The Daily Star

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Friday, August 29, 2014


News of: Friday, 12th of December, 2008

Front Page

Ershad's see-saw game gets JP 48 seats from AL

The Awami League (AL) and Jatiya Party (JP) finally reached an agreement yesterday to nominate JP candidates in 48 seats from the AL-led electoral grand alliance in the upcoming ninth parliamentary elections.

4-party completes seat sharing

Following a seat-sharing deal between BNP and Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamaat received 34 seats to run for the upcoming national polls under the banner of four-party alliance.

119 get back polls candidacy as EC hearings conclude

The Election Commission (EC) has cleared candidacy of 119 parliamentary aspirants including seven from Awami League (AL) and BNP each during hearings of appeals filed against cancellation of nomination papers by Returning Officers (ROs).

Emergency ceases on December 17

The state of emergency, imposed in the country on January 11, 2007, will be withdrawn on December 17, the caretaker government announced Wednesday night.

Hasina visits Sylhet shrines

Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina yesterday offered munajat at three shrines in Sylhet before formally starting her election campaign today with the announcement of her party's election manifesto.

Eid-ul-Azha celebrated

Eid-ul-Azha, the second largest religious festival of the Muslims, was celebrated across the country on Tuesday.

Dipjol held after 2yrs in hiding

Film actor and Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) ward councillor Monwar Hossain Dipjol was sent to jail Wednesday, a day after the BNP leader was arrested.

State media asked to be objective

The government has asked Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television to give equitable and objective coverage to the election campaign of political parties and alliances.

Road crashes kill 41during Eid holidays

At least 41 people were killed and 54 others injured in separate road accidents in 11 districts and the capital during Eid holidays.

ACC okays charge sheet against Huda

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) will press charges against detained former communications minister Nazmul Huda and former chief engineer of Roads and Highways Department ARM Anwar Hossain in a corruption case.

World ministers gather in Poland for 'green future’

The ministerial high segment of the UN climate change summit started yesterday with the hope that all nations would go together for a green future.

Jamaat pledges blasphemy law

Jamaat-e-Islami yesterday said it would initiate enactment of 'blasphemy law' to prevent anti-religious publicities or criticism of religion in books, newspapers or electronic media and punish those responsible, if the BNP-led four-party alliance is voted to power.

1,597 finally in race as 414 withdraw on last day

A total of 414 candidates withdrew their candidature for the upcoming parliamentary elections on the last day for withdrawing nomination papers.

All-party, fair polls can return Bangladesh to civilian rule

Bangladesh's December 29 election will not return the country to civilian rule unless those with a stake in the vote -- including the international community -- ensure all registered parties contest credible, peaceful polls, says the International Crisis Group.

LDP to contest separately

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)-led by Col (retd) Oli Ahmed yesterday said it will contest the upcoming parliamentary election separately as its hope for becoming a component of Awami League’s grand alliance faded away .

Dhaka still in holiday mood

The city maintained its festive as well as deserted look yesterday, the first workday after Eid holidays.

JP pledges 8 provinces

Jatiya Party (JP) yesterday promised to establish a terrorism, corruption and misrule-free society if voted to power.

BNP will accept results if polls are free, fair

If the December 29 elections are held in a free and fair manner, BNP would accept the results whatever it may be, said BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain yesterday.

Khoka can contest JS election

The Supreme Court (SC) has stayed for six weeks the High Court (HC) verdict prohibiting Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) Mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka from contesting the upcoming parliamentary election.

War no solution against Pakistan, says India

India yesterday ruled out military action against Pakistan following the carnage in Mumbai, but described its neighbour as at the "epicentre" of the attacks.

Tamil rebels kill 90 Lankan soldiers

Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers say they have killed at least 90 government soldiers while beating back an army advance towards their northern political capital, a pro-rebel website said yesterday.

Editorial

Lifting of state of emergency

WE welcome the announcement by the caretaker government that it will lift the state of emergency on December 17 and allow unfettered public rallies with effect from today as a prelude to the holding of a free, fair and transparent general election on December 29. Indeed, it is a proper and fitting response to the demands voiced in recent weeks and months by the political parties as well as members of civil society for a withdrawal of the state of emergency in the interest of a full and enthusiastic participation of all citizens in the electoral exercise. The decisions reflect the general expectation that political activities will be conducted in a peaceful and purposeful manner by all political parties. That will entail an observance of the electoral code of conduct in its letter and spirit by all parties and candidates. We are constrained to say, however, that there have been instances where intending nominees at the election have violated the code of conduct. That should not have happened and we hope such acts will not be repeated.

Success stories in micro-entrepreneurship

SABINA'S one person-led sun cap factory has made it big -- from a scratch. Driven by the sheer motivation to start up an enterprise of her own, she has managed to climb the steep stairway to a viable business concern with a rising export profile. Her caps made up of garment wastes are in demand in neighbouring India and Nepal. It won't be long before she achieves a humble niche in other countries because of the low, affordable cost of her products.

Vote free

THE recent death of Nurul Islam, president of the Ganatantri Party and nominee of the Awami League-led grand alliance for the upcoming parliamentary election for Noakhali-1, together with his son, both burned to death when their house was set on fire last week, comes as a timely and tragic reminder of all that ails Bangladeshi politics.

Two-nation theory has bred practice of hatred

WHY has Pakistan become synonymous with terrorism? The vast majority of Pakistanis surely find terrorism as repellent as Indians do. Why then does Pakistan breed an endless flow of suicide missionaries?

Bangladesh polls: The world is watching

UNCERTAINTY has loomed over the restoration of democracy in Bangladesh for nearly two years. International observation groups were initially unsure if the December 18 elections, rescheduled for December 29, would be held in 2008. Regardless, a large number of international observers are being deployed throughout the country, their spirits bolstered by increasing signs that there will be no more delays to the polling date.

Sports

India hit back after Strauss century

England opener Andrew Strauss hit 123 in the first Test on Thursday as cricket returned to centre stage in India after the Mumbai terror attacks.

London offers support to BOA

The Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) is considering proposals from English county Kent and London towns Tower Hamlets and Harrow to send athletes for pre-Olympics training.

Mendis out of Test series

Sri Lanka's mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis will miss the two-Test series against Bangladesh, which begins at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on December 26.

Flynn shores up NZ

New Zealand batsman Daniel Flynn fell five runs short of his maiden century after the West Indies used a new rule to successfully challenge the umpire's decision in the first Test here Thursday.

England to help Mumbai victims

England will donate half their match fees from the first Test against India to the families of victims of last month's attacks in Mumbai, batsman Alastair Cook said on Tuesday.

And what of Pakistan?

"The show must go on" has been the refrain, and now it will. England's decision to return to India and get on with cricket, life and everything else is, on balance, difficult to argue against. Less difficult to argue against also is that the decision vividly illuminates the double standards of almost the entire cricket fraternity in dealing with India's neighbour Pakistan: that nobody much cares about touring Pakistan has rarely been more apparent.

Warne accepts musical

Australian cricket legend Shane Warne on Wednesday threw his support behind a musical stage show that presents a warts-and-all account of his controversy-laced career.

'Pakistan tour impossible'

Batting legend Sunil Gavaskar says it is "impossible" that India will tour Pakistan early next year due to strained political relations following the Mumbai attacks.

Elin goes down to Indian IM

Bangladeshi players Mohammad Imran Ali Elin lost in the sixth round of the Asian Junior Chess Cham-pionships in Chennai, India to local International Master P Karthikeyan yesterday.

Mohali cleared for 2nd Test

Mohali will stage the second Test between India and England, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a statement issued here Wednesday.

Lewis remanded on drugs charges

Former England all-rounder Chris Lewis has been charged with attempting to smuggle cocaine with a street value of more than 200,000 pounds into Britain.

Aussies wary of India trip

Australian cricketers are wary of travelling to India for the second season of Indian Premier League (IPL) in April-May next year after the recent Mumbai terror attacks, according to a report.

Gunners stifled

Arsenal slipped up in their bid to top their Champions League group on Wednesday as they went down to rivals FC Porto 2-0 in their final group match.

Drogba fires Chelsea

Returning striker Didier Drogba hit the winner in Chelsea's 2-1 victory over Romanian team CFR Cluj on Tuesday to see last season's Champions League finalists safely through to the knockout stages.

Bayern take top spot

A Franck Ribery-inspired 3-2 victory at Lyon on Wednesday night shot Bayern Munich to the top of their Champions League group in rainy conditions in France.

Ronaldo set for Corinthians

Brazilian star Ronaldo was set to put pen to paper on a deal to join Brazilian giants Corinthians, the club announced here Tuesday.

Schuster out, Ramos in

Struggling Spanish champions Real Madrid fired coach Bernd Schuster on Tuesday and immediately replaced him with former Tottenham and Sevilla coach Juande Ramos.

Business

High demand drives soybean output

Local soybean production is on the rise, as the industries, mainly poultry feed makers and edible oil refiners, are strongly in need of the item, according to industry insiders.

GP files final IPO application

Grameenphone yesterday submitted the final prospectus of its initial public offering (IPO), largest in Bangladesh, to the stocks regulator to raise $65 million (Tk 449 crore) from the capital market.

Swedish firm to expand outsourcing in Bangladesh

A multinational Swedish firm engaged in outsourcing home textiles and home furnishing items is planning to expand its operations in Bangladesh.

Asian growth to drop as meltdown bites: ADB

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said yesterday that growth in Asia's developing countries will slow to 5.8 percent next year, and regional governments must boost domestic demand to offset a deeper slowdown.

The smartphone designer

At 35, Eguchi Shunjiro is Nokia's top designer. Behind the ever-smiling face, he posses a sharp sense of aesthetics and reasoning to churn out award-winning mobile set models.

Russia, China, India bribe most to win business abroad

Companies based in emerging economies such as China, India and Russia are perceived to routinely engage in bribery while doing business abroad, according to Transparency International's 2008 Bribe Payers Index (BPI).

WB launches $2b fast-track facility for poorest countries

The World Bank Group has announced the creation of a $2 billion fast-track facility to speed up grants and long-term interest-free loans to help the world's poorest countries to cope with the impact of the global financial crisis.

China's monthly exports drop in 7 years

Exports and foreign direct investment (FDI) both fell in November because of shrinking demand overseas, sending fresh signs of economic weakness and prompting calls for more measures to bolster the economy.

Banglalink gets new CEO

Ahmed Abou Doma has been appointed chief executive officer to Banglalink, the country's second largest mobile operator.

An effective economic reform strategy

The resilience of Bangladesh's economy and financial markets so far in 2008 to the global financial crisis must be commended.

World stocks struggle

Global stock markets mostly struggled on Thursday as investors worried about the progress of a rescue plan for the troubled US auto sector, dealers said.

Asian stocks end mixed

Asian stock markets gave mixed performances Thursday amid uncertainty over a rescue for the US auto sector and prospective interest rate cuts to drag countries out of an economic slump, dealers said.

India plans 2nd stimulus plan

India plans a second economic stimulus package to fight flagging growth, a minister said Thursday, amid growing pessimism about prospects for Asia's third-largest economy.

ECB chief economist plays down rate cut

The European Central Bank's chief economist downplayed the likelihood of an interest rate cut in January, saying that after three straight reductions, the ECB's room for manoeuvre is now very limited.

Thai GDP growth to slow to 2pc in 2009

Thailand's finance minister on Thursday forecast economic growth at two percent next year after crippling protests, the lowest level since Thailand recovered from the Asian financial crisis.

Oil rebounds

Oil prices jumped two dollars on Thursday as traders set aside a gloomy demand forecast by the IEA to focus on next week's OPEC meeting where the cartel is expected to unveil plans to cut crude output.

US auto rescue wins backing, but economic gloom deepens

US legislators approved a massive government lifeline for the ailing auto industry as fresh economic data on Thursday offered evidence of a deep and painful global recession.

Europe wrangles over stimulus as gloom gathers

European nations wrangled over the best way to beat the global recession on Thursday as a key US auto industry bailout package faced a tough vote in the Senate.

AIG faces tough selling climate to pay back US govt loan: CEO

The head of troubled insurance behemoth AIG said Thursday that tough economic conditions would make it difficult to sell off assets in order to pay back a giant US government loan.

Sumitomo Mitsui to raise $5.8b

Japan's third largest bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, said Thursday that it would raise 5.8 billion dollars from investors to shore up its finances during the economic crisis.

Metropolitan

Strict application of law a must to check women repression: CA

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday said strict application of law is equally essential as change of mindset, values and morality is necessary to check repression on women.

Formulate separate policy to protect forests

Environmentalists at a roundtable called on the government to formulate a separate policy to protect forests, saying that the forests are being destroyed in the name of development.

Formulate policy to ensure migrant workers' rights

Human rights activists and trade union leaders at a seminar in the city on Wednesday suggested the government to formulate a migration policy in line with the UN and ILO conventions to ensure rights of the workers abroad.

11 killed in city incidents during Eid holidays

At least 11 people were killed in separate incidents during Eid holidays in and around the city.

Call to reject war criminals in polls

Peshajibi Samannay Parishad, a forum of professionals, yesterday called on all not to vote for anti-liberation forces and war criminals in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Bapex likely to sign deal with Chinese co

Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company (Bapex) is likely to sign contract with a Chinese company to procure a new drilling rig to expedite its hydrocarbon exploration programme across the country.

25 victims of Aggyan party hospitalised

At least 25 people were hospitalised after becoming the victims of Aggyan party during the Eid holidays.

4 die after taking rectified spirit

At least four people died after taking poisonous rectified spirit in two separate incidents in the district on Tuesday and Wednesday.

15 hurt in AL-JSD clash in Kushtia

At least 15 leaders and activists of Awami League (AL) and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) were injured in a clash between them at Chowdhurypara village at Mirpur in the district yesterday.

Airport Road-Rokeya Sarani link road opens

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday inaugurated Airport Road-Rokeya Sarani link road, which will help ease traffic congestion in the city.

Heroic woman Gurudashi passes away

Heroic woman Gurudashi Mondal is dead.

Death anniversary of 4 FF brothers today

Today is the 38th death anniversary of four martyred brothers -- Mukarram Hossain Mukul, Mansur Hossain Manju, Mastaque Hossain Anju and Mosharraf Hossain Ranju and their brother-in-law Yusuf Ali.

Tangail Free Day observed

Tangail Free Day was celebrated yesterday with a daylong programme in the district town.

Two outlaws held with arms in Sirajganj

Members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested two outlaws with a pipe gun, a revolver and nine rounds of bullets in Belkuchi in the last two days.

EU election observers visit Sherpur

Two-member delegation of European Union Election Observation Mission yesterday visited the district to monitor the pre-election situation.

Termination of Abul Hossain condemned

Different workers’ organisations have condemned the termination of labour leader Abul Hossain in a joint statement yesterday.

UP chairman abducted

The joint forces could not trace abducted Union Parishad Chairman Sachittra Chakma as of yesterday, three days after his abduction.

Dhaka Int'l Book Fair opens Dec15

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed will inaugurate the Dhaka International Book Fair-2008 at 3:30pm at Dhaka University central playground on December 15.

No country can claim to be role model in HR

French Ambassador to Bangladesh Charley Causeret on Wednesday said no country can claim to be a role model in the area of Human Rights as none can claim to perfectly uphold Human Rights.

Boy drowns in city lake

An unidentified teenage boy drowned in a lake near late president Ziaur Rahman's grave in the city yesterday evening.

JBFMS provides round-the-clock service during Eid vacation

The Japan Bangladesh Friendship Medical Services (JBFMS) Ltd has provided round-the-clock service during this Eid vacation, says a press release.

Turkish envoy calls on Hasina

Turkish Ambassador to Bangladesh Sakir Torunlar called on Awami League President and former prime minister Sheikh Hasina at her Sudha Sadan residence in the city yesterday.

JMB man held in Rangpur

Police arrested a member of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) from his residence at Joyram Singh at Pirgachha upazila in Rangpur on Wednesday and seized a number of books on Islamic revolution from his possession.

Body of man found hanging at in-law's residence

Police recovered the body of a diploma engineer from his father-in-law's residence at Maheshwarpasha at Daulatpur in Khulna city early morning yesterday.

Body of female garment worker found floating in Buriganga

The body of a female garment worker, who drowned in the river Buriganga after falling from a boat hit by a lunch on Monday, was found floating on the water on Wednesday.

Nat'l TV English Debate Competition

Bangladesh Television is regularly organising the National Television English Parliamentary Debate Competition, says a press release.

3 held, Tk 45 lakh seized in Rangpur

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) of Rangpur camp arrested three people on charges of money laundering and seized Tk 45 lakh from their possession on Wednesday night.

Prof Amin PSTU vice chancellor

President has appointed Prof Dr M Amin Uddin Mridha of the Department of Botany of Chittagong University as the vice chancellor of Pabna Science and Technology University (PSTU) for a four-year term.

Cattle trader shot dead by BSF

Border Security Force (BSF) of India gunned down a Bangladeshi cattle trader at Harishchandrapur border in Benapole early morning of December 10.

British HC closed on Victory Day

British High Commission in Dhaka and its office in Sylhet will remain closed to the public on December 16 for Victory Day, says a press release.

Switzerland to issue Schengen visas

Switzerland will start issuing Schengen visas valid for maximal three months, as the Swiss-EU Schengen cooperation becomes operational today.

Appeal for help

Justice M Bazlur Rahman Talukdar, 72, who has fought against all kinds of injustice throughout his life, is now broke and seeking financial assistance from affluent people for his treatment, says a press release.

Cultural accord with China

Bangladesh and China yesterday signed a cultural exchange agreement between the two countries covering the period from 2009 to 2012.

Change in administration

Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, director general (DG) of the Department of Social Services, has been appointed as additional secretary to Local Government Division (LGD).

National

Donation, loan dominate polls expense in Barisal

Most of the candidates in Barisal district are depending on loans and donations to contest in the December 29 election although quite a few of them showed properties worth cores of taka.

Winning to be tough for 'clean' BNP nominees

Despite 'clean and gentlemen' images to the people, BNP nominees in Tangail-1 (Modhupur-Dhanbari), Tangail-4 (Kalihati) and Tangail-8 (Sakhipur-Basail) constituencies may find it tough to win the December 29 parliament election as they have to fight against strong rival candidates.

Gaibandha char voters want job, river erosion check

Helpless erosion victims of four disaster-prone upazilas of Gaibandha district are reluctant to cast vote this time as commitment to stop widespread erosion by River Jamuna and creating job opportunity for them remained unfulfilled in the past.

Prominent among who withdraw

A large number candidates, mostly 'rebels' and 'reformists' of different parties withdrew their nomination papers across the country yesterday, the last date for withdrawal.

Election campaign marks Eid day in Khulna

On Eid day Monday the candidates for upcoming parliamentary elections spent time not with their family members but exchanging greetings with voters of their respective constituencies.

AL, BNP nominees in Pabna-4 corruption suspects

Presidents of Pabna district committees of the AL and the BNP, both earlier arrested by the joint forces as corruption suspects, are contesting the coming parliament election in the same constituency.

Maulana Subhan to take most polls expense from party men

Senior Jamaat leader and four party candidate in Pabna-5 constituency Maulana Abdus Subhan in his nomination paper mentioned that his estimated election expenditure would be Tk 14.5 lakh and that Tk nine lakh would be collected from others while he would spend only Tk one lakh from own source.

Discord in Kapasia BNP over party nomination

Commotion has been created in Kapasia BNP over the nomination of Abdul Majid as four party candidate from the constituency.

Party rivals declare JP nominee 'unwanted'

A chaotic situation is prevailing over Jatiya Party nomination for Gaibandha-1 constituency, as the party finally decided to field 'new face' Col (rtd) Abdul Kader Khan, changing their earlier decision in favour of former lawmaker JP Joint Secretary General Wahiduzzaman Sarker to run from the seat.

Letters

Let us change ourselves

After the change of 1/11, the CTG tried its best to bring some changes in political culture, especially in the two major political parties through the minus two formula but clearly failed. The two ladies are now back again to the political arena and resumed their full activities targeting to bring their parties to power through the next general election. Some of the big fish from the major political parties probably will fail to participate in the election due to their conviction in corruption cases but most of the power aspirants are the old faces. So, there will be no qualitative change in politics and consequently in the expectations of the general people for a brighter future. Moreover, the reformist politicians are already in trouble and facing the risk of demise of their political careers.

Make Dhaka clean

Are we only supposed to dream of a clean Dhaka city? I just want to point out the huge benefits a clean road can bring to us. It has both long and short-term results, at a very small cost.

Cultural artefacts

Those who broke the cultural artefacts thinking they are doing a service to Islam are wrong. According to Islam, a sculpture or statue is simply a piece of earthly material. A devotee of Allah should not be moved by such things.

Pakistan scene

MB Naqvi very correctly identifies the real causes of Pakistan's woes and suggests the methods for combating the Taliban. His statement that Taliban are moved by an ideology and it cannot be defeated by guns because ideas cannot be killed by shooting in the head is very pertinent. But I am afraid that such ideological battle against Taliban cannot be won in Pakistan by the methods he proposed. Pakistan's very raisons d'tre is intolerance of all ideas outside religion. The national curricula from primary to tertiary level of education in Pakistan conveys the ideology of Islam only. Pakistan's official history in its textbooks describe the birth of Bangladesh as a vile conspiracy of Hindu India to exact revenge on Islamic Pakistan for the creation of the country in 1947 and Bangladesh in Pakistani public perception is still East Pakistan!! The madrassah education system in Pakistan is highly organized and developed and teaches Taliban ideology and produces its armed Jihadi battalions. The army is the self-proclaimed defender of Islam, Islamic culture and ideology in South Asia. The army actually owns the Pakistan state. The elected government in Pakistan has only outward trappings of power for exhibiting in media. Pakistan army's power lays in its guns, money and men. There are no secular social groups, civil society associations and political parties who represent the exploited illiterate people. The people are so thoroughly brainwashed that they are unable to develop a balanced view. The grip of the triumvirate mullahs, military and the punjabi-muhajir elites on society, culture, politics, economy and minds is so complete that any liberal-humanist education system based on secular worldview is unthinkable there. There are no intellectuals in Pakistan who can present a countervailing humanist ideology against the dogma proclaimed by the state. The most terrible aspect of this structure is the supremacy of ISI over every institution, organization of Pakistan and its tentacles have reached every corner of South Asia. All Jihadi organisations across the subcontinent were spawned by the ISI. And it has the support of Pentagon which nourishes it.

Poison of hatred

Fareed Zakaria's article on terrorism in Bombay published in you pages on 2nd.December has its beginning that in my views can be linked to the American proxy war in Afghanistan to throw out the Russians. That was the start given to the Jehadists. About this Zakaria states, “The Pakistan government has created, supported and financed Islamic Jehadists for decades.” This is not totally correct. Zakeria, however, conveniently forgets that this was done with the full support and financing by the USA in the first place! It was these Jehadists who fought the proxy war for the USA; while Afghanistan was fully under control of the Russians. Godless communism was an excellent political motivation for the Jihadists that led to the birth of al-Qaida, a CIA misadventure that badly misfired against them!

An appeal

We are the teachers of non-government high schools. Near about 98% students of secondary level are studying here. But we are getting a very poor salary. When a teacher lives in a poor condition, then teaching properly in classroom becomes very difficult.

Thoughts on Victory

December is here again. So will be the 16th of December. Our Victory Day. We have been celebrating Victory Day for the last 37 years. Yet we never felt like victorious in anyway. Instead we felt like vanquished with each passing year. And those, who were defeated on 16 December, 1971, smirk with arrogance and vengeance. With every passing year, these anti-liberation elements are multiplying like amoeba and slowly but steadily enwrapping our everyday lives and the way of our living.

Congratulations, Hillary!

Hearty congratulations to Hillary Rodham Clinton on her appointment as the Secretary of State of the United States of America. I also appreciate President-elect Barack Obama for the appropriate selection of the Secretary of State for his cabinet. In my opinion, Hillary is one of the most competent women in the United States for appointment to such an important post. Meanwhile, I endorse Hillary Clinton's statement which she made recently saying “America is a place founded on the idea that everyone should have the right to live up to his or her God-given potential, and it is that same ideal that must guide America's purpose in the world today. And while we are determined to defend our freedom and liberties at all costs we also reach out to the world again, seeking common cause and higher ground.”

EC's decision on FEMA

What's wrong with the Election Commission? Why have they rejected FEMA? This is a recognised and experienced organisation having thousands of real volunteer-observers throughout the country.

AL's game plan

The Awami League declared that they would form a unity government if voted to power.

“Law-avoiding” politicians

Your two front page reports (Dec:06) by Liton & Hassan; and another from Natore only goes to expose the character of almost all of our politicians who sadly represent us! For them breaking the law of the land is as common as having a cup of tea. There capability is in bluffs, lies, exploitation and fooling the people, which appears to be their expertise!

Moral erosion

Terrorism, murder, assault, mysterious deaths, hijacking, black money, child and female trafficking, acid throwing, unfair means in exams, leakage of questions, drug business, toll-extortion, adulteration of medicine and foods etcetera are the symptoms of moral erosion.

Victory, election

People of Bangladesh are going through a gripping month-- December 08. For, in this month, as always after 1971, we celebrate the victory over the occupation Pak army in Bangladesh through a concerted armed struggle with Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the founding leader. We conceded huge loss to them, but won the freedom-- we emerged as an independent nation. We mourn the monumental loss, and celebrate our historical victory at the same time --- we pledge/vow or renew the spirit that went into ousting the illegal and the ugly from the land.

Battle of Plassey

Like millions of mothers, my mother also told me the tale of Siraj and his mother-wife-daughter in my boyhood, where Siraj was sketched as a hero and Clive as a villain. Siraj was defeated in the Battle of Plassey through a conspiracy. As a result, the English ruled this land for about 190 years.

Future of Pakistan

As much as I admire the new Pakistani civil government, I feel less optimistic about whether it can finally put the genie back into the bottle that its military had created in the name of national interest. The sixty years' Indo centric policy has resulted in nothing but a weak state with no purpose and aims. Paradoxically, it has become a victim of its own creation.

International

Pressure mounts on Pakistan to crack down on militants

US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte held talks with Pakistan's president yesterday as the government came under renewed pressure to crack down on militants blamed for the Mumbai attacks.

India unveils massive security overhaul

India announced a massive overhaul of its security and intelligence agencies yesterday in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks that left 171 dead and provoked a public outcry over the government's response.

Riots and looting across Athens amid protests

Riots and looting erupted across Athens yesterday as the Greek government confronted a sixth day of violent protests over the police killing of a schoolboy.

Congress wins in 3 states

Indian's ruling Congress party has won elections in three out of the five states that released results on Monday including all three states that voted after the Mumbai terror attacks.

Pak charity a front for terrorist group: UN

A UN Security Council panel declared Wednesday that a Pakistan-based charity is a front group for the terrorist organisation blamed in the attacks on Mumbai that killed 171 people.

150 massacred in Congo

At least 150 civilians were massacred in a Democratic Republic of Congo town last month, Human Rights Watch said in a report yesterday, which strongly criticised UN peacekeepers.

6 Afghan police killed in mistaken US strike

US Special Forces killed six Afghan police and wounded 13 Wednesday in a case of mistaken identity by both sides after the police fired on the Americans during an operation against an insurgent commander.

Somali pirates hijack 2 boats as world mulls anti-piracy strategy

Pirates dodged foreign navies and hijacked another two boats even as an international conference here yesterday explored securing one of the world's busiest shipping routes off Somalia.

Illinois governor ignores Obama's call to resign

His career in shreds, Illinois Gov Rod Blagojevich clung defiantly to power Wednesday, ignoring a call to step down from President-elect Barack Obama and a warning that Senate Democrats will not let him appoint a new senator from the state.

Iraq restaurant bomb kills 45

At least 45 people were killed and 93 wounded in a suicide bomb attack on a restaurant near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk yesterday, the city's deputy police chief Torhane Yussef said.

Nobel peace laureates speak out for Suu Kyi

Nobel peace laureates opened a summit in Paris Thursday to draw world attention to the plight of Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi, but former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was forced to miss the gathering.

N Korea nuclear talks collapse with no deal

North Korean nuclear disarmament talks collapsed here yesterday after failing to reach agreement on how to determine if the secretive nation had told the truth about its atomic programmes.

UK to pullout most troops from Iraq by June

Britain announced Wednesday it will withdraw all but a handful of its 4,000 soldiers from Iraq next year, ending a mission that was unpopular at home and failed to curb the rise of Iranian-backed Shia militias in the south.

Indian bus fire kills 63

Police say the death toll after a speeding bus caught fire in northern India has risen to 63.

Abuses persist as UN rights declaration turns 60

Six decades after the United Nations endorsed the fundamental principles of our shared human rights, campaigners Wednesday demanded action to defend these values against the worst abuses.

Obama taps Nobel physicist as energy secy

President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Nobel prize-winning physicist Steven Chu, a strong advocate of alternative and renewable energy research, to be his energy secretary, US media reported yesterday.

Arts & Entertainment

Wanna festival: Going back to the roots

“Every year we eagerly await this festival called 'Wanna' which is a source of spiritual and mental rejuvenation,” said Sister Minita of Jhaljhalia Mission in Haluaghat Upazila of the district. The sixth 'Wanna' celebration was observed on December 4 and 5 with a thanksgiving to the Almighty.

Russian ballet at its best

A cultural feast awaited the audience in the packed hall of Siri Fort auditorium, New Delhi. From the word go, a superb laser display captured the show with lights flashing 2008 and a bird that seemed to fly over the heads of the audience. In the background were two screens depicting the best architecture of Russia and Indiathe Kremlin and Taj Mahal respectively. Then followed a spellbinding ballet recital by a team of Russiansbringing back memories of ace ballet dancers Dame Margot Fonteyn and the Russian Rudolph Nureyev.

Sisters who sang of hope

Rupa Farhad and Mala Khurrum, two prominent artistes of 'Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra' (SBBK) and daughters of the pioneering filmmaker Abdul Jabbar Khan, got together to share their memories of 1971. In a lively conversation, the sisters talked about their experience of the Liberation War.

Art competition for differently-abled children

A painting competition for the differently abled children was held in Pabna recently. Ankur Nursery School organised the event at the school premises. Later a cultural programme was held on the occasion.

Ditiyo Bashor on ATN Bangla

TV play “Ditiyo Bashor” will be aired on ATN Bangla tonight 8:50 pm. The play has been written and directed by veteran actor Abul Hayat.

Obak Shishu Shagor Baul on Banglavision

Shagor Baul, a six-year-old prodigy, is the subject of a special documentary on Banglavision. The documentary introduces the viewers to this phenomenon, who at the tender age of six has attained a spiritual maturity many strive for throughout their whole lives.

Ebong Jadukar on Channel i

As part its special programmes on Eid, Channel i will telecast the single-episode TV play “Ebong Jadukar” today at 4:30 pm. Written by Kamrul Hassan and directed by Abdullah Abu Sayeed, the play revolves around a magician who comes to the city in search of livelihood. He comes across three young man -- Khorshed, Majid and Helal. They become friends. The magician amazes everyone by his illusions. Everything was going fine until the three ask the magician to teach them the art of pick pocketing, so that they can get rich quick.

Italy mob drama Gomorra rules Europe Film Awards

The Italian mafia drama "Gomorra" dominated the European Film Awards last Saturday, winning five prizes including best film, best director and best actor.

OP-ED

Human Rights 2.0

AS I walk out of a hearing by a Congressional commission on the Bangladeshi human rights situation last week, the Bangladeshi ambassador to the US cordially walks up to me and says: "I believe in a lot of things that you said today, but at the end of the day we have to be realists."

Citizens, not enemies

DEBATES around religious minorities, in election season and otherwise, focus on anecdotes and analogies -- positive and negative. What is largely missing in this discussion is quantitative analysis of the religious minorities status in Bangladesh.

Talking tough with Tehran

EVERYWHERE you look in the Middle East today, Iran is threatening U.S. interests and the political order. One Arab ambassador told me recently that the Iranians are reminding Arab leaders that America didn't help Fuad Siniora, the prime minister of Lebanon, or Mikheil Saakashvili, the president of Georgia, when they got into troublethat in fact Washington left them high and dry. Iran, by contrast, is close by and not going anywhere. If the Iranians are throwing their weight around now, imagine what will happen if they go nuclear.

A dream diplomat

ABUL Ahsan was a diplomat who stood in a class all by himself. He combined brilliance with humility, and had what it took to achieve true greatness. He was the first secretary general of Saarc and also foreign secretary, ending his career as ambassador to Washington.


The Daily Star

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