The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Thursday, October 2, 2014


News of: Sunday, 18th of January, 2009

Front Page

Over 4sq km area to subside up to 2m

About 4.2 square kilometre-area of the underground Barapukuria coal mine site will subside by up to two metres in the mine's 30 year-life, says a highly placed Petrobangla source.

Canadian cops open probe into scandal

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is looking into allegations that Calgary-based energy company Niko Resources Ltd or its subsidiary made improper payments to public officials in Bangladesh to bag a joint venture deal with Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration Company (Bapex) to develop three marginal gas fields.

UN-run school struck in Gaza

Israel pummelled Gaza with new strikes yesterday destroying 50 targets, including a UN-run school sheltering hundreds of refuges in the north, hours before an expected unilateral halt to a 22-day war on Hamas.

Perks, clout in khatib post led to ugly race

The government perks and other benefits for the khatib of Baitul Mukarram National Mosque, who enjoys the status of a joint secretary, seem to be the main reason behind the troubles brewed often centring the post.

CU padlocked

Academic and administrative activities of Chittagong University (CU) came to a standstill yesterday as activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) CU unit padlocked the main gate including all faculty buildings.

Voter number was 4,091

The document the BNP recently came up with to substantiate its claim of rigging and irregularities in the ninth parliamentary election is not accurate as it mentions an incorrect number of voters at the polling station concerned.

Industrial pollution chokes people, crops alike

Ammonia mixed toxic gas and urea dust emitted from Jamuna Fertiliser Factory (JFF) in Jamalpur have allegedly been wreaking havoc on the local environment and causing debilitating illnesses among the locals.

BCL goes berserk

Although ruling party Awami League's associated student organisation Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) has been clashing among themselves and with rival student organisations on campuses of different educational institutions all over the country since the recent parliamentary election, the home ministry is 'still investigating' the incidents.

Deputy speaker from opposition, no chance for war criminals

Abdus Shahid, who was picked to be chief whip by prime minister, said the nation would not accept any war criminal as the deputy speaker of the parliament if the opposition party proposes such name.

Dealers warned against selling fertiliser at higher prices

The government will confiscate dealership licences and forfeit security money if any dealer is found selling fertiliser at a higher price than the government-fixed rate.

Hasina to talk to SA nations for terror taskforce

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said she would talk to other countries of South Asia to form Anti-Terrorism Task Force as her newly elected government wants to build Bangladesh as a peaceful country.

BNP to go for party revamp after upazila elections

BNP will start the process of overhauling the party from the ground up by forming, reconstituting and making active its committees at different levels after the January 22 upazila polls.

New VC Arefin pledges to hold Ducsu polls

The newly appointed Dhaka University (DU) Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof AAMS Arefin Siddque yesterday formally took charge of the office from former DU VC Prof SMA Faiz at around 10:30am.

Over 120 attorneys to get appointed

The Attorney General's Office is going to be reshuffled soon through appointing over 120 new attorneys following the political changeover.

20 hurt as BCL factions clash over cell phone

At least 20 students were injured yesterday as two rival groups of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) of Jagannath University unit clashed over snatching of a mobile phone from one of their activists on Thursday.

149 killed in extra-judicial action in '08

At least 149 people were victims of extra-judicial killings while 454 women and children the victims of rape across the country in 2008, shows a report revealed by Odhikar, a human rights organisation.

Robber killed in gunbattle with cops

An alleged robber was killed and three others were wounded including a police official during a gun battle between police and armed robbers at Nitaishah village in Ghoraghat upazila of Dinajpur Friday midnight.

Guards revolt in Rajshahi prison

Several hundred prison guards yesterday staged angry protests in and outside Rajshahi Central Jail for over three hours after a senior prison official allegedly assaulted a jail guard.

Trial under tribunal act-1973

Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shafique Ahmed yesterday said trial of war criminals is one of the main election pledges of the government.

Saching Prue new Mong King

Saching Prue Chowdhury ascended the throne as the 8th Mong Circle's King yesterday evening following the death of his father Paihala Prue Chowdhury who died in a road accident on October 22 last year.

Thai navy abandoned migrants at sea

Thailand's navy abandoned hundreds of illegal migrants on a barge in the Indian Ocean where about 300 desperate people with little food and water later drowned, a refugees' advocacy group said.

Pakistan must act against militants

India's premier said yesterday that Pakistan must "in its own interest" hunt down Islamic militants blamed for the attacks in Mumbai which have heightened tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Tamil Tigers kill 51 soldiers

Tamil Tigers killed 51 Sri Lankan soldiers in fierce fighting in the island's north, a pro-rebel Website reported yesterday.

Editorial

Sanctity of the national mosque

IT is highly regrettable that on the past two successive Fridays Baitul Mukarram, the premier venue of Jumma congregation in the city, had to witness noisy disturbances, fisticuffs and even hurling of shoes centring around appointment of principal Md Salauddin as the new Khatib.

Widening dimensions of Gaza conflict

THE Israeli government's rejection of an appeal by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for it to declare a unilateral ceasefire in Gaza is the latest sad twist to an increasingly agonizing story. In the three weeks since Israeli forces launched their offensive against Hamas militants in Gaza, more than 1,000 Palestinians have died through a demonstration of Israeli firepower, with most of the victims being women and children. In the last one week, Israeli soldiers have attacked local neighbourhoods in Gaza while Tel Aviv's airpower has relentlessly pounded away at residential buildings in the name of flushing out Hamas militants. Not even the UN compound there has been spared, an act of wanton aggression that has forced US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to raise the issue with the Israeli leadership. Now Amnesty International has weighed in with a call for an investigation into the incident and has even hinted at the attack being regarded as a war crime.

Koko's kickbacks

ARRIVAL of US-UK team to Dhaka to identify the persons involved in laundering of $200 million to Singapore and to help Bangladesh recover the money is a significant development towards retrieving of our stolen wealth siphoned off abroad.

Challenges for the new government

IN simplistic terms, communism failed as an economic system because it could not sustain itself in meeting the demands of the people, as the supply of the commodities was determined more through bureaucratic fiat than through an analysis of the real demand for the goods and services.

Flattery, please; who wants friends?

ONE of the most instructive stories I have read about democracy comes from 1865. John Stuart Mill, the British philosopher, was an independent parliamentary candidate for Westminster that year. He was campaigning to extend the franchise to the working class. He was making his pitch before an audience when someone entered the hall carrying a billboard. On it was a quotation from Mill: “The lower classes, though mostly habitual liars, are ashamed of lying.”

Sports

Brothers struggle to a draw

Brothers Union were virtually out of the B League title race after they were held to a goalless draw by relegation-bound Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.

Time to move on and build on near glory

After a tumultuous four weeks, the Sri Lankan team spent some quiet time yesterday at a private farm on the outskirts of Dhaka. A welcome break from the clamour of the Tests and particularly of the one-day tournament no doubt, when you consider what the islanders had to go through to have a statistically successful time in Bangladesh.

Barisal nearly there

Barisal started celebrating clinching the title of the 10th National Cricket League one-day competition when they managed a three-run victory in the penultimate round against Chittagong at the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium yesterday.

India may stick to winning unit

As the selectors prepare to pick the Indian team for their first assignment in 2009 -- five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 in Sri Lanka -- they know that they do not need to make many changes to an ODI outfit which has had a fine year under Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Aussies under pressure

A committed South African chase provided serious excitement at the start of the five-game series against Australia as the visitors sneaked to a three-wicket success in Melbourne on Friday. After the home side posted a confident 271 for eight, Johan Botha's men recovered from being 90 for three and 221 for seven to end their sequence of three defeats in a row.

Rajshahi, Khulna win

Rajshahi managed a one-run win over Barisal while Khulna beat Chittagong by six wickets in the Women's National Cricket League yesterday.

Keeping No. 1 place is tougher: Sehwag

As the race to become the No. 1 Test team hots up, Virender Sehwag -- who on Friday won the Cricinfo's Test Batting Performance of the Year award in a ceremony in Delhi -- believes it is going to be no easy task for India or South Africa to knock Australia off the top spot.

Clarke to miss rest of SA series

Australia batsman Michael Clarke will miss the rest of their one-day international series with South Africa, in order to rest his injured thumb.

Siam takes the lead

Ikramul Haque Siam maintained winning run in the 29th National Sub-Junior Chess Championships by winning the sixth round at the federation hall-room yesterday.

'Win to win money'

Donald Peters, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) chief executive, has urged the national team to "start winning in order to attract sponsors". The WICB failed to get sponsors for the domestic one- and four-day competitions this season, but Peters reaffirmed that the board had enough funds of its own to cover the expenses.

Nalbandian wins Sydney title

Fourth seed David Nalbandian became the first Argentine to win the Sydney International ATP title with a fighting three-set victory over Finland's unseeded Jarkko Nieminen on Saturday.

Niaz stays on course

Grand Master Niaz Murshed won his eighth round board against Ramakrishna of India in the seventh Parsvnath International Open Chess Tournament in New Delhi yesterday.

Vaughan bats for Pietersen

Michael Vaughan has said former skipper Kevin Pietersen deserves another chance as England captain.

BCCI starts examining Kapil

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Friday started cross-examining former India cricket team captain Kapil Dev on the allegations levelled by him against the board for allegedly taking punitive action against him and his Indian Cricket League (ICL) colleagues.

Kaka exit on the cards

AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi hinted on Saturday that he is in favour of the proposed 100 million euro transfer of Kaka to Manchester City.

Timely boost for Federer

Roger Federer received a timely confidence boost ahead of the Australian Open after lifting his second warm-up title in five years at the Kooyong Classic Saturday.

Scolari might off-load

Luiz Felipe Scolari is ready to sell any player unhappy with life at Chelsea as the Blues boss tries to revive the club's flagging spirits.

Rafa wants full control

Rafael Benitez has rejected a proposed new contract from Liverpool and warned the club that he will not sign a new deal unless he is given full control of transfer policy.

'City not right for Kaka'

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres thinks Brazilian star Kaka would be wrong to join mega rich Manchester City because the club are not currently competing for silverware, the benchmark for ambitious players.

Gourcuff will return if Milan rate him

The father of Bordeaux's France international midfielder Yoann Gourcuff said Friday that his son, currently on loan with the French outfit, would return to AC Milan if the Italians show they have "confidence" in his abilities.

'Messi better than C'Ron'

Argentine coach Diego Maradona on Friday rated Lionel Messi as the best player in the world, rather than FIFA choice Cristiano Ronaldo.

Pennant wants to stay

Liverpool have accepted an undisclosed bid for out-of-favour Jermaine Pennant from Portsmouth but the former Arsenal and Birmingham winger is reluctant to move to the south coast.

Makukula joins Bolton

Portugal international Aziza Makukula of Benfica has been loaned to Bolton till the end of the season, the top Portuguese club said on Friday, after a move to West Bromwich Albion fell through.

Kinnear offered extended deal

Joe Kinnear claims he has been offered the chance to carry on as Newcastle's manager beyond the end of the season on what he described as "very lucrative" terms.

Ronaldinho suspended

Brazilian international Ronaldinho was handed a three-match Italian Cup suspension on Friday for elbowing Lazio's Czech defender David Rozenhal in a last 16 clash.

Yobo in line for derby

Everton's Nigerian defender Joseph Yobo is in line for a place in the squad to face city rivals Liverpool in the Merseyside derby on Monday as he returned to training Saturday after four matches out with hamstring trouble.

Business

Trade tops bank loan

The sectoral distribution of bank credit has marked a significant change, with a majority share going for trade financing, central bank data show.

Dhaka trade fair gathers pace with pricey tag

The 14th Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF) pulled a huge crowd on the weekend on Friday and yesterday with customers complaining of high prices charged by the companies participating in the month-long extravaganza.

Grameen Danone Foods enters Dhaka market

Grameen Danone Foods Ltd entered Dhaka market yesterday with its nutrient-rich 'Shakti' brand food items to build a cushion against the subsidy it provides for selling the products at cheaper rates among the rural poor.

Wellpac exports to plastic bag market in Europe

An export-oriented Dutch-Bangla joint venture company started its journey last month.

Old Dhaka businessmen seek recognition

Businessmen yesterday urged the government to recognise the contribution of trade and commerce by Old Dhaka businessmen and help fast-track expansion of the commercial hub.

NBR chief promises to end business barriers

National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Mohammad Abdul Mazid said yesterday the government took steps to update age-old rules on customs, VAT and other taxes to remove barriers to business.

More bank trouble ahead

The haemorrhaging among the nation's biggest banks was supposed to have subsided after the government doled out $350 billion in federal bailout money last fall. That hasn't happened.

Marketing of politics

If you were to analyse the recent elections and outcome in Bangladesh from the perspective of marketing as a discipline, it is indeed not much of a surprise of what has happened. Of course there are several ways our pundits are interpreting the elections in their own kaleidoscopic view. My analysis of this election is from a marketing viewpoint. And I mean marketing as a discipline as we learn in business schools and not the typical "Let us go for marketing to New Market."

Stocks pass second week in the red

Dhaka stocks were in the red for a second week, with most investors participating in the trade of manufacturing sector shares trade instead of high capitalisation banking sectors.

United Airways cuts fuel surcharge

Local private carrier United Airways has slashed its fuel surcharge by 30 percent on an average on all routes to benefit passengers from the drop in oil price, said a statement yesterday.

Uttara Bank elects vice-chairman

Uttara Bank Limited has elected Iftekharul Islam, as the vice-chairman of the bank's board of directors, says a press release.

Arabs lost $2.5 trillion from credit crunch: Kuwait

Arab investors have lost 2.5 trillion dollars from the credit crunch, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Sabah, whose country hosts an Arab economic summit next week, said on Friday.

ConocoPhillips to cut 4pc of staff, take hefty writeoffs

US oil giant ConocoPhillips said Friday it was preparing to cut four percent of its global workforce and take writeoffs of 34 billion dollars to cope with weak energy prices and a slumping economy.

Circuit City to close 567 remaining US stores

Circuit City became the largest retailer to fall victim to the expanding financial crisis Friday, announcing it will shut down its remaining 567 U.S. stores at the cost of 34,000 more jobs after failing to sell the business.

China pledges to join hands with Africa amid global crisis

China vowed Friday it would continue to invest in and help Africa even though it was reeling from the effects of the financial crisis, urging developing countries to stand together to deal with the global downturn.

Weekly Currency Roundup

Jan 11, 2009-Jan 15, 2009
Local FX Market
This week, the market was active and US dollar was stable against the Bangladesh Taka. There was demand for dollar in the market.

Metropolitan

Pro-AL contractors prevent others to drop tenders

A syndicate of contractors aligned with Awami League has prevented others from dropping tenders for the work of a water supply project under Khulna City Corporation (KCC).

'Ensure friendly atmosphere for people with disability'

Speakers at a wheelchair distribution ceremony yesterday underlined the need for establishing a sound and friendly atmosphere for people with disability to ensure a dignified position for them in society.

Hasina seeks UK support in combating terrorism

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday sought cooperation from the British government in combating terrorism in Southeast Asia and in increasing foreign investment in Bangladesh.

Implement pledges to ensure rights of excluded community

The first-ever two-day national human rights conference on Dalit and excluded community ended in the city yesterday with a call to the government to implement its pledges in the election manifesto regarding excluded community.

Ensure healthcare for the poor

Health Minister Dr AFM Ruhul Haque yesterday called on medical professionals to perform their duties sincerely to ensure healthcare services for the poor.

Trial process soon

Finance and Planning Minister AMA Muhit yesterday said the government is set to start taking steps for the trial of war criminals.

Steps taken to stop arms smuggling from neighbouring states

Home Minister Advocate Sahara Khatun yesterday said they have taken measures to stop smuggling of illegal arms from the neighbouring countries.

Women MPs to ensure development of women

As more women were elected to parliament this year, they would help create more opportunities for the development of women, rights activists said at a daylong workshop yesterday.

Self-sufficiency in food to be achieved again

Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury yesterday said the country would once again achieve self-sufficiency in food.

Gaziul Haque hands over memorabilia to museum

Language movement veteran Gaziul Haque and his family members yesterday handed the memorabilia and some documents over to Language Movement Museum with a view to letting the next generation know about the historic 21st February of 1952 and recalling those turbulent days.

Wife killed allegedly by husband

A housewife was allegedly killed by her husband in Dhanmondi area in the city yesterday.

DU JCD man beaten by BCL activists

Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activists yesterday beat up a Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) man on the Dhaka University campus.

10 injured in BCL- Chhatra Moitree clash at Rajshahi Polytech

At least 10 people were injured in a string of clashes between the activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) and Chhatra Moitree on Rajshahi Polytechnic Institute (RPI) campus on Friday night.

15 injured as boiler explodes in N'ganj factory

Fifteen workers were injured as a boiler exploded at an export-oriented garment factory at Uttar Masdair at Fatullah in the district.

BNP upazila chairman candidate alleges attack from rivals

The BNP-backed chairman candidate of Gabtali upazila in Bogra Zahidul Islam Helal yesterday alleged that the supporters of his contender attacked him, vandalised his cars used for canvassing and set fire to the residence of a BNP leader.

700 juveniles involved in crimes in city

Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Naim Ahmed yesterday said around 700 juvenile criminals are involved in different crimes in the city and a social initiative should be launched to get rid of the problem.

Programmes to mark Zia's birth anniversary

Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its associate organisations have drawn up a weeklong programme to mark the 73rd birth anniversary of late president Ziaur Rahman, founder of the party, tomorrow.

180th founding anniversary of Rajshahi Collegiate School

Rajshahi Collegiate School, one of the oldest schools in the subcontinent, will celebrate its 180th anniversary with a two-day programme on January 23 and 24.

Physiotherapy students resume hunger strike

Bangladesh Physiotherapy Students' Union (BPSU) resumed their hunger strike at the Central Shaheed Minar yesterday, as the government did not implement the pledges it had made nearly two months ago.

Police raid 3 JU halls as BCL factions clash

Police raided three halls of Jahangirnagar University (JU) early yesterday in the wake of clash between two groups of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCI) activists.

7 more fertiliser dealers appointed in Rangpur

The district fertiliser and seed monitoring committee appointed seven more fertiliser dealers for Mithapukur upazila that raised the total number of fertiliser dealers to 104 in the district, officials said.

Deal extortionists with iron hand

Labour, Employment and Expatriates Welfare Minister Engr Khondoker Mosharraf Hossain called upon the law enforcing agencies to deal the terrorists and extortionists with an iron hand to restore law and order situation in the district which would help pave the way for ensuring normal development process.

Call to hold direct polls to women's reserved seats

Leaders of Narigrontho Probortona, a woman rights organisation, yesterday demanded the government place a bill in the first session of the 9th parliament for holding a direct election to the reserved seats for women in the house.

JU admission tests now from Feb 3

Jahangirnagar University (JU) has rescheduled the admission tests for its honours courses.

BNSB holds AGM

Bangladesh National Society for the Blind (BNSB) organised the annual general meeting (AGM) at its Mirpur office in the city yesterday, says a press release.

One killed in road accident

One person was killed in a road accident at Mostafi bus stand in Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila yesterday.

Artistes demands steps to restore discipline at Bafa

A group of cultural activists yesterday called on the government to take necessary steps to restore discipline at Bulbul Lalitkala Academy of Fine Arts (Bafa).

National

Vow to check unrest in edn institutions in Rajshahi city

Leaders of different political parties, heads of educational institutions and student organisation of Rajshahi at a meeting yesterday agreed to abide by a 22-point action policy to keep educational institutions in Rajshahi city free from student unrest and criminal activities.

Dealers stop selling non-urea fertilisers as govt halves rates

Most of the dealers under Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) in the district have stopped selling non-urea fertilizers following agriculture ministry's declaration about subsidy on them.

5 outlaws held in abduction case

Police have taken into custody five outlaws, suspecting their involvement in abduction of eight-year-old schoolboy Chayan Bairagi for ransom of Tk 10 lakh on early hours of Friday from his paternal house at Bhultia village under Dumuria upazila of Khulna district.

Ex-BNP MP Hena's movable property attached

Following a court order, police attached movable property of former BNP lawmaker Abu Hena from his house in Bagmara upzila Friday evening.

11 local AL leaders expelled from party

Eleven Awami League (AL) leaders of three upazilas were expelled for violating party discipline, party sources said.

UZ polls runners vow to uphold child rights

All the candidates who are contesting upazila (UZ) elections for chairmanship and vice-chairmanship of Tangail Sadar upazila yesterday vowed to uphold child rights if they are elected.

Absconding outlaw arrested

An absconding regional commander of the outlawed Biplobi Communist Party (BCP) was arrested from Magura bus stand in Magura in the early hours of Saturday.

Chhatra Moitree resumes politics at RU

After eight years, Bangladesh Chhatra Moitree on Saturday launched their political activities at Rajshahi University campus at a function and formed a 17-member convening committee.

Letters

Genocide in Gaza

Since December 27, the Israeli troops have been killing the innocent Palestinians. Already, more than 900 people have died. Every now and then horrible scenes are being telecast. No one can say how long this will continue. The attack by the Israeli troops is nothing new. Probably it has become their routine work.

Political scenario

The retaining of power for two consecutive years by the caretaker government and the delaying of the national elections have been an exceptionally intriguing situation that has confronted us lately. The caretaker government started off their proceedings by entering into the political arena quite ambitiously but consequently failed to live up to their desired expectations. The more they dug, the more dirt spilled out of the heart of this country. All kinds of obnoxious and filthy corruption were viciously interrelated and no doubt they were unable to cope with all these diverse predicaments and directly hit the core with the extremely restricted time limit they had. Of course in a country rules are made to protect it and for its betterment, but when those same rules and regulations act as a stumbling block for development and change, then they have to be deliberately overlooked. After the tragedy of 1/11, the whole country plunged into deep worries. The political parties all went after each other's throat and made life miserable for the people. Under such immense pressure the caretaker government, which comprised caretakers of the highest esteem with unmatched capabilities which was accompanied by their rather outstanding and remarkable professional careers, succeeded in pushing this country out of the political unrest. But at the end of the day we all would be displeased to unwillingly agree with the fact that they really should have done more.

Accept defeat gracefully

It is heart breaking to see repetition of the same oration by the leader of the losing party, irrespective of whoever the person is. Being one of the members of the post liberation war generation, I earnestly urge all party leaders in current and future Bangladesh to create the legacy of gracefully accepting the election verdict and work in a united fashion for taking our beloved motherland on the path of peaceful political co-existence and achievable developments, the main themes of a multi-party democratic political process. Simultaneously, I also urge the winning party leader to establish a new political culture by meeting the losing party leader to extend her earnest and cordial invitation to work together for the first time in the history of Bangladesh, as we have seen in recent times in the US election that resonated the same theme of "Change". I may be one of the first few to ask for initiating this healthy culture of political humility, but am confident that I am not a loner in my thoughts and urges! We have had enough of the ailing political culture of accepting an election verdict when it goes in favour, while rejecting it if it goes against. We now need to move forward and require to see our politicians working in unison on critical national and economic issues in order to achieve meaningful development.

Hasina and BCL cadres

In 2001, the people of this country voted the AL out of power mainly due to the unprecedented terrorism resorted to by their party cadres, especially the BCL, Jubo League etc. Instead of asking for a halt to those activities, at that time the AL chief even called the BCL cadres as her “ golden boys”-- much to the annoyance and displeasure of the general public. Life in educational institutions, villages and cities became unbearable due to their nefarious activities.

Foreign policy

It is indeed a commendable act by the newly appointed PM to appoint Dipu Moni as the country's first woman foreign minister. It is hoped that this will translate into a more level headed and sober approach to all affairs foreign and their offshoots pertaining to domestic issues too. Her initial comments about dealing with militancy and terrorism are of some concern here and it requires some reflection. Your paper quoted her saying:

Language issue

That language is the dress of thought is more or less known to all of us and every nation in the world has its own mother tongue which is very sweet and dear to the nationals. English is recognised globally as an international language which is in a commanding position among other languages prevalent in different countries of the world. Ever since the period of colonisation by the English of different parts of the world, the use and dissemination of the learning of English language have been widely made with a view to making the position of English firm and consolidated. Even though the mother tongue of a nation is much sweeter than any other language, English as an international language that holds a unique position and it goes without saying that learning of English is of paramount importance.

Hajj

I am writing with reference to a LETTER FROM EUROPE headed “In sorrow, not in anger” written by Mr. Chaklader Mahboob-ul Alam, a columnist of The Daily Star, that appeared in your issue of January 5, 2009. In his letter, Mr. Alam provided details of his agonizing experience while performing Hajj. It is indeed regrettable that his “joy and spiritual exhilaration” was tainted due to the fact that he had to part with his passport as this was taken away by the Immigration Authority of KSA without any receipt. He went to a great length in his frantic efforts for recovery of the passport. He further stated that he “was asked to pay an amount of approximately two hundred euros” to some authority in Medina and was advised to go the next day to collect his passport. Sadly, even after this payment the passport was not delivered as promised!

Price and crime

The Awami League has earned my appreciation for checking the prices of the essentials so quickly. But I wonder why the economists failed to understand during the past caretaker government the Awami League's secret in checking the price hike.

The young and the wise

Are the stalwarts playing the role of the think tank? Will they monitor and the government's decisions if they are going to make any wrong step from behind the curtain? That means, there will be a double layer government system. The young generation will lead the country from the front and the experienced stalwarts will play their role from behind the curtain to build up our beloved Bangladesh. If this is the cause of leaving aside the stalwarts from the cabinet, the AL is really going to bring a change and finally they have to realize there is nothing to mind. Every one from top to bottom, whether in the government as cabinet members or not will have to work for the sake of building Bangladesh, that is, the cherished dream of the freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for the cause of our independence.

“Remittances keep growing”

This refers to the editorial of Jan. 10, with the above title.

Hats off to Venezuelan president

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has expelled the Israeli Ambassador from his country. We endorse it, it is a sign of great wisdom and humanity.

Why this disrespect?

As a nation why are we so underdeveloped, poor and uneducated, why does the country has hundreds and thousands of problems? Why is there no discipline in our everyday life, why are we still an underdeveloped country despite being independent for 38 years? I guess we all know the answer. We have forgotten to respect each other.

International

UNGA demands immediate Gaza truce

The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly late Friday to demand an immediate and durable ceasefire in the strife-torn Gaza Strip leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces.

Arab leaders accuse Israel of 'crimes of war and genocide'

Arab and other Muslim leaders meeting on Friday in Qatar accused Israel of "crimes of war and genocide" in Gaza, where the Jewish state has conducted a three-week onslaught against rulers Hamas.

Pakistan wants peace, but will not compromise

Pakistan's Army Chief General Ashfaque Parvaiz Kayani yesterday said his country wanted to defuse tensions with India following the Mumbai terror attacks but without any compromise or under pressure.

Pakistan wants India-type waiver for its nuke plan

Pakistan has said it wants an exemption from the NSG and International Atomic Energy Agency on the lines of the waiver given to India to boost its civil nuclear energy generation capacity with Chinese help.

India will not sign CTBT or NPT: Pranab

India has asserted that it will not sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) or Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) notwithstanding its bilateral atomic agreement with the US, which is expected to pursue these pacts during the Obama government.

More civilians flee amid Lanka fighting

Some 170 people have fled rebel-controlled areas in northern Sri Lanka as fresh fighting erupted across several fronts, the military said yesterday.

Afghan suicide blasts kill 5 civilians, US soldier

Two suicide bombs rocked Afghanistan on Saturday, killing five civilians and wounding dozens of people including a US soldier who later died of his injuries, officials said.

US, Israel seek Palestinian Authority's return to Gaza

With a ceasefire shaping up, the United States and Israel seem to be trying to oust Hamas from the Gaza Strip in order to allow the return of the US-backed Palestinian Authority of Mahmud Abbas.

Israel, US sign anti-Gaza arms smuggling deal

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni signed a deal here Friday aimed at halting arms smuggling into Gaza as part of efforts to clinch a ceasefire.

Water -- a precious commodity in Gaza

Every day when Israel pauses its bombardment of the Gaza Strip, Palestinians launch a ground assault on the territory's public fountains to try to lay their hands on precious supplies of water.

Obama ready to end harsh interrogations

President-elect Barack Obama is preparing to prohibit the use of waterboarding and harsh interrogation techniques by ordering the CIA to follow military rules for questioning prisoners, according to two US officials familiar with drafts of the plans. Still under debate is whether to include a loophole that would allow exceptions in extraordinary cases.

Iran slams Arab 'traitors' in Gaza crisis

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denounced Arab "traitors" and "hypocrites" in the Gaza crisis, in a message Friday to Hamas leader Ismail Haniya, the state news agency IRNA reported.

Iraqi guards throw party for shoe-thrower

The Iraqi journalist jailed since throwing his shoes at President George W. Bush got a visit from his brother Friday and a birthday party from his guards as he turned 30.

NYC investigators hunt for jet's lost engines

Divers and sonar operators hunted for two missing engines from a US Airways jetliner in challenging, nearly impossible conditions as investigators made plans to carefully hoist the damaged plane from the water to retrieve the flight and data recorders.

India slams Miliband's Kashmir-Mumbai linkage

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband's trip to India, billed as a "solidarity visit" following the Mumbai siege, was dubbed a "disaster" yesterday.

Chandrayaan-1 sends images of moon's coldest, darkest craters

Using a Nasa radar flying aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, scientists are getting their first look inside the moon's coldest and darkest craters.

Arts & Entertainment

Padatik Natya Sangsad celebrates 31st anniversary

To observe its 31st anniversary, theatre troupe Padatik Natya Sangsad Bangladesh arranged a colourful programme at the Experimental Theatre Hall, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on January 16. The programme also featured the formal presentation of the Kochi Memorial Award, named after one of Padatik's founding members, the late Abu Muhammad Murtaish Kochi.

The power of masks

A group exhibition of masks by 15 contemporary artists, titled “Mukh O Mukhosh”, is now on at Galleri Kaya, one of the full-fledged galleries of Dhaka. The ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Bangladesh Frank Meyke inaugurated the exhibition while the editor in chief, The Dhaka Courier Enayetullah Khan graced the inaugural session on January 16 at the gallery premises. The exhibition is unique and distinct because of its new themes, techniques and mediums. The exhibition on masks carries the personal hallmarks and creative perspective of the artists.

Al Deen remembered in Barisal

The first death anniversary of renowned dramatist Professor Selim Al Deen was recently observed at Sabdabaly Theatre Hall Auditorium, Barisal.

Pabna recalls Selim Al Deen

The death anniversary of noted dramatist Selim Al Deen, was recently observed in Pabna. To mark the day, Pabna Drama Circle organised a discussion on the life and work of the late cultural personality at its premises. President of Pabna Drama Circle Gopal Sannal chaired the programme.

Nazrul fair at Nazrul Academy premises

A two-day Nazrul fair was recently held at the Nazrul Academy premises. The event featured performances by 11 upcoming and talented Nazrul singers.

Musical show “Bashudha Dhak Dhol” on ATN Bangla

The third episode of ATN Bangla's musical programme, "Bashudha Dhak Dhol" will be aired today at 5:45 pm. The programme will be a regular feature on Sundays.

Stark Gaza images at RU exhibition

The Rajshahi University unit of Bangladesh Chhatra Union (BCU) recently organised a two- day photo exhibition on the Israeli genocide in Gaza. The exhibition was held before the university's Mass Communication and Journalism Department.

OP-ED

And then they came for me

NO other profession calls on its practitioners to lay down their lives for their art save the armed forces, and, in Sri Lanka, journalism. In the course of the past few years, the independent media has increasingly come under attack. Electronic and print-media institutions have been burnt, bombed, sealed, and coerced. Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened, and killed. It has been my honour to belong to all those categories, and now especially the last.

The art of managing expectations

In the Western world, whenever a new government takes over, their economic and political teams generally work hard in lowering people's expectations about what can be delivered by the government in the near term. Consistent with that, we observe US President-elect Obama and his team are painting a very bleak economic outlook for 2009, and working hard on selling a very large stimulus package to the US Congress.

Star City

Construction goes on despite Rajuk's notice to stop work

Birdem authorities have started construction of a huge building in Mirpur without approval from Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) in violation of Building Construction Act and related rules, said Rajuk officials.

Open garbage dump polluting air in West Nakhalpara

Nine-year-old Sameera was up early in the morning to get ready for her school on Bailey Road. Within half an hour she started for school along with her mother. But as soon as the autorickshaw reached the Lucas Battery roundabout in West Nakhalpara, they got stuck in a severe traffic jam.



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