The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Thursday, April 17, 2014


News of: Monday, 5th of January, 2009

Front Page

Ershad leaves his fate to Hasina

The Awami League-led alliance is likely to form the new cabinet tomorrow with representatives of its major components as the AL and key ally Jatiya Party (JP) overcame the differences of opinion on choosing the next president of the country.

AL gets better power sector to build on

When Fakhruddin Ahmed-led caretaker government took over, the power sector was in a deep mess as the official demand hovered around 4,000 MW (unofficially around 5,000 MW) against Power Development Board's supply of only 2,693 MW on average in February 2007.

BNP, allies delay oath schedule

The lawmakers-elect of BNP-led four-party alliance skipped the oath-taking scheduled for them yesterday.

EC gears up for election series

The Election Commission (EC) plans to hold the long over due Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) polls in March this year, launching a series of local government elections across the country.

Natore voters pick taxpayer

Voters of Natore-1 constituency in the December 29 polls opted for a taxpayer turning their back on veteran BNP politician and "farmer" Fazlur Rahman Patal, who does not pay any income tax.

Development goes slow in first 3 months

In the first three months of the current fiscal year the government has spent more than 20 percent of the total revenue budget for the year but its performance in development expenditure is very poor.

Secretariat ready for changeover

Advisers to the caretaker government are wrapping up their pending official tasks as the country's administrative hub, Bangladesh Secretariat, prepares to receive new ministers after over two year's wait.

Israeli troops invade Gaza, kill 45

Tens of thousands of Israeli troops backed by tanks battled Hamas fighters in Gaza fields and roads yesterday as the Palestinian death toll from the offensive to end militant rocket attacks passed 500, including 87 children.

ROs asked to sue persons showing used ballot papers

The Election Commission (EC) yesterday decided to direct recent parliamentary election's returning officers (ROs), who are also deputy commissioners, to take legal actions against any person exhibiting ballot papers used in the poll.

Post-election violence continues

The mother of BNP leader Nityalal Das succumbed to her injuries yesterday after she was wounded in a post-polls attack allegedly by local Awami League (AL) cadres at Kuliarchar in Kishoreganj on December 30.

Hasina acquitted as police give final report

A Dhaka court yesterday acquitted Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina of the charges laid against her in the barge-mounted power plant case filed by Tajul Islam Farook, chairman of Westmont Power Co (Bangladesh) Ltd.

Babar hospitalised

Former state minister Lutfuzzaman Babar was admitted to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) yesterday.

Dec 29 election fair, flawless

A 10-member foreign delegation that carried out a short-term observation of the December 29 parliamentary elections in a preliminary statement yesterday said it did not find any irregularities that might impact the legitimacy of the process or the results.

Mashrafe goes to the rescue

Mashrafe Bin Mortaza stood up with the bat to salvage Bangladesh's pride as the home team avoided follow-on against Sri Lanka on the second day of the second and final Test at the Chittagong Divisional Stadium yesterday.

No war criminals in our party

BNP lawmaker-elect Salauddin Quader Chowdhury yesterday claimed that there are no war criminals in his party.

SC validates AL nominee's candidature

The chamber judge of the Supreme Court yesterday upheld the High Court (HC) order for the Election Commission (EC) to accept the nomination of Awami League candidate HM Ibrahim for contesting parliamentary polls to Noakhali-1 constituency slated for January 12.

Court decision on charge sheet Jan 11

A Dhaka court will decide on January 11 whether the charge sheet of the case relating to the Ramna Batamul bomb blast filed under the Explosive Substances Act will be accepted or not.

Chitra bridge named after SM Sultan

The bridge over the River Chitra in Narail district has been named after eminent artist SM Sultan.

Govt submits test reports

The government has submitted laboratory test reports done in a European country on different brands of powdered milk available on the domestic market to the office of Supreme Court (SC).

Rizvi sued for defamation

An Awami League (AL) leader yesterday filed a defamation case against BNP Office Secretary Ruhul Kabir Rizvi for making defamatory statements against him.

Lanka moves toward Tigers' jungle base

Sri Lanka's army said yesterday it was moving in on the jungle stronghold of the Tamil Tiger rebels, in a final assault aimed at ending the longest-running ethnic war in Asia.

Indian minister to take Mumbai evidence to US

Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said he would travel to Washington this week with evidence linking Pakistan to the deadly Mumbai attacks in which 163 people were killed, reports said yesterday.

7 killed in Pak suicide blast

Five policemen and two civilians were killed yesterday in a suspected suicide blast in the northwestern Pakistani town of Dera Ismail Khan, a local government official said.

Editorial

Biman sees profit at last

After four years in the red and decades of mismanagement, the fact that Bangladesh Biman has posted an operating profit of Tk 19 crore for the 2007-2008 fiscal year is welcome news and deserving of congratulations all around.

Sri Lanka crisis deepens

We note with concern that as the strongholds of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are beginning to fall one by one following close encounters with the Sri Lankan government troops, the number of deaths of civilians is also mounting alarmingly. The air raids that the government forces are conducting to flush out rebels are reportedly taking a heavy toll. Suicide bomb attacks on soft targets unleashed in Colombo by a splinter group of Tamil Tigers are also contributing to more civilian deaths and destruction. We fear that whatever the outcome of the military engagement, a major humanitarian catastrophe is well under way, including displacement of people in the battle-torn regions. This is likely to result in a refugee problem in the near future.

Democracy's great leap forward

In spite of the mixed signals emanating from the media outlets, an AL victory was assured -- given the party's qualitative edge over others, at least on the eve of the election -- but its landslide vis-a-vis BNP's total routing couldn't clearly be anticipated. Such an outcome of the poll, fought between the two behemoths of our country's politics, hardly crossed anyone's mind. In hindsight, the die was cast and the BNP's fate was sealed during its last tenure in power, when an alienated people disgusted with the party's misrule decisively turned their back to BNP-Jamaat alliance.

Can we find peace with ourselves?

The only good thing about 2008 is that it is over. What remains intriguing is the optimism with which we wish for peace in a new year when there is none within view. We lost peace in the China war of 1962 and have not found it again. Since then blood has been shed in conventional war, domestic strife, communal bitterness, secessionist mayhem, Maoist insurrection and, worst of all, terrorism.

In sorrow, not in anger

I was born nearly 74 years ago in Dhaka. The thought that in not performing the Hajj I had failed to fulfil my father's expectations had been bothering me for some time.

Sports

Ash inspired Mashrafe

Mohammad Ashraful might have frustrated everybody with a suicidal dismissal, but he at least inspired someone in the dressing room to salvage his team from the follow-on on the second day of the second and final Test at the Chittagong Divisional Stadium yesterday.

Changed, but not for too long

When others had no clue Moha-mmad Ashraful looked calm, determined and of course skilful to handle the versatile attack on a tricky pitch at the Chitta-gong Divisional Stadium yesterday.

Chits From Chittagong

Bangladesh vice-captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza rarely allowed his partner Shahadat Hossain to take singles during the last wicket stand that saved the follow-on on the second day of the second Test against Sri Lanka at the Chittagong Divisional Stadium yesterday.

Sahagir takes Khulna home

Sahagir Hossain's last ditch effort took Khulna to a tight one-wicket victory over Chittagong in the National Cricket League at the BKSP ground in Savar yesterday.

Better late than never

Thirty-seven years after the Liberation War, country's football war heroes finally got due respect from the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) yesterday.

Nayeem to captain Academy

Nayeem Islam has been named captain of the GP-BCB National Cricket Academy team that takes on Zimbabwe in a three-day warm-up match at the Shaheed Chandu Stadium in Bogra from tomorrow.

50 chosen for hockey camp

Bangladesh Hockey Federation initially picked up 50 players for national training camp for the 11th South Asian Games, which will be held in Dhaka next year.

Clarke lifts Australia

Australia gave themselves a good chance of earning a consolation victory in the final Test against South Africa on the back of Michael Clarke's fine 138 on the second day of the third and final Test at the SCG on Sunday.

Sarwan was confident

West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan has said he was confident of the team's chances in the second ODI against New Zealand in Christchurch, even after coming under severe pressure towards the end of the chase.

The Aussie stabiliser

Michael Clarke has become the complete batsman at a time when Australia are desperate for his rebuilding powers. In the past, Clarke gained a reputation for being at his best when the players above him had worn down the attack, but now he does the draining.

Lanka may split Pakistan tour

Sri Lanka are looking at splitting their proposed tour of Pakistan in order to squeeze in a home five-ODI series against India. Under the plan, Sri Lanka will visit Pakistan for the limited-overs leg of their tour later this month, return home for India's visit and head back to Pakistan to play three Tests.

Buchanan bats for Ganguly

Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly will be approaching 37 when he leads Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL), but coach John Buchanan feels it's the "inner call" and not the age which help the cricketer continue his stint.

Smith out for six weeks

South Africa's chances of claiming a 3-0 victory over Australia may have fractured with Graeme Smith's left hand on Sunday. Smith became the first victim of a cracking pitch when a Mitchell Johnson delivery surprised the captain, cutting back and striking the knuckle on his little finger.

Barca keep winning

Spanish international midfielder Andres Iniesta marked his comeback from injury with a crucial goal as leaders Barcelona defeated Real Mallorca 3-1 on Saturday to continue where they left off before Christmas.

City crash, Blues held

Nottingham Forest stunned one of the world's wealthiest clubs by knocking Manchester City out of the FA Cup with a 3-0 third round win in front of the Premier League club's own fans on Saturday.

Murray stuns Nadal

Britain's Andy Murray defeated world number one Rafael Nadal 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 in the final of the Abu Dhabi exhibition here on Saturday to score a crucial blow ahead of the Australian Open.

Liverpool hail Gerrard

Steven Gerrard was labelled a "model professional" by Liverpool assistant manager Sammy Lee after capping a troubled week off the pitch by inspiring the Reds to a 2-0 FA Cup win over Preston.

Etienne KO Bordeaux

Saint Etienne ended their three-year losing French Cup record on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Bordeaux to reach the last 32 and keep coach Alain Perrin on course for an unprecedented Cup treble.

Adriano facing hefty fine

Inter Milan are set to slap a 150,000 euros fine on Brazilian striker Adriano after he missed the first training session of the year, La Gazzetta dello Sport reported Sunday.

Bernd back in training

Veteran German international Bernd Schneider resumed training with his Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday after being out for eight months with a back injury.

Defoe receives death threats

England striker Jermain Defoe has received threats from Portsmouth fans angry at his apparent desire to return to Tottenham barely a year after his arrival at Fratton Park.

Bayern's price 10m euros for Podolski

Bayern Munich will offload forward Lukas Podolski -- but for a minimum of 10 million euros, the club said Sunday.

Boro slam Spurs

Middlesbrough chief executive Keith Lamb has slammed Tottenham for making what he termed a "derisory" bid for England winger Stewart Downing.

Business

Remittance sets benchmark

Remittance inflows set a new record in 2008 crossing an 8 billion-dollar mark, thanks to an increased number of outbound workers.

Capital market walks past volatile days

2008 was a volatile year for Bangladesh's capital market. Although the first half was fine for investors, the second half turned out to be gloomy, as their dream of a good return was dashed on many occasions by some factors. These factors include the psychological pressure from the possible global crisis fallout and so-called uncertainty over the national election.

DITF eyes brisk sales next week

Participants in the 14th Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF) expect high sales from next Friday, as election-hype is not over yet.

Sunman Group buys Tele Barta

Sunman Group has bought out 100 percent stakes in the struggling private landline operator Tele Barta, a concern of nongovernmental organisation Jubok, heralding its strong presence in the telecom market to provide WiMax services.

Crisis a boon to money management websites

Balancing checkbooks and relying on paper bank statements is so last century.

2008, a steady year for the taka

While the world currency market is still recuperating from the shock of the US subprime crisis, the taka showed impressive stability as it remains broadly steady at 68.50-69.50 per dollar through out the year. Though import growth outpaced export, record high home remittance eased the pressure, causing the rate to move within a limited range. The central bank supported the market all year round by managing liquidity time to time. Import growth has been 25.63 percent in fiscal 2007-08, against export growth of 15.7 percent. But remittance grew by 32 percent to $7.9 billion, tagging a positive figure to the balance of payments. Aid and grants also increased 75 percent.

Parboiled rice gains popularity

Mohammed Tara Mia, owner of a rice mill at Kaliakoir in Gazipur, has achieved a milestone by increasing his work efficiency and productivity. He now boasts cutting work cycle times by half, decreasing fuel and manpower requirements and being environment-friendly.

Dubai dream sours as job losses mount

Dubai's rapid expansion in recent years provided jobs for millions. But the global financial meltdown has abruptly ended the dream for many people as more and more firms sack staff to cut costs.

Stocks end bullish

Dhaka stocks continued a bullish run yesterday, driven largely by rising investor confidence after the December 29 elections.

Rice import causes price-drop in Chittagong markets

Private sector imports of rice from Myanmar through the Chittagong Port in the last week helped lower rice prices, both at wholesale and retail markets, in Chittagong.

JCI Bangladesh gets new president

The Junior Chamber International (JCI) Bangladesh elected Aftab Mahmud Khurshid its national president for 2009 at its annual general assembly held on Saturday.

China trade surplus to hit record

China's trade surplus is likely to hit a record 290 billion dollars in 2008 despite woes caused by the global slowdown, state press said Sunday, citing the nation's customs administration.

Bank of Japan chief eyes action on strong yen

Japan's central bank chief warned Sunday that the soaring yen was hurting Asia's largest economy and said he was looking at measures to cope with it.

EU countries see gas supplies cut by Ukraine-Russia row

A handful of eastern European countries reported cuts in Russian gas supplies of up to 30 percent Saturday since the start of the dispute over payment between Russia and Ukraine.

Richest German families lose billions in crisis

Germany's 20 wealthiest families have lost about 40 billion euros (55 billion dollars) in the economic crisis in share values alone, the financial magazine WirtschaftsWoche reported Saturday.

Cadillac unveils sleeker SRX before Detroit show

General Motors Corp is counting on the 2010 Cadillac SRX crossover vehicle to lure luxury car buyers with new design and performance features.

Metropolitan

Repeal gender discriminatory laws, provisions

Women leaders and human rights activists yesterday urged the upcoming government to repeal all existing gender discriminatory laws and provisions and not to enact such laws in future.

45000 vie for 7479 seats in 24 govt schools in city

Admission test in eight government high schools under A group in the capital was held yesterday, while admission test of rest 16 schools under B and C groups will be held tomorrow and January 10 respectively.

Continued use of imported seeds threat to soil fertility

Cultivation of hybrid rice varieties with imported seeds is spreading fast across the country for better harvest although these varieties require higher amount of inputs and degrade agricultural land.

Strong desire for change can lead to meaningful social reforms

Different socio-political organisations congratulated Bangladesh Awami League President Sheikh Hasina yesterday on her being elected leader of the AL Parliamentary Party (ALPP) and Zillur Rahman as the deputy leader and nominee for presidency.

Don't follow tit-for-tat policy

Awami League President Sheikh Hasina last night said incidents of torture by BNP-Jamaat supporters on Awami League leaders and workers after the 2001 general election and cases filed at that time would be reinvestigated and legal actions taken against the perpetrators.

Bangladesh can hardly ensure rights

Human rights activist advocate Sultana Kamal yesterday said the major failure of Bangladesh is that it cannot protect rights of migrant workers despite their immense contribution to the country's economy.

No legal bar to Hasina assuming PM office

Dismissing TIB Chairman Prof Muzaffer Ahmad's contentions, some leading lawyers of the Supreme Court yesterday said there is no legal bar to Sheikh Hasina assuming the office of prime minister riding on an outstanding popular mandate.

Four killed in N'ganj incidents

Police recovered bodies of two people while a housewife committed suicide and a construction worker was killed in a road accident in Narayanganj yesterday.

None will be terminated

Representatives of the Staff Welfare Association of Bangladesh Government Development Projects met Sheikh Hasina on Friday to remove the uncertainty of their jobs.

BCL vows to establish violence-free campus

Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), student wing of Awami League, celebrated its 61st founding anniversary yesterday with a vow to establish violence-free campuses in all education institutions across the country.

Concern over post-polls violence

Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK) yesterday expressed deep concern over the incidents of attack on the leaders, workers and supporters of different political parties by their rivals at different parts of the country since December 29 national elections.

12 killed, 69 injured in road accidents

Twelve people were killed and 69 others injured in separate road accidents across the country in the last two days.

'Circular for appointment of senior staff nurses illegal'

Bangladesh Diploma Unemployed Nurses' Association (BDUNA) yesterday said the circular for appointment of senior staff nurse is illegal as it violated existing laws of the directorate of cooperatives.

Another succumbs to injuries

Another man who was bullet-hit in indiscriminate firing at Manikdi in Dhaka Canton-ment area on December 21 died on Saturday night with the death toll reaching four.

Children of Ffs demand trial of war criminals

Amra Muktijoddhar Santan, an organisation of the children of freedom fighters, yesterday demanded the government form a special tribunal immediately to try war criminals.

Woman strangled by domestic help

A 50-year-old woman was strangled allegedly by her domestic help last night at Natun Sonakanda village under Keraniganj model police station last night.

Five arrested with firearms

Khilgaon police arrested five alleged killers of double murders along with one pistol and five bullets from the city's Rampura area on Saturday night.

ACC sues ex-lawmaker Beltu

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday filed a case against former BNP lawmaker Shahiduzzaman Beltu in Jhenidah.

Keeping Mro in chains condemned

Different organisations yesterday condemned keeping Ranglai Mro, an indigenous community leader who fell seriously ill in Chittagong Central Jail, in chains even in the hospital.

DU exams postponed

All examinations of Arts Building and Curzon Hall at Dhaka University (DU) have been postponed till January 7 due to unavoidable circumstances, says a press release.

Robbers loot five houses, injure 10

Robbers looted cash and valuables worth over Tk 4.7 lakh from five houses in South Keraniganj here early yesterday leaving 10 people injured.

'Stop killing in Gaza'

Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) President Manzurul Ahsan Khan and General Secretary Mujahidul Islam Selim urged the people across the world to protest the mass killing in Gaza strip by Israel, says a press release.

Canada greets Bangladesh on successful nat'l polls

Canada has congratulated the people of Bangladesh on holding a successful parliamentary election.

Written exam for deputy jailers on January 9

The written examinations of those who came out successful in the physical examinations for the post of 'deputy jailer' will be held at 10:30am on January 9 at Nabakumar Institute at Bakshi Bazar in the city.

PDB realises Tk 12cr outstanding bill

In an intensified drive against the bill-defaulters, Power Development Board (PDB) realised outstanding electricity bills of Tk 12.64 crore from the southern distribution zone of Chittagong, Cox's Bazar and three hill districts.

DU signs MoU for new 'Kalabhaban'

Dhaka University (DU) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indian High Commission in Bangladesh on construction of a new Kalabhaban for the Department of Theatre and Music.

Apollo offers 4 new health screening packages

Apollo Hospitals Dhaka introduced four new packages under its Master Health Check (MHC) services on January 1 -- Apollo Liver Screening, Apollo Screening for smokers; Apollo Thyroid Check; and Apollo DAP Screening (drugs with addiction potentiality), says a press release.

BFUJ demands arrest of attackers of journalists

Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) yesterday condemned the attacks on journalists in Jessore.

GP distributes blankets in Rangamati

Grameenphone Ltd distributed 2000 blankets among the poor people in Rangamati on Saturday, says a press release.

SBMCH interns postpone strike

The intern doctors of Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital (SBMCH) postponed their strike and joined duties yesterday morning 24 hours after the strike.

Indian goods seized in Jessore

Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) yesterday seized Indian goods worth around Tk 3.50 lakh from different areas under port police station in Jessore.

Palestine embassy opens condolence book today

The Embassy of the State of Palestine, Dhaka will open a condolence book at the Embassy at 1, Dutabash Road, Block-K at Baridhara in the city today.

SUST admission process to start on Jan 11

The first year admission process of Shahjalal Science and Technology University (SUST) for the academic session 2008-09 will start from January 11.

National

Rajshahi BNP men urge party high-ups to abandon Jamaat

Blamed by its major partner BNP for the poll debacle, Jamaat-e-Islami has intensified organisational activities to protect its existence in Rajshahi region, an area that saw rise of Islamist militancy allegedly under Jamaat protection while in power.

BCL drives out Shibir men from 2 RU halls

A tense situation is prevailing on the Rajshahi University campus as Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activists drove away Islami Chhatra Shibir activists from Shaheed Ziaur Rahman and Shah Makhdum halls yesterday.

Try war criminals with UN cooperation

Progressive Teachers' Society (PTS) of Rajshahi University (RU), in a statement issued in Rajshahi yesterday, demanded trial of war criminals with the help of the United Nations (UN).

Ensure peace, development

Leaders of Pabna Chamber of Commerce and Industries yesterday congratulated the newly elected five Awami League lawmakers in the district and urged them to play proper role for ensuring real development of the district.

Take six in cabinet from Sylhet division

Political activists as well as common people in Moulvibazar district want six to seven persons from Sylhet division in the cabinet of the new government as honour to the people who 'gifted' all the 19 seats in the region to Awami League (AL)-led grand alliance.

JMB threat to blow up two schools in Jessore

Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, Bangladesh (JMB) has threatened to 'blow up' Jessore Zila School and Government Momin Girls' High School in Jessore town with bombs on the day of their admission tests on January 7.

Set up more schools in Rajshahi city

Rajshahi Rakkha Sangram Parishad, in a joint statement issued in Rajshahi yesterday, urged mayor Khairuzzaman Liton and six lawmakers to take steps to set up more educational institutions in the city to resolve the admission crisis.

Protima Rani lone woman candidate in Gaibandha

Protima Rani, the lone woman candidate for the post of upazila chairman in seven upazilas in Gaibandha district, is now busy conducting door-to-door campaign at remote villages in Sunderganj upazila.

Nilphamari pry edn official suspended

The assistant monitoring officer (AMO) of Nilphamari District Primary Education Office, Hasan Tarique, has been suspended from job for his alleged involvement in stealing and selling 73,676 primary textbooks meant for free distribution to students.

Letters

Bangla, not Bengali

Our colonial rulers used to misspell many names and had left them written in the documents since they had usurped the administrative power in the sub-continent. It is a matter of great pity that we are still using those names unchanged and without protest for almost 250 years. As one of the speakers of Bangla, my primary concern is the name of our language. Our foremost duty is to revive the name of our loving mother tongue "Bangla" and shake off that wrong name "Bengali".

Brutal Israeli aggression

Israel has shamelessly, mercilessly and brutally attacked innocent people of Gaza killing more than 300 Palestinians and wounding more than 600 people. It is Israel's brutal campaign to quash the Palestinians. Israeli military spokesman Avi Benayahu said some 250 attacks were carried out since the offensive began. Israel's air force obliterated symbols of Hamas power on the third day of its overwhelming assault on Gaza. Israel has played the role of a terrorist nation since its birth in 1948. Israel has become a great threat to the entire Middle East region.

Human Rights situation

Human rights violations, especially violence against and oppression of women and children, are a major concern of our government.

Harold Pinter: Death & etc

The death of Nobel laureate Harold Pinter is a great loss. He raised his voice against all misdeeds. In his early years he didn't join the Army as a conscientious objector. He strongly opposed the US invasion in Iraq & once he along with Arthur Miller were forced to quit a dinner party in Turkey because he said something for the Kurds in his speech which irritated the establishment.

Same story!

Several years of “grand corruption” by Khaleda Zia's sons and cronies have resulted in the BNP Alliance getting about 10% of her nemesis Hasina's Awami League. Hasina has already commented that hers was the only "democratic" rule even though this is the fourth election; the BNP for its part seems to be saying their supporters were prevented from voting even though 70% of the electorate has cast its vote. So what has changed? Nothing. The same players are back - and I bet with a vengeance. Antagonism and disgrace has already raised its ugly head even in these early hours and the stench is nasty.

Errant umpires

Why is it that when Australian players appeal for lbw or caught behind, the finger goes up without a second thought and when Bangladeshi cricketers appeal, the umpires are unmoved. Besides playing poorly, I believe there were several matches which Bangladesh lost due to poor umpiring. Take for example Ashoka De Silva. I think he is the worst umpire in cricketing history.

Our teachers

Teachers are the guardians of the nation. But we are really disappointed to see the role of many teachers, especially at the highest seats of learning. They are not expected to be divided on party lines.

Arabs

We Asians always believed that the Arabs have the most deep-rooted faith in religion, but today we learn and realise that their belief and fear of America and Israel is much greater. By dividing their faith and belief, they have lost all their dignity and honour, and division amongst themselves have made them impotent.

Relocate the overbridge

Last week a senior citizen had been knocked down by a vehicle at Uttara Sector-4 crossing with Jasimuddin Avenue, while he was crossing the very busy road. It was pathetic sight to see the old man lying in the middle of the road senseless. There is a foot overbridge located in front of Scholastica School, which remains unused mostly as the large majority of students come in cars. I have spent time observing this myself, being a resident. The rationale behind the bridge location defies logic as thousands of ordinary people, old and young, cross the junction mentioned above every day under very risky conditions as traffic comes from five directions there.

Denied right to vote

With high expectations, my grandmother decided to exercise her right to vote in an election after seven long years. However, she was (not surprisingly) turned down when she arrived at the venue of BIT school in Gulshan-1. Unfortunately, my grandmother has been unable to walk in the past few years, and when she arrived at the venue she could not climb up the flight of stairs to give her vote. My question is, after so many months of preparation to make our country a democratic state, is this what our country has to offer to senior and disabled citizens? My grandmother, Khaleda Manzur I Khuda, is a registered voter. There were many others at the polling station in wheelchair who could not vote, and I could not help notice an elderly man cry in his wheelchair as he could not vote. The staff were not cooperative as usual. Why is it such a problem to make a minor arrangement for senior and disabled citizens so that they can have their right to elect a democratic government?

Congratulations!

First of all I thank my fellow Bangladeshi people who exercised their democratic rights when voting in the election by standing patiently for long hours in line. We should give thanks and appreciation to our chief election commissioner and his staff and colleagues for completing this election after facing many challenging and difficult situations. Also, thank you, the caretaker government. The nation is grateful to the law enforcement agencies for maintaining discipline and a peaceful environment. Thanks to all participants who contested this election. Without their participation, this election would be meaningless. I congratulate everyone elected as a member of parliament, especially Sheikh Hasina and her party, the Awami League for their landslide victory.

Jamuna Future Park

The under construction Jamuna Future Park is the largest shopping mall in Asia or the third largest in the world. That is what we know from the prime time TV advertisement and full page supplements in the most circulated national daily newspapers. The owning company will make this park a monument for Bangladesh like Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia, Tajmahal in India or even the Pyramids in Egypt or the Great Wall of China. The park will have 41 lakh square feet of floor space, a food court of international standard for 3000 people, parking facilities for 5000 cars, banquet hall for 500 people, health club & gymnasium for 2000 people, seven cinema halls in one Cineplex, a 45 MW captive power plant for its own power supply and so on.

No anti-Islamic law

The Awami League in its election manifesto has promised that the party will not make any anti-Islamic law. This is a common practice all over the world but the party had to renew it just to counter the propaganda by others against it, calling it an "anti-Islamic" organisation.

CTG and EC

I wish to congratulate the caretaker govt. and the Election Commission for their excellent task of holding a peaceful election.

Nosedive for BNP

As expected the Boro Natokio Party (BNP) successfully managed to commit "Hara-Kiri"; the demise was concocted from criminal misdeeds, carefree corruption, and their "couldn't care less" attitude! Even the last ditch desperate attempt of the "Netri" to become the modern Saviour of Islam came a cropper!

Revival of the spirit!

It has been an extraordinary feeling of pleasure and pride to see the revival of the true spirit of my country. At the same time it was one of the loneliest nights of my life as I missed the warmth of my countrymen, while watching all the events of Election 2008 from thousands of miles away. Nevertheless, I certainly could smell the wind of change all around in the most fertile land and minds of the world. The result of the election again reflected the vibrant nature of our motherland where the people have always fought for the truth and justice whenever they were given a chance to do so. People of Bangladesh have shown that they are not divided, for years they have been together to bring the dreams of our freedom fighters into light. Hats off to the new generation, women and men voters of Bangladesh!!!!

Learning English

In Bangladesh students are required to read English for about twelve years. But the level of proficiency they reach is very low. People taking the civil service examination are also tested on their knowledge of English, but the results are equally disappointing. Even those who pass or qualify are hardly able to write freely in acceptable English. Obviously, there is something seriously wrong with the teaching and learning of English in Bangladesh. Most students in this country feel a lack of motivation. There is hardly any subject they know or care to know really well. They are interested not in acquiring knowledge or skill but in passing the exams by memorizing answers. They have the tendency to use short cut to success. Most schools and college teachers are MA in English. It is possible to get a degree in English without having reasonable proficiency in the language. Untrained teachers cannot teach language effectively.

Accountability and transparency

Since independence successive governments have taken colossal amount of foreign loans from various countries and international organisations.

International

US blocks UN truce call against Israel on Gaza

The United States late Saturday blocked approval of a UN Security Council statement calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers, diplomats said.

Gaza civilians left exposed in Israeli invasion

With booms from artillery and airstrikes keeping them awake, the 10 members of Lubna Karam's family spent the night huddled in the hallway of their Gaza City home.

Hamas to rely on guerrilla tactics against Israel

Hamas has thousands of fighters ready to take on Israel and has upgraded its arsenal, experts say.

Worldwide alarm at Israeli ground offensive

Israel's tank and troop assault on the Gaza Strip unleashed cries of alarm worldwide Sunday, but Israel won heavyweight US backing as moves for an immediate ceasefire foundered at the United Nations.

ME nations slam Israel's Gaza invasion

Israel's ground offensive in the Gaza Strip was roundly condemned across the Middle East on Sunday, with Egypt also accusing the UN Security Council of failing to act quickly to resolve the crisis.

ME nations slam Israel's Gaza invasion

Israel's ground offensive in the Gaza Strip was roundly condemned across the Middle East on Sunday, with Egypt also accusing the UN Security Council of failing to act quickly to resolve the crisis.

Lanka's war against LTTE far from over

Sri Lankans celebrated the fall of the Tamil Tigers' de facto capital with street parties, but military observers say bloodier battles may still lie ahead as the rebels take refuge in the jungles.

Lanka's war against LTTE far from over

Sri Lankans celebrated the fall of the Tamil Tigers' de facto capital with street parties, but military observers say bloodier battles may still lie ahead as the rebels take refuge in the jungles.

Iraqi PM says links with Iran are developing

Relations between Iraq and Iran are developing in a number of ways, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said during a visit to Iran on Saturday.

Gene link to rare cause of baldness

Scientists say they have pinned down a DNA mechanism that gives rise to a rare but distressing form of baldness that strikes before adulthood.

Woman bomber kills 35 in Baghdad shrine

A woman suicide bomber killed 35 people, including women and children, and wounded 65 others on a religious march near the Kadhimiyah shrine in northern Baghdad yesterday, a government official said.

Captured rebel land in Lanka deserted

The main highway running through what was once Sri Lanka's rebel heartland was nearly deserted Sunday, except for some stray dogs and abandoned cows.

Fierce gunbattle in Kashmir continuing for 60 hours

A fierce gunbattle between security forces and separatist militants continues to rage yesterday in the dense mountainous forest in frontier Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir after over 60 hours in which seven people - four militants and three security personnel - have been killed.

Series of quakes kills 4 in Indonesia

A series of powerful earthquakes at dawn yesterday killed at least four people and injured dozens more in remote eastern Indonesia, cutting power lines and destroying buildings.

No hope for future of Myanmar: Opposition

Myanmar's pro-democracy party marked the 61st anniversary of the country's independence from Great Britain on Sunday, saying it foresaw no hope for the military-ruled country.

Two dead, 20 missing in Nepal boat accident

At least two people drowned and another 20 were missing after a crowded ferry capsized on Sunday in a river in eastern Nepal, police said.

Fireworks factory blast kills 13 in E China

An explosion at an illegal fireworks factory in eastern China killed 13 people, state media reported Sunday.

Quake rattles Afghanistan, Pakistan

A moderate earthquake shook northeastern Afghanistan Sunday, sending people running from their homes, but there were no immediate reports of damage, witnesses and officials said.

China violates accord with Japan over disputed gas field

China has violated an agreement with Japan and continued developing a gas field in a disputed area in the East China Sea, a press report said yesterday.

Maliki seeks Iran help to rebuild Iraq

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said yesterday that he hoped Iran would help rebuild his conflict-torn country by boosting economic ties.

Arts & Entertainment

Hopes, goals and ambitions

"And the winner is...Liza."

Multi-faceted writer Syed Shamsul Haq turns actor

Renowned poet-playwright-novelist Syed Shamsul Haq has become an actor. In an upcoming digital film directed by Shahnewaz Kakoli, the ambidextrous writer will be seen as himself. The Daily Star caught up with the litterateur recently.

Bollywood gears up for big budget releases in 2009

Powered by the success of two movies featuring the two leading Khans -- Shah Rukh and Aamir -- at the fag end of the year 2008, Bollywood has stepped into the New Year with lots of hopes on an array of big-budget movies to set the box office on fire.

Penn, Hawkins, Israeli film win critics’ awards

Sean Penn, who stars in "Milk," and "Happy-Go-Lucky"'s Sally Hawkins were named best actor and actress on Saturday by the National Society of Film Critics, positioning them as front-runners for next month's Academy Awards.

Rajneeti O Shushashon-e Nari on ATN Bangla

Sixth episode of the talk show "Rajneeti O Sushasoney Nari" will be aired today at 6:20 pm on ATN Bangla. The programme focuses on women's participation in politics and good governance.

Swapnochura on Banglavision tonight

TV serial "Swapnochura" will be aired tonight on Banglavision at 9:45 pm. Written by Fazlul Haque Akash, the serial is directed by Fazlur Rahman.

Baul songs at Pitha Mela in Tangal

Amidst much festivity, a 'Pitha Mela' was held in Tangail town last Saturday. 'Lalon,' a literary and cultural organisation of Haji Abul Hossain Institute of Technology (HABHIT), organised the event at Tangail Shaheed Minar premises.

OP-ED

From the ashes of Gaza

The assault on Gaza, planned over six months and executed with perfect timing, was designed largely to help the incumbent parties triumph in the forthcoming Israeli elections. The dead Palestinians are little more than election fodder in a cynical contest between the right and the far right in Israel. Washington and its EU allies, perfectly aware that Gaza was about to be assaulted, sit back and watch.

Star City

Drug peddlers use children as 'safe' seller, carrier

Drug peddlers in the city are using children, mostly from poor families, in their illegal trade despite regular police raids on the drug dens.

Wait for the tall building to fall apart

Although the caretaker government is removing different kinds of makeshift and permanent structures from Hatirjheel-Begunbari project area one after another, there has been no decision on the 15-storey BGMEA building.

"city express"

The latest crop of quotes from the city's press -- words worth repeating, we feel, for their humour, insight or sheer outrageousness. Star City does not necessarily support the opinions expressed in this column.


The Daily Star

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