The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Saturday, August 30, 2014


News of: Monday, 12th of October, 2009

Front Page

MPs duck JS in huge numbers

The House yesterday saw large scale absence of ministers and senior lawmakers, which forced postponement of the scheduled discussion on a draft of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP).

Anti-graft probes stumble on banks

Inaccessibility of bank documents has rendered uncertain the fates of most cases of the Anti-Corruption Commission currently being enquired or investigated, dealing a serious blow to the commission's overall anti-corruption drive.

Myanmar brings in everything

The Myanmar military brought in heavy tanks, artillery guns, 12 warships and a frigate along its border with Bangladesh in the last 24 hours ended yesterday evening as part of its preparation for a large-scale conflict with Bangladesh, sources at the Bangladesh Armed Forces said.

Students go berserk on Mirpur Road

As many as 20 people including police were injured yesterday in a pitched battle when hundreds of students staged a protest halting traffic movement on city's Mirpur Road for over two hours.

Conspiracy started at Moshtaq's village home

The conspiracy to kill Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family began sometime around March 1975 at Khondker Moshtaq Ahmed's village home in Daudkandi.

Govt sleeps as job market shrinks

The government has not adopted any alternative measures over the last few years to make up for the shrinking labour market abroad against the backdrop of global recession that has already halved the number of overseas jobs.

Pak raid ends army HQ hostage drama

Troops stormed Pakistan's army headquarters yesterday ending a day-long hostage drama and freeing 39 people held by militants who brazenly struck at the heart of the military establishment.

Compensation did too little for him

The government compensation handed out to the injured in the mutiny at the Bangladesh Rifles headquarters during Feb 25-26 has not been enough to restore the life of a young tea vendor who has been left disabled from his injuries.

President's military secy transferred

Military Secretary to the President Maj Gen Md Ehtesham Ul Haque has been transferred to 66 Infantry Division in Rangpur as its GOC (General Officer Commanding), hours after a media report linking him with militants.

All Razakars to face trial

Holding trial of all Razakars (local collaborators of Pakistan occupation forces during the Liberation War) is under government consideration, and a complete list of them will be prepared at a convenient time, the state minister for liberation war affairs informed the House yesterday.

200 industries told to relocate outside Dhaka

The government has so far directed around 200 industries considered responsible for environment pollution to relocate outside the capital and a process is underway to serve notices on another 19 industries.

4 JMB men jailed

A court here yesterday sentenced five years' rigorous imprisonment each to four members of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) in an explosives case filed with the Cox's Bazar Police Station.

Aide to Ctg MP's son freed on bail

The bodyguard of SM Al Mamun, son of Awami League lawmaker ABM Abul Kashem, was released on bail yesterday a few hours after his arrest in connection with the case filed for assaulting journalists.

Drive launched against 198 errant buildings

The Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) yesterday launched drives against 198 roadside buildings as their authorities are using the parking space for other purposes while the designated cars are parked on roads causing traffic congestion.

Govt to go tough on militancy

Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury said the government would take strict measures against those who want to destabilise the country by setting off bombs in the name of religion.

Bela serves notice to save Bara Katra

Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers' Association (Bela) yesterday served a legal notice upon the authorities concerned to take immediate action against the demolition of the historical Bara Katra and preserve the same.

Road crashes kill 3 in city

Two persons were run over by speeding trucks while another was crushed between two buses in the city's Badda, Shyamoli and Gulshan yesterday.

Salam Pintu on fresh remand

A Dhaka court yesterday placed former deputy minister and BNP leader Abdus Salam Pintu on a three-day fresh remand to trace suppliers of Arges grenades used in the August 21 carnage that left 23 people dead.

Charges framed against Amini

A Dhaka court yesterday framed charges against former lawmaker and chairman of a faction of Islami Oikyo Jote Mufti Fazlul Haque Amini and eight others in a looting case filed against them in February 2007.

Triple attacks kill 19 in western Iraq

Twin car bombs near a government office and an apparently coordinated suicide attack at a hospital killed 19 people in western Iraq yesterday, in an explosion of violence blamed on police collusion.

Editorial

Move to clip ACC wings

ANY move to dilute the authority of the Anti-Corruption Commission can only send out very bad signals to the country. There is a clear reason why. In these past two years and more, the degree to which the ACC was empowered to handle acts of corruption (and that was per courtesy of the caretaker government) was without question something that rekindled hope among people about the future of democratic governance. To be sure, the ACC has not been above criticism and has indeed been condemned for some of its more controversial acts. But what surely cannot be denied is the principle upon which it has been working since early 2007. Whether the body will continue to wield that kind of authority in the future now depends on what the present political dispensation means to do about it. If reports of a possible clipping of the ACC's wings turn out to be true, all one can say is that it will be a regressive move that can only impede the nation's journey to a full and meaningful democratic order.

Tense Bangladesh Myanmar border

WE cannot but be concerned by the reported buildup of large number of Myanmar military force in very close proximity of our border. This is in addition to the Nasaka or the Myanmar border force whose strength has also been increased manifold.

The pariah's nuclear blackmail

NONE would dispute the generally held belief that North Korea and Burma have the two most oppressive regimes in Asia. They rule over two of the continent's backwater, and that's no coincidence whatever. Notwithstanding the many common features they, however, have stark differences between them. No foreign leader of distinction cares to pay court to the ruling generals of Burma in their weirdly grandiose new capital of Naypidaw. In sharp contrast, even Bill Clinton, one of the world's most recognisable celebrity statesmen, makes pilgrimage to Pyonyang.

The son also rises

THIS is what we saw in a photograph. The mother was addressing the US investors in New York last month, and the son was sitting next to her. She was the prime minister of Bangladesh, but who was he other than being her own son? We have reports he went there as an advisor to the prime minister. This newspaper published a report on September 26, which described him as "prime minister's son living in America." If Dr. Pangloss in Voltaire's Candide were amongst us, he would have reiterated that we are living in the best of all possible worlds.

Taking rickshaws off increased traffic jam

MANY eyebrows will surely be raised on reading the title. Let's try to work out the sums. It's reported that in 1995, there were about 35,000 private cars and jeeps. By 2009, that number exploded to a massive 200,000, and still more are being added every month. Why? Most people, riding the additional 165,000 cars and jeeps, were riding rickshaws earlier. When the roads they had to pass through became off-limits to rickshaws, these people had no other option than to buy cars, even if that needed selling property or taking loans. Policymakers thought that taking rickshaws off the road would give the limited number of people riding cars the freedom to roam about unobstructed. They could not realise that so many had the capacity to buy cars.

Sports

Mohammedan prevail

Holders Mohammedan survived a scare to move into the semifinals of the Citycell Federation Cup with a 5-4 shootout win over minnows Shuktara Jubo Sangsad at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.

Argentina survive

Substitute Martin Palermo's close-range finish deep into injury time earned Argentina an unbelievable last-gasp win over Peru in Buenos Aires just minutes after Diego Maradona's men looked to have suffered yet another World Cup qualifying setback.

English youths get on the field today

Bangladesh Under-19 coach Minhazul Abedin said his boys are ready to produce an improved performance in the longer version of the game against their English counterparts during the month-long home series that starts with a two-day practice match at the Fatullah Stadium today.

NTMC seeks 5 weeks to ready the players

The National Team Manage-ment Committee (NTMC) of Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) yesterday sought five weeks to prepare the national players for the SAFF (South Asian Football Federation) Championship to be held in Bangladesh from December 4 to 14.

Bangladesh A lose again

Bangladesh A were beaten by Maharashtra Cricket Association by five wickets in the first T20 tie of the two-match series at the Poona Club in Pune yesterday.

Italy, Germany thru'

Italy scraped a draw against the Republic of Ireland to join Germany, Denmark and Serbia as the latest teams to secure 2010 World Cup places on a drama-laden penultimate batch of qualifiers on Saturday.

Ivory Coast into finals

Ivory Coast qualified for the 2010 World Cup by drawing 1-1 in Malawi on Saturday and Cameroon moved closer to joining them with a 3-0 triumph over Togo.

Bahrain held by NZ

New Zealand held an unrelenting but distinctly unlucky Bahrain to a goalless draw in the first-leg of the 2010 World Cup Asia/Oceania play-off in Manama on Saturday.

Lippi looks for omens

Holders Italy needed a little bit of luck to qualify for next year's World Cup finals and coach Marcello Lippi hopes some other omens will point towards a successful campaign in South Africa.

China Open Djokovic's

Novak Djokovic captured his third ATP title of the year at the China Open on Sunday, outlasting giant killer Marin Cilic of Croatia in a blistering baseline battle, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4).

Somerset win thriller

"I can't believe I have done that," said an ecstatic Alfonso Thomas, who hit two boundaries in the last three deliveries of a thriller to steal and seal victory for Somerset in the Champions League encounter at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Saturday. In a rollercoaster of a match, Somerset just about managed to hold their nerves courtesy a 50-run partnership for the eighth wicket between Thomas and James Hildreth to get past the line off the last ball of the match. The equation came down to five runs from three balls with one wicket left when Thomas sliced a full toss from Scott Styris -- who had taken two wickets in the final over -- to the deep point boundary before bringing up the win with another carve over point.

Blessing in disguise

Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson believes the problems that derailed the first half of his Ashes summer have made him a better player. Johnson suffered serious lows in England -- losing his accuracy, having his place under threat and a family dispute which became public -- but after the ICC Cricketer of the Year award and a starring role in Australia's Champions Trophy triumph he was confident of where he was.

U-16 booters end qualifiers with defeat

Bangladesh under-16 booters squandered chance after chance as they went down to Chinese Taipei 1-2 at the Pannad Stadium yesterday to bow out of the AFC U 16 Championship Qualifiers.

ATF U-14 tennis starts today

Indian boys and girls will be playing as favourites when the Prime Bank ATF Under-14 Tennis Tournament gets underway at the National Tennis Complex in Ramna today.

Tsonga wins in Japan

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga put an end to Mikhail Youzhny's dramatic run on Sunday to become the first French player to win the men's singles title at the Japan Open tennis tournament.

Business

Debate heats up over PSI firms

Top business leaders have backed the pre-shipment inspection (PSI) firms, saying the government cannot get rid of the system right away.

Local denim loses out to China

Bangladesh has lost its number one position to China in export of denim jeans and cotton trousers to US market due to less competitiveness, said industry insiders.

Bid terms may ease for energy savers

Local energy-efficient light makers may get a chance to participate in the bid to supply 10.5 million bulbs, as the state minister for power hinted at easing bidding conditions.

New pay scale for govt staff runs into delay

Government employees will have to wait another month for a new pay scale, as Finance Minister AMA Muhith said yesterday it would come along with the final salary structure for the judicial service.

RMG stimulus likely this month

Commerce Minister Faruk Khan said yesterday a stimulus package for the garment sector is likely to be announced anytime this month.

AIMS mutual fund valuations every Sunday

AIMS of Bangladesh, an asset management company, has started announcing the net asset value (NAV) of mutual funds on a weekly basis instead of monthly disclosures.

PM orders major tourist spot development

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina directed authorities to take steps to make all places of natural beauty and religious and historic significance in the country attractive to local and foreign tourists.

Seven organisations honoured for diversified use of jute

More thrust on diversification of jute products may ensure a significant pie of the global market for Bangladesh, a programme was told yesterday.

Good times for local shipbuilding

When Bangladeshi labourer Abdul Karim was laid off from his shipbuilding job in Singapore because of the global recession, he did not expect to find the same sort of work at home.

Rate hikes to remain slow in Asia

The interest rate cycle has turned in the Asia-Pacific region but increases in benchmark borrowing costs will be gradual in order not to nip fragile economic recovery in the bud, analysts say.

Asian currencies buoyant

Asian currencies ended the week generally up against the dollar amid greater optimism in the region and continued low interest rates in the United States.

Investors reap Lankan peace dividend

Sri Lanka's small stock exchange has become one of the world's top performing bourses as investors reap the peace dividend from the end to the island's bloody ethnic conflict.

Tata raises $750m

India's top vehicle maker Tata Motors raised 750 million dollars Friday from investors and said it would use the funds to repay debt from the purchase of British car icons Jaguar and Land Rover.

AirAsia named best Asian budget carrier

AirAsia Bhd was named the “Best Asian Low-Cost Carrier” while chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes was named “Travel Personality of The Year” by leading Asia-Pacific travel news publisher TTG.

Zem Jute Mills restores operation

Zem Jute Mills Limited at Muslimbagh under Boda upazila in Panchagarh district restored production from Saturday morning after a four-day closure.

AB Bank gets new DMD

AB Bank has appointed KAM Majedur Rahman as new deputy managing director with effective date from October 1, the bank said in a statement.

Mideast oil exporters' foreign reserves to rise in 2010: IMF

Oil exporters in the Middle East and North Africa region are expected to increase their international reserve positions by over 100 billion dollars in 2010 as oil prices rebound, the IMF said on Sunday.

Iran probes $7.9b privatisation deal

Iran is probing the 7.9 billion dollar privatisation of a state-owned telecoms company after allegations one of the buyers was linked to the elite Revolutionary Guards Corps, media reports said on Saturday.

US leadership key to restarting trade talks: Indonesia

The US government's focus on domestic issues amid a severe recession is hobbling efforts to restart the stalled Doha round of global trade talks, Indonesia's trade minister said here Saturday.

Russian economy to shrink 7.5pc in 2009: Medvedev

Russia's gross domestic product (GDP) will shrink 7.5 percent in 2009, President Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview released Sunday, after earlier government predictions of an eight percent drop.

Currency

Local Market FX
Local inter-bank FX market was slightly subdued today as the international markets were closed. There was ample liquidity in the market and the USD/BDT rate traded in a similar range to the previous working day

Correction

In a news item headlined "GP IPO expects four times oversubscription" and published on Friday, it was inadvertently mentioned that Grameen Telecom is a subsidiary of Grameen Bank. Grameen Bank says it does not own any share in Grameen Telecom. We regret the mistake.

Metropolitan

Open child healthcare units at govt hospitals

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday directed the authorities concerned to take steps to set up modern child healthcare department along with cardiology unit at all the divisional hospitals immediately and then gradually at 19 greater district hospitals.

34 more attacked with swine flu

The prevalence of swine flu shows a fall in the country as 34 more people have been infected with the H1N1 virus last week whereas the number was 42 the previous week, government sources confirmed.

'Try war criminals soon to curb militancy'

Leaders of the Forum for Secular Bangladesh (FSB) yesterday said delaying trial of the war criminals would only give religious fanatics scope to find out ways to escape trial.

Housewife held in city

The police arrested a housewife on charges of torturing her domestic help and also rescued the victim at Mirpur-10 in the city yesterday.

Local poultry vaccine in a yr

The country is going to produce much-needed poultry vaccine locally within a year, Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries (BAPI) Secretary General Abdul Muktadir announced the breakthrough in the animal health sector at a seminar in the city yesterday.

'Steps soon to stop child marriage'

The government will take necessary steps to eliminate child marriage from the society with a bid to slash the maternal mortality rate in the country.

Pintu's bail prayer rejected

The High Court (HC) yesterday rejected bail prayer of former BNP lawmaker Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu in the BDR Mutiny case, but directed the government to shift him (Pintu) to Birdem Hospital from Kashimpur Jail for treatment.

Mymensingh BNP factions scuffle outside central office

Workers of Mymensingh BNP factions yesterday were locked into a scuffle in front of the party's central office at Naya Paltan in the city yesterday, leaving at least 10 people injured.

Mental health to be included in medical courses: Ruhal

Health and Family Welfare Minister AFM Ruhal Haque yesterday said the government would include mental health education in the medical courses, including MBBS, to extend the health services to the country's 16 percent mentally ill people.

Most residents evacuate

Most residents evacuated three five-storey buildings at Hajiganj in Narayanganj town on Saturday night after the buildings tilted and subsided, creating a panic among the local people.

Manju acquitted of charges

A Dhaka court yesterday acquitted Jatiya Party (Manju) Chairman and former communications minister Anwar Hossain Manju of charges in a case in which he was earlier sentenced to five years' imprisonment in absentia.

Sohel made president, Sarafat secretary

The main opposition BNP yesterday announced the names of new president and secretary of Jatiyatabadi Swechchhasebak Dal after long 13 years and that again without holding any council whatsoever.

MBBS admission test results published

The results of MBBS admission test for 17 public medical colleges were published yesterday.

Legal notice on Khoka for not complying with HC order

A legal notice was served yesterday on Dhaka city Mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka on charges of not complying with a High Court order regarding cattle market during Eid-ul-Azha.

Domestic help killed in city

A teenage domestic help was killed by unidentified criminals at a residence at Mohammadpur in the city yesterday.

DU students demand new grading system from 10th batch

The students of 11th batches under the Faculty of Business Studies at Dhaka University yesterday demanded replacement of their traditional grading system with the new system introduced by University Grants Commission (UGC).

Students, bus workers clash in Gazipur

Vehicular movement on Dhaka-Kapasia-Kishoreganj Highway remains suspended since yesterday noon following clashes at Kapasia between students and bus workers over bus fare.

SC stays HC bail to Mamun

The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday stayed till October 18 the High Court orders that granted bail to controversial businessman Giasuddin Al Mamun in four extortion cases.

'Discuss nat'l issues in JS

Gono Forum leaders yesterday called on the government to discuss all the issues and contracts related to the national interests in parliament to ensure accountability and transparency.

Minor girl violated in Gazipur

An eight-year-old girl was violated by her classmate's younger brother in the rapist's house under Bhawal Mirzapur area in Gazipur on Saturday evening.

4 snatchers arrested

Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested four snatchers and seized a microbus, fake driving license and sedative gels from their possession at Karwan Bazar in the city yesterday.

Health minister, JICA boss visit Narsingdi project

Health and Family Welfare Minister Prof AFM Ruhal Haque and Chief Representative of JICA Bangladesh Dr Takao Toda visited Safe Motherhood Promotion Project (SMPP) in Narsingdi on Saturday.

RMG workers block road for salary

Employees of Mond Apparels at Kalyanpur yesterday staged a demonstration protesting delay in payment of their salaries.

National

Hunger, diseases still haunt Aila-hit people in Koira

Thousands of people of Koira upazila in Khulna district, who were rendered homeless by cyclonic storm Aila on May 25 this year, are still suffering from the pangs of hunger and diseases and want of safe drinking water.

3 killed, bodies yet to be recovered

Three people were killed in a gunfight between two factions of a criminal group at Kamok Para village in Ruma upazila of Bandarban hill district early yesterday.

People of Matiranga demand mobile network coverage

Leaders of local mobile network implementation committee yesterday submitted a memorandum to the telecommunications minister through the upazila nirbahi officer, demanding immediate mobile network coverage in Matiranga upazila of Khagrachhari district.

Erosion threatens main Bogra embankment

Erosion by River Jamuna has taken a serious turn in Sariakandi and Dhunat upazilas of Bogra, threatening over three-kilometre long main embankment on the west side of the river.

Many contact diarrhoea afresh

Seventy more new patients were admitted to the Diarrhoea Ward of Pabna General Hospital from Saturday night to yesterday noon.

Lawyer shot dead in Pirojpur

Criminals shot dead a lawyer at Kachuakathi under Kaukhali upazila of Pirojpur district yesterday.

'Mysterious' death of jail inmate

An inmate of the Habiganj District Jail has allegedly been tortured to death.

Top terror of Satkhira coastal area arrested

Members of the Detective Branch (DB) police arrested a top leader of Hasan-Haque Bahini in Burigoalini coastal area under Shyamnagar upazila on Saturday night.

Fresh protest in Jhenidah

Hundreds of people again formed a human chain, brought out a procession and held a rally at Shailkupa upazila town yesterday protesting rape of a mentally challenged girl and demanding exemplary punishment of the rapist.

Poison-mixed puffed rice served to grab land?

Body of a person, who died 10 months ago after taking puffed rice mixed with poison allegedly served by enemies, was exhumed from his grave at Camp Para in Sadar upazila yesterday following a court order.

Ringleader of Meherpur 'Rahman Bahini' held

Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested Abdur Rahman, chief of infamous 'Rahman Bahini', in Sadar upazila of Meherpur district on Saturday night.

26 upazila candidates sued

The government has filed cases against 26 candidates of Banshkhali, who contested the upazila elections and did not submit the election return in time.

Housewife killed in Bogra

A housewife was murdered at Nagar Palibalash village in Shahjahanpur upazila on Friday night. Victim Shumi Akter alias Babita, 25, was daughter of Mohammad Ali of the village and mother of a six-year-old son. Police said Babita was married to Zahurul Islam of Bamunia village nine years ago. Zahurul is now in Malaysia. Babita recently came back to her paternal house as she could not adjust with her in-laws. On Friday midnight, she left for her paternal house but did not return. The next morning, her body was found in Sagatar beel area, one kilometer away from her destination, police said. Her body was recovered and sent to hospital morgue for autopsy. A case was filed in this connection.

10 shops gutted in Comilla

A devastating fire gutted at least 10 shops at Krishnapur Bazaar in Muradnagar upazila early yesterday. Locals said the fire originated from an electric short circuit at a shop of the bazaar at 4am and soon spread to the adjoining shops. On information, a fire fighting unit rushed to the spot from Muradnagar uapzila headquarters and extinguished the blaze with the help of local people. Shop owners claimed that cash and other valuables worth over Tk 60 lakh were gutted in the fire.

Youth's body recovered

Police on Saturday recovered the body of a young man at Purba Naudabas village in Hatibanda upazila. Victim Bimal Chandra, 25, was son of late Krishan Chandra of the village. Quoting villagers police said Bimal had an extra-marital affair with Shefali Rani, wife of one Shyamal Chandra of the village. As a sequel to the matter, Shyamal along with his men allegedly stabbed Bimal to death on Friday night and dumped his body in a nearby pond. Later, police recovered the body and sent it to hospital morgue for autopsy. Victim's brother Hirendranath filed a case against five people including the woman and her husband. Police arrested Shefali and produced her before court.

Robbery in Sylhet: 2 held

A gang of masked robbers numbering 8-9 early Saturday stormed into the house of Zillur Rahman at Dhopagul on the outskirts of the city. Taking the inmates hostage at gunpoint they looted valuables worth about Tk 3 lakh including Tk 18,000 in cash, four mobile phone sets and seven tolas of gold ornaments. Hearing the hue and cry, neighbours encircled the house and informed police. Later, Police arrested two robbers while others managed to flee with the booties.

Rat killing drive

The agri-experts at a function here have said that rats destroy about 20 lakh metric tonnes of foodgrains in the country every year. Around 17,000 metric tonnes of foodgrains were saved last year by killing 35,000 rats in the district. They said this on Wednesday at the inaugural function of Rat Killing Drive-2009 jointly organised by Sadar upazila and district Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) offices in the auditorium of Sadar Upazila Parishad in the town. Vice principal of Joypurhat Government College Prof Toufiqur Rahman was present at the function as the chief guest. The experts urged all, particularly the DAE officials, to motivate the farmers at field level to kill the rats spontaneously to save the foodgrains produced through hard work and to help the government achieve food security. Later, the chief guest formally inaugurated the rat killing drive in the district by killing a rat at the function. A large number of farmers and agriculture officers took part in the function.

Letters

Population boom

Mr. Mamoon's letter (5 Oct) deals with the most important problem facing the country in the foreseeable future. The government and donor agencies must rectify the shortfall of birth control pills and artefacts with renewed vigour. Mr. Mamoon mentioned other problems and suggested solutions with which I totally agree. However, as a member of Optimum Population Trust (UK) and its various parameters to support a viable healthy population I would say that the optimum population of Bangladesh is in the region of 30 million rather than 100 million. By the same parameters optimum population of England is calculated to be only about 20 million and no more!

Waste management

As I travel through the city early in the morning I have to put my palm on my nostrils in an attempt to guard against the foul odour that wafts its way from a trashcan or a pile of rotting waste lying beside the road. And I am talking about the environment of the port city which still retains its green look. The situation is even worse in the capital. According to the recent news reports, the capital city alone produces 3556 tonnes of solid waste everyday--a staggering amount by any standard.

Nobel for Obama

The committee that awards the Nobel Peace Prize likes springing surprises. When Kenyan environmentalist Wanggari won in 2004, the committee explicitly linked peace with concerns about the state of our planet's ecology, a concept that was familiar in environmental circles but rarely discussed elsewhere. Bangladeshi banker and economist Dr. Yunus won it in 2006 for his efforts to alleviate poverty thus promoting peace through the use of microcredit schemes. Now the prize has gone to a sitting U.S. President just eight months into his first term. Both Maathai and Yunus told TIME magazine that Obama was a great choice.

Dhaka's traffic mess

After a lull of 16 days (Sept 18-Oct 03), Dhakabashis are back on square ZERO as far as the traffic mess is concerned. From the Prime Minister down to the humble traffic cop, all are trying to minister to this plague that is strangling life in our so-called metropolis. Your second editorial in today's DS (5-10-09), still speaks of the pipe dreams of STPs, DUTPs, DITS etc, etc ad nauseum, that are years away even if implemented right away.

Argentina still alive

The stakes could not be higher! Argentina was in serious danger of missing the next year's World Cup Football, South Africa 2010. On Saturday, October 10, Argentina were facing Peru at the Stadio Monumental, Buenos Aires. This was one of the most important games in Argentina's football history. Their opponent Peru were out of World Cup contention, but that does not mean they took this game lightly.

Islam under attack!

According to Mr. Mahmudur Rahman, Islam is under attack from both within and outside.

VAT on commercial space

First of all, I would like to thank Dr. SN Mamun for his letter that was published to draw the attention of the Hon'ble Finance Minister in The Daily Star on 14th September 2009 under the heading -- VAT on commercial space. My congratulations to a sturdy vocalist like him. I also appreciate Dr. SN Mamun for the way he took a stand against NBR's activities. Definitely, this is an illegal imposition of VAT by NBR and the NBR officials not only being jealous of us, they are also trying to abolish the business minors through this process of VAT collection.

Spoilt BGMEA

BGMEA was seeking Tk three billion from the govt to pay Eid bonus to the workers. It is because the BGMEA has been spoilt by the govt. and the society because it lays the golden eggs. So easy to ask from the Treasury; and then create law and order situation, if this appeal is rejected.

Habit of blaming

Bangladesh is a developing country and it has many problems. In order to manage these, our political parties should come to some kind of consensus. Nowadays they are accustomed to blaming each other, rather than coming to the point.

Secularism

It is surprising that so many eyebrows are raised when one argues in favour of establishing a secular constitution, which was originally the case post independence. If I may humbly take the liberty of defending such initiative within the scope of this letter, then it is important to point out that secularism embodies two important principles. First, it presents a case for neutrality towards every religion. Second, it promotes prohibition of religious associations in state activities. Hence, neither a secular constitution prevents a good Muslim from practicing his religion in harmony, nor it makes our nation any less peaceful for believing in our respective faith.

Coal mining to start!

Your front-page report on the matter published on October 6th has at least opened the door of possible open-pit coal mining in Bangladesh.

Our cricketers in 1971

Recently, in a bid to write the biographies of some of our first generation cricketers (for Wikipedia), I was searching through the pages of www.cricketarchive.co.uk. I was looking at the scorecards of different 1st Class Matches played in erstwhile East Pakistan during the 60's. With great interest I was reading how our local heroes (Halim Chowdhury, better known as Shahid Jewel, Shamim Kabir, Raqibul Hasan, Daulat-uz-Zaman & others) combined with the Non Bengali players like MA Latif, (Maharashtra born East Pakistan Captain) or Nasim Ul Ghani (Delhi born Pak Test player). Together, they played against the likes of Zaheer Abbas, Mushtaq Mohammad, Majed Khan & others.

Traffic in Dhaka

My friends abroad hear me complaining about the traffic in Dhaka constantly and they don't get it. Actually, unless one lives in Dhaka or its suburbs, you cannot even begin to imagine the monstrosity and hopelessness of the situation. There's absolutely no solution in sight and most of the people are rendered captives to the issue. I live at Green road and from my balcony every day, I witness a severe gridlock that lasts for hours ! There are a few hospitals in this neighbourhood and sometimes even the ambulances are sitting with their sirens on in this never-ending flow of traffic. If you are a patient in the ambulance or waiting for one - a prayer and a priest might be your only hope.

Neglecting animals

I have been utterly flabbergasted by seeing a photo of an emaciated rhinoceros in Dhaka Zoo recently. I have also come to know that this photo was published in a newspaper in Malaysia as well. As I got more irritated (to make it worse) I have learned that two Giraffes were dead and more than forty animals in Dhaka zoo are in dire straits due to mal-nutrition and lack of professional care.

International

US confident Pakistan controls nukes: Hillary

The latest militant attack in Pakistan shows an "increasing" threat to the state, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said yesterday, but voiced confidence Islamabad was in control of its nuclear arsenal.

Pakistan probes links between army HQ siege, cricket attack

Pakistani security forces are investigating possible links between the sole surviving militant from the army headquarters siege and an attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, officials said yesterday.

People in Pak tribal areas 'fed-up' with 'ineffective' govt, 'barbaric' Taliban

In the wake of Friday's suicide attack that killed more than 40 people in Peshawar, Pakistan has vowed to launch a military offensive against the Taliban in South Waziristan at the soonest, but people in this region are equally exasperated with both the government and the Taliban.

Pakistan, not India, exporting terrorism

Denying that India was to blame for terror in Baluchistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday said it was Pakistan that was patronising terrorism and causing 'great harm' to South Asia.

'Widespread fraud' in Afghan election

The head of the UN mission in Afghanistan has acknowledged there was "widespread fraud" in the August presidential election but is giving no specifics so as not to interfere with an ongoing recount.

Jihadi threat to lives of eminent Pak nationals

There is a threat to the lives of 'known personalities' in Pakistan, warned Interior Minister Rehman Malik yesterday after the army ended a hostage drama at the army headquarters here.

Scientists identify flood-tolerant gene in rice

A Taiwanese scientist has said her research team has found the gene that allows rice to grow under water and believes the breakthrough could help develop other flood-resistant crops.

Canadian 'space clown' returns to Earth

The Russian Soyuz capsule carrying Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte and two other space travellers landed safely in Kazakhstan on Sunday, ending the entertainment tycoon's mirthful space odyssey.

Arts & Entertainment

An uphill climb

When the curtains came down on the 4th National Dance Festival on April 29 2009, Bangladesh Nrityashilpi Sangstha (the national council of dancers) made an appeal to the Education Minister.

Bangladeshi painters shine in the US

Gallery Chitrak, Dhaka and Bangladeshi American Art Gallery, USA jointly organised a group art exhibition at Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania. The exhibition kicked off on September 27 and will continue over the next two months. The group includes Shafiuddin Ahmed and Mohammad Kibria -- two senior-most painters of Bangladesh. Other renowned artists like Monirul Islam, Qayyum Chowdhury, Samarjit Roy Chowdhury, Hashem Khan and Rafiqun Nabi works have also enriched the exhibition.

Grand Finale of Moo’s Band Fest ‘09

On October 10, the Grand Finale of Moo’s Band Fest ‘09 was held at the All Community Club in Gulshan. Twelve upcoming bands performed and the results were given out at the programme. The participating bands were Old School, Urban Fictions, Road 31, Oblique, Xorostrian, Crematic X, Chaotic Symphony, Cops Gone Bad, Heal, Framework, Xuthus and Biporit. From July 13 to August 18, every Friday these bands performed at Moo's Barn as part of the contest. Through judges' (Sajid from De-Illumination and Zia from Shironamhin) choice and online forums (amadergaan.com) the winner Crematic X was chosen.

A different kind of talent hunt

Banglavision have started airing "Onno Alor Gaan" a new reality show featuring a musical contest for differently-abled individuals. The talent hunt has been organised by Kingbadanti Media.

Major Buddhist festival begins in Khagrachhari

The month-long 'Danutthum Kathin Chibar Daan,' one of the biggest religious festivals of the Buddhists in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) began recently in eight upazilas of Khagrachhari district.

Khulna auditions for Lux Channel i Super Star ‘09

The Khulna auditions for Lux Channel i Super Star 2009 was held recently at a hotel in the City.


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