The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Tuesday, September 23, 2014


News of: Monday, 16th of March, 2009

Front Page

Businesses ask for Tk 6,000cr bailout

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) yesterday sought a Tk 6,000 crore rescue package to cope with the global financial meltdown.

Manpower sector looks down the barrel

Poor labour recruitment arrangements coupled with ongoing financial meltdown have dealt a double blow to overseas employment, which is moving towards a precarious state.

More time sought to examine bill

The bill designed to continue separation of the judiciary will have to wait for at least another week to be passed in parliament.

RTI may offer wider access

The parliamentary standing committee on information ministry yesterday recommended that the House amend the right to information (RTI) bill to curtail some organisations' absolute authority to deny information to individuals.

Govt plans to overhaul KL mission

The government is going to replace officials at the Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur to ease labour problems in Malaysia.

Malaysia cuts 70pc foreign work permits

Malaysia has slashed its work permit approvals for foreign workers by almost 70 percent so far this year, faced with the twin threat of layoffs and recession, according to a report Sunday.

Arms count begins 17 days after BDR carnage

Authorities at the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) headquarters began to count up their arms and ammunition yesterday, 17 days into the bloodbath, to figure out exactly how many of them are still missing.

Why fire lift didn't work

The committee to probe into Friday fire disaster at Bashundhara City Complex is investigating why emergency fire lift did not work and if there were any combustible materials on the floors on fire.

Sangsad talks on Hasina being in fear of attack

The House yesterday witnessed a brief discussion on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's statement after she said that grenades and bullets still haunt her.

HC directive sought to equip fire service adequately

A writ petition was filed with the High Court (HC) yesterday seeking the court's order for the government to equip the fire service of the country adequately to ensure safety in high-rise buildings in case of fire incidents.

Ex-MP Gias out on bail stayed by SC

Former BNP lawmaker of Narayanganj-4 Md Giasuddin has managed to suppress a Supreme Court (SC) order that stayed his bail and got out of prison on February 18 “on bail” in an extortion case against him.

20 stolen cellphones still in use at times

Immediate after the mutiny broke out at BDR Headquarters, cellphone was the only means of communication for the trapped army officers most of who were killed in the next hours.

Sharif defies 'arrest', leads long march

Pakistan's opposition leader Nawaz Sharif defied house arrest yesterday to join anti-government protests that quickly descended into violence and chaos, with running battles between stone-throwing protesters and police.

NSI official called for questioning

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has asked the former assistant director of National Security Intelligence (NSI) for Chittagong to appear before investigators of the sensational Chittagong arms haul case for interrogation.

Journalism evolving, though newspapers fighting for survival

Newspapers are dying but journalism is evolving, an acclaimed science writer told a gathering of the techno-hip at South By South West Interactive Festival on Friday.

Lankan troops kill 32 more rebels

Government forces shot dead at least 32 Tamil Tiger rebels in north-eastern Sri Lanka, the defence ministry said on Sunday, as troops moved closer to finally defeating the separatist guerrillas.

EC cancels 2nominations, clears 44

The Election Commission (EC) yesterday rejected the nominations of two of the candidates for election to the 45 reserved seats for women in parliament, finding one as telephone bill defaulter and fault in the proposer's signature for the other.

Security to be beefed up at power stations

The government has directed the local administration to deploy law-enforcers at the country's power stations to safeguard those from being attacked by the angry mobs in the wake of the ongoing frequent load-shedding.

EU ambassadors meet Khaleda

Ambassador Stefan Frowein, head of the delegation of the European Union (EU) countries' envoys yesterday hoped that there would be a neutral investigation into BDR massacre as people want to know what really happened.

Budget on June 11

The Awami League-led government is likely to place the national budget of 2009-10 fiscal year in parliament on June 11, Deputy Speaker Shawkat Ali said yesterday.

Eden College admission in a mess

The Eden Women University College authorities could not resume the first year honours course admission process yesterday due to the agitation by students of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) Eden College unit for 'political quota'.

Arrest warrant issued against Tanbir's son

A Dhaka court yesterday issued an arrest warrant against BNP leader Chowdhury Tanbir Ahmed Siddiky's son Chowdhury Irad Ahmed Siddiky in a defamation case filed on charges of making derogatory remarks about former prime minister Khaleda Zia and several others including her political adviser ASM Hannan Shah.

Koko's parole extended by a month

The government yesterday extended the parole of Arafat Rahman Koko, younger son of BNP Chairperson and Opposition Leader in Parliament Khaleda Zia, for another month on medical ground.

Probe starts; admission process on

The admission process of honours and masters courses of Rajshahi University (RU) would continue as per schedule, said a RU press release yesterday.

2 more jawans held in Ctg

The Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested two more BDR members yesterday at Satkania Bangladesh Rifles Training School (RTS) in Chittagong on suspicion of their involvement in the mutiny and massacre at the RTS on February 26.

Correction

In our yesterday's story headlined “A Farewell in forests”, it was inadvertently mentioned Dr Anwar Hossain instead of Dr Anwarul Islam, professor of Dhaka University.

Editorial

The dangers in and around skyscrapers

A study of six high-rise buildings in the capital by this newspaper has resulted in some disturbing findings. The bottom line is that these buildings (and one can be reasonably sure there are others as well) are dangerously exposed to disasters. These buildings are plagued either by a lack of fire-fighting equipment or trained manpower to operate whatever equipment is there. Friday's fire incident at the Basundhara city complex has only exposed the glaring gaps that characterise safety measures in skyscrapers or buildings that are regularly used by citizens.

Stone extraction from underground

We are concerned at the unabated extraction of underground stones of various sizes with the help of machines despite a government ban. The extraction process has created large holes in some areas of Jafflong and Bholaganj, thereby completely altering the structure of earth below. According to environmentalists, for centuries boulders and small stones coming down with water from hills and mountains have been depositing underneath the top soil in the plain lands and in the riverbeds of Bangladesh. Over time these stones went deeper into the earth and became a part of the earth structure. Therefore, extraction of the stones quickens the process of loosening of the earth deep below. It is therefore not surprising that environmental scientists and activists would express their fear that such distortion of nature might trigger a severe environmental disaster in the near future. We wonder what stops the authorities concerned from taking stern action against the violators of the law.

Honeymoon about to be over?

THREE weeks on, the Pilkhana carnage continues to be the staple of discourse in drawing rooms, the city's diplomatic cocktail circuit and across the country's formal or informal gatherings. In the meantime, the nation is suffering from nervousness and unease characterised by paranoid anxiety. Throughout our existence as a nation, the breathtaking frequency of violence in the country would have us believe that we live on the top of a volcano, without knowing whether it will erupt. Before we can adapt to one sad reality it is overtaken by another. Barely out of the horror of the liberation war, we faced the ugly reality of the Bangabandhu's assassination. The wound thus inflicted on the national psyche never healed. It rather festered, as the unfortunate tradition carried on.

Does the PM deserve uncharitable remarks?

THE BDR mutiny caught us unawares. The prime minister led from the front as she was expected to do. Her astute handling of the crisis saved the lives of so many military and civil hostages inside the BDR compound. With that ended the first phase of the crisis.

Sports

Abahani overcome injury and Mohammedan

Weakness can sometimes be a blessing. It has often been the case in an Abahani-Mohammedan match. And it was once again evidenced on Sunday when an understrength Abahani floored their bitter rivals Mohammedan by five wickets in a Premier Cricket League match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.

Zahid pilots Biman

Zahid Niaz slammed a hundred to win a high-scoring last-over drama for Biman against Cricket Coaching School (CCS) in the Premier Cricket League at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium yesterday.

Sky Blues, Ctg MSC in semifinals

Abahani maintained hundred percent record to storm into the semifinal of the Citycell Super Cup yesterday with a crushing 3-0 victory over group contenders Sheikh Russel, who crashed out of the championship race.

Essien the difference

Michael Essien confirmed his return could have a major influence on Chelsea's triple bid for honours by striking the winning goal in Chelsea's comfortable 1-0 victory over Manchester City to keep Guus Hiddink's side in second place in the Premier League.

SL seniors' demand

Sri Lanka's new cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara and star spinner Muttiah Muralidaran say they want security guarantees on future tours after their team survived an attack in Pakistan.

Arshavin lifts Gunners

Andrey Arshavin repaid a hefty chunk of his transfer fee as the Russian inspired Arsenal to an impressive 4-0 win over Blackburn on Saturday.

Rafa wants to test MU's nerve

Rafael Benitez has challenged his Liverpool squad to test Manchester United's nerve by winning all nine of their remaining matches in the Premier League.

Juve bounce back

Juventus showed no hangover from their midweek Champions League exit as they closed the gap on leaders Inter Milan to four points with a 4-1 home win over Bologna on Saturday.

Real crush Bilbao

Real Madrid bounced back from their Champions League heartbreak by crushing 10-man Athletic Bilbao 5-2 on Saturday to cut Barcelona's lead at the top in Spain to just three points.

Hertha remain atop

Hot-shot striker An-drei Voro-nin scored his eighth goal in six games to keep Her-tha Berlin four points clear at the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen.

Uncertainity over Razzak

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) rejected the second appeal by Biman to allow left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak play for them in the ongoing Premier Cricket League.

Local Snippets

The Independence Cup Handball Competition, organised by the Bangladesh Handball Federation, begins today at the handball court with two matches billed for the opening day.

Waiting in the wings

Bryce McGain is used to waiting for his opportunities. This is a man who spent so long in the workforce before becoming a full-time professional cricketer that he took not one but two batches of long-service leave. His banking career lasted 17 years so a couple of months here or there doesn't make a great difference to him.

De Silva's dev plans

The chairman of the new seven-member interim committee to run Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), former leg-spinner Somachandra De Silva, has outlined his plan for the next two years. De Silva pinpointed the ICC World Twenty20, the Under-19 World Cup in 2010, and the 2011 World Cup as targets for Sri Lanka and said that he will give the country's players full support.

Federer advances as women's seeds tumble

Roger Federer shook off the rust of a six-week break on Saturday, his smooth progress into the third round at Indian Wells a marked contrast to turmoil in the women's draw.

No security meeting with IPL boss?

Hardly two days after the Indian Premier League (IPL) organisers were told to reconsider dates a second time, the Indian government has said that the concerned states should not expect any help from central paramilitary forces during games. India's home ministry, which had initially wanted the tournament to be postponed, has also said that meetings were not held with IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, according to the Hindustan Times.

Uthappa eyes WC comeback

Robin Uthappa, the Indian batsman, has hopes of making a comeback to the national team for the World Twenty20 to be held in England in June. Uthappa was left out of the Indian team after a relatively disappointing run of performances where he managed just one half-century in his last ten innings and averaged 21.75. However, he has since struck form with a century for Karnataka in their Ranji Trophy match against Andhra Pradesh, and a couple of impressive knocks while representing South Zone in the Duleep Trophy.

Bolt back to track

Olympic champion Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man, ran his first 100 metres of the season here Saturday in a wind-aided 9.93 seconds in a meet at Foster College.

'King Kazu' still scoring at 42

Timeless Japanese football star Kazuyoshi Miura, the 1993 Asian Player of the Year and known as "King Kazu" to his fans, has stretched his own record of the oldest scorer in J-League.

Bordeaux stay in the hunt

Goals from Marouane Chamakh and Carlos Henrique in Bordeaux's 2-1 win against Nice on Saturday enabled Laurent Blanc's men to keep their sights on European action next season.

FINA approves changes to swimsuit

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) on Saturday approved a series of changes to the revolutionary swimsuits which led to 105 world records being set in 2008 over long-course and short-course distances.

Wins for Orient, Baridhara & Wanderers

Dhaka Wanderers Club earned a five-wicket victory over Badda Ekota Sangha in a First Division Cricket League match at the Dhaka University ground yesterday.

Business

Tk 300cr logistics yard set for launch

KDS Group, a leading apparel and accessories maker, is set to launch a Tk 300 crore logistics yard in Chittagong to provide off-dock services, Khalilur Rahman, chairman of the group, said yesterday.

BTCL formation questioned

The existence of state-run Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTCL), formed as a public limited company in July last year, has been questioned, as a parliamentary standing committee on telecommunication doubted the transparency in transforming BTTB into BTCL.

Junk companies under scanner

The Dhaka Stock Exchange will investigate how ill-performing or 'junk' companies have declared dividends.

United Airways turnover to zoom this year

Private carrier United Airways aims to triple turnover in 2009 as it plans to expand global operations by acquiring a 170-seater MD-83 aircraft for $9 million (Tk 62 crore).

AIG to pay $450m in bonuses despite bailout

AIG plans to pay 450 million dollars in bonuses to finance executives who led the US insurance giant to a 99.3-billion dollar loss last year, US media reported Sunday.

Energy supply listed as top priority

The government has listed energy supply as its top priority to ensure economic growth, said Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, adviser to the prime minister for power, energy and mineral resources yesterday.

Total: The French firm the French love to hate

Total is France's biggest company and has just made the biggest annual profit in the country's corporate history. Yet the energy giant has long been the firm the French public likes most to hate, and now even the government is attacking it.

Auto fair set for an upbeat start

The local auto market, apparently untouched by the ongoing global meltdown, is confident about soaring sales at the four-day motor show, scheduled to begin on Wednesday in Dhaka.

G20 bridges differences

Before a key summit on tackling the economic crisis, rich and emerging nations have agreed common ground on hiking IMF funds and stricter market regulation but remain split on stimulus measures.

Commodity exchange market: Its requisites

Bangladesh government has recently taken an initiative to establish a commodity exchange market. The immediate past caretaker government at a meeting on April 16, 2007 took the initiative to conduct a feasibility study on the establishment of this type of market. Even though the concept of commodity exchange market is new to us, it has long been in practice in the western countries. Recently this concept is gaining popularity in many of the Asian countries such as India and China, who are already accustomed to this market and have been in operation since 1993 and 2002 respectively.

Asian currencies stronger

Asian currencies ended the week mostly stronger against the dollar as investor sentiment moved against the US currency.

US will fix banks, win 'economic war': Officials

President Barack Obama's economic advisors denied Sunday they were moving too slowly to fix the stricken US banking industry, and insisted victory would come in the "economic war."

Awareness programme for stock investors

AM Securities and Financial Services has recently organised an awareness programme for the stock market investors, said a statement.

Oil production cut won't help world economy: Saudi

Fresh oil production cuts would not help revive the global economy, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi cautioned in remarks published on Sunday, as Opec ministers were meeting in Vienna.

Kuwait expat workforce in first fall since 1990 invasion

The expatriate workforce of the oil-rich emirate of Kuwait decreased last year for the first time since the Iraqi invasion of 1990, official figures showed on Sunday.

Fed to stay aggressive in pushing recovery

The US Federal Reserve is likely to signal its intent next week to act even more aggressively in opening up credit markets to spark recovery from recession, analysts say.

Obama to unveil proposals to help small businesses

Amid misgivings over his spending blueprint, President Barack Obama has decided to provide billions of dollars in federal lending aid aimed at struggling small business owners.

Taiwan to allow up to two casino resorts

Taiwan has taken another step forward in a move to lift a decades-old ban on casinos after it was decided no more than two casino resorts would be licensed at the beginning, it was reported Sunday.

Metropolitan

Water sharing deal with India for Teesta stressed

Food and Disaster Management Minister Abdur Razzaque yesterday said the government is trying to sign an agreement on water sharing with India for the river Teesta.

DMCH only hope for burn patients in city

The city clinics and hospitals except Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) have no burn unit to treat the burn patients.

'Ensure budgetary allocation for development of sex workers'

The fourth national conference of the sex workers begins at the Gonoshasthya Kendra in Savar today with a call for ensuring budgetary allocation for the development of sex workers and their children and sex workers' representation in the Jatiya Sangsad to uphold their demands.

Two arrsted, victim's cellphone recovered

The detective police yesterday recovered the cellphone of Josna Kabir, who was found dead in a luggage at Zia International Airport (ZIA) on March 6, and arrested two people in this connection.

Produce salinity-tolerant variety of rice

Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury yesterday underscored the need for cultivating salinity-tolerant variety of rice.

Invest more in Bangladesh

President Zillur Rahman yesterday urged the Canadian entrepreneurs to invest more in the country's potential sectors, including power, energy, textile, garments and food processing, and avail the investment facilities offered by the government.

BADC activities curtailed under donors' pressure

Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury yesterday told lawmakers that the activities of Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) have been significantly curtailed due to pressures from the donors.

'Try war criminals to free nation of stigma'

Leaders of Sector Commanders' Forum on Saturday said there is no alternative to the trial of war criminals to free the nation from its long-lasting stigma and incidents like BDR mutiny will break out one after another without the justice.

Entries invited for essay competition

The Disaster Management Bureau of Bangladesh is going to organise an essay competition for school and college-level students with a view to creating awareness of disaster management among the people, says a press release.

Regular appointment every year

In the backdrop of irregular appointment in the public services in the past, Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday said the government would henceforth appoint manpower in the public service every year.

Petition to exempt Rafique-Ul Huq from personal appearance

Barrister Rafique-Ul Huq, a senior-most lawyer of the Supreme Court, yesterday filed a petition with the High Court (HC) to exempt him from personal appearance before the court in connection with a contempt of court petition against him.

Flag Vessels Bill passed in JS

The Jatiya Sangsad yesterday passed the Bangladesh Flag Vessels (protection) (amendment) Bill 2009 to protect the interest of national flag carrier ships.

JCD memo to DU VC

Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) yesterday submitted a memorandum with a six-point demand to the vice chancellor of Dhaka University demanding congenial atmosphere and coexistence on the campus.

Academic activities of Rangpur varsity begin Mar 28

The academic activities of the first year students (sessions 2008-2009) of Rangpur University will begin on March 28.

DUEDAA reunion, AGM on April 3

The annual general meeting and reunion of Dhaka University Economics Department Alumni Association (DUEDAA) will be held on April 3 at Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre, says a press release.

BASF Grameen Ltd launched

BASF SE and Grameen Healthcare Trust announced the establishment of a joint venture social business company 'BASF Grameen Ltd' in Ludwigshafen, Germany on March 5 as part of a social commitment with an entrepreneurial twist.

Salauddin, Naser Rahman granted bail

The High Court (HC) yesterday granted bail to former state minister for communications Salauddin Ahmed and former BNP lawmaker Naser Rahman in three separate cases.

BCSIR science fair prize giving ceremony held

The prize giving ceremony of the four-day science fair organised by Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) was held on its campus yesterday.

Bijoy TV case stayed

The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday upheld its chamber judge's order staying the proceedings against Chittagong City Corporation Mayor ABM Mohiuddin Chowdhury and others in the Bijoy TV graft case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

BCL leaders confine principal, teachers

Dinajpur Government College Chhatra League (BCL) leaders yesterday confined their principal and 15 teachers inside the principal's room for college academic council's refusal to admit some students on political consideration, college sources said.

Make by-polls free, fair

The Election Commission has sent a letter to the speaker so that lawmakers do not visit the constituencies where by-elections for a total of seven vacated seats will be held on April 2.

Restoration of Zia's mural demanded

Police yesterday intercepted the Chittagong city BNP and its front organisations while they were proceeding towards the Shah Amanat International Airport to lay siege to it protesting removal of a wooden mural of late president Ziaur Rahman from the lounge of the airport.

Tk 6.25 lakh looted at CNG filling station

Armed muggers looted Tk 6.25 lakh at a CNG filling station at Paribagh in the city early yesterday after firing shots indiscriminately that left one employee of the station injured.

Mother killed while trying to save son from road accident

Like every other day, four-year-old Hridoy was playing in front of his house at Modhupur village in Thakurgaon Sadar yesterday morning.

Fertiliser dealers allege harassment

At least 96 dealers in Dinajpur and Nilphamari districts have stopped taking fertiliser from the authorised godowns of Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) protesting what they said spurious fertiliser and harassment.

Agro feed mill workers demand regularisation of jobs

The employees and workers of ACI Godrez Agro Feed Mills at Nalka Kuthirchar in Sirajganj yesterday staged a demonstration demanding making their jobs permanent.

Reelection at 4 centres tomorrow

Reelection in four centres for the posts of upazila chairman and female vice-chairman at Nandail in the district will be held tomorrow.

BRRI invents four varieties of rice

Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) last year invented four new varieties of rice -- BRRI Dhan-48, BRRI Dhan-49, BRRI Dhan-50 (Bangla Moti) and BRRI Hybrid Dhan-2.

Fertiliser seized

Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) seized 280 bags of smuggled potash and sulpher fertilisers from a truck near the BDR 41 battalion headquarters in Satkhira yesterday.

Farukul Islam's 50th anniversary of death today

Today is the 50th death anniversary of Farukul Islam, a pioneer of the Insurance business in the early fifties in the then East Pakistan and the country representative of the Norwich Union Life Insurance Company, a UK-based insurance company, says a press release.

Implementation of CHT peace deal demanded

Indigenous leaders here yesterday demanded full implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) peace treaty without further delay.

35 houses gutted in Thakurgaon

At least 35 houses were gutted in a fire at Sarcarpara village under Sadar upazila in Thakurgaon yesterday.

JICA's EPI kits for field workers

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the JOCV ((Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers) activities/contribution in (Expanded Programme on Immunisation) EPI, a commemorative gift handing over ceremony was held at Director General of Health Services (DGHS) office in the city yesterday.

National

Remote Roangchhari den for armed criminals

Criminal groups including intruders are using remote areas of Roangchhari upazila in the district as dens for conducting criminal activities like extortion, abduction for ransom and smuggling.

No classes held at Sylhet medical for second day

Classes at Sylhet Osmani Medical College remained suspended for the second day yesterday as Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) enforced strike protesting attack on some students of the college by outsiders on Friday.

Principal locks college, goes into hiding

Abdul Maleq, principal of BLP Degree College who faces allegation of corruption yesterday put all the rooms of the college under lock and key and allegedly went into hiding.

Jamaat postpones Saydee's meeting

The administration here imposed Section 144 banning all gatherings at Kalaroa as the pro-liberation forces including freedom fighters and local Jamaat called meetings yesterday at the same venue.

Criminals arrested with arms at Barisal medical

Barisal Metropolitan Police (BMP) with the help of hospital staff and local people arrested two criminals with arms at Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College (BSBMC) campus on Saturday night.

Remove embankments, save Boral river and Chalan Beel

People from cross sections of people have demanded removal of 'unplanned embankments' to save Boral River and Chalan Beel, the largest water body in the northern region.

50 hurt as AL rivals clash in Jhenidah

At least 50 people were injured in a clash between two factions of local Awami League at Kola Bazar under Kaliganj upazila of Jhenidah district yesterday.

Letters

Bashundhara fire

Reading through the various newspaper reports; it seems that the failure of the sprinkler system is probably the main reason for the seriousness of the fire. It makes me recall my younger days, when I was responsible for the Khulna Newsprint Mills fire services on the technical side, (not fire-fighting) way back in early 1960s! The fire section there had its own fire engine, belonging to KNM!

A second runway?

Finally, the government of Bangladesh woke up after 29 years. Zia International Airport is probably going to see the 2nd runway though it was there in the original master plan during the construction of the then mini terminal building and the airport which now handles 400 flights a week which is on an average 57 flights a day.

PM's speech

Tragedy that has befallen people of Bangladesh in the guise of a mutiny staged by some BDR jawans has pushed the nation into a chasm of grief, confusion and disbelief. A few days after the smooth handover of power to a political government and restoration of parliamentary democracy, this incident has given rise to many questions, some of which are legitimate, some far-fetched and some misleading. Some questions that are coming up frequently from the opposition bench in parliament surround the general amnesty offered by the prime minister and the time that passed from the start of the mutiny to the surrender of the mutineers. A blame game started and it has disappointed many of those who hope for a united stand of our political leaders during a national crisis.

Port city

The descendants of the Portuguese are still to be seen in Chittagong. Most of them married local women and are known as Kala Firingis or Matia (earth coloured) Firingis. They are mostly Roman Catholic Christians. During the British period they enjoyed certain privileges and were given preference in appointments in certain institutions like the port and the railway and in clerical posts in government offices. An area in the city known as Firingi Bazar is said to be named after them. The most significant contribution of the Portuguese is the presence of many Portuguese words in the Bengali language which are in daily use till now. A few examples are - Anaras (pineapple), Pepe (papaya), Padri (clergyman), Fita (ribbon), Alpin (pin), botam (button), Chabi (key) etc.

Foreign agents

Without any further delay all foreign spies and their local agents must be found and charge-sheeted for their involvement in the extra judicial killings starting with the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman & Shaheed President Ziaur Rahman up to the carnage at the BDR headquarters.

A good book

Muhammad Zafar Iqbal's recent book titled “ Muktijhuddher Itihash” (History of The Liberation War), which was launched in this year's Ekushey Book Fair, is an excellent book. He has in brief written about the history of our liberation war in a way that would encourage young readers to read it with interest. He has focused on the division, discrimination, exploitation and conspiracies that Bengalis had to face from the Pakistani rulers and which ultimately led to the separation of East Pakistan from West Pakistan.

Soul searching

I'd been a coward… I kept thinking what would people say. What would my friends say? What if they don't agree with me. Now, its high time I voice it out, if I don't write now, if I don't voice it now, may be it's not worth being flesh and blood. May be I'll lead a life of something I despise the most, a jellyfish--a creature with no spine.

Tall building on fire

Spending the afternoon watching the shocking live footage of yet another tragedy befalling us, I can only wonder what the enquiries will conclude, and what comes next?

Hopes dashed

It just seems a split second ago our country was on the brink of a radical change. The ambience was of great optimism. And the wind of change was blowing which generated a fervent aspiration. Now, barely three months have passed, and it's all chaotic. The government has plunged into a tumultuous situation which promises no end. After listening to all the biased and unbiased comments of numerous people nationwide, a question triggers one's thoughts. Was it their fault? We are in the midst of an atrocious and wicked world where people are killing their brothers. The cause behind this hazardous situation is one simple thinganimosity. In adverse circumstances, we human beings are so carried away by our anger that we tend to transgress the regulations of plain rationality.

Punish the oppressors

The other day my friend Binod Mangsang was reading a Bangla newspaper. At one stage he got stuck up at a heading, it read “Amar Meyeke Bachan, Baba” (Save my daughter ). I became curious at that and went through the report . To my utter dismay, I came to know that a woman named Champa Khatun had been barbarously tortured by her husband's family.

Media coverage

The media is the main outlet through which people receive information. With the passage of time, getting news from every corner of the world has become easy. The electronic media is showing us what is happening throughout the world within a very short period of time. The media defeats autocracy and conquers humanity! It destroys root of injustice. While the media is to be used for serving humanity, we sometimes feel that in some cases it remains silent.

Spring and our miseries

With the advent of spring, we have to face a myriad of problems in our day-to-day life. In other words, we are hard put because of the scarcity of water, to speak nothing about the other problems that continue to plague urban life. As we wake up in the morning, and turn on the tap, we find that there is no water. Sometimes several drops of water trickle down, augmenting our vexation.

Let's change

The other day I was travelling in a bus on my way back home from Agrabad to GEC circle. The bus was horribly jam-packed as there wasn't any tiny space left. At that moment, a young woman was struggling to keep balance as the people were rushing inside the bus to have a better position. I was surprised to see none around the woman showing any kind of respect for her. So, I decided to give my own seat to her. But to my utter surprise a burst of laugher came out from my right side where a group of young people were sitting and exchanging dirty jokes with each other. I was puzzled for a while as though I had committed a sin by giving my seat to that woman.

International

Chaudhry will not be reinstated as Pak CJ

Despite national and international pressure to put an end to the ongoing political turmoil in the country, President Asif Ali Zardari is firm about not reinstating sacked Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

Broken promises plunge Pakistan into crisis

Pakistan's ruling coalition has been split and the country brought to the brink of chaos by broken promises from President Asif Ali Zardari about reinstating judges sacked under emergency rule.

Zardari cannot afford independent judge

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari is not willing to restore the dismissed chief justice of the country because of the massive corruption cases against him, cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan has said.

Naked ambition triumphs in politics Pakistan-style

Six months into the job, President Asif Ali Zardari has pulled Pakistan into a crisis that has shattered hopes his civilian rule would put national interest above naked ambition, analysts say.

Regional parties change equation in India

National polls in India used to be a two-horse race with the country's oldest political party, the Congress, vying with the Hindu nationalists for the right to govern the world's largest democracy -- but not any more, say analysts.

BSP will not align with any other party

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati said on Sunday her party would fight the Lok Sabha polls on its own but did not rule out an alliance with the Third Front after the elections.

Taliban chief backs Afghan peace talks

Taliban leader Mullah Omar has given his approval for talks aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan and has allowed his representatives to attend Saudi-sponsored peace negotiations.

Pak militants torch Nato trucks

Taliban militants in northwestern Pakistan torched eight trucks carrying supplies for Nato forces in neighbouring Afghanistan in a pre-dawn attack yesterday, police said.

Rifts surface within Zardari's PPP

With resignation of two key members from the Pakistan cabinet, and the pass up of several unpopular decisions, cracks have begun to appear within the ruling Pakistan People's Party.

Hillary phones Pak leaders amid crisis

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton phoned Pakistani leaders Saturday ahead of a protest march on the capital which risks further destabilising the nuclear-armed nation, local officials said.

PML-Q seeks a three party alliance to form government in Punjab

Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has sought a three party alliance for forming a government in Punjab.

Two Sunnis killed in Pakistan

Two Sunni Muslim men were shot dead Sunday in the second apparent sectarian attack in a restive town of northwest Pakistan in as many days, a senior police official said.

Laden could be in Pak trekker paradise Chitral

New investigation undertaken by a New York-based daily reveals that al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden could be ensconced in Pakistan's trekker paradise of Chitral.

America to build $400-million spy blimp

The United States is planning to build a USD 400-million sophisticated "spy blimp" that will float 65,000 feet above the Earth and track enemy aircraft and troop movement on the ground in troubled nations like Pakistan and Afghanistan, an American newspaper has claimed.

Israel was ready to sign peace deal

Israel's outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said yesterday that his government had been ready to sign a peace deal with the Palestinians but that they had lacked the courage to do so.

Khatami to quit race for Iran presidency

Iran's reformist ex-president Mohammad Khatami is considering withdrawing from the June presidential election, local news agencies Fars and Mehr reported yesterday.

Goody close to end, wants to be remembered as a fighter

Cancer-stricken British reality television star Jade Goody who is reported to be close to her end has said in a final interview that she wants to be remembered as a fighter.

4 US soldiers killed in Afghanistan

A string of bombs ripped through parts of Afghanistan yesyterday, killing four US soldiers and three Afghan civilians, officials said, in attacks linked to a Taliban-led insurgency.

World forum seeks way thru' worsening water crisis

Politicians, corporate executives, engineers and greens gather here today for a week-long arena aimed at tackling the planet's fast-growing water crisis.

Arts & Entertainment

The king of mystics continues to rule the roost

The three-day 'Lalon Smaran Utshab' (memorial festival) ended on March 12 at the Chheuria Akhra (den) in Kushtia.

Antique coins recovered in Chapainawabganj

Century-old coins have been recovered by the police at Bangabari village under Gomostapur upazila in Chapainawabganj recently.

Videsh: Domestic violence in foreign land

Canada-based Indian director Deepa Mehta is a busy woman as is actress Preity Zinta, the protagonist of her latest film "Videsh" about the struggles of a married Indian woman subjected to domestic violence at her in-laws' in Canada.

Celebrating Sri Ramkrishna anniversary with devotional music

The 174th birth anniversary of Sri Ramkrishna Paramahamsa was celebrated with a two-day programme (on March 12 and 13) in Thakurgaon. Thakurgaon Ramkrishna Ashram organised the programme that included a special 'puja,' 'Dharma Shabha,' devotional songs, reading out from the scriptures, art competition, recitation and discussion.

Drama serial Shada Kalo Mon on ATN Bangla

Drama serial “Shada Kalo Mon,” will be aired tonight at 8pm on ATN Bangla. Written and directed by Ali Imran, the serial is aired every Monday.

Naumi: A young talent on the rise

Zarin Tasnim Naumi, a 12-year-old, has revealed her musical talent in full measure. She has been the winner of 11 national awards since 2004. A student of class eight in Mymensingh Cantonment Public School and College, Naumi began to take part in competitions through TV talent hunt programme, Nutunkuri in 2004. She also won the National Primary Education Week award the same year.

Street Magic on Ekushey TV

Magic fascinates all. Magicians use their techniques to bewilder people and street magic is hugely popular. Ekhushey TV now brings street magic to audience of the small screen with a show, which will be aired this evening at 6:30 pm.

Variety show for Children

Jahangir Smriti Shebasram Primary School organised a cultural programme at its premises marking its annual function. The school is a project of Coordinated Education-Cultural Activities by Fulki, Tangail.

Cultural competition in Tangail

A weeklong literary and cultural competition and prize-giving ceremony at Government M.M. Ali College in Tangail ended here last Thursday.

OP-ED

Must we beseech FBI-Scotland Yard ad infinitum?

THE government has sought the assistance of external agencies in properly and expeditiously investigating the dastardly depredations of the Pilkhana tragedy. Not many people have reservations about such a request for help; but there is at least one prominent public figure who entertains doubts about the use of foreign help in such matters. He is former president Hossain Mohammad Ershad, who has said that foreign investigators who do not know our language cannot make much headway.

Indian order, Pak disorder

THE most dangerous kind of lie is the one that has a tiny bit of truth mixed inside. As maxims go, that is not very well known. Liars do not advertise their wares, and the truthful are easily seduced. The broad space between honesty and deception is occupied by the gullible. To prey on the gullible is the politician's art.

The wildly inaccurate instructions trick

AN incendiary apple puff mystery; the literary festival becomes a love-fest; and grumbles over a world poetry prize



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