The Daily Star

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Thursday, May 3, 2018

News of: Saturday, 20th of December, 2008

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EC to destroy 24 lakh ballot papers

The Election Commission (EC) will destroy around 24 lakh ballot papers printed for eight constituencies where it has let new contenders be in the December 29 parliamentary polls on court orders.

Rebels worry grand alliance in 41 seats

The Awami League-led grand alliance is threatened with losing a lot of votes in at least 41 seats to the rebel candidates of alliance components AL and Jatiya Party (JP) in the December 29 parliamentary elections.

Munshiganj factor to pick Dhaka-6 victor

A large number of voters having their origins in Munshiganj might play a decisive role in the upcoming parliamentary elections in Dhaka-6 constituency as the two electoral alliances have nominated candidates hailing from that district considering the factor.

Vote down corrupt, militants' patrons

Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged voters not to vote for the corrupt people, black money holders and patrons of terrorists and militants in the next parliamentary election.

Khaleda warns of 'polls engineering'

BNP chief Khaleda Zia yesterday warned that any sort of 'election engineering' in the upcoming parliamentary polls would bring dire consequences in the country.

Malicious campaign in Ctg

Supporters 4-party alliance candidate in Chittagong-10 during their campaign yesterday allegedly sold booklets containing provocative statements using religious sentiment against Awami League (AL) chief Sheikh Hasina and party policies .

'Independent' judicial secretariat has to depend on ministry

The Judicial Service Secretariat Ordinance 2008 for establishing an independent judicial secretariat triggered frustration among judicial officials as the ordinance keeps the law ministry's 'control' over the new secretariat.

8,896 candidates declared eligible

The candidature of 8,896 aspirants for contesting the January 22 Upazila Parishad elections was cleared yesterday, the last day of three-day scrutiny of nomination papers.

2 BNP men killed as truck ploughs into procession

At least two BNP men were killed and eight others injured as a speeding truck ploughed through an electoral procession at Mominpur on Dhaka-Bogra Highway in Sherpur upazila of the district yesterday evening.

Nizami shares assets with wife, Mojahid just doesn't

Ameer of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami Motiur Rahman Nizami shares ownership of money and assets with his wife but his deputy Jamaat Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid has next to nothing in his life partner's name.

36 graft accused in JS polls race

Thirty-six candidates in the upcoming parliamentary election have corruption cases against them with charge sheets submitted against many, said a Shushashoner Jannoy Nagorik (Shujan) survey conducted in 102 constituencies.

Both alliances face trouble with cleared candidates

BNP and Awami League (AL)-led electoral alliances are again on the horns of a new dilemma as several of their past nominees, who had been rejected as parliamentary candidates by the Election Commission, were allowed to contest by the Supreme Court (SC) over the last few days.

ACC has no proof: BNP

The BNP yesterday said the ACC's "ill motivated" and "biased" revelation about Arafat Rahman Koko's financial transactions in Singapore is aimed at diverting people's favour for the party and the four-party alliance.

UN team to visit again before polls

The high-level delegation of the United Nations (UN) will visit Bangladesh again to witness the overall preparation for the parliamentary election.

Deployment of troops from today

Army will be deployed across the country as strike force today to help ensure peaceful parliamentary elections on December 29.

Vegetable prices down

Prices of potato and other vegetables dropped further in city markets yesterday because of huge supply while tonnes of old potatoes remained unsold.

10 AL men hurt as procession attacked in Ctg

At least ten Awami League (AL) activists were injured yesterday as BNP supporters allegedly attacked an AL election procession at Boalkhali upazila in Chittagong-6 constituency.

Man hacked for 'keeping Bangabandhu portrait'

A gang of unidentified criminals hacked a middle-aged man in Faridpur town Thursday evening for keeping portraits of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and seven Birshreshthas at his house.

US to support whoever wins in election

Congressman Joseph Crowley has said whoever people of Bangladesh elect to power will get full support of the United States.

Dense fog disrupts life

A blanket of dense fog disrupted normal life across the country yesterday.

Prof Ataur's legal notice and our reply

The Daily Star has received a legal notice from Prof Ataur Rahman of Dhaka University, which contested our report titled "Question leak at DU, 3 teachers 'guilty' but syndicate for experts' opinion", published on November 29.

Bangladeshi doctor wins protection in Britain

A London court ruled yesterday in favour of a Bangladeshi doctor held captive in Dhaka by her parents seeking an enforced marriage, saying she cannot be removed from Britain without her consent.

BNP launches poll website

BNP yesterday set up its election website [] for the December 29 election.

US orders plan for closing Guantanamo

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has ordered aides to draw up plans for closing the "war on terror" prison at Guantanamo, a declared priority for President-elect Barack Obama, a spokesman said yesterday.

Shoe-tossing Iraqi reporter appears beaten, says judge

The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President George W Bush during a news conference was beaten afterward and had bruises on his face and around his eyes, a judge said yesterday.

World economic gloom deepens as oil prices plunge

Evidence of global downturn deepened yesterday as oil prices plunged again, Japan slashed interest rates to near zero to stave off recession and a top banking association warned the world economy will contract in 2009.

US offers automakers $13b lifeline

The US government agreed yesterday to an emergency loan of 13.4 billion dollars to ailing automakers to stave off collapse of the sector that could deal a crippling blow to the economy.

Obama takes a break after cabinet laudits

President-elect Barack Obama was set to round out his cabinet picks yesterday after moving with his promised "deliberate haste" to get the faces in place to confront a dizzying array of menaces.


CEC's frustration perfectly understandable

THE frustration of the Chief Election Commissioner is perfectly understandable. With the higher judiciary directing the Election Commission to allow a number of individuals earlier barred on legal grounds from contesting the general elections to take part in the polls after all, A.T.M. Shamsul Huda and his colleagues are truly in a dilemma. The elections are slightly over a week away and all necessary preparations have been made to hold them on schedule. But to what extent this schedule has been affected, even rocked, can be seen from the EC's move on Thursday, in line with Supreme Court directives, to have twenty one individuals take part in the December 29 elections. The CEC, in a clear tone of exasperation, has been sarcastic about these developments. The EC, he has said, will go on accepting candidacies till the day before the polls if the higher judiciary says it must.

Migrant workers' future

WE express our deep concern at the looming likelihood of mass scale retrenchment of migrant workers around the world as a fallout of the global economic recession. Our concern is primarily based on the forecast of the International Labour Organization (ILO) of worsening conditions for migrant workers in the present economic state of affairs.

Addressing integrated rural development through ICT

DESPITE advances in nuclear technology and rocket science in India and Pakistan, South Asia is generally recognized by the rest of the world as a region of promise but still held back by poverty, illiteracy, lack of sufficient economic development and infrastructure in its vast rural hinterland. We have within SAARC nearly one billion people who remain mired in the subsistence level, devoid of sufficient economic opportunities.

Lofty promises

WITH AL and BNP having announced their manifestos containing a big list of pledges. However, people are left wondering more why BNP that ruled the country in the immediate past failed so miserably to achieve some of the goals like meeting the food gap and energy crisis in their earlier tenure. Strangely, without admitting their lapses and mistakes, both parties are making commitments to redeem their pledges if they are voted to power again. But the mother of all advices for any party vying for power is : do not commit what can't be delivered. And as for BNP, already their load of unfulfilled promises is excessively heavy.

Explore tourism potential for forex earning

BANGLADESH can earn a lot of foreign currency based on the tourism products it has. Because tourism products are unique to respective countries and thus cannot be competed. It is being observed that many countries in the world are earning a big amount of foreign currency based on one or two tourism products. For example, our neighbouring country Nepal, with the highest mountain peak Everest in the world has taken a position in the world tourism market and earns huge amount of foreign currency. Bangladesh has a number of tourism products like Cox's Bazar, the longest sea-beach in the world; Kuakata from where one can get the rare chance of viewing the sun-rise and sun-set from the same point; Sundarban the largest mangrove forest in the world with the rare and special Royal Bengal Tiger. Moreover, during winter numerous guest birds come from Siberia and such other cold weather and stay in our marshy areas for sometime as bonus for our tourism industry.


Mashrafe sizes up Lankan attack

Out of the nine bowling attacks in Test cricket, it is the Sri Lankan ensemble that really tests the quality of the batsmen's technique.

Fog frustrates Lankans

The blanket of fog that has engulfed the whole country for days seems to be the only worry for the Sri Lankans, who looked eager to get clear weather ahead of the Test series against Bangladesh.

BCB XI squad announced

Four players from the Test team will take the field with a handful of comeback men and impressive youngsters while an unknown quantity will also rub shoulders with them in the three-day practice match against Sri Lanka that begins at the BKSP from tomorrow.

Idris upsets Russel

Idris Kasirye inspired giant-killers Rahmatganj to come from two goals down and snatch a valuable point from Sheikh Russel on the final day of the Citycell B. League's first leg yesterday.

Gambhir guides India

Gautam Gambhir hit an unbeaten 106 and Rahul Dravid finally returned to form with 65 not out as India made a solid start in the second Test against England on Friday.

Aussies in command

Australia sat in the preferred position with a lead of 322 after the third day, but South Africa monitored every movement as they managed not to lose touch with the world champions. The tourists tailed their opponents at various distances and held them to 7 for 228 at stumps on a pitch that is not stirring nightmares.

Biman stay on top

Bangladesh Biman maintained solo lead in the Dutch-Bangla Bank First Division Chess League with 14 points after the fourth round yesterday.

Abahani sign Tushar

Defending B. League champions and first-leg leaders Abahani yesterday registered Sajedur Rahman Tushar for the rest of the competition.

SL confirm Pak tour

Sri Lanka have confirmed they will tour Pakistan next month in place of India, who cancelled their five-week series over the Mumbai attacks, a Pakistani cricket official said Friday.

V-Day tennis

Amol Roy, Niranjan Ram, Dipu Lal, Aravind Fernando, Anwar Hossain, Alamgir Hossain, Omar Faruk and Ranjan Roy moved into the men's singles quarterfinals of the Popular Pharmaceuticals Victory Day tennis tournament yesterday.

Shiv leads fightback

An unbeaten century by the impenetrable Shivnarine Chanderpaul rescued the West Indies from a disastrous start to the second cricket Test against New Zealand here Friday.

Tall task for Proteas

Conventional wisdom states that the WACA gets easier to score on as the match progresses but South Africa will face a tall task to begin the series with a win after Australia extended their lead to 322. However, in a game that has had more changes of direction than a line-dancing class, South Africa's ability to remain in the contest after three days has left the visitors in a confident frame of mind.

Pakistan's worst year since '70

Cricket-starved Pakistan has suffered a huge blow with the cancellation of India's five-week tour in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, the third event called off here in a year amid security fears.

Ferguson up against Mourinho

Holders Manchester United and fellow 2008 finalists Chelsea will have to battle their way to potential Champions League glory after being paired with Inter Milan and Juventus respectively on Friday.

Spurs thru, Sevilla out

Tottenham made it into the UEFA Cup knock out stages with a gritty come-from behind 2-2 draw over Spartak Moscow at White Hart Lane on Thursday following the final group matches.

Arsenal in L'pool's way

Liverpool will look to extend their lead at the top of the English Premier League to four points by beating Arsenal on Sunday.

Becks can only watch

David Beckham will get plenty of head-lines when he arrives in Milan on Saturday but his new temporary employers will probably be wishing he could take to the pitch against Udinese a day later rather than watching the game from the stands.

Can Villarreal stop Barca?

Spanish league leaders Barcelona face another stern test of their title credentials at Villarreal this weekend after recent crunch games against heavyweights Sevilla, Valencia and Real Madrid.

Fred wants to quit Lyon

Lyon's Brazil international striker Fred has told club president Jean-Michel Aulas to terminate his contract which runs till June next year, the player told French radio on Thursday.

UEFA Cup last 32 draw

Draw for the UEFA Cup round of 32 made here on Friday:

De Ceglie extends with Juve

Young midfielder Paolo De Ceglie has signed a contract extension at Juventus until 2013, the club said on Thursday.

UEFA Cup results

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


Shortage of skilled birth attendants obstacle to reducing maternal mortality rate

The country may not fulfil its target to reduce maternal mortality rate to 2.4 per thousand live births from 3.2 by 2010 due to shortage of skilled birth attendants.

Reject war criminals in elections

Speakers at press conference yesterday urged the countrymen to reject war criminals in upcoming parliamentary elections, terming them a threat to sovereignty and independence of the country.

Give priority to health sector

Speakers at a roundtable yesterday called on the political parties to prioritise public health sector after forming the next government.

Call to remove discrimination against sweepers

Bangladesh Dalit and Excluded Rights Movement (BDERM) yesterday demanded removal of discrimination of all types against the sweeper community in the society.

'Next govt must give priority to edn sector'

Speakers at a roundtable yesterday demanded that the next government give utmost priority to the education sector, saying that development of this sector is a must for development of other sectors.

Change mindset to stop violence against women

Speakers at a workshop yesterday underscored the need to change the attitude towards women in order to stop violence against them.

HC issues rule on govt

The High Court (HC) has issued a rule upon the government to explain why its notice asking the dwellers of Korail slum at Gulshan area in the city to shift their possessions from the slum area should not be declared illegal.

3 Bangladeshis die in fire in Kuala Lumpur

A devastating fire at a factory in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur killed three Bangladesh nationals in the early hours of December 16.

Rajuk to publish DAP final plan by Dec

Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) will publish the final report on detailed area plan (DAP) by December.

BSF detains 4 Bangladeshi students

Border Security Force (BSF) of India detained four Bangladeshi students from Pechibaria border in Feni yesterday, officials and local residents said.

SC dismisses ex-MP Mollah's petition seeking stay on HC order

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

Ex-Betar DG Ashrafuzzaman passes away

Ashrafuzzaman Khan, former director general of Bangladesh Betar, passed away due to old-age complications yesterday at the age of 98.

Two convicts executed in Mymensingh jail

Two convicts were executed in the district central jail on Thursday midnight.

RU reopens today

Rajshahi University (RU) will reopen today after a 17-day vacation for Eid-ul-Azha, Martyred Intellectuals Day and the Victory Day.

Criminals kill driver, take away autorickshaw

Muggers stabbed the driver of a CNG-run autorickshaw to death and took away his vehicle at Rampur in Sadar upazila on Wednesday night.

ULAB organises charity concert

University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) organised a Victory Day charity concert at its own campus auditorium at Dhanmondi in the city on Thursday, says a press release.

Shaukat, Sabuj re-elected president, secy

Shaukat Mahmood and Kamal Uddin Sabuj have been re-elected president and general secretary of Jatiya Press Club for 2009-10.

Fugitive criminal arrested

An alleged top terror was arrested from Shamshanpara area in Faridpur town yesterday.

Freight train derails in B'baria

Three compartments of a freight train derailed at Akhaura Railway Junction on Dhaka-Chittagong section yesterday afternoon, leaving its guard Fazlul Huq seriously injured.

Teachers call off hunger strike

Bangladesh Government Secondary Assistant Teachers' Association yesterday called off its hunger strike following a request from two eminent academicians, says a press release.

Mongla port workers demand payment of arrears

Over 3000 retrenched dock workers of Mongla Port yesterday demanded payment of salary arrears and retirement benefits before the next parliamentary elections.


AL, JP clash over candidature

Three persons were injured in a clash between supporters of Awami League (AL) and Jatiya Party (JP) at Uttar Bazar in Kulaura town over selecting candidate for Moulvibazar-2 constituency yesterday evening.

Only one of Khaleda's 16 poll pledges fulfilled in Khulna

Most people of Khulna are not pleased with Khaleda Zia as most of her 2001 election pledges are yet to be fulfilled.

Last chance for JP to survive in politics

Jatiya Party (JP) Chairman HM Ershad yesterday said this is the last chance for existence of JP to survive in politics.

Fake ballot papers being printed in Lalmonirhat

Awami League-led Grand Alliance candidate in Lalmonirhat-3 constituency Jatiya Party presidium member Golam Mohammad Quader yesterday brought serious allegations against Lalmonirhat Sadar Upazila Nirbahi Officer and appealed to the deputy commissioner and Returning Officer to relieve the UNO of all election related responsibilities.

Motiur back to race with 'boat' symbol, full vigour

AL candidate in Mymensingh-4 constituency Principal Motiur Rahman won the legal battle and got the election symbol back yesterday.

Level of their edn talk of the town

It is a talk of the town that many of the contenders in the upcoming parliamentary election in Brahmanbaria could not even cross high school.

Pro-Ilyas men say 'no' to Sylhet-6 Jamaat runner

The BNP activists brought out a procession with sheaf of paddy at Beanibazar upazila headquarters protesting against four-party alliance nomination to a Jamaat leader in Sylhet-6 (Golapganj and Beanibazar upazilas) constituency.

Rift in Bandarban BNP dims 4-party hope

Internal feud in Bandarban BNP may torpedo the hope of BNP-led four-party alliance in Bandarban constituency for the forth consecutive period in the coming parliamentary election.

Jamaat in Satkhira-3 in the soup

As a rebel BNP candidate has got back, through a High Court (HC) order, his earlier cancelled nomination to contest from Satkhira-3 constituency, BNP-led four-party alliance candidate Jamaat leader Maulana Riasat Ali finds it tough to retain the seat.

In quest of Mr Clean

People of Jhenidah will cast vote for honest candidates, not party symbol. This is the general opinion of voters according to this correspondent who concluded his visit to various parts of the district recently.

Rebel BNP, AL men pull out for party nominees

Awami League leader Mahbubuddin Bir Bikram, independent candidate for Barisal-5, yesterday announced his withdrawal from the polls race in support of AL candidate Col (retd) Zahid Faruk Shamim.

Momtaj lone woman runner in Sylhet divn

Jatiya Party leader Momtaj Iqbal, contesting as Awami League-led grand alliance candidate in Sunamganj-4 (Sunamganj Sadar and Biswambharpur) constituency is the lone female candidate in 19 constituencies under Sylhet division this time.

331 polling centres risky in Tangail

A total of 331 polling centres, out of total 879, in 12 upazilas under eight constituencies in Tangail district have been identified as risky.


Pakistan should try to get to the bottom of terror network: US

Describing militant groups operating in Pakistan as a "threat" to the world, the US has asked Islamabad to cooperate with India in probing the Mumbai attack and try to get to the bottom of the terror network to dismantle them completely.

Rockets, gunfire on Gaza border as truce ends

Sporadic violence is flaring along the Gaza-Israel border as a shaky truce expires.

Lanka steps up air attacks against Tiger rebels

Sri Lanka's air force yesterday stepped up strikes on Tamil Tiger positions in the island's north as ground battles subsided due to heavy rains, military officials said.

Nato resumes diplomatic contacts with Russia

Nato and Russia will resume diplomatic contacts for the first time since the war in Georgia, the alliance's spokesman said Thursday.

Protests pile pressure on Greek govt

Athens police braced for more protests Friday after nearly two weeks of clashes, as the government faced growing pressure over its handling of the crisis sparked by the police killing of a teenager.

Obama takes a break after cabinet plaudits

President-elect Barack Obama was set to round out his cabinet picks yester

Storm in Lok Sabha over minister's claim

Indian Minority Affairs Minister Abdul Rahman Antulay has caused a storm in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday and Thursday, suggesting that the killing of Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare in Mumbai during last month's terror attacks was a conspiracy.

UN releases list of 170 people missing during Nepal's civil war

The UN human rights body unveiled a list yesterday of 170 people who "disappeared" during Nepal's bitter civil war, and cited witness testimony that some had died in military custody.

Amnesty slams Indian anti-terror law

Amnesty International on Friday slammed India's new anti-terror legislation to beef up police powers in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, saying it violates international human rights treaties.

Zardari postpones Kabul trip

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday was forced to postpone a trip to Afghanistan for talks with his counterpart Hamid Karzai on the anti-terror fight due to bad weather, officials said.

New Thai leader surveys damage at PM's office

Thailand's new prime minister picked up a broom and posed for cameras yesterday on the steps of Government House, vowing to clean up the mess from a three-month sit-in and show the country is "back to normal."

Shoe-thrower asks for leniency

The journalist who hurled his shoes at US President George W. Bush has described his attack as "ugly" and asked the Iraqi government for leniency.

South Korea completes troop pullout from Iraq

South Korea yesterday completed its troop pullout from Iraq, ending a four-year mission to help reconstruct the war-torn nation.

Zimbabwe opposition threatens to quit talks

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai threatened to quit unity government talks Friday over kidnappings of supporters ahead of President Robert Mugabe's address to his party's annual conference.

Watergate's 'Deep Throat,' dies

W Mark Felt, the former FBI second-in-command who revealed himself as "Deep Throat" 30 years after he tipped off reporters to the Watergate scandal that toppled a president, has died. He was 95.

Arts & Entertainment

Lush green architecture

Lush greenery, water, light and shade are hallmarks of Rafiq Azam's architectural designs. Azam has earned a reputation as one of the most creative architects of Bangladesh. After graduating from BUET, he has designed several private houses, apartments, medical complexes, community centres and shopping/commercial centres. The allure of green and its unparalleled splendour creates a dynamic view in his works.

Five-century-old temples in ruins

A Shib mandir (temple) and a Dol mandir -- that are both over 500 year-old -- in Jhenaidah are on the verge of collapse due to lack of maintenance and renovation. The temples -- still bearing the signature of past artistic designs -- are in Maheshpur upazila town in the district. These once exquisite edifices are now in shambles as weeds have taken over causing cracks; no restoration has been done, seemingly, since their creation.

Mega-serial “Ek Jonomey” ends tonight

Last episode of the mega-serial "Ek Jonomey" will be aired tonight on ATN Bangla at 9:20 pm. This is the 298th episode of the serial, originally directed by the late theatre and TV icon Abdullah Al Mamun.

New U2 album on the “horizon”

Irish supergroup U2 will release their first album in nearly five years next March, the band's record company announced Thursday.

Azad Abul Kalam and Sajal on “Amar Ami”

Noted theatre and TV personality Azad Abul Kalam along with TV actor Sajal are tonight's guests on the talk show "Amar Ami." The show will be aired on Banglavision at 9:05 pm.


Imperatives for malpractice-free election

AS the nation prepares for the upcoming general election of 29th December 2008, poll atmospherics, till now, have experienced tolerable heat. The question is, will we be able to keep such heat within manageable proportion and if electoral malpractices would remain restricted to a bearable minimum? Already two major alliances have accused each other of breach of electoral conduct. One hopes that the 29 December election sets some standard worth emulating, particularly when the reconstituted Election Commission has embarked upon a commendable process aimed at ensuring a fair and free poll.

At least war is out of way

IT is a shame that only 13 out of 760 MPs were present to pay tribute to the watch and ward personnel who were shot dead on December 13 in the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament. I was then a member of the Rajya Sabha. The house had finished the question hour and some members had called it a day. I was one of them.

Bangladesh among countries most hit by climate change

The Global Climate Risk Index looks at the cost of natural disasters in the light of a country's economy and population in order to get a clear view of its vulnerability.

Confident of future

Most of the southern districts of the country were devastated by Sidr in November last year. One year on after the devastating cyclone many of the surviving victims have overcome the impact with this or that help or support and their perseverance. In this resilient people's pursuit to recovery, microcredit, already a proven tool of poverty alleviation, has played a successful supportive role. One year on many have already recovered, many are still recovering, and many are even advancing further after recovery. Here is a case study.


Where have all the wise men (and women) gone?

One would have expected this, albeit unfortunately, from an undemocratic elected government, but to be handed an anti-people, anti-poor city development plan via the age-old tactful bureaucracy at fag end of an extended caretaker government, whose primary laudable mission was to bring the nation on a virtuous track is downright insulting and a stinker.

Detail Area Plan (DAP) of Dhaka: Shattering the vision of DMDP

Dhaka will be the second largest megacity by the year 2015. This mega city is the hub of commerce, administration and industries of Bangladesh. It is accommodating about 37% of total urban population of the country. A large share of the huge population belongs to poor and middle income groups.



With hunger gnawing at his stomach Mafiz was walking very fast, and his three companions walking behind and beside him were having trouble keeping up with him. Rashid said, “Why are you racing like a horse? Go a little more slowly.”

Winter Blues

Tis the season to be jolly, or so it was supposed to be until recession, or human greed (however one sees it), hit. Around this time of the year shopping malls are usually teeming with serious shoppers on the lookout for bargains. This year, though, the crowds have thinned out considerably. TV show hosts from Oprah to Martha to Steven and Chris are going cheap by brainstorming craft ideas that one can make at home and save that shopping trip to the gift store or avoid dipping into the pockets. Gifts are advertised every day that cost from ten dollars to a hundred. But then again, the spirit of giving can't be denied, so presents have to be bought, sales to be sought and a trip to the shopping malls made.

Playing Football for Swadhin Bangla*

(Oral account of Amalesh Sen, 23 years old in 1971, footballer from Bogra)

Star Health

The battle against thalassaemia

Thalassaemia is the most common congenital disorder in the world including Bangladesh. Parents who carry the abnormal gene pass it to their children. Hb E beta carriers are healthy and beta thalassaemia carriers are also normal except that some of them mildly anaemic.

Free insulin and access to diabetes care for children of the poorest countries

Novo Nordisk, a healthcare company and a world leader in diabetes care recently announced that it will provide diabetes care, including free insulin, to 10,000 children in some of the world’s poorest countries — says a press release.

Dealing with marital problems

Marriage conflict is a normal part of married life. When two people start life together by the bond of marriage, conflict is bound to happen.

A new and holistic health care profession

Occupational therapy is an honourable medical profession recently introduced in the field of health care in Bangladesh.

Near-total face transplant performed

A team of U.S. doctors have performed the first near-total face transplant in the United States, the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. The hospital did not release details but said in a statement.

Saving newborn lives in Bangladesh and globally

The Lancet, one of the world’s front line medical journals has shortlisted a Bangladeshi scientist's paper for its Papers of the Year 2008.

Strategic Issues

December 29th elections

US Ambassador Moriarty, in a submission before the International Commisison for Religious Freedom in Washington, said that the next elections in Bangladesh will be a watershed. It could launch Bangladesh as “a model of a relatively prosperous Muslim majority country” or it could return to the “winner-take-all obstructionist politics of previous years”. He said the stakes of USA in the 29th December elections are enormous.

A wake up call

IRRESPECTIVE of religion, caste, creed, tribe or political bias this wakeup call is for every citizen of this country. There was a hair-raising news item printed on the first page of Daily Shangram on 7th December 2008. The news was about a secret meeting held on 5th December night to demolish all the liberation related sculptures in and around Dhaka University. They discussed the plan in details and final executive order was also given. A well thought out plan, perfect in timing and with attention to detail. Had there been no premature blow up of the plan, the perpetrators could have successfully created havoc in the law and order situation of the country. The action could have initiated a total political anarchy, difficult for the government to manage. The worst-case scenario is that the present political process of democracy would have been severely hindered obliging a new government designed by the domestic traitors and foreign perpetrators or Hostile Intelligence Service (HIS).

Japan's approach to India in the twenty first century

Relations between India and Japan have made remarkable progress since Japanese Prime Minister Mori visited New Delhi in 2000. In December 2001, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Tokyo, and the Indo-Japan Joint Declaration was announced. In 2005, when Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited New Delhi the two countries signed "Indo-Japan Partnership in New Asian Era: Strategic Orientation of Japan -India Global Partnership". In 2006 and 2007, two Prime Ministers, Manmohan Singh and Shinzo Abe held reciprocal visits and signed three declarations including "Indo-Japan Strategic Global Partnership". Significantly, on 22 October 2008, they announced "The Indo-Japan Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation". It was exceptional for Japan to establish formal security cooperation with India, making it the third country after the United States and Australia with whom Japan established such cooperation. Japan had restricted to use of force after World War II and the US has been Japan's principal ally since the 1960s. However, after the Gulf War, Japanese foreign policy has been changing gradually. Japan forged security cooperation with Australia in 2007, and India in 2008. The question arises why did Japan choose India as a partner of security cooperation?

Iraq cabinet says non-US foreign troops to be out by July

The Iraqi cabinet has approved a bill calling for all foreign soldiers except for American forces to pull out of the country by the end of July, a top official said December 16.

Russia confirms talks to India about leasing submarines

Russia is ready to lease several Shchuka-B class (NATO codename Akula) nuclear submarines to India, the director of the Russian Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation said Dec. 15.

UN empowers land operations against Somali pirates

The UN Security Council on December 16 unanimously adopted a resolution for the first time authorizing international land operations against audacious, armed pirates sheltering in Somalia.

Star Books Review

Men, women and the links that bind them

Two major religious books, namely, The Holy Quran and The Bible, confirm that the conjugality of man and woman and the process of human procreation set in following the great union of Adam and Eve. Later, as societies evolved and governments grew, union between man and woman was formalised through laws and social conventions. Most Muslim societies pursue the dictates of the Holy Quran.

That large American shadow all over

Fareed Zakaria's work is a masterpiece with great insights into the ever-changing 21st century world. This book is particularly significant when the US is suffering from multiple problems from anti-Americanism to unpopular wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, from disappearing dollars to the most-recent hit of subprime disaster and when the rest of the world is emerging with much more economic capability than the military capability which America enjoyed throughout the 20th century. Economic challenges have never been felt so harshly in world history as they are being felt in this 21st century.

The age of decline may have arrived

I couldn't believe it. Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined something like this would happen to me. Frustrated, anxious, irritable, I paced to-and-fro from shelf to shelf within the confines of our living room like a hungry tiger. Taking the narrow steps of our staircase two at a time, I proceeded to feverishly examine the contents of the collection in the upstairs den only to return crestfallen once again. The horrible reality of it all began to sink in.

Puzzles and mysteries

Anyone who likes thrill and mystery blended into a well told story is certain to be completely immersed in this work by Donna Tartt. The book holds the reader in suspense with its saga of some students of Greek language, their involvement in some ancient rites, a secret society and a mystery topped with a murder.

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