News of: Thursday, 16th of April, 2009
The government may allocate Tk 2,500-3,000 crore cash subsidy to affected export-oriented industries in the recession package it is going to announce next week to tackle the fallout of global meltdown.
The Awami League-led government enjoys a solid public endorsement in price control, economic management, and in its handling of the BDR incident, a The Daily Star-Nielsen opinion poll conducted on the eve of the government's 100-day performance shows.
A group of newly elected representatives of upazila parishad (UP) yesterday threatened to declare lawmakers persona-non-grata in UP complex areas if the Upazila Parishad Act 2009 is not cancelled immediately.
The empty OMS shops do not tell the story in whole. But the announcements -- 'Rice for Tk 18' -- posted on the walls of kitchen market shops help you understand it. Grain prices have come down to such a level that subsidised government sales have become irrelevant. And this is where the new government's success lies in its first 100 days.
The nation in its most colourful festival welcomed Pahela Baishakh, the first day of the Bangla year 1416, on Tuesday amid lively pageants leaving behind the gloom of past and pledging to uphold the nation's cultural heritage.
Bangladesh-born British citizen Faisal Mostafa who initially denied having any firearms and ammunition seized from Green Crescent Madrasa in Bhola admitted that he owns some of the firearms.
Jamaat-e-Islami has launched a countrywide campaign against the government move to try war criminals.
The three JMB suspects held with jihadi publications in Naogaon on Tuesday are members of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, police said.
The process of reorganising the main opposition BNP is being greatly obstructed by serious intra-party conflicts between 'reformist' camp, and leaders who have been convicted and are known as corrupt among the party men.
Capping weeks of an acrimonious campaign, India heads for the first phase of staggered parliamentary elections tomorrow amidst indications of yet another fractured mandate and coalition government.
Prime Minister (PM) Sheikh Hasina yesterday said construction work on elevated expressway on Gazipur-Tongi-Narayanganj route will be started within the current year as a way out of the nagging traffic jam in the capital.
Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exam and its equivalent Alim and Business Management (BM) examinations begin today amid strict security. A total of 6,18,308 candidates are appearing for the exams under 10 education boards.
Prime Minister (PM) Sheikh Hasina has warned Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) men of stern actions for creating unrest in educational institutions.
Thirty-seven missing children were rescued and 36 snatched cellphone sets recovered while 82 'pickpockets and snatchers' arrested from Ramna Park and its adjacent areas during celebration of Pahela Baishakh on Tuesday.
Six naval officers who served in Bangladesh Coast Guard on deputation in 2004 were interrogated yesterday in connection with the Chittagong arms haul case.
Jahangirnagar University Vice-chancellor Dr Sharif Enamul Kabir yesterday alleged that the former activists of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) who infiltrated into Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) are now trying to destabilise the JU campus.
Police recovered two grenades and a set of uniform of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) from a graveyard near the BDR headquarters yesterday and Tuesday.
An Ansar member was killed and 25 passengers and four Ansar men were injured during a launch robbery in the river Meghna early Tuesday.
Bangladesh is working to have broad-gauge rails all over the country to get linked with the Trans-Asian Railway in future.
Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) election is likely to be held in October-November as the city-corporation laws are expected to be passed by parliament in July.
A total of 140 more Bangladeshi workers returned home from Malaysia and Dubai yesterday after being cheated by their recruiting agencies.
The parliamentary standing committee on home ministry yesterday made a recommendation for extending till April 2010 the tenure of the Speedy Trial Act, enacted by the previous BNP-led alliance government in 2002.
Thirteen people were killed and 30 others injured, six in critical condition, in two separate accidents on Rangpur-Bogra highway early Tuesday.
Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) in a raid recovered some counterfeit note-producing materials and equipment and held two people in this connection from the city's Rampura area yesterday.
Joynal Hazari, former Awami League lawmaker was sent to jail yesterday after he surrendered before the court in a money laundering case, filed by the Anti Corruption Commission.
BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain has asked the government not to mount pressure on Khaleda Zia 'to evict her illegally' from the cantonment house.
Two persons were killed and ten others injured in a clash between two groups of villagers yesterday at Britti Debi Rajnagar village under Shailakupa upazila of Jhenidah district.
Country's first-ever bus route franchise (BRF) made its debut in the city's Uttara-Azimpur route on Tuesday, the first day of Bangla year 1416.
A light tremor measuring 4.9 on the Richter Scale jolted the port city and its adjacent areas at around 10:57pm on Tuesday.
Sri Lankan security forces resumed their offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels in the north of the island yesterday following a brief holiday ceasefire, the two sides said.
Thailand's government has revoked the personal passport of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra following several days of demonstrations that paralysed Bangkok, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Wednesday.
Indian security forces threw a ring of steel around Mumbai's Arthur Road jail yesterday as the trial began of the lone militant suspect captured during last year's attack on the city.
A Chinese activist said he was detained by police yesterday, the start of the sensitive period marking the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement.
We accept that one hundred days is too short a time to make any definitive judgment on the performance of a government, but certainly there are preliminary observations that can legitimately be made, both positive and negative. We hope that the government will continue its good work, but also that it will take stock and make adjustments where warranted.
That not all development work is beneficial for the people or nature or the flora and fauna of the land, we have long understood. This has been starkly revealed in a report appearing in this newspaper regarding the immense damage done to the environment and wild life as a result of a one-mile road constructed by the LGED thorough a forest tract in Rajnagar upazilla. We feel that this is an instance where the authorities were totally oblivious of the laws regarding use of forest land and the environment or they couldn't care less about it.
STRANGE goings-on are abroad in the land. Things we thought would not come to pass in this country after everything that happened in the two years of the caretaker government are now truly beginning to happen. Think of the predicament Hasan Mashshud Chowdhury finds himself in. A thoroughly decent man, one noted for his moral integrity, the former chief of the Anti-Corruption Commission is today the target, together with the organisation he has just left, of lawmakers' ire. That is a pity. Where once we thought the ACC would come to be recognised as an intellectually credible watchdog over men and women not much given to morality, today we are within sight of conditions where men pursuing the corrupt are themselves on the run. Or could be on the run.
THE 100 days benchmark seems to have been established to evaluate the performance of democratically elected governments across the world. The Awami League-led government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will reach its100-day milestone on April 19. Is the public pleased with the performance of the government so far?
THE 7th Pay Commission might present the report to the government formally in the month of Boishakh, with a lot of recommendations and packages of incentives for the employees in government and autonomous bodies.
Bangladesh football team will leave for Kathmandu today to play a practice match against Nepal Police on April 18.
In another shameful episode in the country's cricket, a local coach punched an umpire during an age-level match in the city yesterday.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) on Wednesday convinced the visiting Nimbus official about the outstanding dues that he denied during the break of the marathon meeting.
Chelsea survived one of the most dramatic matches in Champions League history to reach the semifinals with a 4-4 draw against Liverpool in Tuesday's quarterfinal second leg for a 7-5 aggregate victory.
A fighting unbeaten 64 from Mahfuz took Dhanmondi Cricket Academy (DCA) to victory by two wickets against Rayer Bazar in an exciting encounter of the Second Division Cricket League at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium yesterday.
Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) have postponed their proposed CCDM Cup tournament.
The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) under-15 team will tour the country from April 16.
Fast bowler Brett Lee has been deemed unfit to return to international cricket after failing to recover from an ankle injury. Doug Bollinger, the left-arm fast bowler, has been added to the Australian one-day squad as cover for the forthcoming limited-overs series against Pakistan in the UAE. Lee, part of the squad currently in South Africa, will remain in the country to continue his rehabilitation.
From the moment a cricketer turns professional, he is expected to go out and perform in all conditions. All the player has to do is turn up on every match-day morning with a positive frame of mind and without any qualms on what lies ahead.
Kolkata Knight Riders owner Shah Rukh Khan is confident increased availability of international players will make the team more competitive in the second edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Andy Flower has been confirmed as England's new full-time team director of cricket after working on an interim basis during the recent tour of West Indies.
Ten-time boxing world champion Oscar de la Hoya announced his retirement from the sport here on Tuesday.
These are strange days for Matthew Hayden. Three months removed from calling time on his international career - an announcement he had hoped to stave off until after the 2009 Ashes, but expedited due to an extended scoring trough - Hayden now finds himself preparing to return to a game with which he is still making his peace, and a league that contributed to his premature departure from the Australian team.
Rafel Nadal droped serve twice as he and rival Roger Federer began their Roland Garros clay campaigns with challenging wins to reach the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Wednesday.
Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Asif is set to begin his rehabilitation in England this summer and possibly play league cricket to work his way back into form and fitness before the Champions Trophy this September. Asif is currently serving a one-year ban after testing positive to the banned substance nandrolone last year.
India's Sania Mirza booked a second-round clash with second-seeded Venus Williams Tuesday with a straight-sets victory in the one million-dollar Family Circle Cup.
South African off-spinner Johan Botha has been reported for a suspect bowling action for the second time in his career, the International Cricket Council said Wednesday.
Guus Hiddink admits Chelsea cannot afford a repeat of their epic Champions League quarterfinal second leg against Liverpool when they face Barcelona in the semifinals.
Martin Jol insists he is concentrating on turning Hamburg into a top side despite growing talk of a switch to Manchester City, the Germans' opponents in Thursday's UEFA Cup quarterfinals return.
French playmaker Franck Ribery ensured Bayern Munich exited the Champions League with at least some dignity as the German giants held Barcelona 1-1 in Tuesday's quarterfinal second-leg.
Rafa Benitez believes Liverpool's heroic but unsuccessful attempt to claim a remarkable Champions League victory over Chelsea can fire the team's bid to win the Premier League.
AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has set his team a new target: second place in Serie A.
Bremen playmaker Diego faces a race against time to shake off a thigh injury before Thursday's UEFA Cup quarterfinal second-leg tie against Udinese, it was revealed Wednesday.
Aston Villa will have to do without injured captain Martin Laursen for the rest of the season, manager Martin O'Neill predicted on Wednesday.
Troubled Brazil forward Adriano's agent insisted on Tuesday that his client's career is not over.
Four Serie A players were on Tuesday hit with lengthy bans after being involved in fights at the weekend.
Liverpool's Anfield football ground stood in silence Wednesday to mark the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough stadium disaster, in which 96 people were crushed to death.
Real Madrid announced Wednesday it will hold elections for a new club president on June 14.
Premier League champions Manchester United provided five of the six nominees for the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) player of the season award when they were announced on Tuesday.
The banking industry has increased focus on loans to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which have been remained ignored for years despite the sector's huge contribution to the economy, as banks would set up 139 SME service centres by this year.
India's Infosys Technologies Ltd said yesterday fourth quarter profit jumped 29 percent but warned revenue growth will slow sharply this year as customers hit by the global recession demand lower prices for information technology services.
The telecom watchdog will now focus more on extending information and communication sector rather than putting an extra effort to bag handsome revenues every year.
Non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) can now take foreign loans only for funding manufacturing and infrastructure (except housing) sectors, the central bank said.
Dhaka stocks continued to rally for a third day with indices jumping around 3 percent yesterday, led by bank shares.
The chief executive officers (CEOs) of private commercial banks yesterday agreed to cut deposit rates in a move to implement the central bank's decision to limit the lending rate at 13 percent.
Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) leaders yesterday demanded 15 percent cash incentives from the government to offset losses stemming from the global recession.
The government will prioritise protection of the export-oriented industries, agricultural growth, employment generation and social security to offset the negative effects of the global economic crisis, the finance minister said yesterday.
The Small and Medium Enterprise Foundation (SMEF) yesterday began disbursing collateral-free loans at an interest rate of 9 percent, the lowest in the country, to help promote small and medium entrepreneurs.
The size of gross domestic product (GDP) would increase by additional 26 percent in a year on electrification of the whole of the country, said economist Abul Barakat yesterday.
US industrial production fell in March for the fifth consecutive month, by 1.5 percent, to the lowest level in a decade amid a prolonged recession, government data showed Wednesday.
Australia's economic activity contracted in February to its lowest level in 27 years, according to figures released Wednesday, suggesting the country is headed for recession.
Warid Telecom has set up 10 photo booths at vantage points around Dhaka, which allowed people to capture their festive moods on Pahela Boishakh, says a press release.
World oil prices fell Wednesday on news that US crude reserves had hit the highest level since 1990, indicating fragile demand in the recession-blighted American economy.
Although merger among bank and non-bank financial institutions in the US, Europe and Asian giants China and India appears to be inevitable for betterment, this concept is yet to get momentum in Bangladesh.
Thailand's fresh political dramas will inflict huge tourism losses, weigh down the stock market, and crimp growth in an economy already in crisis from the global downturn, analysts said Wednesday.
Asian markets were mixed Wednesday with some bourses tracking Wall Street's overnight falls on weaker than expected US retail data, eroding recent optimism over prospects for an economic recovery.
The dollar fell against the yen in Asia on Wednesday as the market waited for another batch of US data following fresh signs of weakness in the world's largest economy.
Malaysia Airlines on Wednesday announced ticket price discounts of up to 80 percent in a bid to boost passenger traffic amid the global economic downturn.
Online auction giant eBay announced plans on Tuesday to spin off Web communications service Skype with an initial public offering next year, ending the troubled relationship between the two firms.
The US could reveal details about the health of its top 19 banks in a bid to reassure investors about the state of the ailing sector, local media reported Wednesday.
Remittances from Filipinos working abroad rose 4.9 percent in February, marking a recovery from the virtually flat growth in January, the central bank said Wednesday.
Speakers at a seminar yesterday stressed the need to formulate a policy from health rights perspective where specific goals, directions, strategies and commitment of the government would be vivid for ensuring people's health rights.
State Minister for Law Qamrul Islam has said the government would form an investigation committee in a day or two as part of its process to try war criminals.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday directed the officials concerned to look into the position of a plot of land for setting up a permanent office of Dhaka Reporters' Unity (DRU) at Segunbagicha in the city and assured the reporters of other supports.
The government yesterday formed an expert committee to formulate a new 'Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan' in order to minimise the adverse impacts of global climate change.
Ten people were killed and 23 others injured in separate road accidents in Netrakona, Dinajpur, Gaibandha and Gopalganj in last two days.
A parliamentary committee has directed the authorities concerned to increase the salary packages of four state-run banks in line with the private commercial banks ensuring profit sharing with their employees.
Visiting Irish Minister for investment and coordination Conor Lenihan yesterday met State Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Hasan Mahmud at his office in the city.
US Congresswoman Yvette D Clarke assures BNP lawmaker and Opposition Chief Whip Joynal Abdin Farrouqe of holding a hearing in the US Congress on human rights situation in Bangladesh.
A legal notice has been served calling on the government to ban the books titled 'Documents on the War of Independence' published in June 2004 by the then BNP-led four-party alliance government distorting the history in respect of the declaration of independence.
Police yesterday recovered two bodies, one at Pallabi in the city, and the other at Tongi on the outskirts of the capital.
President Zillur Rahman returned home last night after his medical check-up at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.
A delegation of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) led by Renata Lok-Dessallien, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator, met with Speaker Md Abdul Hamid Advocate at his office at Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban yesterday, says a press release.
Students of Amader Pathshala, an educational institution for disadvantaged children at Mirpur in the city, yesterday celebrated Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bangla New Year amidst festivity.
Police arrested a Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activist on charge of snatching a cellphone from a person at Suhrawardy Udyan in the city on Tuesday.
Bangladesh National Women Lawyers' Association (BNWLA) yesterday urged the government to conduct neutral investigations into the suicides committed by six BDR jawans and deaths of six other BDR men in 'sudden cardiac arrests'.
Prof Dr Nizamuddin Ahmed and lawmaker Nasrul Hamid Bipu have been elected president and general secretary of Old Remians Welfare Association (ORWA), says a press release.
A two-day training workshop on peace and conflict resolution will begin in the city tomorrow.
The indefinite transport strike, called by the transport owners on 18 routes from 6:00pm yesterday, was called off for a week due to HSC examinations scheduled to begin today.
A Dhaka court yesterday directed the deputy commissioner (DC) of Detective Branch (DB) to submit a report by July 21 after an investigation into an attempted murder case filed against an army officer and two others.
Leaders of the Association of Development Agencies in Bangladesh (ADAB) yesterday sought cooperation from Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith in resolving the problems facing different NGOs, especially ADAB.
Twenty-one alleged collaborators of Pakistani occupation forces have been sued for murder, rape and looting in Khulna and Jamalpur during the Liberation War in 1971.
Hundreds of people on Tuesday besieged Nilphamari railway station and obstructed movement of a newly-introduced Dhaka-bound inter-city train for about an hour protesting closure of two Khulna-bound inter-city trains.
It was a different scene on Omarkhana border in Panchagarh Sadar upazila as Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bangla New Year, brought a unique opportunity to meet for thousands of Bangla speaking people living on two sides of the border.
Barind Development Authority (BMDA) in a meeting yesterday formed a seven-member committee comprising five lawmakers to investigate alleged irregularities and corruption involving 'hundreds of crores' of taka public money during last several years.
Police have arrested an accused in the case for killing an elderly woman at Chashma Hill residential area in the port city on March 22.
Awami League leaders and activists brought out a procession at Kalaroa and blocked traffic on Satkhira- Kaiganj road protesting attack on a local AL leader and demanding arrest and punishment of the culprits.
Two children drowned in a pond at village Bahadurpur in Assassuni upazila on Tuesday, locals and police said.
Relatives of Pakistani students arrested in Britain over an alleged Al-Qaeda-driven plot pleaded their innocence and demanded access to their loved ones.
Millions of Indians are due to vote in the first round of the country's 15th general elections today.
Mohammed Ajmal Kasab -- referred to as "accused number one" -- was ushered into court yesterday under a dirty white blanket, flanked by paramilitary soldiers in flak jackets and riot helmets.
A group of some 1,000 Afghans swarmed a demonstration of 300 women protesting against a new conservative marriage law yesterday. The women were pelted with small stones as police struggled to keep the two groups apart.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said yesterday Tehran will offer a new package to world powers for negotiations aimed at resolving the standoff over its controversial nuclear drive.
An unrepentant North Korea yesterday hailed its rocket launch as a historic victory, a day after vowing to restart its nuclear weapons programme in response to UN censure of the exercise.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday ruled out resumption of talks with Pakistan as long as it allows terrorists to use its territory against India and does not show "sincerity" in bringing the perpetrators of Mumbai attacks to justice.
Afghanistan said on Tuesday it was concerned its own security could be hurt by a deal between Pakistan and Taliban guerrillas to impose Islamic law on a Pakistani valley.
Five Maoist rebels and two troopers were killed yesterday in eastern India in an upsurge of left-wing violence on the eve of general elections starting Thursday, police said.
Somali pirates fired grenades and automatic weapons at an American freighter loaded with food aid but the ship managed to escape the attack and was heading yesterday to Kenya under US Navy escort, officials said.
A Chinese activist said he was detained by police yesterday, the start of the sensitive period marking the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement.
Arts & Entertainment
At crack of dawn on Pahela Baishakh, Chhayanat artistes began their traditional 'barsho-boron' (new year celebration) at Ramna Batomul. Since 1967, this event has been at the centre of Dhaka's Bengali New Year celebrations. Even the horrifying bomb blast in 2001 at the event could not deter people from thronging the venue from the early hours of the day.
Shurer Dhara, a cultural organisation led by noted Tagore singer Rezwana Chowdhury Bannya, bade adieu to the Bengali year 1415 and welcomed 1416 with a vibrant musical programme featuring folk songs and dance performances. The event was held on April 13, the last day of the Bengali month Chaitra, under the Ashwattha tree at the Lalmatia Girls' High School ground.
To celebrate 'Pahela Baishakh,' Nokia held a concert at Banani society field on April 14. Titled "Nokia Baishakhi Music Mela," the event featured performances by Warfaze, Miles, Artcell, Dolchhut and Arnob. This was the third concert by Nokia on Baishakh.
Venerable Prime Minister,
I am happy for you. Today you illuminate the office of the prime minister. Although you had the same privilege some years ago, I strongly feel that this time it is of a different dimension and magnitude. The nation has great expectations from you. As a matter of fact, the people of this country never reposed so much trust in any other person other than your father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of the nation.
BANGLADESH'S peaceful transition to elected government has unfortunately been overtaken by post-election conflicts, of which the BDR carnage has been the worst. As a consequence, we have failed to take advantage of an opportunity to turn the corner.
MARCH 22 began on a happy note. Three of us friends went to Rajendrapur to spend a quiet day together. Sitting in a log cabin in the serene environment of the shal bon, we were engaged in recalling some memorable incidents of our lives. We lost the thread of discussion when my cell phone rang and I was asked to urgently contact Mrs Amir Chowdhury for an update on her husband's health condition. The information I got was a shock. Mr Amir Ali Chowdhury had passed away following a minor surgery.
THE other night I watched a movie where a spy was machine-gunned, thrown out of an aircraft and dropped into a tank of piranhas. I felt sorry for the guy. His life was so dull.
Kafco scholarships for school students
Karnaphuli Fertiliser Company (Kafco) Limited awarded scholarships to the talented students of four schools on Monday.