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News of: Tuesday, 30th of December, 2008

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Landslide mandate

The Awami League-led grand alliance has swept back to power after seven years out of office with a stunning landslide victory in an environment of free and fair elections that clearly showed the people's verdict for a change and has consigned the BNP-led four-party alliance to the political wilderness.

Rigging, forgery in 72 seats

The BNP has complained that there were irregularities, ballot rigging and forgery in 220 poll centres in 72 constituencies across the country during the just concluded ninth parliamentary election.

You shall reap as you sow

As we celebrate the majesty of public will and try to understand the stunning results of the national election 2008, the real question that needs to be asked is not why Awami League won so comprehensively, but why BNP got the thrashing that it did. Given our anti-incumbency history and the pattern so far followed since 1991, it can be considered somewhat natural that Awami League should get a turn to run the country in 2008, after BNP did so in 2001.

BNP at lowest ebb

It is a shock-and-awe rout for the BNP, once a mighty party.

Trial in people's court

It was a quick trial in people's court and the verdict was simple and clear with a message attached to it. It said it is the masses that hold the ultimate power in a republic. And it is they who break down the doors of Bastille again and again whenever tyrant rulers and their henchmen make feeble attempts to hide inside. History tells us that the despots have never been forgiven by the people.

Out, bigwigs

It was an election of heartbreak and humiliation for many bigwigs. An election that clearly brought home that big names do not matter, it is the deeds that count at the end of the day.

Don't underestimate the public

Once again, the Bangladeshi voters have demonstrated that it is best to never underestimate them. Once again they have delivered a verdict as clinical as it has been mature, and shown that when they are able to exercise their franchise without fear for their safety they are able to render decisive and critical judgments.

Graft, food price throw BNP out

Corruption and high price of essentials were the major deciding factors for voters while casting ballots in the just concluded ninth parliamentary election.

Women cruise to a historic high

Highest 18 women have won 22 parliamentary seats in Monday's battle of ballots, meaning the new parliament will have the highest number of at least 63 female lawmakers, including 45 to be elected to reserve seats, in the history of Bangladesh.

Dejection, delight

The contrast couldn't get more startling. As the BNP media centre at the chairperson's Gulshan office lay forlorn, roars of joy and pinching to make sure it wasn't all a dream reflected the mood of Awami League-led grand alliance camp.

Highest turnout

The turnout in ninth parliamentary election is the highest ever in the history of Bangladesh with little possibility of fake votes having been cast due to the new system with a voter roll that had photographs to confirm one's identity.

No scope of rejecting results

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda has said there would be no scope for any quarter to reject the results of the ninth parliamentary election.

Call for calm

Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina last night urged her party men to stay calm and not to bring out any victory processions until the polls results are announced officially.

Jamaat in checkmate

The anti-liberation forces have been defeated once again, this time through peoples' verdict. While it is a sweet revenge for Bangladeshis against the war criminals, the verdict will make stronger the demand for their trial.

CA delighted over high turnout

Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday expressed the hope that the political parties would gracefully accept the results of the ninth parliamentary polls.

First vote for fresh hope

Fired with enthusiasm, the first time voters representing almost one-fourth of around 81 millions on the electoral roll exercised their franchise with the hope of a positive attitude in leaders of the ninth parliament.

Ctg minority voters brave intimidation

Minority voters in different areas in Chittagong received threats from workers of the four-party alliance despite huge preparations and safety measures for a free and fair election.

Mismanagement mars voter list success

Thousands of voters in the capital could not vote yesterday despite repeated frantic attempts, due to an apparent mismanagement of the much ballyhooed successful voter list by the Election Commission (EC).

Victory for sector commanders

A year-long nationwide campaign to try war criminals culminated in an overwhelming vote of confidence for the Sector Commanders' Forum yesterday, as their chief AK Khandakar and Rafiqul Islam swept to victory last night as part of the AL-led grand electoral alliance.

Nizami's ex-PS caught red-handed

At least eight workers of Jamaat-e-Islami including a former personal secretary of its Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami were arrested in Pabna while 15 workers of BNP and Jatiya Party were held in three other districts for distributing money among voters yesterday.

Biharis embark on new era

It was a watershed day yesterday for the Biharis in Bangladesh as for the first time since independence they cast votes in a general election here.

One killed in polls violence

One person was killed and over 50 others were injured in election-related violence across the country during yesterday's ninth parliamentary elections.

Amu, Inu first time lawmakers

Two seasoned political figures -- Awami League (AL) presidium member Amir Hossain Amu and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) chief Hasanul Haq Inu -- yesterday won in a parliamentary election for the first time.

Voting well organised

EU chief election observer Alexander Lambsdorff yesterday said political parties should accept the elections if results are credible.

AL surges ahead

Half way into the election results, the AL-led grand alliance has taken a clear lead in the race, keeping ahead of its archrival BNP-led four-party in most constituencies. The grand alliance has already won in 19 seats and the four-party in five.

Work together

Army Chief General Moeen U Ahmed yesterday expected that the election winners and the losers would work together for taking the country forward.

Women voters defy hurdles

Her face flushed with triumph, an eight-month pregnant Shefali Begum Moina finally cast her vote at about 4:30 pm after struggling to keep standing in an overcrowded line for about three hours.

Bhuiyan ready to join govt, whoever wins

Former BNP secretary general Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan yesterday said he would join the government party if he is elected from Narsingdi-3 constituency.

Voting sheaf of paddy the key to heaven

Even though campaigning ended Saturday midnight, female Jamaat-e-Islami activists working for BNP candidate Sardar Sharfuddin Ahmed Santu in Barisal-2 yesterday whispered to female voters that "voting for sheaf of paddy will ensure their heaven".

4 'militants' held in Nilphamari

Police early yesterday arrested four suspected Islamist militants at a house only 20 feet away from the house of actor Asaduzzaman Noor, grand alliance candidate of Nilphamari-2 constituency.

Death denies his vote

The queue was long at the Lobonchora primary school centre in Khulna. Jalal Talukder, 80, who was standing in the queue, decided to take breakfast in a roadside shop before going back to the center. He had come all the way from Dhaka from his son's house to vote for his candidate.

New voters put candidates' quality over party symbol

Sudipta Shaheen, a fresh voter, was very enthusiastic about the polls because he thinks his single vote is no less important for victory of an honest and competent candidate.

UPDF cadres drive out polling agents of other runners

Armed cadres of the United Peoples Democratic Front (UPDF) drove out polling agents of other candidates from at least 31 polling centres in the hill district during polling hours yesterday.

100 illegal Bangladeshi migrants rescued

Donning a humanitarian role, the Indian Navy and Coast Guard have rescued about 100 Bangladeshis, who were illegally taken to Thailand for fishing, and were drifting in the Indian Ocean for 12 days, an official in New Delhi said.

Gaza-blitz on

Israel bombed Gaza for a third day yesterday in an "all-out war" on Hamas, as tanks massed on the border and the Islamists fired deadly rockets in retaliation for the blitz that has killed at least 345 people.

Deputy Iraqi PM warns of possible Arab-Kurd conflict

Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh warned of "vicious and dangerous" attempts to convert political and economic problems in Iraq to an Arab-Kurdish conflict.

Kashmir poll turnout a victory for democracy

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the higher than expected turnout in elections in disputed Kashmir a "vote for democracy" Sunday, as results showed no one party dominated the polls.

Uganda rebels accused of massacre at church

Attackers wielding machetes hacked to death dozens of people at a church in remote eastern Congo, witnesses said Monday, and the Ugandan army accused the Lord's Resistance Army rebels of the massacre.

Israel's Gaza 'aggression' has halted peace talks

Indirect peace talks between Israel and Syria have been halted due to the Jewish state's "aggression" in Gaza, a senior Syrian official said on Sunday.


After Awami League's massive mandate

Not since the mandate given to Bangabandhu in the 1973 election has the AL been handed such a resounding victory by the people of Bangladesh. We congratulate Sheikh Hasina and her grand alliance on their exceptional success. Massive victory imposes massive responsibility, and needless to say, the colossal victory has imposed a huge burden of responsibility on the victors, particularly Sheikh Hasina.

Awami League scores a stunning victory

The Awami League-led grand alliance has swept back to power in a stunning landslide victory that is as much a rejection of the BNP-led four-party alliance as it is an endorsement of the winners. The voters seized their day and made their voices ring out all over the land, loud and clear. Once again, the Bangladeshi electorate has demonstrated its maturity by discarding party loyalty and turning against a party in massive numbers for its failure in office and lack of vision for the future.

Not just another election

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.

Young voters in ballot battle

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.

The secular vote bloc

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.


Focus back on cricket

The voting for the general election over, the proceedings of the first Test between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka resume today at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur after a rest day.

S Africa smell victory

South Africa need another 153 runs on the fifth and final day today at the MCG to overturn two decades of Australian dominance at home after Dale Steyn continued his heroics by earning 10 wickets for the game on the penultimate day of the second Test Monday. Steyn, who took 5 for 87 and then scored 76 in the first innings, backed up with 5 for 67 and was responsible for ending Australia's tiny chance for a series-levelling victory.

Mendis lands in Dhaka

Fit-again spinner Ajantha Mendis arrived in Dhaka yesterday to join the touring Sri Lanka to play the second Test and the tri-nation one-day tournament.

Chelsea held in derby

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard scored twice as the Merseysiders ended 2008 on top of the Premier League with a 5-1 win away to Newcastle at St James' Park in Sunday's early kick-off match.

BFF to go grassroots in '09

Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) is looking to have a busy 2009 in a bid to keep football running round the year.

New signings for Russel, Arambagh

Although Mohammedan have given up hope to sign new foreign players, B. League title contenders Sheikh Russel roped in a new batch of imports for the rest of the competition.

PCB tries to lessen loss

The Pakistan board is likely to replace the central contracts retainer structure for domestic regional teams as it looks to adjust to the financial impact of a year without any major cricket.

'We will be top in 2009'

Luiz Felipe Scolari insisted the English Premier League title race was still open as his Chelsea side went into 2009 three points behind leaders Liverpool.

Cannavaro wants Real stay

Real Madrid defender Fabio Cannavaro insists he wants to remain at the Bernabeu, claiming his first priority is to extend his contract.

Robinho saves City

Brazilian star Robinho ensured Blackburn Rovers suffered last-gasp despair for the second straight game as Manchester City came from two goals behind to draw 2-2 here Sunday.

Cahill happy with lead role

Australian international Tim Cahill believes his new role as a lone striker at English Premier League side Everton is improving him as a player.

Gerrard in jail over club fight

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was arrested early Monday after a fight in a bar on Merseyside, reports and a police source said.

Moratti backs Adriano

Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti insists the club have not shut the door on troubled striker Adriano.

Huntelaar hopes for UCL nod

Dutch striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar is determined to play for Real Madrid in this season's Champions League.

I need to lose weight: Ronaldo

Ronaldo has admitted he needs to lose some weight before making his debut for Corinthians next year.

A colourful world record

David Pratt, a striker with English non-league side Chippenham Town, has earned himself an unwanted place in the record books after getting himself sent off just three seconds into a match, media reports said Monday.

Vaughan not in Eng party

Former captain Michael Vaughan has missed out on a place in England's Test squad for the tour to the West Indies.

A Steyn-gun really

Dale Steyn is the reigning ICC Test Player-of-the-Year and judging by his efforts at the MCG it is a title he won't be giving up easily. Steyn has produced the performance of his career to drive South Africa within sight of a Test victory that would not only take them one win away from the No. 1 ranking, but would hand Australia their first home series defeat since 1992-93.


Four-party loses all Sylhet seats

The four-party alliance suffered a stunning defeat in greater Sylhet region yesterday losing all the 19 seats in four districts to the AL-led grand alliance with almost no contest. Voting was held peacefully with around 80 percent turnout of voters no reports of violence.

Big victory for grand alliance in Ctg

The Awami League-led grand alliance was heading for a sweeping victory in Chittagong division in yesterday's parliamentary election.

Mandra, Bede voters hope for a better tomorrow

By the time lakhs of literate and well-off people reading this story, a new sun has risen for them with the nascent democracy back home when Shukkur Jan Bibi had her last few nights sleepless knowing that the first ray of a burning democratic sun is intolerable.

Electoral reforms make all the difference

Madrasa teacher Hafez Ahmed had all the praises for yesterday's election while talking to this correspondent at a tea stall around 20 metres off his polling centre - Shah Majidia Madrasa, centre No 149 under Chittagog-7 constituency (Chandgaon-Boalkhali) yesterday.

Grand alliance wins 6 Rajshahi seats

All the six grand alliance candidates in Rajshahi constituencies were unofficially declared elected with high turnout of voters in yesterday's historic 9th parliamentary elections.

90pc turnout in Khulna industrial belt

Over 90 percent workers of Khulna industrial belt enrolled as voters exercised their voting right in the parliamentary election held yesterday.

High turnout in Rajshahi, voting peaceful

With high turnout, voting in all the six constituencies in Rajshahi passed off peacefully yesterday, barring some stray incidents and reports of a few fake votes.

Voter sees vote already cast in Meherpur

A voter in Meherpur-2 constituency yesterday found that his vote was already cast when he went to exercise his franchise at Gangni Secondary School Centre in the morning.

Where women voters cast vote for first time in decades

The women voters of Chandra Dighalia union under Gopalganj, who had been deprived of their franchise for several decades, exercised their voting rights yesterday.

ACD observers try to influence voters in Rajshahi

Rajshahi Divisional Commissioner Hafizur Rahman Bhuiyan yesterday rebuked election observers of the ACD (Association for Community Development) for their alleged try to influence voters before casting votes.

100 illegal Bangladeshi migrants rescued

Donning a humanitarian role, the Indian Navy and Coast Guard have rescued about 100 Bangladeshis, who were illegally taken to Thailand for fishing, and were drifting in the Indian Ocean for 12 days, an official in New Delhi said.

RMG workers cast vote with high hopes

Garment workers thronged the polling centres in large numbers in Gazipur district yesterday to cast their votes with high hopes that the next elected government would reduce the prices of essentials.

BCL factional clash at SSMC, 10 rooms set on fire

Sir Salimullah Medical College (SSMC) authorities last night asked the students to vacate two dormitories by 6:00am today, following a violent clash between the two groups of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activists.

Female voter killed in Meherpur road accident

A female voter, traveling by a rickshaw-van to cast her vote in Meherpur-1 constituency, was killed when the van turned turtle at Bhabanipur at Mujibnagar yesterday.


Mismatch between ID card, voter serial numbers turns away many

A large number of voters could not cast their votes in several cities and districts as their names were not found on voter lists.

Festive voting in Barisal as no sign of intimidation

As the election monitoring car carrying journalists left the city for different constituencies in Barisal yesterday morning, roads were seen filled with three-wheeler-vans, rickshaws, and lines of people in groups and families heading towards polling centres.

Saifur happy with voting atmosphere, process

Voting in four constituencies in Moulvibazar was held peacefully and the number of vote cast was very good, observers said.

Who cast their vote in Rangpur-4?

Only two voters, Abdur Rashid and Shahinur Begum, could not cast vote as others cast their votes earlier, said Gunjankha Primary School centre presiding officer under Rangpur-4 constituency.

EU observers say voting fair, peaceful in Chandpur

Voting was peaceful in five constituencies in the district barring an attack on the car of four-party alliance candidate in Chadnpur-1 (Kachua and Narayanpur union of Matlab South upazila) ANM Ehsanul Haque Milon.

Distance fails to stop them from voting

Voters in the district yesterday exercised their right to franchise peacefully in an election that was held without any intimidation or noticeable monetary influence.

Hiralal can't see symbol at 105, yet he casts vote

Aided by grandson Chandan, Hiralal Mallik entered Townghona Primary School polling centre in Dumuria upazila with very feeble steps.

Polls held peacefully in Tangail under new PO

Peaceful election was held at Falda Ramsundar High School centre in Tangail-2 (Gopalpur-Bhuapur) constituency under supervision of the newly-appointed presiding officer (PO) Sheikh Mohammad Shamsul Haque.

Poll boycott to protest shifting of polling centre

Most of the voters at Fulbari village under Baluhar union in Kotchandpur upazila of Jhenidha-3 constituency have boycotted election protesting shifting of centre from their village to nearby village of Marutia. Fulbari centre was an old centre but the authorities concerned shifted the centre to Marutia without informing it to villagers, said elderly people.


Myanmar signs gas deal with S Korea, India, China

Military-run Myanmar has signed a deal with South Korean and Indian companies to pipe natural gas from the energy-rich nation's offshore fields to China, state media reported yesterday.

Somalia's president quits after 4 years in power

Somalia's president resigned Monday as the head of his country's UN-backed government after four years of leading one of the most violent, impoverished countries in the world.

Pakistan, India can't afford war

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.

Toppling Hamas real tough

Gaza's deeply entrenched Hamas rulers won't be easily toppled, even by Israel's unprecedented bombings Saturday that killed more than 200 people, most of them men in Hamas uniform.

UN leaders step up calls to end Gaza violence

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has added his voice to calls for an immediate end to hostilities in the Gaza Strip and urged Israel to allow humanitarian aid into the impoverished Palestinian territory.

Gaza complicates Obama's policy in Mideast

President-elect Barack Obama's transition team is choosing its words carefully in dealing with Israel's assault on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

AU suspends Guinea following coup

The African Union suspended Guinea on Monday after a coup in the West African nation.

Pakistan must 'avoid conflict' with India

Pakistan's army chief stressed yesterday the need to "avoid conflict" with India, days after he began moving troops toward the rivals' shared border as tensions rose over last month's terror attacks on Mumbai.

Pro-Thaksin protesters ring Thai Parliament

Thousands of supporters of exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra ringed Thailand's Parliament on Monday, vowing to remain until the new government dissolves the legislature and calls general elections.

Trials open for 9 over China tainted milk scandal

Nine people went on trial Monday in connection with China's tainted milk scandal, state media reported, following the announcement of steps to compensate the families of hundreds of thousands of children harmed by contaminated infant formula.

China, Russia top brass hold first hot line chat

Top brass from the Chinese and Russian armies hailed closer ties in their first-ever conversation Monday over a newly installed military hot line, state media reported yesterday.

Quake rattles Afghanistan, NW Pakistan

A moderate earthquake jolted mountainous northeastern Afghanistan and parts of northwest Pakistan on Monday but caused no damage or casualties, officials said.

10 dead after Indonesia boat capsizes

At least 10 people, including women and children, were killed in Indonesia on Monday after a strong wave capsized a boat in the Java Sea, a report said.

Suicide blast near Lankan capital kills eight

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.

Abdullah to recommend Omar for CM's post

Clearing all confusion, National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah on Monday said that he would recommend to his party that his son Omar Abdullah should be the new Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.

Suicide bombings kill 5 near Afghan capital

A suicide car bomber struck a governor's compound north of the Afghan capital on Monday while US troops were inside, officials said. The blast killed two Afghan civilians and wounded two American soldiers.


Yes, I voted

7:35 AM. My mobile phone alarm goes off. Normally I swat it aside like a fly, but today I jump. It's the day. Abba/Amma have already had a full breakfast. They're so disciplined compared to me. My father is old school, he insists we get to the centre before 8. I run with an empty stomach

Election reflections

AND so here we are again -- after all the months of hope and resignation, prevarication and sabre rattling, the elections are finally upon us. Suddenly, it's almost like the last two years never happened.

Final report card

THE current caretaker government is almost at the end of its two-year tenure. If everything happens according to plan, we will have a new government at the beginning of 2009. It is time to evaluate the performance of the caretaker government, and objectively analyse its achievements and failures.

The Daily Star

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