News of: Saturday, 21st of March, 2009
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The IMF has said the global economy would shrink in 2009 for the first time in 60 years, as EU leaders balked at pressure to boost spending and the crisis brought a million angry French workers to the streets.
Dhaka's air quality has almost returned to its notorious levels as a rise in vehicle numbers, brick kilns, and building constructions wiped out improvements made by the phasing out of two-stroke vehicles in 2003.
The visiting Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) team has said the carnage at Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) headquarters last month was a "conspiracy".
US President Barack Obama launched an historic direct appeal to the Iranian people yesterday, urging an end to decades of animosity and offering "honest" engagement with the Islamic Republic.
From South Asia to the Middle East, from Australia to California, rivers and aquifers that cross boundaries have become potent sources of friction.
Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) has decided to cut off utility services to the buildings built in violation of the approved design.
The fate of four wholesale kitchen markets in the city is uncertain as the government is yet to take a final decision on whether to provide additional funding towards completing the project.
Malaysia has taken in most of the 532 Bangladeshi workers who were stranded in Kuala Lumpur International Airport for around 12 days since the cancellation of 55,000 work visas.
Just ahead of parliamentary by-elections the formation of a committee to investigate corruption allegations against former speaker Jamiruddin Sircar was 'wrong and illogical', said BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain yesterday.
Ferry service on Paturia-Daulatdia route remained suspended for about three hours yesterday morning because of dense fog.
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia will start crucial meetings with party leaders from tomorrow on revamping the district committees of her party, the organisational activities of which apparently remained stalled because of serious leadership crisis.
Ruling Awami League Central Working Committee (ALCWC) meets on March 28 to finalise strategies for the party's next council likely to be held in June, and boosting organisational activities by resolving intra-party problems across the country.
A Tk 300 crore off-dock Inland Container Depot (ICD) 'KDS Logistics', begins its formal operation today on a sprawling 14.65 lakh square-feet (around 46 acre) land at Sonaichhari in Sitakunda, about 20km from Chittagong port.
Home Minister Sahara Khatun yesterday urged all to stand against distortion of history of the Liberation War and foil conspiracy against the country.
A fire broke out at the Geneva Camp in the city's Moha-mmadpur early today.
On the second day of the three-day remand, the two Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Ltd (CUFL) high officials remained tight-lipped about their role in the 2004 Chittagong arms haul.
Afghan and US authorities said yesterday troops killed 40 militants in some of the heaviest fighting this year in Afghanistan, which is gripped by mounting Taliban insurgent violence.
An upscale neighbourhood in Ecuador's capital turned into a charred, smoky disaster scene when a small army plane crashed into an apartment building, killing seven people and sending a fireball into the evening sky.
IF a picture expresses thousand words then the one in the front page of The Daily Star yesterday, showing two workers of a chemical plant at Kamarpara in Tongi, washing sacks that had contained toxic chemical in the Turag, little caring for the damage they are doing to the ecosystem, should amply illuminate the multi-frontal threats that our environment is subjected to everyday. This must be a daily chore carried out with impunity, because causing environmental pollution is a punishable offence.
WE are alarmed at the study report that by 2020 the slum dwelling population in urban areas of the country will reach the staggering figure of three crore. With Dhaka being the capital city and the hub of all developmental activities, it is most likely to be hit harder when the number of slum dwellers will swell beyond comprehension. Other towns and cities of the country will also have their equal share of slum population. Some of these facts were presented by speakers in a meeting organised by Gazipur Municipality and an international development organisation named Practical Action in the city on Wednesday.
RESPONSIBLE figures in the establishment have spoken about the suspected complicity of terror outfits and their mentors in the gruesome murders of military officers on 25th February last at the border guard headquarters. While the full facts establishing the culpability of the murderers may take some time, it appears prima facie from the severity of the vengeful killings that trained and motivated killer cells had played a major part in the macabre transactions.
THE United States, like others within the NATO, is quite clear that 'urgent security needs' exist in Afghanistan despite the presence of a fairly large contingent of foreign troops in that country (nearly 77,000 by last count). It is also evident that despite such an engagement, the Taliban appear to be gaining ground in most areas outside Kabul.
Alamu Bukola's 89th minute goal separated the two Mohammedans yesterday as Dhaka took advantage in the first-leg second semifinal of the Citycell Super Cup against their Chittagong namesake.
A near-flawless 160 by Sachin Tendulkar and three wickets for India in New Zealand's second innings put the tourists in total charge on the third day of the first Test here Friday.
Liverpool and Chelsea will meet again in the Champions League quarterfinal in a tie that has become an almost annual event in European football, and Rafael Benitez's team will be spared a fixture on the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.
The Super League of the Premier Division Cricket League will start on March 23 at three different venues.
Sheikh Russel will take on Chittagong Abahani in the first semifinal of the Citycell Super Cup Plate stage today.
Sri Lanka's cricketers on Friday wrapped up a post-trauma course of deep breathing and yoga taught by an Indian spiritual guru to overcome the shock of the Lahore attack.
Ashwell Prince and Jacques Kallis hit centuries as South Africa moved into a commanding position on the second day of the third Test against Australia at Newlands here on Friday.
World number two Roger Federer battled past Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) on Thursday to book a semifinal meeting with Andy Murray at the Indian Wells hardcourt tennis tournament.
Dilkusha Sporting Club crushed Tejgaon Agrogami 6-1 in the Green Delta Metropolis Second Division Hockey League at the Maulana Bhasani National Stadium yesterday.
Heath Streak has called on countries such as England and Australia to change their stance on playing cricket against Zimbabwe and said they have "a wonderful opportunity for them to build relationships with African people".
Siraj Memorial outclassed Pravati Sena Club by 10-0 goals in the inaugural match of the first division hockey league at the Circuit House ground yesterday.
An election of the Bangladesh Sports Journalists Association (BSJA), Chittagong was held on Friday to elect the seven-member new executive committee.
Cricket's lucrative Indian Premier League is shopping for bulletproof buses and cars to protect its star players even as the fate of the tournament remained uncertain on Friday.
Shay Given rescued Manchester City's faltering European dreams on Thursday when he pulled off two stunning penalty shootout saves to put his team into the UEFA Cup quarterfinals.
After last weekend's 4-1 hammering by Liverpool, Manchester United's performance at Fulham on Saturday is certain to be closely examined for clues as to the state of the champions' psyche.
Hugo Sanchez became a legend at Real Madrid in seven trophy-laden seasons but on Sunday the Mexican will put sentiment aside as his Almeria side look for a first ever win at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Bayern Munich welcome back France's midfield maestro Franck Ribery as they host bottom side Karlsruhe on Saturday eager to close the four-point gap on league leaders Hertha Berlin.
France coach Raymond Domenech on Thursday awarded a first call-up to Ligue 1 top scorer Andre-Pierre Gignac for the World Cup 2010 qualifying double-header against Lithuania.
Big spending English Premier League outfit Manchester City were given a chance to avenge defeat to a German club in the UEFA Cup some 30 years ago when they were drawn against Hamburg in the UEFA Cup quarterfinals here on Friday.
A charge of assault against Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard over a nightclub brawl was dropped at a court hearing Friday.
AC Milan face a tough trip to Napoli as they continue their push for a top three finish and automatic entry into next season's Champions League group stages.
Former Germany goalkeeper and captain Oliver Khan looks set to be named as the new team manager of Schalke 04 after a lengthy meeting with club officials on Thursday.
Although housing is one of the basic rights, members of the Dalit community find it extremely difficult to rent a house because of the prevailing social discriminations against them, speakers at a seminar said yesterday.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid yesterday said the government would introduce a separate pay structure for the teachers and constitute a commission for their appointment to ensure technology-based quality education in the country.
Despite the ban on polythene bags, such bags are still being used widely, causing serious damage to the environment, as suitable alternative shopping bags are not easily available in the market.
Speakers at the 10th reunion of former students of history department of Dhaka University yesterday said politicians do not evaluate history unless they need to do this for the purpose of politics.
The achievement of Bangla-desh in improving the sanitation coverage was appreciated at the 5th World Water Forum in Turkey yesterday as a number of donors, including Switzerland, referred the success to be followed by other parts in the world.
The fate of Chittagong Wasa's Tk 962.9 crore 'Karnaphuli Water Supply Project' hangs in the balance due to complication over acquisition of 31 acres of land at Pomara in Rangunia upazila in Chittagong.
Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) President and lawmaker Hasanul Haq Inu yesterday said the government should review the foreign investment policy so that the country's interest is not hampered.
It looks like a world of paper as everything -- human beings, toys, structures, bridges, hanging boxes, bed and small boats -- is made of newspapers.
New Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner AKM Shahidul Huq has said a major challenge right now before him is to combat militants or any saboteur as their threats are being feared.
Four people were killed in separate road accidents in the city and Narsingdi yesterday.
A Bangladeshi worker was killed as a pile of earth collapsed on him while he was working in a construction ditch at Makkah in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
Several hundred locals staged a demonstration against the committee of a mosque at Suritola in the city yesterday protesting its gross irregularities.
A trader was killed when a portion of the roof of a six-storey market collapsed and fell on him at Rampura in the city yesterday.
Leaders and activists of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) demonstrated on Dhaka University (DU) campus on Thursday demanding peaceful coexistence at the university halls.
Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister GM Quader yesterday urged the people to enhance the country's image abroad as a country of natural beauty by voting for Cox's Bazar and the Sundarbans to be named one of the 'New 7 Wonders of Nature'.
Land Minister Rezaul Karim Hira yesterday said all activities of the upazilas will be run through the elected representatives soon with passing of the Upazila bill by the parliament.
Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh Ameer Moulana Motiur Rahman Nizami yesterday paid tributes to the freedom fighters and prayed for eternal peace of the departed souls of the Liberation War martyrs.
The new executive committee of Textile Engineers' Forum, Bangladesh was formed with Engr Mahiuddin Ahmed, executive director of FM Yarn Dying Ltd, and MD Enayet Hossain, managing director of Knit Empire Ltd, as its president and secretary general respectively at the second council of the forum at a restaurant at Gulshan in the city yesterday, says a press release.
Founder president of Bishwa Sahitya Kendra Abdullah Abu Sayeed yesterday distributed prizes among the winners of its book-reading programme held in Khulna city last year.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited her ailing husband Dr M Wazed Mia at Square Hospital in the city yesterday and inquired about his health and treatment.
Special prayers were offered after Juma prayers yesterday at Baitul Mokarram National Mosque for rain for better Boro crops in the current season.
The fresh reduced tariff rates of Grameenphone (GP) to 49 paisa per minute during daytime will come into effect tomorrow.
The 4th consecutive Children Theatre Festival 2009 and Children Information Fair began in the city yesterday to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Health service in Patuakhali is badly suffering as 116 of the 164 posts of doctors have remained vacant in different hospitals and health complexes in the southern district.
At least 250 members of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) have been identified as involved in February 26 disorderly act in Dinajpur BDR Sector headquarters and four battalions under it when at least 3,288 bullets were fired.
Over 4,000 sacked dockers of Mongla port has threatened to enforce a day-long strike in the port area on March 25 if their five-point demand are not met by March 24.
The authorities of Rajshahi Government College yesterday reopened the college hostels to the students who are taking part in the different years' final examination under National University (NU).
Two outlaws were sentenced to 37 years imprisonment each for possessing illegal arms while another was murdered by rivals in Jhenidah on Thursday.
A girder of under-construction bridge across Khairabad River in Barisal district collapsed on Thursday night.
A court here on Thursday sentenced a sub-Inspector of Bagerhat Food department to 14 years imprisonment (SI) for misappropriating 321 tonnes of rice and wheat.
At least five people were injured as two factions of Motor Sramik League workers clashed each other over establishing supremacy at Lalmonirhat bus terminal yesterday noon.
A fisherman was killed by a Royal Bengal tiger in Kachhikata canal in the Sundarbans yesterday morning.
Several thousand followers of radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for an end to US occupation of Iraq after prayers in the capital yesterday, the sixth anniversary of the invasion.
US officials have said yesterday that Washington plans to continue with drone attacks in the tribal regions of Pakistan while at least 10 people were killed when militants fired rockets into a town in Pakistan's semi-autonomous Khyber tribal area on Thursday night.
The European Commission on Thursday announced an additional three million euros funding for the Red Cross to help tackle the growing humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka's strife-torn north.
Congress has said it was deeply hurt by the deal cut out by its old ally, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), by offering only three out of 40 parliamentary seats in Bihar.
Cautioning against attempts to draw a line between "good" and "bad" Taliban, India has said that doubts and divergences in the fight against terrorists in Afghanistan would embolden them and weaken the collective will of nations.
The UN special envoy to Afghanistan on Thursday urged the Kabul government to reassure its opposition that upcoming presidential polls will be "fair and transparent" amid expectations of stepped-up fighting by Taliban insurgents.
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's proposal of forming an alliance with the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid in Punjab has been accepted by senior members of the Pakistan People's Party.
Describing India as a "significant strategic partner", a top US naval official today said the dialogue between the two countries in the field of strategic and military relationship is "much healthier, more robust and more vigorous" than what was during the 80s.
India has bought a spy satellite from Israel with day-and-night viewing capability to boost surveillance capabilities in the aftermath of the Mumbai militant attacks, a report said Friday.
The United States said Thursday that Hamas must be committed to non-violence and meet other international demands before Washington can recognise a Palestinian unity government with the radical group's members.
Iraqis still struggle with daily hardship and indiscriminate attacks six years after the US-led invasion, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Thursday.
Japan may move Patriot missiles to its northern coast to intercept debris in case North Korea's planned rocket launch fails, the defence minister said Thursday as the prime minister warned of more possible sanctions against Pyongyang.
Thailand's foreign minister was forced during a censure debate Friday to defend himself against angry opposition attacks over his role in the protests that shut Bangkok's airports last year.
A powerful 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck Friday in the Pacific Ocean, shaking an erupting underwater volcano off Tonga's main island and raising fears of increased lava and ash flows, officials said.
A shoal of robotic fish which can detect pollution in the water are set to released into the sea off Spain, British scientists said Thursday.
President Barack Obama has made a deft overture to Iran in a videotaped message that could pave the way to ending three decades of bad blood with the United States, experts say.
Pirates have seized a Greek-owned cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia, Greece's Merchant Marine Ministry said Friday.
The African Union on Friday suspended the membership of Madagascar saying the change in government on the Indian Ocean island was "unconstitutional", a senior official said.
Vietnam and China have officially agreed to set up a hotline between leaders of the two countries, which fought a war in 1979, Vietnam's Foreign Ministry said yesterday.
Indian Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah called yesterday for the repeal of strict security laws giving sweeping powers to Indian troops battling a waning separatist insurgency in the region.
Arts & Entertainment
"Naroshundor," the latest short film by Tareque and Catherine Masud, is an attempt to humanise the Urdu-speaking Biharis; the community significantly collaborated with the Pakistani soldiers during the Liberation War.
Natasha Richardson, a Tony Award-winning actress whose career melded glamorous celebrity with the bloodline of theatre royalty, died Wednesday at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. She had suffered head injuries in a skiing accident Monday north of Montreal, and was flown to New York on Tuesday. She was 45.
After a blood stained, nine-month war against the Pakistani military, Bangladesh achieved independence on December 16, 1971. But, Mirpur, an important area of the capital, needed another month to be freed from the clutches of the collaborators of the Pakistani army. Mirpur remained captivated until January 31, 1972, with the non-Bengalis slaying many living in the area.
Chittagong has often paved the way for many things visionary and it happened again with the opening of the country's first Theatre Lecture Hall here with a view to practice and experiment with new forms of the medium.
The 12th instalment of Bengal's monthly musical soiree, "Pran-er Khela," was held at Bengal Shilpalay, Dhanmondi on March 19. The programme in an informal setting, where the audience can directly interact with the performers, is becoming increasingly popular among music enthusiasts in the city. This instalment of "Pran-er Khela" was sponsored by Eastern Bank Ltd.
ON March 8 newspapers reported that Wasa-supplied water in many areas has become unsuitable for drinking or even for household chores. Water has become so scarce that homemakers in Mirpur complain that they are using the same water for washing rice, dal and fish, and most people are bathing every three or four days. Many people are suffering from stomach ailments and diarrhoeal diseases because of the polluted water.
TWO things of import happened on the same night in Pakistan and India a few days ago. The first was the reinstatement of deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary and nine other judges. The second was the meeting of most non-BJP and non-Congress parties in India to constitute a third front to give the country another alternative after the Lok Sabha elections so as to do away with the communal politics of the BJP and Sonia Gandhi's one-person rule in the Congress.
IN a fairly rapid transformation, South Asia, which seemed relatively stable, has once more become a place of political turmoil. Several of the countries of this region find themselves enmeshed in unexpected internal problems and seem headed for more. It was not so long ago that South Asians could congratulate themselves on having found answers to besetting political problems through electoral methods.
We lived in Enayet Bazaar. Behind our house was the Jamaatkhana of the Bohras and the Goalpara Hindu slum. I was the eldest among three brothers and four sisters. My father was a dentist and my mother a Reader at the radio plus a social activist. Both were supporters of NAP (Bhashani). There were meetings at our place. Like the seniors I too participated in rallies and processions. J. M. Sen Hall was the hub. Motia Chowdhury used to stay with us at times when she was in Chittagong.
The following morning I went to his (Tajuddin Ahmed's) Hare Road residence. Even before I had arrived, sitting on the second-storey verandah he had begun to go through the files. I sat down on a chair beside him. He was writing very intently in one file. After writing almost two pages, then reading through it and signing it, he began to call out "Lily, Lily," (Begum Zohra Tajuddin). When Mrs. Tajuddin emerged from the room he said to her, "That promotion case, I have okayed it." Mrs. Tajuddin responded, "You are the finance minister of Bangladesh, who you are going to promote or not promote in your ministry is entirely your business; what do I have to do with it?" Tajuddin began to laugh, and replied, "Lily, you are absolutely right, but you have a connection with this particular case and so I thought you should know." I listened to Tajuddin saheb and wondered what this possibly could mean. It was at this moment that Tajuddin, smiling broadly, pushed the file towards me.
Even today I can smell corpses in the air,
Even today I discern Death's naked dance in the soil,
In my trance I still hear the whimper of a raped woman--
Has this country forgotten that nightmare night, that bloody time?
March 12 was World Glaucoma Day, the second day of its kind. This is a joint global initiative of the World Glaucoma Association (WGA) and the World Glaucoma Patient Association (WGPA) to put the spotlight on glaucoma. The aim of the day is to raise awareness of Glaucoma as a leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide.
After an especially active weekend of hiking or work around the yard, your osteoarthritis might cause pain despite taking your usual pain medication. So you turn to other ways of soothing your aching joints. Reluctant to pop another pill, some people make a run to the drugstore to pick up an over-the-counter joint cream that promises to dull the pain. But can these topical pain medications really offer arthritis pain relief? Here is a look at how topical pain medications work and whether they are a viable arthritis pain relief option.
People who walk for exercise should aim for a pace of 100 steps per minute to ensure their workout is intense enough, according to researchers.
A recent study estimates that eating eggs is not that dangerous for heart disease. In contrast, physical inactivity and daily lifestyle (like overweight, unhealthy diet and smoking) are most important factors.
Men with a higher intake of vitamin C from food or supplements have a lower risk of developing gout, a form of arthritis from uric acid build-up that causes inflamed joints, researchers said.
Opsonin Pharma Limited (OPL) has taken a big slice from pharmaceuticals market with double digit sales growth in 2008. The Sale growth of the company in 2008 was recorded 57.03 percent which is highest among the pharmaceutical companies in the country.
Shale Ahmed, Executive Director of Bandhu Social Welfare Society (BSWS) has been awarded the prestigious International Ashoka Fellowship this year, says a press release.
THE recent carnage inside the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) headquarters shocked the whole country. Some BDR soldiers (along with some suspected outsiders) carried out a massacre by killing more than 80 people including 72 BDR top brasses (deputed from army). The grisly incident once again proved how badly we manage our national security and how easily one can penetrate through the system. The whole nation mourned and was virtually at a stand still for a few days sensing much trouble in future. However, the situation is easing now. But that left some urgent questions that need to be paid attention to immediately. Although the government has formed an inquiry committee vis-à-vis allowing the army to enquire the event by its own, will it consider some very crucial geo-political equations in fixing the event? Given the nature of Bangladesh's geographical advantages almost splitting its big neighbor, which has an intention of emerging as a global power, Bangladesh, for many years, has been capitalized by many quarters indulging many extra-territorial activities. The reason, of course, is its unique geographical location which, in any case, can induce huge trouble to its big and ambitious neighbor. Therefore, the conflict of India with other nations can easily be stretched to Bangladeshi territory. And any conflict within Bangladesh can also easily have a link with the interests of many. The BDR carnage is no exception, rather the sophistication of the execution of the plan reminds us that the incident has a much deeper root.
THE US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for the first time on 6th March following a decision on 5th March by NATO to resume relations between NATO and Russia. It broke off after the Georgia-Russia conflict in August 2008.
With President Asif Ali Zardari bowing down to public anger, the fragile democracy in Pakistan has survived; it even promises now to grow despite the turbulence. The victory for the lawyers, judges and former PM Nawaz Sharif is decisive, but it will take time to settle the ruffled mood of the nation. Much depends on the synchronization of efforts by the judiciary, army and the political forces, in an environment of cultivated trust and responsibility. The forces threatening democracy and stability of the country are still spreading. The crisis is not between democracy and non-democracy; it is between the violent elements trying to obliterate Pakistan's existence through a civil war and the state institutions and political forces that can hold it together.
Star Books Review
The assassination of President Ziaur Rahman remains a mystery, like so many other mysteries before or since, even now. Precisely who planned to bump him off or what his enemies planned to do once he was out of the way has never been known. In his years in power, General Zia lived a life of danger, in two ways. In the first place, he was a danger to many around him, seeing that each time a coup attempt against him collapsed, he swiftly went into retribution mode. In the second, having survived as many as eighteen known plots to overthrow (and possibly kill) him, he succumbed to the nineteenth in May 1981 in Chittagong.
Whoever said that the word 'classy' cannot be linked to Bangladeshi food will now have to eat his own words and apologise. Profusely! If you are dead then better come down and see how the word beautifully blends with food that is best savoured when eaten with the hands and not with forks and knives. Of course God will allow it! After all, this is indeed cuisine made for divinity. Shawkat Osman, a businessman and a gourmet, has given us a mouthwatering presentation of dishes and the book not a run of the mill cooking manual is good enough to grace your drawing room. No, it will not make you look shallow but you will show you up as one who is culturally inclined.
The final journey of John Muir which he undertook just three years before his death is narrated in this book in inspiringly lyrical prose. The author, in a letter to one of his friends, said that God realized His ideas in his creation of nature which reveals itself both physically and spiritually. John Muir observed everything with scientific precision and made equally precise descriptions of them with amazing artistic excellence.
We have received a letter from Mr. Maqsoodul Haque objecting to the contents of a review (The long tradition of Bengal mysticism) in the Star Books Review of 14 March 2009. We would like it to be noted that the review was based on the contents of the book in question.