The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Wednesday, November 26, 2014


News of: Monday, 22nd of December, 2008

Front Page

5 in the EC dock

In a major step the Election Commission (EC) yesterday decided to launch investigations against three BNP and two Jatiya Party candidates who allegedly concealed information in their affidavits submitted with nomination papers.

Two leaders, poles apart

The election campaign strategies of Awami League President Sheikh Hasina and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia differ, often starkly, in texture and tone.

Trouble for AL allies in the North

Jatiya Party (JP) Chairman HM Ershad's waning popularity in the greater Rangpur area and Awami League's (AL) continuing indifference to its leaders' electoral rivalry with JP nominees there despite being partners in an electoral alliance, have brought new hopes for BNP-led four-party alliance nominees in the area.

A wakeup call for politics

Two years ago the Barapukuria coalmine project appeared to be a white elephant for the government. The corruption-inflicted mining project was producing coal at a cost of $91 a tonne instead of $35 as was projected in the early nineties.

Slum dwellers to decide fate of 3 generals

Candidates of the two electoral alliances are paying more attention to the large number of voters living in the slums and undeveloped areas of Dhaka-17 constituency who outnumber the sophisticated voters in the posh areas.

SC rejects EC bid

The Election Commission (EC) yesterday decided to deploy judicial magistrates in the December 29 general election, following the Supreme Court's (SC) disapproval of its earlier decision to empower executive magistrates to try punishable electoral offences.

Hasina ready to sacrifice life for country

Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina yesterday said her life is under threat since a certain quarter is afraid of the mass surge in favour of Boat, her party's electoral symbol, ahead of the parliamentary election.

Khaleda pledges Padma Bridge at Mawa

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday said, if voted to power, her government will construct the Padma Bridge at Mawa to connect the southern region with the capital.

AL asks for foolproof security

Awami League (AL) yesterday expressed concern that the reported plan to kill its president Sheikh Hasina could be an attempt to foil the December 29 election.

Ershad begs pardon for mistakes

Jatiya Party (JP) Chairman HM Ershad yesterday asked for forgiveness for the 'mistakes' he had made in the past, and pledged to do everything to free politics of violence.

EC ends BNP's symbol allocation drama in Comilla

The Election Commission (EC) yesterday asked the returning officer (RO) of Comilla-10 constituency to return BNP's electoral symbol to Mobasher Alam Bhuiyan, two days after taking away the symbol from him.

No rigging, no forgery to be allowed

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday cautioned the field level government officials that any kind of forgery, rigging and willful irregularities while discharging election duties would not be tolerated at all.

Delwar earns less, but to spend more than Jalil for polls

BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain will spend more money in his election campaign than Awami League (AL) General Secretary Abdul Jalil will spend in his, although the former earns lesser and owns a fewer assets.

ADP revision likely to fund Hatirjheel

The government today is going to revise the Annual Development Project (ADP) in the middle of the fiscal year to increase allocation for Hatirjheel project.

ACC sues 23 BTCL staff for Tk 41cr embezzlement

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday filed 11 cases against 23 staff of Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTCL) on charges of misappropriating around Tk 41 crore.

Petrobangla signs deal with BMD

The Bureau of Mineral Development (BMD) yesterday signed an agreement with the Petrobangla to develop the Dighipara coal zone engaging a strategic partner from the private sector as per the government rules and regulation.

Criminals shoot two dead in city

Indiscriminate gunfire of unknown criminals last night killed two people and injured two others in the city's Manikdi under Cantonment Police Station.

Evans for safe campaign, security for top leaders

British High Commissioner Stephen Evans yesterday hoped that the authorities concerned will take all necessary steps to ensure peaceful election campaign and security and safety of the leaders of major parties.

4 JCD, Shibir men held for malicious campaign

Ramna police yesterday arrested four activists of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) and Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS) from Moghbazar area in the city on charges of distributing leaflets containing derogatory remarks against Awami League (AL).

Plaintiff drops extortion case against Dipjol

A Dhaka court yesterday acquitted actor and Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) ward councillor Monwar Hossain Dipjol of a Tk 1 crore swindling case after its complainant submitted a withdrawal petition.

Grand alliance candidate attacked

Grand alliance candidate for Sirajganj-2 constituency Jannat Ara Henry alias Henry Talukder came under attack by some unidentified youths in Dhanmondi area of the capital yesterday.

Time to act against terror, says Pranab

India is considering all options against Pakistan to make it act against perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said.

Iranian police shut HR group office of Nobel laureate Ebadi

Iranian police shut down the office of a human rights group headed by Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi on Sunday, the deputy head of the Human Rights Defenders Centre, Narges Mohammadi, told AFP.

Editorial

Terror threat on political leaders

WE are concerned at the intelligence reports of a possible terrorist threat on the life of Awami League (AL) chief Sheikh Hasina, who has been a target of the extremists a number of times in the past. To be specific, she barely escaped death on 21 August, 2004 when 22 people had lost their lives in a grenade attack on an AL political meeting. Even earlier, Huji had reportedly plotted to kill her during her visit to Tungipara. This time around the security and intelligence agencies of the country informed Sheikh Hasina of a possible attack on her life by Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (Huji) and Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). In another report it has been said that a six-member suicide squad of Huji has been trained by foreign experts to eliminate Sheikh Hasina, and that both Huji and JMB have scores to settle with the BNP as well for banning the outfits following the countrywide series bomb blasts in 2005.

Traffic system in a shambles

IT is unbelievable but true that the traffic control system and the main aid that is supposed to help in the efficient movement of traffic on the streets of Dhaka, the traffic signals, are really a part of the problem, rather than being a solution.

BNP taking us for a ride again?

EVEN as D-day in the electoral battle approaches, and the nation impatiently awaits its tryst with elusive democracy, we confront, with a measure of trepidation the BNP's bluster of an amorphous conspiracy to skittle the election -- although the party supreme Madam Zia does not elaborate how.

Biting the BBC bullet

DURING the sixty hours of unabated terrorism in Mumbai, the one group that was almost as much in demand as security forces was journalists. With media desperate to fill space or time, a journalist could pass off any amount of gibberish as on-the-spot wisdom.

Fracturing of Pakistan

TALIBAN has blown up over 300 containers and trucks carrying supplies for western troops in Afghanistan. Pakistan is now almost a fixture in the world news. There is an intense insurgency going on in the FATA. It is an ominous affair.

Sports

No play on Day One

The first day's play of the three-day practice match between the Sri Lankans and BCB XI was called off without a ball being bowled due to wet conditions at the BKSP cricket ground yesterday.

Farashganj blow for Abahani

Abahani's start to the second half of the Citycell B. League became dour when the defending champions stumbled to a goalless draw against Farashganj yesterday.

De Villiers does it for Proteas finally

AB de Villiers erased a lingering hoodoo for South Africa as they sealed their most satisfying win with a record-breaking chase of 414 for 4 that buried Australia in the first Test at the WACA on Sunday.

Arafat 7 wrecks Barisal

Arafat Sunny demolished a lacklustre Barisal while fellow title contenders Rajshahi dominated proceedings during the first day of the final round National Cricket League matches yesterday.

India hit back late after KP century

India dealt two late blows to leave England fighting for survival in the second Test on Sunday after Kevin Pietersen had lifted the tourists with a robust 144.

Henry suffers eye injury

The new national cricket team physiotherapist Michael Henry suffered an injury during Tigers practice session at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday.

Tickets available from tomorrow

The tickets for the first Test between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will go on sale at all nominated branches of AB Bank Limited in Dhaka from tomorrow.

BCB names nat'l pool

Bangladesh Cricket Board yesterday released a 17-member national pool for the upcoming Premier Cricket League.

McIntosh lifts Kiwis

A maiden Test century by Tim McIntosh and the arrival of spin gave New Zealand the edge on the third day of the second cricket Test against the West Indies here Sunday.

Destiny, Leonine put pressure on Biman

Bangladesh Biman dropped one point yesterday but retained pole position in the Dutch-Bangla Bank First Division Chess League with 26.6 points.

'I'm not at my best'

India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh on Sunday admitted that he was not being able to produce his best bowling so far against England in the ongoing two-match Test series.

Inter ride on Maicon

Inter Milan stretched their lead at the top of the Serie A table to nine points, for a day at least, after a crucial 2-1 victory at Siena on Saturday.

MU on top of the world

Wayne Rooney came to the rescue as Manchester United beat South American champions Liga de Quito 1-0 Sunday to win the Club World Cup and lift one of the few trophies to have eluded them.

Nothing for granted

David Beckham has admitted he might struggle to get into AC Milan's first team during his loan spell with the Italian giants as he was unveiled to the world's media at the club's training ground.

Good start for Ramos

An early goal for Gonzalo Higuain was enough to give Real Madrid a 1-0 victory over Valencia on Saturday and the first win for Juande Ramos as coach.

Lyon are winter champs

Lyon reached the midway point in their bid for a record eighth French league title in their customary position as leaders of the pack after a 1-0 win at Caen on Saturday.

Holland, Belgium to bid for WC

The Netherlands and Belgium, who are bidding for a joint hosting of the 2018 World Cup, will also be candidates to organise the 2022 event, the Dutch football federation said on Saturday.

Allardyce plans showdown talks

Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce is planning showdown talks with Roque Santa Cruz after the Paraguay striker revealed he wants to quit Ewood Park in the January transfer window.

FIFA unfazed by meltdown

World football body FIFA says it has so far remained immune to the financial storm gripping the world, and vowed to help clubs that were struggling.

WC 2011 safe: ICC

The tense stand-off between India and Pakistan following the Mumbai attacks will not affect the 2011 World Cup in the region, cricket's world chief said on Sunday.

Business

Exports post 30pc rise, October a laggard

Bangladesh has posted 30.68 percent export growth in the July-October period, earning $5,251.49 million against $4,018.67 million in the same period of the previous fiscal year in signs of slowing growth.

Online supermarket hits snag

The country's first online supermarket 'Chorka' is facing difficulties in exploring e-business opportunities due to absence of a proper payment method.

Govt signs 50mw Chittagong rental power deal

The Power Cell of the power ministry yesterday signed a deal on the 50 megawatt Sikalbaha, Chittagong, rental power project with a joint venture led by Royce Power Engineering Ltd of Hong Kong and two local companies for a three-year term.

Parjatan mulls bringing cable car project under private management

Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation considers handing over the construction and management of the first- ever cable car project in Banderban to the private sector, said the corporation chairman.

Canada offers $3.29b auto bailout

The federal and Ontario governments will provide the Canadian subsidiaries of the Detroit Three automakers with 4 billion Canadian dollars ($3.29 billion) in emergency loans, the prime minister said Saturday.

Obama's new deal sparks debate

The vast public works spending plan proposed by President-elect Barack Obama has stirred fresh debate on the 1930s New Deal and whether such Great Depression programs would be useful today.

Second-hand luxury goods defy slowdown

Tsutomu Yasuyama is doing something that few retail entrepreneurs across Asia would contemplate in the current economic slowdown -- expanding.

Automated Kamalapur ICD ready to start customs clearence this month

Kamalapur Inland Container Depot (ICD) is ready to start customs clearance under an automated system any day this month.

Make power bid criteria friendly to local investors

Bangladesh Energy Companies Association (Beca), a platform of local energy sector investors, yesterday demanded that the government retain the same pre-qualification criteria applicable to the Bibiyana power project for all upcoming 450 megawatt power projects.

Stocks rise on polls

Dhaka stocks jumped yesterday amid investors' increased participation in trade on expectations the market would be vibrant under an elected government next year.

DSE ups transaction capacity

The Dhaka Stock Exchange has added two new processors to the existing two, which increases the transaction capacity of the premier bourse, as part of the first phase of an uplifting programme.

Brac introduces Africa fund

Brac has raised $62.6 million of debt capital to provide micro-finance to poor borrowers in Tanzania, Uganda and Southern Sudan, the nongovernmental organisation said in a statement yesterday.

Mango restores internet capacity

Mango Teleservices Ltd, the lone private sector International Internet Gateway (IIG) of the country, has successfully mitigated a disaster in the submarine cable systems in the shortest possible time.

AKTEL launches new service

AKTEL has launched 'AKTEL Push Mail' for their post-paid customers, according to a press statement.

Arab investors to take over Luxembourg subsidiary

Luxembourg's government has confirmed an agreement for a consortium of Arab investors to take over the local subsidiary of embattled Icelandic bank Kaupthing.

Kuwait income hit by oil price plunge

Opec member Kuwait earned 1.255 billion dinars (4.65 billion dollars) in November, its lowest monthly income this year due to the sharp decline in oil prices, the finance ministry said on Sunday.

Japan watchdog to police lending to small firms

Japan's financial watchdog may punish banks which it finds guilty of unfairly withholding loans to smaller businesses, in order to avert a credit crunch among such firms, a report said Sunday.

Swiss govt may unveil third aid package

The Swiss government will unveil new measures to boost the economy should the country plunge into a deeper recession than expected, Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz said in remarks published Sunday.

South Korea to streamline state-run firms

South Korea on Sunday announced a plan to streamline state-run companies by slashing jobs, selling properties and saving other costs to alleviate its fiscal deficit.

Metropolitan

71,000 women suffer from fistula for lack of awareness

Speakers at an experience-sharing meeting yesterday said an estimated 71,000 women have been suffering from fistula, a preventable and treatable disease, only for lack of awareness in the society.

Create second option for edn

Education Adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman yesterday said the number of children who need a second option to continue education stands now at one crore and it is the duty of the government to create an option for them.

Vote out top war criminal

Leaders of the Sector Commanders' Forum (SCF) in Faridpur urged the people yesterday to vote out Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid in Faridpur-3 (Sadar) Constituency as he is a top war criminal.

When money matters in election battle

Proshika chief Kazi Faruque Ahmed has become a matter of deep concern for candidates in both Khulna-2 (Sadar-Sonadanga) and Khulna-5 (Dumuria-Phultala) constituencies so far as money is concerned.

No fund yet to develop Sidr-hit Sundarbans

The Sundarbans Forest Division (SFD) is yet to get any allocation from the government for development and reconstruction works after Sidr caused extensive damage to the world's largest mangrove forest on November 15 last year.

Security beefed up for polls

Some 50,000 military and adequate paramilitary troops started patrolling all metropolitan, district and upazila areas yesterday to build up foolproof security for the ninth parliamentary elections.

People still in doubt about holding of polls as per schedule

Speakers at a book launching ceremony yesterday expressed their anxiety over the holding of the general election as per the schedule.

Refrain from presenting news with personal aspersions

Chief Election Commissioner Dr ATM Shamsul Huda yesterday urged the print and electronic media to refrain from presenting news with personal aspersions on the candidates contesting the forthcoming polls.

RU controversial staffs continue strike

Academic and administrative activities of Rajshahi University came to a halt yesterday as controversially appointed fourth-class employees at the university continue their indefinite strike demanding regularisation of their jobs.

100 out of 266 Magura polling centres risky

As many as 100 polling centres out of 266 in Magura district have been identified as risky, sources in the Office of the Superintendent of Police said.

Advisers okay perks for SC judges

The council of advisers at a meeting yesterday approved the Supreme Court Judges (Remuneration and Privileges) Ordinance 2008 to provide them dearness and rest and recreational allowances.

CG ready to hand over power

The caretaker government is ready to transfer power to an elected government within a very short time as per the existing laws, said Commerce and Education Adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman.

Primary teachers demand minimum salary of Tk 8,000

National Primary Teachers' Coordination Council yesterday demanded the government fix a minimum salary of Tk 8,000 for primary school teachers.

'Ban anti-iberation books'

Teachers of Dhaka and Rajshahi Universities yesterday demanded immediate ban on the books 'Muktijoddha Juddhaparadhi Rastradohi' and 'Drishshapat '71: Ekush Shotoker Rajniti O Awami League' authored by one pro-Jamaat Asad-Bin-Hafiz.

10kg explosive seized in Benapole

Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) seized about 10 kilograms of explosive from a village under Sharsha upazila in Jessore early yesterday.

Trader shot by extortionists in city

Extortionists shot a trader in the city's Bagicha area yesterday while he was going to his business centre from his house.

'Do not vote for Razakars'

Amra Muktijoddhar Santan and Muktijoddha Jubo Command jointly formed a human chain in front of the National Museum in the city yesterday urging people not to vote for 'Razakars', says a press release.

2 executed in Barisal jail

Two people, who received death sentence by separate courts of Dhaka and Jhalakati, were executed in Barisal Central Jail on Saturday late night.

Air Commodore Delwar promoted to Air Vice Marshal

Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Admin) Air Commodore Muhammad Delwar Hussain has been promoted to the rank of Air Vice Marshal yesterday.

Canadian HC contributes to CSR project

The High Commission of Canada in Dhaka has contributed funds to a project that will promote and develop Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in The Meghna Group of Industries at their Janata Flour Mill at Meghna Ghat.

Journos can help reach legal aid to poor victims

Members of Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) at a programme yesterday said journalists can play a vital role in reaching legal aid services at the doorstep of the poor people.

Maj Gen Jamali promoted to Lt Gen

Chief of General Staff of Bangladesh Army Major General Sina Ibn Jamali has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General yesterday.

Help desk at ZIA for foreign journos

A help desk was set up at the Zia International Airport (ZIA) for the foreign journalists and observers who will come here to cover the 9th parliament election on December 29.

DU classes resume Jan 1

The classes of Dhaka University (DU) will resume on January 1 after a 27-day vacation of Eid-ul-Azha, Martyred Intellectuals Day, the Victory Day and winter.

Dr Sakhawat PSTU new VC

Dr Syed Sakhawat Hossain has been appointed vice-chancellor of Patuakhali Science and Technology University (PSTU).

National

UPDF, 2 rebel candidates stand in alliances' way

Two rebels and a United People's Democratic Front (UPDF) candidate have posed a threat to both the candidates of grand alliance and four-party alliance.

Biharis may play decisive role in Nilphamari-4

Urdu speaking people of the railway city of Saidpur, commonly known as 'Biharis,' can play a decisive role in the upcoming election in Nilphamari-4 constituency comprising Saidpur and part of Kishoreganj upazila.

Vote for grand alliance to root out corruption, militancy

Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad yesterday urged people to vote for grand alliance candidates to help free the country from 'corruption, militancy, looting and poverty'.

9 out of 10 depend on relatives, donations

Nine candidates out of ten in two Joypurhat constituencies are depending on relatives and individual donors for meeting major portion of their election expenses.

Tarique's absence in Bogra hardly felt

The absence of BNP senior joint secretary general Tarique Rahman in the election campaign for the four-party alliance candidates in Bogra has not made any difference.

5 Chandpur seats may see fight between alliances

In the five constituencies of Chandpur district the campaign of Awami League-led Grand Alliance candidates and four-party nominees are most prominent.

Polls free of black money, muscle

Five candidates out of six contesting the Jatiya Sangsad election from Gazipur-4 (Kapasia) constituency yesterday appeared in same dais and holding hands of each other vowed to keep the election free from the influence of black money and muscle power.

Reject war criminals in polls

A 20-member delegation of United Kingdom (UK)- expatriate Bangladeshi community yesterday urged voters here to reject war criminals in the upcoming Jatiya Sangsad (JS) election.

AL leader dies on dais after speech in C'nawabganj

Local Awami League (AL) leader Sabber Ahmed died of cardiac arrest immediately after delivering his speech from a stage built for campaigning yesterday.

Letters

Let's make it work

Bengalis have always been renowned for their astute political conscience and activism. During the Raj, Bengalis formed the backbone of the political and cultural establishment that led the British to leave the subcontinent. And then came the Pakistan era where politicians like Sher-e-Bangla, Maulana Bhashani, Suhrawardy and the great Bangabandhu had successfully challenged the might of an establishment made up of aristocrats, bureaucrats and a powerful military. The Bengalis founded their own nation as a people's state that enshrined democracy and secularism as fundamental principles.

Homage to Martyred Intellectuals

14th December is a red-letter day in the history of Bengali nation. Thirty-seven years ago on this very day the Bengali intellectuals were brutally tortured and killed by Al-Badr, Al-Shams killers who were the agents of Pakistani occupation forces. Their barbaric and heinous atrocities are comparable only with the Nazi killing of Jews during the World War II. It is a matter of great regret that these war criminals are not yet tried. It is the unequivocal demand of the people that these anti liberation forces be brought to justice without wasting any time.

Unemployment issue

In a study of "The 2008 World Factbook", it has been revealed that the total population of this country is 150,448,339 (July 2007 est.). But it is quite insightful to see that about 63.4 % of this country's total population is in between the age of 15 to 64 years. This larger portion of people could be an asset for this country. But because of unemployment, they are in danger of being a burden on the economy.

AL's manifesto

Your staff correspondent's front-page report on Al's manifesto on 12th December appears reasonably pragmatic. However, completing it in their term of office, should they win, seems difficult. And if they are replaced by their arch-enemy BNP, come next election, then even the realistic goal of 5,000MW power by 2011 will disappear. The real life example is there when even their MoU for power plant was summarily cancelled in a very foolish manner, as soon as they were succeeded by the BNP. To top it, after that the BNP could not even add 1MW of power when they were in office.

A disqualified FEMA

Election observers play an important role during election and various parties related to the field are greatly served by it. In this regard, FEMA has always carried out the job sincerely from the very beginning. But unfortunately the EC has banned the organisation from observing the polls, accusing its president of involvement in politics.

Sound pollution

Sound pollution has reached an alarming stage. Experts have warned that excessive noise can lead to deafness and create health problems, which can do irreparable damage to humans.

Election Commission

The Election Commission appears to be feeble. The simple answer is-- stand on your feet and take a very rational and befitting decision regarding the constituencies where the court decision might jeopardize the election. If I were the chief election commissioner, I would immediately reschedule those elections without disturbing the election of the entire country. This is the most logical and legally acceptable solution under the present circumstances. I hope the Election Commission will take this decision.

FEMA issue

That FEMA has not been allowed to observe the upcoming election really stunned me. The Election Commission has rejected the registration of FEMA on the ground of its president's connection with politics. But it is well known to all that he was associated with politics for a short period of time and resigned from politics more than one and a half year back.

Sayeeda Jaigirdar's "London 1971"

May I point out that Mr Mohiuddin Ahmed included several inaccuracies in his letter of appreciation to Sayeeda Jagirdar in the letter column of The Daily Star of November 12, 2008.

Subcontinent

India was divided into two separate independent states under the 'Two nations theory i) India for the Hindus and ii) Pakistan for the Muslims.

Leadership

We are an overcrowded nation, [and urban society]; therefore it is not unusual that we have surplus 'leaders' -- no unemployment at the top levels of the society. Labelling is no problem these days. There are too many political parties [to have a piece of the pie]: and too many mass media organs [daily newspapers and TV and radio channels]. Why corruption is so popular? The antidote: extremist Muslims, using a wide range of cosmetic effects for social display [dress, mannerism, poise, motivations.....].

Obama and the world

Mr Obama has been elected (or selected by Pentagon, FBI, Republican -- Democrat highest ups, limited topmost people in the USA) as the 44th president of the USA. It is definitely creditable, especially for a Black to be elected as President of the USA. In fact, it is much more creditable if he has been selected by the tops of the USA as selection is totally on complex hard calculation, and no emotion at all.

Bush and Iraq

President Bush's final trip to Iraq to say goodbye may not have been fairly the fond farewell he had in mind. Not everyone was greeting Bush as a great knight in shining armour during his secret visit. One Iraqi journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi decided to hurl his shoes at the Decider during a joint press conference Bush was holding with Iraqi Premier Nouri al Maliki. The surprise visit was planned to commemorate a security pact between the U.S. and the Iraqi government. But, at the end of the day, the president wound up having to dodge a pair of shoes thrown at him. This brave journalist has acted on behalf of billions of people worldwide. It is an irony that Bush wanted to leave office with a bang as the liberator of Iraq has to slink into Iraq and hide behind the Green Zone. On top of that he got a sent-off with a shoe!

Celebration of Eid

It happens during the start of Ramadan and celebration of two Eids. Some people in Bangladesh start fasting two days earlier and celebrate Eid-ul -Fitr and Eid -ul-Azha, as claimed by them, keeping similitude with Saudi Arabia or international moon sighting committee also two days earlier. They have no respect for or faith on our own government decision and moon sighting committee.

International

Greek violence rages ahead of budget vote

Street violence raged into a third week in Athens as protests sparked by the fatal shooting of a teenager fused with political tension hours from the Greek parliament's budget vote yesterday.

Israel threatens major Gaza offensive

Israel threatened yesterday to launch a major offensive against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip as violence simmered around the impoverished territory days after the end of a truce with the Islamists.

BJP-led NDA banking on post-polls allies

Desperate to win new allies ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP-led NDA has resigned to its fate of being 'friendless' in key Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh but is banking on post-poll allies and a new strategy for Uttar Pradesh.

Tigers kill 60 Lankan soldiers in fighting

Tamil Tiger rebels killed 60 Sri Lankan troops advancing toward their de facto capital, a pro-rebel report said, but the government denied yesterday that many soldiers had died.

Deaths from Mumbai 'police error'

Guests trapped in a Mumbai hotel seized by gunmen last month have told the BBC they were given instructions by police that may have led to more people dying.

Afghanistan could get 30,000 new US troops

The top US military officer said Saturday that the Pentagon could double the number of American forces in Afghanistan by next summer to 60,000 the largest estimate of potential reinforcements ever publicly suggested.

Saudis deny Qaeda plot against hajj

Saudi Arabia has denied it foiled an al-Qaeda attack on this year's hajj, rejecting a US report that it had advance intelligence of a plot against Mecca pilgrims, a newspaper reported yesterday.

Belgium scrambles to avoid political collapse

Belgium's monarch on Saturday held new meetings with political party leaders in a bid to find a transitional government willing to try to lead the country away from a new political crisis.

New Thai cabinet sets to work amid complaints

Thai Premier Abhisit Vejjajiva's newly unveiled cabinet set to work yesterday on building reconciliation and reviving the economy, despite the threat of protests over some appointments.

Deposed Mauritanian president freed

The deposed president of the desert-encircled African nation of Mauritania was set free Sunday after 4 1/2 months under house arrest.

India likely to sign uranium deal with Kazakhstan

India is likely to sign a civil nuclear cooperation pact with Kazakhstan next month, to make it the fourth country to sign such an agreement with New Delhi, official sources said.

Pakistani jets kill four militants in tribal area

Pakistani fighter jets yesterday attacked suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda positions in a lawless tribal area on the border with Afghanistan, killing four militants, an official said.

'Sonia, Shahrukh among 50 most powerful people'

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan have been ranked among the 50 most powerful people in the world by the US-based magazine 'Newsweek' in a list topped by President-elect Barack Obama.

Pakistan mall fire kills 10

The death toll from a massive fire that gutted a major shopping mall in the Pakistani garrison city of Rawalpindi has risen to 10, with six others still missing, officials said yesterday.

Head of Swedish Academy resigns

The head of the Swedish Academy, which each year awards the prestigious Nobel Literature Prize will step down in June after 10 years in the post, he announced at the body's annual year-end gathering.

Diplomat kidnapped in Pakistan is alive, says Iran

An Iranian diplomat kidnapped last month in Pakistan is alive, Tehran's ambassador to Islamabad was quoted by a newspaper as saying yesterday.

Maoist attack on Nepali newspaper

Twelve staff at a prominent newspaper and magazine publisher were injured on Sunday when they were attacked by dozens of Maoist activists angered by critical coverage, an editor said.

Arts & Entertainment

Bringing together literary activists

To reach a wider group of readers and to encourage interaction between little magazine activists, a three-day little magazine fair was held at the Aziz Cooperative Super Market, starting from December 18. Organised by the community of editors, writers and readers of contemporary independent publications, the fair included an exhibition of little magazines, discussion and poetry recitation.

Russia commemorates National Heroes

To mark the Russian day of National Heroes, on December 18, Russian Centre of Science and Culture organised a photography exhibition highlighting legendary Russian figures.

Martyr widow accorded reception in Pabna

Nilmon Gallery, a socio-cultural organisation, held a reception on Monday to mark Victory Day. Sahara Banu, the widow of martyred intellectual advocate Amin Uddin, was centre stage and received a floral garland. In addition, a shawl with a map of Bangladesh was handed over to her to mark Victory Day.

Cultural celebrations of Victory Day

Dhaleswari Kabita O Natya Sangathan organised a cultural function at open stage of Motilal Degree College under Daulatpur upazila in Manikganj on Wednesday celebrating Victory Day.

Aamir ready to unleash Ghajini

Aamir Khan is on a roll -- be it as an actor, producer or director. After the enormous success of his directorial debut with "Taare Zameen Par," and as a producer with "Aamir," the virtuoso thespian is now the cynosure of film buffs as the anticipation for this year's last mega release "Ghajini" mounts.

Two new drama serials commences on ATN Bangla

From December 23, two new drama serials can be viewed on ATN Bangla. Drama serial “Baksho”, written by Mahiuddion Ahmed and directed by Dipankar Dipon, will be aired at 8pm every Tuesday. The second serial is “Saat Samuddur”, a Humayun Ahmed play directed by eminent actor-director Abul Hayat. “Saat Samuddur” will go on air every Tuesday at 8:40pm.

Srotar Ashor at Chhayanat

Chhayanat's monthly musical soiree, Srotar Ashor, was held at the Ramesh Chandra Dutta auditorium, Chhayanat Sanskriti Bhaban on December 20. Five promising Tagore and Nazrul singers performed at the function.

OP-ED

Voter sentiments

POLLING is not widely conducted in Bangladesh, although conjectures and opinions abound as a national pastime in every nook and corner of the country about the ever-changing election winds. While polls are not crystal balls from which a definitive picture of the ultimate outcome is expected, they can provide better insights than mere speculations if properly conducted.

Women in 9th national parliament

POLITICAL thinkers are of the view that the role of women in the 9th parliament will be greater than before. This could be a reality because around 40 women candidates are contesting in the election. Justifying their role in national politics and the decision making process is really a great challenge for the women in Bangladesh.

Rewriting our past

ONE multinational bank working in Bangladesh assures the customer by saying that they always respect the local language though they are originated in an alien country. They are doing that because they are operating in different countries and doing business with local people. It means that local values get immense importance in their business strategies.

An instruction manual for babies

ONE of my workmates just became a father. He's in a state of shock. I'll tell you why men have difficulty coping with newborns. Babies don't come with instruction manuals, like other cool, portable accessories.

Star City

Rooftop is their playground

Pritom, a class-three student from Kazipara, has never played in a playground. The only place he gets to run around or play badminton is the rooftop of the building he lives in.

Just 'Don't Honk' sign not enough

Indiscriminate and unnecessary use of powerful vehicular horns continues to create noise pollution in the city due to lack of enforcement of the existing horn rules.

"city express"

The latest crop of quotes from the city's press -- words worth repeating, we feel, for their humour, insight or sheer outrageousness. Star City does not necessarily support the opinions expressed in this column.



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