The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Monday, November 24, 2014


News of: Friday, 19th of December, 2008

Front Page

ACC finds Koko's Tk 11cr stashed in S'pore bank

Arafat Rahman Koko, youngest son of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, has foreign currencies worth around Tk 11.43 crore deposited in a Singapore bank but he concealed its information in his wealth statement submitted to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

EC in deep soup as court clears more JS polls candidates

The Election Commission (EC) yesterday decided to allow 21 candidates it had ruled out earlier to be in the parliamentary race on orders from the Supreme Court (SC).

Khaleda doubts EC neutrality, fair polls

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia said her party will not accept any "plan" to hand over power to a "puppet government" through the polls.

Hasina for secular, hunger-free country

Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina yesterday pledged to take measurers to stop repression on religious minorities and build a developed Bangladesh free from poverty and hunger, if voted to power.

Terrors back in guise of poll campaigners

Terrors and extortionists who went into hiding after declaration of the state of emergency are returning to the capital and taking part in election campaigns besides criminal activities along with their accomplices in most city areas.

4-party faces rebel threat in 29 seats

The BNP-led four-party alliance faces trouble in at least 29 constituencies across the country in this election as rebel leaders of alliance partners could take away large chunks of votes from alliance nominees.

Tight security for JS polls

The army started fanning out to different destinations across the country yesterday for deployment from tomorrow while the law enforcement agencies assured the Election Commission (EC) of maintaining a peaceful atmosphere for holding a free and fair national election.

Overseas employment heads for bad days

Bangladesh is likely to experience a sharp fall in overseas employment from February due to slowdown in construction industry in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other Middle Eastern countries following sharp price fall of oil, say officials and businesses.

Alamgir, Babar get back candidacy

Chamber judge of the Supreme Court's Appellate Division yesterday directed the Election Commission to accept the candidacy of Awami League leader Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir and BNP leader Lutfozzaman Babar for the December 29 general election.

AL complains to EC against 4-party leaders

Awami League (AL) yesterday lodged a written complaint with the Election Commission (EC) against the 4-party alliance leaders for violating the electoral code of conduct.

300 candidates identified as loan defaulters

Bangladesh Bank (BB) has so far identified 300 out of the total 9,961 candidates for upazila election as loan defaulters and sent their list to the Election Commission.

Human haulier ploughs into AL procession

A Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activist died yesterday and 15 Awami League (AL) workers were injured when a human haulier ploughed into an election campaign procession at Kaliakoir in Gazipur.

14,000 villages have no schools

Although some progress has been made in increasing enrolment in primary schools, there are still 14,000 villages in the country where there are no schools at all.

UN chief hails emergency withdrawal

United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the lifting of the state of emergency in Bangladesh.

Saifur, Muhith rely on help from family

M Saifur Rahman and Abul Mal Abdul Muhith, who are fighting in Sylhet-1 constituency for the second time from BNP and Awami League respectively, would bear election expenditures with support from family members.

MoU signed with CMC for future development

The Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Ltd (BCMCL) yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Chinese company CMC for completion of the construction of its mines as well as for its future development.

HC declares detention of Falu illegal

The High Court (HC) yesterday declared illegal the detention of former BNP lawmaker Mosaddak Ali Falu.

Lankan cricketers arrive

The Sri Lanka cricket team arrived here yesterday to play two Tests and a tri-nation one-day series.

UN tribunal jails mastermind for war crime

A UN-backed tribunal yesterday sentenced the man accused of having masterminded the country's 1994 genocide to life in prison for his part in the massacres that killed some 800,000 people.

War heroes to mobilise public opinion against war criminals

The Sector Commanders Forum in a bid to mobilise public opinion against anti-liberation war forces will visit constituencies where alleged war criminals are contesting the upcoming polls.

50 interior ministry officials held over Iraq coup plot

Iraq has arrested about 50 interior ministry officials accused of plotting a coup against the Shia-led government, a senior security official said yesterday.

Pakistan govt summons Indian envoy over airspace violations

Pakistan yesterday summoned a top Indian diplomat to convey Islamabad's concern over recent violations of its airspace by Indian fighter jets, the foreign ministry said.

Editorial

So far, a job well done

THE Chief Advisor's call to the armed forces to discharge their election duties with total neutrality and transparency is timely and necessary. So far, the armed forces have done a creditable job of ensuring that a proper election takes place, which was earlier rendered totally impossible with a partisan EC and voter list that contained the names of 13 million false voters.

Metropolis development plan

IT is disconcerting to note from a report appearing in this newspaper that the Detailed Area Plan (DAP) for Dhaka metropolitan area is all but ready to get the government nod despite having some serious flaws. Experts in the field have expressed their reservations about the plan, and although the ministry contends that the matter has been given a public hearing, such matters deserve serious examination rather than being publicly debated, a procedure that in itself can at best be termed as perfunctory.

Alliances have consequences

IN between elections, it seems as though the country is firmly united against both the elements that were opposed to the liberation war in 1971 as well as those who would try to misuse religion for their own political gain.

Projection politics

OVER the last few decades, Bangladesh has developed some unique forms of political culture, which have not only retarded social and economic developments as expected but also have driven the whole nations towards backwardness. "Projection" is one of the conspicuous political traits practiced in Bangladesh.

Winter, war and refugee camps

SO, what were you doing in December, 1971?," asked a colleague the other day. Every year at this time, as well as in the month of March, I remember vividly the birth of Bangladesh in 1971. In charge of Oxfam's refugee relief program covering 500,000 refugees, I was very worried about the onset of winter as many of the camps in which we were working were in very cold areas of North Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura.

Sports

Enamul back for Tigers

Enamul Haque returned to the national fold after a gap of almost one year while the national selectors also recalled batsman Rajin Saleh for the upcoming Tests against Sri Lanka that begins on December 26.

Mahela has India win on mind

Sri Lanka cricket team arrived in the capital yesterday and captain Mahela Jayawardene made it clear that they are determined to maintain their supremacy against the Tigers.

Goals galore

Goals flew left and right on resumption of the B. League with Brothers Union and Chittagong Abahani claiming huge wins while giants Mohammedan Sporting Club ensured a successful trip down south with a 1-0 win over Khulna Abahani yesterday.

India call Pak tour off

The Indian cricket board Thursday cancelled next year's tour of Pakistan on instructions from the government in the wake of the Mumbai siege.

Johnson wrecks SA

Mitchell Johnson ruined South Africa's brave pushes for safety with a dramatic seven-wicket haul that included five late breakthroughs as the visitors spluttered to 243 for eight at stumps on the second day of the first Test against Australia at the WACA on Thursday.

England in a dilemma

An unpredictable wicket and India's awesome recent form have forced England to delay naming their team for the must-win second Test starting here Friday.

Indian greats welcome govt decision

Former cricketers yesterday welcomed the government's decision to call off the Indian team's tour of Pakistan, saying it was not the right time to play cricket under the tense atmosphere between the two countries in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.

V-day tennis

Amol Roy thumped Rafiqul Islam in straight sets in the first round of the Popular Pharmaceuticals Victory Day tennis tournament at the National Tennis Complex yesterday.

Fergie backs 6+5 plan

Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson has backed FIFA's plan to limit the number of foreign players at clubs, saying it is crucial to help develop local talent.

Vucinic fires Roma

Montenegro striker Mirko Vucinic scored a late brace as holders AS Roma qualified for the Italian Cup quarterfinals with a 2-0 victory at home to Bologna.

MU overwhelm Gamba

Manchester United overpowered Japan's Gamba Osaka 5-3 to book their place in the Club World Cup final on Thursday, with six goals in a breathless 17 minutes.

Depo thru' to next round

Deportivo La Coruna qualified by the back door from the UEFA Cup group stages as the 2004 Champions League semifinalists struck a late winner through Rodolfo Bodipo for a 1-0 victory at home to Nancy.

Not Bayern, says Salgado

Germany's Bayern Munich have been singled out by Real Madrid defender Michel Salgado as the side he most hopes to avoid in Friday's draw for the last 16 of the Champions League.

Eduardo eyes Croatia return

Arsenal's Brazil-born forward Eduardo Da Silva said he is itching to return to international football, with his adopted country of Croatia, in a friendly against Romania in February 2009.

Uefa Cup Results

Collated results in the UEFA Cup final round of group matches on Wednesday:

Real recall Parejo

Injury-hit Spanish giants Real Madrid on Wednesday recalled Spanish Under-21 midfielder Daniel Parejo from his loan spell at English Championship side Queens Park Rangers.

UCL remains lucrative

The winners of this season's Champions League can expect to make 110.35 million euros according to a new study.

NZ, WI neck and neck

New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori believes there is little separating his team and the West Indies going into Friday's decisive second cricket Test here.

PCB turns to Lanka

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has moved on swiftly from the cancellation of India's tour, making an official request to Sri Lanka to visit in India's place while expressing its disappointment at the Indian board's decision.

Asif hearing in London

Pakistan's Mohammad Asif will face an Indian doping tribunal in London next month after the hearing was shifted to a neutral venue at the fast bowler's request, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Lewis on remand

Former England all-rounder Chris Lewis was remanded in custody on Wednesday after being charged with attempting to smuggle cocaine with an estimated street value of 200,000 pounds into Britain.

Business

Don't shut migrant workers out

Both local and international organisations yesterday ratcheted up calls to recognise positive contributions that migrant workers can make to economic growth, as millions of migrant workers face layoffs around the world.

BMTF rolls out parking lift project

Bangladesh Machine Tools Factory Ltd (BMTF), a commercial venture operated by Bangladesh Army, yesterday launched a project to make eco-parking machine jointly with a Japanese firm.

Finance adviser asks BHBFC to lower lending rate

The finance adviser has asked the Bangladesh House Building Finance Corporation (BHBFC) for providing loans at an interest lower than the private sector housing financiers offer.

Lankan bank gets 80pc stake in Capital Market Services

A Sri Lankan bank, NDB, has signed a deal with Capital Market Services Ltd, powering itself to a majority stakeholder in the local merchant bank.

CA urges concerted steps to raise milk output

Chief Adviser Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday said it is urgent to take concerted steps to increase milk production in the country.

Survey stresses BBBF's strong role in development

The Bangladesh Better Business Forum (BBBF) can better analyse business situations and help execute superior policy for the development of the country, said a survey conducted by International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Bangladesh Investment Climate Fund (BICF).

RRC moves on forex law

The Regulatory Reforms Commission (RRC) yesterday directed business organisations to gather feedback on a proposal to amend the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act to make the law user-friendly.

Asia investors watch for rate cut

Asian stocks saw modest gains on Thursday as investors watched out for interest rate cuts, with Japan looking poised to slash its rate near zero to tackle a sharp economic downturn, dealers said.

White House sees bankruptcy an option for carmakers

Bankruptcy is one of the options being considered by the US administration for ailing US automakers, the White House said Thursday, adding a decision on what to do was close.

Oil output cut no quick fix

OPEC on Wednesday agreed on a deepest-ever net cut of 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) as of Jan 1, bringing the total output cut in 2008 to 4.2 million bpd, in another attempt to bolster sagging oil prices under the global economic slowdown.

WB sees worldwide problem in 2009

The president of the World Bank warned Thursday of a worldwide struggle in the first half of 2009 as a deepening global economic crisis hits Asian countries.

Stocks bounce back

Price indices on the Dhaka Stock Exchange bounced back from losing trend yesterday, the last trading session of the week, amid investors' increased participation.

Oil rises

Oil prices held firm on Thursday, after earlier striking the lowest points for more than four years, as traders questioned whether OPEC's record output cut would be fully enforced.

Rate cut on cards as Bank of Japan meets

The Bank of Japan met Thursday amid growing expectations it would cut interest rates to rock-bottom, as the government gave its strongest hint yet that it could intervene to bring down the soaring yen.

Credit Agricole to raise stake in Japan's Resona

France's Credit Agricole bank said Thursday it would pay 575 million dollars to raise its share in Japan's Resona Holdings to nearly four percent, seeking to expand despite the turmoil rattling global markets.

German business sentiment hits record low in December

A key survey of German business sentiment hit a record low in December, the Ifo economic instute said on Thursday as Europe's biggest economy and the eurozone wallowed in what could be historic recessions.

Chrysler to halt manufacturing for one month

Ailing US automaker Chrysler said Wednesday it was halting its manufacturing for at least a month from Friday in response to a credit crisis and ongoing debate on a government rescue for the sector.

Metropolitan

11 killed in road accidents

At least 11 people were killed and 11 others injured in separate road accidents in Habiganj, Munshiganj, Kishoreganj and Panchagarh yesterday.

Elect honest candidates

Leaders of Sushasaner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan) at a programme yesterday said people are the source of all power and they should elect honest and competent candidates for their own welfare.

Proper investigation into mysterious fire demanded

Speakers at a condolence meeting yesterday paid tribute to the memory of late Md Nurul Islam, president of Bangladesh Trade Union Kendra, and also demanded proper investigation into the cause of mysterious fire that broke out at his residence on December 3, killing him and his son Tamohar.

Govt okays project

An inter-ministerial meeting yesterday gave the go-ahead for the project to expand and reconstruct Anderkilla Shahi Jame Masjid, a 340-year-old hilltop mosque of Mughal era in the port city.

HC extends Khaleda's bail for 3 months

The High Court (HC) yesterday extended for three months its earlier order granting bail to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in the Barapukuria coal mine corruption case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

Ganotantri Party pledges to build corruption-free Bangladesh

Ganotantri Party yesterday unveiled its election manifesto with a pledge to take measures to build a prosperous Bangladesh free from corruption and unemployment.

Reject Rajakars, black money holders in polls: CPB

Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) yesterday urged the people to reject collaborators (Rajakars), autocrats, terrorists and black money holders in the December 29 parliamentary election.

2 to die for killing minor boy in Ctg

Chittagong Divisional Speedy Trial Tribunal yesterday sentenced two people to death for killing a minor boy while committing a robbery in the port city in 2007.

Situation conducive to credible polls

Election Working Group (EWG), a non-partisan network of 32 NGOs, yesterday released a pre-election survey, revealing that 86 percent respondents believe the prevailing law and order situation is conducive to a free and fair election.

PBCP leader killed by party rivals

A regional leader of outlawed Janajudhha, a faction of PBCP (Purba Banglar Communist Party), was killed by party rivals in a remote village of the district in the early hours of yesterday.

SC dismisses Mollah's petition

The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday dismissed a petition seeking stay on a High Court (HC) verdict that had earlier declared legal the Anti-Corruption Commission's (ACC) actions regarding the corruption case against former lawmaker Habibur Rahman Mollah.

14 Indians pushed in

Border Security Force (BSF) of India pushed in 14 Bangla speaking Indian nationals through the Sholmari border under the cover of deep fog and chilling cold early yesterday.

Tinbigha corridor to remain open Dec 29 night

Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and Border Security Force (BSF) of India at a flag meeting yesterday agreed to keep the Tinbigha Corridor open at night on December 29 on the occasion of Jatiya Sangsad election.

Preserve environment

Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (Bapa) at a press conference yesterday placed their 26-point proposal to the political parties to reserve environment, including raising a demand to reduce generation of carbon by the developed countries.

Expats for credible JS polls

Expatriate Bangladeshis yesterday called on the government to ensure a free, fair and transparent election which should be credible nationally and internationally.

One murdered in Satkhira shrimp farm

A shrimp cultivator was strangled by a gang of unidentified miscreants at Gabha beel (low-laying area) under Sadar upazila in Satkhira on Wednesday night.

1834 bottles of phensidyl seized

Members of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) seized 1834 bottles of phensidyl from Chhoyroshia village under Sadar upazila in Chapainawabganj early yesterday.

Commodore Farid promoted to Rear Admiral

Commodore M Farid Habib, (ND), ndc, psc, BN has been promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral, says an ISPR press release yesterday.

Eco parking machine inaugurated

Master General of Ordnance Major General Anup Kumar Chakma inaugurated 'Eco Parking Machine' at Bangladesh Machine Tools Factory (BMTF) commercial office in Tejgaon in the city yesterday, says an ISPR press release.

A section of media spreading propaganda against BNP

BNP Joint Secretary General Nazrul Islam Khan yesterday alleged that a section of the media is not acting responsibly, saying that false propaganda is going on against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.

National

Khaleda cause of worries for grand alliance men

Grand alliance candidates in Bogra-6 and 7 constituencies have almost given up hope of winning the upcoming elections following candidature of BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia in the seats.

AL, BNP to lock horns in 11 out of 16 Ctg seats

Eleven of the 16 constituencies in Chittagong district are going to see the main contest between nominees from BNP and Awami League while candidates from BNP and grand alliance partners are major contenders in two seats.

AL's Motiur emerges as rival to Rawshan

Voters of grand alliance in Mymensingh-4 (Sadar) are in a dilemma as to who is the candidate for the alliance there.

Top AL men skip Inu's campaign in Kushtia-2

No front ranking leaders of Awami League (AL) in Kushtia-2 (Mirpur-Bheramara) constituency is yet to take part in the campaign for AL-led grand alliance candidate Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) leader Hasanul Haq Inu.

Triangular fight likely in Tangail-5

The voters in Tangail-5 (Sadar) constituency may witness a triangular fight among the candidates of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led four-party alliance, Awami League (AL)-led grand alliance and Krishak Sramik Janata League (KSJL) in the upcoming national election.

Amini still faces five cases

Seven candidates in Brahmanbaria faced criminal cases, filed with courts in Brahmanbaria and Dhaka.

Ctg-9 may see a tough battle of bigwigs

With tough contest looming large in vital Chittagong-9 (Doublemooring-Pahartali) constituency, all the four prospective candidates are passing time amid a frantic campaign.

Elections never change Harijans' fate

With the national election around the corner the value of the low class people in Rajbari, especially the Harijan community has gone up.

Most Bagerhat runners not rich, their affidavits say

Most of the candidates contesting the national election in Bagerhat will meet their polls expenses by taking donations and loans from their relatives and well wishers as they are not financially well off.

Grand alliance in great trouble

The grand alliance partners in Habiganj-2 (Baniachang and Ajmiriganj) are yet to end their crisis over selecting their candidate to face the BNP led four party alliance nominee.

Tipu Munshi lodges case against Karim Bharsha

Awami League candidate in Rangpur-4 constituency Tipu Munshi lodged a case with the District Election Enquiry Committee against Jatiya Party nominee Karim Uddin Bharsha about violation of Representation of the People Order.

Rebeka expects easy win in Netrakona-4

Awami League-led grand alliance is expecting an easy win in Netrakona-4 (Madan, Mohonganj and Khaliajuri upazilas), where the alliance has filed Rebeka Momin, the wife of late Abdul Momin, a former AL lawmaker from the seat.

BNP fields 12 new faces in Khulna div

BNP has fielded new faces in 12 out of 36 Jatiya Sangsad (JS) constituencies in 10 districts of Khulna division.

Minu prints 5 lakh posters

Nearly 5 lakh posters are being used for election campaign of BNP candidate Mizanur Rahman Minu in Rajshahi-2 constituency where the number of voters is just half of the posters.

Kamal-Mojahid rift widens in Faridpur-3

Rift between Kamal Ibne Yusuf and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid has widened ahead of the parliamentary election.

Feud dims AL prospects in Satkhira-3

Internal rivalry between two factions of Assassuni upazila Awami League (AL) may dim the prospect of AL candidate in Satkhira-3 in the upcoming national election.

Letters

People's aspirations

The ninth parliamentary polls are scheduled to be held on December 29, 2008 as already announced by the caretaker government. The countrymen have hailed the decision, as they desperately want to see an elected government with the advent of the New Year.

Global warming

Day by day scientists, experts and analysts are becoming more and more captivated by the extensive burning of fossil fuels and their hazardous consequences on natural habitats we live in. The leaders of the most affluent countries of the world, the G20 as they call it, failed to reach a constructive and effective conclusion regarding this significantly devastating effect. But what can we do as mere residents of this planet to save it from the disastrous future that lay ahead? The answer to this challenging question and a pragmatic solution to this crisis was given by the most influential person that the world ever witnessed, our beloved Prophet (Pbuh) more than 1400 years ago. He advised the people, “If you uproot one plant or tree, replace it by two".

Election manifesto

The two major political parties, the Awami League and the BNP, have unveiled their election manifestoes to the people to share with them what these two major parties have in mind to run the country in the next five years, if elected.

Political participation or partisanship ?

Voter registration this time in Bangladesh under the interim government has been setting records. With public interest so high, it's easier predicting a blockbuster general election on 29th December if everything goes as planned. But can our democracy survive all this heightened interest in the political process? After all we've a legacy of family-dominated politics, and the link between political participation and partisanship is often unclear. We observed in the past that partisans participated in politics, and voted more regularly and with greater enthusiasm than those who resided in the ideological middle. Although most experts then and now agree that high voter participation is generally a good thing, but we also observed that partisanship-driven turnout also has its dark side.

Maintain sanctity of mosque

Baitul Mukarram is our national mosque, a religious place. Everyone should respect this place. As it is a place for praying to Allah, the Merciful, no worldly activities should be done in this place. But we have observed a few political parties starting their political activities from this mosque, spoiling the sanctity of this mosque which they should not. This place is not any party's central office.

Last desire!

One news item published in your daily on 26th November under the heading "Saifur's last desire in politics" has attracted my attention. Mr. Rahman is reported to have boasted about his being the senior most Finance Minister in Asia announcing the highest number of national budgets in the sub-continent. He has also claimed that during his stint as FM there was more development in Bangladesh than other neighbouring countries.

Cotton spinning mills

Our Chief Advisor during his last visit to the Indian Capital had a meeting with the Prime Minister of India in which he emphasized an action plan to reduce the huge trade imbalance with India. Non-tariff barrier introduced by India acts as hindrance to entry of our products opposed to the Cul-de-Sac rules followed by our country. So it is irrational to ask for such favour as each country adopts polices suitable for its interests. Ironically, our Trade Policy suits the other country.

Scientific democracy!

Science teaches us how to understand the world by reasoning and asking questions. An ordinary man knows that night will follow day, but he does not know why it happens. Scientists know the reason why night follows day it is because the earth rotates on its axis.

Mumbai carnage

Terrible sounds rocked the very foundation of Mumbai, breaking the deathly silence lying over the business hub of India on the ghastly night of 27th November, 2008. Flashes of spark lighting up the starry sky, silhouetting the azure sky with a layer of dark orange paint. Dead bodies were strewn everywhere, the bodies gushing out blood from the wounds. Blood-gleaming, red, chilling the bone to the marrow. Watching this frightening scene on the television, a question surfaced in my mind "How long will the terrorists shackle us with the bond of their crazy actions?" It is a matter of great concern that the Deccan Mujahedeen has become evidently so powerful that it can kill hundreds of innocent human beings.

International

Indian parliament adopts tough anti-terror laws

More than three weeks after the terror attacks in Mumbai, the Indian government has got the stamp of approval from the Lok Sabha to its two parliamentary bills to toughen anti-terror laws including one to set up a federal investigation agency to probe terror-related crimes.

Lanka claims capture of rebel fortifications

Sri Lankan forces captured critical Tamil Tiger fortifications protecting the rebels' de facto capital amid days of heavy clashes in the north, the government said yesterday.

No proof attackers were from Pakistan

In a U-turn, President Asif Ali Zardari has said there is still no "real evidence" that the terrorists who attacked Mumbai came from Pakistan nor had it been established that the lone arrested attacker Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab hailed from the country's Punjab province.

Dawood financed Mumbai attack

Russia believes that underworld don Dawood Ibrahim was directly involved in the Mumbai terror attacks and his network was used by the terrorists to carry out the multiple attacks.

Hamas rules out extending truce with Israel

Hamas yesterday ruled out renewing the truce in and around Gaza and insisted the Islamist rulers of the Palestinian territory have a duty to respond to any attack by Israel.

Nepal sacks soldiers over rights abuses

Nepal's army announced yesterday it had sacked or demoted 175 soldiers over allegations they were involved in human rights abuses during the country's civil war.

Thaksin should return to face justice: Thai PM

Thailand's new prime minister called yesterday for fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra to return home to face justice and bring closure to months of political turmoil that has revolved around him.

Iraqi parliament in turmoil over shoegate

Chaos erupted in Iraq's parliament Wednesday over the jailing of a reporter who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush, with lawmakers loyal to a radical anti-American cleric demanding his freedom. The parliament speaker responded by threatening to resign.

Thousands rally against US, Nato in Pakistan

Thousands of protesters rallied in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar yesterday, demanding that Islamabad end its logistical support for US and Nato troops in Afghanistan.

Probe into top cops after Mumbai attacks

Two senior police officers are to be investigated for their role in dealing with the Mumbai attacks, the state government here said, amid calls for their removal from office.

Masood Azhar not in Pak custody

Contradicting himself and his own cabinet colleague, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that the Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar, one of India's most wanted criminals, has not been arrested and is "still at large".

Japan, Australia sign security-sharing pact

Japan and Australia yesterday agreed to share confidential information, taking another step to expand a security alliance after a rocky year in relations between the Pacific allies.

Livni gets party vote boost

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who hopes to become Israel's new prime minister, emerged strengthened from an election in her ruling Kadima party that pushed aside supporters of her rivals, commentators said yesterday.

Blackwater might lose licence to work in Iraq

The State Department faces serious challenges protecting US diplomats in Iraq and may no longer be able to rely on Blackwater Worldwide to do the job, according to an internal report.

Iraqi journalist's shoes 'destroyed' after Bush attack

Security agents destroyed the shoes thrown at US President George W Bush by an Iraqi journalist during checks to ensure they did not contain explosives, the investigating judge said yesterday.

Time magazine names Obama 2008 "Person of the Year"

Time magazine on Wednesday named US president-elect Barack Obama its 2008 "Person of the Year."

Arts & Entertainment

Liza wins the much-coveted crown

On December 17 the grand finale of “Close Up 1: Tomakei Khujchhey Bangladesh 2008” was held. Sania Sultana Liza from Mymensingh was crowned the new Close Up 1 champion at a dazzling award giving ceremony at Bangladesh-China Friendship Convention Centre.

Songs of Tagore in our freedom struggle

Chhayanat celebrated Victory Day with Tagore songs that have been a source of inspiration during the Bengali nationalist struggle. The event titled "Bangalir Mukti Sangramey Rabindranath" featured 'Swadeshi' (patriotic) songs that Rabindranath composed after the Bengal Partition movement of 1905, which continues to inspire the Bangalees with its sense of power to fight against all odds. The event was held at the Ramesh Chandra Dutt Memorial Auditorium at Chhayanat Sanskriti Bhaban on December 16.

The making of Stop Genocide and disappearance of Zahir Raihan

In January 1971, Zahir Raihan, one of the most gifted Bengali filmmakers, went to look for his elder brother and mentor, Shahidullah Kaiser, who was last seen in December 1971. Raihan was never seen again.

Marking Victory Day Festivity in Sirajganj

The Sirajganj district administration arranged a colourful procession, discussion, prize giving ceremony and a cultural function in the town to mark Victory Day on December 16.

Latest Shah Rukh film gives Bollywood hope

Shah Rukh Khan has once again lived up to his tag of being the most bankable Bollywood star. You can bank on him at, to quote novelist Charles Dickens, the best and the worst of times.

Photography exhibition in Mymensingh

A 10-day photography exhibition was inaugurated at Baishakhi Mancha of Poura Park in the district town on December 16. Alok Chitra Shilpi Sangsad (Ashis), a group of amateur and professional photographers, organised the 15th exhibition.

Dainik Tolpar on Channel-i tonight

Drama serial Dainik Tolpar will be aired tonight at 9:35 pm on Channel-i. Written by Anisul Haque, the serial has been directed by Ashrafi Mithu.

Searching for talent in South Asia

TV Southasia, a collaborative venture between AAJ TV (Business Recorder Group) of Pakistan, Broadcast Worldwide of India, Image Channels of Nepal, Maharaja Group (MTV Private Ltd) of Sri Lanka and RTV PVT Ltd from Bangladesh, has been on air since April 19, 2008.

OP-ED

On elections and mazar visits

COME December 29, the people of Bangladesh will vote to elect a government of their choice. By early December, the many false starts of the preceding few months appeared finally to give way -- a reassuring note suggesting that the elections would indeed take place. This is something people have been waiting, if not with bated breath. I, at least, was beginning to bask in the possibility of a real change of political scene -- for the better. I was preparing to write a nice piece commemorating the end of the year on such a healthy note.

Exchange rate: Double-edged sword

THE taka has shown a remarkable degree of stability vis-à-vis the US dollar in recent months despite numerous shocks. Two floods, Cyclone Sidr, and external shocks resulting from record surges in oil and commodity prices certainly complicated macroeconomic management, but the exchange rate of the taka remained remarkably stable.

Digital politics

AS Americans and the people of the world fathom the global scope of a new America in the wake of Obama's decisive victory, all kinds of analyses of his election strategy continue to intrigue.

StarTech

Prediction and monitoring of disasters in Bangladesh

Microwave remote sensing technologies have been successfully used in different disaster management and risk assessment schemes in different countries of the world for quite some time now. Bangladesh, because of its unique geographical location, is prone to natural disasters such as flash floods, cyclones and storm surges, tornadoes, drought, hailstorm and lightning, erosion, landslide and earthquake. These disasters cost a huge loss in lives and property. Proper monitoring and accurate forecast can save many lives and huge amount of money. It is high time that microwave remote sensing technologies, which provide a much better alternative to existing technologies in use, are used more extensively than they are being done now.

Career in call centre

Hero Mindmine (HM), a subsidiary of Hero Corporate Service Limited of India, organised a roundtable in Banani on career in call centres in Bangladesh recently.

'Anti-Surge Protection' motherboard from Asus

Asus has launched P5KPL-AM/PS motherboards based on G31 chipset supporting Intel Quad-Core CPU and featuring the revolutionary 'Anti-Surge Protection' technology for reliable power supply. It supports Intel Core 2 multi-core and upcoming 45nm processors.

Microsoft's emergency patch for IE

Microsoft on Wednesday released an emergency patch to fix a perilous software flaw allowing hackers to hijack Internet Explorer browsers and take over computers.



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