The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Thursday, August 28, 2014


News of: Friday, 2nd of January, 2009

Front Page

Rigging claim binned

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda has termed the ninth parliamentary election credible, saying no-one should disrespect the people's verdict as reflected in the polls.

Young MPs-elect to rule AL cabinet

Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina may pick younger, educated and deft leaders in the party as cabinet colleagues to implement her party's electoral pledges at the earliest.

25 small parties get 2pc votes in total

Twenty-five small political parties that fielded 716 candidates in the December 29 parliamentary election bagged only 2.38 percent of the total votes.

Fate of 3 MPs-elect hangs in the balance

The Supreme Court's (SC) verdict and Bangladesh Bank's (BB) probe report will decide the fate of three MPs-elect as two of them contested Monday's national election following an interim SC order and the other is an alleged loan defaulter.

Graft cases must be disposed of

The authorities must complete the trial of the cases the new members of parliament are facing, instead of withdrawing the charges, to end the practice of impunity, Shushashoner Jannoy Nagorik (Shujan) said yesterday.

BNP wants AL to form govt

BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain said yesterday they want Awami League to form government and run the country so that they can observe its performance.

Oath in a day or two

Lawmakers-elect are likely to take oath on Saturday or Sunday as the Election Commission (EC) published results of Monday's polls in official gazettes yesterday.

No impact of 'no' vote

The newly introduced option of casting 'no' vote failed to exert any impact on Monday's national election as only .55 percent voters went for the alternative ignoring the candidates.

Businesses greet Hasina on victory

Leaders of the country's chamber bodies and trade associations yesterday congratulated Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina on the grand alliance's historic victory in the national elections.

Dec 29 polls free, fair

President Iajuddin Ahmed yesterday said the December 29 elections were free and fair.

BNP now alleges 'digital rigging'

BNP yesterday alleged that 'digital' vote rigging in Monday's national election led to its stunning defeat.

ACC's chief prosecutor Mukul quits

The Anti-Corruption Commission's (ACC) Chief Special Public Prosecutor (CSPP) ABM Sharfuddin Khan Mukul yesterday resigned on “personal” grounds.

50 hurt in post-polls violence

Around 50 people were injured in post-election clashes between the Awami League (AL) and the BNP supporters at different parts of the country during the last 24 hours.

UN assures AL of help in trying war criminals

UN secretary general's special envoy Ian Martin yesterday assured Awami League President Sheikh Hasina of all possible support in bringing the war criminals to justice.

BSF kills 1

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) shot dead a Bangladeshi youth on Cochal border under Ranishangkoil upazila of Thakurgaon district early yesterday.

Case shifted to sessions judge's court

The case relating to the Ramna Batamul bomb blast filed under the Explosive Substances Act was transferred to the Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court of Dhaka yesterday.

UN hails election

The United Nations (UN) yesterday welcomed the successful December 29 parliamentary elections in Bangladesh, the first ever polls held in seven years in the South-East Asian nation, which has been beset by political violence and polarization in recent times.

Tac chief's remark on ACC probe unfortunate

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday termed Truth and Accountable Commission (Tac) Chairman Justice Habibur Rahman Khan's recent comment on investigation and enquiry of ACC cases unfortunate and motivated.

50pc dropout in primary schools

Almost 50 percent of the students admitted to class one in primary schools across the country drop out before completing class five at present.

Ctg JMB men remanded

Two militants of outlawed Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), arrested with 28 improvised grenades here Tuesday evening, were placed on a seven-day remand yesterday.

Serial blasts kill 5 in Assam

At least five people were killed yesterday in separate bombings in the Indian city of Guwahati, police said, blaming a dominant insurgent group active in the northeast of the country.

Parliament, mosque in Gaza bombed

Israel demanded international monitors as a term of any truce with Gaza militants, as its warplanes bombed the parliament building in Gaza City yesterday and its ships attacked coastline positions of the territory's Islamic Hamas rulers.

Thai nightclub fire kills 61 revellers

A fire raced through a two-story nightclub packed with hundreds of well-heeled New Year's revellers early yesterday, killing at least 61 people as they stampeded to escape the raging flames.

Car crash kills 3 in city

At least three people were killed in a road accident in the capital's Chairman Bari area early yesterday.

Editorial

Sheikh Hasina's positive comments

We are heartened by the content and tenor of Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina's comments at her post-election press briefing on Wednesday. She has sounded some specific positive signals. The victorious AL leader has offered the position of deputy speaker of the Jatiyo Sangsad and the chairmanship of some parliamentary standing committees to the opposition. While these are certainly signs of a fresh new beginning toward making Parliament functional, Sheikh Hasina could go a step better by proposing that the Speaker of the JS, once he or she is chosen, should resign from the political party he or she belongs to as a first, significant sign of the neutrality demanded of such a key position. Indeed, the idea was part of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party manifesto and if it is accepted by the Awami League, it will serve as a good signal to the opposition about the sincerity of the ruling party. Elevating the position of the Leader of the Opposition right after that of the Leader of the House will be another positive gesture to the opposition.

Election of a truly world standard

By holding a free, fair and credible election under probing international gaze, Bangladesh has fulfilled the fundamental precondition to the functioning of a parliamentary democratic system in a decisive way. Setting aside the verdict at the polls squarely reflecting the popular will, the process through which the election was conducted and the outcome reached does stand out. Professionalism, transparency and credibility have been the hallmarks of the ninth parliamentary elections. The minor technical difficulties aside, the main election undertaking has been completed to the satisfaction of international standards. Such is the essence of the observations made by the foreign election monitoring groups at the end of their mission. Some of them have even privately confided that this was the best election they have ever observed.

New ball game

Now that we have had a few days to digest the magnitude of Monday's election result, the time has come to try to decipher what it all means for the future of the country.

Hourglass politics, coin toss election

It was late British playwright Harold Pinter who said to a friend that people often speak in order to hide or avoid what they really feel or think. When people of this country spoke on December 29, 2008, they handed a landslide victory to the grand alliance. If we were paying attention, we should know. They left unsaid much more than what they have said.

Triumph of hope and change

AWAMI League chief Sheikh Hasina's promise of change for a better Bangladesh has rekindled hopes among the impoverished masses, who gave her party 229 seats in the 300 member parliamenta surreal outcomewhich is comparable to the Democratic Party's control of both Houses of the US Congress and Barack Obama's winning the presidency.

Sports

Ash smiling again

Bangladesh skipper Mohammad Ashraful, who had to leave the port city amid huge criticism in October last year, returned here yesterday with a smile on his lips. While attending a practice session, he seemed determined to wipe out the criticism that he had earned with his earlier struggles.

Sylhet's perfect day

The New Year gave Sylhet their first win of the season when they trounced Khulna by nine wickets in the opening round game of the National Cricket League one-day tournament at the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium yesterday.

Johnson inspires F'ganj

Nigerian striker Kalu Johnson struck twice inside the last two minutes to give Farashganj three valuable points in the B. League, which resumed yesterday after a six-day break.

Football's new hope

As the entire nation is looking forward to the new government to be sworn in and run the country the right way to relieve people of their distress, the sports arena is no exception.

Dhoni's security upped

India cricket skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's family has received back-to-back extortion letters from suspected local criminals threatening harm if 50 lakh rupees were not paid following which police have stepped up security.

Premier T20 schedule revealed

The Premier League Twenty20 tournament will begin in the third week of this month.

Tigers, SL arrive in Chittagong

Both the visiting Sri Lanka and hosts Bangladesh have arrived in the port city to meet for the second and series-deciding match at the Chittagong Divisional Stadium on Saturday.

Ganguly won't call India No 1 side right now

Amid a raging debate whether India or South Africa are possible successors to Australia, Sourav Ganguly on Thursday said it would be "a bit too early" to rank Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men as world's number one team as it still needs to prove itself overseas.

SA's eyes on big prize

South Africa can eclipse Australia as the leading Test-playing nation with victory in the third and final Test which begins in Sydney on Saturday.

Sarwan's plea

West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan has said the youngsters in the squad need to improve their performances if they are to be a permanent feature.

A year of decay

A year that began with a craven victory ended in heavy defeat. All the signs of decay detected during the acrimonious SCG Test match a year ago were confirmed as the season unfolded.

'I'm backing Hayden'

Justin Langer's intuition tells him Matthew Hayden will play beyond the Sydney Test, but the other half of Australia's greatest opening combination is also aware how quickly retirement plans can hatch.

Elbow will keep Smith out ODIs

Graeme Smith, the South Africa captain, will miss this month's one-day series against Australia because of an ongoing elbow injury, coach Mickey Arthur said. Smith's participation in the final Test in Sydney which starts on Saturday is also not confirmed, though Arthur rated him a "90 per cent" chance to play.

Lee out of SA tour

Brett Lee will miss the tour to South Africa while Australia hope to have Andrew Symonds back during the one-day international campaign over the next six weeks. Symonds had knee surgery on Wednesday while Lee is expected to have an operation on his left foot and ankle on Saturday.

Srikkanth has two targets

Kris Srikkanth, the chairman of India's national cricket selectors, has outlined two important targets for the team -- to be the No. 1 ODI team this year and top the Test rankings by 2010. He says India are currently the most balanced among the top three teams, including Australia and South Africa.

Cup takes centre stage

The third round of the FA Cup is a time in the knockout competition renowned for shocks and 'giant-killing' exploits.

Ex-mafia boss alleges fixing

Former mafia crime boss Michael Franzese says top-level tennis matches are being influenced by gamblers and the sport would be his prime focus were he still in the business of impacting outcomes.

Gerrard has full support

Rafael Benitez will keep faith with Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard despite his arrest in connection with a bar-room brawl earlier this week.

Pompey to sell Defoe at right price

Portsmouth have confirmed they would be willing to sell Jermain Defoe if they received an acceptable offer.

Senna denies City reports

Villarreal star Marcos Senna has rubbished reports which claimed he is eager to join Manchester City in the January transfer window.

Hammers will listen to offers

West Ham will listen to offers for all their players with the January transfer window having opened at midnight, the English Premiership club's chief executive Scott Duxbury admits.

Hull demand enquiry

English Premiership newcomers Hull want an investigation into claims a third party prompted referee Steve Bennett to overturn a late penalty he had awarded in Tuesday night's 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa.

Arsenal loan out Simpson

West Bromwich Albion, the bottom club in the Premier League have signed striker Jay Simpson on loan from top-flight rivals Arsenal for the rest of the season, it was announced on Wednesday.

Cologne chase Podolski

Cologne are to intensify their interest in Bayern Munich striker Lukas Podolski in the new year as competition grows for his signature.

Business

PCBs post rise in profit

Private commercial banks (PCBs) kept up a good show in 2008 despite a global and domestic slowdown in business activity, according to data received from different PCBs.

Boost bilateral ties to up export: President

President Iajuddin Ahmed yesterday stressed the need for increasing export and improving bilateral trade relations with different countries to accelerate Bangladesh's economic growth.

RMG breezes past 2008

Bangladesh's ready-made garment (RMG) business was well in 2008, although some national and international anti-business issues marked the year as a turbulent one.

DSE trade to cover country in 2 years

Dhaka Stock Exchange plans to reach out trading facilities to the doorsteps of people in a span of two years.

Top Citi execs to forego bonuses

Citigroup said Wednesday its top two executives would forego bonuses and others would get "substantially reduced" bonuses in light of the troubles facing the ailing banking giant.

Low wholesale price of edible oil yet to impact Ctg retail market

Although prices of different types of edible oil have plummeted in the wholesale market here, it is yet to have any impact on the retail markets.

$9b remittance in 2008

The number of Bangladeshis cleared for overseas employment in 2008 exceeded 8,75,000 creating a new record.

Russia cuts off gas to Ukraine

Russia on Thursday cut off gas supplies to its neighbour Ukraine after failing to agree a new contract, sparking renewed concern over Europe's dependence on Russian-controlled energy resources.

N Korea declares new campaign to rebuild moribund economy

North Korea Thursday announced a three-year drive to revive its moribund economy, invoking the spirit of a mass campaign launched half a century ago, but analysts said it is fearful of the necessary reforms.

New ED for central bank

Chowdhury Mohidul Haque has recently been promoted to the post of executive director of Bangladesh Bank (BB) from his previous position of general manager of Currency Management and Payment Systems department.

Wall Street eyes relief in 2009

The last trading day of 2008 on Wall Street provided a merciful end to an abysmal year -- the worst since the Great Depression, wiping out $6.9 trillion in stock market wealth. Six years of stock gains disappeared as the economy crumbled and markets crashed around the globe, shaking the confidence of professional and individual investors alike.

Destroying your brand

What is a brand? You will get several verbose definitions, depending on the book you look up. To me, a brand means just one thing- trust. All activities done by an organisation will build up brand image, which translates to trust. Every time a customer interacts with anything related to an organisation, be it people, products or advertisements, it will create an emotional experience. And be careful, this experience will eventually translate into trust, whether the customer will trust spending their money by buying from you.

New issues lift stocks

The debut of two new issues pulled up the indices of Dhaka Stock Exchange on the first day of the New Year yesterday.

Titas Gas gets new MD

Md Abdul Aziz Khan has taken over as the managing director (MD) of Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited recently, according to a press release.

SEC appoints new member

Mohammad Yasin Ali has joined the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as member yesterday, says a press release.

Dell shakes up top management

US personal computer giant Dell Inc. announced a major reorganisation of its operations on Wednesday and the departure of two top executives.

Time Warner to lose MTV, other channels to Viacom fees spat

Millions of subscribers to the Time Warner Cable television network risked losing some of their favourite shows on Thursday amid a bitter dispute with entertainment giant Viacom Inc. over rights fees.

Indian inflation at nine-month low of 6.38pc

India's inflation rate fell to a nine-month low, government data showed Thursday, providing more scope for interest rate cuts to boost growth.

US Treasury finalises $4b loan for GM

The US Treasury said late Wednesday it had finalized a 4-billion-dollar emergency loan for troubled automaker General Motors.

Hong Kong people most pessimistic about 2009

Hong Kong people are more gloomy about the prospects for 2009 than anyone else in the world, while mainland Chinese are among the most optimistic, a worldwide survey released Thursday said.

China textile firms see first profit fall in 10 yrs

Profits at Chinese textile firms fell in part of 2008 for the first time in 10 years due to a drop in overseas demand amid the global financial crisis, state media reported Thursday.

2008 a nightmare for Pak stocks

The year 2008 proved to be one of the worst ever for Pakistan's stock market, with shares shedding 58 percent of their value amid political turmoil at home and simmering tensions with rival India.

Metropolitan

Election held in free, fair manner

The Coordination Council for Human Rights in Bangladesh (CCHRB) yesterday said the ninth parliamentary election was held in a free, fair and impartial manner.

Ensure human rights in first 100 days

Ain O Shalish Kendra (ASK) yesterday said the Awami League-led grand alliance government must demonstrate its real commitment to human rights in its first hundred days.

Election results verdict against misgovernance

Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) leaders in a statement yesterday said the results of the 9th parliamentary elections are the reflection of people's verdict against bad governance, says a press release.

BCL factions clash at DU

The police recovered ten hand-made bombs from the rooftop of Ziaur Rahman Hall at Dhaka University in a raid following a clash between two groups of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activists in the hall yesterday.

New year to bring happiness

Awami League President Sheikh Hasina and winner of the last week's parliamentary elections was greeted by hundreds of party supporters and people on the occasion of the English New Year's Day yesterday.

1793 killed, 2684 injured last yr

At least 1,793 workers were killed and 2,684 others injured in different workplace-related accidents and violence last year across the country, says a survey report yesterday.

Reasons behind fall of BNP heavyweights in Gazipur

Local BNP leaders and workers are trying to find out the causes behind the defeat of the BNP-led four-party alliance candidates to AL-led grand alliance nominees in all the five constituencies of Gazipur.

Price hike of essentials played key role

Price hike of essentials during the reign of the BNP-Jamaat alliance government played a key role in their defeat in the 9th parliamentary elections.

All issues to be resolved as per CHT peace treaty

Bir Bahadur, the winning candidate of Awami League (AL) in Bandarban constituency, has said he will ensure equal development of the district.

3 graft cases against Sirajganj mayor

Three separate cases, including two for corruption, were lodged with Sirajganj Sadar Police Station in a day against Sirajganj Municipality Mayor and BNP leader TRM Nur-e-Alam Helal and his men.

7th Int'l Writers' Day observed

The seventh International Writers' Day was observed in the country on Wednesday.

Foreign devotees to get on-arrival visas for 45 days

The government will issue on- arrival visas for 45 days to the foreign devotees coming to Bangladesh to attend Bishwa Ijtema, the second largest congregation of the Muslim Ummah after Hajj.

3 killed in road accidents

Three people were killed and a minor boy injured in separate road accidents in Naogaon and Dinajpur on Wednesday.

Hasina consults constitutional experts

Prime Minister-apparent Sheikh Hasina yesterday consulted with a group of constitutional experts the legal aspects of the ordinances promulgated during the tenure of the interim government, as the draft laws have to be placed in the first session of parliament for ratification.

Power distribution cos propose tariff hike

Dhaka Power Distribution Company Ltd (DPDC), West Zone Power Distribution Company Ltd (WZPDC) and Dhaka Electric Supply Company Ltd (Desco) have proposed tariff hike at consumer level by 14.77 percent, 15.18 percent and 14.77 percent respectively, says a Berc press release.

Body to probe allegations against three teachers

Dhaka University (DU) syndicate last night formed a five-member enquiry committee to investigate the allegations against three teachers that they leaked questions of an examination in the political science department.

14 elected unopposed

A total of 14 candidates in the Upazila Parishad elections were elected unopposed, Election Commission (EC) officials said yesterday.

'Start morality campaign to bring social change'

Start morality campaign to bring social change through moral development of people, said noted Professor Aminul Islam at a discussion in the city yesterday.

Kaliakoir AC (Land) stand released

Syed Irtiza Ahsan, assistant commissioner (land) of Kaliakoir, was transferred yesterday on charges of assaulting Md Amiruddin, first class magistrate of Gazipur district.

Two siblings killed over land dispute

Two brothers were killed and another sibling injured in an attack by their rivals over land dispute on Wednesday night at Dhunat upazila in the district.

Ruet admission procedures to be completed Jan 11

The date for completing admission procedures of first year honours courses at Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (Ruet) for 2008-2009 sessions has been shifted to January 11 for holy Ashura.

JBFH to observe Nat'l Vaccination Day today

The Japan Bangladesh Friendship Hospital (JBFH) will observe the National Vaccination Day today along with the whole nation.

Sri Lankan president greets Hasina

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has congratulated Awami League President Sheikh Hasina on the landslide victory of her grand alliance in Monday's national election.

Russia lauds JS election

Russia appreciated Monday's parliamentary elections in which the Awami League-led grand alliance won a landslide victory.

Khaleda visits injured BNP lawmaker Hasina

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday visited seriously injured Hasina Ahmed, a newly elected BNP lawmaker from Cox's Bazar-1 constituency, at Square Hospital in the city.

Hotel boy killed in city

A hotel boy was allegedly killed by his colleague in the city's Green Road area early yesterday.

908 more held

Police arrested 908 people on various charges from different parts of the country in 24 hours as of 6:00am yesterday.

BOU HSC exams begins today

The first and second year final examinations 2008 of Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) under Bangladesh Open University (BOU) will commence today.

Chehlum of Nurul Islam tomorrow

Chehlum of veteran labour leader and politician Mohammad Nurul Islam will be held at Teacher-Student Centre (TSC) cafeteria of Dhaka University at 3:00pm tomorrow, says a press release.

Sabbir elected BIAA president

Shabbir Ahmed Khan, MS Siddique and Mirza Khurshid Alam were elected president, senior vice-president and vice-president of Bangladesh Indenting Agents Association (BIAA) for 2009-10 at its 27th annual general meeting on December 24, says a press release.

DRCL executives

Furkan Uddin and Dewan Abdul Mannan have been elected president and secretary general of Dhanmondi Recreation Club Ltd (DRCL) for 2009-10 on December 26, says a press release.

Artist Kibria's birth anniversary programme today

Bengal Foundation will hold a programme celebrating the 80th birthday of noted artist Mohammad Kibria at Bengal Shilpalaya at Dhanmondi in the city at 5:00pm today, says a press release.

Letters

The spirit of Bangladesh

Congratulations to all Bangladeshis for successfully holding one of the most fair and peaceful elections in South Asia. People have spoken loud and clear by choosing the Awami League alliance to serve the country. This is as much a victory of the peaceful execution of democracy, as it is of Sheikh Hasina whose alliance party won a landslide. Even though there are no fresh faces at the top, there are new visionary leaders who have won seats in the parliament. There are also many who have worked behind the scenes in the past two years to help their parties re-organise. It was a crushing defeat to all who were counting on violence and disarray. The Bangladesh army and the Election Commission have shown much discipline and far-sightedness by deploying a high-tech voter registration system which was pivotal to the election success in 2008 and beyond. We are grateful to them.

Education

We are creating storm in a teacup every now and then on different issues. Like we are familiar with Abject Poverty, Ill health, No housing, Very Poor Infrastructure, Low Level of Education and now Terrorism!

Migrants' welfare

A new desk has been opened at the arrival lounge of Zia International Airport in Dhaka recently. Thanks to the initiative of the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) of the Government of Bangladesh and International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Unsafe roads

To say that the roads are unsafe in Bangladesh would just be stating the obvious. Of course, despite all precautions accident will occur. The authorities can only try their best to minimize them. The answer to the question whether they are doing so is unfortunately in the negative. Rash driving is common here. More dangerously it is alleged that it is the helpers who often drive the public vehicles, instead of the actual drivers.

Rajuk plots

It is such a disgrace that Rajuk, which has allotted such big spaces in the past, circulates incomplete forms and holofnama, bringing in changes even after many have submitted the applications, causing headache to the applicants through poor management.

The ground reality

I was mugged outside my residence, House 7, Road 5, Block - A, Section -10, Mirpur, Dhaka-1216, on the way to work in the morning of December 4. Four men put a gun at my neck and a knife to my side and asked me to hand over everything. They said they knew that I work for the U.S. Embassy. My idea is that the muggers thought I am well paid because I work for the U.S. Embassy-Dhaka. While mugging, they grabbed my shirt's collar and hurled abusive words at me. They took away Taka 500.00 and my embassy cell phone (# 01713-062076). Then I rushed to the police station and described the incident to them. The most pathetic thing is that the police personnel suggested me not to file a case. Their suggestion was that if I filed a case then I would have to come to the police station several times; and consequently would have to be present before the court also. That means I would be facing great difficulties. After thinking all these, I did file a general diary (GD) with Pallabi Police Station on the same day.

Ahmadinejad's Christmas message

According to a transcript containing Iranian President's Christmas message on Britain's Channel 4 television released before the Christmas Day, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad observed that most of the world's problems stemmed from leaders who turned against religion, While offering seasonal greetings to Christians, President Ahmadinejad said “If Christ were on earth today, undoubtedly he would hoist the banner of justice and love for humanity to oppose warmongers, occupiers, terrorists and bullies the world over.”

Government schools needed

The government is going to establish a public university in Rangpur. The CTG inaugurated Rangpur University recently. Earlier, some other public universities were established across the country which have met the present demands of the people partially but no secondary government schools were established for a long time in the country. More government secondary schools are required in Rajshahi and all divisional towns.

Decimate militants

Militancy is a perennial menace. The diehard militants are adamant to destabilize the country. So they try to assassinate the progressive political leaders. They are highly dogmatic and misguided. Actually, they are pursuing the mirage to materialize their plans in Bangladesh. They want to jeopardize the future of our dear motherland.

Indo-Pak relations

It does not require a political genius to perceive that under consistent public and media pressure in the wake of most audacious November 26, 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack, the loud noises emanating from Indian media about the government of India being busy in serious discussions about selective strikes on Pakistan are merely not for public consumption.

'Remembering a fallen hero'

I am writing regarding The Daily Star's Victory Day supplement of 16 December 2008. One of the unique features of this year's supplement is that it contains articles by three female writers. All of them have written about their personal experiences during the War of Liberation.

Price spiral

Today price spiral is becoming an unbearable burden on the common people in our country. What will be the fate of the people who live on fixed income, how will the poor people survive? Of course, the condition of the students who survive simply by providing private tuition is extremely miserable. So, I wish the government notice this and try to find a solution.

International

Pakistan, India swap nuclear site lists

Pakistan and India exchanged lists yesterday of their nuclear installations under an accord aimed at protecting the sites in case of war, officials said, amid simmering tensions over the Mumbai attacks.

Gaza faces 'alarming' humanitarian situation

Gaza's 1.5 million residents are facing an "alarming" humanitarian situation under constant Israeli bombardment, with the main power plant shut down, overcrowded hospitals struggling to cope and very limited food supplies, UN officials said.

Lanka troops seize key rebel town

Sri Lankan troops yesterday captured a key town from Tamil Tiger rebels in the island's north after intense clashes that left at least 54 guerrillas dead, the defence ministry said.

Iraq takes control of Green Zone from US

The United States handed over control of the Green Zone and Saddam Hussein's presidential palace to Iraqi authorities on Thursday in a ceremonial move described by the country's prime minister as a restoration of Iraq's sovereignty.

5 killed in US missile strike in Pakistan

A suspected US missile strike yesterday killed at least five Taliban militants in a tribal area in northwest Pakistan known as a extremist stronghold, local officials said.

Pak General Kiyani turns dove, tones down war cry

Pakistan's army chief is stressing the need to "avoid conflict" amid tensions with India following last month's terror attacks on Mumbai.

Pakistan to reopen Nato supply route

Pakistan will reopen a key route for Nato supply trucks headed for Afghanistan in the next two days, an official said Thursday as troops pursued militants in the lawless northwest tribal zone.

20 Afghan police killed in Taliban ambush

Taliban militants ambushed a group of Afghan police while they were eating lunch in a remote and dangerous part of southern Afghanistan, killing 20 officers and one of the policeman's mother, an Afghan official said yesterday.

Indian armed forces get own pay panel

In a major New year bonanza for the armed forces, the Prime Minister's Office has informed the Defence Ministry that the armed forces personnel would henceforth have a separate pay commission, which is de-linked from the civilian pay panel.

FBI team visits Faridkot to probe about Kasab

An FBI team, late on Wednesday night, visited Faridkot in Pakistan's Punjab province to investigate about Ajmal Amir Iman Kasab, the lone terrorist captured during the Mumbai attacks. Kasab hails from the Faridkot area.

Gaza blitz helps Iran, hurts Obama

Israel's war against Hamas has so far bolstered the anti-US Iran front and placed even more daunting challenges before incoming US president Barack Obama, analysts said.

Myanmar to expel 19 N Koreans

Myanmar will expel 19 North Koreans who were arrested early last month for illegally entering the military-run country, a senior police official said yesterday.

Hu, Bush vow closer ties

Chinese President Hu Jintao and US counterpart George W Bush exchanged congratulations yesterday on the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties and vowed even closer relations, state media reported.

Obama is strong leader, say most Americans

Three-quarters of Americans say president-elect Barack Obama is a "strong and decisive leader," the highest such support for an incoming president in almost 30 years, according to a CNN poll released Wednesday.

Malaysian chopper saves Indian tanker from pirates

A maritime official says a Malaysian naval helicopter has saved an Indian ship from pirates in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia.

Revellers ring in New Year

Revellers rang in the New Year in the Americas, hard on the heels of celebrations in Europe and Asia, as global economic jitters, conflict in the Middle East and tragedy in Thailand cast a long shadow on the dawn of 2009.

Thai anti-govt protests suspended

Anti-government protesters Wednesday vowed to renew demonstrations that have plagued Thailand over the past year after taking a break for the New Year holidays.

Arts & Entertainment

World bids farewell to a rocky year

Hundreds of thousands of revellers have rung in 2009 from a freezing Times Square in New York, signalling the end of a historic and troubled year that saw the election of the first black US president and the worst economic crisis in decades.

Raibeshey dance at Natmandal

An exquisite performance of 'Raibeshey' dance -- a martial dance form of rural Bengal -- was presented at Natmandal, Dhaka University on December 30. It was the concluding programme of a ten-day workshop on 'Raibeshey' dance, organised by Shadhona, a Centre for Advancement of South Asian Music and Dance, in cooperation with The Indian High Commission, Bangladesh. The participants of the workshop received their certificates at the event.

Quentin Tarantino’s World War II saga in the offing

Controversial director Quentin Tarantino's take on World War II will be released in August this year, the studios behind the highly-anticipated film called "Inglourious Basterds" said last Wednesday.

Style Icon on ATN Bangla tonight

Beauty contest "Style Icon" finally hits the small screen tonight. Starting from tonight, the show will be aired on ATN Bangla twice a week. On Fridays, the show will be aired at 8 pm, and on Mondays at 8:45 pm.

Aziz Market, Shahbagh on Ekushey TV

Drama serial, "Aziz Market, Shahbagh," will be aired on Ekushey TV tonight at 9:30 pm. The serial has been written and directed by Sakhawat Al Mamun. Stories of poets, actors and singers as well as people from different tracks of the society who hang out at the Aziz Market in Shahbagh are the highlight of the serial.

Architecture of the air

Light and sound shows involving architectural structures are increasingly becoming popular in the modern urban aesthetics. In Bangladesh however, this idea is quite new, due to so many reasons. A weeklong light and sound show on the newly constructed bridge over Gulshan Lake, linking Banani and Gulshan residential areas, was an opportunity for Dhakaiites to witness this idea.

OP-ED

Time for politicians to prove a point

DECEMBER 29, 2008 was the calmest day of the year. From the morning, people were moving to the poll stations peacefully, transports were significantly less than the average day of Dhaka. Even on Eid, there is much more hustle and bustle in the streets than what we saw on the Election Day.

Daring to dream

TWO miracles happened in Bangladesh a few days ago. First, over eighty percent of Bangladeshis voted in one of the most peaceful elections in its history. Secondly, Bangladesh, the second largest Muslim majority country in the world, voted for a party that believes in secularism by giving it eighty-five percent of the parliament seats.

What happens next?

WHEN the first blast sounded, on Saturday at just past 11 a.m., I hardly took notice. I was at work in my office on the second floor of the Palestine Tower in Gaza City, where I write for the local newspaper. Large explosions had been increasingly rare since Hamas and Israel struck their ceasefire pact six months ago. Still, I decided to stay put and keep writing. By the time the second bomb landed, moments later, I knew something serious was happening. The whole office broke into a panic. I ran as fast as I could, shouting to my colleagues to leave the building.

A gentle reminder

DECEMBER 29, 2008 was a strange day. For me -- a first time voter -- it was like playing chess and making the right decision. Should it be the refreshingly novice advocate? Should the nation finally forgive the repentant general? Whether the disastrous dynasty should be given a second chance? Or should I just cast "no to all above" and vote them to oblivion? It was a day of dilemma and a day to decide.

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