The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Saturday, October 25, 2014


News of: Wednesday, 11th of November, 2009

Front Page

Justice delayed, justice denied

* Over 2,000 children killed by toxic paracetamol between 1980-92
* Corruption sabotaged the criminal cases
* Never-ending High Court stay orders prevent cases coming to trial
* Families kept in heart-breaking wait for justice in one of the worst ever crimes
* One case reopens today upon STAR inquiry; one company was not even prosecuted, two other cases stuck in stays, another acquitted

PM proposes separate fund for worst victims

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has proposed a separate adaptation fund and technology and capacity-building supports for the countries most vulnerable to the climate change, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives.

Govt told to suspend all WB-funded projects

The World Bank has asked Bangladesh to put on hold all local procurement activities under WB-financed projects since the amendments made to the Public Procurement Act (PPA) 2006 are not consistent with its procurement guidelines.

Govt staff may get pay rise before Eid

Finance Minister AMA Muhith said the government was trying to give salaries to the public servants before the Eid-ul-Azha as per the new pay scale.

Army probing a few officers' alleged link

Bangladesh Army is investigating the allegations of a few of its officers' involvement with the bomb attack on Awami League lawmaker Fazle Noor Taposh.

Shocked, they demand probe

Eminent lawyers and human rights activists responded with shock to a revelation that proceedings of two criminal cases in connection with paracetamol adulteration have been stayed in the High Court for 15 years, and sought an investigation of the circumstances of the procrastination.

Tragedy saw rise of an unsung hero

Bangladesh is full of unsung heroes -- but few remain as unrecognised as Dhaka Shishu Hospital's kidney specialist, Prof Mohammed Hanif. No doubt, in his daily practice as a doctor he saved the lives of many patients, but it was in fact his role as a whistle-blower exposing the dangerous practices within the country's pharmaceutical sector that saved more lives, and particularly deserves the country's praise.

School bus service on the cards

The education ministry and school and college authorities in the capital yesterday agreed in principle to introduce bus service for students of certain schools in a bid to ease traffic jam on the city streets.

Suspected Huji cadre shown held

Criminal Investigation Department (CID) yesterday showed arrested an alleged member of Harkatul Jihad al Islami (Huji) in connection with the August 21 grenade attack case.

Technology holds answer for Asia's future challenge

With India importing rice for the first time in over two decades this year, Thailand and other rice producing and exporting countries in Asia are rethinking food security, as experts say further output growth has to come from technology rather than lands that have already become sparse.

Hand killers just punishment

Four special state counsels of Bangabandhu murder case yesterday urged the Supreme Court to deliver a verdict giving exemplary punishment to the killers of president Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family members.

Ringleader of carjackers held

Detectives recovered stolen car parts worth around Tk 1 crore and arrested the ringleader and two members of a gang of carjackers in Fatulla on Wednesday night.

Dhaka to propose rail link, second submarine cable

Building Agartala-Akhaura railway line and a submarine cable linking Khulna and Chennai are among the priority projects to be placed with the Indian government during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's upcoming India visit.

Bangladesh to get a share of $20b G-8 fund

Bangladesh will receive a portion of $20 billion fund pledged by G-8 countries for global food security, said a US delegation yesterday.

Victim nations must get grant, not loan

Foreign Minister Dipu Moni yesterday said the upcoming Copenhagen conference must agree on funding the victim countries grants, not loans, so that they can cope with the impacts of climate change.

484 more hospitalised in 24 hours

Experts blamed contaminated sources of water as well as the climate change for the sudden outbreak of diarrhoea in different areas of Dhaka and Pabna district recently.

Suicide blast kills 30 in Pak market

A suicide car bomb ripped through a packed shopping street in Pakistan's northwest town of Charsadda yesterday, killing at least 30 people and wounding around 55, officials said.

Navies of 2 Koreas trade fire

A badly damaged North Korean patrol ship retreated in flames yesterday after a skirmish with a South Korean naval vessel along their disputed western coast, South Korean officials said.

US refuses to allow Indian intelligence to quiz Headley

A team of Indian intelligence officials left the US disappointed after a week-long stay here as they could not question American national David Coleman Headley, arrested by the FBI on charges of plotting a major terror attack in India at the behest of Pakistan-based LeT.

Announcement

THE DAILY STAR has received a letter from BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain following his October 29 rejoinder on this newspaper's report dated October 27 and headlined “Aug 21 attack on Hasina, AL Rally: It was Hawa Bhaban Plot”. The letter along with The Daily Star's response will be published tomorrow.
-- Editor

Editorial

ADP implementation at snail's pace

In truth, those who are aware, as most people are, of the sluggish historical trend of ADP implementation in the first quarter of a financial year would hardly be surprised by the news. That only ten percent of the ADP got implemented between July and September, 2009 does, however, make us sit up and take note. If only because of (a) the fanfare and aplomb with which the AL government had announced an all-time ambitious ADP for fiscal 2009-10 amounting to Tk 30,000 crore; and (b) the news of under-performance coming from those who are perceived to have had a role in implementing the ADP such as the finance ministry and the NBR.

Prime Minister's visit to Bhutan

In a world confronted with newer crises nearly every day, the importance of regional cooperation, be it at bilateral or multilateral level, cannot be denied. Which brings us to the role SAARC has been playing in South Asia since the mid-1980s. Perhaps the potential that was once noted about the organization has not quite been realised to the extent one would have expected, but the fact remains that the body has brought the countries of this region together in remarkable ways. The recent visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Bhutan underscores this reality. The three-day trip has now thrown up certain new opportunities for Dhaka and Thimphu to explore.

Overseas trips, towels and tables

PRIME Minister Sheikh Hasina is, like many of us, worried about the frequent trips civil servants periodically make abroad. On the face of it, we should not be overly worried about these trips. For if civil servants, or people in other areas of life for that matter, are invited to seminars and conferences abroad, who are we to grumble? Obviously, there must be some very real, some very good reasons why all these men at the centre of administrative authority are provided with the opportunity of going abroad to speak for the country.

Prime minister's visit to Bhutan

BHUTAN (Druk Yul -- the land of the Thunder Dragon) is a land-locked country located between India and China. It shares 470 km border with China and 605 km with India, out of its total border of 1,075 km. Since the mountains are very high on the north, its connectivity on land with the external world lies in the south through India.

Tackling labour unrest in RMG sector

THE RMG sector is our second largest foreign exchange earner. Virtually with no past experience our private sector has been able to prove its dynamism by becoming the fourth largest supplier of readymade garments in the world, even though Bangladesh is heavily dependent on imported fabrics and yarn from other countries. The success it has gained is mainly due to its competitive price, which is due to low wages of garment workers.

Sports

Sacking was inevitable

The Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) yesterday announced a fresh list of 31 players for the SAFF Championship camp keeping sacked Brazilian coach Edson Silva Dido's choice of 23.

Where did Dido go wrong?

It is the metaphorical equivalent of being ejected from the casino even before the roulette wheel has stopped turning. You never even had the chance to find out whether you betting the house on 13 had paid off. In football terms it would equate to giving Fabio Capello the boot for having the gall to not pick Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in the same team. In slightly more specific terms, it would be similar to showing BFF (Bangladesh Football Federation) president Kazi Salahuddin the door because of his non-linear approach towards football development. No youth structure but already talking professional league? Out you go.

Shakib steers Abahani

Shakib Al Hasan returned to the domestic scene with an impressive all-round show as Abahani maintained their winning streak with a massive 107-run victory against Old DOHS in a low-scoring match of the Premier Division Cricket League at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium yesterday.

Zaheer back for India

Pace spearhead Zaheer Khan was on Tuesday included in India's squad for the first two Tests against Sri Lanka after being sidelined for five months with a shoulder injury.

Mumbai ODI today

The series is already in the bag but a confident Ricky Ponting has reminded everyone that there is a game, which will be held at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai Wednesday, to go and that Australia intend to win it. After regaining their No. 1 ranking in style -- they beat England 6-1 and retained the Champions Trophy -- Ponting felt the current series win proved his side was on the right track again.

Pepsi-DRU cricket

The Daily Independent moved into the quarterfinals of the Pepsi-DRU cricket beating INB by five wickets at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium yesterday.

DC Gold Cup

Dighinala Upazila defeated Ramghor Upazila 2-1 in their match of the Deputy Commi-ssioner Gold Cup football tournament at Khagrachhari Stadium yesterday.

Win a boost: Vettori

Captain Daniel Vettori said New Zealand had grown in confidence after winning their three-match one-day series against Pakistan 2-1.

NZ survive Aamir scare

New Zealand survived Mohammad Aamir's explosive half-century to clinch the series against Pakistan with a narrow seven-run victory in the third one-day international here on Monday.

Inter-district football

Kushtia District XI moved into the final of the inter-district Deputy Commissioner Gold Cup Tournament defeating Jessore Sonali Otit 4-1 in the first semifinal at the Magura stadium yesterday.

ESS go to Malaysia

European Standard School leave for Malaysia today to take part in the 3rd FTC/RSC International Youth Under-15 Cricket Carnival that begins on November 13.

Akram bowls for Akhtar

Former Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Akram has backed controversial pacer Shoaib Akhtar for the forthcoming tour of Australia, saying being one of the most experienced bowlers the country has, the selectors should give him a chance provided he is fit.

Ngog antics save L'pool

Steven Gerrard's controversial penalty earned Liverpool a 2-2 Premier League draw with Birmingham City here at Anfield on Monday after the visitors had earlier fought back to take the lead.

'Becks will be a boost'

AC Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf expects David Beckham's return to the club to be a boon for both the Italian giants and the England star.

Old Firm in England?

Glasgow rivals Celtic and Rangers have won backing for their bid to join the English Premier League from Tottenham coach Harry Redknapp.

More layoff for Cole

Chelsea and England left-back Ashley Cole could be out for up to three more weeks with the leg injury that has ruled him out of this Saturday's international friendly against Brazil in Qatar.

No Aguero or Pato

Carlo Ancelotti has conceded that he is an admirer of both Sergio Aguero and Alexandre Pato but the Chelsea manager does not expect to be making any new signings in the January transfer window, despite the suspension of the club's transfer ban.

Smicer hangs up boots

Former Czech international star and Slavia Prague veteran Vladimir Smicer said on Monday he was hanging up his boots at the age of 36 after a spate of injury problems.

Poyet takes over Albion

Gus Poyet was named Tuesday as the new manager of English lower league strugglers Brighton and Hove Albion.

VdV keeping options open

Out of favour Real Madrid midfielder Rafael van der Vaart has hinted that he could be ready to leave the club in January, but has ruled out a return to Ajax.

Rooney warned of conduct

Wayne Rooney has been warned about his future conduct following a remark the striker made to television cameras after Manchester United's defeat by Chelsea, the Football Association said on Monday.

Bendtner is Denmark's best player

Danish international striker Nicklas Bendtner was named Denmark's player of the year on Monday.

C'Ron did not go on a bender

Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo won "substantial" libel damages on Monday over a newspaper report saying he went on a drink-fueled "bender" in a Hollywood nightclub.

Business

Hybrid vegetables take hold

Bangladesh is slowly coming out of a seasonal barrier in vegetables production mainly, helped by consistent growth in sales and cultivation of hybrid seeds that offer farmers scope to profit from off-season vegetables.

BB signs $25m deal with ADB to finance marginal farmers

Bangladesh Bank has signed a $25 million loan agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) to channel more funds to marginal farmers.

Guideline out for Islamic banking

The Bangladesh Bank (BB) yesterday set guidelines for Islamic banking.

5pc incentive proposed for RMG exports to new destinations

The working committee of taskforce on recession yesterday recommended that the government give five percent cash incentive to readymade garment exporters and their backward integration only for new export destinations.

Hasina cautions against complacency over ADP

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday asked ministries not to be complacent as the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) reviewed ADP implementation and found its pace falling short in some cases.

Zillur seeks Turkish zero tariff benefit

President Zillur Rahman sought duty- and quota- free access of Bangladeshi goods to the Turkish market to bring the existing trade relations between Dhaka and Ankara to a newer height.

Awards for Citi financial IT contest

The University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) yesterday bagged the first prize at the Citi Financial IT Case competition.

Minister says economy to make a turnaround

Hoping the economy will make a turnaround, including exports, the finance minister yesterday said investments will increase if energy and power sectors were improved.

Intertek receives warm response from Batexpo visitors

Intertek, a leading provider of quality and safety solutions, has received overwhelming responses from potential clients during its participation at the Bangladesh Apparel and Textile Exposition (Batexpo), the company said in a statement yesterday.

A Sylhet industrial hub can boost economy

The visiting UK business delegation has suggested that the government set up an industrial hub in Sylhet for strengthening Bangladesh's economy.

Five-star hotel in the making in Ctg

AK Khan and Company has started construction of a five-star hotel in Chittagong at a cost of nearly Tk 300 crore.

Uniform face value of shares recommended

The consultative committee of the Securities and Exchange Commission has recommended that the market regulator set a uniform face value of shares at Tk 10.

Eskayef signs insulin deal with Novo Nordisk

The world's biggest insulin maker Novo Nordisk yesterday signed a major deal with Eskayef to extend its manufacturing base to Bangladesh as the third destination in Asia after China and India.

India mood tides high at summit

The Indian economic party is back on.

'Made in China' now made in Egypt

With cheap labour, investment incentives and unrestricted exports, one Chinese textile group has turned to Egypt as an ideal location to produce its ready-made garments, beating stiff competition at home.

Oil lower in Asia

Oil fell in Asian trade Tuesday as worries over the potential threat posed by Hurricane Ida to petroleum installations in the Gulf of Mexico subsided, analysts said.

New chairman for Central Ins

Central Insurance Company Ltd elected Md Abu Taher Chowdhury as its chairman, says a press release.

Suzuki fair starts in Rajshahi

Uttara Motors Ltd yesterday launched a three-day Suzuki Car Fair at the Green Plaza in Rajshahi.

Nitol Ins gets new MD

M Lutfar Rahman Mian has taken over as the managing director of Nitol Insurance Company Ltd, said a statement.

Indonesia posts 4.2pc growth in Q3

Indonesia's economy grew at an accelerated rate of 4.2 percent year on year in the third quarter, officials said Tuesday.

South Korea launches $19b river project

South Korea on Tuesday launched a 19 billion dollar project to dredge and restore its four major rivers despite protests over the feared environmental impact.

Reliance Industries strikes oil in western India

India's energy giant Reliance Industries said Tuesday it had struck oil in the Cambay basin in western India but it did not reveal the estimated size of the field.

Philippines makes biggest ever rice tender

The Philippines will tender for a record 600,000 tonnes of rice to guard against potential supply shortfalls from crop damage caused by recent storms, officials said Tuesday.

Geithner in Japan for talks on global economy

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner met Japanese Finance Minister Hirohisa Fujii here Tuesday for talks on efforts to revive the ailing global economy.

CORPORATE BRIEFS

PUBALI BANK
The bank has said its third quarter unaudited net profit rose to Tk 1,414.63 million in September 2009 from Tk 1,219.96 million a year ago. It also reported a rise in its earnings per share (EPS) to Tk 37.01 from Tk 31.92 (restated) in the same period of the previous year.

Currency

Local Market FX
Local inter-bank FX market was active today. The USD/BDT rate traded at a similar level compared with the previous day.

Metropolitan

Increase economic relations

President Zillur Rahman and his Iranian counterpart Dr Mahmoud Ahmadinejad emphasised the importance of increasing trade and commerce relations between the two countries.

Stronger border control can help tackle terrorism

Executive Director of United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (UNCTED) Mike Smith thinks strengthening the government's capacity, having stronger border control and aviation security as well as stronger financial intelligence can help Bangladesh tackle terrorism.

Plot handover from Dec

Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) Chairman Nurul Huda yesterday said they will start distribution of plots at Purbachal New Town Project and Uttara Model Town 3rd phase from December.

Call to implement CHT accord

Chairman of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Regional Council Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma alias Shantu Larma yesterday said the government has repeatedly pledged to implement the CHT peace accord, but the reality is different.

Abbas refutes allegation of land grabbing

Former minister and BNP joint secretary general Mirza Abbas yesterday refuted the allegations made by a parliamentary standing committee that he had grabbed railway lands in the capital by abusing power.

Road crashes kill three

At least three people were killed and five others injured in separate road accidents in Manikganj and Dinajpur yesterday.

Call to stop violence against women in politics

The third South Asian Regional Conference kicked off yesterday with a call to stop all forms of violence against women in politics and to promote their participation in political decision-making.

Leprosy a major health problem

Leprosy is still a major public health problem in Bangladesh, as more than 5,000 cases were diagnosed last year, according to a study.

UN wants Dhaka to use own fund for family planning

The United Nations (UN) wants Bangladesh to increase funding from its own resources for family planning programmes urgently, saying that slower population growth can better help the country for adaptation to climate change and sustainable development.

Trial of self-confessed killers won't ensure justice

Trial of the self-confessed killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman would not ensure justice, Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Matiur Rahman Nizami said yesterday.

HC grants bail to contractor Delwar

The High Court yesterday granted ad-interim bail to Delwar Hossain Khokan, a contractor of old Dhaka, in the BDR carnage case.

BDR mutiny trial likely to begin this month

The trial of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) members involved in the mutiny on February 25 and 26 in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country is likely to begin this month.

Demonstration on firefighting at army HQ

Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence Department conducted a demonstration on 'Firefighting and earthquake' at Army Headquarters at Dhaka Cantonment yesterday, says an ISPR release.

Religion helps protect people from AIDS

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said religious sanctions, social values and familial bonds in Bangladesh are playing effective role in protecting its people from being infected with the deadly disease called AIDS.

Five injured, 20 shops gutted in market fire

At least five people were injured and 20 shops gutted in a massive fire at Mirpur Cooperative Market in the city yesterday.

Support to One-China policy reiterated

Bangladesh feels happy upholding the One-China policy and is determined to continue the time-tested friendship between the two countries in future, the top brass of the government said yesterday.

Tribute paid to Noor Hossain

Different socio-political and student organisations observed Shaheed Noor Hossain Day yesterday commemorating the supreme sacrifice of Noor Hossain, an activist of the pro-democracy movement.

National

Implement CHT accord fully, demands PCJSS

The leaders of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (PCJSS) and its front organisations have reiterated their demand for full implementation of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord and withdrawal of all the remaining temporary army camps from the region.

12 injured as Raozan AL, BNP clash

At least 12 people were injured as the activists of ruling Awami League (AL) and opposition BNP clashed in several areas of Raozan upazila yesterday afternoon.

46 Shibir cadres sued, one held

Teachers and students of Madan Mohan College in the city yesterday held a rally protesting Islami Chhatra Shibir's Sunday attack on Chhatra League men on the campus.

No pry schools in 144 out of 307 Daudkandi villages

Thousand of children are deprived of schooling as there is no primary school in 144 of the 307 villages of Daudkandi upazila under Comilla district.

Hartal, processions in Bhairab, Kuliarchar

A half-day hartal was observed in Bhairab and Kuliarchar upazilas yesterday to press the demand for upgrading Bhairab as district and arrest of those who burnt the effigy of President Zillur Rahman in Kishoreganj on November 2.

ACC detects Tk 18.5 cr graft by RPGCL men in 2002-07

Officials of Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Ltd (RPGCL), a concern of state-run Petrobangla, had misappropriated petroleum products worth Tk 18.54 crore through manipulating logbooks, tampering with metres and other ways during the years between 2002 and 2007.

BNP dissolves new upazila, union and ward units

The BNP high command has dissolved the newly formed upazila, union and ward units of the party in Nilphamari district to put an end to chaos and conflict that surfaced anew at grassroots level after formation of the committees.

BCL activists stab JCD man at RU

Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activists yesterday stabbed an activist of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) at Rajshahi University (RU).

Boys engaged in forced labour often meet tragic death

Sixty-seven boys, engaged in forced labour in different fishermen's colonies in 13 coastal islands near the Sundarbans, lost their lives in natural disasters, attack by ferocious animals and snakebite from 1998 to 2003.

7 Jubo Dal men held on extortion charge

BNP leaders at Lalmonirhat yesterday alleged that police refused to record a case on Sunday against the AL leaders and activists who torched and vandalised BNP district unit office, Jamaat-e-Islami district unit office, houses and business establishments owned by the BNP men.

'Outlaw' held with arms

Police arrested a suspected outlaw along with a firearm and bullets from Harinbaria area in Pangsha upazila on Monday night. Arrestee Mobarak Hossain, 32, is son of Abdul Khaleque of Char Bamannagar village. Acting on a tip-off, a police team led by Pangsha police station officer-in-charge (OC) Fazlur Rahman, raided the area at about 9:15pm and arrested Mobarak. A shutter-gun and two bullets were recovered from his possession. Police said there are a number of allegations against Mobarak with the police station.

Man jailed in arms case

A court here on Monday sentenced one person to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment (RI) in an arms case. The District and Sessions Judge Court also fined convict Mohd Elias Tk 2,000, in default, to suffer six months more RI. According to the prosecution, Elias was caught red-handed with arms in 1995 while committing robbery in Chandraghona. A case was filed with the respective police station later. After examining the records and witnesses, Judge Dudu Miah Sarker handed down the verdict.

Robbers loot Tk 6 lakh

Armed robbers looted valuables worth Tk 6 lakh from a house at Alipara in the district town on Monday. Locals said, a gang numbering 7-8, stormed into the house of Maulana Ali Nur at about 12:00 noon. They kept the house inmates hostage at gunpoint and took away 15 tolas of gold ornaments, 1,500 pound sterling and Tk 6,000 in cash and four mobile phone sets. A case was filed.

Man to die for murder

A court here yesterday convicted a man and sentenced him to death in a murder case. The convict is M Islamuddin, 30, son of Mohammad Ali of Charparatala village in Pakundia upazila. He was tried in absentia. According to the prosecution, Islamuddin stabbed his neighbour Rafiqul Islam to death at Charparatala Madyapara village on June 29, 2005 over a previous enmity. After examining the records and witnesses, Additional Sessions Judge Tabassum Islam handed down the verdict in a crowded courtroom.

50 kg hemp seized

Members of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) seized a microbus and recovered 50 kgs of hemp from Bagra bus stand in Brahmanpara upazila on Monday. Acting on a tip-off, a BDR team, led by nayek suberdar of the Salda River BOP M Nurul Kabir Majumdar, conducted a drive in the area and recovered the Indian hemp from the microbus. None was arrested in this connection.

Tahsil office staff killed

An employee of Bhabaniganj tahsil office in Sadar upazila was murdered on Monday night. Family sources said, a gang picked up Abu Taher, 40, a peon of the tahsil office, while returning home from Bhabaniganj Bazar at night. They took Taher to an abandoned shop near his house and killed him. Later, police recovered the body that bore several injury marks.

Four jailed for killing 2

A court here yesterday sentenced two people to life term imprisonment and two to 10 years rigorous imprisonment (RI) for killing Amirul Islam and Abdul Jabbar. The court also acquitted 10 others as allegations against them could not be proved beyond doubt. The lifers are Nurul Islam and Nurul Haque and those who got 10 years RI are Habubulla and Zohirul. Additional district and sessions judge Md Bozlur Rahman delivered the verdict in presence of the convicts. According to prosecution story, two villagers engaged in a clash over a disputed land at Keshti village under Manikganj Sadar police station on November 7, 2005. At one stage of the dispute, Aminul and Jabbar of the same village were killed on the spot by the aforesaid convicts.

Letters

Air pollution in Dhaka

Air pollution in capital city Dhaka has gone higher than Mexico City and Mumbai killing thousands prematurely each year. According to the Department of Environment (DoE), the density of airborne particulate matter (PM) reaches 463 micrograms per cubic meter (mcm) in the city during December-March period - the highest level in the world. Mexico City and Mumbai follow Dhaka with 383 and 360mcm respectively. An estimated 15,000 premature deaths, as well as several million cases of pulmonary, respiratory and neurological illness are attributed to poor air quality in Dhaka, according to the Air Quality Management Project (AQMP), funded by the government and the World Bank.

Development

As Bangladesh is an agricultural country, village people are actually keeping us alive. They work from dawn to dusk in the fields for growing different crops and we buy and eat those very easily without thinking about their hard toil. Again, they face natural disasters almost every year.

Poverty and digital Bangladesh

According to FAO, currently about 45% population in Bangladesh are below the poverty level while around 20% are hardcore poor. The population is predominantly rural, with about 85 per cent of its 135 million people living in rural areas. For their livelihoods rural people depend mainly on land, which is both fertile and extremely vulnerable. Most of the country is made up of flood plain, and while the alluvial soil provides good arable land, large areas are at risk because of frequent floods and cyclones, which take lives and destroy crops, livestock and property.

Ensure justice

The article entitled “The Mystery Remains Unsolved” by Elita Karim in DS on October 30, 2009 was a unique piece , which appealed for justice for the victim of a barbarian from the educated community. For sure, there are many similar cases and the perpetrators are going unpunished.

Two beautiful spots

Last week I visited Cox's Bazar and Saint Martin's. As we are busy with our city life, after making some effort we got the chance to visit the longest beach of the world. We planned to go there to have some refreshing experience but after reaching the place I was really disappointed. The beach was full of hawkers.

Smoking banned in open space?

I would like to draw the attention of the ministry concerned or any person who has read the anti-smoking law. I have read in the newspaper and personally seen that people are being fined or harassed for smoking in the street or open space. Is this the correct interpretation of the law?

Some observations

During the last couple of weeks a few incidents have drawn my attention which might have political ramifications in my judgment. These are:

A resolute man

If anybody with common sense listens to the suggestions of the former Chairman of Regulatory Reforms Commission Dr. Akbar Ali Khan, he will surely agree with me that he is not only a great patriot but also a very efficient government servant with a strong commitment to the nation.

Defying logic

Daylight Saving Time in the western hemisphere countries has a definite purpose and period which extends from April till end of October. Setting the clock right in tune with sunrise and sunset in winter time is the most logical thing to do. If this is not done, we will be wasting power in lighting up our houses in the morning. Moreover, as the days get shorter, it will become even more difficult to get up when it is will remain pitch dark even at 6.30 am, since our biological clocks are naturally tuned to sunlight.

Power vehicles

Motor vehicles are wasteful in terms of energy and fuel used to transport only two or three persons at most! Every time the car engine runs, four fifths of the energy supplied goes to overcome the frictional resistance of the car engine, transmission and the bodyworks and their weights which accounts for the high fuel consumption! The electric car however goes a long way toward reducing wasted energy by replacing the internal-combustion engine with batteries. Even so, electric cars lose about 60 percent of the energy because heavy mechanical parts are still used to deliver energy from the batteries to the car wheels through air box and mechanical transmission system. Lately, though, engineers have come up with a far more efficient way to accomplish the same task: by using magnets in the wheels; in place of traction motor and mechanical power transmission gears.

New office timing

I am working in an NGO. Showing respect to the government's new timing for office, our new office time is now 10:00 am 6:00pm. The government decided the timing of private offices, as if there are no women working in private offices, they don't have children!

Plane crash

I was shocked to see the news item that a BAF training plane crashed in Bogra, while on a training flight. The type and condition of the plane does not seem to suit training for the two trainees of the rank of Squadron Leader! The enquiry must show whether it was training and who among the two was the trainee.

Why DST?

The words of Energy Adviser Dr. Tawfiq E Elahi Chowdhury on not reverting back to the old timing in an interview with BBC Bangla Service on October 25, 2009, have baffled us, because the adviser himself admitted that the length of day and night are quite different in countries where DST is being used for a long time but in tropical countries like Bangladesh the difference is not much.

Technical education

Bangladesh has been expanding its industrial base in the last two decades. Mentionable development has been achieved in industries like garment, cement, textile, steel, sugar, paper, pharmaceutical, shipbreaking, shrimp culture etc. Manpower export has already been proved a significant financial positive factor for Bangladesh economy. In addition to the garments industry, information technology and shipbuilding have tremendous potential. To operate the existing industrial ventures, to expand the industrial sector and to export technical manpower abroad, Bangladesh needs a huge technically educated manpower. Without proper manpower, no industry can be developed. But if we evaluate the scenario of Bangladesh for expanding and for modernizing technical education a poor picture is observed.

Funding political parties

A difficult question of funding political parties from the state coffer has been launched by TIB, backed by its research, and perhaps seconded by our Election Commission, for discussion. Actually, it's a dilemma that goes beyond Bangladesh. In the absence of mass membership contribution, many political parties, or politicians, rely on private donations to support their activities. But private donations, mostly corporate, are often determined by influence-peddling. So, making a case for public funding of political parties to keep them honest is an option, but isn't easy. It could be a doubled-edged sword, while public money goes to the parties, they can't be made accountable.

Role of Rab

The continuing saga of extra judicial killing and torture by law enforcing agencies such as Rab is extremely disturbing, to say the least. The recent killing of an actor and torture of a New Age journalist by Rab prompted the constitution of departmental enquiries, the outcome of which is anybody's guess. While condemning such illegal acts committed by the very organ of the government which is supposed to protect the innocent and punish the culprit within legal boundaries, I think everyone also needs to ponder who is the beneficiary of such extra judicial killings and why this saga is going on unabated for such a long time. The summary disposal of alleged criminals before giving them an opportunity to speak out and expose the masterminds and godfathers is advantageous to those very people who create and nurture top criminals.

International

Maoists blockade Nepal's capital

Maoist activists blocked all roads in and out of Nepal's capital Kathmandu in the latest stage of a two-week protest against the government yesterday.

Landslide kills 42 in Tamil Nadu

A landslide triggered by torrential seasonal rains swept through a hilly region in southern India, killing at least 42 people, an official said yesterday.

Myanmar will no longer dictate Asean ties: White House

The United States said Monday it would no longer allow its row with Myanmar to hold its ties with Southeast Asia hostage, as President Barack Obama geared up for his debut official visit to the region.

Swine flu death toll crosses 500 in India

More than 500 people have died from swine flu in India since the first fatality was reported in August, the health ministry said Monday.

Musharraf 'a hypocrite'

Criticising former Pakistan president general Pervez Musharraf for his verbal attack on President Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal House spokesman Ejaz Durrani has called the former general 'a hypocrite'.

Obama faces questions at Fort Hood

President Barack Obama joins this shaken military community yesterday in mourning victims of a bloody rampage amid growing questions about the chief suspect's links to militant Islam.

White House urges Iran's swift reply on N-deal

The White House on Monday pressed Iran to quickly respond to a deal that would supply the Islamic Republic with enriched nuclear fuel, or else risk fresh sanctions.

Indian Maoists blow up school building

Maoists blew up a school building at Banbirua in Jharkhand's Latehar district, a senior police officer said yesterday.

Navies of two Koreas exchange fire

The two Koreas briefly exchanged naval fire yesterday along their disputed western sea border, with a North Korean ship suffering heavy damage before retreating, South Korean military officials said, as cross-border tensions rose a week before a scheduled US presidential visit.

Obama, Netanyahu meet close door on ME crisis

US efforts to revive the Middle East process floundered yesterday after President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held closed-door talks amid signs of friction.

Arts & Entertainment

A stepping-stone for undiscovered talents

"Celebrating Life" -- the composite competition providing a platform for upcoming filmmakers, photographers and lyricists -- is all set for this year's finale. The nationwide talent hunt was initiated last year.

Life on the radio

The down to earth Humayun Kabir Neerob, popularly known as 'RJ Neerob', has carved a distinct niche for himself in the radio fraternity and is today one of the most sought after RJs (radio jockey) of our country. Though presently RJing for Radio Today, he is at the same time producing a programme for the same radio station. He has also taken to part time acting as a hobby, hosts a campus-based television show, takes classes for grooming new and aspirant RJs and also participates in a variety of programmes and activities. Nevertheless the journey to the top has not been smooth for Neerob -- only sheer grit and talent have taken him to the heights of his career.

Aupi in four avatars

Talented actor Aupi Karim will soon be seen in four different characters in a single-episode play. The play titled "Ekbar Mugdho Hotey Chai" will be aired during this Eid-ul-Azha. Written and directed by Shamim Shahed, the play also features seasoned actor Aly Zaker as the protagonist.

Posthumous honour for three artistes in Pabna

'Shangskritik Shilpi Shohayota Shangstha', Pabna honoured three late artists who had played vital roles in the cultural arena of the district. The organisation held a programme at Pabna Town Hall premises on the occasion.

Michael Bublé and his “crazy love” for music

Michael Bublé recently received a cassette tape of his first performance ever, but it didn't bring back pleasant memories.

OP-ED

Cooperative action to combat terrorism

SOUTH Asia has probably suffered more than any other region in the world from the dreadful scourge of terrorism. People, whose lives and those of their friends and relatives, are irrevocably changed in an instant when a suicide bomber blows up a vehicle in a crowded market place or bus station, struggle to understand why there are groups that want to bring so much pain to innocent civilians. There are too many examples to recall them all.

The shadow of November 7, 1975

THE previous army-backed caretaker government struck off November 7, observed as revolution and national solidarity day by BNP, from the calendar of government holidays, but it is not understood how BNP can claim the glory, if any, of the occasion.

An extraordinary life

GREATNESS tends to be measured more by worldly accomplishments than by character. On both counts my late father, Mr. Abdul Hannan, stands tall. His long life was a sharp contrast to the excesses and wastage that we see. He was born on October 5, 1926 in Burdwan, West Bengal. He died on October 2, 2009.



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