The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Thursday, October 2, 2014


News of: Wednesday, 24th of December, 2008

Front Page

Hannan handed death

Three militants of Harkatul Jihad (Huji) including its chief Mufti Abdul Hannan were sentenced to death yesterday in a murder case filed in connection with the grenade attack on the then British high commissioner Anwar Choudhury in May 2004.

Voters rate polls process high, want honest men

As the nation goes to a much-awaited parliamentary election on December 29, a vast majority of voters said they are satisfied with the poll preparation, The Daily Star-Nielsen Election Opinion Poll-2, 2008 revealed.

EC body to watch law, order affair

The Election Commission (EC) is assembling a special committee to monitor law and order round the clock for the December 29 polls, and if necessary, issue immediate instructions from its secretariat.

Grenades brought to kill me

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) yesterday recovered three improvised hand grenades from Nabiabad village in Devidwar upazila of Comilla, around an hour after BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia addressed an election rally four km away.

Stay alert against rigging bid

Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged voters to remain alert, so none may rig the December 29 election.

Ershad blasts AL men for not campaigning

Jatiya Party (JP) Chairman HM Ershad yesterday accused the Awami League of betraying with the party in 11 constituencies and asked AL candidates of Rangpur region to stop campaigning in the greater interest of the grand alliance.

Faster digital Bangladesh than AL

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday pledged to build a "digital Bangladesh" quicker than the Awami League (AL).

Convicted in 2, accused in dozen

Infamous Islamist militant leader Mufti Abdul Hannan, who was awarded death sentence yesterday in a killing case linked to the grenade attack on British High Commissioner, stands accused in over two dozen more cases.

DU glory won't work for Menon, Sohel

Two former student leaders have locked horns for the prominent Dhaka-8 constituency with the experienced of the two having an upper hand for being well-known in the national politics.

Hectic task awaits first JS session

The inaugural session of the ninth parliament is set to begin late January or early February next year with unprecedented workload of determining the fates of over 100 ordinances within 30 days of the first sitting.

Crime, politics made rickshaw garage owner filthy rich

Once a petty trader in Old Dhaka, Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu, has managed to establish himself as a wealthy individual over the years, initially through a reign of terror unleashed by his gang of thugs in the locality, and then by using his political influence.

Same old slogans

Tajul Islam blares out slogans through his microphone and urges people to attend a rally, six days short of the national elections.

ADP still slow

Implementation of the annual development programme (ADP) under the caretaker government in the first five months of the current fiscal year (FY) has been as poor as it was during the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year.

11 aspirants knocked out of poll race

The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday rejected appeals filed by 11 parliamentary aspirants against the High Court (HC) rulings, which upheld the Election Commission's (EC) decisions cancelling their candidature on different grounds.

Jamaat sues ATN for news against war criminals

The four-party candidate in the Sylhet-6 constituency yesterday filed a case against ATN Bangla for telecasting a news report on the private TV channel about war criminals contesting the parliamentary election.

Muktijoddha Sangsad reveals list of 600 war criminals

Bangladesh Muktijoddha Sangsad yesterday published a list of 600 war criminals responsible for the mass killings, rapes and other misdeeds during the country's Liberation War.

Westmont chief seeks to drop extortion case against Hasina

Tajul Islam Farook, chairman of Westmont Power Company (Bangladesh) Ltd, yesterday withdrew the barge-mounted power plant case against Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina.

First tri-series tie is Rana's benefit match

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) on Tuesday declared the first one-day international of the tri-nation series involving Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe as late Manzarul Islam Rana's benefit match.

Lanka war refugees held by govt: HRW

Thousands of Tamils fleeing heavy fighting in the north of Sri Lanka are trapped by the government and being denied basic provisions, Human Rights Watch said yesterday.

5 Muslims face life behind bars for US Army plot

Five Muslim immigrants face the potential of life in prison after being convicted of scheming to massacre US soldiers at Fort Dix.

Editorial

Proliferation of fake TINs

IT is indeed disconcerting news that more than 35 per cent of the Tax Identification Numbers in a sample survey conducted by the National Board of Revenue have turned out to be false. That raises the very pertinent question of how the individuals owning these fake numbers came to acquire them. One cannot in any way deny the fact that 35 per cent is an inordinately high number, especially in a matter as serious as TINs. Which again leads to a new question: how did the mechanism involved in the preparation and provision of TINs come by such a grave flaw? The answer to that question, as also other questions relating to TINs, must come from the NBR itself. It must explain its own failings in this regard. Obviously, there have been lapses along the line which have spawned the proliferation of TINs. Why those lapses have been there and what is being done to plug the holes is a question that now calls for a credible answer.

Cheaper prices of fuel

IT is good to note that the government has reduced the prices of fuel further, the second time in the last two months. Howsoever slender the decrease maybe, it has come at a time when the next cropping season is round the corner. We hope that the farmers would be benifitted from the reduced cost of a very important input of cultivation.

Of moral governance and predatory politics

POLITICS appears to be turning towards the hypocritical, while we thought it was the art of the possible. You only have to watch Begum Zia haranguing the country on the immense darkness that will surely descend on the country should the Awami League triumph at the general elections. The people will not accept, she tells, a puppet government the caretaker administration and the Election Commission might be planning to foist on us after the elections. She does not explain, but everyone knows where she is pointing.

Needed diplomacy

ULTIMATELY, it wasn't superior firepower, sophisticated interception methods or commando training that helped arrest one of the Mumbai attackers. It was the courage of the policemen in overpowering Ajmal Amir Iman (Kasab) with nothing more than lathis.

If the shoes fits . . .

IF only President Bush had consulted a fairy godmother before he embarked on his final visit to Iraq. He might have been warned that instead of losing a glass slipper, he would be receiving a used shoe.

Sports

Lankans warm up well

Despite top order hiccups, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene expressed his satisfaction over his side's performance in the three-day warm-up match against BCB XI that expectedly ended in a draw at BKSP yesterday.

Gambhir misses mark

India's Gautam Gambhir missed his second century of the match by three runs as the second Test against England was drawn on Tuesday, giving the hosts a 1-0 series win.

Barisal stay in hunt

Imran Ahmed slammed a gritty half-century to keep Barisal in contention to clinch the maiden domestic first-class title as the visitors tightened the grip on Dhaka at the end of third day's play of the final round National Cricket League match at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium yesterday.

Alfaz lifts Russel

Alfaz Ahmed's 87th minute strike bailed out Sheikh Russel with a solitary goal victory against a stubborn Chittagong Mohammedan in a opening round match of Citycell B. League's second-leg at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.

BFF endorses 36-member list

The debate over the members of Swadhin Bangla Football Dal came to an end after the inclusion of the team officials and three more players into the list was unanimously accepted yesterday.

Mani fears for Pakistan

Pakistan risks being the pariah of the cricket world unless it addresses security fears that have prompted foreign teams to cancel tours here, the former chief of the game's governing body said Tuesday.

Everton hold Chelsea

Chelsea captain John Terry was sent-off as the ten-man Blues failed to go top of the English Premier League after being held to a goalless draw away to Everton here Monday.

Owen's future undecided

England striker Michael Owen will not make a decision about his future with Newcastle United until the end of the season, a statement released by his agent said Monday.

Gayle confirms draw

A masterful 197 by Chris Gayle saved the West Indies and ensured a drawn series as New Zealand gave up their run chase Tuesday with nine overs remaining in the second cricket Test.

Learning curve for Eng

England captain Kevin Pietersen said on Tuesday the tour of India had provided his team a learning experience after losing the two-Test series 1-0.

Destiny 2000 new leaders

Bangladesh Biman were replaced from the top of the Dutch-Bangla First Division Chess League table after their shocking 2-2 draw with Faith Chess Club yesterday.

Xabi wishes Cesc well

Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso has wished Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas a speedy recovery from a possible ligament injury caused by a crunching tackle between the Spain teammates.

Transfer on Hughes' mind

Under-pressure Manchester City manager Mark Hughes insists he will still be at the helm come the January transfer window to take advantage of the club's financial might.

Capello ended funfair

Football Association chairman Lord Triesman believes Fabio Capello's most significant achievement since taking charge of England has been to destroy the "funfair" culture surrounding the team.

Hugo Sanchez new coach at Almeria

Former Mexico coach and one-time Real Madrid star Hugo Sanchez has been named as the new coach of Spanish first division side Almeria.

Fabregas out for 4 months

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed on Tuesday that Gunners captain Cesc Fabregas will be out of action for four months after suffering a partial rupture of his medial knee ligament in Sunday's draw against Liverpool.

Busquets signs long-term deal

Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets has agreed a new four-and-a-half-year contract extension with the Primera Liga leaders.

Japan to aim for semis

Japan coach Takeshi Okada has issued a surprise warning that the former Asian champions will "seriously" aim for a semifinal place in the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.

FA probing bottle-throwing incident

The Football Association (FA) are investigating an incident which saw a plastic bottle thrown at Sunderland's Phil Bardsley during his side's 4-1 Premier League win away to Hull last weekend.

Amol, Ranjan lift doubles title

Amol Roy and Ranjan Ram bagged the men's doubles crown of the Popular Pharmaceuticals Victory Day tennis tournament defeating Dipu Lal and Alamgir Hossain in straight sets yesterday.

Access lift Banglalink football title

'Access Storm' of Access Network department defeated 'A&F Sphinx' of Accounting and Finance department) 1-0 in a breathtaking final to clinch the title of Banglalink Inter-departmental football tournament at the Gulshan Youth Club ground recently.

BSWA awards today

Bangladesh Sports Writers Association (BSWA) will distribute its sports awards for the years 2005, 2006 and 2007 at a function at the NSC tower today at 3:30 pm.

Business

Hasina sees shine for private sector

Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina at a business meeting yesterday promised more opportunities for the private sector if her party is voted to power.

10 economic challenges for next govt: CPD

The Centre for Policy Dialogue sees ten economic challenges for the next elected government, which include farm input costs cut for a better boro harvest to ensure food security and tamed inflation.

Britain edges to recession, Great Depression in sight

Britain edged ever closer to a recession on Tuesday and the IMF's top economist warned of a second Great Depression, as stock markets awaited fresh US growth data in the hope of some Christmas cheer.

Govt rejects fresh plan to privatise Rupali

The government yesterday rejected a proposal to privatise Rupali Bank through the Privatisation Commission (PC) as it is in a "poor financial condition" and requires restructuring.

STP draws flak from urban planners

The Strategic Transport Plan (STP) faces fresh criticism for its proposal for shifting Kamalapur Railway Station out of the capital -- a move which some urban planners say will increase traffic jams.

Next govt to patronise shipbuilders

The commerce adviser has been very upbeat on Bangladesh's shipbuilding industry's role in graduating the country to a mid-income one in future on government patronisation.

World stocks mixed before key growth data

World equities saw mixed fortunes on Tuesday, with many investors away for the Christmas and year-end holidays, as dealers awaited key economic growth data in Britain and the United States.

China expects 18pc rise in foreign trade

China's commerce minister said Tuesday the country's foreign trade was expected to have grown 18 percent in 2008 despite the negative impact of the global economic crisis, state media reported.

Operators look to sunny days

Microphone operator Joynal Abedin seldom takes part in political gossips. Even today, his interest in political affairs appears diminutive although Bangladesh is all set to return to democracy after the caretaker government's two-year rule.

ICT commitments of AL, BNP

As an ICT industry practitioner, I find it highly encouraging that the two largest political parties of the country have emphasised ICT development as a core issue. Of course, AL's manifesto mentions ICTs at 9 places while BNP's manifesto addresses ICTs in 2 places thereby making AL's manifesto more ICT-centric, to be fair.

CA visits automated Customs at Ctg seaport

Chief Adviser Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday visited the recently automated Chittagong Customs House in the port city to see the different online trading services and facilities that accelerated external trade operations through the country's main seaport.

Stocks return to profit

Dhaka stocks returned from losses yesterday, powered by rising investor confidence about future gains in the market.

Dollar drifts lower against major currencies

The dollar drifted lower against the euro and the yen in muted trading conditions on Tuesday, with many market participants away for the Christmas and New Year festive break.

S Korean shipyards, builders face forced restructuring

South Korea will form a task force to assess the finances of construction firms and smaller shipbuilders and will force unviable companies to restructure, the financial watchdog said Tuesday.

Economic crisis could put 25m people out of work: OECD

The world economic crisis could put 25 million people out of work, the OECD warned on Monday, as Japan's iconic Toyota auto company forecast its first ever operating loss and European stocks slipped.

EU, Brazil vow to press for IMF overhaul at London G20 meet

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil on Monday vowed to work together to counter the effects of the world crisis by promoting trade.

German bank IKB gets 5b euros in loan guarantees

The troubled German bank IKB, which was saved from bankruptcy with huge amounts of state aid, has received another five billion euros (seven billion dollars) in public loan guarantees, it said on Tuesday.

Fresh WTO challenge to US, Canadian beef sanctions

The European Union on Monday launched a fresh challenge at the WTO against sanctions imposed by the United States and Canada on the EU for its ban on hormone-treated beef from the two countries.

Biz Letters

AL, BNP economic pledges
With the announcement of the Election Manifesto 08, voters now know the economic pledges of Awami League (AL) and Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

Metropolitan

Move to hold credible polls at final stage: CA

Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday said his caretaker government is at final stage of attaining the main goal of holding a free, fair, neutral and credible general election with the participation of all political parties.

Nominal inclusion of women's issues criticised

Leaders of women rights organisations yesterday decried the marginal inclusion of empowerment and equality issues of women in politics in the manifestoes of the political parties.

'Bridge the gap between students' expectations, business environment'

A roundtable on 'Responsible business behaviour: Business students' expectations' was organised at The Daily Star conference room in the city yesterday.

Appointment of special envoy stressed

The next government should take the climate change issue very seriously and appoint a permanent special envoy on climate change to bargain with the developed countries in international forums.

Proposed DAP to only serve purpose of housing cos

The proposed Detail Area Plan (DAP) of Dhaka metropolitan city will only serve the purpose of housing companies and endanger the well-being of future generations.

Two to die, six others get life

A Dhaka court yesterday sentenced two people to death and six others to life in jail for killing a headmaster at Srinagar in Munshiganj district in August in 2005.

Refrain from formulating law to punish guide writers, publishers

Book publishers at a press conference yesterday called on the government to refrain from formulating a law which will punish guidebook writers, publishers and sellers published by private publishers across the country.

'A Health Worker's Diary' launched

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched 'A Health Worker's Diary' yesterday to have concrete databased field level information on health, mortality and morbidity.

'2008 a year of tragedies, triumphs for children in South Asia'

For many of South Asia's children, 2008 will go down as a year of triumphs and tragedies -- a year in which children continued to be recruited in conflicts, yet a year when conflicts were briefly halted for the sake of children's health; and a year when the food, fuel and financial crises threatened to worsen child malnutrition, yet triggered off important new thinking on protection for the most vulnerable, said UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia Dan Toole in a statement yesterday.

'Polarised politics gives way to terrorism'

Polarised politics gives way to terrorism, which cannot be contained successfully unless true democracy is established in a country, speakers said at a book launching ceremony yesterday.

Wife alleges cops' negligence

Wife of a kidnapped trader in the city yesterday alleged that her husband was not yet rescued 20 days after the incident due to negligence of law enforcers, while police said the trader was arrested with Indian fake currencies in Kolkata.

13 outlawed PBCP cadres held in Sirajganj

Police in a drive yesterday arrested 13 members of outlawed Purba Banglar Commu-nist Party (PBCP) from different villages of remote Chalan Beel area at Tarash upazila in the district.

Varsity teachers for electing non-communal forces in polls

Some 501 teachers of different public universities, known as pro-Awami League, yesterday urged the people to vote for non-communal pro-liberation forces in the ensuing parliamentary election.

215 from waiting list to get chance

A total of 215 students from the waiting lists of the MBBS admission test results for 2008-09 have been allowed to get admission to government medical colleges, including newly established Noakhali and Cox's Bazar ones.

Witness withdraws deposition

A witness in a corruption case against former communications minister Anwar Hossain Manju and two others has withdrawn the deposition he gave during the trial at a special court in the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban complex.

9 bombs recovered in Khulna

Police recovered nine live hand bombs from a bamboo yard at Katenga village at Dumuria in the district on Monday night.

Vote for Iqbal Sobhan

Awami League-led grand alliance candidate for Feni-2 constituency Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury yesterday exchanged views with journalists of the national and local media at a restaurant in Feni town.

SC chamber judge asks govt to file regular appeals

The Supreme Court (SC) chamber judge yesterday asked the government to file regular appeals with this court after vacation against the High Court (HC) orders granting bail to former BNP minister Moudud Ahmed and former BNP lawmaker Mosaddek Ali Falu in separate corruption cases filed by the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC).

Environment policy for RCC stressed

Speakers at a discussion yesterday laid importance on supply of pure drinking water by Rajshahi City Corporation and a full-fledged environment policy for city dwellers.

Mugdapara Samity executives

Kazi Jamal Uddin Raja and Nasim Al-Rashid were re-elected president and general secretary of 'Mugdapara Adarsha Samaj Kalyan Samity', a non-political organisation of the landlords of Mugdapara for 2008-2010, says a press release.

Prisoners to exercise voting rights

The jail authorities yesterday handed over a list of some 68,000 prisoners to the Election Commission (EC) to take steps so that they can cast their votes.

Motorbike used in Kibria killing seized

A motorbike that was reportedly used by the killers of former finance minister Shah AMS Kibria during the grenade attack on him was seized from a shop beside Pourashava road in Habiganj town on Monday.

Attack on 'Bagdi Adivashi' condemned

Leaders of Bangladesh Adivashi Odhikar Andolon condemned the attack on 'Bagdi Adivashi' of Mohammadpur upazila in Magura.

Protest against road project under DAP

Several hundred people staged a demonstration on Dhaka-Chittagong highway at Shanir Akhra in the city yesterday in protest against a road extension project under the Detail Area Plan (DAP) of Dhaka metropolitan city.

Call to beef up security of Hasina

Pachattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee formed a human chain at Muktangan in the city yesterday with a call not to vote for Jamaat-e-Islami, which is castigated for its role against the War of Liberation in 1971, in the upcoming general election.

SCF rally today

Sector Commanders Forum (SCF) will hold a rally at the Central Shaheed Minar at 11:00am today demanding trial of war criminals and anti-liberation forces.

JNU 'Ga' unit viva voce Dec 24, 27

The viva voce for vacant seats under 'Ga' unit of Jagannath University (JNU) will be held on December 24 and 27 at the dean office of Business Studies faculty.

Call to reject war criminals, corrupt people in elections

Bangladesh Muktijoddha Samannay Parishad Chairman Abir Ahad on Monday called on the people to reject anti-liberation elements, corrupt people, criminals and fanatics in the upcoming parliamentary elections, says a press release.

JU extends vacation for polls

Jahangirnagar University (JU) authorities yesterday decided to extend its running vacation till January 1due to parliamentary elections.

National

Nizami's most election pledges still unmet

Most of the election pledges of Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami remained unmet in Santhia and Bera upazilas under Pabna-1 constituency during the past BNP-led four-party alliance government.

Kader Siddiqui's party eyes Tangail-8, 5

Krishak Shramik Janata League (KSJL) led by Abdul Kader Siddiqui Bir Uttam have good prospects to bag at least two out of the eight Jatiya Sangsad (JS) seats in Tangail district in the upcoming national election, party sources claimed.

Withdraw AL candidates from Gaibandha-4, 5

Jatiya Party sacrificed a lot to remain in the grand alliance but Awami League 'betrayed' JP in eleven out of 49 constituencies by fielding candidates violating electoral understanding, JP chairman H M Ershad has said.

Four-party nominees still fighting rebels in 7 seats

With only six days left for the national election, four-party alliance nominees are still fighting rebel candidates in seven out of 21 constituencies of Barisal division.

Say 'no' to war criminals

Sector Commander Forum (SCF) leaders yesterday called upon the people to vote war criminals out of politics.

Expats join campaign in Moulvibazar

A large number of expatriate people, living in the UK, the USA and Canada have come to their homes in Moulvibazar to participate in the election campaign of their favourite candidates.

Developing road, industry common poll pledges

Candidates of both BNP and AL- led alliances, the two main contenders of Chittagong- 7, are carrying out vigorous campaign with pledges for developing roads and focusing on industrialisation in the constituency.

No woman runner though female voters higher

There is no female candidate in Sylhet district this time, although the number of female voters is a little higher than the male ones in five out of six constituencies.

Shirin Akhter lone woman runner

Shirin Akhter Banu is the lone woman candidate in the eleven parliamentary constituencies in greater Dinajpur (Dinajpur, Thakurgaon and Panchagarh districts) in the upcoming parliamentary election.

5 candidates vow to keep communal harmony in CHT

Five candidates of different political parties yesterday vowed to help maintain communal harmony between indigenous and Bengali people in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).

AL eyes big win for AK Khandaker

Awami League eyes a big win in Pabna-2 (Sujanagar-Bera) constituency in the upcoming parliamentary election as the party nominee Air Vice Marshal (retd) AK Khandaker, the deputy chief of Mukti Bahini during the Liberation War, is getting heartily welcome from locals.

All 3 runners violate RPO in C'nawabganj-3

All the three candidates of Chapainawabganj-3 (sadar) constituency have violated the election code of conduct.

144 centres 'risky' in Rangamati

One hundred forty-four polling centres of 10 upazilas have been identified as 'vulnerable', said Rangamati superintendent of police (SP) Masud-ul-Hasan.

Demonstration to cancel polling centre

Hundreds of people yesterday demonstrated for cancellation of the Kalatali government primary school polling centre in Karimganj upazila in Kishoreganj-3 (Karimganj-Tarail) constituency.

Elected or not, they will work for people

Five candidates in Khulna-2 (Sadar-Sonadanga) constituency yesterday vowed to work together whatever the polls results are.

Training of 30 thousand Ctg poll officials nearing end

Training of over 30,000 election officials recruited for conducting the December 29 election in 16 constituencies in Chittagong district is nearing an end.

Alliances to see tough fight in all 5 seats

Candidates of grand alliance and four-party alliance will have a tough contest in all the five constituencies in Sunamganj in the upcoming election.

Sadullapur UZ voters favour independent candidate

People of Sadullapur upazila are now united to cast vote in favour of independent candidate Awami League (AL) leader Yunus Ali Sarker instead of grand alliance candidate Jatiya Party (JP) leader TIM Fazley Rabbi Chowdhury in Gaibandha-3 (Palashbari-Sadullapur) constituency.

Letters

Daughters of toil

In the early morning, Dhaka becomes a city of women; from slums and tenements, a long procession of young women, clad in flame red, bright blue or green, fills the streets, their chappals kicking up the dust on the margin of the rough roads. They are garment workers, on their way to the thousands of factories.

Jute industry

Our jute industry is facing a number of problems in the backdrop of recent global meltdown. The recession has triggered a decrease in the demand of jute-made products. Prices of jute products have also decreased by nearly 15%. Our local companies are incurring losses by selling their products at prices that do not even cover costs. Moreover, production costs are very high.

Election fever

I remember the early eighties when I accompanied my mother to a polling station. I remember the blue smudge on my mother's nail--the proof that she had cast her vote, those posters, the crowd of people around the polling station. The whole episode left the impression on the child's brain--that the election is a time of festivity, something akin to a fair .

A great opportunity

The caretaker government started off their proceedings by entering into the political arena quite ambitiously but consequently failed to live up to their expectations. The more they dug, the more dirt spilled out of the heart of this country. All kinds of obnoxious and filthy corruption was viciously interrelated and no doubt they were unable to curb it. And now the courts are rocking with innumerable bails that have been granted to the people convicted of outlandish crimes. After all these incidents, a question arises in the mind of a common citizen like me, that if our politicians are so innocent and if our leaders are so perfect, then why have we been branded as the most corrupt country in the world probably two or three consecutive times? We human beings are mortal and not intricate robots and therefore mistakes and misapprehensions are bound to occur in our actions, thoughts and decisions. And it is our obligation to realize our mistakes and rectify ourselves accordingly. Certainly, we cannot complain about lack of virtuous and graceful personalities in our country. But they are dispersed throughout the corners of this vast and endless sea of murky water and it has become so difficult to track them down. This upcoming election will be providing our politicians with a unique and distinctive opportunity to learn from the misdeeds that they have been held guilty of. It will also test their grace, smartness, capability and whether they are honest enough to correct themselves.

US presidents

According to some UK tabloids the Baghdad shoe thrower had no chance of hitting President Bush. Apparently, all relatively young US presidents are experts at dodging missiles, (mostly) thrown by their wives. One story going round is that soon after Bill Clinton took office he dodged a table lamp thrown at him by Hillary.

Founder of Awami League?

I would like to draw the attention of the leaders and policy makers of the present AL to the "Election Manifesto of Bangladesh Awami League 2008". In its very second para it has been mentioned that "- - - - - the architect of our independence, the greatest Bengali of all times, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was the founder of our party". Regarding foundation of AL we have come to know from the Banglapedia (Bangla version, page 110-112 of the 1st part) that the party (then it was "East Pakistan Awami Muslim League") was born on 23rd June, 1949 in Dhaka. The leaders on the first committee were President: Moulana Abdul Hamid khan Bhasani, Vice-president: Ataur Rahman Khan, Shakhawat Hossain and Ali Ahmed Khan, General Secretary: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (at that time he was in jail), Kh. Mostaque Ahmed and A.K. Rafiqul Hossain, Treasurer: Yar Mohammad Khan.

“Every child is special”

Thanks to Amir Khan for making 'Tare Zameen Par'. It's a movie which has the power to make every parent feel that their child is very special. It makes you feel that Ishaan (darsheel) the young actor, could be your son, daughter, friend or He could be you.

Withdrawal of cases

The dropping of extortion cases against influential bigwigs apparently brings out the harsh political reality of our country. In Bangladesh 'what's ethical' and 'what's acceptable' largely depend upon the prevailing political situation. Today what we regard as 'a dire crime' might turn into 'a mere misunderstanding' tomorrow. As a result, prudent people seldom fail to heed the call of time. As the political scenario is gradually changing, the businessmen who were once courageous enough to file significant extortion cases against Sheikh Hasina and Tareq Zia can obviously imagine the consequences they would face if these 'powerful people' retaliate after being triumphant in the upcoming election. It won't be reasonable to criticize these businessmen because there really seems to be no other option left for them. It appears that our political destiny will always be controlled by a handful of people. And as long as these people can take advantage of the right situation they will always get away with their crimes. Businessmen, who are now dropping cases filed against top politicians, are actually clever enough to sense that the 'blind masses' of Bangladesh won't ultimately stand by their side and the public will eventually vote for the same corrupt culprits, despite being aware of their evident misconducts. These businessmen at least felt the need to alter things when they 'mistakenly' envisaged a new horizon of change.

Dual nationality and US laws

Each country has its own citizenship laws based on its own policy. People may have dual nationality by automatic operation of different laws rather than by choice. For example, a child born in a foreign country to US citizen parents may be both a U.S. citizen and a citizen of the country of birth.

Bush in Iraq

Ethically, I do not endorse the way the Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zeidi expressed his disgust against the US President George W. Bush because by this action Zeidi being a journalist has shown gross disregard to journalistic ethics. Under the conventional rule, it is unlawful even to point a finger at the car carrying a foreign dignitary. After all, Mr. Bush is the president of a country which has been bestowed with abundant knowledge, resources, and power. Of course, it is true that President George W. Bush being the head of a country which is considered the lone superpower has abused his capacity by invading Iraq on a false pretext that Iraq had harboured weapons of mass destruction. But in reality, Bush's hypothesis could not be proved as no such weapon was found. But the war commissioned by President Bush had claimed lives of hundreds of thousands innocent Iraqi people plus 4,209 US soldiers. The United States spent nearly $567 billion since the war in Iraq began in 2003.

No choice?

The whole country has gone mad about the forthcoming election. But I still don't understand why and how they decided that we have to choose between Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina. Why do we have to choose between the two ladies who have been consistently failing, lying and harassing us over the last 15 years? Are we to believe that out of 144 million people in our country, there is no more qualified and more capable person to be trusted with our lives and the future of our children?

Politics and religion

I am most interested in the motivation, history and present practices of religious people who get involved in politics, especially those who get involved in ways that alarm the fellow-citizens of their democracy! Maybe my experience in the UK might throw some light on this issue and encourage those of all religious persuasions in Bangladesh who are sincere about bringing into their national life the goodness, honesty and desire to help the needy that the theory and practice of any good religion should teach us. It cannot be a bad thing for keenly religious people to want to participate in the political processes but it is how they do it that brings either good or bad consequences.

International

Coup in Guinea follows president's death

A military-led group declared a coup in the West African nation of Guinea yesterday, announcing it had dissolved the government and constitution hours after the death of the country's longtime dictator.

Top US military official urges 'productive' Indo-Pak ties

The highest-ranking US military officer on Monday encouraged Pakistan to forge "more productive ties" with India as the probe into the Mumbai attacks continues, the US embassy said here.

Hamas may consider new truce with Israel

A tense calm reigned over the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip yesterday as the Palestinian Islamist group said it might be willing to agree to a new truce with Israel.

Lanka war refugees held by govt: HRW

Thousands of Tamils fleeing heavy fighting in the north of Sri Lanka are trapped by the government and being denied basic provisions, Human Rights Watch said yesterday.

Pak Air Force increases aerial surveillance

Pakistan on Monday put its air force on alert and increased aerial surveillance of key cities a day after India said its options to avenge the Mumbai terror attacks include war.

US warns Russia against selling missiles to Iran

US officials said Monday that they want answers from Russia on whether it is selling advanced surface-to-air missiles to Iran, a move the US insists could threaten American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Terror strike foiled in Kashmir

Indian police said yesterday they had foiled a major suicide strike in Indian-controlled Kashmir with the arrest of three Islamist militants, including a Pakistani soldier.

Mullah Omar denies talks with Kabul

Fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar yesterday refuted reports of any talks between the Afghan government and the militants on ways to put an end to the seven-year insurgency.

Giant pandas make historic trip to Taiwan amid eased China ties

Two giant pandas made their long-anticipated, groundbreaking trip from China to Taiwan yesterday, in the latest sign of fast thawing ties between the two former bitter rivals.

5 Muslims face life behind bars for US Army plot

Five Muslim immigrants face the potential of life in prison after being convicted of scheming to massacre US soldiers at Fort Dix.

OP-ED

Where is the city in the manifestos?

YOU know that when the merchandising of dreams and hopes, and fears, is in full swing the election is knocking on the door. And with that come a fusillade of manifestos and promises, and all of a sudden the fate and future of the country take unprecedented priority.

Between ashes and hope

IN Dighinala, the lead Jumma (Pahari) speaker switches to Bangla after the initial Chakma greeting. As I film the crowd, I can see scattered Bengali faces. Later I ask one organiser if speaking Bangla is a way to appeal to Bengali voters. "Yes," he replies, "But don't forget, not all Paharis speak Chakma." Chakma, Marma and Tripura are the biggest presence at these meetings, but the official records show eleven different ethnic Jumma groups in Chittagong Hill Tracts.

Vote for a change

ELECTIONS 2008, the defining moment of the nation, is very much at our doorstep. Yes, finally the time has come for us to take a deep breath and make a solid vow so that we can make the most of the occasion. Had it been held two years back, its significance would not have been the same as the imminent one because of many factors, including qualitative change of our politics. Our politics must change and change for the better.

Why Brits in India are given buckets

WARNING: the following posting is extremely controversial and may result in rioting, looting of embassies, or international tension between nuclear powers. Or it just may make you feel hungry.

Star City

Policemen still work at Posta outpost marked 'risky' in '95

The government declared the building 'risky' in 1995, but the police department is running an outpost at the dilapidated building ignoring the risk of fatal accident.

Vendors raise warm clothes' prices as cold tightens grip

With the mild cold gradually tightening its grip, a large number of city dwellers are crowding the city's footpaths now buzzing with selling of warm clothes.

Link road a must to serve Kuril flyover's purpose

The proposed Kuril flyover at Pragati Sarani-Airport Road intersection will not help much in easing traffic movement and divert the city's traffic from the city's western to eastern part until the Purbachal link road is in place, said transport experts.



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