News of: Monday, 29th of December, 2008
A new dawn beacons as some eight crore voters walk down to polling centres today to elect a new government, a democratic one after seven years -- five years in political quandary and two years in a reverse reconnaissance and correction bid that many may find not up to the mark, but a worthwhile try.
Political parties get locked in a battle for ballots today as the nation throbs at the prospect of a peaceful transition to democracy.
Thirty-year-old Nurul Islam was standing casually with some friends at the entry to a Mohammadpur slum on the eve of election. No-one would suspect they were in fact 'guarding' the slum so that the rival candidate's men could not "buy" votes.
The worst of election scandals could not be averted after all this year either, as Chittagong police yesterday recovered a large sum of money allegedly to be used for buying votes, while quite a few people were arrested almost all over the rest of the country too on charges of attempting to buy votes and other violations of the electoral code of conduct.
Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed has urged the electorates to cast their votes wisely and appealed to the political parties to gracefully accept the results of today's crucial general election.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda has urged the voters to cast their votes judiciously in today's national election.
Sixteen hours before polls, the Hindus in Shuktagar Union Parishad in Jhalakathi-1 constituency were still confused about casting votes as a new trend of intimidation has been introduced.
Although the intense desire of voters for honest and competent candidates remains largely unmet in this election, they are coming out of their homes to vote this morning at least with one positive impression about politics after witnessing over the last couple of weeks a welcome change in the country's culture of electioneering.
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, who conducted a whirlwind electioneering in about 45 districts out of the 64 in 16 days, spent a relaxed day yesterday just attending a few informal view exchange meetings with journalists and poll observers after evening.
Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina spent most of yesterday reciting from the Holy Quran, praying and holding indoor meetings with foreign election observers.
It seems that the ninth parliamentary election is going to be held today in the southwest region without any influence of the extremists since they have been recently inactive in the area known as their den.
Around 300 people are feared drowned after jumping from a boat and trying to swim ashore in the Bay of Bengal.
The first national election in independent Bangladesh was held on March 7, 1973 where a total of 1,209 candidates, including 120 independents, contested 300 seats.
The country is ready to return to normal through today's election after a lot of dramatic turns of events during the last two years' rule under a state of emergency that resulted from confrontational politics.
The government has deployed about six lakh security personnel across the country to ensure the holding of a free, fair and neutral parliamentary election peacefully.
In election observation, it is the process that matters. The outcome in terms of who wins or loses the election seems immaterial to observers.
The Dalit community (Harijans), usually considered as untouchables by the society, is very optimistic about today's national elections, as for the first time in history some political parties have pledged to uphold their rights in election manifestoes.
Twenty-four people including a father and his son were killed and 20 others injured in a truck accident on Jamuna Bridge approach road in Tangail Sadar upazila yesterday morning.
A delegation of the BNP-led four-party alliance yesterday requested the Election Commission (EC) to deploy judicial magistrates in the field level to effectively check violation of election code of conduct in today's parliamentary polls.
Mobile phone network will remain in operation during the polling hours across the country but it might be suspended in certain areas or even in the whole country instantly if any situation arises.
In gross violation of the electoral code of conduct, supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami candidate Miah Golam Parwar of Khulna-5 constituency have apparently set an option to choose between "Quran and Narayan" in their campaigns against Awami League candidate Narayan Chandra Chanda.
As many as 700 foreign observers from different countries and international organisations and 74 foreign journalists will monitor today's parliamentary polls across the country, according to the data of Election Commission (EC).
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) yesterday approved amended Hatirjheel project and another project worth Tk 1,615 crore in total.
The government on Saturday rejected a proposal for independent deployment of the ansar and Village Defence Party (VDP) on poll duties, as the idea contradicts the home ministry's circular on election security measures.
Jatiya Party's (JP) alliance with Awami League (AL) is to give all JP candidates in greater Rangpur a considerable edge in today's polls despite intra-alliance feud of the two parties in several constituencies.
Israel warned yesterday it could send ground troops into Gaza as its warplanes continued pounding Hamas targets inside the enclave where more than 280 Palestinians have been killed in just 24 hours.
Ignored in every step of life, the society is blind towards a third variety of the sexes, the 'Hijra Community' (hermaphrodite or eunuch), deprived of their right to vote because of their distinctiveness.
Captain Mahela Jayawardene struck an unbeaten century to put Sri Lanka in full command against Bangladesh on the third day of the first Test at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
The risk of war between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan has increased with the redeployment of troops along the common border, but neither can afford the cost of such a conflict, analysts say.
Nearly 81 million voters are expected to go to the polls today to cast their votes. In the annals of democracy in Bangladesh this day is of enormous significance, it being the second time that we will see democracy being restored this time after a somewhat unusual interregnum of two years under a Caretaker Government and emergency rule.
The collective voice against the participation of alleged war criminals in the national election has been louder this year than before. It is indeed refreshing news that voters, especially women and the young, have become more informed of the crimes committed against the freedom loving people during the 1971 War of Liberation. The more they learned about their atrocities, such as rape, looting of property, torching of houses and shooting down unarmed men, women and children, the more they were able to relate to the pain and anguish of the people. The graphic details of terror perpetrated by war criminals in support of the Pakistani occupation forces that were shown on various media have instilled a sense of profound abhorrence in the people in general.
ON January 11, 2007 we embarked on a journey to nowhere and were beset with speculations and conjectures about where we were heading. Amid a good deal of drama and experimentations with regard to our reformed political process, we only half believed, if at all, an election to be held before the year 2008 was out.
SURPASSING all suspicions and speculations, the country now inexorably moves towards an elected government through the December 29 balloting. This election is particularly significant as the voting takes place in a different background with a variety of changes that happened after 1/11 with a rallying cry to cleanse politics.
STANDING at many intersections. What were the arguments in favour of secularism? In the 1960s, a push-back against West Pakistani colonisation. In 1971, it was simply and joyfully, a decisive rejection of the Pakistan model. Later in the 1980s, it was also expanded to explain that religion was for private space, inner life, spiritual healing; but not for politics. Now in this decade, we also insistently emphasise that religion is to be respected (because secularism's critics falsely accuse it of being anti-religion), but it should not be involved in the running of the state.
It was not the time to watch a cricket match the day before the parliamentary elections, but still a few fans turned up at the Mirpur big bowl on the third day of the first Test match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday.
It was breathtaking but the gasps grew louder with every delivery. The two-man slip cordon and wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim would raise their hands in anticipation of something coming their way, but would end up clutching their heads in anguish, marvel the delivery and pass the ball around. You would lose count of the number of times this happened in Mashrafe Bin Mortaza's fourteen overs yesterday.
Jean-Paul Duminy's outstanding maiden century provided more evidence for South African claims they are the best side in the world on a day when Australia flopped, fumbled and allowed a stunning recovery that almost certainly ended their chances of winning the series.
A 130-run onslaught by Jesse Ryder and Brendon McCullum led New Zealand to victory over the West Indies by 36 runs in their Twenty20 match here Sunday.
Batsman Neil Broom is the one new face in the New Zealand cricket side named Sunday for the first two one-day internationals against the West Indies.
Gary Neville believes the clash with Middlesbrough on Monday could put Manchester United on the home straight in the Premier League title run-in.
India's pace spearhead Zaheer Khan has credited his return to form after months in wilderness to a reduced run-up, which he says has helped him become fitter and consistent.
Liverpool maintained their grip on first place the Premier League table with a stunning 5-1 win against a toothless Newcastle United here at St James' Park on Sunday.
English Premiership club Newcastle United is no longer for sale, owner Mike Ashley said Sunday after failing to find a buyer.
Fabio Capello insisted on Saturday that he does not yet deserve to be compared to Sir Alf Ramsey, the man he hopes to emulate by transforming England into world-beaters.
Australia will almost certainly enter the series finale in Sydney next week with a vastly inexperienced attack after learning Brett Lee faces a month out of the game due to a foot injury. Lee has been out of form and was unable to improve his series figures of 1 for 200 when the problem kept him off the ground for the entire third day against South Africa at the MCG on Sunday.
England football legend Paul Gascoigne's 12-year-old son said in comments published Saturday that he thought his dad would likely "die soon" and wished that he would "go away" from the family.
Spanish giants Real Madrid are keen to sign Ecuadorean international winger Luis Antonio Valencia, As newspaper reported here on Sunday.
Cameroon international Thimotee Atouba is to quit Hamburg at the end of the season, according to the German club.
Dhaka stocks gained significantly yesterday in the run up to the national polls slated for today.
Leaders of oil-rich Gulf countries assembling in Muscat on Monday will focus on how to use their wealth to shore up their economies, after a discussion on Sunday on the bloody situation in Gaza.
South Korea on Sunday announced a massive investment plan of 28.5 billion dollars to build more power plants, including 12 new nuclear reactors in the next four years, to meet growing energy demand.
Enchan, a resident of Diatoli in Palashkhali union, lives in a shanty made of jute sack and polythene in this chilling weather along with his family members, including two minor children.
BNP candidates in a number of constituencies in Rajshahi division are unlikely to achieve any gains despite support of its key alliance partner Jamaat-e-Islami due to widening rift and anti-Jamaat sentiment in BNP.
The road from Jamuna bridge to Mirzapur in Tangail has become a death trap due to widespread violation of traffic rules and insufficient space for movement of large number of vehicles.
Sixteen people were injured in electoral clashes in Rajshahi and Barisal in last two days.
At least four people were killed and seven others injured in separate road accidents in Comilla and Gaibandha yesterday.
The certificate giving ceremony of the 79th Junior Command and Staff Course of Bangladesh Air Force was held at the BAF Command and Staff Training Institute at Dhaka Cantonment yesterday, says an ISPR press release.
At least 30,000 security personnel, who became voters in Khagrachhari, may not be able to cast their votes due to their transfer or engagement in maintaining law and order on the election day.
The Public Works Department (PWD) yesterday removed computers and furniture of the newly formed National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) from its office without any prior notice.
The port city remained silent just day before the much-awaited general elections as curtain fell on the last-minute polls campaign on Saturday night.
Apart from his rift with party leaders and corruption charges, BNP candidate Mizanur Rahman Minu at Rajshahi-2 constituency is facing criticisms from his own party-men as well as his opponents for his affinity to alliance partner Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami.
Bangladesh Navy ships continued their patrol in the deep sea early yesterday as two survey ships from India sailed back to Indian waters beyond the sight of Naval patrol.
Awami League President Sheikh Hasina yesterday expressed deep concern over the Israeli air strikes in Gaza that killed 280 Palestinians on Saturday.
Members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested Kurigram district nayeb and acting nayeb of the banned militant group 'Allahar Dal' in Kurigram on Friday night.
A minor boy sustained severe injuries in a home-made bomb blast in the city's Kadamtoli area yesterday.
The Holy Ashura will be observed on January 8 as the moon of the month of Muha-rram was not sighted anywhere in the country yesterday.
Tight security measures have been beefed up by the law enforcement agencies in the port city to ensure today's gene-ral elections peacefully with deployment of over 30,000 security forces and law enforcers.
Former energy adviser Mahmudur Rahman yesterday filed a defamation case against HT Imam, co-chairman of Awami League Election Steering Committee, for making defamatory statements against him.
Most of the vehicles, particularly public transports, kept off the roads to avert requisition by police or other administrative bodies concerned with holding today's elections causing immense suffering of the commuters yesterday.
The High Court (HC) yesterday stayed until January 4 the process for holding annual general meeting (AGM) of Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS).
The Press Information Department (PID) has set up a media centre at Hotel Sonargaon in the capital to assist local and foreign journalists in collecting the results of the ninth parliamentary elections and other information.
Abdul Muyeed Choudhury has been elected chairman of the board of directors of Biman Bangladesh Airlines at a meeting of the board at Balaka Bhaban in the city on Saturday, says a press release.
Four out of six constituencies in Dinajpur today may see fight between alliances while several candidates, most of them rebels in Dinajpur-4 and 6 constituencies, may cause trouble to AL-led Grand Alliance and BNP-led four-party Alliance.
BNP is in the face of serious challenge in Sylhet region this time. They are in trouble in most of the seats, which they bagged in the 2001 while the AL led alliance is trying to get back those they lost in the last elections.
Direct duel between the candidates of AL-led Grand Alliance and BNP-led four party alliances is most likely in the five out of six constituencies in Naogaon.
With long-standing internal feuds unresolved in local BNP during the election campaign, four-party alliance candidate former finance minister M Saifur Rahman may find it difficult to retain Sylhet-1 seat.
All the four constituencies in the district are likely to see today a major contest between the nominees of Awami League (AL)-led grand alliance and BNP-led four-party alliance.
Non-resident Bangladeshi community leaders from the UK have urged people to vote for pro-liberation candidates in upcoming election since it is very important for the future of the country.
Grand Alliance candidate Meher Afroze Chumki's chance has brighten in Gaipur-5 constituency thanks to four-party alliance candidate former lawmaker AKM Fazlul Haque Milon's alleged corruption and irregularities in last five years of the alliance rule.
The election atmosphere seems to have taken a turn as many candidates in different constituencies apprehend vote rigging in and intimidation of minority community following what they said return of some criminals.
Most of the 12 heavyweight candidates of Awami League, BNP and Jatiya Party (JP) could not afford to a relax mood this time as none of them have clear edge over their challengers in the 16 constituencies of Chittagong.
Fates of five senior politicians in Rajshahi have become topic of lively discussion as 28 candidates are contesting with clear signs for major fight between candidates from Awami League (AL)-led grand alliance and BNP-led four-party alliance in six constituencies in the district.
Election result in Brahmanbaria district, where BNP-led four-party alliance won five of the six seats in 2001 elections, may show something different this time in view of new delimitation and rift between BNP and its alliance partner Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ).
Direct dual between the candidates of AL-led Grand Alliance and BNP-led four party nominees in five seats of Chandpur is likely this time also.
Gaibandha Nagoril Samanj and Sammilito Sangskritik Jote jointly held a cultural programme and brought out a procession at Domerhat in Sunderganj Upazila (Gaibandha-1 constituency) Saturday evening, calling upon the people to boycott war criminals and anti-liberation forces through ballot.
A total of 3,0349 observers engaged by 11 NGOs, will observe today's national election in Pabna.
In Rajshahi-3 constituency, Jamaat-e Islami candidate Ataur Rahman and his supporters made frantic efforts in their election campaigns to prove that his rival BNP candidate Kabir Hossain is an unfit candidate, and on the last day of the campaign on Saturday, some Jamaat-Shibir activists circulated a rumour that Kabir has passed away.
About 12,000 observers including representatives of foreign missions and embassies will observe Jatiya Sangsad (JS) election in Sylhet division.
What does a level playing field mean? Does it mean to equate everybody irrespective of their virtues or vices, depending on the respective situation, add, or subtract virtues or vices as the case may be? Our learned discussants in numerous TV talk shows seem to believe just that in case of our leading political parties.
Our politics is on shaky grounds, with the major political parties playing mind games with the general people. The flowery and poetic promises are just a fake mask that they have put on their faces. However, I must praise their power of persuading the public in their favour just before election.
The alleged war criminals are in safe hands to get at least 30 JS seats. The Bangladesh National Party in return will get full support of the Jammat in their ground level election work and might get a reasonable number of seats to form government in collaboration with the Jammat and other like minded parties. Apparently, the chances of the AL are gradually getting out of their hands.
If we open the TV channels and look at the newspapers, a group of people are tirelessly pleading for honest candidates. Who are they? What is their qualification to be a good MP? Please suggest 10 names and put them to transparent media scrutiny. Also we find a funny political strategy to promote the concept of "No" vote. Today we heard that more than 200 thousand local and foreign observers would observe the election. The political speeches of the two major political parties are full of promises, allegations and apprehensions of vote rigging. The political drama called "terrorism” is in full play around the security of major political leaders. The political spokesperson of the government is looking for a "transition" phase of handing over power to the elected government. The CA says it would be automatic; but none of these important persons have told the secret of their message. Let us guess what it could be, again a big dose of uncertainty?
Zircon is unknown to most people in the country. Recently the name of Zircon along with other several minerals has come to the priority list of the election manifesto of one of the political parties. We know that natural gas is our national mineral resource but there are other costly minerals in the country that need to be explored. Those minerals are available in the coastal regions, nearby islands and in the sands of the rivers in northern region of Bangladesh. They are solid minerals known as Zircon, Rutile, Monazite, Garnet, Ilmenite, Magnetite etc. Depending on their Purity and Rarity, they are worth billions of dollars and it is a case of transformation of scientific discovery into a billion dollar industry.
As the world braces for a recession whose depth and duration is anybody's guess, one silver lining of the downturn is already clear: the crisis at the gas station is over. In an economy now facing nothing but headwinds, declining oil prices may be about the only thing putting money directly back in consumers' pockets.
After a long wait a much coveted general election is being held today. In the aftermath of the drive of the ACC against the corrupt politicians and businessmen, the nation was ready for reforms. But people saw an appalling picture of reform in the political arena.
In every socio-economic field of our country corruption has spread out as an epidemic which is severely hindering the development of the country.
Election is the name of a great responsibility. A political leader starts his journey with the promise to help the common people. But when people elect them, they never fulfil the promises they made earlier. The dream of common people never comes true. The ACC is an institution which is working to remove corruption.
Lately, the Awami League and the BNP announced their election manifestos with their political panache to woo the voters. Though the publication of manifesto is a political rite for the political parties before the national election, it has significance in our national life.
The Jatiya Sangsad (JS) election is a great opportunity for the electorate to vote out those politicians who have made false promises during election campaigns. In the past, these politicians patronised militancy and fundamentalist forces as well. This election brings a golden opportunity for the people to reject corrupt political bigwigs who have turned Bangladesh into one of the most corrupt nations in the world. For a better and prosperous Bangladesh people should vote against them.
Begum Zia is planning to save Islam as an uncalled for saviour! The very idea defies the fundamentals of our noble religion. It cannot be tainted by the dark and dirty deeds of the BNP.
Iraqi journalist Zeidi has become a hero by throwing his shoes at US President G.W. Bush. The news rippled throughout the world, people enjoyed it and took the cue. In America, Canada and many other places, people made effigy of President Bush and started throwing shoes at it, enjoying it very much. We heard that some people wanted to buy the shoes at a fabulous price of ten million dollars and the maker of the shoes received orders of 3,70,000 pairs, the model 271, black polyurethane-soled shoes, which have been renamed as, “Bush Shoes”.
In line with the concept of the decentralization, I was very much inspired by Mr. Ershad's inventiveness to create eight provinces as a part of delegation of administrative management to the nearest point with adequate authority to address the various issues locally by the elected representative bodies, instead of merely depending on the central government. This would also be considered as a process of empowerment of the local bodies as well as serving the people in efficient ways by formulating the local laws within the framework of the central government policy, procedures and rules of business.
The United States said that massive Israeli air strikes Saturday on the Gaza Strip were the fault of Islamist Hamas "thugs," as rival world powers urged both sides to halt escalating violence.
Pakistan's leader has pleaded for dialogue, not war, to fight terrorism in South Asia but told India not to push Islamabad too hard for action against extremists one month after the Mumbai attacks.
The US military says that a suicide bombing near an Afghan primary school killed 14 children. Authorities had earlier said five children were killed.
Egypt is trying to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas to be followed by a truce, Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said following talks with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.
The Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir yesterday appeared set for a second successive spell of coalition as elections to the state legislature threw up a fractured mandate.
A Tamil Tiger suicide bomber killed seven security personnel and a civilian at a base just outside Sri Lanka's capital on Sunday as troops mounted pressure on the rebels in the north, officials said.
The risk of war between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan has increased with the redeployment of troops along the common border, but neither can afford the cost of such a conflict, analysts say.
Gaza's deeply entrenched Hamas rulers won't be easily toppled, even by Israel's unprecedented bombings Saturday that killed more than 280 people, most of them men in Hamas uniform.
Zimbabwe will prosecute 140 white landowners on charges of failing to vacate their farms under the country's controversial 2000 land reform programme, state media reported yesterday.
Arts & Entertainment
A three-day exhibition of exquisite woodwork was held in Faridpur recently on the occasion of Victory Day.
In continuation of their regular monthly programme -- on the last Saturday of every month -- cultural organisation 'Srijon' arranged a musical soiree featuring songs of yesteryears, on December 27.
The world through the eyes of a child, human relationships and the mysteries of space. These subjects fascinate Kolkata-based artist Sanjoy Ghosh who recently displayed his works at the art gallery of the majestic Travancore Palace in New Delhi. Among his show stealers at the exhibition, titled The Waiting, was The Great Attachment, a mixed media on canvas. A semi-abstract work, Ghosh has a unique explanation for the painting. “Suddenly it came upon me that our planet is moving through space at a very high speed and we are attached to it like ants and can't get out. I felt my pelvis very heavy and I am concentrating on the space.”
The first round of voting for the Oscars has begun after ballot papers were posted to members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Feature film "Lilliput-ra Boro Hobey" will be aired on Channel i tomorrow (December 30) at 10 pm as part of the 9th National Election special programmes.
As part of the national election-special programmes, ATN Bangla will air a tele-film titled "Potro Mitali" today at 1:20 pm.
A concert held last year in November, featuring Bangladeshi rock star James and popular Pakistani pop singer Shehzad Roy, will be aired on Banglavision today at 4:20 pm.
The publisher of a disputed Holocaust memoir has cancelled the book, adding the name Herman Rosenblat to an increasingly long list of literary fakers and ending with a heartbreaking crash his story -- embraced by Oprah Winfrey among others -- of meeting his future wife at a concentration camp.
RESEARCHERS have long studied the concept of trust. It is seen as a calculative process used to assess whether persons or parties one interacts with for a "salient" outcome will continue to meet their obligations. The calculation involves an estimation of the costs versus the rewards. It also involves imputing the benevolence of the other party to act in the best interest of the perceiver.
TWO days in the far-flung village of Kazimohallah, in Shatkhira district does not make you a political pundit, but like a pundit, I am predicting what could be a landslide for the Awami League-led coalition in the 2008 election. A reversal in fortune for the "Moha Jote" compared to the 2001 election.
THIRTY-seven years ago, they fought a war of independence on the political frontlines, on the social fault-lines and took up arms as a means of resistance. Today, the same generation, many united under the Sector Commanders Forum, has called upon itself to continue a task left incomplete despite the birth of the nation they struggled for.
Strange looking women in peculiar clothes have taken over most of the city's roadside walls. Their grotesque and deformed postures annoy pedestrians.
Due to lack of timely allocation of funds, Dhaka City Corporation's mosquito control drive has lost its pace this year, leading to unbearable mosquito menace in the city.
Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) move to free the main thoroughfare in Gulshan from illegal car parking falls flat as vehicles are being parked right under the 'no parking' signs. The DCC recently leased out a number of lanes in the posh residential neighbourhood for commercial car parking on the plea that it would help free the Gulshan Avenue and particularly the intersections from illegal parking. Although the DCC installed quite a number of such signs at several points, mindless parking at the Gulshan Avenue and two intersections at Gulshan Circle-1 and 2 goes on unabated hindering normal traffic and pedestrian movement everyday. The picture on the right shows vehicles are also parked on the sidewalks at Gulshan Avenue elbowing the pedestrians out.