The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Thursday, November 27, 2014


News of: Friday, 12th of June, 2009

Front Page

Mix of progress, protection

Finance Minister AMA Muhith proved his reputation of being a straight talker when he placed his maiden budget for the new government in parliament yesterday that explicitly aimed at protecting the domestic industry and at the same time laid down the path for agricultural growth.

Social safety net expanded further

The government has proposed to expand social safety net programmes by increasing budgetary allocation and the number of beneficiaries, expressing its intent to protect the poor from vulnerability.

Green beckoning

The government plans big to improve the country's overall environment emphasising retrieving the degraded river system, checking pollution, promoting renewable energy and proper use of water along with taking up massive afforestation programmes.

Major test for first private-public bid

Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday, for the first time, proposed an allocation of Tk 2,500 crore for the public-private partnership initiative to implement different projects in infrastructure, health and education sectors.

Govt guns for long term power goal

Touching upon energy and power issues in his budget speech, the finance minister outlined a long-term vision to solve the gas and power crisis at present and in future, and as part of it proposed an allocation of Tk 4,310 crore for the sector in the next fiscal year (FY).

Govt opens arms for black money

The government yesterday proposed to allow whitening of black money in exchange for payment of 10 percent tax on the amount, with a caveat that the whitened money must be invested in any of prescribed 62 sectors.

Govt bows down to black money

The government yesterday proposed to allow whitening of black money in exchange for payment of 10 percent tax on the amount, with a caveat that the whitened money must be invested in any of prescribed 62 sectors.

ADP goal lofty

Renowned economists of the country yesterday said it would be a major challenge for the government to implement the proposed annual development programme (ADP) for the fiscal year 2009-10.

Bank borrowing to go up by 57pc

The government yesterday proposed a "slightly expansionary" budget of Tk 1,13,819 crore for the fiscal year 2009-10. The proposed budget is 21 percent bigger than the revised budget of the previous fiscal year with big outlays on social safety nets, additional pay hike, PPP initiative and world economic recession.

Govt lives up to digital plan

Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday unveiled a big information and communication technology (ICT) plan aimed at making technology accessible to all.

TCB to open fair-price shops of essentials

The government is expected to start selling edible oil, pulse, sugar and onions from fair-price outlets of Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) early 2009-10 fiscal year to keep prices of essentials stable.

'Free Buriganga' drive from next week

Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) will start eviction drive against the encroachers of river Buriganga next week while the drive along river Turag on the Tongi side ended on its ninth day yesterday.

More taxpayers, but no tax hike

The government wants to boost earnings by expanding the tax net through surveys to identify new taxpayers and better tax collection, not by increasing taxes.

Ambitious, no innovation

The proposed budget is “full of contradictions” and people will reject it as it would not play any effective role in ensuring people's welfare, said BNP in a post-budget reaction last night.

Up and down

Some consumer items will be costlier and some others cheaper due to the proposed taxes and duties in the budget for fiscal 2009-10.

Duty back on import of newsprint

Newspaper industry is facing a blow as the government has proposed to impose five percent duty on import of newsprint for newspapers.

Budget 2009-2010

* Public-Private Partnership

Coming up next dist-level budget

The government plans to introduce district-level budget from 2010-11 fiscal year to ensure transparency in public expenditures and accountability in implementation of the projects, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said yesterday.

Tk 10cr fund okayed for war trial

The prosecutors and members of tribunal for the trial of war criminals are likely to be appointed next month after the passage of the budget in parliament, said Law Minister Shafique Ahmed.

Double-digit GDP growth by 2017

The government has set a target of achieving a 10 percent growth in GDP by 2017 in line with the ruling Awami League's election manifesto.

Middleclass still out of comfort zone

Watching television in the afternoon is rare for Abidur Rahman. But keen to know what the new budget holds for a middle class family like his, he opted to upset his daily routine yesterday.

Three more public universities under education plan

The government yesterday promised more teachers, three more public universities, and one technical institute in every upazila as part of a massive injection of funds into the education and technology sector in the budget for fiscal year 2009-2010 (FY10).

Pay rise for govt staff from July

Government employees will be receiving increased salary and bonus from next month, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said in his budget speech.

Muhith lauds caretaker govt's role

Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday praised the last caretaker government for its role in holding a free and fair national election.

Myanmar firm keen to export 500MW power to Bangladesh

A Myanmar company is interested to set up a 500-megawatt hydroelectric plant in Rakhine state and export electricity to Bangladesh, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said yesterday.

Editorial

A budget with many fronts

THESE are our first impressions of the national budget 2009-10 etched in broad strokes to convey a sense of what the tenor and temper of the document are all about. More comprehensive and in-depth analysis of the budget with specific comments on its major aspects and directional thrusts will follow in the days to come.

Withdrawal of 'politically motivated' cases

We are concerned at the government decision to recommend the withdrawal of 62 so-called politically motivated cases filed against Awami League leaders during the times of both the BNP-Jamaat government and the Fakhruddin Ahmed caretaker administration. By labeling these cases as politically motivated and thereby moving to exonerate the individuals involved in them demonstrates a disturbing lack of transparency. While we do not presume that everyone against whom cases were filed is guilty, we cannot also suggest that none of these individuals are innocent of the charges filed against them. Making matters even more disturbing is the fact that a good number of these individuals have already been convicted of offences ranging from corruption to tax evasion. Besides, there are yet cases that are ongoing and about which one cannot make any judgement at this stage.

The devil is in implementation

THE 2009-10 budget has been announced amid much fanfare. Thanks to the media and initiatives from various business groups, wide scale pre-budget aspirations of people received much air time. The reality, though, is that even the best of budgets and policy initiatives can fail due to issues beyond the control of the finance minister. The devil will not be in the details, but in implementation. So it's important to get the potential road-blocks identified.

Vitamin A pills in the dock

HEALTH for the children is a part of overall public health care system. Three major institutions -- the bureaucracy, NGOs and private entrepreneurs are involved in implementation of health related policies and programs. Besides, a score of international agencies operate health care programs for mothers and children under family welfare. All such concerned agencies are fully committed to the UN convention on the rights of the child.

Poised for change

BECAUSE of a variety of developments the overall political climate in the South Asian region now appears better compared to any other time in the last many years, and this relatively healthy situation provides an opportunity for the regional nations to improve their bilateral ties on the one hand and advance collective benefits on the other. Almost all the countries share this encouraging condition, which may lead to a more peaceful and cooperative South Asia.

Sports

Rafiqul faces the music

The squad for the West Indies tour will be announced later this month and chief selector Rafiqul Alam will have a tough job in his hand following criticism over his selections for the ICC World Twenty20.

Razzaq London-bound

All-rounder Abdul Razzaq Thursday said he was excited at the prospect of reviving his international career after he was cleared to join Pakistan as a replacement in the World Twenty20.

Zaheer wary of Gayle force

India's pace spearhead Zaheer Khan rates West Indian captain Chris Gayle the main threat when the two teams clash in the World Twenty20 Super Eights on Friday.

Aaron stars for Kiwis

Late entrant Aaron Redmond proved his credentials as injury-stricken New Zealand thrashed hapless Ireland by 83 runs in the World Twenty20 Super Eights on Thursday.

SA outclass Eng

South Africa unleashed their awesome bowling power to inflict a morale-sapping defeat on England by seven wickets in the World Twenty20 Super Eights on Thursday.

Sri Lanka on song

Sri Lanka emerged as one of the favoured teams in the World Twenty20 after their clinical destruction of mighty Australia and the West Indies in the first round.

MU accept WR C'Ron bid

Manchester United have agreed to sell Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid for a world record 80 million pounds (130 million dollars, 94 million euros), the club said Thursday.

Mathews' antics is legal

Angelo Mathews' acrobatic fielding effort in Sri Lanka's match against West Indies at Trent Bridge on Wednesday conformed to the Laws of Cricket, the MCC has said. Such "brilliant and quick-thinking" acts, it said, are good for the game and should not be deemed illegal.

Champs Club Cup final round from today

Feni Soccer Club will play Jhenidah Peul Smriti Sangsad in the opening final round match of the Bashundhara Champions Club Cup football at the Jessore Stadium today.

Rajib keeps top spot

Grand Master Enamul Hossain Rajib drew with International Master Sethuraman of India yesterday to maintain his spot at the top of the points table with 13 other players in the 1st SCS International Open Grand Masters Chess Tournament in Bhubaneswar, India.

Biman triumph

Biman emerged champions in the boys' team event in the AB Bank 30th National Table Tennis Championship beating Dhaka 3-0 in the final at the wooden floor gymnasium in Dhaka yesterday.

Razzaq London-bound

All-rounder Abdul Razzaq Thursday said he was excited at the prospect of reviving his international career after he was cleared to join Pakistan as a replacement in the World Twenty20.

Age does not worry me: Jayasuriya

He's nearing 40, but Sanath Jayasuriya, who says age does not worry him, seems to be enjoying the shortest version of cricket. Today, he dominated Trent Bridge, smacking 81 off 47 balls to lead Sri Lanka to a 15-run win over West Indies.

Roddick wins battle of Queen's kings

American Andy Roddick won the battle of the kings of Queen's on Thursday, beating Australian Lleyton Hewitt 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/4) in the third round.

Brazil atop

Robinho scored in the 40th minute and Nilmar netted the winner in the 49th as Brazil seized sole possession of first place in South American 2010 World Cup qualifying by beating Paraguay 2-1.

England, Serbia close in

England and Serbia both took significant strides towards the 2010 World Cup in South Africa with victories in their European qualifying matches on Wednesday.

Karimi keeps Iran alive

Midfield star Ali Karimi scored the only goal as Iran defeated the United Arab Emirates 1-0 on Wednesday to keep their World Cup hopes alive.

Mexico bounce back

Oscar Rojas scored three minutes into the second half to give Mexico a 2-1 victory over Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday but the Mexicans could not escape fourth place in 2010 World Cup qualifying.

Iaquinta rescues Italy

A second-half double from Juventus striker Vincenzo Iaquinta gave world champions Italy a nervy 4-3 victory over New Zealand in a FIFA Confederations Cup warm-up match at Super Stadium on Wednesday.

Sania moves into last 8

India's Sania Mirza moved into the quarterfinals at the WTA tournament here on Thursday with a 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 6-2 victory over Russian fifth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Seedorf happy at Milan

AC Milan's veteran Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf pledged his future to the Serie A side on Wednesday and said he would not be joining-up with former club coach Carlo Ancelotti as FA Cup winners Chelsea.

Materazzi extends Inter stay

Italian World Cup winner Marco Materazzi has extended his contract with Serie A champions Inter Milan by one year to 2010, the UEFA website reported on Wednesday.

US, Iran may play friendly

Iran and the United States, political foes whose football teams are each trying to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, might meet on the football field in November at Tehran.

Platini shocked at excess fee

European football supremo Michel Platini expressed shock Thursday as Real Madrid's world record bid for Cristiano Ronaldo followed hot on the heels of the blockbuster Kaka move.

Soldo set for Cologne

Croatia's Zvonimir Soldo is set to become the new coach of Bundesliga side Cologne, according to reports in the German media on Thursday.

Age does not worry me: Jayasuriya

He's nearing 40, but Sanath Jayasuriya, who says age does not worry him, seems to be enjoying the shortest version of cricket. Today, he dominated Trent Bridge, smacking 81 off 47 balls to lead Sri Lanka to a 15-run win over West Indies.

Flintoff makes early return

England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff is on course to feature in the Ashes series against Australia after being selected for a surprise first-class comeback in Lancashire's County Championship match at Durham on Thursday.

Dhoni happy to match and mix

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be happy to mix and match the World Twenty20 champions' batting order as the Super Eights gets underway.

Inter-varsity football

The Inter University football competition 2008-09 began at the gymnasium playground of Dhaka University (DU) on Wednesday afternoon.

Li, Maria march on

Chinese fourth seed Li Na had to survive a tough examination before winning her second round match against Slovakian Jarmila Groth in the WTA grasscourt tournament here on Thursday.

Business

Business leaders point to merits, slips

Major chamber and trade body leaders yesterday expressed mixed reactions over the proposed budget for fiscal 2009-10, claiming it possess both positive and negative aspects to the growth of business.

Govt to undertake massive housing projects

The Ministry of Housing and Public Works has chalked out plans to develop real estate projects on a large scale, targeting the lower and middle-income groups, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said in his budget speech yesterday.

Tax holiday, in new form

The government has proposed a new system of tax holiday for the next fiscal year by introducing a reduced rate of tax for select categories of industries instead of 100 percent tax waiver for a certain period.

No direct fund for RMG

The government has not allocated any direct fund in the proposed budget for the much-talked-about stimulus package for readymade garment (RMG) sector amid global recession.

Budget deficit unchanged at 5pc of GDP

Budget deficit in the next fiscal year will stand at 5 percent of GDP, up about 1.0 percentage point from the revised budget of the outgoing fiscal 2008-09, as the size of the overall outlay declined to Tk 94,140 crore after revision from Tk 99,962 crore.

Govt opts for stock market finance

The government is underlining capital market for resource mobilisation to reduce its dependency on bank borrowing.

Stocks higher on budget expectations

Dhaka stocks closed slightly higher yesterday on budget expectations, backed by fuel and power sector shares.

Tk 600cr SME fund proposed

Finance Minister AMA Muhith has proposed raising the small and medium enterprise (SME) fund from Tk 500 crore to Tk 600 crore in FY 2009-10 national budget.

Budget focuses on jobs for the poor

Keeping in mind the election manifesto to provide job for a person of a family by 2014, the Awami League (AL)-led government in its budget focused on employment generation in agriculture and infrastructure sectors, labour-intensive and small and medium industries.

Tourism highflying

Tourism industry is going to receive the highest-ever allocation in its history as the budget for the next fiscal year has proposed a total of Tk 234 crore for the sector, which got Tk 31 crore in the current fiscal year.

Mobile sets to go costlier

Mobile phone sets will be costlier as 25 percent customs duty has been imposed on the import value of each set in the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2009-10, scrapping the existing flat import duty of Tk 300 on each set.

Export growth set at 16.2pc

The export growth has been projected an average 16.2 percent in the three FYs 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12.

$12.8b remittance projected

Finance Minister AMA Muhith in his national budget yesterday projected flow of remittance from workers abroad at $12.8 billion on an average during the next three years.

Infrastructure gets more focus

Since physical infrastructure and communication sectors are still far from meeting needs, Finance Minister AMA Muhith proposed an increased allocation in the budget for the fiscal year 2009-10, attaching equal importance to roads, railways and waterways.

Duty on capital machinery raises confusion

Manufacturers are confused about the import duty on capital machinery and parts proposed in the budget for the next fiscal year. The finance minister did not clearly explain the matter in his budget speech, they say.

Focus on ADP out, PPP in

Bangladesh needs to reduce its reliance on the Annual Development Programme (ADP) to deliver energy, infrastructure and social services. Notwithstanding continued attempts by successive governments to increase size of the ADP, protracted decision making processes and depleting implementation capacity in the line ministries have made ADP an increasingly ineffective instrument for development.

India inflation slips to three-decade low

India's annual inflation rate slipped to a three-decade low at just above zero, official data showed Thursday, as banks looked likely to cut rates in line with the central bank.

Japan economy shrank less than thought

Japan's economy shrank less than initially thought in the first quarter, data showed Thursday, as hopes grew of a recovery from its worst recession since World War II.

Canada to establish carbon trading market

Canada announced Wednesday plans for a carbon market that could eventually link up with nascent EU and proposed US markets to form a global system for carbon pollution trading.

Downturn officially cost 187,800 French jobs in Q1

The economic downturn destroyed 187,800 French jobs in the first quarter this year, with temporary workers hardest hit, according to figures from the official statistics agency.

Metropolitan

Govt mulls decentralisation of police admin: Muhith

The government is actively considering the issues of decentralising the police administration and setting up a Public Representative Board to supervise and oversee the forces, Finance Minister AMA Muhith disclosed in his budget speech yesterday.

Constitution to be amended to ensure good governance

The government has pledged in the budget proposals to initiate a set of measures, including bringing amendment to the constitution, making parliament more effective and showing zero tolerance to corruption and terrorism, to ensure good governance.

5 medical colleges, 6 health tech instts to be set up

With a high hope for strengthening health sector, Finance Minister AMA Muhith declared the proposed allocation of Tk 6,998 crore for the sector for the fiscal year (FY) 2009-10, which is 6.1 percent of the total national budget.

Women entrepreneurs to get priority in credit

Finance Minister AMA Muhith at his budget speech yesterday said the government would initiate positive steps to ensure gender equity across the economy.

Myanmar firm keen to export electricity to Bangladesh

A Myanmar company is interested to set up a 500-megawatt hydroelectric plant in Rakhine state and export electricity to Bangladesh, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said yesterday.

Take steps to resolve dispute over enclaves to ensure HR

Speakers at a roundtable yesterday demanded urged the government take necessary measures to resolve the dispute over enclave issue between Bangladesh and India to ensure human rights and security to the people of both the countries.

'Public relations crucial to expansion of democracy'

Dhaka University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr AAMS Arefin Siddique has stressed the importance of public relations, saying that there is no alternative to it for the expansion of democracy.

10 injured in BCL factional clashes

Ten students of Bangladesh Institute of Glass and Ceramic (Diploma engineering) at Tejgaon in the city were injured in a series of clashes between two factions of Bangladesh Chhatra League yesterday.

New US Asstt Secy of State Blake arrives tomorrow

Newly appointed US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O Blake will arrive in Dhaka tomorrow on a two-day official visit to discuss US-Bangladesh issues with top government and opposition leaders.

Stamford debate contest begins

The inaugural ceremony of the 5th Stamford Inter-Department Debate Championship organised by Stamford Debate Forum (SDF) was held at Siddeswari campus auditorium of Stamford University yesterday, says a press release.

Creative question method to be introduced in 2010

Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid at a press briefing yesterday said the government decided to introduce the much-talked-about creative question method from the next SSC examinations in 2010 by phases.

Agreement on Trans-Asian Railway Network comes into force

Countries throughout Asia committed to coordinate the development and operation of international rail routes linking 28 countries, as the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Trans-Asian Railway Network entered into force yesterday.

Sahara seeks help from all to ensure justice

Home Minister Sahara Khatun yesterday sought help from everyone to ensure justice for all and improve the country's law and order situation.

Bangladesh's capability to combat natural calamity lauded

Retired US army General Ed Smith, director of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Security Studies (APCSS), yesterday made a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office and discussed adverse impacts of global warming on the environment and various ways of mutual cooperation.

Fresh remand for Pintu sought

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has identified some people from the call list of former BNP lawmaker Nsiruddin Pintu's cellphone during the BDR carnage, but the rest in the call list are yet to be identified, according to a report placed before a Dhaka court yesterday.

Separate directorate for children affairs stressed

Speakers at a seminar yesterday called upon the government to introduce a separate directorate for children affairs to ensure child rights as well as to eliminate child labour from the society.

World Day Against Child Labour today

The World Day Against Child Labour will be observed in the country today.

2nd info boat launched

Grameen Phone and CARE Bangladesh launched a second information boat called 'Tothya Tori' in the haors of northeastern region of the country, says a press release.

National

20 hurt as Pabna BNP men clash over new convening committee

At least 20 BNP activists were injured as two factions of the party engaged in a clash in front of Pabna district unit BNP office yesterday noon.

Barguna river dying as grabbing, pollution go on

The Khakdhan River flowing by the side of Barguna town has turned into a narrow stream containing polluted water, thanks to mindless encroachment and dumping of factory and human wastes.

Road blockade in Feni demanding release of Jubo League leader

Jubo League leaders and activists of Sonagazi upazila unit yesterday blocked Soangazi-Feni road and damaged some vehicles demanding release of local Jubo League leader Jamaluddin Prokash.

C'nawabganj BNP leader resigns

Former lawmaker Harunur Rashid resigned from the post of joint convener of the newly formed BNP convening committee of Chapainawabganj district unit on Wednesday night.

Three JMB men jailed in Ctg

A Chittagong court yesterday awarded jail sentence to three outlawed JMB (Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh) men in a case filed in connection with bomb blasts at Bakolia on August 17, 2005.

Punishment to rapists demanded

Shishu Kishore Mela of Rangpur yesterday formed a human chain in front of Rangpur Press Club demanding exemplary punishment to the culprits who gang-raped a student of class eight of Aziznagar High School. The girl was gang-raped by five youths of Alamnagar on the night of June 5. Police arrested Raja, one of the accused in the case. The rest are still at large.

BSF kills one in Lalmonirhat

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) shot dead a Bangladeshi on Burimari border under Patgram upazila on Thursday night. The victim was identified as Saju Islam, 25, son of Sirajul Islam of Sreerampur village in the upazila. BDR sources said the Indian border guards opened fire on Saju while he was trying to cross the border at around 11:45pm through Sreerampur point. Locals rescued Saju with bullet injuries to his head and took him to Patgram Upazila Health Complex. Later, he succumbed to his injuries on way to Rangpur Medical College Hospital.

RU student commits suicide

A female student of Rajshahi University (RU) allegedly committed suicide by taking poison at her father-in-law's house at village Jagirpara in Puthia upazila early yesterday. The deceased was identified as Nasima Akter Lima, a 1st year student of Management Department and wife of Sumon, a BDR jawan, now posted at Teknaf, sources said. Lima's in-laws used to torture her frequently for dowry, her family members said. She was killed in a pre-planned manner for dowry, they said adding, they found several injury marks on her body. Police recovered the body and sent it to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital for autopsy. An unnatural death (UD) case was filed with Rajpara police who said they apprehended that Lima might have been killed after torture for dowry. Departmental teachers and students expressed their deep shock at the death of Lima and demanded punishment to the culprits. They announced a programme of human chain and mourning procession on the campus on Saturday.

Missing housewife found dead

Police yesterday recovered the body of a housewife who went missing on Monday from village Shekra in Shailkupa upazila. Mazeda Begum, 50, wife of Mokbul Hossain, went out of her house to visit her relatives in Jhenidah town. Since then she had been missing. Police recovered her decomposed body from a mango orchard belonging to one Abdus Salam at the same village in the early hours of Thursday. Police and family members said she might have been murdered. But the motive behind the killing is yet to be known. Victim's daughter filed a case with Shailkupa police station in this regard.

Nor'wester lashes Netrakona

Nor' wester lashed nine villages in two unions of Netrakona district on Wednesday night, injuring at least 50 people and damaging over 200 houses. The worst affected villages are Sukhari, Kolsree, Hatia, Tarachapur, Bousha, Devodar and Kolapara under Sukhari Union and Carigatia and Chorpara under Duaz Union. Over 20 business establishments at Sukhari Bazar were also damaged by the storm that lasted for half an hour from 11:30pm.

2 RU BCL men stabbed

Unidentified youths stabbed two activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) Rajshahi University unit on the campus on Wednesday night. The seriously injured BCL activists-- Mizanur Rahman Swapon and Ismail Hossain--are undergoing treatment at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital (RMCH). Swapon and Ismail came under attack while they were returning to the campus from Talaimari area at around 10:00pm. Ismail alleged that Shibir cadres made the attack as he had earlier filed a general dairy (GD) with Motiher Police Station against Suhrawardy Hall Shibir President Tafsir Ahmed and Secretary Razzak after they gave him a death threat.

One arrested with gun

Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested one person with a pistol at Dadonchawk village under Shibganj upazila of Chapainawabganj district on Wednesday night. Acting on a tip-off, a team of the elite force reached the village at around 8:00pm and arrested Abdul Latif, 35. The law enforcers later recovered two magazines and six bullets from his possession and handed him over to Shibganj Police Station. A case was filed against Latif with the police station concerned under Arms Act.

Tk 2 cr illegal drugs destroyed

Narcotics Control Department here destroyed illegal drugs including heroin and foreign made wine worth about Tk 2 crore on its office premises yesterday. The drugs were recovered following drives conducted at different places of the district, official sources said. Those were preserved at the departmental store as evidence of 464 cases settled under Drug Control Act since 1994 to 2008, they said.

Unidentified body recovered

Police recovered an unidentified body, aged about 30, from Goga Khar field in Benapole yesterday. Local people found the body in the morning and informed the police. Police went to the spot, rescued the body and sent it to the hospital for autopsy.

Letters

Tigers' exit

Bangladesh cricket team has indeed disappointed us by getting knocked out from the T20 World Cup, losing to the minnows Ireland by six wickets. It was a match where everybody was hoping for Tigers' victory but the Tigers were terrible in their approach from the very beginning. Batting, bowling and fielding--in every department they were outplayed by the Irish. There seemed to be no game plan. The weaknesses were very well exploited by Ireland and it will be no exaggeration to say that apart from our top four batsmen, the other batters were frustrating, to say the least. Even captain Mohammad Ashraful's form was pathetic and yet again he failed to lead the team from the front. The absence of proven players like Aftab Ahmed, Alok Kapali and Shahriar Nafis was clearly visible and everybody will agree that players like Roqibul, Mahmudullah and Nayeem Islam are no match for them. Moreover, Mashrafe is quite okay with the new ball but he also disappointed in the second spell. Bowlers like Rubel and Shahdat are repeatedly failing to give good support to Mashrafe from the other end.

Ill-fated Flight 447

The ill-fated Air France flight no. 447 disappeared with 228 people on board while flying through a fierce Atlantic storm on June 01 last. It is feared that all the people on board of the 4-year old Air France Airbus-330 were killed when the plane met with an on-air tragic accident. The Brazilian military search team has discovered plane debris in the middle of the Atlantic on Tuesday. The potential causes of the crash as assumed by the experts include shifting winds and hail from towering thunderheads, lightning or a combination of other factors. It is gathered that an automatic message sent from the plane just before it disappeared said that the plane was losing pressure and had experienced an electrical failure.

Extra- judicial killing

I had the chance to go through the editorial in your daily on 'Cross-fire killings' published on the 31st May, 2009. I fully agree with you that there should not be any extra-judicial killing, which you have rightly pointed at. The media has been rightly agitated at the report of the latest death of two polytechnic students, though their innocence has yet to be verified through impartial investigation. In this context, I would like to mention here that the mandate of the law enforcing agencies is to protect the innocent citizens from extortion, robbery, hijacking etc . So, while performing their duty, if they are fired upon by anyone, I am in support of the home minister's claim that they should protect themselves first. Otherwise, I am afraid, they will be discouraged and finally turn to be reluctant to perform their duties and the miscreants will get an upper hand.

'Yes' to computer!

From the very beginning, fortunately, our governments have realized the significance of computer in the present day world. So, till now policies regarding this sector are very positive. The nation is getting the benefit of this trend also. In an underdeveloped country like Bangladesh, within this short period, the expansion of the use of computer is relatively laudable.

Aila victims

Many Aila victims are yet to get relief materials to survive. The government and the NGOs working in the affected areas should gear up relief operations before more people die of hunger and diseases.

Politicians

I have recently been reading about the achievements of Dr. Manmohan Singh, he will surely go down in history as one of the greatest prime ministers India has ever had. India has voted wisely and re-elected him, making history. I was thinking why he has been so great and why we cannot get someone like him in Bangladesh. I can list his qualities briefly: he is highly educated, he is humble and leads a simple life, he is old and probably wants to leave a legacy behind, he is not petty and only attacks when absolutely necessary, he does not take advantage of his position for personal gain, he remains focussed on his goal of improving the lives of Indians, he doesn't like to play political games and didn't want to be a politician. How many of our politicians have these qualities? We seem to get the uneducated, greedy, selfish people into our politics, surely there must be some Manmohan Singhs in our midst who must be discovered if our country is to have a chance. We seem to get the same old players in and out of prison every few years; they have made plenty of money, they are old now and should think about what they did for their country before they die.

Pledges alone!

As usual, the Speaker and his 'Shangshods' pledged a lot to save Dhaka by saving the dying rivers. Since the grabbers and polluters belong to both the parties, they cannot say a harsher word against them. And the FBCCI president! This TV personality pledged nothing on behalf of his community. So, the result will be the same as what happens at the end of all other awareness generating programmes. People will read front-page stories and watch TV reporting and mumble something to themselves and then go to sleep. Our lawmakers, policymakers, administrators and the government know that the courts can do nothing to stop river killing. The court may pass orders but who is going to implement those orders? The same officers who are bribed not to look at grabbers and polluters' misdeeds? The initiative of The Daily Star and Channel i is highly praiseworthy. But how long will they be crying hoarse ? And after a few days our parliamentarians will get down to their business of 'akher guchano' with an attitude of 'who cares if Dhaka's population dies of an epidemic created by polluted water and choked sewerage system'. For the last 38 years, we have been hearing millions of pledges. I urge The Daily Star and Channel i, along with likeminded organisations, to build up the strongest ever public resistance on this issue and compel the government to take stern actions against the culprits, whoever they are.

Thanks, police officers

Recently, I lost some valuables at my office. But the stolen goods were promptly recovered after I informed the police department. It was really amazing!

Two Koreas

Albeit people of both Korea bear the same blood in them, they were divided once. Henceforth they have been growing up not only in separate states but also with separate mentality. South Korea has adopted democracy and is following Japan in the field of economy. On the other hand, North Korea is still following the path of socialism which Russia itself left many years ago. They are still very poor. Many people die from starvation. But they are pouring money in nuke arms manufacturing to fight against South Korea, Japan and even the USA. Are they mad?

Saving the rivers

Thanks to The Daily Star for trying to save the rivers around Dhaka. A sustained campaign may awaken the people and the administrators to the dangers around. I hope The Daily Star would keep up the campaign.

Daylight saving scheme

It seems that there is a lot of confusion regarding the Day Light Saving Scheme poised to be implemented from the 19th of this month. Even the ministry was confused and thought of implementing it on a weekday, the 15th of June. At least that has been corrected and the timing will change on the eve preceding the weekend, i.e. the 19th of June. This gives an edge to adapt to the change in timings.

Article on bureaucracy

In your issue of the 03 June, Mr. Anwarul Kabir contributed an article on the bureaucracy. His remarks on curtailing the ACC's powers were bold and prudent. But time has come to judge the activities of other groups too.

Increased land valuation

A front-page headline on the subject was published in a local English daily on 1st. June. This is a move in the right direction taken by the government. The government deserves congratulations for this pragmatic move at the right time! This will provide more revenue, and also have a positive impact on collecting wealth tax where applicable. Given the rise in prices of everything; the proposed hike in a VAT like manner will ensure realisation of tax at source. Similar increase in registration fees for property sale, lease, transfer or rental may also be considered as another source of revenue income for the government.

Resignation drama

Resigning from the cabinet is not a big deal in parliamentary democracy. But in our country we never quit unless forced to do so. Mr. Sohel Taj had resigned for any reason, personal or political, but the media coverage that ensued was disproportionate to the issue.

Volleying back....

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International

Lanka fails to probe war abuses, says Amnesty

The Sri Lankan government has never seriously investigated reports of human rights abuses during 25 years of civil war and needs to rapidly overhaul its justice system to bring peace to the country, Amnesty International said Thursday.

Pakistan army kills 66 militants in tribal belt

Pakistan's army said Thursday it had killed 66 Taliban as fighting spilled into a tribal area and known bolthole for the militant group blamed for a deadly bombing at a luxury Peshawar hotel.

WHO declares flu pandemic

The World Health Organisation decided to declare its first influenza pandemic in 40 years after an emergency meeting of scientific experts yesterday on a swine flu outbreak, which has hit 74 countries.

Attempt on Pak provincial minister

A provincial minister from northwest Pakistan was wounded Thursday after gunmen attacked his vehicle, with two bodyguards and one assailant killed in clashes, police said.

Guard killed in Washington Holocaust museum attack

An 88-year-old white supremacist with a history of anti-Semitic tirades turned the US Holocaust Memorial Museum into a shooting gallery Wednesday, fatally wounding a security guard before being shot himself.

Arts & Entertainment

Iffat Ara Dewan: Bringing gems of Bangla songs to Delhi

It was as always wonderful catching up with the talented and unassuming singer and painter Iffat Ara Dewan -- this time not at her home in Dhaka but in the precincts of the so-called elite Delhi Gymkhana Club -- of which, luckily, I happen to be a member. Our conversation ranged from her recent concerts in Delhi, to the main organisers, Bengal Foundation and Impresario India, to her eclectic taste in music, to her family and mine and of course common friends at The Daily Star.

Being Shubhro: Omer Ayaz Ony’s breakthrough role

Omer Ayaz Ony: Some small screen viewers are still somewhat unfamiliar with this name. However, Omer is rapidly gaining popularity among those who regularly watch the drama serial "Shubhro" on Desh TV. Based on the popular fictional character created by noted litterateur Humayun Ahmed, the serial has Ony as the bespectacled protagonist, the naive Shuvro.

A talent hunt for underprivileged girls

"Nachey Gaaney Number One," a talent hunt for underprivileged adolescent girls, will be aired tonight on Ekushey TV at 7:45pm. Jointly produced by BRAC and Ekushey TV, the programme features 30 young girls, who have never received any formal education, from 59 districts of the country. Through a four-step selection round, best two (one as the best singer and the other, best dancer) will be selected from these competitors. On today's episode, 14 girls will compete against each other.

Drama serial Alta Shundari on Rtv

TV serial "Alta Shundari" will be aired tonight on Rtv at 9 pm. Written by Brindaban Das, the serial is directed by Salahuddin Lavlu.

20th National convention of BGTF begins today

Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation (BGTF) will have its 20th National Convention today with a daylong programme at the National Theatre Stage, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, says a press release. Speaker of the Parliament, Advocate Abdul Hamid will be present as the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony at 10am. Information and Cultural Affairs Minister Abul Kalam Azad will be present as special guest. Professor Zillur Rahman Siddiqui will inaugurate the event, presided over by the chairman of BGTF, M, Hamid. The event will also have theatre personalities such as Ramendu Majumder, Ataur Rahman, Mamunur Rashid, Nasiruddin Yousuff, Sara Zaker, Jhuna Chowdhury and Liaquat Ali Lucky as guests.

OP-ED

We will not let them forget you

SHE was only 22 years old, a very vocal woman activist. An activist from a community that is treated by the Bangladesh state as second-class citizens. Someone who did not fear the most venerated institution in our country. A combination of all these elements made her a chillingly vulnerable person, a target for "The Vanishing" (i.e. those who are made to disappear without a trace).

Peace still a far cry in the hills

THE Awami League Election Manifesto of 2008 said -- "The 1997 Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord will be fully implemented. More efforts will be directed towards the development of underdeveloped areas, and special programmes on priority basis will be taken to secure rights of the ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples and other communities, and to preserve their language, literature, culture, and unique lifestyles." Unfortunately during the last six months of the present government, there have been no significant initiatives to implement the CHT Accord.

The indigenous question

INDIGENOUS people remain among the most persecuted of all minorities, facing discrimination not only on the basis of their religion and ethnicity but also because of their indigenous identity and socio-economic status in today's world. He or she might be a Khasi in the betel leaf gardens of Sylhet, Bangladesh or a pastoralist in the Usangu plains of Tanzania, an indigenous person is always subject to fear of persecution.

StarTech

The USB story

Many of us have recently seen the Intel's TV advertisement which shows Ajay Bhatt, the co-inventor of the USB, aptly termed as our rockstars aren't like your rockstars walking and moving like a celebrity would. Interesting advertisement, to say the least. To those of you are thinking that this article is about Intel or the advertisement industry in general, behold! It's about neither and is about the Universal Serial Bus or USB in short.

Nokia plans digital identity for the mass

Nokia, the world's leading mobile phone handset manufacturer, unveiled Ovi Mail in Bangladesh and other emerging markets on May 22, which has the potential to help people have a digital identity.

Laptop fair woos many in Ctg

With the slogan “Making Notebook PCs affordable for the middle and lower-middle class”, a three-day laptop fair was recently held at the port city of Chittagong.

Nat’l congress on ICT for development held

The national congress on ICT for Development 2009 "PrepCom" was held on Saturday at Agargaon in the city ahead of the World Congress on ICT for Development (WCID) to be held in Beijing, China.



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