The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Friday, November 28, 2014


News of: Sunday, 21st of December, 2008

Front Page

Hasina at terror risk

Security and intelligence agencies last month warned Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina of possible attempts on her life by extremist groups including Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (Huji) and Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh, said sources concerned.

No easy going yet for court-cleared aspirants

The Election Commission (EC) will challenge the court orders that have enabled the loan defaulters and convicted individuals to be candidates in the December 29 parliamentary polls.

'Unsubstantiated' charges vex EU

European Union (EU) election observation mission chief Alexander Graf Lamsdroff yesterday urged the political parties to refrain from making 'unsubstantiated' allegations against the election administration as it might harm the polls process.

Be graceful losers to begin new culture

Whoever loses the upcoming national election must accept the results to usher in a culture of tolerance and cooperation, said political analysts, economists and civil society members yesterday.

'Dour' Salahuddin indebted to court

The Awami League-led grand alliance is facing trouble in Dhaka-5 constituency as the High Court gave back AL leader Habibur Rahman Mollah his candidacy in the seat the alliance keeps for Jatiya Party (JP).

Certain party out to form puppet govt

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday said a certain party wants to obtain power and form a puppet government through an undercover deal with the caretaker government.

Choose from 'deliverers', looters

Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina yesterday asked the caretaker government to take appropriate measurers to prevent rigging in the upcoming parliamentary polls.

‘Hide and seek’ Sarwar

Four-party alliance nominee for Barisal-5 constituency, Majibor Rahman Sarwar, has shown fewer assets in his disclosure to the election commission (EC) than what he declared to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) earlier.

Polls symbol allocation gets more chaotic

The Election Commission (EC) has asked the returning officers (ROs) of two parliamentary constituencies to allocate electoral symbols for a BNP and an AL nominee as independent candidates since their previous symbols were scrapped following court orders.

Shakhawat laments lack of neutral polling staff

Election Commissioner Brig (Retd) Shakhawat Hossain yesterday said it is difficult to find neutral polling personnel because of partisan administration and 'acute division' in the country.

Check further emergence of terrorists

Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday asked the field-level government officials to take highest cautionary measures to check further emergence of terrorists, taking advantage of withdrawal of the state of emergency.

Rafiqul finds ACC at fault

The allegation of Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) that Arafat Rahman Koko deposited wealth in Singapore is 'totally baseless' and its revelation 'just ahead of the polls is politically motivated', said former attorney general Barrister Rafiqul Haque yesterday.

Over 50,000 army men deployed

Over 50,000 armed forces personnel were deployed across the country yesterday to ensure peaceful voting in the parliamentary elections scheduled for December 29.

Duta elections on Dec 31

Dhaka University Teachers' Association (Duta) election will be held on December 31 to elect the executive council for the year of 2009.

Indefinite strike enforced at RU

Around 200 "controversially-appointed" fourth-class employees of Rajshahi University (RU) yesterday went on an indefinite strike demanding regularisation of their jobs.

Internet services improves after cable cut

A French ship yesterday took experts to repair broken undersea Mediterranean cables that caused severe disruption to telephone and Internet services across the Middle East and Asia, France Telecom said.

Strong quake off Japan, no damage

A strong 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck yesterday off the east coast of Japan but there was no damage or injuries, officials said.

Editorial

Political parties should offer a realistic vision

Without our knowing it, or in any way being conscious of it, a strikingly radical metamorphosis has taken place in the composition and make-up of the electorate. Roughly speaking, there are 32 per cent first-time voters making for a total of 2.3crore. The number of women voters exceed by more than 12lakh that of their male counterpart. First- and second-time voters comprise more than 50 per cent of the electorate. Those who have become voters after the birth of Bangladesh constitute more than 50 per cent of the electoral roll.

Plot allotment application hiccup

The Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) will cancel its plot allotments in Gazipur and Uttara for individuals found to have submitted fake tax identification numbers (TINs). That is an appreciable decision and we are happy to note that the organisation will be assisted by the National Board of Revenue in the job of identifying people submitting fake TINs. Given a context where individuals have been supplying false TINs in a number of vital areas, it makes plain good sense to launch a campaign toward bringing the guilty to book. Where the cancellation of plots is concerned, however, the question here is one of why the TINs must be looked into after a decision on the allotments has already been made. The logical move here would be for the NBR to go for a verification of all TINs submitted by applicants before Rajuk makes its final decisions on the matter.

Voting out the corrupt

THE state of emergency is now over, and street rallies and processions seem to highlight the country's enthusiasm and excitement for the upcoming elections. However, the list of nominees of the major political parties, particularly of the BNP, highlights the prominence of individuals of dubious character in Bangladeshi politics. Additionally, the higher judiciary has allowed some candidates who had been convicted in criminal cases to contest the upcoming elections.

None of the above

LIKE many, I am divided on the No-Vote option. On the one hand, this is possibly our only way to send a strong message to the party bigwigs to nominate better candidates; on the other, there is a risk of critical votes getting wasted, since it is next to impossible that the number of no-votes will reach the threshold needed for a re-election in the constituency.

Running the numbers

SINCE the publication of our pieces analysing the polling centre level data from the last three elections in these pages on December 4, 7, 8, and 14, the irregularities discussed here have been reported in highly circulated Bangla dailies (see N. Morshed's piece in Prothom Alo on December 15 for example). In this piece, we reiterate our reasons for publishing our results now, and make some specific recommendations for some key stakeholders.

Sports

Mushfiq plans to stop Murali

In an otherwise disappointing series in July last year, young Mushfiqur Rahim had a partnership with Mohammad Ashraful at the P. Sara Stadium in Colombo that proved a point -- one could still read champion off-spinner Muttiah Muralidaran if he applied himself.

'Prasanna best keeper'

It isn't quite a bombshell but when someone with so few Tests under his belt is classified as the 'best by far' in a certain field, it does turn a few heads or in yesterday's case, warm up a few cold ears.

ECB may not invite Tigers after 2010

England are planning to scrap home Test series against Bangladesh after 2010 because of the increasing commercial unfeasibility of such contests, suggest reports in the UK press.

Rahul back with a bang

India took charge of the second and final cricket Test against England here on Saturday after posting a commanding 453 in their first innings.

Rivals worry of weather

The battle between Barisal and Rajshahi will at last have a conclusion when the tenth and final round of the National Cricket League begins across the country today.

Zimbabwe call up new faces

Batsman Malcolm Waller and wicketkeeper Forster Mutizwa are the two new faces in the 15-man Zimbabwe squad, which was announced on Friday, for the tour of Bangladesh in January.

Smith keeps SA in hunt

Graeme Smith knew there would be pain in his elbow throughout his 108, but he will have to wait to learn whether the courageous display was enough to avoid the hurt of another defeat to Australia. Smith's hundred gave South Africa, who started their innings with the target of 414 as close as their country is to Perth, a chance to dream of the second-biggest successful chase in history.

McIntosh, Flynn pull NZ

A century stand by Tim McIntosh and Daniel Flynn put New Zealand in the box seat as they hunted down the West Indies first innings total of 307 in the second cricket Test here Saturday.

Qadir expects strong show against SL

Abdul Qadir, the Pakistan chief selector and former leg-spinner, has said the national team will turn in a strong performance in the Sri Lanka series despite not playing any Tests in the last year.

Dar blasted down under

Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar was roundly criticised for his howler of a decision when he gave struggling Australian opener Matthew Hayden out caught and bowled during the first Test against South Africa in Perth on Friday.

Sattar Textiles sticks with tradition

Sattar Textile Mills Ltd again came forward to sponsor the Rahmatganj MFS football team now playing in the ongoing CityCell 2nd B League.

One of Dravid's most major centuries

Breathing easy after a career-reviving ton, Rahul Dravid Saturday said that the century he scored against England here would rank among the most significant knocks of his career.

Div I chess

Bangladesh Biman maintained their solo lead in the Dutch-Bangla Bank First Division Chess League when they beat Pritam Prism Chess Club 2.5-1.5 in the sixth round at the federation hall-room yesterday.

Gunners go for broke

Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal face a make or break clash against Liverpool on Sunday as the Gunners try to get back in the Premier League title race.

History bars MU path

Manchester United go into the Club World Cup final against Liga de Quito on Sunday driven by their desire to claim more silverware, and the odds are heavily stacked in their favour.

C'Ron going nowhere

Captain Gary Neville has joined boss Sir Alex Ferguson in insisting Cristiano Ronaldo is going nowhere, as Real Madrid hit back at Manchester United's "sad" comments.

Kalle warns Bayern

Bayern Munich avoided a European heavyweight in Friday's draw for the last 16 of the Champions League, but chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge warned against taking Sporting Lisbon lightly.

United tie delights Jose

Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho said he was delighted after his side was drawn against reigning champions Manchester United in the Champions League second round.

Duel bidding for 2018, 2022 WCs

FIFA announced Saturday that it will hold a simultaneous bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, with England considered a "strong" candidate.

'Chelsea don't need Owen'

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard believes Michael Owen would be a sound investment in next month's transfer window - but insists he is not required at Stamford Bridge.

Rovers exit on Cruz's mind

Blackburn striker Roque Santa Cruz has admitted that he would consider leaving the Premier League outfit if "a bigger club came in for me" during the January transfer window.

Puel unfazed by Barca clash

Lyon coach Claude Puel is not concerned about the prospect of facing Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League.

FIFA lifts suspensions on trio

World football body FIFA on Saturday announced it had lifted its suspensions on the federations of Kuwait, Samoa and Peru.

Business

Maize seed firms fear slump in sales

Maize seed sellers fear a drastic fall in sales because of farmers' reluctance to grow the crop in the wake of low prices resulting from closure of thousands of poultry farms due to outbreak of bird flu since early last year.

Regulator unwilling to handle microcredit cooperatives

Expressing its reluctance to shoulder any responsibility to regulate the cooperative societies that provide microcredit, the Micro Credit Regulatory Authority (MCRA) has demanded that the government exempt it from discharging this duty.

Target set for state-owned bank CEOs

The finance ministry has set targets for the highly paid chief executive officers of three recently corporatised state-owned banks (SoBs) for the evaluation of their performances quaterly.

Cable cuts disrupt internet

Internet and telephone communication services in and out of Bangladesh may face partial disruptions for a week, hit by damage to three undersea cables through the Mediterranean.

Doubt looms over ICX service quality

As the deadline for connecting all telecom operators with interconnection exchanges (ICXs) for transferring inter-operators' domestic calls is approaching, phone companies are casting doubt over the quality of ICX services.

Int'l convention for contractors in March

A convention of Asian and Western Pacific contractors is going to begin in Dhaka on March 4, 2009 to attract potential local and foreign investors in Bangladesh construction sector.

Oil plunges, gold loses shine

Oil prices fell this week to their lowest levels since 2004, despite a record Opec output cut, while many commodities were dragged lower on fears of a looming global recession and weak demand.

US drags China to WTO over 'protectionist' policy

The United States said Friday it had hauled China to the WTO over Beijing's programs to market Chinese-branded goods, which Washington charged were based on "protectionist" policy.

Wall Street rally fades

An opening rally on Wall Street lost steam Friday as investors digested a 13.4 billion dollar US government rescue of General Motors and Chrysler to avert a collapse of the auto industry.

China to come to Taiwan's aid amid crisis

China will come to Taiwan's aid if the impact of the global economic crisis worsens, a top Chinese official was quoted saying on Saturday in the latest gesture of goodwill between the two longtime rivals.

US automakers eye reforms

US automakers mulled painful reforms Saturday after President George W. Bush unveiled a 13.4 billion dollar rescue loan for the struggling industry, but demanded tough reforms in return in a move aimed at staving off a new economic calamity.

Pantomimes laugh off credit crunch

Boo! Hiss! The sneering villains and dimwit fairies of Britain's traditional Christmas pantomimes are having a dig at the financial crisis this year, in a bid to laugh off the economic gloom.

Stocks in the red

Dhaka stocks finished down last week with a sharp fall in total turnover amid the low participation of investors in trade.

Russian car lovers continue anti-tariff protests

Hundreds of car lovers rallied Saturday in Russia's Far Eastern city of Vladivostok in ongoing protests against the government's decision to raise tariffs on used foreign cars.

Japan cuts rates to near-zero amid dire economic outlook

Japan slashed interest rates to almost zero Friday as it tries to stave off a long recession while a major banking group warned the global economy would sink into a "severe" contraction next year.

Clinton foundation donors include Saudis, Blackwater

Former US president Bill Clinton has disclosed big-ticket donors to his charitable foundation, including numerous foreign governments and business interests.

Panasonic to acquire Sanyo for up to $9b

Japan's Panasonic Corp. said Friday it had cleared the way to acquire struggling Sanyo Electric Co. for up to nine billion dollars, forming an industry heavyweight amid the global downturn.

Dollar rallies

The dollar stormed back Friday from steep losses on the euro earlier in the week after a massive rescue announced for two of the Big Three US automakers eased worries about the world's biggest economy.

Weekly Currency Roundup

December 14-December 18, 2008
Local FX Market

This week, the market was a little tight. Trading volume was more compared to last week. US dollar rose slightly against the Bangladesh taka. There was ample demand for dollar in the market.

Metropolitan

CG to hand over power to elected govt in new year

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday reiterated that his government would hand over power to the next elected government in the coming new year.

Give new ideas to solve power crisis

A three-day 5th International Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering (ICECE) 2008 began in the city yesterday.

Chevron to launch seismic survey in Block 7 in Jan

The US-based Chevron Bangladesh will launch its seismic survey in Block 7 in the first week January to delineate potential gas reserves and initiate subsequent exploration, officials said.

Forge national unity to resist corruption, criminalisation

Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain yesterday called on secular and democratic political parties, social forces and professionals to forge a national unity to resist politics of corruption and criminalisation and to achieve economic prosperity.

Zia Fertilizer to halt production for another four days

Production at Ashuganj Zia Fertilizer Company Limited (ZFCL) will be suspended for another three days incurring a loss of at least 1400 tonnes of urea a day.

4 UPDF men abducted

Four members of United Peoples Democratic Front (UPDF) were abducted yesterday by a gang of unidentified criminals in Rangamati town.

First laparoscopic bariatric surgery in country

Medical experts successfully performed laparoscopic bariatric surgery on a woman -- the first such operation in the country -- at Birdem Hospital yesterday.

Remove all non-judicial staffs from law ministry

Bangladesh Judicial Service Association (BJSA) yesterday said it would challenge the legality of the proposed Judicial Service Secretariat Ordinance 2008 if it is promulgated and launch agitation against it.

Call for more media coverage

Women in Politics, a newly formed political platform, yesterday called for more media coverage of women candidates in the upcoming national election.

Dhaka again made member of UN Peace Commission

Bangladesh has been selected as a member of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, an intergovernmental advisory body of the UN that supports peace efforts in countries emerging from conflict, for the second time.

'Elect pro-liberation forces, reject war criminals'

Peshajibi Shamannay Parishad, a platform of 14 pro-Awami League professional bodies, yesterday called on the countrymen to elect pro-liberation candidates and reject war criminals and corrupts in the general elections.

Mawa-Kawrakandi ferry service suspended for dense fog

Ferry services on Mawa-Kawrakandi route in the Padma River remained suspended since early Friday due to dense fog.

CNG station demolished

Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) yesterday knocked down Midway CNG and Refuelling Station at Panthapath opposite the Film Development Corporation in the city.

Army chief visits injured ETV journalists

Army Chief General Moeen U Ahmed yesterday visited Combined Military Hospital to see the injured journalist and cameraman of private television channel ETV.

CMC computers for schools, colleges

As part of social programme China Machineries Company Limited (CMC) distributed around 50 computers along with furniture to seven schools and two colleges adjacent to Barapukuria Coalmine Project area in Dinajpur on Friday.

Book on Ctg port staffs published

The publication ceremony of the book 'Muktijuddha O Chattagram Bandar' (Liberation War and Chittagong Port), which highlights contribution of the employees and officials of Chittagong Port during Liberation War, was held at Bandar Bhaban in Chittagong yesterday.

Transshipment activities at Benapole closed today

Transshipment activities of Benapole land port will remain closed today as its 71 officials and staffs would participate in the election training.

Call to vote out war criminals

Uttaradhikar '71, a platform for Dhaka University (DU) students, yesterday called on all to vote out war criminals in the upcoming national election.

Int'l festival on liberation war begins today

A seven-day 3rd international documentary festival on 'Liberation War' and 'Human Rights' begins in the city today.

Cadet College Club executives

Shafiqur Rahman Munna and M Musleh Uz Zaman were elected president and secretary general of Cadet College Club Limited for 2009 at its 6th annual general meeting (AGM) on December 15, says a press release.

Mahbub returns to Jatiya Party

Former minister and BNP lawmaker advocate Mahbubur Rahman returned to Jatiya Party (JP) again by presenting a bouquet to its chief HM Ershad in the city yesterday.

5 injured as AL factions clash in Munshiganj

Five people were injured in bomb explosion during a clash between two rival groups of Awami League at Moheshpur under Sadar upazila in Munshiganj on Friday.

Selim re-elected Gulshan Club president

Engineer Faizul Islam Selim was re-elected president of Gulshan Club for 2008-2009 at the club's annual general meeting on the club premises on December 19, says a press release.

National

They vow to resolve woes to woo jute workers

Four candidates from Khulna-3 (Khalishpur-Daulatpur) constituency have made commitment to stand by the jute mill workers in their movement to realise all legitimate demands including payment of arrears.

Fiedling of grand alliance men dims AL prospects

Although Awami League (AL) bagged all the four seats in Habiganj district in 2001, this time it may not be possible to retain all of them due to fielding of candidates from the grand alliance, observe many people.

Rebel AL veteran cause of grand alliance's concern

The presence of veteran Awami League leader Imajuddin Pramanik in the election race as an independent candidate after failing to get party ticket would cause trouble for Grand Alliance candidate SM Abdul Latif in Naogaon-4 seat.

All eyes on Badsha-Minu fight

Election fever has gripped the divisional city and all nine upazilas of Rajshahi district as all 28 candidates in six constituencies are on hectic campaign.

Battle of 2 young leaders charm of Jamalpur-3

Among the five constituencies in Jamalpur most talked about is the fight between two youth leaders in Jamalpur-3 seat where Awami Jubo League general secretary Mirza Azam will face young BNP leader former president of Bangladesh Chhatra Union Mostafizur Rahman Babul.

Ctg-10 a 'dream seat' for all 10 contestants

Having most of the commercial activities of the port city in and around it, Chittagong 10 (Bandar-Patenga) is a dream constituency for the highest number of 10 runners in the district.

Time to take firm stance against graft, terrorism

Awami League (AL) president Sheikh Hasina at a teleconference yesterday evening at Ghona Bazar, a remote area in Tala upazila urged the people to vote for 'boat' for peace, prosperity and development in the country.

Kurigram-4 may see triangular fight

As none of the candidates of Grand Alliance partner Awami League and the Jatiya Party withdrew from the race in Kurigram-4 (Chilmari-Raumari-Rajibpur) constituency, a triangular fight is expected there with another main contestant being BNP-led four party alliance candidate- a leader of Jamaat-e-Islami.

Candidates, voters face-to-face in Gaibandha

A total of five candidates for upcoming general election in Gaibandha-2 constituency yesterday faced voters in a question-answer session held on the local Shaheed Minar premises.

Mankin's 'boat' may again sail thru' with adibasi vote

A dual fight between Grand Alliance nominee former Awami League lawmaker Promod Mankin, only indigenous runner in Mymensingh region and BNP led four party alliance candidate Afzal H Khan is likely in Mymensingh-1 (Haluaghat-Dhubaura) in December 29 parliamentary election.

Tuku's prospect bright as Nizami's rival in Pabna-1

Three hundred BNP-Jamaat activists joined Awami League (AL) at an election campaign held on Wednesday at Kashinathpur in Santhia upazila under Pabna-1 constituency which consists of Santhia and party of Bera upazila.

Anti-Mojahid campaign in Faridpur

Projonmo Ekattur, an organization of the children of Liberation War martyrs, yesterday conducted a campaign in the town urging people not to vote for any war criminal.

Attack on poll campaign in Boalkhali:10 AL men hurt

At least 10 supporters of Awami League (AL) were injured when rival BNP supporters attacked their election procession at Kharandwip union under Boalkhali upazila in Chittagong-6 constituency on Friday afternoon.

Just flurry of promises won't work this time

Voters of char areas in seven unions under Mymensingh Sadar upazila are now reluctant about the pledges made by candidates ahead of the upcoming election as such promises saw very little fulfilment earlier.

LDP men join BNP but to work for Daud

Around one thousand activists of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), including members of 101-member district committee, joined Khagrachhari district BNP yesterday.

433 polling centres risky in Kurigram

In the upcoming national election 433 out of 662 polling centres in all nine upazilas of Kurigram district have been marked as risky.

Cold weather dampens campaign

Cold wave sweeping in the district for the last three days has dampened election campaign in six constituencies here.

Correction

The news item headlined 'Barisal-5: Rebel BNP, AL men pull out for party nominees' that was published on this page yesterday wrongly mentioned that BCC mayor Majibar Rahman Sarwar was present at a meeting at a temporary office of Awami League. In fact BCC Mayor Shawkat Hossain Hiron was present there. We regret the inadvertent mistake.

Letters

Election manifesto

For the coming general election, the political parties are announcing their election manifestoes. In the meantime, the big two political parties i.e. AL & BNP have already unveiled their respective charter. AL has selected the slogan “Charter for Change” and the BNP “Save Country, Save People”. It is not a surprise that the election manifestoes of both Al & BNP are full of promises having 23 pledges from AL & 36 from BNP. The promises include all aspects and expectations of the people, from eradication of corruption to ensuring job for at least one youth from each family.

Trial of war criminals

It's undeniable that every history has to endure a few shameful scars, which never cease to disparage its supreme pride. As Bangladeshis we must always be ashamed of the fact that we failed to prosecute the collaborators who played a key role in the genocide perpetrated by the Pakistani invaders in 1971. Perhaps, today I'm even more ashamed of our predecessors than these sordid traitors, since our forefathers failed to wash these scars off our glorified history. Today, after 37 years, we demonstrate on the streets for the 'elusive' trial of the war criminals (as if staging a trivial drama), we watch emotional discussions on TV channels where participants ardently demand for effective tribunals and our intrepid freedom fighters hold countless meetings to boycott the war criminals from elections. At the same time, we inevitably put up with the fact that some of these infamous collaborators have served as ministers and top bureaucrats in our government administration. Moreover, we get utterly surprised to see these war criminals 'indifferently' representing one of the notorious political parties (a party reluctant to acknowledge our war of independence) and our leading parties forming lucrative coalitions with these twofaced collaborators in order to win elections! This entire scenario seems to me like a trite satire, characterized by a rather nasty sense of humour. The dauntless existence of these war criminals in our political milieu has turned the tragic tale of our liberation into a 'hysterical mockery' as we imprudently gave them the opportunity to laugh at our inability to ensure justice for our nation and for those who sacrificed their lives for our liberty selflessly. Our failure to punish these barefaced collaborators actually endorses the view once held by these traitors: 'the Bengalis are only good at talking, not at doing'. I really don't know how we should answer our next generations, who (quite logically) might not believe our luminous stories of freedom, when they'll see people who blatantly opposed it occupying the highest ranks in our socio-political system. Our political leaders have continued the perpetual blame-game regarding this issue for long and we incessantly put blames on several scapegoats. Now after 37 years it's quite natural for us to be sceptic about the prospect of 'the ultimate justice'. However, we must not forget that it's never too late to bring those to justice who remorselessly assaulted humanity in the name of God.

Admission in public universities

With the number of students increasing rapidly, admission in almost every public medical college and university is getting tougher.

"No" vote

In preparation for the general elections on December 29, if we take a very good look at Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party nominated candidates, it may be noted that many convicts and corrupt businessmen, bureaucrats are still on the poll race. Although Awami League has introduced many new faces, BNP is still in favour of controversial personalities. Both the parties have controversial alliances too. There are independent candidates but it appears that they do not have flow of cash and power. To judge the value of democracy, to save the nation from endless miseries, we must not vote the corrupt candidates. And if we find no honest candidates we must cast "No" votes.

Farewell to Bush

Public shoe beating is the worst insult and ridicule to which a person can be subjected to! This is how it is viewed not only in Asia, but I am sure in most of the world. The live TV pictures of Bush being at the receiving end of flying Iraqi shoes is really surprising, though not unexpected; given his deeds against Iraq! It is the expression of the suffering of Iraqis under the killing and destruction let loose by Bush. Given the circumstances; it is probably an appropriate farewell gift from Iraq; a pair of flying size 10 shoes! I do not remember of having heard or seen anywhere near this sort of insulting or demeaning situation that the head of any state had to face, in the last fifty years or so; as long back as I can recollect! Bush brought bombs on Iraq; and ended up being bombed by Iraqi shoes; not an inappropriate response. It reminds me of the famous lines of the poem:

No room for terrorism in Islam

In Islam, there is no provision to kill innocent people for any reason whatsoever. Islam is a religion of peace. Even in the war-field, Muslims are not permitted to kill enemy soldiers unjustly. Moreover, Islam instructed Muslims not to kill women and children even during a real war!

BNP's attitude

For the last few days BNP chairperson and her hand-picked Secretary-General are issuing statements to the press to the effect that BNP would accept the election results if the elections were free and fair ! They are talking of conspiracies regarding the national polls. We do not understand why they are raising this issue now? After all CTG is helping the Election Commission to hold the polls in a free and fair manner and they are not stakeholders in this election.

BSF

BSF is killing Bangladeshis on the border areas day after day. But except from a few corners, nobody is protesting it. The caretaker government has taken no action against it. Also the sector commanders' forum is silent in this issue. We are a free nation. But the action of BSF made it questionable. We expect that the sector commanders' forum will take initiatives for trial of BSF.

Bushflex

The very recent shoe-assault by the gutsy and spirited Iraqi journalist has become a hotcake all over the world. People all over Iraq are in some sort of festive and winning mood having caught George W. Bush, the American President, on their own soil.

Honesty is the prime concern

Political parties launched a new way of campaign emphasizing what the candidates should refrain from rather than what initiatives they have taken or what manifestos they have submitted to the nation. One candidate says, "If I am involved in corruption, I take bribe, you should not cast vote for me. But if I don't do that, why do you not cast your vote for me?".

Begum Zia's campaign

Begum Khaleda Zia, an ex-Prime Minister and chief of BNP has started her election campaign after performing ziarat at the Mazar of a Holy Shrine at Sylhet. In her very first call to the nation she warned the people that the country "is in deep crisis" and it is only she and her party the jatiyotabadi and so-called Islamist forces can solve these crisis. She also reminded the people that "a deep conspiracy is being hatched to install a "tabedar sharker" meaning a puppet government in the country and again only she and her 4-party can accomplish their unfinished tasks if voted to power again.

Help Simi

Simi a student of Dhaka university Marketing Department 13th batch (session 2006-2007) is suffering from kidney disease. Both of her kidneys have been badly damaged. She needs proper treatment right now.

Harassment in ZIA

Just few days ago my sister and her family went to ZIA to fly to USA with immigration visa. They have their USA visa on their passports and have got an immigration visa packet from the Dhaka US Embassy. This packet is addressed to the American immigration officials on arrival at the airport and nobody is allowed to open this document. This fact is known to every immigration officers in ZIA. Unfortunately, an immigration officer from ZIA indiscriminately pressed my brother-in-law and sister to open that immigration visa packet. He refused to let them go until they opened it and kept them waiting. In the meantime a gentleman came from the immigration booth and asked them about their case. They explained him that the immigration officer wanted to open their visa packet. This gentleman then explained that rude man that he is not eligible to see the paper inside the packet and my brother-in-law/sister is not allowed to open it.

Sector Commanders' Forum

It is very heartening to note that the valiant Sector Commanders of our liberation war have united together in a forum to stand against the war criminals of 1971 who collaborated with the Pakistani occupation forces to annihilate the Bengalis from our sacred soil through ruthless killing, arson, rape and what not?

Pretending to be choosers?

Would someone kindly explain to us why we are holding this very expensive and dangerous election? The obvious answer is that Bangladesh is a democratic country and we have the power to choose who should run our country. Okay, so far so good. But, if democracy is about having the power to choose your leader, then why have we been stuck with Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina since 1991? Yes, it is possible for a leader to get elected multiple times but only if s/he is exceptionally good. Based on their 17-year performance record, do you think Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina are exceptionally good leaders? This year again Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina have decided that we have to choose between them. But how did the two ladies come to this conclusion? What selection process have they used to prove to us that they are the two most suitable candidates to run our country for the next five years?

International

India obliged to consider all options against Pakistan: Pranab

If Pakistan cannot keep the promises made to India on not supporting terrorist activities, India would be obliged to "consider the entire range of options that exist" to protect itself, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in Gangtok on Friday.

Pakistan acting against Jamaat-ud-Dawa: UN

Pakistan has satisfactorily complied with the UN's sanctions on the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the Islamic charity group declared a terrorist group by the Security Council, a top UN official has said.

Lankan navy destroys rebel ship: 20 killed

Sri Lanka's navy sank a Tamil Tiger rebel ship and four smaller attack boats in a battle that killed 20 guerrillas off the northeastern coast early yesterday, the military said.

India reviews coastal security

With the country's 7,500 km coastline vulnerable to terrorist attacks, the Home Ministry has decided to set up a committee to go into the difficulties on account of fishing harbours within the port limits.

Iraqi MPs reject law on UK troops

Iraq's parliament has rejected a draft law that would allow troops from the UK, Australia and a number of other countries to remain after 2008.

UN calls for immediate halt to Gaza violence

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is "extremely concerned" about the escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip and urged an extension of a recently ended truce, his office said Friday.

59 pc Pakistanis want Sharif as president

An overwhelming majority of Pakistanis believe the country is moving in the wrong direction and nearly 60 per cent would rather prefer PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif as president than Asif Ali Zardari, a survey has said.

Taliban attack Nato convoy in Pakistan

Suspected Taliban militants in northwest Pakistan opened fire on an oil tanker used to supply fuel to foreign forces in Afghanistan, killing three people, local officials said yesterday.

Interpol chief in India for Mumbai attacks probe

The chief of global police agency Interpol met Indian officials yesterday and pledged assistance in a probe into last month's attacks in Mumbai by gunmen whom India insists came from Pakistan.

Gates orders new aviation brigade to Afghanistan

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has ordered the deployment of a combat aviation brigade with some 2,800 troops to Afghanistan next year, a US military official said Friday.

New Thai premier unveils cabinet

Thailand's new prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva unveiled his cabinet yesterday aimed at building reconciliation and reviving the economy, but the ministerial line-up has already stoked tensions.

Nine militants killed in Afghanistan

Eight Taliban-linked militants were killed in a joint operation by Afghan and US-led forces in volatile southern Afghanistan, the interior ministry said yesterday.

Illinois governor vows to stay in office, fight

Facing federal corruption charges that threaten to end his political career, Gov. Rod Blagojevich has made clear to the world what those close to him know well: He's not one to be easily fazed.

Arts & Entertainment

Inter-religious harmony in marginal and folk culture

Chhayanat has been arranging lecture-presentations over the last few months. As part of the series, a lecture on 'inter-religious harmony in the traditions and performing arts of the marginalised communities' was held at Chhayanat Sangskriti Bhaban on December 19.

Discussion on the role of cultural activists in major movements

Speakers at a discussion conveyed that cultural activists and artistes have played key role in social revolutions throughout the ages. However, their contributions often go unrecognised. Gonoshilpi Sangstha, Pabna organised the discussion on "The Role of Cultural Activists in Last Hundred Years' Movement" on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.

Music reflecting patriotism

The debut album of Canada-based Bangladeshi band 'Thirteenth Note' was launched on December 19 at the auditorium of Russian Centre of Science and Culture.

Human chain protesting demolition of poet Kamini Roy’s home

Locals formed a human chain last Thursday in front of Ashwini Kumar Town Hall in Barisal, protesting the demolition of the ancestral home of poet Kamini Roy at Basanda village, under Sadar upazila in Jhalakathi district.

Shoa Paanch Arai Lane on ATN Bangla tonight

Drama serial “Shoa Paanch Arai Lane” will be aired tonight at 8 pm on ATN Bangla.

Poet Muhammad Samad receives Bishnu Dey Award

The prestigious Bishnu Dey Award (from West Bengal, India) was conferred on Bangladeshi poet Muhammad Samad on December 9.

“First Voter” on Channel i

Channel i will telecast “First Voter” -- a two-episode special programme on the upcoming election -- tonight and tomorrow at 11:30 pm.

Affleck, Jagger launch humanitarian effort

Hollywood actor Ben Affleck and rock luminary Mick Jagger launched a media campaign meant to raise money for and draw attention to people displaced by recent fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

OP-ED

Observe what and by whom?

JUST before the 1991 Parliament Election of Bangladesh a newly formed election observation team was visiting Chittagong to put together its local chapter. A meeting of local 'neutral' civil society members was called by the founder President of that organization to discuss preliminary organizational matters. No doubt the intentions were good at that time as Bangladesh was moving into a new chapter of democracy after about a decade of autocratic rule by Ershad. I rose up and thanked the organizers but expressed my skepticism as to the success of such a venture. I asked them whether they can monitor the election developments in the Raozan constituency till the day of election and come back in one piece. The team leader wanted to know why that should be difficult. Well simply because that happens to be the constituency of the infamous Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and he has his own of way getting elected by intimidating the vast number of minority and poor low income voters. The organizers had no clue as to what happens there and they would be the election observers. Things have not changed much in Raozan and similar constituencies in other parts of Bangladesh. Sure enough that same election monitoring team certified that the election in all Chittagong constituencies went on fine excepting few minor incidents and irregularities and certified that the results should be accepted. Well so far for neutral election observation and monitoring teams and their activities.

Who gains at whose cost?

WHAT is recession? Will it affect our life in Bangladesh? If it does, will all of us be worse off? These are the questions asked by my friend who belongs to the fixed-income bracket. He is happy to see the price of oil plummeting to less than $50 a barrel. Commodity prices have also come down substantially; he can buy rice and wheat at a lower cost. He eats more, saves more. He wants the trend to continue as he stands to benefit from it.

Adjusting faith with politics

THERE are some among us who dismiss the role of religion or faith in politics. They see the role of religion restricted to individual life as an instrument of moral and spiritual upliftment. But a realisation has dawned the world over that faith is proving to be a vital element in determining the mundane, be it economics or politics.

Star City

Traffic signal system in hopeless mess

On a smoggy December morning, an 11-year-old girl while crossing the busy intersection in city's Gulshan had a lucky escape as her schoolbag cushioned her from being hit seriously by a car that was moving despite red signal.

Rajuk removes one more roadblock to Hatirjheel-Begunbari project

Rajdhani Unnyan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) authority yesterday removed a filling station named Midway from the Hatirjheel-Begunbari integrated development project area.

International trade fair opens Jan 1

Fourteenth Dhaka Interna-tional Trade Fair (DITF), the biggest annual event for entrepreneurs and manufacturers to showcase goods and services to buyers will begin on the New Year's Day.



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