The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Saturday, July 26, 2014


News of: Friday, 20th of March, 2009

Front Page

Tk 283 crore MRP project gets nod

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) yesterday approved a Tk 283 crore project for machine-readable passport (MRP) and visa to comply with an international obligation.

All-party body to probe Sircar graft

Speaker Abdul Hamid yesterday constituted an all-party parliamentary body to probe widespread allegations of financial anomalies, misuse of power and wastage of public money against previous speaker Jamiruddin Sircar.

Free judiciary 'forced' to share power with admin

The parliamentary standing committee on the law ministry recommends that the House allow the government discretion to empower the executive magistrates to take cognisance of offences for trial.

BDR top brass almost recruited

The Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) authorities are about to complete the process of rebuilding the paramilitary force that lost most of its high officials during the mutiny at the BDR headquarters.

BNP council unlikely within stipulated time

BNP might not be able to hold the party's council to approve its amended constitution within the stipulated six-month time limit after the first sitting of ninth parliament.

Manpower frauds sent 5,000 workers to KL

Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) yesterday said unscrupulous agents had hired about 5,000 Bangladeshi workers since May 2007 only to be left stranded in Malaysia.

RMG food ration for 2 months

The readymade garment owners will distribute rice among its workers under the government's rationing programme at a subsidised rate of Tk 18 per kg that will start from May to continue for two months.

Govt to modernise farm sector to attain food security

Prime Minister (PM) Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the government would introduce latest technology to modernise the agriculture sector and increase the storage capacity of food to ensure food security of the country.

ACC clears Mashhud as allegations found baseless

The Anti-Corruption Commision (ACC) yesterday dropped charges of misappropriation and laundering of Tk 22.41 crore from Trust Bank Ltd by ACC Chairman Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury as those proved 'baseless and motivated'.

45 woman MPs elected

The Election Commission (EC) declared 45 woman candidates as elected MPs yesterday, the last date for withdrawal of candidature for reserved seats in parliament.

No reservation about probe but timing is questionable

Main opposition BNP yesterday alleged that the government wants to influence the upcoming parliamentary by-elections in six constituencies by using national institutions like the Election Commission.

No obstacle to court martial

The law ministry yesterday okayed a proposal of the home ministry for trial of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) mutineers in court martial.

Trial as soon as possible, says Faruk

The government would complete the trial of those responsible for last month's carnage at BDR headquarters in the shortest possible time, said Commerce Minister Faruk Khan yesterday.

Top floors defy height limit

At least the top 60 feet or six floors of the 20-storey Bashundhara City tower on Panthapath were built violating the civil aviation authority's permissible height limit for buildings in the capital.

HR Watch for fair trial of border guards

Visiting Human Rights Watch (HRW) Asia Director Brad Adams yesterday urged the Bangladesh government to ensure fair trial of the border guards detained after the Pilkhana massacre and their access to legal aid.

ACC sues 43 BTCL staff

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday filed eight cases against 43 employees of Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd's (BTCL) revenue department in connection with misappropriating Tk 17.26 crore.

Power sector may offer major scope

The government is likely to legalise undisclosed money on the basis of sector-wise investment in the next fiscal year's budget, Commerce Minister Faruk Khan said yesterday.

Addicts get care

About 880 male and female drug addicts registered with the HIV/AIDS Healthcare and Advice Centre (HIV/AIDS Targeted Intervention) at 41, KP Ghosh Street in the capital get different services there.

100-day job plan to continue

The government yesterday extended the 100-day employment generation programme introduced by the immediate-past caretaker government in September last year.

Govt mulls nat'l policy to eliminate child labour

The government is actively considering formulation of the National Child Labour Policy to eliminate child labour -- especially hazardous labour -- from the country, State Minister for Labour and Employment Monnujan Sufian said yesterday.

Hazari asked to surrender at trial courts

A division bench of the High Court yesterday delivered split orders on five petitions filed by former Awami League (AL) lawmaker Joynal Abedin Hazari against convictions handed down to him by trial courts.

Judicial body to be formed to probe edn graft under 4-party govt

Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid yesterday said in parliament that a process is underway to form a judicial enquiry committee to detect graft occurred in the education sector during the past four-party alliance regime.

Genuine list of freedom fighters on cards

The House yesterday unanimously passed a resolution pleading the government to prepare a list of genuine freedom fighters by erasing the fake ones from the existing list.

Govt asked to make law on real estate

Three organisations yesterday demanded the government make a law on the basis of The Real Estate Management Ordinance, 2009 after necessary changes.

India ups security of top leaders

India is boosting security around top leaders in the wake of intelligence reports that they could be targeted by Islamist militants during next month's elections, officials said yesterday.

31 rebels killed in SL battle

Civilians are continuing to flee Sri Lanka's war zone as security forces step up an offensive against Tamil Tigers, with another 31 rebels killed, the defence ministry said yesterday.

Israel's crackdown on Hamas: 12 leaders detained

Israel launched a new crackdown on Hamas yesterday, rounding up top leaders in the West Bank after the failure of efforts to secure the release of a soldier held by the Islamist rulers of the Gaza Strip.

Karzai govt initiates talks with Haqqani network

The Government of Afghanistan has reportedly opened preliminary negotiations with the country's most dangerous rebel faction, the al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network, which has been accused of masterminding some of the most brazen attacks in recent years.

Correction

In our yesterday's report headlined "27-member taskforce to watch fallout" we inadvertently mentioned M Syeduzzaman as chairman of Bank Asia. Actually, he is a former chairman of the bank. We regret the mistake. In fact, the finance ministry circular on the committee mentioned him as Bank Asia chairman.

Editorial

Only 300 audit reports before PAC since 1973!

WE will begin at the beginning. Two per cent of Bangladesh's GDP growth is swallowed up by corruption. That is a distinctly uncomfortable sign of how the objective of a promotion of public welfare is all too easily and regularly defeated. And now comes the revelation, per courtesy of a roundtable in the city the other day, that of the thousand audit reports prepared and submitted to the Jatiya Sangsad since 1973, only 300 have been discussed by the Public Accounts Committee of parliament in all these years. Incredible as it may sound, the fact remains that the revelation shows up an image of the abysmal failure of institutional bodies where dealing with public concerns is the issue.

Food rationing initiative

THIS is a major worker-friendly and pro-poor undertaking the government has decided to embark on from the upcoming historic May Day. The labour and employment minister has announced a plan, albeit in broad outlines, aiming to feed as many as three million readymade garment workers at a subsidised price of Tk18 per kg of rice. Each worker will be entitled to buying 20kgs of rice per month.

But it ain't like that

WHEN the story initially broke on the morning of February 25 of the siege at BDR headquarters there was instant reaction among a considerable segment of the commentariat (and among significant sections of the general public as well) of qualified support for the mutineers and of solidarity with their ostensible cause.

More than money

BERNARD Madoff is an American businessman who made off with other people's money. He operated the largest investor fraud ever committed by a single person, defrauding 4,800 clients of $65 billion. At 71, he faces spending the rest of his life in prison and could be forced to pay $170 billion in restitution. Different people inhabit different worlds. In this country, Madoff would have been worshipped as an icon of inspiration, a role model for the rich.

Sports

Abahani clinch a classic

Zahid Hassan Emily struck twice inside two minutes to keep Abahani's Tk 1-crore Super Cup dream alive with a thrilling 3-2 win over Brothers Union in the first-leg of the first semifinal yesterday.

Mohammedans battle today

Not so long ago, a team from outside the capital could not claim to be favourites to reach the final of a major tournament ahead of one of the two top clubs of the country.

Ignominy for City

City Club completed a dubious perfect eleven as the curtains fell on the first round of the Premier Cricket League yesterday.

Slow going at Hamilton

India are eyeing a substantial first-innings lead over New Zealand in the first Test here after ending Day Two Thursday just one run behind with six wickets in hand.

Proteas dominate

South Africa dominated the first day of the third Test at Newlands Thursday, bowling out Australia for just 209 before reaching 57 for no wicket at the close.

Blame it on the ref

Abahani and Brothers Union both claimed they could have had a penalty and blamed the referee for his poor conducting of the first-leg first semifinal of the Citycell Super Cup yesterday.

IPL not a worry for Mashrafe

Bangladesh vice-captain and star paceman Mashrafe Bin Mortaza said that the Indian Premier League (IPL) is not first and foremost on his mind at the moment.

Rafa remains with Reds

Rafael Benitez on Thursday began work on a five-year plan aimed at re-establishing Liverpool as the dominant force in English football after finally ending months of uncertainty over his future.

Marseille thank Mears

An Englishman came to the rescue of French giants Marseille's UEFA Cup campaign on Wednesday as the journeyman defender Tyrone Mears scored a goal in extra-time to see them to a 2-2 draw on the night but a 4-3 aggregate success over Dutch side Ajax and a place in the quarterfinals.

Quarterfinal draw today

Nemanja Vidic feels the Premier League can give itself a hefty pat on the back as four of its teams wait to discover their Champions League fate.

Podolski back in fold

Bayern Munich forward Lukas Podolski has been recalled to the Germany squad for World Cup qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Wales, coach Joachim Loew announced Thursday.

Fergie rubbishes quintet dreams

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson does not believe his team will win an unprecedented five major trophies this season - even though he reckons the current squad is the best he's had during more than two decades at Old Trafford.

King Kahn for Schalke hotseat?

Former Germany goalkeeper and captain Oliver Khan looks set to be named as the new team manager of Schalke 04 after meeting with club officials on Thursday.

Owen admits WC mistake

Michael Owen has admitted he should have skipped the 2006 World Cup and concentrated on getting himself fully fit for Newcastle.

Galliani calls for salary caps

AC Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani has called for a salary cap in soccer to cut costs as the sport deals with the global economic crisis.

Ebert suspended indefinitely

Hertha Berlin coach Lucien Favre on Thursday indefinitely suspended ex-Germany Under-21 midfielder Patrick Ebert, who is under police investigation after three cars were damaged in Berlin.

First WI-Eng ODI today

England are keeping a close eye on the fitness of their captain Andrew Strauss ahead of Friday's opening one-day international against West Indies at the Guyana National Stadium.

Local Snippets

Ideal School edged Govern-ment Muslim High School by four runs at the East End Club ground in the Standard Chartered Young Tigers U-16 National School Cricket Tournament yesterday.

Sachin, Sourav could've been kidnapped!

The Delhi police have revealed that three Pakistan-based terrorists confessed to conspiring to kidnap Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly in 2002.

India to fight for 3rd spot

India made it to the third-place playoff after an eight-wicket win over West Indies in the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup at the Bankstown Oval on Thursday. The Indian spinners, led by Priyanka Roy's career-best 4 for 14, did well again, taking six wickets between them as West Indies were bowled out for 84. It took India only 17.5 overs to chase down the paltry total.

Business

Five-star hotels may offload shares

The government plans to offload shares of Pan Pacific Sonargaon and Dhaka Sheraton hotels on the stock market to incorporate common people in these two five-star hotels, Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister GM Quader said yesterday.

BTCL teams up with Korean firm on high-speed internet

The Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL) yesterday signed a Tk 280 crore deal with South Korea's KT Corporation to install the latest internet backbone in a bid to provide high-speed broadband services.

Shady business shadows promising elevator market

The sprouting of mass housing projects and rapid urbanisation have given rise to numerous parties trading in low-cost, high-risk elevators.

Hefty licence fee weighs on captive power plants

The unilateral decision by Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) of fixing Tk5 lakh as yearly licence fee for running captive power plants has fuelled anger among businessmen amid frequent outages in their industrial units as production cost will shoot up in such a situation.

Banglalink revenues soar 50pc

Banglalink's revenues shot up by about 50 percent in December 2008 to $288 million, from $193 million in December 2007.

Private airlines demand Tk1,000cr interest-free loans, other packages

Local private airlines have urged the government for sanctioning Tk 1,000 crore interest- free loans and waiver of tax, landing and navigation charges to survive the global recession storm.

Workers' migration policy soon

Labour, Employment and Expatriate Welfare Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain yesterday said the government would soon formulate a policy for manpower export to make the entire process transparent and hassle-free.

Lights on for some Kabul residents

For the first time in perhaps 20 years, Kabul resident Abdul Karim can turn his lights on every single night.

Global meltdown and risk management

As the whole world is experiencing an extraordinary time, many words are flying in the air. Be it 'financial turmoil', 'financial tsunami', 'credit crisis' or 'liquidity crunch', impacts of this crisis are intensifying rapidly and apparently, no concrete solution is in sight.

Barua rejects EC claim on quality standard law

Industries Minister Dilip Barua yesterday rejected the allegation of the Delegation of the European Commission to Bangladesh that the existing rules and regulations of the country are not enough to maintain global quality standards for its export products.

Minister suggests high penalty for lapses in product quality

In case of lapses in quality specifications, the extent of punishment under a new law on consumer rights protection should be high, suggested the commerce minister yesterday.

Fund launched for entrepreneurs

The Netherlands Agency for International Business and Cooperation (EVD) yesterday launched a new fund for entrepreneurs in Bangladesh like other developing countries.

Stocks on losing curve

Indices on the Dhaka Stock Exchange continued to fall for a fourth day with the single-day turnover touching the highest-ever level of Tk 647.97 crore yesterday.

BWCCI stresses need to train women in exports

Women entrepreneurs need to be supported and educated on the export market, said the Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI) president yesterday.

Castrol GTX CNG engine oil hits local market

Rahimafrooz Distribution Ltd, a concern of Rahimafrooz Bangladesh Ltd, has recently launched Castrol GTX CNG engine oil in the local market, says a press statement.

New Zealanders urged to invest more

President Zillur Rahman yesterday urged New Zealand's entrepreneurs to invest more in Bangladesh availing of the generous investment facilities the government offers.

India inflation nears zero

Inflation in India has dropped close to zero, official data showed Thursday, as Asia's third-largest economy continued a sharp slide towards deflationary territory.

New execs of National Housing Finance

National Housing Finance and Investments Ltd has recently elected Mizanur Rahman and Md Kabir Reza as chairmen of the company's Executive Committee and Audit Committee respectively, according to a press release.

Dhaka to take part in World Expo-2010 in Shanghai

Bangladesh will participate in the World Expo-2010, a mega event to be held from May-October in Shanghai, China.

Oil higher in Asian trade

Oil prices rebounded in Asian trade Thursday from overnight falls following a bigger-than-expected increase in US energy stocks, dealers said.

Japan eyes $15b jobs plan

Japan may spend more than 15 billion dollars to protect jobs and help the unemployed amid its steepest economic downturn in decades, Labour Minister Yoichi Masuzoe said Thursday.

Toyota to halve recruitment in 2009

Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday it would almost halve its recruitment of full-time workers in Japan to the lowest level in about a decade as it braces for its first ever loss.

IATA says 2009 losses will be greater than expected

Airlines face a "very difficult" year ahead and their losses during 2009 will be greater than the 2.5 billion dollars forecast just three months ago, industry association IATA said Thursday.

FedEx Q3 earnings tumble on weak global economy

FedEx said Thursday its fiscal third-quarter profit tumbled 75 percent as severe weakness in the global economy offset the benefit of lower fuel prices. The company said it will eliminate more jobs and make other cutbacks to deal with the ongoing economic slowdown.

Metropolitan

Eliminate militancy at any cost to save nation: Muhith

Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday said militant groups should be eliminated at any cost to save the nation.

Only free media can help fight corruption

Speakers at a roundtable yesterday said the most important role the media plays is the watchdog role and so the journalists should be allowed to work without any political and economic pressure or harassment of any type.

Pvt medical college flouts bldg construction rules

The authorities of a private medical college and hospital have been constructing a six-storey building close to Maghbazar Ispahani Colony in the city in violation of building construction rules, causing suffering to the colony residents.

'Reform in education a must to make digital Bangladesh'

Speakers at a roundtable yesterday underlined the importance of reforming education sector, fighting against fanatic forces and ensuring accountability and transparency in governance to make Digital Bangladesh.

Modhumoti Model Town project illegal

The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday upheld the High Court (HC) judgment declaring illegal the controversial Modhumoti Model Town project of Metro Makers Ltd, an institution of Bhaiya Group, at Aminbazar in Savar.

Fire drill at Secretariat

A fire drill was conducted at the Secretariat yesterday, the government's administrative headquarters, to familiarise the staffs with emergency procedures so that they can respond quickly in case of any fire incident.

Investigators start grilling 2 ex-CUFL officials

Investigators took two former top officials of Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Limited (CUFL) on a three-day remand for interrogation yesterday in connection with the sensational 10 truckloads of arms haul case.

Treatment of women with urinary incontinence

A huge number of women have been suffering from urinary incontinence following obstetric labour, which make their personal and family life unbearable.

Students, traders clash: 10 hurt

At least 10 people were injured in a series of clashes between students of Dhaka Biggyan College and owners of shops on a plot adjacent to the college at Malibagh in the city yesterday.

16 cops transferred

In the latest reshuffle in the police department, 16 officers were transferred yesterday.

Eight SSC examinees sit for math exam

Eight SSC examinees affected during the BDR mutiny appeared at their mathematics exam at Government Laboratory School in the city yesterday, while the four education institutions inside Pilkhana will not be reopened until the ongoing investigations are completed.

BNP programmes on independence day

BNP has chalked out three-day programmes to celebrate the Independence and National Day with due respect and solemnity.

Barrister Razzaq files contempt petition

Jamaat leader Barrister Abdur Razzaq yesterday filed a contempt petition with the High Court (HC) against the authorities concerned of the government for preventing him from going to Malaysia and Singapore in spite of having an HC order allowing him to visit the two countries.

RAOWA programmescancelled

The 27th founding anniversary programmes of Retired Armed Forces' Welfare Association (RAOWA), scheduled to be held on March 21, have been cancelled due to the brutal killings at the BDR headquarters at Pilkhana, says a press release.

Guardians protest fee hike

Guardians of the students of Udayan High School in the city staged a demonstration in front of the school gate yesterday protesting fee hike.

Couple, driver killed in city road accident

A couple and the driver of their private car were killed while two children of the couple were injured in a road accident in the city's Pallabi area yesterday.

Khaleda visits ailing Dr Idris Ali

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia visited ailing Dr Idris Ali at Ibne Sina Hospital in the city last night.

Owner gets building after 24 yrs

The owner of a three-storied building, known as Sarder Market in Chittagong, finally took possession of the building yesterday, around 24 years after he bought it at auction.

CU expels 8 BCL activists

Chittagong University (CU) authorities yesterday expelled eight students, also BCL activists, for one year for their involvement in the Wednesday's clash that left seven injured on the campus.

Arms recovered from RU hall

A pipe gun and two bullets of rifle were recovered from Shah Mukdum Hall of Rajshahi University yesterday.

Crocodile dies in Khan Jahan Ali shrine dighi

A female crocodile of the historic dighi at the shrine of Hajrat Khan Jahan Ali (R) in Bagerhat died on Wednesday night.

Baghabari power plant resumes operation

The 71mw power plant at Baghabari in Shahzadpur upazila here resumed its operation yesterday after 14 days of closure, the official sources said.

BDR member arrested in Panchagarh

A BDR member was arrested at Saparajhar village in Atwari upazila in Panchagarh on Wednesday night.

Desh TV goes on air Mar 26

With a promise to ensure objectivity and professionalism in presentation, Desh TV, a new private satellite channel, will go on air from March 26, the Independence Day.

Letters

Students these days

We are much worried to see the recent instability in the educational institutions all over Bangladesh. Clashes are not only between the student bodies of political parties but also within the same factions of political wings. These pictures are not new. With the change of regime student bodies of the ruling party start creating anarchy in the educational institutions.

Rickshaw menace

If anybody says rickshaw is the most powerful and fastest vehicle in Dhaka, nobody will disagree. It is so powerful that it can stop any motorized vehicle inside the road by its changing of direction as per its will. It pays little attention while changing courses disregarding other vehicles. As it does not need any fuel it runs by manual power which seems to be very judiciously applied by its puller. Once the rickshaw attains a high speed its puller is reluctant to lower down the speed by its hand brake, lest the rickshaw would require further manual pressure by the puller totally disregarding other motorized vehicles speeding fast. This type of mad race by rickshaws with motorized vehicles sometimes poses a great threat to pullers themselves. Their wanton violation of traffic rules puts extra pressure on law enforcers maintaining traffic, especially at the road intersections, pedestrians, and also on the users of other vehicles. Their free style driving of rickshaws demonstrates their intention of realizing good penalty from the users of motorized vehicles for any damage or injury due to collision with motorized vehicles. So the users of motorized vehicles are always scared of the rickshaws.

Diversities

Bangladesh is a land of ethnic, cultural and religious diversities. People of different backgrounds have been living here for centuries.

Music

I admit because of the advancement of newer technologies, our young generation's taste of music has changed dramatically over the years. Moreover, we have now quite a few good number of musicians in our country who are capable of composing songs using all the latest software and instruments. The albums by these composers are selling like hotcakes as our young generations find them very interesting. Since they have huge fan following, these composers do not dare to come in front of the microphone and give voices as well since they do not have the melodious voice which is required for a singer. They use auto tuner and all the other technologies to overcome their limitations and all the other shortcomings. But I feel in this process, we the listeners are the losers and these composers are becoming the so-called famous singers. I think these composers are cheating us. Although they have better knowledge in music than we the general listeners have, that does not necessarily mean that they have the right to cheat us in this way. They are receiving appreciation and earning money which they do not deserve. When these composers sing on any live event, they get exposed. Since they do not have basic training in singing, how could we expect them to perform on live shows? I think it's high time for us to realise this. We have many talented singers in our country who have melodious voice but we treat them badly. We should treat singers by their voice.

Traffic problem

I'm talking about the traffic system of Bangladesh and now in the modern world where every day researchers wake up with new innovations to save the valuable time of people. But Bangladesh has no headache about the traffic system. The roads are deplorable and the signal light are just for show as many of them don't work and in most of the places the traffic sergeant controls the system manually. Of course, the entire fault is not of the government, bus drivers and others often aggravate the situation. Even the car owners park their cars in the road. Restaurants, shopping malls, hospitals etc have no parking places.

Significance of “Miraj”

Miraj is the direct proof of 'Tawhid' as well as the expression of 'Shan-e Resalat'. Distrust in Miraj means distrust not only in 'Resalat' but also in 'Tawhid'.

PM's call to leader of the opposition!

As mentioned in the DS editorial of 9 March under the above heading, the media also printed the similar wordings of Begum Zia on the BDR carnage. The prime minister may have misquoted her for her political rivalry, but the media men not her rival politicians who have heard her saying, “the killers of BDR officers were foreign spies and were hired from outside.” Did the media then lie to the readers?

Global crisis

There is no denying that the global economic crisis has hit the whole world hard. The USA, being a leading country controlling world economy, has been affected severely by the crisis, which has given birth to global joblessness. Every day we find the news of many organisations limiting their activities, leading to job loss.

Back to the screen!

The vocal members of the said Samaj are back on TV screen again. Initially they would confine themselves to empowerment of local government, a good subject for long debate, and then gradually enter into the mainstream politics including the BDR carnage.

Dowry

Discrimination against women is a common thing in Bangladesh. For this reason women are deprived of their fundamental rights, and they are not aware of their rights also. They are directly affected by dowry.

Failures

The only information on the action or lack thereof regarding the Feb 25 incident has come from the press alone. To date, the government does not deem it necessary to provide regular briefings outside of self-serving prepared press releases. The recent news item “BDR HQ hardly cordoned off” stands as glaring testament to a shameful and careless reflection of compounded failure of the chain of command by the so-called “authority”. It permeates its inescapable lack of comprehension of the seriousness of the events on the ground. The best explanations they can muster up is that their respective departments “were working under the directives”. Might we ask what these directives were?

The army, our pride

Recently, we lost so many talented military officials. These officers were most valuable assets of our country. They had done their best at every crucial moment. But we could do nothing when scores of army officers were killed in the most inhuman way.

Hope

Heather McNamara of USA is not a celebrity. Still she made a history!

British Council facilities

British Council is a centre of excellence for learning English. It offers for its members basically three facilities-- Internet browsing at cyber zone, English listening at resource centre & book reading & borrowing for three weeks in library. Hence, three kinds of membership-- general membership, open learning membership & family membership. Three months ago it had 28 computers in its cyber zone. At present only 20 computers are available. Members can use 18. So sometimes we see a queue for browsing Internet, we have to wait for 5 to 15 minutes. The situation was not like this three weeks ago. Because then computers were available.

Feeling honoured

A few years back I visited Chennai for some medical treatment. One afternoon when we had no work with the hospital, we visited a shopping mall. We had enough time that afternoon and were looking leisurely at different shops. At one stage we were about to enter a big mall and noticed an elderly security officer with plenty of medals on his uniform. I had a closer look on those, which the security officer noticed. He very politely asked me what I was looking for. I enquired about those medals. He then very proudly told me that he acquired those for his outstanding bravery in the liberation war of Bangladesh. I was very curious and asked him where he was posted during the war of liberation in Bangladesh in 1971. He vividly narrated that his troops had a fierce fight in Brahmanbaria, Kasba & Ashuganj. I was extremely moved by his words. I told him that I was from Bangladesh. I belong to Brahmanbaria. To my surprise, the security officer instantly saluted me.

Talk show guests

Though it is not recommended to begin anything with a negative statement, but to call spade a spade, we are worried about our nation's immediate future. Yes, it is true that we had always been worried about many aspects of our national affairs since its independence: politics, governance, unemployment, price hike, education system, health facility, traffic jam, corruption and, lately terrorism. But, now we are witnessing an entirely different type of challenge.

International

Pakistan appeals Sharif disqualification

The Pakistan government filed appeals yesterday to overturn a court ruling that banned opposition leader Nawaz Sharif and his brother from contesting elections and sparked a political crisis.

Is Zardari seeking to oust Gilani?

Smarting from his capitulation to a lawyers' protest, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari now seems to be training his guns on Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, the man who emerged stronger with his deft handling of a crisis that had threatened to spin out of control.

'Sleepless nights for Zardari, Musharraf'

For once, both Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and his predecessor seem to be in the same boat, spending sleepless nights over the reinstatement Saturday of sacked Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhury.

Shariah court becomes operational in Swat

A Shariah court has started operating in Matta Tehsil of Swat Valley Wednesday.

CIA chief in India to talk Pakistan, Afghanistan

New CIA chief Leon Panetta was in India yesterday for high-level talks on the worsening violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan, sending a signal of the deepening ties between Washington and New Delhi.

Uma meets Advani, says she is coming home

There are no permanent enemies in politics. In what could be the return of the prodigal daughter, expelled BJP leader Uma Bharati is leaving no stone unturned to cosy up to BJP's prime ministerial candidate, LK Advani.

Israel's ex-president indicted for rape

Israel's ex-president Moshe Katsav was formally charged with rape and sexual harassment on Thursday, the justice ministry said.

Lanka civilians need 'urgent help'

Civilians pouring out of the war zone in Sri Lanka's north are in dire need of emergency surgical and psychological help, an international aid group said yesterday.

Six years on, Iraq still living dangerously

The end of war and occupation is in sight, six years after the US-led invasion of Iraq, but the moment is loaded with danger as new Iraqi forces take over security from withdrawing US troops.

Palestinian unity talks suspended

Palestinian reconciliation talks in Cairo have been suspended after rival factions failed to agree on a unity government, but they will resume in a few days, officials said yesterday.

'Top Pak cops were lazing at home during Lahore attack'

A high level probe into the security lapse during the terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team has revealed that all three Superintendents of Police (SP) who were entrusted to look after the security arrangements during the Lankan convoy's movement didn't reported on duty on the day the attack took place, and were in their residences.

Laden urges overthrow of Somali president

al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden called on radical Islamists in Somalia to overthrow new President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, according to an audiotape posted on the Internet yesterday.

Thai PM hits back at censure motion

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva rejected allegations of corruption and draft-dodging yesterday as the opposition launched a heated censure debate against the government.

Kuwait emir dissolves parliament a second time in a year

The emir of the Gulf state of Kuwait dissolved parliament on Wednesday for the second time in a year after a new row between MPs and the cabinet, which is dominated by members of his Sabah family.

Indian EC seeks report on Gujarat minorities' safety

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has asked district electoral officers across Gujarat to conduct a vulnerability analysis of religious minorities, tribals, backward classes and economically weak sections to prevent them from being threatened by political parties during the Lok Sabha polls, an official said on Thursday.

Fritzl guilty on all charges, sentenced to life

A jury yesterday ordered Josef Fritzl jailed for life for treating his daughter as a sex slave in the cellar of his home during a 24-year orgy of depravity in which he fathered seven children.

Pak presidency refutes reports of rift in Bhutto family

Pakistan's presidency today refuted media reports about a purported rift between President Asif Ali Zardari and his sister-in-law Sanam Bhutto, saying they were intended to damage the Bhutto family and cause a split in the ruling Pakistan People's Party.

Arts & Entertainment

Bindu: An ingénue with much potential

Starting her journey on the glamour-laden track to stardom through Lux-Channel i Superstar 2006 -- where she secured the first runners up position, Afsana Ara Bindu has won the hearts of many within a brief period. After making a breakthrough, as a model and an actress on both big and small screen, Bindu has decided to concentrate on the silver screen. The ingénue is poised to emerge as a professional actress in Dhallywood movies.

Bangabandhu’s birth anniversary and Nat’l Children’s Day observed

Speakers at a discussion here on March 17 said that Bangladesh attained its sovereignty under the valiant leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

“Reflection”: Breaking the silence

Organised by Bandhu Social Welfare Society (BSWS), a special screening of “Reflection” -- a documentary on MSM (men having sex with men) and transgender individuals exposed to the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS -- was held at the German Cultural Centre on March 17. Directed by Anisul Islam Hero, Chairperson of BSWS and also a noted dancer, the documentary has been produced with the support of UNAIDS Bangladesh. Socially stigmatised and isolated from the mainstream, these two communities are among the most marginalised ones -- extremely vulnerable to several sexually transmitted diseases.

Finale of “Style Icon” on ATN Bangla tonight

The grand finale of recently ended beauty pageant "Style Icon '08" will be aired tonight at 8pm on ATN Bangla. The finale was held at Fantasy Kingdom on March 13 and was supposed to be aired live on ATN Bangla.

Priyanka Chopra to receive the Nielsen Box Office Award

Twenty-five-year-old Indian cinema sensation and former Miss World, Priyanka Chopra will receive the Nielsen Box Office Award. The award, which is given for outstanding contribution to Asian cinema, will be presented to Priyanka by The Hollywood Reporter during the 3rd Annual Asian Film Awards on March 23.

Chow Yun-Fat to star as Confucius

Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-Fat is to star as revered philosopher Confucius in a HKD $22 million biopic backed by the Chinese government.

OP-ED

How vulnerable is Bangladesh?

There is a consensus among all leading economists and major international organisations that the world economy is in serious turmoil. However, there seems to be some degree of uncertainty about the effects on developing countries. Bangladesh's leading economists and business leaders are holding different views -- but no one is expecting huge fallout.

Helper Maribet takes funny revenge on employers

MY domestic helper is a genius. She can out-Sudoku me with one hand tied behind her back and the other cooking dinner. (She actually does this, just to show off.)

StarTech

Going wireless

“What does this wire do?”
“Where does this wire go?”
“Which wire is this?”

Adaptive lighting for grandpa!

Today, the major source of light in most of our apartments and offices, like it or not, constitutes of artificial lights and not natural lights! And it is no secret that artificial light affects us in subtle ways; at its best, ambient lighting can relax, soothe or excite, but used poorly it can drain us of energy and disrupt sleep. Ever thought about a lighting system that could adapt automatically to meet our individual needs?

New iPhone software has copy-paste, no Flash

Apple on Tuesday unveiled next-generation iPhone software with copy-paste and multimedia messaging features but no sign of much-coveted Flash for digital video.

Online Valentine’s contest held

Prize Giving Ceremony of a mobile-based contest 'Valentine's Dhamaka 2009' was held at the Lakeshore Hotel in the capital on March 12. HottDhaka.com (owned by hottMedia Ltd) and Communication-2 (C2) organised the contest.


The Daily Star

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