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News of: Thursday, 18th of December, 2008

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CA asks armed forces to help hold fair polls

Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed has called upon the armed forces to discharge their election duties with hundred percent neutrality, honesty and transparency and extend all-out cooperation to the Election Commission for holding a free, fair and meaningful election.

Candidates' reputations proving crucial

Personal reputation of candidates contesting December 29 parliamentary election from Dhaka-7 will be an important factor in getting votes as the profiles of the previous lawmakers of the constituency were tainted by allegations of crime and corruption.

Khaleda, Hasina equally wealthy

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia owns more assets than Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina, although Khaleda's annual earning is less than her rival's, according to the wealth statements submitted by the two leaders to the Election Commission.

Rajuk goes tough on fake TIN submission

Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) will cancel allotments of plots and confiscate deposited money of applicants for both Purbachal New Town and Uttara Residential Model Town (Third Phase) projects, if they submit fake Tax Identification Numbers (TIN).

Hasina pledges peace, economic freedom

Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina yesterday said economic freedom as well as peace, prosperity and development will be ensured in Bangladesh if her party-led grand electoral alliance is voted to power.

Vote for 4-party to ensure uplift

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday urged people to take the "right decision" and vote for the four-party alliance in the December 29 parliamentary elections.

AL accuses 4-party of flouting rules

Awami League (AL) yesterday said it would lodge complaint with the Election Commission (EC) against the BNP-led four-party alliance today for violating the electoral code of conduct.

Emergency withdrawal hailed

Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma and US Ambassador in Dhaka James Moriarty have welcomed the lifting of the state of emergency.

Fog disrupts flights, ferry services

Dense fog enveloped vast areas for hours yesterday morning disrupting road, river and air communications affecting life across the country.

Rajuk extends time for plot application

Due to huge rush of applicants, Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) yesterday extended the time limit both for collecting and submitting application forms for plots at Purbachal New Town project and Uttara Model Town (Third phase).

Fugitive JMB convict arrested

Members of Barisal Metropolitan Police (BMP) in a pre-dawn drive yesterday arrested a fugitive convict belonging to the outlawed militant outfit - Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) - from Savar in Dhaka.

Opec okays record output cut of 2.2m barrels a day

Opec yesterday approved a record output cut of 2.2 million barrels of oil a day as the cartel that pumps 40 percent of world crude seeks to boost tumbling prices.

Plaintiff wants to drop case against Tarique

Businessman Amin Ahmed Bhuiyan has decided to withdraw the case he filed against former prime minister and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's eldest son Tarique Rahman for extortion of Tk 1 crore.

Appellate Division running with fewer judges for long

Two posts of judges in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (SC) are lying vacant for long although the Supreme Judicial Commission recommended names of possible appointees more than two months ago.

Birds falling prey to traps

Around 200 birds of various species were killed in the last 20 days after getting tangled up in illegal fine nets while flying around a fruit orchard at Chandipur in the city.

ETV reporter, 2 others hurt in accident

ETV reporter Rashed Ahmed and two crewmen of the private TV channel were injured in a road accident in Sirajganj as a bus hit their microbus following BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's motorcade yesterday.

CPB accuses big parties of violating rules

Leaders of Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) yesterday alleged that the two major political parties being favoured by the administration are violating electoral code of conduct during electioneering.

SC asks EC to accept Zafar's nomination

The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday directed the Election Commission (EC) to accept nominations of Kazi Zafar Ahmed of Jatiya Party and engineer Abdus Sobhan and Abdul Gafur Bhuiyan of BNP for contesting the next parliamentary election.

Indian parliament debates tough anti-terror laws

India’s parliament yesterday debated tougher anti-terrorism laws and a plan to set up an FBI-style agency designed to plug gaping security holes exposed by last month's Mumbai attacks.

UK troops to leave Iraq by July next yr

Gordon Brown and Iraqi prime minister Nouri Maliki say UK forces will have "completed their tasks" and leave the country by the end of July next year.

Iraqi doctor jailed for life for failed British bombings

A British court yesterday ordered a life jail term against an Iraqi doctor for trying to murder hundreds of people in failed car bombings in London and Glasgow last year.

Bush attacker appears before Iraqi judge

The Iraqi journalist who became an instant media star for hurling his shoes at US President George W Bush appeared yesterday before a judge investigating the incident, his brother said.


Jamaat's version of history

THE Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, a political party still unrepentant of its 1971 role, seems to miss no opportunity to hit out at the principles and events that form the very foundation of our nationhood. Not long ago, the party's general secretary deliberately insulted our Independence War and our freedom fighters by claiming that our liberation war was nothing but a civil war and also that there were no war criminals in Bangladesh! Later he also said, "If we had the same strength in '71 as we have today, then history would have been different."

If the shoe fits

LET us start by saying that we in no way condone the throwing of shoes at public officials of any country. Such a demonstration runs quite counter to our sense of appropriate conduct and common decency that should be afforded a visiting head of state. Indeed, it runs quite counter to Iraq's own gracious Arab culture of hospitality towards guests and respect for all.

The kind of leaders we want to have

AS a nation we are passing through a crucial time of transition. Very soon, we are going to elect our political leaders. We wish to have people in government who will take the nation towards the path of authentic democracy.

A turning point

THE recent carnage in Mumbai is terrifying. Indians are entitled to be angry, hurt and disgusted. The Indian government has alleged that initial evidence indicates that some of the terrorists came from a "neighbouring country." Even though the prime minister of India has not accused the Pakistani government of being involved in the attacks, it is apparent who the "neighbour" is.


Tons of difference

Rezaul Karim gave Barisal a real scare when his maiden first-class century almost gave Chittagong a victory, while in Khulna the hosts won by 170 runs despite Mahmudullah Riyad's 152 on the fourth day of the National Cricket League's ninth round yesterday.

Lanka arrive today

On their second full trip, the Sri Lanka cricket team will arrive in Dhaka today to play two Tests and a tri-nation one-day series.

Adjustment key: Mahela

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene on Tuesday said the greatest challenge facing Sri Lanka in Bangladesh is to try to adjust to the conditions and the pitches as quickly as possible.

Exciting day at WACA

Round one of the battle between the world's top-ranked teams could not have been more magnetic on a first day when the sides swayed between being in control and needing to catch up.

Bolt the best

Triple Olympic champion sprinter Usain Bolt was named as "Champion of Champions for 2008" on Wednesday by French sports daily L'Equipe.

About time Rahul scored

Struggling Rahul Dravid begins the second Test against England here from Friday knowing he needs to come good not only for the team's sake, but also his own.

Tendulkar the happiest & healthiest!

Cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar was on Wednesday named in a poll as India's happiest and healthiest role model for youngsters.

Bangladesh move up in rankings

Bangladesh have moved up by 7 places in the FIFA-Coca Cola World rankings for the month of December 2008.

B. League resumes today

The CityCell B. League will resume today after an 11-day break for Eid ul Azha with three matches featured on the day at different venues across the country.

Gamba test for MU

A defiant Gamba Osaka insist they are not afraid of Manchester United, but the Japanese team face a daunting task against the European champions in their Club World Cup semifinal Thursday.

Rio writes off Gunners

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has written off Arsenal's title hopes, believing it will become a three-way battle between the defending champions, Chelsea and Liverpool.

Spurs eye next round

Few would have expected relegation from the English Premiership to cloud the thoughts of Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City during their UEFA Cup forays this season.

Liga storm into final

Ecuador's Liga de Quito stormed into the final of the Club World Cup on Wednesday with a 2-0 defeat of Mexico's Pachuca, setting up a potential clash with Manchester United.

Rovers appoint Allardyce

Former Bolton and Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce was appointed the manager of Blackburn Rovers on a three-year contract, the English Premier League strugglers announced Wednesday, a day after they had sacked Paul Ince.

Scholes has 2 years left in him

Sir Alex Ferguson sung the praises of Paul Scholes on Wednesday, saying he believed he had another two years left in him.

Pompey accept Diarra bid

Portsmouth have accepted a "substantial bid" from Real Madrid for Lassana Diarra, the Premier League club said in a statement on their website here Wednesday.

Kewell needs a month

Star Australian footballer Harry Kewell expects to return to training within a month following a hernia operation in Sydney, national team coach Pim Verbeek said Wednesday.

Eduardo makes successful return

Arsenal's Croatian international striker Eduardo made a successful return to action after being out for 10 months after suffering a broken left leg and dislocating his left ankle.

Nadal honoured

World No.1s Rafael Nadal of Spain and Jelena Jankovic of Serbia were named on Wednesday as World Champions for 2008 by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

Selection headache for England

England faced a selection dilemma on Wednesday as they searched for the right combination to force a series-levelling win over India in the final Test here.

Lorgat asks officials to get tougher

International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Haroon Lorgat has told Test match referees and umpires to come down hard on slow over-rates and verbal abuse.

Sourav sings Yuvraj song

Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly on Wednesday expressed full confidence in Yuvraj Singh, saying he was sure the Punjab batsman would establish himself as one of the top Test cricketers.

V-day tennis

Arvind Fernando thumped Komol Roy in straight sets in the qualifying round of the Popular Pharmaceuticals Victory Day tennis tournament at the National Tennis Complex yesterday.

Oram hits back at McMillan

Injury-prone New Zealand all-rounder Jacob Oram hit back Wednesday at suggestions by former teammate Craig McMillan that he seems too ready to pull out of games with injuries.

Honeymoon over for Allen?

Texan billionaire Allen Stanford is set to turn his back on cricket after losing 40 million dollars on his million-dollar-a-man series, a report said Wednesday.

A Japanese Odyssey on

A 59-year-old Japanese comedian embarked on an epic two-year journey Wednesday to run and sail 36,000 kilometres (22,500 miles) around the world and promote Tokyo's bid for the 2016 Olympics.

India improved most: Misbah

Misbahul Haq, the Pakistan vice-captain, believes India is the most improved side in international cricket and hopes the team tours Pakistan next month in what he expects will be an exciting series.


Leather exports may suffer slump

A 25 percent drop in leather exports is likely this year, influenced by a slump in demand in international markets, despite higher collection of rawhide, industry experts fear.

Migrant worker rights in spotlight

Rights activists yesterday urged the government and international organisations to speed up efforts to uphold the rights of migrant workers, as the country observes International Migrants Day today.

House finance body to expand horizon

In the wake of increasing demand for housing loans, the Bangladesh House Building Finance Corporation (BHBFC) eyes enhancing its funding capacity, officials said.

Fed steps up credit battle

The Federal Reserve used up its ammunition on monetary policy Tuesday by slashing its base lending rate to virtually zero but pledged further efforts to stimulate credit and revive a moribund economy.

Global migrants face squeeze, says ILO

Millions of migrant workers face layoffs and worsening conditions as the global financial crisis bites in the countries where they are employed, the International Labour Organisation said Wednesday.

Brand Bangladesh well

A strong marketing campaign, which has been done successfully by many countries, can put Bangladesh in the ranks of emerging economies, said a top Citi NA official.

Land of holidays

Just how many days of holiday do we really need? Bangladesh shut down for business on December 8, 2008. And remained officially almost fully closed for the next five days and is not expected to get back to full 'normalcy' till the 20th. And by closed I do not mean just government offices and corporations but private firms, factories, stores, construction sites, newspapers, and even the Dhaka Stock Exchange. So we basically shut down business for almost 12 days with a few halfhearted working days thrown in between so that our lack of any sort of work culture is not too blatant.

Aziz blasts audit officials for bias

Finance Adviser AB Mirza Azizul Islam yesterday criticised officials of the audit and accounts department, saying that many of them often submit biased opinion on the accounts to remain in the good book of the leaders of political government.

Well intervention programme in Sangu begins

Cairn and its joint venture partners have commenced a well intervention programme to help raise gas production from the Sangu field in the Bay of Bengal, which has been operating for more than a decade.

North Korea restricts market trading

North Korea has clamped down on fast-growing free markets for fear they could undermine the communist state's power over its people, analysts and observers say.

GP-DPDC accord on e-bill service

Grameenphone Ltd and Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC) signed an agreement to jointly launch the electronic bill payment service BillPay, first of its kind, for DPDC consumers, according to a press statement.

Popular Pharma to enter Nigeria market

Popular Pharmaceuticals Ltd signed an agreement recently to export formulations to Generic Global Ltd, Nigeria, according to a press release.

Honda slashes forecasts as auto turmoil deepens

Honda Motor Co. on Wednesday slashed its profit forecast by more than half for this year, its third cut as the global economic crisis takes a heavier toll on the auto industry.

British jobless claims surge in November

The number of people claiming jobless benefits in Britain leapt in November by the biggest monthly amount for more than 17 years, official data showed on Wednesday.

BAFEDA elects chairman

The executive committee of Bangladesh Foreign Exchange Dealers' Association (BAFEDA) has elected Syed Abu Naser Bukhtear Ahmed as the chairman of the committee for 2009-10, according to a press statement issued yesterday.

Stocks down on price resetting

Price indices on the Dhaka Stock Exchange fell yesterday due mainly to the price adjustment of Social Investment Bank, Eastern Bank, National Polymer and Titas Gas after transactions of their corporate benefits.

Dollar tumbles to 13-year low

The dollar slid to 13-year lows against the yen in Asian trade Wednesday after the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates to near zero as it struggles to curb an accelerating economic downturn.

AirAsia offers 100,000 free tickets to Thailand

Budget carrier AirAsia on Wednesday offered 100,000 free seats to Thailand to lure back foreign visitors after a siege of Bangkok's airports by anti-government protesters.

Troubled automaker GM opens new plant in China

Beleaguered auto giant General Motors opened a new joint venture factory in northeast China Wednesday, as it sharply cut back capacity in the United States due to the rapid economic downturn.

Indian IT firm Satyam cancels Maytas acquisition

India's fourth biggest software exporter, Satyam Computer, on Wednesday abruptly reversed its decision to buy infrastructure firm Maytas Properties, saying investors had rejected the plan.

Philippines, Qatar to set up billion-dollar investment fund

The governments of the Philippines and Qatar are to set up an investment fund worth more than a billion dollars, cabinet officials in Manila said Wednesday.


N'ganj road accident kills six

At least six people, including a couple, were killed in an accident on Dhaka-Sylhet highway when a private car plunged into a pond at Purinda in Araihazar upazila of the district early yesterday.

5-layer security for trouble-free polls

Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) has projected a five-layer security for holding a free, fair and trouble-free election slated for December 29.

17 lakh poor pregnant women to be deprived of safety net

More than 17 lakh poverty-stricken pregnant women would be left out from the government's safety net programme due to lack of budget while the process of selecting pregnant mothers has been questioned owing to involvement of people's representatives at field level.

30m Euro Dutch support for edn

The Netherlands government will give 30 million Euro equivalent to Tk 287 crore to Friends in Village Development Bangladesh (FIVDB) under a five-year agreement to implement “Jonoshilon” (Popular Education).

Bombs recovered from Dinajpur madrasa

Local police yesterday recovered some explosive gels from the classroom of a madrasa at Ashkarpur union under Sadar upazila in the district.

Steps taken to reduce traffic jam, pollution in 15 yrs: CA

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday said the housing problem, traffic congestion and environment pollution in the capital would be reduced to a large extent in next 15 years with the implementation of the short, long and mid-term plans and programmes taken by the caretaker government.

Voter roll almost error-free: Survey

The voter roll 2008 prepared by the Election Commission for the 9th parliamentary election has almost no errors of duplicate names and erroneous entries, while missing from the list stands less than 2.5 percent.

$149m WB help to improve services

World Bank will provide US $149 million to Bangladesh to improve and sustain water and sanitation services in Dhaka, one of the fastest growing mega-cities in the world.

'Appoint officer-in-charge by today'

The government yesterday asked all concerned authorities to appoint an office-in-charge in all ministries, divisions, directorates, departments and NGOs by today as per the Right to Information (RTI) Ordinance-2008.

CMP collects flat info to avert untoward incident

Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) yesterday started distributing stickers and forms among the building owners to collect whereabouts of their tenants to prevent position of any miscreants, extremists and terrorists.

NDI launches polling agent manual for election

National Democratic Institute (NDI) yesterday released 380,000 pocket-size polling agent manuals for December 29 general election at a programme in the city.

HC asks EC to give boat symbol to Matiur, Habib

The High Court (HC) yesterday directed the Election Commission (EC) to allocate 'Boat' as election symbol to Principal Matiur Rahman and Habibur Rahman Mollah who are contesting as Awmi League (AL) candidates in December 29 parliamentary election from Mymensingh-4 and Dhaka-5 respectively.

CA to go on vacation on completion of his tenure

With the end of the caretaker government's mission now in sight, Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday said he would go on a vacation on completion of his responsibilities as the head of the caretaker government.

3 pvt varsity students held on charges of lifting car

Three private university students were arrested in the city on Tuesday night on charges of lifting a private car.

Warm clothes for orphans

The Leo Club of Dhaka Heaven Plus, district 315 B-2, recently distributed warm clothes among 150 orphans at Bottomly Home Orphanage at Farmgate in the city, says a press release.

Shibir cadres attack Pabna BCL leader

A Chhatra League leader was injured as Shibir cadres attacked him on Tuesday night at Peerpur village under Sadar upazila in the district.

Skilled govt-NGOs for tobacco control campaign stressed

The government and the NGOs have to be more skilled for expediting tobacco control campaign, said National Professor Dr MR Khan said yesterday.

2 fishermen die after taking puffer fish

Two fishermen died and two others fell sick after taking puffer fish in Khulna on Tuesday evening.

Condolence meet on Nurul Islam today

Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad (Skop) will hold a citizens' condolence meeting in memory of late Md Nurul Islam, president of Bangladesh Trade Union Kendra, at the Central Shaheed Minar in the city at 3:00pm today, says a press release.

5 Hizbut Tauhid men arrested

Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) yesterday arrested five operatives of Hizbut Tauhid, an Islamist outfit, at Shimulia in Kaliakoir, Gazipur.

Teenage girl shoots father

A teenage girl shot and injured her father in their house at Porabari village in Gazipur yesterday as he continued to turn a blind eye to the torture of the girl by her stepmother.

BTV, Betar start airing speech of political leaders

Bangladesh Television (BTV) and Bangladesh Betar yesterday started airing the speech of the leaders of political parties live ahead of the national elections.

Stay order extended

The High Court yesterday extended a stay order for six more weeks on Dhaka University's new admission rules disqualifying Aleem graduates from admission to seven departments of the university.

Charges pressed against joint secy in graft case

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday pressed charges against Rafiqul B Mehmud, a joint secretary (official on special duty) to establishment ministry, in a case filed for amassing wealth worth Tk 30.60 lakh illegally and concealing wealth information to the commission.


16 years over, Shokrana yet to be tried for graft

The trial of Tk 3.13 crore food grain and gunny bag embezzlement case filed about 16 years ago against nine persons including four party alliance candidate in Bogra-1 (Sariakandi-Sonatola) constituency Mohammad Shokrana has not yet started.

Internal rivalry clouds prospects of alliances

Internal rivalry and nomination aggrieved aspirants may put AL-led grand alliance and BNP-led 4-party alliance candidates in troubles in five, out of 16 constituencies, in Chittagong.

Indigenous people to cast 'No' vote to protest false pledges of past MPs

The indigenous people of Dinajpur-6 constituency would cast 'No' votes this time as no candidate in the past fulfilled their election pledges on the issues of local indigenous people or commitments including solution to land grabbing and realising of their constitutional rights.

Muhith's pre-poll salvo against rival Saifur

Grand alliance nominee in Sylhet-1 constituency AMA Muhith yesterday said BNP nominee former finance minister Saifur Rahman can not shirk responsibilities for misdeeds done during 4-party alliance rule.

Minu sings again his gas pipeline song

Four-party alliance candidate in Rajshahi-2 constituency Mizanur Rahman Minu again pledged yesterday that if elected, he will ensure pipeline gas supply in Rajshahi.

112 out of 162 polling centres vulnerable

Of the 162 polling centres in Bandarban parliamentary seat 112 have been marked as "important" or "risky", according to police.

Waaj main source of his income

The lion's share of the annual income of a candidate in Meherpur-1 constituency comes from waaj mahfils.

Ershad sees grand victory for grand alliance

Jatiya Party (JP) Chairman HM Ershad yesterday claimed that the grand alliance would secure a 'landslide victory' in the upcoming election as people want a change in real sense.

Daud's men lock BNP office in Panchhari

Supporters of independent candidate Md Daudul Islam Bhuiyan yesterday locked the Panchhari upazila BNP office.

Face to face with voters in Meherpur

Four candidates in two constituencies in Meherpur yesterday faced voters at a question-answer session, organised by Shushasenar Jonnya Nagorik (Sujon), a citizen's forum for good governance.

4-party runner sued for poll violence

Four-party alliance candidate former lawmaker Sharif Khashruzzaman has been sued for resorting to election violence.

Rangamati may witness a triangular fight

With Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (PCJSS) participating in the parliamentary election in Chittagong Hill Tracts for the first time, Rangamati constituency may see a triangular fight, political analysts said.

Shibir cadres attack BCL leader

A local leader of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) was injured as the cadres of Islami Chhatra Shibir attacked him at village Peerpur in Pabna Sadar upazila when he was returning home after an election campaign on Tuesday night .

Stopping river erosion will be 'first task,' all 4 say

Four candidates in Chandpur-3 constituency in a "Face the Voters" programme Wednesday pledged that if elected their first task would be to check river erosion using all government allocation for the purpose and there will be no corruption regarding this.

Rawshan lone woman runner in Mymensingh

Jatiya Party presidium member Rawshan Ershad is the only woman in the district among 70 candidates running for December 29 parliamentary polls.

Empty Promises In Barisal

Construction of Taltali Bridge over the Taltali River has remained incomplete although the matter was included in the election pledges of three former lawmakers.

Fight between in-laws puts relatives in dilemma

Former minister and Bangladesh Jatiya Party (Matin) President Dr M A Matin is contesting against his brother-in-law and a former BNP state minister Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku's wife Romana Mahmud in Sirajganj-2 constituency (Sirajganj sadar).

344 Dinajpur polling centres vulnerable

Three hundred forty-four polling centres have been identified as risky in 13 upazilas.

How will they now bridge this gap?

Construction of Taltali Bridge over the Taltali River has remained incomplete although the matter was included in the election pledges of three former lawmakers.


Pakistan calls Mumbai attacks 'setback' for peace

Pakistan's foreign minister expressed regret yesterday that the Mumbai attacks had halted the peace process with India, but said relations between the two nuclear-armed nations would recover.

Lanka troops step up air strikes in the north

Sri Lanka stepped up air attacks in the north yesterday, a day after troops and Tamil Tigers fought intense ground battles around the rebels' stronghold that left hundreds dead and wounded.

Badawi's final mission is to cool racial tensions

Malaysia's prime minister said yesterday that his final mission is to cool racial and religious tensions in this multiethnic country, as he rushes through a raft of reforms in his last weeks in office.

Rocket fire raises concern over Gaza truce

Renewed rocket fire from the Gaza Strip targeted Israel yesterday amid concern that violence could flare up further as a six-month truce in and around the Palestinian territory ends this week.

US troops kill 3 Qaeda militants in Afghanistan

US troops and Afghan police killed three militants in an overnight raid on a compound housing people with al-Qaeda links in eastern Afghanistan, the US military said yesterday.

EU parliament approves climate change package

The European Parliament yesterday approved the EU's climate change package, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020, lifting the last hurdle to the ambitious plan.

France heads into christmas period on terror alert

Shoppers were being searched yesterday before being allowed into one of Paris's top department stores as France moved into its hectic Christmas shopping period on terror alert.

N Korea says border closure will continue

North Korea will continue its strict restrictions on contacts with South Korea because Seoul's calls for dialogue are two-faced, a senior Pyongyang official was quoted as saying yesterday.

UN war crimes court to rule on Rwanda genocide

The UN-backed tribunal for Rwanda will today give its verdict on the alleged mastermind of the 1994 genocide there, in which some 800,000 people were killed.

Militants attack Nato tanker in Pakistan

Gunmen in Pakistan have attacked a fuel tanker destined for Nato forces in Afghanistan, in the latest attack targeting the coalition's supply lines, police said yesterday.

Bird flu in China 'not a real concern'

The United Nations yesterday played down fears over an outbreak of bird flu in China -- saying a few cases in winter wasn't a worry.

New Thai PM calls for reconciliation

New Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday he would launch a "grand plan of reconciliation" to take the country forward economically and politically after months of turmoil.

EU assembly awards prize to Chinese dissident

The European Parliament officially awarded its prestigious Sakharov rights prize in absentia to jailed Chinese dissident Hu Jia yesterday, whose nomination deeply angered Beijing.

Top militants killed as Kashmir votes

Indian troops killed two top Muslim rebels in Kashmir yesterday and clashed with protesters as the disputed region's Indian zone held the latest leg of multi-stage elections.

Turkey bombs Kurd rebels in Iraq

Turkish fighter jets yesterday bombed Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq, the second raid in as many days, the military said in a statement.

S Africa refuses to join calls for Mugabe to quit

South African President Kgalema Motlanthe refused yesterday to join calls for Robert Mugabe to quit, expressing hope that Zimbabwe's stalled power-sharing agreement will be implemented this week.

Russia to deploy new missile systems by 2020

Russia's armed forces will be equipped with new nuclear-capable missiles by 2020 that can overcome defensive measures like the controversial US missile shield, the military said yesterday.

Arts & Entertainment

SSJ’s Victory Day celebration ends

The four-day celebration by Shammilita Sangskritik Jote (SSJ) on the occasion of Victory Day ended on December 16. Programmes started simultaneously at the Central Shaheed Minar premises and Rabindra Sarobar, Dhanmondi on December 13. With the slogan "Konthey Tolo Bijoy-er Shur, Akutobhay Ekattur" the programme featured songs, theatre, dance, recitation and more.

Victory day observed in Pabna

Cultural organisations of Pabna celebrated Victory Day in the district. Pabna Drama Circle, Sammilito Sangskritik Jote, Pabna Gonoshilpi Sangstha, Horizon Shilpi Samproday and others celebrated the day with special programmes.

Disney to launch free TV channel in Russia

The Walt Disney Co and Media-One Holdings Ltd on Tuesday unveiled plans to launch a nationwide, free-to-air television channel in Russia in 2009, populated by Disney Channel and locally produced programming.


A manifesto of mockery

THIS article is an analysis of the 36-point election manifesto that BNP has unveiled for the forthcoming general election, in which a few vital points will receive attention vis-ŕ-vis the performance of the last BNP government in those spheres.

Shame on them

MALE children are what parents usually pine for in this part of the world we live in. It is parents' indomitable desire of to live after their death through their progeny that drives them crazy for a male child. This desire is more pronounced in men, which leads to many otherwise happily married couples ending up in divorce because the wife failed to give birth to a child, let alone a male child.

The scalding truth

THE Dhaka-Chittagong Highway bus accident in Comilla shattered the lives of many passengers when an acid-laden truck rammed into the bus. Five people died on the spot. Several more died in hospital from severe acid burns, one of them a baby boy, Ahnaf, of two months.

Zardari: 'I am a victim here'

Weymouth: It has been reported that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency had links with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and that it shared intelligence with LeT on Kashmir. Do you believe that to be true?

Star Chittagong

Plan to reconstruct Mughal era mosque

Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) has taken a project of Tk 200 crore to expand and reconstruct Anderkilla Shahi Jame Masjid, a 340-year-old hilltop mosque of Mughal era in the port city.

The Week That Was

Community police formed

Speakers stressed the need for establishing community police system in different areas in the port city in order to reduce the gap between police and mass people.

The Daily Star

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