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News of: Wednesday, 31st of December, 2008
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BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia early today said Monday's general election was stage-managed and farcical, and so its results are not acceptable to her party.
It is a shock-and-awe rout for the BNP, once a mighty party.
The Awami League-led grand alliance secured 262 seats in Monday's 9th Jatiya Sangsad election outplaying the BNP-led four-party combine that got only 32, according to unofficial results of 299 constituencies available yesterday.
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.
From businessmen to homemakers, the general people now expect that Awami League (AL) while forming the new government would demonstrate how it would keep its pledge by bringing a 'change.'
A new elected government of Awami League (AL)-led grand alliance is very likely to take over the steering wheel of the country next week, ending the two-year rule of Fakhruddin Ahmed-led caretaker government, sources in the government said.
A special team of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) recovered 28 improvised grenades in the port city last evening and held two operatives of JMB who tried to kill BNP chief Khaleda Zia in Comilla on December 23.
Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina yesterday said her party will work in unison with the opposition in parliament to strengthen democracy and develop the nation, true to the pledges that won the AL-led grand alliance a thumping majority in Monday's polls.
Two separate metropolitan magistrate courts in Dhaka yesterday framed charges indicting five people who were arrested on charges of violating code of electoral conduct during the polling in Dhaka on December 29.
USA, India and Japan have welcomed Bangladesh for successful holding of parliamentary elections, which mark the return to democratic process.
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.
Nobel laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus yesterday congratulated Awami League President and former prime minister Sheikh Hasina on the party's landslide victory in the ninth parliamentary polls.
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.
Corruption and price of essentials were the major deciding factors for voters going into the just concluded ninth parliamentary election.
After the rather humiliating defeat in Monday's parliamentary election, the leadership of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is now soul searching to find out the reasons behind it.
The International Republican Institute (IRI), a Washington-based election monitoring body, yesterday said the results of the ninth parliamentary elections held on Monday are an accurate reflection of the will of Bangladeshi voters.
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.
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.
Former advisers of caretaker government, renowned jurists, educationists and economists yesterday said fresh voters imbued with the spirit of the Liberation War rose above any temptation and played a decisive role in determining the winners in Monday's national election.
Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday said the December 29 parliamentary election set high standards for all future elections and signalled the beginning of a new process of democracy and good governance in Bangladesh.
A 74-run sixth wicket partnership between captain Mohammad Ashraful and Shakib Al Hasan on the fourth day kept Bangladesh alive in the first Test against Sri Lanka at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
At least three people were killed and 69 others injured in post-election violence in Chittagong, Pabna, Jessore, Noakhali and Dhaka yesterday.
Pakistan yesterday called for negotiations with India and asked New Delhi to relocate its troops away from the border in a show of goodwill to defuse tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Israeli aircraft kept up a relentless string of attacks on Hamas-ruled Gaza yesterday, smashing a government complex, security installations and the home of a top militant commander as thousands of Israeli ground troops, backed by tanks and artillery, massed along the border and waited for a signal to attack.
AS the nation takes a deeper look into how Monday's elections went and its historic outcome, we cannot but note some particular features that characterised the polls. Voter turnout was a whopping 85 per cent, in the words of the secretary of the Election Commission, marking an increase of 10 per cent over the last election in 2001. Such enthusiastic and spontaneous exercise of the right to franchise is a highwater mark of and a point of pride for democracy anywhere in the world. This is also a fitting tribute to the congeniality of the election atmosphere which encouraged voters to come out in large numbers to cast their ballots. It is to the credit of the EC and the caretaker administration that their constant vigil ensured that goons or any other vigilante groups could not disrupt the voting process.
A large body of gullible Bangladeshis, around 400, fell easy prey to machinations of fraudulent job brokers setting sail to the sea apparently on way to the Malaysian coast, some two months ago. Most of them are from Chittagong and Cox's Bazar. This is how their tale of tragedy unfolded: After the ill-fated Bangladeshis floated in the sea on six speed boats for some days, their fake employment agent put them on board a ship and abandoned them in the high seas. As they floated listlessly and ran out of water and food, seven of them died while 102 were rescued -- thanks to the Indian coast guard. As many as 300 have gone missing and many of them feared to have drowned.
NOW that the people of Bangladesh have spoken, and spoken loudly, it remains for the incoming government of Sheikh Hasina to get its priorities right and go about putting them in implementation mode. The electoral triumph of the Awami League and its allies in the grand alliance has been on a monumental scale.
AT the moment when Sheikh Hasina, being the leader of grand electoral alliance, stands with congratulations raining down on her, I will take the opportunity to remind her of some thoughts she shared with the writer about one and a half years ago.
Mohammad Ashraful started with a magnificent cover drive against Muttiah Muralidaran. That, however, hardly indicated anything as he usually does things this way before frustrating all. But there was a distinct change yesterday in the Bangladesh captain's approach that took the first Test against Sri Lanka into the fifth day at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.
Graeme Smith's cool 75 set up South Africa's first series win in Australia as they eased to a nine-wicket victory in the second Test at the MCG Tuesday that destroyed the hosts' world-beating reputation.
Graeme Smith has hailed a shift in the power-balance in world cricket after what he described as the greatest year in the South African team's history. Smith entered the tour calm and composed and aiming to be the first man to lead South Africa to a series victory in Australia; it has taken barely a fortnight to complete the task and it rounds off a remarkable 12 months.
West Indies captain Chris Gayle looms as the most influential figure in the one-day cricket series against New Zealand which opens here Wednesday.
West Indies captain Chris Gayle looms as the most influential figure in the one-day cricket series against New Zealand which opens here Wednesday.
International cricketers will have to be available for out-of-competition drug testing under the International Cricket Board's (ICC) new anti-doping code, which comes into effect from January 1. The new code, which complies with the latest World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code, was recently given unanimous approval by all members of the ICC board.
Ricky Ponting is resigned to a rebuilding period that could last years after Australia lost their first home Test series for 16 seasons. South Africa will overtake Australia to become the No.1 Test team if they complete a clean sweep in Sydney, having taken an unassailable 2-0 lead with their nine-wicket triumph at the MCG Tuesday.
Australian cricket's fortress hasn't just cracked -- that has been happening for the past 12 months -- it has now officially imploded. The foundations began to shake during last summer's home series against India, the roof caved in with the 2-0 loss in India and the whole structure has collapsed with Australia's first home series defeat in 16 years.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan still believes he has an international future and is readying himself to take on Australia despite being left out of the squad for the tour of the West Indies.
Dimitar Berbatov still to hit it off at Manchester United since arriving from Spurs in September, settled this tense clash with a 69th minute volley to give the Champions League holders a 1-0 victory here on Monday.
England football star Steven Gerrard was charged Tuesday with assault over an alleged bar brawl while out celebrating a win for Premiership leaders Liverpool, police said.
Sir Alex Ferguson insisted that the Premier League title race will be a three-way fight between Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea after Dimitar Berbatov's second-half strike sealed a narrow 1-0 win against Middlesbrough at Old Trafford on Monday.
Manchester City's Brazilian star Robinho says the threat of being dropped is a factor behind the club's patchy English Premiership form.
Franck Ribery has set his sights on playing for a top club in England or Spain, but insists he has no plans to leave Bayern Munich before his contract expires in 2011.
Lionel Messi has approached Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola with a request to allow him to play in Argentina's friendly against France in February.
The participation of the Lahore Badshahs in the next Indian Cricket League (ICL) season remains unclear, given the state of India-Pakistan relations, and league officials are contemplating a format without the team from Pakistan.
Real Madrid must choose between new signings Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Lassana Diarra to play in the knock-out stages of the Champions League, UEFA spokesman William Gaillard said on Spanish radio.
Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta, sidelined since the beginning of November with a muscle injury, has received the green light from doctors to return to action, the club said on Monday.
Emmanuel Adebayor has been voted Togo Footballer of the Year for the fourth consecutive year by local sports journalists it was announced on Monday.
Stock prices soared yesterday, buoyed by investor optimism on improved business and political climate after the national poll Monday.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB) elected Nasir Uddin Ahmed as its president for the year 2009 in a meeting of the council on Saturday, according to a press release.
Oil prices hovered near 40 dollars a barrel in Asian trade Tuesday afternoon on the fourth day of Israel's military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Leaders of anti-communalism organisations in a joint statement yesterday hoped that the upcoming government of the grand alliance would put a rein over price hike, militancy and corruption.
Different socio-political organisations and professional bodies greeted Awami League-led grand alliance yesterday for its stunning victory in the 9th parliamentary election across the country on Monday.
Prices of vegetables soared in the last three days in both wholesale and retail markets in the city because of inadequate supply, as trucks carrying vegetables were coming to the city in a small number fearing untoward situation centring the national election.
Awami League (AL) emerged as a huge power in Chittagong, known as the safe vote bank of BNP for long, with all the heavyweight BNP candidates losing on Monday's historic general election.
The election of the executive council of Dhaka University Teachers' Association (Duta) for the term 2009 will be held today.
Although BNP big shot Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury won the December 29 election from faraway Chittagong-2 (Fatikchhari) seat against a weaker Awami League candidate, his crushing defeat in Chittagong-6 (Rangunia) is obviously a big blow for him.
Bangladesh Nagorik Samaj in a statement on Monday alleged that there were a good number of irregularities during the holding of the 9th parliamentary election in spite of the initiatives taken by the Election Commission, says a press release.
A man was killed and two others, including a former UP chairman, were injured in separate incidents in Pabna yesterday.
A Baufal UP chairman was awarded two years' rigorous imprisonment (RI) and fined Tk 5,000 in default of which he will have to serve more two months for his involvement in the violence during Monday's general elections.
India yesterday repatriated dozens of Pakistani prisoners who had been detained for visa irregularities, officials said, amid simmering tensions between the two sides over the Mumbai attacks.
A young woman was sentenced to two years' jail for influencing voters inside Mahini Primary School centre in Nangolkot upazila on Monday.
Legendary singers Runa Laila and Sabina Yasmin have been nominated for the Sheltech Award-2008, says a press release.
After two years of the emergency rules, the law-enforcing agencies have taken different and extra security measures for a trouble-free celebration of the New Year 2009 under the normal rules, sources said.
Brig Gen (retd) Moazzem Hossain, PSC, have been elected chairman of the executive committee of Retired Armed Forces Officers' Welfare Association (RAOWA) for a two years term.
A group of Palestinian students studying in Bangladesh brought out a procession on the Dhaka University (DU) campus yesterday demanding an end to Israeli air strikes in Gaza, which killed hundreds of civilians.
A Dhaka court yesterday asked Dhanmondi police to submit to the court a probe report in the defamation case filed by former energy adviser Mahmudur Rahman against HT Imam, co-chairman of Awami League Election Steering Committee, by February 8, 2009.
Today is the 34th birth anniversary of Novera Deepita, a brilliant journalist of The Daily Star, says a press release.
A national guideline for management of severely malnourished children was launched in the city yesterday.
Human rights organisations yesterday termed the holding of ninth parliamentary elections free, fair and acceptable as no major incident of violence interrupted the polls that witnessed a very high turn out of voters.
Muggers stabbed a chef to death in the city's Rampura area and took away valuables from his possession on Monday night.
Leaders and activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), student wing of Awami League, yesterday vandalised a number of rooms of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) leaders at different dormitories at Dhaka University.
Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) in a drive seized five pipe guns from Joypurhat yesterday.
BNP stalwart M Saifur Rahman's defeat in both the seats in Sylhet and Moulvibazar was the talk of the town yesterday. Even many curious people from outside phoned their friends and relatives in Sylhet to know the causes for such a stunning result.
Defeat of Jamaat Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami and central Jamaat leader Moulana Abdus Subhan in the ninth parliament election have given rise to lively discussion among mass people in the district.
All the six MPs-elect of the grand alliance in Rajshahi yesterday pledged that they will play more active roles against corruption.
People and political circles in the city are analysing the causes for the polls the debacle of 4-party alliance in Sylhet division where Awami League (AL)-led grand alliance bagged all the 19 seats.
Eleven candidates including a former state minister and a former whip lost their security money as they failed to get minimum one-eighth of the cast vote in respective constituencies under the district in the recently concluded parliament election.
Mojibor Rahman has been elected parliament member from Lalmonirhat-2 constituency for the 7th term, making a record in northern districts.
BNP standing committee member Lt. Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman, who lost in Dinajpur-2 constituency, yesterday rejected the poll results, alleging 'massive rigging'.
Defying instructions from party high-ups, several hundred leaders, activists and supporters of grand alliance, joined by women, brought out a procession in the city Monday night after hearing landslide victory of the Awami League alliance.
United People's Democratic Front (UPDF), an anti-peace accord organisation in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), at a press conference held at its Khabangpuriya office here yesterday, rejected result of the just concluded Jatiya Sangsad (JS) elections.
Cardiac arrest following a cry of joy to hear the news of grand alliance's victory meant the tragic end of a 25-year-old youth at Gavindapur village in Sreepur upazila in the district early yesterday.
Architect of South Africa's historic win over Australia, pacer Dale Steyn Tuesday said if the Proteas continue to play with the same zeal they would soon get rid of the 'chokers' tag.
Matthew Hayden will not use the Sydney Test as a farewell and he remains in Australia's plans for 2009, according to the chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch. Hayden has held onto his spot for the third Test at the SCG and he is in a 12-man squad with the Victoria all-rounder Andrew McDonald and the fast bowlers Ben Hilfenhaus and Doug Bollinger, who won selection because of injuries to Brett Lee, Andrew Symonds and Shane Watson.
Pakistan yesterday cut off supplies to Nato and US forces in Afghanistan via the Khyber Pass as security forces launched a major operation against militants there, an official said.
The European Commission made a new call yesterday for Palestinian group Hamas and Israel to halt their conflict so urgent supplies can be delivered to the population of the Gaza Strip.
An Israeli naval vessel collided yesterday with a boat carrying activists and medical supplies that was trying to break the blockade of Gaza, forcing it to head to port in Lebanon.
Muslim nations on Monday condemned Israel over the deadly air attacks on the Gaza Strip, as European diplomats called for an urgent meeting on the crisis, which sparked anti-Israeli protests around Europe.
Anti-government protesters abandoned their siege of Thailand's Foreign Ministry building on Tuesday, easing a standoff that threatened to reignite a long-running political crisis.
Israel has dropped tons of bombs on the Gaza Strip in an unprecedented show of force to make Hamas stop rocket attacks, but it has not said it will try to topple the Islamic militants who have ruled the territory for 18 months.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has expressed concern to India and Pakistan over escalating tensions between the two nuclear armed rivals after Islamabad redeployed troops to their border, the State Department said Monday.
A pro-India coalition will head the Kashmir state government, ending nearly six months of federal administration that saw deadly protests against New Delhi's rule, leaving more than 50 people dead.
Nine supporters of detained Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi were arrested yesterday as they held a protest in Yangon calling for her release, witnesses said.
At least nine Taliban-linked militants were killed in clashes with Afghan and international forces in troubled southern Afghanistan, a police commander said yesterday.
The number of journalists, bloggers and media workers killed because of their work fell to 62 this year from 106 in 2007, the media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders said Tuesday.
Britain's defence ministry said yesterday it is keen to finalise a deal that will make legal its military presence in Iraq and prevent a halt to its operations when a UN mandate expires this week.
Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army rebels killed more than 400 people in Christmas massacres in northern Democratic Republic of Congo, the Caritas aid charity said yesterday.
The leaders of Guinea's coup named a civilian as prime minister Tuesday, making good on a key promise to the population exactly a week after seizing power upon the death of the country's late dictator.
The Sri Lanka military has received the bodies of 17 soldiers killed while fighting Tamil Tiger rebels in the island's embattled north, the defence ministry said yesterday.
Iraq's Central Criminal Court decided on Tuesday to postpone the trial of an Iraqi journalist who won global fame for throwing his shoes at US President George W. Bush, a court spokesman said.
Highway bandits pounced on a convoy under military escort in northern Cameroon killing six people and leaving several wounded, national radio said Tuesday.
The daughter of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has given birth to a son, a magazine reported Monday.
Arts & Entertainment
Two cartoon exhibitions were on at Drik Gallery recently. One included cartoons on the Liberation War published in newspapers worldwide in 1971. The other was a compilation -- featuring an Abu Abraham retrospective, works of five Nepali cartoonists reflecting the dynamic political changes that have taken place in their country in the last 10 years, and award-winning sketches from the South Asian Cartoon Competition organised by Himal.
Recently ATN Bangla aired a documentary on the Liberation War titled "Muktijuddher Itihash". The documentary was highly acclaimed by audiences nationwide and ATN Bangla received many requests to re-telecast it. ATN Bangla decided to release the DVD of "Muktijuddher Itihash". The DVD was launched on December 28 at a local hotel.
WE have made history! Not only in the national context, but also in the global context. Just when many were thinking that our country was increasingly falling within the grip of Islamic fundamentalists and that their religion-based fear-mongering campaigning was working, the people of this nation have spoken with decisiveness.
IF free, fair and credible election is the road to democracy, we have walked the distance covering the road as best as we could. December 29 finally marked the end of the cold long night of slumber of despair and the beginning of the dawn of hope for democracy as people across the country turned up in large numbers to cast their vote for a new parliament after long seven years.
DOES the Gaza offensive signal that the Israeli government has decided to embark on the end game? The scale of the effort -- a massive aerial assault, with Israeli tanks massing along Gaza's border in evident preparation for a ground assault -- certainly suggests that. What does the "endgame" mean? It's the term a longtime senior Israeli defense adviser used in a conversation with me a few months ago: a military effort to crush Palestinian resistance for a generation.