The Daily Star

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Saturday, May 26, 2018

News of: Sunday, 4th of January, 2009

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Front Page

Hasina to be sworn in as PM Tuesday

Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina, who was unanimously elected majority party leader yesterday, will be sworn in as prime minister Tuesday.

BNP, Jamaat go for poll post-mortem

BNP-led four-party components' frantic efforts to figure out the reasons for their recent election debacle might end up splitting the alliance, as the main components BNP and Jamaat are blaming each other for the shocking defeat.

Make parliament centre of politics

Outgoing Speaker Jamiruddin Sircar yesterday suggested that the opposition should make parliament the centre of politics, rather than movements on the street.

Concern over checks by small opposition

Representation of mass people has to be ensured in the next parliament to guarantee accountability of lawmakers and establish participatory democracy in the country, speakers said at a roundtable yesterday.

2 Jamaat MPs-elect take oath today

Although the lawmakers-elect of the four-party alliance have decided to take oath, BNP and Bangladesh Jatiya Party (BJP) are yet to fix the date for swearing-in.

Cut ties with war criminals

Sector Commanders Forum (SCF) has urged BNP to sever relations with its ally 'war criminals' party Jamaat-e-Islami, and help bringing these criminals to trial.

Hasina, Ershad vacate 4 seats for by-election

By-election will be held in six parliamentary constituencies as Awami League President Sheikh Hasina and Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad vacated two seats each before taking oath as member of parliament yesterday, and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia is going to vacate two.

67 survivors to be back in a week

India is likely to repatriate in a week, 67 people who claim to be Bangladeshis following their rescue by the Indian coast guard after they had jumped off a drifting boat in the Bay of Bengal in late December of last year.

Curbing price hike first priority

Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina yesterday said her government's top priorities would be containing the price hike of essentials and maintaining law and order.

Female RMG workers sought in Romania

Irked by Bangladeshi male workers' strike and leaving jobs violating contracts, employers in Romania are now interested in recruiting skilled female workers from the readymade garment sector in Bangladesh.

Israeli warplanes strike mosque, school; 20 die

Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip killed at least 20 people yesterday, including two Hamas military commanders, as they targeted a mosque, school and the city's port, Palestinian sources said.

Biman back in the black

Biman Bangladesh Airlines returned to the black in fiscal 2007-08 with a Tk 19 crore profit after four years, as the national flag carrier improved its overall efficiency, said a top government functionary yesterday.

Dilshan keeps Tigers at bay

Tillakaratne Dilshan celebrated his fiftieth Test with a blazing hundred as Sri Lanka wrested away the Tigers' early initiative to dominate the first day's play of the second and final Test at the Chittagong Divisional Stadium yesterday.

Bangladesh honours Father Marino

Father Marino Regan, an Italian, has received honorary citizenship for his selfless contribution towards the people of Bangladesh.

71 injured as post-election clashes on

At least 71 people were wounded in post-election clashes between the supporters of Awami League (AL) and BNP and its front organisations over the last two days as more reports pour in of violence across the country.

Rice prices start to fall in North

Rice prices in the northern districts took a nosedive in the last few days as the hoarders began to release their stocks in the open market in fear of further drop in prices.

Hand over Mumbai masterminds

Notwithstanding Islamabad's rejection of extraditing anyone to India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday asked Pakistan to hand over "criminals" responsible for Mumbai attacks so that they face trial in India.

Hamas chief warns of 'black destiny' for Israel

Hamas supremo Khaled Meshaal has warned Israel that a "black destiny" awaits the Jewish state if it launches a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip.


Regrettable post-election incidents

WHEREAS we have had the satisfaction of the election passing off peacefully and yielding a resounding verdict, retaliatory and opportunistic incidents of violence have been reported from different parts of the country. That the tendentious disorder is erupting in spite of the exhortations and instructions of the AL chief for her party loyalists (some of them post-election turncoats) to apply restraint in their behaviour is a proof enough that all out effort will have to be made to checkmate the incidence of violence.

Israel's aggression in Gaza

THE aggressive actions of the Israeli government against Hamas in the last one week have been as outrageous as they have been morally upsetting for all men and women of conscience across the globe. As matters stand, Israeli strikes have killed an altogether 429 people, with casualty figures rising all the time. More than 2000 Palestinians have been wounded, most of them severely. Buildings, including a mosque, scores of homes and offices have been razed to the ground. Utility services have been disrupted, with the Israeli military or government showing no remorse or let-up in its actions. Targeted assassinations of senior Hamas leaders have been carried out. Indeed, individuals such as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defence Minister Ehud Barak have vowed to continue these operations until, in their opinion, Hamas is destroyed.

A watershed verdict: The victors' challenges

ON election night, I happened to be in a remote town in the southwest of Yunnan province in China for a conference on education for rural areas and ethnic minorities. As I kept awake late into the night tracking the election results on the internet, a Chinese friend wistfully wondered if it would take a hundred years for China to experience the excitement and suspense of a multiparty election.

Rise and fall

HEARTIEST congratulations to Sheikh Hasina and her party for the epoch-making victory in the just concluded general election. We are immensely pleased to note that she called upon her party workers to remain calm and quiet after the election. So far, barring a few stray incidents, no rein of revenge could be read from newspaper reports.

Change at the top

AWAMI League-led mahajote's stunning victory in the general election reflects several changes from the past elections held in Bangladesh. For the first time, female voters outnumbered male voters, and the number of female candidates who won was higher than ever before. For the first time, more than one-third were first-time voters. Despite BNP's allegations of irregularities in 72 constituencies, no law and order incident was reported.


Fielding gaffes cost Tigers

If it was a pleasure to watch the batting of Tillakaratne Dilshan then it was pathetic the way the Bangladesh fielders missed the chances on the first day of the second and final Test at the Chittagong Divisional Stadium yesterday.

Dilshan fires a warning

Sri Lankan batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan issued a warning to the Tigers that their spin duo Muttiah Muralidaran and Ajantha Mendis would be dangerous on this pitch as the game progresses.

Morning didn't show the day

The hundreds of viewers who had thronged the Chittagong Divisional Stadium full of spirit and confidence had to head back home with a broken heart after witnessing a pile of runs from the Sri Lanka batsmen.

Brothers now second

Two goals from striker Henry Quae fired Brothers Union into second position of the Citycell B. League after a 2-1 win over Chittagong Abahani at the MA Aziz Stadium yesterday.

Honours even at SCG

South Africa made a confident start to the third and final Test in Sydney on Saturday as they look to replace Australia as the leading Test-playing nation.

Hasina with football

Awami League (AL) president Sheikh Hasina has assured of her full support to the country's football, said Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) president Kazi Salahuddin.

Zimbabwe arrive today

The Zimbabwe cricket team will arrive in the capital today to take part in a tri-nation tournament and a one-day series this month.

BFF honours '71 heroes today

Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) will hold a reception today to honour the Swadheen Bangla Football Dal.

Camps for SA Games begin

The long-term residential and non-residential training camps for most of the sporting disciplines of the 11th South Asian Games, under the supervision of Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA), began at different venues in the capital and the adjoining areas Saturday.

Windies win late

A late batting onslaught by Ramnaresh Sarwan and Denesh Ramdin saw the West Indies snatch victory with one ball to spare in the second one-day international against New Zealand here Saturday.

India behind the delay?

The Sri Lankan cricket authorities were delaying finalising the itinerary for the Pakistan tour because they first want to work out a window for a lucrative one-day series against India, sources said.

ICC backs D/N Tests

Day-night Test matches have been given the support of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, but a five-day game under lights will only take place once a suitable ball has been developed.

SA eye big first innings

South Africa finished a strong first day with six Australian wickets but already their thoughts are turning to producing a significant total to limit the difficulties in the fourth innings. Australia's Simon Katich expects the pitch to become lower and slower as the match goes on and there are already cracks that are being noticed by hopeful bowlers and wary batsmen.

Peter doesn't deny KP rift

Peter Moores has turned down the opportunity to deny the scale of the rift that has formed between him and England's captain, Kevin Pietersen, following the exclusion of Pietersen's predecessor, Michael Vaughan, from next month's tour of the Caribbean.

Pavlyuchenko fires Spurs

Roman Pavlyuchenko scored twice as Tottenham reached the FA Cup fourth round on Friday with a 3-1 win over fellow Premier League outfit Wigan which kept the London side on course for a double Cup success this season.

Fergie wants more goals

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has challenged his misfiring players to use this weekend's FA Cup third round trip to Southampton as an opportunity to rediscover their scoring touch.

City agree Bridge fee

Chelsea defender Wayne Bridge is set to join Manchester City after boss Mark Hughes confirmed on Friday that the two clubs have agreed an undisclosed fee for the England international.

Nadal downs Davydenko

The top-ranked player in the world, Spanish Rafael Nadal's explosive powerplay proved to hot for Russian world number five Nikolay Davydenko to handle. Nadal won the second semifinal 6-2, 6-3 here on Friday.

Wenger won't break bank

Arsene Wenger insisted on Friday that he has no intention of spending crazy money in the January transfer window to get Arsenal's spluttering season back on track.

Dyer set for return

West Ham midfielder Kieron Dyer is finally set to end his injury nightmare by playing in Saturday's FA Cup tie against Barnsley after 17 months out with a broken leg.

Given ready to quit Magpies

Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given is ready to quit the struggling Premier League club, according to his lawyer.

Bayern snap up Olic

Bayern Munich have snapped up Hamburg's Croatian international star Ivica Olic, who will join the Bavarians in the summer, Bayern said Saturday on their website.

Park to sign new deal

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has told South Korean midfielder Park Ji-Sung that he has a golden future at Old Trafford.

Podolski shows Roma interest

Wantaway Bayern Munich striker Lukas Podolski claims Italian side Roma are interested in signing him.


Biman back in the black after four years

Biman Bangladesh Airlines returned to the black in fiscal year 2007-08 with a Tk 19 crore profit after four years, as the national flag carrier improved its overall efficiency in maintaining routes and flight schedule, and stopping pilferage, said a top government functionary yesterday.

Developers pass unsteady time

Developers passed an unsteady time in 2008, owing mainly to sharp rise in the prices of roda vital raw material for construction work--, enactment of a housing law and low volume of apartment sales.

Obama unveils stimulus

US president-elect Barack Obama Saturday unveiled a broad proposal to boost job growth and the troubled American economy, a top priority for the incoming administration.

Search for Sheraton operator hits snags

The government's search for a new company to operate and manage Dhaka Sheraton Hotel is stuck in an earlier plan to renovate the hotel without shutting it for a year.

BB gets first female executive director

Nazneen Sultana took over as the first female executive director of Bangladesh Bank (BB) on Thursday, said a statement.

Commodities mostly slide in 2008

Commodities rode a rocky ride in 2008, with crude oil, gold and base metals hitting historic peaks on supply woes, before tumbling as a global financial crisis sparked demand worries.

GMG adds aircraft to fleet

GMG Airlines yesterday added an MD-83 aircraft to its fleet.

London investors look to extend stock market rally

The London stock market will look to extend its recent rally next week, when the Bank of England is expected to again slash interest rates as Britain stands on the brink of recession.

China's oil experts start work on Iraqi field

Chinese oil engineers have begun work on developing a major Iraqi oil field following the signing of a three billon dollar contract, a senior Iraqi official said on Saturday.

Biman poised for new take-off

It may be a gloomy year for global airline industry as it is feared to post losses on the back of recession. But local carriers like Biman Bangladesh Airlines is expected to remain immune from the meltdown since it has an ethnic passenger market where Bangladeshi workers abroad are the main travellers.

Towards a digital Bangladesh

With the landslide win of the Awami League in the election held on December 29, the making of an ICT-driven society in Bangladesh is now a real possibility.

Wall Street starts upbeat

Wall Street started 2009 with a big rally as investors, brushing aside a disappointing report on manufacturing, sent the Dow Jones industrials up more than 250 points and to their first close above 9,000 in two months. All the major indexes shot up more than six percent for the week.

Hathay Bunano founder honoured

Samantha Morshed, founder of Hathay Bunano p.s. (HBPS), has been awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire for her services to the rural poor and disadvantaged women in Bangladesh.

Benapole port, customs open on holiday

Benapole land port and customs were open yesterday, a weekly holiday, when 250 trucks-load goods and commodities imported from India and 70 trucks-load exported.

Swedish firms planning large layoffs in 2009

After shedding tens of thousands of jobs in recent months, Sweden should prepare for a new wave of layoffs in 2009, a survey of some of the country's top business leaders showed Saturday.

Dollar climbs against euro

The dollar climbed against the euro Friday after a widely watched survey showed eurozone manufacturing activity plunging to a record low in December.

Oil rebounds above $46

Crude oil prices rebounded strongly on Friday in volatile trade, after earlier losing about 2.5 dollars on profit-taking, as traders fretted over ongoing unrest in the key oil-producing Middle East.

Sri Lankan markets bank on early military victory

Sri Lanka has downgraded its growth forecast for 2009 in line with a global meltdown, but the local markets are hoping a quick end to the drawn-out separatist war will restore confidence.

Russia, Ukraine in EU lobbying blitz over gas fight

Envoys from Russia and Ukraine fanned out across Europe on Saturday in a lobbying tug-of-war for EU backing in their gas dispute that has already produced supply shortfalls in some EU states.

Dutch flower market wilts amid economic downturn

Dutch flower auction house FloraHolland, the world's largest, said Friday that its 2008 annual turnover growth had dropped from a projected 2.7 percent to 0.25 percent amid the world economic crisis.

US Treasury finalises $4b loan to Chrysler

The US Treasury said Friday it has finalized a 4-billion-dollar loan to troubled cash-strapped carmaker Chrysler.

Weekly Currency Roundup

December 28, 2008-January 01, 2009
Local FX Market
This week, the market was very subdued because of the new year and national elections. Trading volume was limited. US dollar was stable against the Bangladesh Taka. There was demand for dollar in the market.


Process to form tribunal in six months: Muhith

The new government will start the process of forming a special tribunal and appoint a special prosecutor within six months to try war criminals with the help of United Nations, newly elected Awami League lawmaker AMA Muhith said yesterday.

BCL drives out JCD men from Ruet dorms, 10 hurt

Tension has been running high on the Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (Ruet) campus as Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activists drove away Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) activists from their hall rooms yesterday, leaving 10 JCD activists injured.

Ensure equal rights of indigenous people

Speakers at a reception ceremony yesterday called for ensuring equal rights of the indigenous people as they also took part in the Liberation War.

Polls credible in line with int'l standards: EWG

Election Working Group (EWG), a conglomeration of 32 local NGOs, yesterday said the 9th parliamentary election on December 29 was conducted in a free, fair, credible and transparent manner in consistent with international standards.

Terracotta pots of BC era found at Basu Bihar site

A huge number of potsherds of BC era have been found during the ongoing archaeological excavation at Basu Bihar site under Shibganj upazila in Bogra along with other artifacts, including an inscription, recently.

India welcomes Hasina's proposal for jt task force to fight terrorism

India's Congress-led UPA government and opposition BJP have welcomed Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina's statement that her government would not allow terror groups to operate from Bangladesh territory.

Mro leader kept in chains in hospital

Ranglai Mro, an indigenous community leader who fell seriously ill in Chittagong Central Jail, was brought to a Dhaka hospital in chains on Thursday.

9 BCL activists sued

Elder brother of a Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activist yesterday filed a case against six other BCL activists of Sergeant Zahurul Haq Hall of Dhaka University on charge of assaulting his younger brother.

HC hearing on toxic milk resumes today

The High Court (HC) is likely to hear the pending writ petition regarding melamine mixed powdered milk on its reopening day today after two weeks of winter vacation.

FFs' ultimatum to extend retirement age to 67

The freedom fighter civil servants have given the out-going caretaker government (CG) a 48-hour ultimatum to implement their one-point demand of extending their retirement age from 57 to 67.

Hundreds of vehicles stranded

Several hundred vehicles, including passenger buses, remained stranded at Paturia and Daulatdia terminals yesterday as ferry services in Paturia-Daulatdia and Paturia-Kazirhat routes were disrupted for eight hours due to dense fog.

Spurious liquor factory unearthed in city

Police unearthed a spurious liquor factory and seized 408 cans of bears at Pallabi in the city yesterday.

Chehlum of Nurul Islam held

Chehlum of veteran labour leader and politician Mohammad Nurul Islam and his son Islam Tomhor Puchi was held at Teacher-Student Centre (TSC) cafeteria of Dhaka University yesterday.

Nurse students protest misbehaviour with trainees

Trainee students of Dhaka Medical College Hospital Nursing Institute yesterday kept its Principal Tahatunnahar captive for around three hours for scolding them as they wore new uniforms.

RMG workers demand salary, damage factory

Agitating garment workers of a factory at Jamgara in Ashulia yesterday damaged its main gate and windowpanes and put up barricade on Jamgara road as the factory was closed without paying their salaries.

Attacks on four-party leaders protested

Bangladesh Jatiyatabadi Muktijuddher Projonmo formed a human chain yesterday to protest the post-election attacks on the four-party alliance leaders and activists in Baksal style by Awami League (AL) activists, says a press release.

Nepal's former king calls for end to temple unrest

Nepal's former king appealed yesterday for an end to a dispute at Nepal's holiest Hindu temple, where the Maoist-run government has thrown out Indian priests who have officiated for generations.

'Stop killing Palestinians'

Pro-liberation Students' Union for Better Bangladesh formed a human chain and brought out a procession on the Dhaka University (DU) campus yesterday demanding an end to the Israeli air strikes on Gaza which killed hundreds of civilians.

BCL's 61st founding anniversary today

Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) will observe its 61st founding anniversary today.

Passenger bus catches fire

A passenger bus caught fire due to mechanical fault at Shahbagh area in the city last night.

2 grenades found in Kurigram

Two grenades were found from a bamboo-bush at Rajarhat upazila in Kurigram yesterday.

Comilla BNP president resigns

District unit acting president of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Advocate Abdus Sattar resigned yesterday, apparently in the wake of his party's debacle in Monday's parliamentary polls.

Course on medical tech launched

Prof Dr MR Khan at the inaugural ceremony of Ahsania Mission Institute of Medical Technology (AMIMT) in the city yesterday said more than 10 thousand medical technologists are needed in the country, says a press release.

President, CA greet Myanmar counterparts

President Iajuddin Ahmed yesterday congratulated his Myanmar counterpart Senior General Than Shwe, chairman of State Peace and Development Council, on the occasion of the Independence Day of Myanmar today.


Unmet promises tore down 4-party in Khulna division

Political analysts here have identified four factors for the polls debacle of four-party alliance in Khulna division.

Kansat tragedy back to memory as Irri-Boro season begins

Kansat tragedy is back to memory of farmers as Boro irrigations season begins.

UZ poll candidacy triggers feud in Pabna AL, BNP

Candidature of several candidates from both Awami League and BNP for the same posts in almost every upazilas of the district has given rise to internal feuds in the local leadership of the two major political parties.

'Take one in cabinet from Satkhira'

Leaders of People's Movement for Satkhira Development (PMSD), a civic body formed by local people, at a press conference yesterday demanded that Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina include one of the four lawmakers elected from the four constituencies in the district in her new cabinet to speed up overall development of 'neglected' Satkhira.

Over 23,000 'no' votes in Rangamati

At least 32,066 'no' votes were cast in Rangamati constituency in the December 29 parliamentary election, election officials here have said.

50 hurt in Jubo Dal-BCL clashes, police action

Around 50 people were injured in an attack on Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) men by Jubo Dal activists and consequent police action at Railway Colony in Mohonganj pourasava yesterday afternoon.

Pabna University opening function postponed

The opening ceremony of Pabna University of Science and Technology at Rajapur village in Pabna Sadar upazila was postponed due to unavoidable circumstances yesterday, official sources said.

Khulna AL leaders refute BNP claim

Khulna Awami League leaders yesterday refuted allegations of involvement of its leaders and activists in post-poll incidents of violence in the city and some other spots in the district.

Barisal medical college hospital interns on strike

Internee doctors at Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital (SBMCH) began a strike yesterday morning after an intern at gynecology ward lost his cell phone Friday night.


Hoping for the best!

It is in fact a great thing that the long awaited 9th National Election has taken place smoothly and without any major hazards. Now, it's time for the new government to take over soon and work towards betterment and success. Congratulations to the successful candidates and all the people of Bangladesh. All of us should contribute towards making a better Bangladesh. It would be highly appreciated if the opposition parties do not engage themselves in finding the government's faults only. They should work together. And, to do this the govt. should also spread their wings to accept the rivals. One word that should be deleted from our minds is 'bias'. I get really surprised to see youths being biased!

Biharis as voters

It is great to see the Biharis participating in the voting process. I would like to welcome them into the mainstream after such a long time. It has been overdue for a long time now.

Environmental degradation

The world is getting warmer due to the increase in carbon dioxide. Our air and water are getting polluted very badly. We really do not care about our environment. We smoke and emit black toxic fumes from out faulty vehicles. Not only that, we also dump waste materials from our industries into rivers and use hydraulic horns on the roads unnecessarily. We have become accustomed to hurling trash here and there and making our streets dirty.

Hijri New Year

The Hijri year 1429 came to an end and the new Hijri year 1430 has begun. A consensus on the beginning and ending of Lunar Months or Year is yet to be arrived.

"Root cause of terrorism"

Ref:- India should endeavour to solve Kashmir and Israel / Palestine problem in true spirit of secularism with Obama in White House.

Appalling crime and lengthy trial

I am relieved that, at long last, those guilty of the appalling crime against the British envoy in May 2004 have been brought before a judge who confirmed their guilt though they are expected to appeal.


The Anti Corruption Commission is reported to have identified a sensational scam with Siemens and transfer of 11.75 million taka to Singapore by the BNP chairperson's son Arafat Rahman Koko.

Banking sector

The excellent performances by the banking sector in Bangladesh are really laudable. No doubt the sectors create business friendly environment for the economy as well as heavy employment opportunities for the people looking for jobs. Lately, fresh graduates see banking career as their dream area, thanks to the banks offering lucrative salaries, albeit job seekers face competitive tests like the admission test of IBA for getting the job.

Our philosophy

If we sit on a chair and think a bit about ourselves, it'll be clear that we're always in a hurry, looking for money, thinking how to get more money etc. An uneducated rickshaw puller starts his days going here and there looking for passengers to earn money. A govt. worker, no matter whether he is a clerk or an officer, works in an office and get their salaries by the end of the month. A highly paid private office worker leads the life of a machine in search of money. So every one of us is living a life where everything is for money! Even our students, from a very early age, are preparing themselves to be eligible to earn money. They're studying not to gather knowledge but for earning money in future! Is there anything else in our lives except money?

Dispensation of justice

The judicial department is the last hope of the people. There is an aphorism that money buys justice. This is not totally false, as any sensible and conscious citizen can understand the difference in application of law in case of an ordinary citizen and a so-called VIP. Why such discrimination? The 1861 police regulation act formulated by the then British government is still being applied in our context, though the rules are obsolete and contradictory to many human rights issues, but they are not being changed or reformed, as the rules are necessary to protect the interest of our ruling class.

Crisis in Guinea

Despite the fact that African nations are enriched with natural minerals it is sad to see that still most of the people of the African continent live below poverty line. Guinea is a prime example of this. Most Guineans live in poverty, even though the country is the world's top exporter of aluminium ore bauxite. While the people of the African nations suffer, the countries who buy these minerals enjoy lavish lifestyles. Recently, a coup occurred in Guinea by the country's young army officers after the death of its long time dictator Lansana Conte died.


There is a popular Chinese saying-
“If you plan for a year , sow a seed.
If you plan for a decade, plant a plant.
If you plan for a century, teach the people”.


'' Learn swimming, save life'' -- No , this is not an advertisement of a Swimming Training Academy. Actually, this is a universal truth.


Lankan troops advance on rebels' military HQ

Sri Lankan troops advanced yesterday on the military headquarters of the Tamil Tigers and engaged the rebels in fresh gunbattles, a day after capturing their de facto political capital.

India questions Pakistan's militant crackdown

India's defence minister dismissed Pakistan's efforts to crack down on militants in the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, saying Friday that dozens of terrorist groups remain active in the country.

Pak govt keeping vigil on banned, suspected organisations

Advocating the need to reduce the danger of an Indo-Pak conflict, Pakistan government has said it is keeping a vigil on all banned terrorist groups and "suspect" organisations as part of measures initiated by it in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan arrests senior Taliban figure

Pakistan has arrested a former spokesman for Taliban leader Mullah Omar who was released by Afghanistan in 2007 in exchange for a kidnapped Italian journalist, security officials said yesterday.

US gives Israel free rein on whether to invade Gaza

US President George W Bush, in remarks to be broadcast yesterday, urged all able parties to press Hamas to stop firing rockets at Israel and secure a lasting ceasefire, after a week of heavy Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip.

Muslims around world protest Gaza assault

Thousands protested Friday against Israel's air offensive targeting Hamas at demonstrations in the Middle East and several continents.

Israel lets Palestinians flee, UN warns of crisis

Israel allowed several hundred Palestinians with foreign passports to flee Gaza on Friday, even as its warplanes bombed a mosque it said was used to store weapons and destroyed homes of more than a dozen Hamas operatives.

Afghan security not as bad as portrayed

The deputy head of the Nato-led force that has more than 50,000 soldiers in Afghanistan helping to fight extremist insurgents has said security did not deteriorate last year as much as portrayed.

Australia won't accept Guantanamo detainees

Australia has told the United States for a second time that it will not resettle detainees freed from the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba, the acting prime minister said yesterday.

Opposition leader wins presidency in Ghana

Ghana's Electoral Commission says opposition leader John Atta Mills has won the presidency of this West African nation.

British couple has 'black and white twins' twice

A mixed-race British couple has defied the odds twice by producing two sets of twins in which one sibling appears to be black and the other white. Dean Durrant's newborn daughter Miya has dark skin like him. Twin sister Leah has fair skin like her blue-eyed, red-haired mother, Alison Spooner.

Kashmir encounter continues: 1 cop killed

A Special Police Officer (SPO) was killed when an encounter between militants and security forces resumed in forest area of Mendhar in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, official sources said in Poonch.

Landmine kills two soldiers in Pakistan

Two paramilitary soldiers were killed and four wounded in a landmine explosion in insurgency-hit southwest Pakistan on Saturday, an official said.

Raul Castro offers talks with Obama

Communist Cuba's President Raul Castro has offered to talk directly "without intermediaries" and on equal terms with incoming US president Barack Obama, who has said he would consider direct dialogue.

China releases parents of melamine children

Chinese police have released five parents of children sickened by melamine-tainted milk, a day after detaining them to prevent them from holding a press conference, their lawyer told AFP yesterday.

Bird flu re-surfaces in crowded Indian state

Health authorities in India yesterday confirmed a fresh outbreak of deadly bird flu after thousands of chickens died, officials said.

Hong Kong air pollution worst since records began

Air pollution across large swathes of Hong Kong last year reached its highest level since records began, despite government efforts to improve the environment, official figures showed Friday.

Arts & Entertainment

Painter Kibria turns 80

Mohammad Kibria is the pre-eminent modern painter in contemporary art of Bangladesh. He has been painting, printmaking, collage, mixed-media for over six decades. His immense contribution to the Bangladesh art over the decades has earned him international acclaim as well.

Bangladesh through Dutch eyes

In 2006, a management consultant of a Dutch microcredit firm, visited Bangladesh to attend a conference. The visitor, Marjan Van Lier, fell in love with Bangladesh because of its hospitable people. Simultaneously she witnessed the plight of homeless people, especially the children. This realisation propelled her into action.

Documentary Al-Badar screened at LWM

Cultural organisation Pathikrit arranged a screening of the documentary "Al-Badar" at the Liberation War Museum on January 2. Based on atrocities committed during the Liberation War, Al-Badar, is directed by Fakhrul Arefin Khan. Eminent personalities attended the film screening.

Chhana O Muktijuddha sees light of day after a decade

"Chhana o Muktijuddha" a film for children based on the Liberation War, was released in DVD recently. The film, directed by Badal Rahman, is a production of Bangladesh Shishu Academy.

A composer-singer with a penchant for diversity

The recently released mixed album "Bedonar Gaan", under the banner of Soundtek, was well received in the audio market. The album features young and talented artiste Tomal -- as a singer and composer. The artiste spoke to The Daily Star about the album and his initiation in the music scene.

Aim in Life on ntv tonight

Drama serial “Aim in Life” will be aired at 8:15pm on ntv tonight. The serial is written and directed by Masud Shezan. The serial is aired every Saturday and Sunday.

John Travolta's teenage son dies

The actor John Travolta's teenage son, Jett, died on Friday in the Bahamas after apparently suffering a seizure at his family's vacation home, the authorities said.

Dustin Hoffman pledges to live to 100

Veteran actor Dustin Hoffman has vowed to touch the 100-age bracket so that he can fulfil his promise to celebrate his youngest son's 50th birthday.


Bangladesh needs a new economic order

Bangladesh's development potential has drawn positive attention across the world. This positive attention has been based on its young and active demographic profile and overall economic performance in the past.

Beware of the original sin

Two days into a grand win for the Grand Alliance, Sheikh Hasina has made moves that have consolidated their sweeping victory. First was her better-than-ever performance at the first press conference, where she unequivocally made a promise even beyond her own election manifesto, that of offering the deputy speaker and some standing committee chairperson posts to the opposition party. She promised to count the opposition not by its numbers but by the importance of its role in any democratic system.

Congratulations and not celebrations

Abraham Lincoln, the famous American president well-known for abolition of slavery in the United States and a defender of democracy once said: "Election is the celebration of democracy."

Star City

Freedom after midnight

The city's traffic control mechanism is virtually switched off after 10:00pm when the traffic department of the Dhaka Metropolitan police (DMP) pulls out its officials from their stations leaving motorists in absolute freedom.

Polls cheer for scavengers

Scavengers of the city are feeling especially fortunate after the December 29 national election. They are busy collecting thousands of posters and other canvassing materials as the political activists are resting after a hectic campaign.

No End to Struggle

Octogenarian Asia Khatun still struggles to survive. Instead of looking up to her wards she finds a way to survive by selling alur dom or smoked potatoes with spice. She lives on this meagre earning beside residential model school at Mohammadpur.

The Daily Star

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