The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Thursday, July 31, 2014


News of: Sunday, 11th of January, 2009

Front Page

US moves to confiscate Koko's stashed money

The US Department of Justice has moved to confiscate nearly $3 million from bank accounts in Singapore, which are allegedly linked to a bribery scandal in Bangladesh, involving Arafat Rahman Koko, younger son of former prime minister Khaleda Zia.

EC sits on election of 45 women MPs

The ninth parliament may convene without the 45 women lawmakers in reserved seats as the Election Commission (EC) does not seem to have any plans to hold election to the seats before the inaugural session on January 25.

Gaza-blitz on

Israeli forces pounded rocket-launching sites and smuggling tunnels in Gaza yesterday and planes dropped leaflets warning of an escalation in attacks, as Palestinian militants fired at least 10 more rockets at Israel.

No more politics of vengeance

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged her party men to forget personal interests and devote themselves to the service of the common people who overwhelmingly voted Awami League to power.

Titumir students go berserk

Irate students of Titumir Government College yesterday vandalised over 150 vehicles in the capital's Mohakhali, Gulshan and Banani following a rumour that a female student of the college was killed in a road accident.

BNP ready to accept JS roles

The BNP would accept chairmanship of parliamentary standing committees and reserved seats for women in parliament in addition to the "offer" for the post of deputy speaker.

A name-only college

Even three years after its establishment, the government run Begum Khaleda Zia Medical College in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in the city is yet to become a full-fledged medical college.

'Poor' businessman elected AL MP

A newly elected lawmaker from Moulvibazar is a businessman with an annual income of only Tk 18,000.

Shahid picked as chief whip

Vice-Principal Abdus Shahid, Awami League (AL) lawmaker of Moulvibazar-4 constituency, has been tapped to serve as the chief whip in the newly constituted parliament.

EC sits today to finalise upazila polls security

The Election Commission (EC) will hold a high-level meeting today to finalise steps to ensure law and order during the January 22 upazila parishad election.

BNP, Jamaat on their own now

BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami will now work from their own standpoint as the four-party alliance was formed for elections only, BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain said yesterday.

Call for not to pick war criminals for key JS posts

Leaders of Sector Commanders Forum and Muktijoddha Oikya Parishad yesterday urged the government not to nominate any war criminals for key posts in parliament.

Bush phones Hasina to congratulate

US President George W Bush telephoned Sheikh Hasina yesterday and congratulated her on her assumption of the office of prime minister of Bangladesh.

Charge sheeted BNP leaders seek party tickets

Bogra district BNP president Rezaul Karim Badsha and general secretary Saiful Islam Saiful -- both charge-sheeted accused in the Jubo Dal leader Ariful Sheikh Mohon murder case -- are seeking BNP nomination to contest the seats vacated by party chairperson Khaleda Zia.

Dhaka protests

Bangladesh has condemned the ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza as flagrant violation of human rights and international humanitarian laws.

BPC working on fuel price-cut

Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC), a state-owned organisation, moves quickly to reduce fuel prices following a decision of the new cabinet.

5 killed, 50 hurt in road crash

At least five people died and 50 others were injured as two passenger buses collided head-on on the DhakaSylhet highway at Kuttapara under Sarail upazila of the district yesterday.

Abul Hossain sees no risk in Jamuna Bridge

Communication Minister Syed Abul Hossain yesterday said cracks in the Jamuna Bridge will cause no problem to the bridge and its longevity but wants to rename the bridge after Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

2 cops hurt in bomb attack

Unidentified criminals hurled a bomb at two policemen on patrol duty at Dayaganj in the capital last evening that left both the cops injured.

Joy arrives

Sajeeb Wazed Joy, son of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, arrived in Dhaka from the USA with his family while his aunt Sheikh Rehana returned to London early yesterday.

Zimbabwe floor reckless Tigers

The Bangladesh batsmen cooked up yet another debacle as they suffered a 38-run loss to Zimbabwe in the opening match of the Grameenphone Tri-nation Cup cricket tournament at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday.

Khulna Medical College closed

Classes of Khulna Medical College (KMC) were suspended sine die yesterday after a fierce clash between the activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) and Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS).

Pro-BNP bus owners' office occupied by AL men

Pro-Awami League bus owners' group yesterday forcibly captured the office of district bus minibus owners' association in Natore (NBMOA), dominated by pro-BNP bus owners' group.

7 remanded

The seven detainees, arrested on Thursday night in Comilla in connection with the abduction of two businessmen, were placed on a two-day remand yesterday.

SL troops move in for the kill

Sri Lankan security forces were ready to deal a "decisive blow" to the remaining Tamil Tiger rebels following the capture of the highly strategic Elephant Pass, the defence ministry said yesterday.

17 killed in Pakistan sectarian violence

Seventeen people have been killed and 30 wounded in clashes between Sunni and Shia groups in villages in the Hangu District in northwest Pakistan, police said yesterday.

Editorial

BCL's disquieting show of strength

HOT on the heels of reported dislodging of students belonging to the BNP student wing JCD from residential halls of Dhaka University, came the factional fight within the BCL at the Zia Hall and BCL's purge of Shibir activists from the dormitories of Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (Ruet) on Thursday night. Several students were injured in both incidents. The academic atmosphere has been thrown out of gear.

Israel's rejection of UN ceasefire proposal

THE refusal by Israel to accept a ceasefire resolution on Gaza speaks of the risks its government is putting the entire Middle East to. In these past few days, close to 800 people, most of them innocent Palestinians, have been killed in Israeli air and ground attacks. And that is not the end of the story. Israeli forces have fired on medical teams trying to extricate wounded civilians from the streets and have also blocked supplies of essentials to the besieged region. It has continued to carry out targeted assassinations and in the process has left hundreds of homes and offices destroyed. But nothing could be worse than the rejection of the United Nations Security Council ceasefire proposal calling for an end to hostilities and an opening of land routes to Gaza.

An auspicious start

THE new government begins its journey with a new vision of change amid huge expectations from the people for easing their enormous woes. The people of Bangladesh have spoken in a resounding voice that they keenly look forward to put an end of the corruption and misrule of the past.

Digital Bangladesh

ESTABLISHMENT of a digital Bangladesh by 2021 is the main motto of the newly elected government. The slogan was timely tuned to attract a large number of young voters to vote for the boat. But digital Bangladesh might slip back in the absence of a national education policy embracing secular, scientific, and sustainable system.

Democratic rollback

WESTERN analysts fear that Samuel Huntington's waves of democratisation (first, second and third) and, perhaps, premature declaration by Francis Fukuyama of the “end of history” in terms of human evolution of the most suitable form of government might have come to a halt due to democratic roll back in some parts of the world.

Sports

Tigers in shambles

All credit must go to the Zimbabwe side who were regimented in their efforts, to systematically eke out a 38-run victory against Bangladesh in the tri-nation opener at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.

Shakib, Shahadat to play for Biman

Tigers all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was brave enough to travel all the way to the Bangabandhu National Stadium to sign up for Bangladesh Biman yesterday. It was the first day of the inter-club players' transfers and it was not a surprise that very few of the pool players turned up at the bourse.

Teams shift focus

Can anything really live up to the Test series we've just witnessed between these two teams -- Australia and South Africa? Probably not.

Strauss skipper for WI

Andrew Strauss will captain England for their entire tour of the West Indies, including one-day internationals and the lone Twenty20, it was announced here Friday.

Smith calls for calm

Graeme Smith, the South Africa captain, has asked supporters to be patient if the team does not perform to expectations in the upcoming ODI series against Australia. Smith, who led South Africa to a historic win in the Test series, won't be part of the contest, having returned home in order to recuperate from a persistent elbow problem and the fracture he picked up in his left hand during the recent Sydney Test.

Women's NCL to start Jan 13

The Women's National Cricket League will start with the match between hosts Chittagong and Rajshahi at the Chittagong Divisional Stadium on January 13.

Afridi in trouble

Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan batsman, was involved in an altercation with spectators during a domestic match in Karachi on Friday. Afridi was accused of slapping a fan in the face while turning out for Habib Bank Limited against Pakistan International Airlines in a domestic tournament, though he denied the speculation.

Tendulkar no fan of neutral venue

India's batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar on Saturday said he was not in favour of playing matches at neutral venues since it takes away much of the charm.

'Pietersen let Eng down'

Kevin Pietersen let England down as he failed to act responsibly but coach Peter Moores was no better and lacked the spark to excel, feels noted Australian cricket columnist Peter Roebuck.

Guptill shines in gloom

A record-setting 122 not out by New Zealand debutant Martin Guptill brightened an otherwise dismal day here Saturday as the fourth one-day international against the West Indies was washed out.

Steve finds Kevin wrong

Former Australian skipper Steve Waugh added his respected voice to the Ashes build-up on Friday by telling Kevin Pietersen he was wrong to relinquish the England captaincy.

Patel could be the first

Samit Patel could become the first contracted England player to compete in the Indian Premier League (IPL) after he was entered into February's player auction.

Kanoute punished

Sevilla's Malian international striker Frederic Kanoute has been fined for displaying a t-shirt with the word "Palestine" during his side's 2-1 Spanish Cup over Deportivo La Coruna in the Spanish Cup.

Gaddafi overhaul stopped

Renovations at Pakistan's main cricket stadium in Lahore ahead of the Champions Trophy set for September have been halted after massive irregularities were found, cricket authorities said Friday.

Aga Khan Gold Cup golf ends

The Aga Khan Gold Cup golf tournament ended yesterday at the Kurmitola Golf Club (KGC) in the city.

Prize money increases at Australian Open

The singles winners of this month's Australian Open will each receive two million dollars (1.4 million US), Tennis Australia said Saturday.

Cilic to meet Devvarman in final

World number 27 Marin Cilic of Croatia advanced to the final of the 450,000-dollar ATP Chennai Open with a win over Marcel Granollers of Spain on Saturday.

Will the Devils feel Blue?

When Sir Alex Ferguson suggested this week that Liverpool might lack the necessary experience to stay the pace over the second half of the Premier League season, he touched a raw nerve with Rafael Benitez.

Villa keep up pressure

Aston Villa consolidated their place in the Premier League's top four with a 2-1 win over local rivals West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

Murray thumps Federer

Andy Murray, widely-tipped to end Britain's 73-year Grand Slam drought this year, beat Roger Federer in the Qatar Open semifinals on Friday for his fourth win in five matches against the Swiss superstar.

'Ron best, not for long'

Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari admits Cristiano Ronaldo deserves to be crowned the world's best player but he has warned the Manchester United winger he could lose the title in 2009.

Joe Cole not for sale

Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari insists he has no intention of selling England midfielder Joe Cole to London rivals Tottenham.

Podolski set for Cologne

Unsettled Bayern Munich forward Lukas Podolski is likely to be sold to his formative club FC Cologne, according to Bayern's general manager Uli Hoeness Friday.

Fans panic over Becks sticker

Obsessed football fans are in a panic that the David Beckham sticker for the Panini albums will not be freely available, Ansa reported on Friday.

Mourinho tips Vieira for return

Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho believes influential French midfielder Patrick Vieira will be back in action for the January 18 Serie A clash against Atalanta.

Zico to take over at CSKA

Brazilian legend Zico will take up the coaching reins at one of Russia's top football teams, CSKA Moscow, the club said Saturday on its website.

Business

Tourism booms on quiet politics

The number of foreign tourist arrivals in the country grew significantly in 2008, thanks to a relatively stable political situation, said industry people.

Local firms zoom in on bank software

Domestic software developers are slowly making a niche in the local banking software market.

Nina ventures into Tk 150cr project

Nina Holdings Ltd, a sister concern of export-oriented Epyllion Group that has been engaged in manufacturing and exporting of knit fabrics and apparels since 1994, is set to go for a new venture eyeing a diversification of its business, according to the company officials.

Chief of fraud-hit Indian IT firm lands in prison

The disgraced former chairman of top Indian outsourcing firm Satyam was sent to prison Saturday, days after admitting to a one-billion dollar fraud which has shaken the country's business community.

No privatisation plan for Khulna jute mills

The government has no plan to privatise any more state-owned jute mills of Khulna-Jessore industrial belt, instead steps will be taken to run the sick jute mills properly and reopen the closed ones as early as possible, said a state minister of the newly formed government yesterday.

Losing jobs in painful truth

Behind the latest unemployment figures showing another 500,000-plus Americans lost their jobs is a sad truth: The deeper the recession becomes, the more it touches people whose livelihoods have never been threatened by dark financial times.

Media dub Satyam scandal India's Enron

A billion-dollar false accounting scandal at one of India's biggest outsourcing firms dominated the country's media Thursday, with newspapers likening it to that at US energy giant Enron.

Stocks in the red

Dhaka stocks were in the red last week because of correction in the share prices following a bull-run in two previous weeks.

China milk back in favour

The milk industry in China has made a stunning recovery just three months after its tainted products sent the country, and the world, into a massive panic.

Construction fair ends

A four-day exhibition of construction equipment and technology ended yesterday amid a good turnout of sector-specific visitors, such as builders and engineers.

BBF launches business campaign for youth

Bangladesh Brand Forum (BBF) yesterday announced a year-long campaign aimed at giving the country's youth an insight into future business and thus preparing them for the days to come.

Jakarta electronics firms begin mass layoffs

Several large electronics companies in Bintan, Riau Island in Indonesia, affected by the global economic downturn, have begun large-scale worker layoffs, a local manpower agency official said Thursday.

Scrapping of BTTB's privatisation agreement demanded

Leaders of Bangladesh T&T Sramik Karmachari Federal Union Saturday urged the government to scrap caretaker government decision of converting BTTB into a private limited company.

Oil prices close to $40

Oil prices fell close to 40 dollars on Friday after a highly volatile trading week as new US data showed rising unemployment and deepening recession in the world's biggest oil consuming nation.

Citigroup, Morgan Stanley talk about merging units

Officials at the embattled banks Citigroup and Morgan Stanley will negotiate over the weekend about possibly combining their wealth management businesses, a deal mostly aimed at bolstering Citi with much-needed cash.

Croatia cuts gas to major consumers amid crisis

Croatia on Saturday cut gas to major consumers in Zagreb as the supply crisis provoked by a dispute between Russia and Ukraine bit harder and below-freezing temperatures pushed up consumption.

Boeing to shed 4,500 jobs

US aerospace giant Boeing said Friday it would cut about 4,500 jobs beginning next month amid a weakening global economy.

Lloyds to pay US fine of 350m in sanctions probe

British-based Lloyds TSB Bank agreed Friday to pay a 350 million dollar penalty to settle a probe that it illegally handled financial transfers for Iran and Sudan in violation of US sanctions.

BB gets new executive director

Bangladesh Bank (BB) has recently promoted Md Mahabubul Islam to executive director, according to a press statement.

Weekly Currency Roundup

Jan 4– Jan 7, 2009
Local FX Market

This week, the market was reasonably active and US dollar was stable against the Bangladesh Taka. There was demand for dollar in the market.

Metropolitan

Materialise Bangabandhu's dream of Sonar Bangla: PM

The nation yesterday celebrated the historic homecoming day of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Sea border, trade to get priority

The new government will take effective measures on emergency basis for determining maritime boundary with the neighbours and enhancing trade cooperation with eastern countries, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hasan Mahmud said yesterday.

Vow to free Bangladesh from corruption, war criminals

Several hundred teachers, students, officials and employees of Rajshahi University (RU) at a rally yesterday vowed to build a Bangladesh free from poverty, corruption, militancy and war criminals.

Prof Andrew's death irreparable loss

Speakers at a condolence meeting yesterday said the sad demise of Dr Andrew Alok Kumar Dewary caused an irreparable loss to the country's communication and journalism studies.

Call to work together for greater dev of port city

Newly appointed Shipping Minister Afsarul Amin here yesterday called on all to work together for the greater development of Chittagong.

Steps soon for internet service at UZ level

Post and Telecommunications Minister Raziuddin Ahmed Razu yesterday called on all to work unitedly for building a 'Digital Bangladesh' by 2021, which is the vision of the present government.

Road crashes kill five

Five people were killed and 17 others injured in separate road accidents in the city, in Magura, Pabna and Gopalganj yesterday.

BCL factions fight to occupy JCD rooms at Dhaka College

At least five Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activists were injured and 10 rooms ransacked at two student dormitories in Dhaka College during a factional clash over occupation of JCD rooms last night.

'Health sector to be modernised'

Health Minister Dr AFM Ruhul Haq yesterday said country's health sector would be modernised through making 'community clinics' effective and commoners' access to health service would be ensured at any cost.

SAHR demands end to Israeli attacks on Gaza

Members of South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) yesterday called for an end to Israel's aggression on the civilian population in Gaza.

Ministers patronise party criminals

BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain yesterday alleged that criminals belonging to the ruling party are attacking his party leaders and workers under the patronisation of responsible ministers.

Unicef concerned as UNRWA forced to suspend work in Gaza

Unicef has expressed deep concern as United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was forced to suspend its humanitarian operation in Gaza due to the ongoing violence.

JCD leader beaten by Jubo League, BCL men

A ward level leader of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) was beaten with sticks by the activists of ruling party youth and student fronts, leaving him injured in the city's Jatrabari area last night.

Execute verdict in Bangabandhu murder case

Speakers at a discussion yesterday demanded immediate execution of the verdict of Bangabandhu murder case.

Stranded Pakistanis greet Hasina

Stranded Pakistanis General Repatriation Committee (SPGRC) yesterday greeted Sheikh Hasina on her assumption of the office of prime minister and Awami League's landslide victory in the December 29 Jatiya Sangsad election.

PM to attend cabinet divn office today

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will attend her cabinet division office in Bangladesh Secretariat today for the first time after assuming prime ministerial duties for the second time.

Zillur Rahman hospitalised

The country's would-be president and deputy leader of parliament Zillur Rahman was admitted to Square Hospital in the city yesterday afternoon for a routine medical check-up.

Altaf, Sharif win Prothom Alo best book awards

Poet Altaf Hossain and ornithologist Sharif Khan were honoured with 'Prothom Alo Barsha Sera Boi-1414' (best book of the year) award for their books 'Pakhi Bole' and 'Bangladesher Pakhi' respectively.

Madrasa students beat woman, set fir to her microbus

Students of a madrasa assaulted a woman and set fire to her microbus over a land dispute in the city's Uttarkhan area yesterday evening.

Two boys kidnapped

An anonymous caller has phoned guardians of two minor children demanding Tk 3 lakh as ransom for release of their sons who were abducted from Singsri village at Dhamrai on Friday.

DU Gha, Kha unit results published

The results of the 1st year admission tests of 'Gha' and 'Kha' units at Dhaka University for the academic session 2008-2009 were published yesterday.

Workshop on quality edn held

Speakers at a workshop on quality education emphasised the need for applying innovative methods in teaching so that students become ready for challenges of the 21st century.

Ideal School guardians protest fee hike

Guardians of the students of Ideal School and College yesterday staged demonstration in front of the school gate in Motijheel protesting the raise of session and tuition fees without prior notice.

Urea seized

Coast Guard members seized three trawlers along with 400 sacks of urea and arrested a man from the Baleshwar river near Sanyashi village at Morelganj upazila in the district on Friday midnight.

5 fishermen kidnapped in Bagerhat

Pirates looted valuables worth Tk 10 lakh from eight boats and kidnapped five fishermen for ransom from Kachikhali, Dublarchar and Narikelbaria areas in between Mongla and Sharankhola upazilas on Friday night.

Shops, valuables burnt in Ctg fire

Five mattress shops and properties worth Tk three lakh were reduced to ashes in a devastating fire in the city's Pathantuli Road area yesterday afternoon.

Emdad new executive director of CRP

Md Emdad Moslem has recently joined as the new executive director of CRP, says a press release.

National

Shibir showdown sparks tension at RU

Tension mounted on Rajshahi University (RU) campus yesterday evening as a large number of Islami Chhatra Shibir activists held a meeting at the central mosque of the university, violating rules of the institution.

Try war criminals, execute Bangabandhu murder verdict

Amra Muktijoddhar Santan, a platform of freedom fighters' children, yesterday formed human chains and organised rallies at Chapainawabganj town and on Rajshahi University (RU) campus demanding trial of war criminals and immediate execution of the verdict of Bangabandhu murder case.

Fertiliser carrying cost rises as Baghabari port idle

Baghabari port has been virtually lying idle for weeks as cargo vessels and barges with huge quantity of fertiliser, rice and fuel are not arriving there due to problem of navigability and dispute between leaseholders and the owners of cargo vessels and barges over charges.

Bogra AL leader accused of grabbing house

Lawyer Tripti Rahman has brought allegation of illegally occupying her house against Bogra district Awami League Vice President Rafiqul Islam Bhuiyan, his son Mahfuzul Islam Romel and some other people.

Steps on way to cut fertiliser prices

Planning Minister Air Vice Marshal (retd) AK Khandaker yesterday said the government has taken initiatives to reduce prices of diesel and fertiliser to boost agriculture sector.

Action ordered against hill cutters in Khagrachhari

State Minister for Environment and Forest Mohammad Mostafizur Rahman yesterday ordered the authorities concerned to take stern action against hill plunderers in Khagrachhari district.

Upazila poll runners vow to curb corruption

Candidates in Rangpur Sadar upazila election yesterday vowed to make the upazila administration corruption free, if elected.

Minister assures smooth power supply

Uninterrupted supply of electricity will be ensured from 11:00pm to 6:00am for smooth irrigation during boro season .

Nine out of 37 runners face cases

Nine out of 37 runners for four posts of upazila chairmen in Magura district face cases while at least three others concealed their earlier criminal records in their affidavits submitted to the election office (EO), official records say.

Letters

Israeli atrocities

Killing of innocent Palestinians, including children and women, has crossed the brutality of Nazis. Till now more than 800 have been killed and 2,500 injured. There is place in hospital to treat the wounded innocent victims. It has been well understood that invasion of Gaza in the name of liquidating Hamas is show of power to gain public support in the upcoming Israeli election. This reminds us of the US strategy when the Bush regime invaded Iraq in the name of democracy against WMD or terror.

A ' new democracy'

The parliamentary elections were held after a very unpredictable period in the political arena of our country. It is worth mentioning that we have ugly political parties who when in power have absolute disregard for the rights of the people. It is here that we have political parties with very little competency for what they are bestowed with every 5 years running the country. Now, I believe the people have had bitter experiences during the tenure of every government. Frankly speaking, so far we have had no realistic vision from anyone. It is all big talk and no action. Basically, every party has been following their whims and desires to varying degrees, whenever possible.

Our dreams

I am not a great fan of the Awami League. Yet, I have accepted the people's verdict. Now remains a great future to see where the new leaders will set a trend of sacrifices and relentless endeavours to make the lot of the millions of this ill-fated nation shine with pride. They are our new leaders. We long to come out of the vortex of darkness into the colourful world of success in human freedom. A freedom where we will cherish our long lost norms of social justice and peace amongst all without any mud-slinging politics of revenge and hate.

Race for supremacy

The massacre of Mumbai is an indirect recognition of the growing importance of India and China in the global economy during the coming decade; after the flirting with US$ [ as admitted by the rich Western industrialised powers].

Minority issue

I felt disturbed while reading a section of an editorial published in DS on 29 December 2008 with the headline "2001 still haunts Hindus in Barisal"

Task ahead

It's new in Bangladesh. In 2001, it was perhaps an anti-incumbency vote for the Awami League, though there is ample evidence available now with the Election Commission database that the 2001 elections might have been rigged. However, this time it is a positive vote. Despite all attempts by the BNP and the Jamaat to wipe out the Awami league during their coalition rule, the later emerged as the single largest party. Maybe many will try to take credit for the large turnout of voters, but this time it is due to our resilience, and to our younger and women voters.

Soap operas - our daily diet

Being a marginalized male in a female dominated in front of TV household, I have been forced to watch the endless series of Soap Operas on the three popular Indian Channels evening after evening and far into the night (sports, news, NatGeo, Discovery, others only during commercial breaks). Sleep eventually comes as a merciful escape into the world of reality. My observations (since this is the time of Observers, foreign and local!):

Hijri New Year

I welcome the letter by Eng. Enamul Huq on 4 January about an Islamic Calendar like the Gregorian Calendar which has the same day and date spanning the whole globe in a period of 24 hours. However, for this we need to learn very simple mathematics and physics in addition to what is in our holy scriptures to give the act of 'moon-sighting', which is always a local matter, a global effect which does not go against Islamic traditions. When the Gregorian Calendar was introduced in 1582 AD to supersede the Julian Calendar it was only applied in Italy and a handful of European countries, because it was still only accurate in a local manner. The invention of the marine chronometer, and the division of the globe into latitudes and longitudes, and longitudes with further 24 hour time zones with an agreed International Date Line(IDL) are scientific concepts introduced much later to enable the Gregorian Calendar to be applied throughout the whole globe in a consistent manner. These concepts were unknown to Pope Gregory or the Christian world at the time, and although the accepted solar calendar worldwide is known as the Gregorian Calendar, it is actually the scientific International Calendar. England only accepted this calendar in 1752 and Russia around 1910, showing about a passage of 400 years for the maturity of a local calendar into a worldwide phenomenon with scientific expertise which does not violate any religious belief or tradition but is neutral and for the benefit of all mankind.

Flatterers, all around

History says the flatterers are more dangerous than the opponents.

People's mandate for change

The Ninth National Parliamentary Election-- fair, credible and acceptable to all-- was held amid a peaceful, convivial and favourable environment wherein the Awami League-led grand alliance unpredictably secured a landslide victory with a huge number of seats.

Fall of BNP

The BNP has been trounced, out of 299 seats, they managed to get only 32 seats. It is very unfortunate for the party which came to power twice.

A grand opportunity

The caretaker government has delivered what they came to do almost two years ago. One must congratulate the CTG, the Election Commission and, last but not least, the Army. They worked together and with each other to make the voter list, the national ID card and ultimately gave us one of the finest elections which was conducted not only peacefully but with an overwhelming participation from all. It was a long wait for almost two years but they did manage to give an election that might create yet another milestone for Bangladesh. When the present caretaker government took over with the backing of the military they had an overwhelming support but as the time was passing the people seem to have been getting tired and restless. But at last they regained the confidence with the just completed election.

International

UN rights chief speaks of 'war crimes' in Gaza

The UN human rights chief warned a special session of the Human Rights Council on Friday that human rights violations in Gaza and some reported incidents there might warrant prosecutions for war crimes.

'Aggression' must stop

The Palestinian Authority president urged both Israel and Hamas to agree to an Egypt-brokered truce Saturday, but he singled out the Jewish state, saying it would be responsible for a "waterfall of blood" if it didn't accept the deal.

Muslim world expresses anger at Gaza assault

Ten of thousands of Muslims took to the streets Friday from Jakarta to Nouakchott to demonstrate their anger at the Israeli action in Gaza, with the biggest protest taking place in neighbouring Egypt.

UN to resume aid distribution

The United Nations has decided to resume aid distribution for embattled Palestinians in the Gaza Strip after receiving security assurances from Israel, the world body announced.

Eight family members killed in Israeli strike

Eight members of the same Palestinian family, including a 12-year-old, were killed on Saturday by Israeli fire in the northern town of Jabaliya, medics and witnesses said.

Mumbai attack was India's intelligence failure: Gilani

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said 26/11 was India's intelligence failure and blames the international community of playing favourites.

India should not talk of surgical strikes

India should not talk of "surgical strikes" on Pakistan in the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attack, as forces were ready to "retaliate to any aggression", former president Pervez Musharraf said yesterday.

US committed to helping Pakistan fight terror

US vice president-elect Joe Biden on Friday assured Pakistan's leaders of the incoming Obama administration's commitment to helping Islamabad fight extremists, the government here said.

5 Somali pirates drown with ransom share

Five of the Somali pirates who released a hijacked oil-laden Saudi supertanker drowned with their share of a reported $3 million ransom after their small boat capsized, a pirate and a relative of one of the dead men said yesterday.

Blast in India's northeast kills two

A powerful blast on Friday at a crowded market in the Indian city of Guwahati left at least two people dead, police said.

Amnesty dares Obama to mention date for Guantanamo closure

Amnesty International called Friday on US president-elect Barack Obama to announce a date for the closure of Guantanamo Bay, as the US-run prison in Cuba approaches its seventh anniversary.

Corruption-tainted governor vows to fight impeachment

The corruption-tainted governor of Illinois vowed Friday to fight impeachment on charges that he abused his power and tried to auction off president-elect Barack Obama's senate for personal gain.

Furore in Italy over proposed tax on immigrants

Proposals by Italy's anti-immigration Northern League to charge immigrants 50 euros (67 dollars) for residency permits and require a 10,000 euro guarantee to set up a business sparked a furore yesterday.

Georgia, US sign strategic accord

The United States and Georgia signed an accord here Friday to bolster defence, trade and energy ties in a new sign of US support for Georgia after its brief war with Russia in August.

Baltimore mayor indicted on theft, perjury charges

For Sheila Dixon's entire tenure as mayor, a City Hall corruption probe has threatened to overshadow successes that have included a reduction in violent crime.

Ex-Liberian dictator's son sentenced to 97 years in US jail

"Chuckie" Taylor, son of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, was sentenced in a US federal court Friday to 97 years in prison for torturing and killing people in the west African country.

Arts & Entertainment

Manipuri dance enchants enthusiasts in port city

Academy of Performing Arts, Chittagong organised a dance recital last Thursday. The event, "Manipuri Nritya Sandhya" offered an enjoyable experience to dance lovers of the port city.

An archive of nation builders

A five-day digital biography and photography exhibition titled "Jibon O Chitrey Gunijan" ended at the La Galerie, Alliance Francaise de Dacca, Dhanmondi yesterday. Initiated by 'Gunijan Karmasuchi' and in association with Alliance Francaise de Dacca, the exhibition started on January 6.

2nd Int’l Children’s Film Festival from January 24

With the slogan "Future in Frames," 2nd International Children's Film Festival '09 will start on January 24. Organised by Children's Film Society Bangladesh and supported by Unicef, the weeklong festival will end on January 30. Over 120 feature, documentary, short and animation films from 40 countries will be screened at the festival, which is the first and only of its kind in the country. Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed will inaugurate the festival.

Chobi Mela V to begin on January 30

Chobi Mela, Asia's largest and one of the most prominent photography festivals in the world will start from January 30, 2009. The announcement was made at a press conference yesterday at Drik Gallery.

A book club, 25 years on…

Celebrating the silver jubilee of Bangladesh Book Club (BBC), a day-long programme was organised by the BBC local unit here. The programmes included a colourful rally, discussion, poetry recitation and staging of a play on the Liberation War.

Purna wins hearts in Khagrachhari

Some thousand spectators braved a bitterly cold day to attend a cultural programme held recently at Khagrachhari Police Lines.

I’m charmed by Shah Rukh -- Aamir Khan

Aamir Khan on being a marketing monster, feeling powerful, doing bench presses, ganging up with Salman on Shah Rukh, handling flops and more:

OP-ED

Exit strategies: The voters show the way

BY the time this piece appears in print the caretaker government will have made its final exit. As it has turned out, they will have a relatively graceful exit. They have presided over one of the freest and fairest general elections so far held in Bangladesh. They have kept to their promise to depart once they have discharged their primary responsibility of handing over power to the elected government. Finally, the CTG and its principal backers, the armed forces, have validated, by their actions, their repeated commitment that they had no ulterior agenda of perpetuating themselves.

Why AL won

THE Awami League has won the National Election 2008 by a stunning landslide for many solid reasons including some indefensible faults of its opponent. In a pre-election analysis, Jyoti Rahman and I identified five decisive factors which were likely to determine the results of this election.

Quest for a worthy government

THE consolidation and subsequent retention of power has historically proved an altogether more difficult task for Bangladeshi political parties than gaining it. It has given rise to the theory that the Bangladeshi electorate is overcome by some kind of "anti-incumbent" tendency each time they go to vote.

Whither nationalist politics?

THIS piece is not an attempt at predicting where nationalist politics will go in the coming years. Rather, I have outlined a few factors -- how to deal with India, income inequality and social dislocation, political Islam, and global geopolitical developments -- that nationalist politics will have to contend with independent of any peronality changes at the helm.

Star City

Rectifying deviant buildings Rajuk's major challenge

Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) appears helpless in rectifying building construction deviations in the face of widespread anomalies.

Small stores to slip out of taxman

Next time you visit the local department store, keep your ears open for curious jingles of typing noises coming from the cash counter.

Days of deadly fumes pass off at long last

At long last, forty-six years after its founding, the Lucas battery factory at West Nakhalpara, has turned off its machines emitting deadly fumes in the area.


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