The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Friday, December 19, 2014


News of: Thursday, 25th of December, 2008

Front Page

Poll spending started well before campaign

As many as 142 candidates from 40 constituencies spent on average about Tk 3.04 lakh each for campaigns before electioneering was allowed as per electoral laws, says Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB).

Mirpur ammo seizure led to Comilla raid

Tuesday's busting of two JMB operatives with grenades and bomb in Comilla is another blow at the law enforcers who had a feeling that the militant outfit would not be able soon to organise again after the execution of their key leaders.

No question of polls boycott

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday ruled out any possibility of pulling out of the December 29 election race.

Community hospital for every 6,000

Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina yesterday promised to voters of the northern districts that if her grand electoral alliance is voted to power, her government will establish a hospital for every 6,000 residents of the region.

SC lawyers fight it out in ballots

With clean personality and family glory of Bangabandhu, Awami League-led grand alliance's Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh is ready for a tough battle with BNP's previous lawmaker Khandaker Mahabub Uddin Ahmed in Dhaka-12 constituency.

Sircar among 13 candidates warned

The Election Commission (EC) has warned Speaker Jamiruddin Sircar and 12 other parliamentary contenders for violation of electoral code of conduct in their electioneering.

No intensive care for burns

Garment worker Sumi, 28, who struggled for 18 days with burn injures sustained in a collision between a bus and an acid-laden truck on Dhaka-Chittagong highway in Comilla on November 6, died without receiving intensive care.

EC backtracks on poll debate plan

Voters will not see the top two rival political figures of the country face to face in an electoral debate after all, as the Election Commission (EC) scrapped its plan for arranging the debate due to their hectic electoral campaign schedules, although the commission had everything ready for it.

Retirement age extension proposed

Secretary committee on administrative development affairs is preparing to submit the final draft to the next meeting of the council of advisers on Sunday, proposing extension of service age of the public servants.

No threat of organised attack on 2 leaders: IGP

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Nur Mohammad yesterday ruled out any threat of organised attack on Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia.

Saydee looks for voluntary contributions

More than a half of the election campaign fund of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh central leader, Delwar Hossain Saydee, is coming from 'voluntary contributions' of 44 persons, according to his wealth statement submitted to the Election Commission (EC).

Tac winds up activities Dec 31 with its job incomplete

The Truth and Accountability Commission (Tac) is going to wind up its activities on December 31 although much of its work remains incomplete.

Public holiday on Dec 29

The government has announced December 29 public holiday to enable all to cast their votes in the national elections in a holiday mood.

S Asian editors worried at Indo-Pak rift over terrorism

Newspaper editors and columnists of South Asia have expressed concern about the fallout of rising India-Pakistan tension on the entire region following the horrific killings in Mumbai last month, for which they are deeply saddened.

33-member NDI team to monitor polls

A 33-member delegation of the Washington-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) arrives in Dhaka shortly for monitoring the crucial December 29 parliamentary elections.

2 killed as bus ploughs into procession

Two people were killed and ten others wounded as a bus plough into a procession from behind after the driver lost control over the vehicle at Kamal Nagar in Laxmipur yesterday.

An avenue all abuzz with polls

A poverty-free Bangladesh is the centrepiece of the election agenda by the two major parties. Both make a common refrain in speeches -- they are pledge-bound to lift the poor out of poverty.

50pc driving licence fake, admits BRTA

About 50 percent of driving licences carried by drivers across the country are fake and prepared through irregularities and corruption, says the chairman of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA).

4-party slams 'plot to kill' Khaleda

The BNP-led four-party alliance yesterday held rallies in the capital and elsewhere in the country protesting what they called 'a plot to assassinate BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.'

Public investment, ADP major challenges

Finance and Planning Adviser Mirza Azizul Islam yesterday identified 16 challenges for the next government in the context of present global situation and said as the country's economic base is strong it would be possible to face those.

3 lakh cases pending with High Court

President Iajuddin Ahmed yesterday urged the High Court judges to quickly dispose of the cases pending with the court.

Xmas today

The Christian community of Bangladesh, as elsewhere across the globe, celebrates Christmas today commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.

Dhaka signs deal with Canberra to fight terror

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the governments of Bangladesh and Australia was signed here yesterday with a commitment to jointly combat international terrorism.

Moriarty hopes polls to be free, fair

US Ambassador James F Moriarty yesterday hoped that the upcoming parliamentary elections in Bangladesh would be fair, peaceful and free from intimidation.

Pintu freed on bail

Former BNP lawmaker Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu was released yesterday from Kashimpur jail after the High Court (HC) granted him bail in all the nine cases filed under the Emergency Power Rules 2007.

Pakistan MPs trash Indian claims on Mumbai attacks

Lawmakers in Pakistan yesterday condemned what they called India's "unsubstantiated" allegations against Islamabad over the Mumbai attacks and called for the neighbours to conduct a joint probe.

Gordo lottery winners plan to open restaurant

Two young Bangladeshis living in Barcelona, Spain, are among the winners of this year's El Gordo Christmas lottery, receiving 3 lakh euros worth Tk 2.9 crore each.

Dulu granted HC bail in last 4 cases

Former BNP deputy minister for land Ruhul Quddus Talukder Dulu secured bail in all eight cases filed against him as the High Court (HC) yesterday granted him bail in four remaining criminal cases.

Archbishop Tutu attacks S Africa over Mugabe

Archbishop Desmond Tutu launched a stinging attack on South Africa yesterday, accusing it of failing to stand up to Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and betraying its apartheid legacy.

Iraqi PM holds talks in Turkey on Kurd rebels

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki met with Turkish President Abdullah Gul in Ankara yesterday on a trip centred on the thorny issue of Turkish Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq.

Editorial

CPD's ten challenges

THE press briefing given by the Centre for Policy Dialogue earlier this week, in which the organisation focused attention on the ten economic challenges that the incoming government will face, was a timely reminder, amid the electioneering and campaigning and sloganeering, of what is at stake in the upcoming election, and that the next elected government of Bangladesh will have its work cut out for it.

Indo-Pak tension needs abating

TENSION between India and Pakistan continues to mount, or at least shows little sign of receding, over the terror attack on Mumbai last month. The attack left India and Pakistan in a state of near hostility, as New Delhi steadfastly points its accusatory finger at an extremist religious outfit operating from Pakistan. Though Pakistan has been trying to wriggle out of the mesh, the identity of the lone captured attacker and links established through mobile calls, etc are major pointers that Islamabad cannot brush aside.

Defence and the two parties

THE two major political parties have announced their election manifestos. Other political parties have made theirs' known too, but perhaps, except for the Jamaat-e-Islami's others' have been glossed over at best.

Antulay is the Simi Garewal of Indian politics

THERE is, or should be, a well-defined line in media between the liberty of impression and the freedom of expression. Both are privileges of democracy. Liberty of impression is the exhilarating-frightening roller coaster on which public discourse rides. Freedom of expression is cooled by the sprinkle of judgment, a mind that sieves speculation, allegation and accusation from the end product that appears in print or on air.

Momentous elections in South Asia

THE Bangladesh election is the last in a series of elections in South Asia, and has evoked considerable interest in the region and beyond. The interest surrounding the polls is much greater because of the background against which they are taking place. Undeniably, there was confusion about the polls because of a variety of reasons. The polls were to be held on December 18, but were postponed to accommodate a major party.

Sports

Rajshahi first-class first

Rajshahi became National Cricket League champions after the most dramatic finale in the competition's history. Despite falling short in their valiant run chase by 28 runs against Khulna at their home ground yesterday, Rajshahi pipped title-contenders Barisal by virtue of more outright victories after both teams finished on 101 points each. This is Rajshahi's second first-class triumph after their maiden success in 2005-06 season when they also won the one-day competition.

A test of tweakers

Shakib Al Hasan played just one Test against Sri Lanka and that too, as a batsman. He scored a total of 24 runs and took just one wicket with his left-arm spin. After taking 21 wickets in his last two Tests and the suspension of Abdur Razzak, Shakib has been quickly elevated from a bit-part left-armer to the team's premier spinner and will be playing as that when the Tigers face Sri Lanka in the first Test at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur tomorrow.

Reds ride on Walid

Muktijoddha Sangsad showed signs of putting an end to their struggle in the Citycell B. League when the limping giants recorded their second victory in the competition yesterday.

2008: S Africa, Stanford and decline of Aussies

South Africa had every reason to look back fondly on 2008, a year in which Allen Stanford became a name known to all cricket fans and the once all-conquering Australia came back to the pack.

Gambhir jumps into Test top 10

Opener Gautam Gambhir's stupendous year with the willow helped him jump 10 spots to 10th in the ICC Test Rankings Wednesday, making him the highest-ranked Indian batsman in the list.

Scolari defends Terry

Luiz Felipe Scolari has described John Terry as "a very good captain" and condemned the red card shown to the defender in Chelsea's draw with Everton on Monday as "not normal".

Rafa close to return

Rafael Benitez is close to a return to the Liverpool dugout for Friday's clash against Bolton, while star striker Fernando Torres should also be back in action soon.

Evra eyes title hattrick

Patrice Evra has told his Manchester United teammates to focus on a hattrick of Premier League titles.

Sam, Santa make peace

Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce has buried the hatchet with unsettled striker Roque Santa Cruz in time for Christmas.

Arshavin leaving Zenit

Highly-rated Russian forward Andrei Arshavin could finally be on his way to Europe after his agent said the Zenit St Petersburg player was almost certain to be sold in the transfer window.

Door still open for Raul

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has assured out of favour striker Raul that his international exile could end "at any time".

Totti in doubt for Gunners encounter

AS Roma skipper Francesco Totti could be sidelined for the Champions League clash with Arsenal in February after picking up a right thigh injury at the weekend.

Essien best in Ghana

Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien has been named Ghana Footballer of the Year after a media poll here.

Ivory Coast, Ghana top seeds

Hosts Ivory Coast and Ghana will be the top seeds for the first African Nations Championship, the organisers said here Tuesday.

Ronaldinho's villa burgled

Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho's Italian home was burgled this week with thieves making off with jewellery estimated at tens of thousands of euros, police and media reported here Wednesday.

Dante leaves Belgium

Standard Liege's Brazil defender Dante Bonfim has signed a four and a half year contract with German side Monchengladbach, according to reports here Wednesday.

Bird's Nest to host Italian Super Cup

The Italian Super Cup, which traditionally raises the curtain on the Serie A season, will be staged at Beijing's Olympic stadium in 2009, the Italian league announced Tuesday.

Vaughan could return

England coach Peter Moores has refused to rule out a return to the Test squad for former captain Michael Vaughan when the squad for the tour of the West Indies is announced on Monday.

Hayden keen to play

Veteran Australia opener Matthew Hayden insists he is not ready to retire, despite his recent lack of form.

Mates make KP proud

England captain Kevin Pietersen heaped praise on his players for returning to India after the Mumbai attacks to complete the two-Test series.

Tit-for-tat!

In what can be seen as a tit-for-tat response, Pakistan is likely to pull out from upcoming sporting events in India, who last week called off its cricket team's tour across the border following the Mumbai terror attacks.

Lanka's Pak tour in doubt

Sri Lanka are unlikely to tour Pakistan with authorities reconsidering the decision of sacked board chairman Arjuna Ranatunga to support India's stance of not touring that country following the recent terror attacks in Mumbai."We follow a pro-India policy. We know the circumstances in which the Indian tour to Pakistan was called off. The tour (of Sri Lanka to Pakistan) is unlikely," top sources told PTI.

BSWA sports awards given

Bangladesh Sports Writers Association (BSWA) yesterday distributed its sports awards for the 2005, 2006 and 2007 at the NSC tower.

Double crown for Ayami

Omar Faruq Sunny emerged boys' (under-16) singles champion in the Popular Pharmaceuticals Victory Day tennis tournament when the local player defeated Sri Lanka's Aravinda Fernando 6-3, 6-4 in the final at the Ramna tennis Complex yesterday.

Injury scares for Australia

Injury concerns over Andrew Symonds and Shane Watson have hampered Australia's lead-up to the Boxing Day Test against South Africa. Watson suffered a back problem at training on Wednesday and left the nets for medical attention, although he later returned to bat.

Rubbing salt into wound

As if losing the Test series against India was not enough, England's cricket team was on Wednesday fined five per cent of its match fee while skipper Kevin Pietersen was docked 10 per cent of his earnings for maintaining a slow over-rate during the first match in Chennai.

Kenya to host Zimbabwe

Kenya and Zimbabwe are putting the finishing touches to an agreement to stage a five-ODI series in Kenya in late January, with the Zimbabwe squad diverting there in their way home from Bangladesh.

Business

TCB to be made public limited company

The government is going to turn the state-owned Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) into a public limited company for an effective market intervention to arrest the price spiral of essentials in the local market.

Bank credit to transport sector grows to new high

Transport and communication sector recorded the highest growth in receiving banks' advances (loans) in fiscal year (FY) 2007-08, according to a Bangladesh Bank (BB) report.

Notebook sales top desktops for first time

Global notebook computer shipments topped those of desktops for the first time ever on a quarterly basis in the third quarter of the year, according to market research firm iSuppli Corp.

Aziz defuses fears over falling exports

Finance Adviser AB Mirza Azizul Islam yesterday dispelled fears over a slump in exports in the wake of the global financial crisis and said earnings from shipments out of the country rose in November.

10pc tax waiver on CSR spending

The government has approved the long-awaited proposal for tax exemption facility at the rate of 10 percent on a part of the corporate income to be spent on complying with corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Sangu hikes gas supply

Gas supply from the offshore Sangu field increased by 16 million cubic feet a day (mmcfd) from Tuesday, improving the supply to the energy-hungry Chittagong port city.

Bank Asia launches Islamic banking

Bank Asia Ltd, a third generation private commercial bank, launched Islamic banking services in Dhaka yesterday.

Govt direction on milk safety sought

The government move to handle the melamine-contamination in powdered milk has come under fire. Some say government should give a direction to help clear consumer confusion over choosing safe milk.

Shipbuilders demand easy pay system

Local shipbuilders propose to remit expenses directly from advance payments from foreign buyers to deal with foreign currency exchange losses, as was decided at a meeting on Tuesday.

Magazine recognises BBF founder among Asian marketers

Ad Asia Singapore, a leading trade magazine, has selected Shariful Islam, founder of Bangladesh Brand Forum (BBF), as one of the 12 marketers from Asia, according to a press release released yesterday.

Managing rice prices

Inflation is of huge concern to an average Bangladeshi citizen. Nearly double-digit inflation of the past 12 months, and especially the surge in rice prices, is a key social concern in Bangladesh.

US retailers still hurting

As a dismal US holiday shopping season draws to a close, ailing retailers say the sector is in deep trouble and will need a further stimulus to lead an economic recovery.

Stocks close up

Dhaka stocks ended higher for a second day with the key index rising by more than 1 percent.

Dollar drops in light Christmas Eve trade

The dollar dropped against the euro in quiet pre-Christmas deals on Wednesday, weighed down by data indicating persistent weakness in the US economy, analysts said.

Japan okays 'unprecedented' recession budget

Japan's government Wednesday approved a record high budget, vowing to take "unprecedented" action to weather a painful recession which it expected would only get worse in the new year.

Philippine real estate poised to profit from crisis

The Philippine real estate market could be a safe haven and even a source of profit in the world financial crisis, a global property consultant said Wednesday.

Berlin planning 25b-euro rescue plan

The German government is preparing a 25 billion euro plan for January to help rescue the ailing economy, a regional finance minister was quoted as saying Wednesday.

American Express to receive $3.39b from Treasury

Credit card giant American Express said Tuesday it would receive 3.39 billion dollars in capital injection from the US Treasury as part of an emergency rescue for the troubled financial sector.

Metropolitan

Remain ready to protect independence, sovereignty

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday urged the newly commissioned officers of the Armed Forces to uphold image of Bangladesh in the world as a promising, developing and peace-loving country and its internationally-acclaimed role in protecting peace and security across the world.

Call to vote out war criminals

Samajik Protirodh Committee at a press conference yesterday called on the voters to abstain from voting for war criminals and collaborators in the 9th parliamentary elections.

Normal democratic life to be restored thru' Dec 29 polls

Head of the visiting Commonwealth election observer group Cassam Uteem yesterday hoped that normal democratic life would be restored in Bangladesh through December 29 elections.

Distorted history may mislead young generation

Speakers at a Muktijoddha-Janata (freedom fighters and people) rally yesterday said the real history of the liberation war has been distorted which might mislead the young generation.

AI urges political parties to desist from violence

Amnesty International (AI) believes the December 29 parliamentary election offers a unique opportunity for improving the human rights situation in Bangladesh, but says the political parties must show a more robust commitment to it.

BMDC inactivity creates scope for unethical practice of docs

Inactivity of Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council (BMDC) for the last 11 years has deteriorated the standards of medical education and quality medicare as well as created scope for unethical practices of doctors.

Some presiding officers are partisan: AL

Awami League (AL) yesterday alleged that some 50 leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami and BNP are going to discharge election duties as presiding and assistant presiding officers in the December 29 parliamentary polls.

12.3pc of rural people use inland water transport

The World Bank report 'Revival of Inland Water Transport in Bangladesh: Options and Strategies' provided a comprehensive overview of the IWT sector in Bangladesh and identified the sector's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and risks, says a press release.

Travel alert for US citizens

The US State Department has warned its citizens of the risks of travel to Bangladesh and urged caution while travelling before and after parliament election on December 29.

High time for govt, NGOs to work on women's rights

Women and Children Adviser Rasheda K Choudhury at a consultation yesterday said it is time for different government and non-government organisations to work on women rights issues focusing different regional pockets of deprivation.

Japan to send poll observers

Japan will send a seven-member election observation mission to Bangladesh to support the holding of a fair general election slated for December 29.

Sustainable waste management to generate green jobs

Chief Adviser's Special Assistance Mahbub Jamil has said principles of sustainable waste management -- reduce, reuse and recycle -- could create a “win-win situation” for all as it has potentiality to generate green jobs specially in recycling business.

Consultant alleges harassment by chairman

Ali Akkas Noorani, the local consultant of Westmont Power Company (Bangladesh) Ltd., yesterday alleged that its Chairman Tajul Islam Farook did not pay him the consultancy fee of one million US dollars.

Bring attackers to book

A widow yesterday urged the authorities to immediately arrest the land grabbers who attacked her house at Shankar in the city in the early hours of December 17.

Identify HR violation areas

President Iajuddin Ahmed yesterday asked the newly formed Human Rights Commission to identify all areas of human rights violation in the country for taking “prompt action”.

Foreign currencies seized, 6 held

Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) in several drives yesterday arrested six alleged criminals and seized huge foreign currencies and other goods from Dinajpur and Joypurhat.

Create awareness on HIV/AIDS

Speakers at a seminar on HIV/AIDS jointly organised by the UNFPA and Primeasia University yesterday on the university campus called for creating mass awareness among people about the fatal disease in the country, says a press release.

Int'l confce on ICT begins at Kuet today

A three-day International Conference on Computer and Information Technology (ICCIT) 2008 will begin today at Khulna University of Engineering and Technology (Kuet).

Make sure candidates vow to save Buriganga

Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (Bapa) at a rally yesterday called on the voters to make sure that the candidates are committed to saving the Buriganga, the lifeline of green Dhaka.

Dhaka-9 runners pledge to develop edn, health sectors

The candidates contesting the general elections from Dhaka-9 constituency yesterday pledged to developing education, health and infrastructures and curbing corruption and terrorism in the area if elected in the December 29 polls, says a press release.

We are no more vote bank of a particular party

Members of Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Front in Dumuria area on Tuesday took out a procession and later held a rally at Shaheed Siraj Mancha.

Appointment of successful candidates demanded

The candidates who came out successful in the first phase result of the 27th Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) examinations but was later dropped as per the second phase result yesterday urged the government to appoint them to their respective cadres as the government had promised them earlier.

EC turns down application of BNP candidate Shahjahan

The Election Commission (EC) yesterday refused to receive an application of Md Shahjahan, a BNP candidate for Chandpur-4 constituency, seeking allocation of electoral symbol 'Sheaf of paddy' for him.

Prof Nooruddin accreditation board chair

Prof Dr Nooruddin Ahmed, former vice-chancellor of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet), has been appointed as chairman of the Bangladesh Accreditation Board for the next three years, says a press release.

Magura Bus Owners' Assoc president held

Police yesterday arrested Magura Bus Owners' Association president and former joint-secretary of Magura district unit of Jubo League Mir Shahid Hossain for his alleged involvement in various criminal activities.

US embassy closed today

The American Embassy, including the Consular Section and the Public Affairs Section with the Archer K Blood American Centre Library and the Student Advising Centre, will remain closed today on the occasion of Christmas Day, on December 31 and January 1 to observe the New Year, says a press release.

Zia Fertiliser goes into operation

The Ashuganj Zia Fertiliser Company Limited (ZFCL) went into production yesterday after suspension of its operation due to a technical fault and explosion at its air compressor tube on Friday.

UAP Foundation executives

The 6th annual general meeting of the University of Asia Pacific (UAP) Foundation was held at the Lake Shore Hotel & Apartment at Gulshan in the city on December 21, says a press release.

National

The crux of the play is young voters

Over 65,000 young voters, who got enrolled in the voters list for the first time may play the vital role in deciding the polls result in Sylhet-1, one of the constituencies considered important nationally.

Minority voters do not belong to any party

None of the candidates of 14-party and four-party alliances in Khulna-1, 2, 3 and 5 constituencies has any reason to be confident of banking on minority community votes in the upcoming national election.

Uncle,nephew lock horns in Sherpur-3

All eyes are now riveted on Sherpur-3 (Sreebardi-Jhenaigati) seat as two members of the same family have been contesting with tickets of the two major alliances.

Grand alliance has fair chance to sail through

Campaign has got momentum in all the three constituencies of Madaripur district.

Kutti faction keeps away from Altaf

In Patuakhali-1 (Sadar, Mirzagonj and Dumki) constituency, a section of BNP district unit is still not taking part in the campaign for Altaf Hossain Chowdhury, former lawmaker and president of district BNP due to internal feud.

Rebeka to face Babar, Ataul's prospects dim

Local BNP and four-party alliance leaders have started campaigning in favour of former state minister Lutfuzzaman Babar who is contesting in Netrakona-4 (Madan, Mohongonj and Khaliajuri upazila) constituency with electoral symbol 'Pineapple'.

Voters protest Jamaat nominee's claim

All the three candidates in Pabna-5 (Sadar) constituency at a face-to-face programme with voters yesterday said they will try to root out corruption, if elected.

Industrial workers to play a decisive role

Workers, employees and officials of different mills and industries who form at least thirty percent of total number of votes in Khulna-2, 3 and 4 seats have become a vital factor in deciding the winners in December 29 national election.

Battle of AL, BNP in 16 Ctg seats at a glance

Out of 16 constituencies in Chittagong district, Awami League (AL) sees bright prospect in four seats and a tough contest with Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in one, while BNP and Jamaat have better chances in the rest eleven seats.

Runners make common pledges

Almost all the candidates of both Awami League-led grand alliance and BNP-led four-party alliance on Sunday pledged that if elected they will take steps to solve waterlogging problems persisting in Tala, Kalaroa and Sadar upazilas, solve safe drinking water crisis and ensure proper distribution of khas land among the landless people.

Abbas Khan now grand alliance candidate

The grand alliance has once again changed its candidate for Moulvibazar-2 (Kulaura and four unions of Kamalganj) constituency, giving nomination to Nawab Ali Abbas Khan of Jatiya Party (Ershad).

Tea labourers this year may change mind

Tea labourers are yet to decide to whom they will cast their votes in the upcoming election, it was learnt during this correspondent's visit to some tea gardens in the district.

Rebels challenges for alliances

Two rebel candidates of Awami League (AL) and BNP in Dinajpur-4 constituency have appeared as challenges for both AL-led grand alliance and BNP-led four-party alliance.

Half of polling centres 'risky' in Mymensingh

As many as 565 polling centres, nearly half of the 1,133 polling centres in all 11 constituencies under the district, have been identified as 'risky'.

Samiron violates poll code: AL

Khagrachhari District Awami League (AL) yesterday brought an allegation of violating election code of conduct against four-party alliance candidate Samiron Dewan.

Elect grand alliance to root out corruption

Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad yesterday said there is no alternative to vote to power Awami League (AL)-led grand alliance to root out corruption from the country.

10 runners in 3 Thakurgaon constituencies

There are 10 poll runners in three constituencies in the district.

AL-BNP tough fight likely in Tangail-7

Voters of Tangail-7 (Mirzapur) constituency may witness a neck-to-neck fight between Awami League (AL) nominee Ekabbar Hossain and BNP nominee Abul Kalam Azad Siddiqui in the upcoming election.

International

Guinea coup leaders rule out elections for 2 years

Coup leaders in Guinea said yesterday their military junta would retain power for two years, heightening turmoil in the west African nation following the death of long-time dictator Lansana Conte.

Hamas pounds Israel with fire from Gaza

Militants in Hamas-ruled Gaza pounded Israel with rocket and mortar fire yesteday, dimming the chances of a renewed ceasefire between the Jewish state and the Palestinian Islamist group.

Attacks against Congo aid staff on the rise

Attacks against aid workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo are becoming more common, a UN agency said Wednesday, pleading for security guarantees to be given to humanitarian staff.

No snap polls: Japan's PM

Japan's Prime Minister Taro Aso said yesterday he would not call a snap election despite opposition demands, saying he needs to focus on the country's sputtering economy.

E Timor, UN play down unrest fears

East Timor's president and the United Nations played down reports yesterday that the tiny Asian nation was staggering under the weight of social and economic problems and on the brink of chaotic unrest.

Bomb kills one near Pak-India border

Suspected Islamist militants detonated a car bomb in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore yesterday, killing one woman and wounding four other people, police said.

Police keep Mumbai gunman in custody

A judge yesterday ordered the lone surviving gunman from the Mumbai attacks to remain in police custody for another two weeks, as police press ahead with their probe into the three-day siege.

Protesters clash with police in Kashmir

Police fired tear gas and clashed with protesters yesterday in Indian Kashmir, where tens of thousands of soldiers were deployed for the seventh and final leg of multi-stage state elections.

Archbishop Tutu attacks S Africa over Mugabe

Archbishop Desmond Tutu launched a stinging attack on South Africa yesterday, accusing it of failing to stand up to Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and betraying its apartheid legacy.

Iraqi PM holds talks in Turkey on Kurd rebels

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki met with Turkish President Abdullah Gul in Ankara yesterday on a trip centred on the thorny issue of Turkish Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq.

Ahmadinejad to deliver Xmas message on British TV

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will deliver an alternative Christmas message on British television to rival Queen Elizabeth II's annual address, broadcaster Channel Four said yesterday.

Nato soldier killed in Afghanistan

Militant fire killed a Nato soldier yesterday in eastern Afghanistan where US troops operate.

Belgian king urges new govt to be formed

Belgium's King Albert II urged the country's long-feuding politicians to set aside their differences and rapidly form a new government with little sign that 18-months of political crisis would soon end.

Incoming Somali premier quits

Mohamoud Mohamed Guled, a lawmaker controversially named Somali prime minister last week after the sacking of Nur Hassan Hussein, announced his resignation yesterday.

Gas leak kills 17 in China

A gas leak at a steel plant near Beijing killed 17 people yesterday, China's official Xinhua News Agency said.

Arts & Entertainment

BTV reaches 44

How BTV has changed! When it was launched sometime around middle of 1964 (under the name of Pakistan Television Corporation), people would excitedly flock in front of the TV sets, waiting expectantly, and all this time, watching a blank screen with the words PTC on the screen. The title music “Apache” by the Beatles was a household tune.

CAT, Bangladesh stages Lady from the Sea

Dark, bleak and brooding -- this best describes the landscape of parts of Norway. And Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen has aptly captured the ambiance of his country in his famous plays. Recently an Ibsen festival was held in Delhi with plays such as "Lady from the Sea," "White Horses," "Little Eyolf" and "Ibsen Women".

‘Tis the season to be jolly..

No snow, no carol on the streets, no travelling thousands of miles to be with near and dear ones, but Christmas comes to Dhaka too, just as it does to every corner of the world. Though modest, Dhaka celebrates the season of joy with utmost sensitivity and heartfelt excitement. Major hotels get a Christmas makeover -- complete with spectacularly decorated Christmas tree, gingerbread cakes, candies and yes, most importantly Santa. Here's wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

Christmas festivities in Dinajpur

Christmas, the biggest religious festival of the Christian community, is in the air in Dinajpur.

Victory day celebration in Khagrachhari

Speakers at a recent discussion paid tribute to the Freedom Fighters who made the ultimate sacrifice for the country. The discussion, part of a celebration, was organised by the district administration to mark Victory Day at Khagrachhari town hall.

Pitha mela in Jhenidah

A pitha mela (rice cake fair) featuring a cultural programme was held in Jhenidah last Sunday. Organised by 'Hunger Free world,' the mela was held at Kaliganj upazila in Jhenidah.

Boro Din-er Kotha on ATN Bangla

A Christmas-special programme "Boro Din-er Kotha" will be aired on ATN Bangla today at 3:30 pm. The programme has been planned and directed by Liton Adhikari Rintu.

A landmark for Shubho Shokal and Diner Sheshey on Banglavision

Banglavision's daily programmes "Shubho Shokal" and "Diner Sheshey" are reaching the 1000th episode landmark today. Both programmes will feature special segments celebrating the occasion. Produced by Javed Iqbal Topu, "Shubho Shokal" will be aired at 8 am while "Citycell Diner Sheshey," produced by Rabi Shankar Moitri, will be aired at 5:45 pm.

OP-ED

Christmas is all about transformation

GOD revealed himself to his creation in the form of a human. "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14)."

All eyes on the voters

THE cloud of uncertainty hovering around the scheduled December election is not there any more in the political sky. All eyes are now focused on the much-awaited December 29 election. The election campaign by the AL led grand alliance and the BNP led alliance is gathering pace and momentum.

Election manifestos and WatSan sector priority

THE long awaited parliamentary election is knocking at the door. To lure the voters, political commitments and lots of promises have been made in every party's election manifesto.

Everything I need to know I learned on the road

A European friend was booking a winter holiday that would take her to several Asian cities. "Shall I bring my driving license?" she asked on the phone.

Christmas

The sun still shines, the moon still glows
The starts wear smiles, the sky hangs low
This beautiful world, so close to enjoy
Had we not learned buy to destroy

Star Chittagong

Parents, students worried as admission test nears

Anxiety and tension have gripped the parents and guardians as well as the students, with the beginning of admission process ahead of the new academic year at different schools in the port city.

The week that was

Chittagong Academy AGM held

Social Scientist Prof Dr Anupam Sen said Chittagong Academy has been playing a vital role in upholding the culture, history and literature of Chittagong since its inception.



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