Chelsea midfielder bids to return from a knee injury ahead of schedule.

Lahm hails scalp

Germany defender Philipp Lahm hailed Bayern Munich's dramatic fight-back victory over league leaders Hoffenheim as the German giants took a significant step towards defending their Bundesliga title.

Fulham hold City to draw

Manchester City were held to a 1-1 draw at Fulham as Jimmy Bullard cancelled out Benjani Mwaruwari's opener for the visitors on Saturday.

Mehedi Hasan wins rating chess

FIDE Master Mehedi Hasan Parag clinched the Prime Bank 11th Open International Rating Chess tournament after defeating FM Syed Mahfuzur Rahman in the final round at the federation hall-room yesterday.

Security upped for Dhoni

Mahendra Singh Dhoni will get enhanced security cover with Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren directing the police to ensure that armed men, if required commandos, were deployed to guard the high-profile Indian cricket captain.

Mukti, Diganta win

Mukti Sangha defeated Town Club by four wickets in the Premier Division Cricket League at the Rajshahi Stadium yesterday.

Clarke new million dollar cricketer

Michael Clarke has replaced his skipper Ricky Ponting as the highest earning cricketer in the Australian team according to an estimate, which puts his salary to 1.01 million US dollars.

Bordeaux into third

Bordeaux warmed up for their crucial Champions League clash with AS Roma with a 2-1 win over Valenciennes on Friday which moved them into third place in the French first division.

Ronnie and Kaka not on same page…yet

Milan are struggling to adapt to the tactical changes made necessary by Ronaldinho's arrival, according to Brazilian teammate Kaka.

CSKA want Rijkaard

Three-time Russian champions CSKA Moscow said on Friday that former Barcelona and Dutch national team manager Frank Rijkaard was a candidate to replace Valery Gazzaev, local media reported Friday.

Vieira won't play this year

Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho, announcing that Patrick Vieira's Achilles tendon injury would rule him out for the next two games, added it was unlikely the French midfielder would be back playing before 2009.

Business

Commodity prices still high

Prices of essential commodities, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and industrial products did not come down on the local market although prices plunged on the international market in the last four months.

Inflation may rise on polls: ADB

The Asian Development Bank has said inflationary pressure may rise in the run-up to the year-end national elections.

Business leaders set goals for next govt

The ability of the next government to attain 8 percent economic growth depends on efforts to tackle the power crisis, increased private-sector investment, greater foreign direct investment inflows and an effective strategy to brand Bangladesh, said business leaders and economists yesterday.

CA brands Bangladesh

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday launched the first country branding for Bangladesh.

White House holds ‘fruitful’ auto talks with Congress

The White House said yesterday it had constructive talks with congressional leaders on helping the ailing auto industry.

No progress in execution of new insurance laws

Even two months after the enactment of two laws relating to insurance, the government has not succeeded in executing those putting the industry into disarray, lament insurers.

Global crisis unlikely to hit food chain

International food chain business in Bangladesh is unlikely to be affected by the present global financial calamity, as the local economy is immune to it, according to a local business leader.

Crisis hits China steel firms

Steel companies in China recorded their first month-on-month loss in six years as the global financial crisis hit domestic exporters, manufacturers and construction firms, state media reported Friday.

Asian stocks mixed

Asia's stocks were mixed Friday despite a series of rate cuts in Europe as dealers awaited key jobs figures from the United States and the Big Three automakers begged for a billion-dollar bailout.

Pakistan says growth to slow

Pakistan's economic growth is expected to fall to between 3.5 percent and 4.5 percent this fiscal year, the central bank said Saturday, slowed by domestic turmoil and the global economic crisis.

BTMA president reelected

Abdul Hai Sarker has been re-elected president of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) uncontested for a two-year term (2009-10) for the second time, according to a press release.

Wall Street waffles

Wall Street's roller-coaster ride saw more gut-wrenching turns over the past week as investors came to terms with what appears to be a deep and painful economic slump.

Big job losses shake investors

Massive US job losses in November and news that the US unemployment rate jumped to a 15-year high of 6.7 percent rocked investor sentiment Friday and sent the price of oil plummeting.

30 million hands beckon you

The disquiet around the region from Afghanistan to Thailand presents Bangladesh in a favourable light for the time being. However, with the parliamentary elections coming up at the end of this month followed by local elections in January, the peaceful ambience will certainly be ruffled in the coming days but by how much is anybody's guess.

Stocks break losing trend

Dhaka stocks witnessed a noticeable gain last week over the previous week breaking the recent bearish spell in the market.

India cuts interest rates to boost economy

India's central bank on Saturday slashed its two key short-term interest rates by a full percentage point each to stimulate an economy hit by the global recession and shaken further by the Mumbai attacks.

Microsoft still interested in Yahoo search: CEO

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said Friday the US software giant remained interested in acquiring Yahoo's search business and would rather do a deal "sooner than later."

Shareholders approve Bank of America deal for Merrill Lynch

Bank of America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch won approval from shareholders of both firms Friday, marking the final chapter for the Wall Street icon battered by the housing and credit crisis.

Facebook delays employee stock sale: WSJ

Social network Facebook has delayed a plan to allow its employees to sell their shares in the privately held company because of the global economic downturn, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Weekly Currency Roundup

November 30-December 04, 2008
Local FX Market
This week, the market was a little tight and the US dollar rose slightly against the Bangladesh taka. There was ample demand for dollar in the market.

Metropolitan

Special attention given to dev of northern region: CA

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday said his government has given special attention to the socioeconomic uplift of the northern districts, particularly to the priority task of

DMP's special security measures during Eid

Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) has taken special security measures on the eve of Eid ul-Azha apprehending deterioration of law and order situation at shopping centres, cattle markets, launch and bus terminals, railway stations and raw leather markets, in the city.

Call to defeat anti-liberation elements in nat'l elections

Leaders of the Forum for Secular Bangladesh and Trial of War Criminals of 1971 yesterday called on the countrymen to defeat the anti-liberation forces in the upcoming national election with the spirit of liberation war.

Lift emergency by Dec 11

The BNP-led four-party leaders yesterday reiterated their demand for withdrawing the Emergency Power Rules and scrapping or suspending section 91(e) of the Representation of People Order (RPO) for what they said was holding a free and fair election.

Equip commission with power to deal with HR violations

The newly formed National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) would be a 'toothless body' unless it is equipped with 'enforcement mechanism', said the speakers at a dialogue yesterday.

Impose strict parking laws to reduce traffic congestion

Speakers at a view exchange meeting yesterday urged the authorities concerned to impose strict parking laws to reduce traffic congestion in the city.

Crackdown on criminals in Sylhet soon

Sylhet Metropolitan Police (SMP) is set to launch a drive within a day or two to arrest the listed criminals, especially those who have political links.

'Halt greenhouse gas emission at Kuakata'

Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (Bapa) yesterday formed a human chain and mass gathering at Kuakata sea beach demanding a halt to greenhouse gas emission to check pollution of environment.

Appeal with SC likely today

An appeal may be moved at the Supreme Court (SC) today to halt the operation of the High Court (HC) judgement declaring illegal the provisions of the Emergency Power Rules (EPR) 2007 that deny the rights to obtain bail in cases filed under these rules.

Remain vigilant for free, fair elections

Awami League President Sheikh Hasina for the first time in the country talked with the people of her electoral constituency Gopalganj-3 through videoconference yesterday.

Include extrajudicial killing issue

Odhikar and Narigrantha Prabortan, working for human rights, yesterday placed a 12-point issue, including extrajudicial killings and violations of human rights in jail, for including those in the election manifestos.

Electric short circuit causes fire

Fire brigade's inquiry into the death of Ganatantri Party President Nurul Islam by a devastating fire found that the fire was caused by an electric short circuit, said a fire brigade official yesterday preferring anonymity.

Deep depression over Bay

The deep depression over southeast Bay and adjoining area moved rapidly west-northwestwards and now lies over southwest Bay and adjoining southeast Bay yesterday noon.

Udichi expels 3 members

Bangladesh Udichi Shilpigosthi has expelled Manjarul Islam Chowdhury Sweet, Alak Dasgupta and Faruk Hossain Khan from the organisation due to their anti-organisational activities, says a press release.

Qulkhwani of Nurul Islam today

Qulkhwani of Ganotantri Party President Nurul Islam and his son Tamohar Islam Puchi will be held today.

Discussion on polls held

Munshiganj district unit of Shujan organised a discussion titled 'Upcoming election and the expectation of the citizens' at Srinagar upazila parishad auditorium yesterday.

Turkish envoy meets Khaleda

Turkish Ambassador to Bangladesh Sakir Ozkan Torunlar yesterday called on BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia at her Gulshan office in the city.

Temple damaged at Keraniganj

A group of criminals partially damaged a Hindu temple in a bid to grab the land at Nayabazar here yesterday.

Electoral maps published

The Mappa Limited, a cartographic organisation, prepared a set of 371 maps of different size in English and Bengali language titled 'Bangladesh National Parliament Election Map 2008', says a press release.

Boycott black money holders in polls

Speakers at a rally here yesterday called on the countrymen to boycott corrupts, musclemen and black money holders in the next general polls.

Banani-Gulshan Bridge opens today

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed will inaugurate the newly built Banani-Gulshan Bridge on Gulshan Lake in the city today, says a press release.

Hand over Humayra to ASK, high commission

A British court has directed the parents and uncle of Humayra Abedin, an expatriate trainee doctor in London, to disclose her whereabouts immediately and hand over her to Ain O Shalish Kendra (ASK) or the British High Commission (HC) in Bangladesh.

Elderly person killed by Agyan Party men

An elderly person was killed by a gang of Agyan Party in the Cantonment Railway Station area in the city last night.

Book on electoral campaign strategy published

A book titled 'Public relation and electoral campaign strategy in politics' was published yesterday.

Reducing emission of greenhouse gas demanded

Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (Bapa) and Bangladesh Jalabayu Paribartan Birodhi Andolon O Sundar Jiban at a rally yesterday demanded reducing the emission of greenhouse gas.

300 BNP men join AL in C'nawabganj

At least 300 leaders and activists of BNP yesterday joined Awami League at Nandipur union under Gomostapur upazila in Chapainawabganj.

Nurul Islam's death condoled

Leaders of the Peshajibi Samannay Parishad in a statement expressed deep shock at the death of Gonotontri Party President Nurul Islam and demanded the government to uncover the mystery of his death, say a press release.

20 injured in clash in Sylhet village

Twenty people sustained injuries in an armed clash between two groups of a village at Derai upazila in Sunamganj yesterday.

26 thatched houses gutted in Ctg fire

A total of 26 thatched dwelling houses were gutted in a fire in the port city's Kattali area yesterday afternoon.

6 killed in road accidents

Six people were killed and 63 others injured in separate road accidents in Patuakhali and Munshiganj yesterday.

Police foil jute workers' programme

Police yesterday foiled a road blockade and lathi programme procession of over 600 workers of the state-owned Aleem Jute Mills at Atra industrial belt here to fulfil their 10-point demand, including payment of Eid bonus.

Satkhira Mukta Dibas today

Satkhira Mukta Dibas (Liberated Day) will be observed today.

One shot dead by robbers in Noakhali

A youth was killed and another injured as the armed bandits opened fire on them while fleeing after committing robbery at Hatpukuria village in Senbagh upazila early yuesterday.

Democracy key component of dev

European Union Election Observation Mission (EUEO) yesterday said democracy is the key component of development that ensures basic human rights, peace and tranquility.

One arrested for beating Rajshahi journos

Police yesterday arrested one person for his alleged involvement in the attack on two photojournalists in Rajshahi recently.

Bangladeshi artist's exhibition begins in Kolkata today

The solo art exhibition of eminent artist and art critic of Bangladesh Prof Motlub Ali will begin today at the central gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kolkata, India.

Iajuddin undergoes routine check-up

President Iajuddin Ahmed underwent routine check-up at United Hospital in Gulshan yesterday.

National

AL, BNP freshers face strong rivals in Tangail-2,3,4,6

The four new faces fielded by Awami League (AL) and BNP in four constituencies in Tangail will have to fight strong rivals and rebel party candidates in the upcoming national elections.

Saifur richest candidate in Moulvibazar-3

Former finance and planning minister and BNP nominee in Moulvibazar-3 (Sadar and Rajnagar) constituency M Saifur Rahman is the richest candidate among 20 others in four constituencies in the district.

6 Rajshahi constituencies draw varying faces

The polls race in six constituencies in Rajshahi has drawn candidates ranging from unemployed persons to millionaire businessmen and from below secondary education to PhD degree holders.

AL nominee chased as he starts mass contact

Agitated party men at the remote Jamalganj upazila yesterday afternoon swooped on Awami League nominee for Sunamganj-1 Moazzem Hossain Ratan and his companions when they went there for mass contact.

BNP, Jamaat both stake claim to C'nawabganj-3

BNP and its ally Jamaat-e-Islami are at loggerheads in Chapainawabganj-3 constituency as their are campaigning for party candidates with approval of they respective party high commands, sources said.

No empty promise this time

Farmer Abdul Kha of Dhunchi village said, "The River Padma has devoured all our homes and hearths. We have nothing now. We were searching for a small piece of land but did not get.

460 out of 706 polling centres risky in Khulna

Police have identified 460 polling centres out of 706 in the district as risky.

Sirajganj-5 has no 4-party contestant

Following cancellation of nomination papers of two BNP-led four-party alliance candidates including influential BNP leader former lawmaker Major (retd) Monzur Quader, Sirajganj-5 constituency (Belkuchi-Chowhali) is now without any contestant from the alliance.

Dipu Moni lone woman candidate in Chandpur

Awami League-led Grand Alliance nominee Dr Dipu Moni is the lone wo-man candidate in the five parliamentary constituencies in Chandpur district. She is contesting in Chadnpur-3 seat.

Chatmohor BNP men press for choosing UZ candidate

A meeting of Chatmohor upazila BNP, called for choosing a candidate for upazila election, ended amid chaos yesterday.

Letters

Religious extremism

I was greatly shocked to see the news that hundreds of religious extremists had vandalized the sculpture 'Balaka".

Voters' rights

There is a debate whether the activities of the caretaker government and the emergency rule are acceptable to the people of the country or not. But there is no doubt that the mass people want change in every sphere of life whether it is institutional or non-institutional. Just for this people have waited for a period of two years sacrificing lots of things. But we never hope the change will come only from the commitment of one group of people, or one organisation or one community. For ensuring the change, a complete and comprehensive participation of all people of the country is necessary. And the lawmakers of the country should play the main role.

Protect national identity

The militants are active again, and out to destroy our heritage and culture. This government is too soft on the religious fundamentalists. I am very concerned about the protection of our 3 historic monuments. These are : 1. Shaheed Minar 2. Jatiya Smiriti Saudha 3. Aparajeyo Bangla. We want to know very clearly from this government what kind of security protections are in place to protect and preserve these these national historic monuments. I have very little confidence in the Dhaka University authorities to provide due protection to two of those historic monuments. The DU itself is well divided on ideological lines and carrying flags of different colours not friendly to our secular culture.

Electricity generation

When the world is facing tremendous shortfall in fossil fuel supply and when the world is concerned about saving itself from the green house effect and billions of dollars are spent for keeping the world safe and habitable, as a third world underdeveloped country we often chop down trees, burn kerosene for cooking etc. Why don't we consider building an offshore power plant in the shallow waters of the Bay of Bengal. This could be the wind based power plant, which most of the Eastern European countries are using these days to generate electricity.

Elections

The upcoming election schedule has been declared to ensure proper democracy in our country. All political parties have the equal opportunity to show their dedication and worth for the real goodness of the country & countrymen. In the recent past, we observed many unwise & evil acts by the governments who were in power.

Mumbai carnage

In terms of death it was not the biggest but in planning and execution it was the most horrific one. Death of so many innocent people in such a cowardly attack is not only a condemnable act, rather a brutal atrocity on humanity. The whole world condemned the attack. We here in Bangladesh join the condemnation with the sincerest feelings for the innocent victims. Such incidents should never occur anywhere in the world.

Tajuddin Ahmed

I would like to raise a question to Mr. Tajuddin Ahmed's daughter who is regularly writing about the life and times of her father. Recently, in one of her writings, she has mentioned that her father was already killed by being sacked during his lifetime from the cabinet. What was then in store for him?

Religion of peace

How many times the Muslim scholars had to reiterate that Islam is a religion of peace after each and every terror attack that drew international attention. Nowadays it seems to be a monotonous and defensive monologue from one group of people to the rest of the world.

Raffle draw?

A few days before the Eid-ul-Fitr, 2008 I bought a few items from a very well known shopping mall and almost inevitably was endowed with some raffle coupons. Being cautious enough, I carefully scrutinized the date of the draw. It was 2nd week of November 2008. So, I opened the web address they provided with the coupon and found no results there. Having the feeling of being cheated, I sent an sms to the address and got an instant reply. It says: “Sorry! your respective coupon number does not match with the results of the draw.”

Politicians in jail

Several hundred politicians and other professionals were sent to jail after 1/11. They are now released on bail and some are still in jail on various charges like corruption and graft. A good percentage of politicians and others who were in jail are taking part in election being nominated by the respective party or individually.

Is it enough?

I am a Bangladeshi American, a registered Democrat. I voted for Barack Obama in our Presidential election. But I always keep track of my beloved Bangladesh. I am fortunate to watch popular Bangladeshi Television channels, despite being in the US and therefore I get all news right away. Recently, two former prime ministers and the leaders of the two main political parties talked with each other, smiled at each other. This event has drawn a huge interest in Bangladesh, the TV channels were very much ecstatic. Perhaps, it is good that at least these two leaders talked with each other when most expect them to avoid each other. But did the nation accomplish anything after the so much publicized brief conversation between the two leaders? Barring any miracles, one of them will be the next prime minister and the other one will be the leader of the opposition. Thus the whole nation's hope rests on these leaders. It would be very encouraging, if both go out of their way and prepare a joint statement in which they would declare unequivocally:

Fathers' choice!

Very recently a new business front has been opened in Bangladesh. The name of this new business is "Marriage counselling" in Bangla we call it Ghatokali. Now there are many offices in Dhaka city. I know a distant friend of mine who has opened an office in Dhaka recently. He explained very shortly over phone some experiences he had during the last few months in this business.

Concrete jungle

I want to share a very sad story with all of you. Every morning on my walks I come across a bunch of monkeys. The first day I saw one of them and was quite surprised as to how they survive in this overcrowded polluted and unfriendly city. Then I realized if we could why not them. There was a particular family of mother and baby that became familiar to me. I noticed them most regularly. I began to wonder about their lives and sometime when I saw two groups fighting and chasing each other across the street, I would wonder about the welfare of this particular family. The baby would hold on to the mother very tightly as they crossed the big road and jump up the wall to climb the big tree. It was an amazing sight and gave me a feeling of loneliness in the concrete jungle we live in.

Rajuk plots

Recently RAJUK has advertised for residential plots at Purbachal and Uttara Extension project and these were published on 27 and 28 November, 2008 respectively. The last date for submission of application is 18.12.2008 for both cases. From 28.11.08 to 17.12.08 there are only 10 working days because of weekly holidays, Eid holidays and Victory Day holiday. Only ten working days is too little time to get the application forms by standing for hours in the designated banks and filling up the forms with all the information needed and the required affidavit.

International

Thai opposition says it can form government

Thailand's main opposition party said yesterday it could form a government with members of the ruling coalition that collapsed this week, freezing out allies of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

Pakistan awaits 'proof' on Mumbai terror links

Pakistan is still awaiting "concrete proof" that a group based there carried out the devastating Mumbai attacks, as India said evidence was mounting and warned its anger had not cooled.

UN chief frustrated over lack of democratic steps in Myanmar

UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday voiced growing frustration at the failure by Myanmar's military regime to restore democracy and ruled out a return visit to the country at present.

Nepal's Maoists to discharge 3,000 child soldiers: UN

Nepal's Maoist prime minister has agreed to discharge around 3,000 child soldiers from the ranks of his party's former guerrilla army as quickly as possible, the United Nations said.

India pledges to open up N-sector to pvt players

India's government has pledged to open up its nuclear sector to private players -- once it completes bilateral civil nuclear cooperation pacts.

Lankan jets bomb LTTE targets as ground battles rage

Sri Lanka's air force staged a series of bombing raids against suspected Tamil Tiger targets as ground troops fought fierce battles on several fronts, defence ministry said yesterday.

N Korea vows to exclude Japan from nuke talks

North Korea said yesterday it would not recognise Japan as a member of six-nation nuclear disarmament talks due to resume next week as Tokyo refuses to provide its share of energy aid promised to Pyongyang.

17 killed in Manila shootout: Police

Up to 17 people, including four bystanders, were killed in a police shootout with armed men toting assault rifles and a grenade launcher in a Manila suburb, police and news reports said.

Peshawar blast toll rises to 27

Six more bodies have been found in the wreckage of a huge bomb blast that ripped through a crowded marketplace in northwest Pakistan, taking the toll to 27, police said yesterday.

Hoax India call put Pakistan on high alert

A hoax phone call from someone claiming to be India's foreign minister put Pakistan on high alert last weekend as relations between the two nuclear powers deteriorated, a report said yesterday.

Landslide kills 10 at PNG gold mine

At least 10 people have been killed in a mudslide at a gold mine camp in Papua New Guinea and rescuers are searching through the debris for more possible victims, the mine owners said yesterday.

Thaksin's ex-wife returns home

The ex-wife of ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra returned home on Friday, four months after she left the country following a conviction for tax evasion.

Explosives found at Indian nursing home

Explosives were found at a private nursing home in the western Indian city of Nagpur, prompting the evacuation of dozens of people, local media reported yesterday.

Arts & Entertainment

Honouring Bangladesh’s friend in need

The brutal and inhuman war that the Bengalis were enduring with courage in 1971 inspired American cinematographer and filmmaker Lear Levin. Armed with his camera Levin recorded the images with utmost empathy, disregarding the troubles he had to go through.

Two-day seminar on jatrapala ends

A two-day seminar and open discussion on 'jatrapala' ended at the Seminar Room, National Theatre Hall, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) yesterday. The programme titled “Jatra: Oitijjher Nabojagoron” was arranged by the Department of Theatre and Film, BSA in association with Manusher Jonno Foundation. The programme included seminars and open discussions by eminent cultural personalities and staging of the jatrapala “Shah Jahan” by the students of Dhaka University.

Call to uphold values of Liberation War

Shabyasachi poet Syed Shamsul Haque recently said that people who destroy sculptures should be regarded as enemies. They are also vicious opponents of the values of our Liberation War and our culture. " Bangladeshis should unite to resist them," observed the prominent poet at the launching ceremony of a book of poetry at Sirajganj on Friday.

Shakila Zafar on her Eid plans and more

This Eid comes with a special celebration for versatile singer Shakila Zafar. Amidst her busy schedule, the singer talked to "The Daily Star" on her recent activities.

A hard hitting film on river erosion

Mehendigonj of Barisal at Estuary of Meghna, a documentary on river erosion, is making waves. The film is directed by Fuad Chowdhury, produced by United Network Limited and funded by community members of the affected area. This documentary has been selected for the 6th Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival 2008, to be held from December 11-15 2008 in Kathmandu, Nepal, says a press release.

Shohor Bhora Kancher Kokil on Ekushey TV

Single-episode play “Shohor Bhora Kancher Kokil” will be aired on Ekushey Television on the fourth day of Eid-ul-Azha at 9:30 pm. Written by Faria Hossain, the play has been directed by Chayanika Chowdhury.

Pantomime on ATN Bangla

Pantomime is a neglected art form in Bangladesh. Early this year, Paris-based expatriate Bangladeshi master mime artist Partha Pratim Majumder came to Bangladesh and emphasised its importance to the people here. A number of theatre troupes of Dhaka and Chittagong are now involved in practising the medium with great passion and zeal. Nithor Mahbub, a devoted student of Majumder, will perform at 'Eider Khushi Bhagabhagi'. The programme will be aired on ATN Bangla on the fourth day of Eid-ul-Azha at 10.30 am. It has been compiled, researched and written by Nur Hossain Rana. Dance, drama and musical soiree also will be included in the programme.

Cultural programme generating awareness

Amorai Pari Jote, Pabna, organised a discussion and cultural programme marking International Day for Abolition of Slavery. The programme was held at Pabna Shahid Minar premises on Tuesday.

Anti-corruption play staged in Kurigram

To observe International Anti-Corruption Day, the theatre group of the Committee of Concerned Citizens (CCC) of TIB staged a play on the crusade against corruption, titled "Alo Adharer Jatri" at the Kurigram Central Shahid Minar on December 4.

OP-ED

Let us now play our part

VARIOUS political parties and alliances have played their part by fielding their candidates for the December 29 election. Whether they have all done it fired by patriotism and democratic aspirations or actuated by narrow party interests is now beside the point. The EC will now be playing its part scrutinising the bona fides of candidates in the light of the RPO and all relevant electoral rules and regulations, rejecting flawed nomination papers filed by candidates, allowing only genuine and eligible candidates to run for the election, and conducting election as freely, fairly, and impartially as possible.

Journey to wilderness?

SINCE its inception some sixty years ago, the AL has lost more elections than it has won. Nevertheless, in many respects, the party has steadfastly occupied a high moral ground vis-à-vis its political rivals. Any act that gives rise to any ambiguity to its adherence to the values responsible for creation of its higher moral ground creates an inerasable blemish on its portrait.

Concentric circles of dread

WE are back in the doghouse yet again. Has there ever been a time ever since we opened our eyes on August 14, 1947 when we have not found ourselves in the crib of a controversy?

An Asian view of the world down under

THIS column is being written from another planet. No, really. I am in Australia, and it is nothing like our world at all. Kangaroos really do run wild in the cities. In fact, MANY of the animals and plants seem unrelated to Earth ones, and the inhabitants -- well, they look more or less human, but I am keeping an open mind.

Star City

Kids brace for admission battle in govt schools

Children along with their parents and guardians in the city are preparing for admission tests of government schools for the academic year 2009.

DCC rents out playground keeping mayor in dark

Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) continues to rent out playfields for commercial use despite government direction and public outcry against such use.

City's hapless street children

More than 95 percent street children in the city remain out of any assistant either from government or non-governmental organisations (NGOs), experts say.


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