The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Saturday, November 29, 2014


News of: Sunday, 13th of December, 2009

Front Page

Allocate fund for population at risk

The Bangladesh delegation has demanded allocation from the adaptation fund in proportion to the percentage of its population exposed to climate change.

Bangladesh seeks $5b foreign investment

An 11-member delegation headed by the adviser to prime minister on energy will leave for London today to hold a road show in London to attract around five billion dollar investment for nine power projects with a total production capacity of more than 3,200 megawatt plus a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal for import of gas.

Bangladesh fights back fallout good

Bangladesh figures in a group of countries that are emerging from the shocks of global economic crisis better than the developed world, US investment bank Goldman Sachs finds in a research.

Advisers to help BNP grassroots

At its fifth national council the BNP amended its constitution to expand the size of all its grassroots level executive committees and form advisory bodies for each committee to revamp the party's organisational capacity countrywide.

Consumers not protected well

Law Commission Chairman Justice MA Rashid yesterday termed the Consumers Rights Protection Act - 2009 faulty and said it should be amended, as the provisions of the law didn't properly ensure consumers' rights and interests.

Separate directorate for madrasa edn

The government has decided to set up a separate directorate for madrasa education with a view to modernising it, said Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid yesterday.

PM goes to Copenhagen tomorrow

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will leave here for Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, tomorrow to attend the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Cyclone WARD hovers over Bay

Cyclonic storm 'WARD' over the southwest and adjoining southeast Bay moved slightly northwards over the same area yesterday.

New monga zone in the making

The Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC) yesterday observed that the Aila-affected southern part of the country might emerge as a monga-prone region unless urgent steps are taken.

Solar panel to be made a must at high-rises

Advocate Abdul Mannan Khan, state minister for housing and public works, yesterday said the government is planning to enact a law to make it mandatory to install solar panels in all commercial and high-rise buildings in four proposed satellite cities.

Fog trouble continues

Dense fog caused disruptions to ferry services on major river routes throughout the night on Friday and yesterday and delays in flight operations at Zia International Airport (ZIA).

Rab backtracks on drive against guidebook trade

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab-3) backtracked from a drive to recover banned notebooks and guidebooks at Bangla Bazar in the Old Dhaka yesterday after pressure surged from the booksellers there.

1 killed in 'shootout'

Police recovered a bullet-hit body of a top listed criminal from Mirpur while an alleged gangster was killed in a "shootout" in Kadamtoli area of the city yesterday.

BNP's G9 slates rights violation

Criticising the government for 'violating human rights', speakers, mostly pro-BNP intellectuals and former bureaucrats, yesterday at a convention urged government to stop violation against humanity.

ACC to quit Matin probe

The Anti-Corruption Commission has decided to close investigation into the corruption charges against former adviser Maj Gen (rtd) MA Matin in awarding container-handling job at Chittagong port as the allegations against him were not proved.

India-Maldives final today

Holders Maldives take on India in the battle for supremacy of South Asian football when they take the field in the final of the Bangabandhu Sixth SAFF championship at the Bangabandhu National Stadium tonight. This is a repeat of last edition's final last year in Colombo where Maldives came out on top beating India by a solitary goal to lift the coveted trophy for the first time. India will try to wrest back the title they won a maximum three times, but they start the match as underdogs having lost to the same opposition in a group match earlier. Their impressive 1-0 win against hosts Bangladesh in the semifinal will no doubt give them heart. On the other hand, Maldives are no short of confidence, as they have grown in stature throughout the tournament, and specially after thumping Sri Lanka 6-1 in the semifinal. Whatever happens, the football-lovers of South-Asia are in for a mouth-watering clash at the big bowl tonight. State-run BTV and satellite channel ESPN will telecast the match live from 7 pm.

Genetic 'map' of Asia's diversity

An international scientific effort has revealed the genetics behind Asia's diversity.

Aid agencies 'must use new tools'

The "crowd-sourced" data that comes from victims of natural disasters and conflicts is now a crucial part in disaster management, says a new report.

Brown updates Hasina on adaptation fund

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown yesterday telephoned Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and informed her that an adaptation fund has been formed to help Bangladesh and other most vulnerable countries to calamitous climate change caused by the global warming.

Editorial

Focus on family planning belated but welcome

THE government's decision to formulate a single-child policy for all families by the year 2015 has come rather late in the day. That the growth in population, which has been rather unbridled, would someday turn out to be a barrier to socio-economic progress should have been recognised much earlier. And, indeed, the kind of move that has now been made through the preparation of a draft policy on the issue ought to have been prioritised years ago in order for the country to have experienced some positive results by now. Obviously, the absence of a clear, well-defined policy on birth control has had grave ramifications. With the present population of Bangladesh being 150 million, one hardly needs any convincing reasons to comprehend the dilemma. Even so, the fact that the government has now looked reality in the eye and has moved to act is welcome.

Climate adaptation techniques

PEOPLE of Bangladesh are known to be resilient while facing up to yearly visitation of some form of natural calamity or the other. They are driven by a strong survival instinct to be fending for themselves. Though this is an inherent trait here, yet the kind of challenges that severe forms of climate change pose to their lives requires more than just resilience. It warrants ingenuity, improvisation and innovation on a scale never demanded before as it is today.

Lessons from security-centered discourses

OF late, there have been a number of meetings, workshops, seminars and symposiums on the very sensitive subject of security, both traditional and non-traditional, by concerned groups and institutions. The atmosphere of frankness and hitherto unobserved candour in such forums of interaction was a refreshing departure from the past. Such discussions brought together serving and retired practitioners of the security apparatus, prominent academics and other public leaders and experts under one roof for meaningful deliberations.

Can Obama's Af-Pak strategy succeed?

A possibility exists that despite the struggle against the al-Qaeda in Afghanistan a day may come when the US will be faced with "Vietnam syndrome" (totally discounted by President Obama in his West Point speech on December 1 on grounds of legitimacy of the Afghan war given by the international community. Unlike Vietnam, the US is not facing a broad based insurgency, and unlike Vietnam Americans were viciously attacked in the US homeland from Afghanistan).

Extradition from Canada

I wrote a piece for The Daily Star, entitled "Extradition of the Fugitives" (October 28) summarising the processes needed to be followed in extraditing the fugitives from Canada. Following the Bangladesh law minister's visit to Canada last month, a piece on the lone fugitive's deportation appeared in the news daily Ottawa Citizen on December 4. The piece was written by Randy Boswell and Jorge Barrera of Canwest News Service.

Sports

ICL-ers back

Four ICL-returnees got the national call-up when the selectors picked twenty-six players for the preliminary camp of the India-Bangladesh-Sri Lanka tri-series, which will start from January 4 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.

Still no answers

The booters after surrendering meekly against India in the semifinal of the Bangabandhu SAFF Championship passed a sleepless night on Friday and tried to discover the reasons behind their poor individual performances, but they hardly got any satisfactory answers.

Maldives start favourites

Defending champions Maldives will be hoping for a repeat of their feat in the last edition when they take on India in the final of the Bangabandhu Sixth SAFF Championship at the Bangabandhu National Stadium today.

Exciting tie at Mirpur

Mushfiqur Rahim desperately dove from the close-in position to dismantle the stumps as Biman erupted in joy after playing out a tie with defending champions Abahani in a nail-biting match of the Premier Division Cricket League at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.

MSC stretch lead

On a day when defending champions Abahani dropped points playing out a tie against high-flying Biman, league-leaders Mohammedan extended their lead brushing aside Victoria in a one-sided match in the Super League stage of the Ispahani Tea Premier Division Cricket League yesterday. Mohammedan's victory at Fatullah came by 8 wickets which puts them firmly in the drivers' seat for claiming the title, three points above nearest chasers Abahani and five clear of Biman.

India level series

Virender Sehwag hit a blistering 64 and left-handed Yuvraj Singh joined the party with a typically aggressive unbeaten fifty as India won the second Twenty20 international against Sri Lanka by six wickets in Mohali yesterday.

Manu chef de mission for SA Games

Mizanur Rahman Manu, vice president of Bangladesh Olympic Association, has been nominated the chef de mission of the Bangladesh contingent for the upcoming South Asian Games next year.

Winter Bridge

Grameenphone Winter Bridge Carnival will start on the 15th of December at the National Sports Council Tower. The tournament will be organised by Dhaka Metropolis Bridge Association (DBMA) and sponsored by Grameenphone Limited. Interested teams, pairs and individuals have been asked to register their entries with DBA.

Vettori drives Kiwis

It was even balance at tea on the second day of the third and deciding Test at Napier. New Zealand were trailing by 57 runs with only five wickets in hand, Brendon McCullum and Daniel Vettori were yet to settle in, Danish Kaneria was in hot form having run through the middle order and the second new ball wasn't far away. Either team could have grabbed the ascendancy. It was Vettori and McCullum who broke the shackles of the first two sessions with a combination of intelligence and exhilarating strokeplay, and seized control of the game.

Woods goes for a break

The fallout continues for Tiger Woods who says he will step away from the sport to try and fix the damage his infidelity has done to his relationship with his wife and family.

England enjoy run fest

England captain Andrew Strauss cruised to a century and Kevin Pietersen played himself into form on the first day of the touring team's two-day match against a South African Invitation XI at Buffalo Park on Friday.

Katich backs his skipper

Simon Katich doesn't want to replace Ricky Ponting as captain and is happy supporting the current leader. After Australia's draw with West Indies in Adelaide there has been some noise from former players about removing Ponting and Rodney Hogg, a vocal critic, wants Katich to be promoted.

Div-I Chess

Titas Club maintained their solo lead in the points table with maximum ten points after end of the fifth round yesterday in the Dutch-Bangla Bank First Division Chess League. Bangladesh Biman are in second position with eight points and I2 Soft Solution Limited are in third with seven points in four games. Games of the fifth round were held yesterday at the Chess Federation hall-room. In the fifth round: Titas beat Dhaka Metropolitan Chess Club by two-and-a-half to one-an-a-half points. Biman beat Farashgonj Sporting Club 4-0. I2 Soft Solution did not have any matches in this round. Sixth round games will start today at 3:30 pm at the same venue.

Denilson fires Pohang

Pohang Steelers FC's Brazilian striker Denilson fulfilled his pre-match promise Friday to wow UAE fans as two superb second-half strikes helped his South Korean side to a 2-1 victory over TP Mazembe, earning a place in the semifinals of the FIFA Club World Cup.

Rafa demands more

Rafael Benitez believes Liverpool will use Sunday's showdown with Arsenal to kick-start a season in danger of spiralling out of control.

Door left open for Sol

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger won't rule out signing Sol Campbell on a free transfer after Manchester United played down talk of an Old Trafford switch for the former Gunners defender.

Jens refuses to pay fine

Jens Lehmann announced Saturday he would refuse to pay the fine he was given for criticising his club Stuttgart's firing of coach Markus Babbel.

'African stars can leave early'

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has told his African stars they have permission to leave early for international duty at next month's Nations Cup.

Blazevic quits as Bosnia coach

Miroslav Blazevic on Friday quit as Bosnia national coach, a month after just failing to lead the side to the World Cup finals, BHT television reported.

Hertha hold Leverkusen

German league leaders Bayer Leverkusen just preserved their unbeaten league record this season with a 2-2 draw Friday at tailenders Hertha Berlin.

'Robinho has long future at City'

Manchester City manager Mark Hughes is confident Robinho will enjoy a long stay at Eastlands after the Brazilian played down reports linking him with Barcelona.

Aguero pledges Atletico stay

Argentine striker Sergio Aguero indicated Friday he intends to stay with Atletico Madrid after insisting he knows nothing of an impending swoop by Chelsea.

Scala applies for Scotland job

Italian coach Nevio Scala revealed on Friday that he has applied for the vacant Scotland job.

Business

Brick kilns going green

Bangladesh has started making bricks using new technology, which cuts carbon emission almost by half and creates scope for earning huge foreign currencies.

Bangladesh to export car parts

Bangladesh is set to export automobile parts and accessories to the US market, which is expected to boost the light engineering industry.

Firms in race to offer rice seeds for early harvest

Seed firms have sped up efforts to bring in new rice varieties for early harvest to give farmers scope to grow more crops.

DBH mutual fund IPO subscription begins today

IPO subscription of a Tk 120 crore closed-end mutual fund, DBH First Mutual Fund, begins today.

SEC clarifies PE calculation

PE (price-earnings) ratio of a stock will be calculated in line with the latest financial statements made by a company, be it audited or unaudited.

FBCCI moves to create jobs

The FBCCI Foundation has taken up two projects to reduce poverty through employment generation.

Separate economic zone soon in Rangpur

Rangpur will soon be declared as a separate industrial and economic zone to attract local and foreign investors, Industries Minister Dilip Borua has said.

Gold prices fall from record heights

Gold prices dropped further from recent record heights and crude oil futures tumbled this week but cocoa struck a 24-year peak in a mixed trading week for commodities amid a stronger dollar and debt fears.

Benapole Customs exceeds revenue target in Jul-Nov

Benaople Customs revenue earning in July-November is now Tk 57.62 crore ahead of the target set for the period of this fiscal.

India sticks to stimulus

India's car sales are racing ahead, mobile phone sales are booming and share prices have rocketed, but policy makers are signalling a go-slow approach to ending economic stimulus and hiking rates.

Apple hits back at Nokia

Apple, maker of the iconic iPhone, hit back Friday in a legal row with Nokia and countersued the Finnish telecom giant, alleging it had breached 13 Apple patents.

Campus career festival kicks off tomorrow

Bdjobs.com, one of the largest job portals in the country, is going to organise the '2nd Bdjobs.com Campus Career Festival' tomorrow, according to a press statement.

CBC chief due today

Managing Director of Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC (CBC) AL Gooneratne is scheduled to arrive in Dhaka today on a three-day visit, said the bank in a statement.

Japan firms owed $7.5b by Dubai

Japan's non-financial firms had some 7.5 billion dollars in uncollected bills from the Dubai government and its affiliated firms as of the end of October, the Nikkei business daily reported on Saturday.

Just in time for holidays, US retail sales sparkle

US retail spending leapt 1.3 percent in November, according to official data Friday that showed a brighter outlook for the troubled American consumer going into the critical holiday shopping period.

US stocks await Santa Claus

Some on Wall Street believe a Santa Claus rally will deliver more gains in the final weeks of the year, while others are playing it cautious until an upcoming Federal Reserve meeting is over.

Dollar gains on euro

The dollar jumped to a two-month high against the euro Friday as positive US economic data increased speculation on a rate hike by the US Federal Reserve.

Oil below $70

Oil prices fell for an eighth session on Friday, ducking below 70 dollars amid "sluggish" energy demand in the United States.

Weekly Currency Roundup

December 6th-December 10th, 2009
International Markets
This week the USD posted significant gains against the euro and the pound. Early in the week USD soared buoyed by positive jobs data, with the US Nov job losses only at 11,000 compared with the forecast of 130,000. On Monday, the dollar index had hit a 5-week high. On Tuesday the euro took another massive hit after Fitch cut Greece's rating. Fitch Ratings cut Greece's debt rating to BBB+ from A- with a negative outlook, the first time in 10 years a major ratings agency has put Greece below an A grade, citing fiscal deterioration in the euro zone's weakest member. By Wednesday the euro had fallen to a one month low against the dollar as investors unwound positions in riskier assets ahead of the year end, prompted in part by rising debt woes for Greece and Dubai. Worries about Britain's fiscal health continued to pressure the sterling which had slid to an eight week low against the dollar. The euro dipped against further against the dollar on Thursday on concerns over the poor fiscal health of Greece and Spain highlighted by rating agencies in recent days. The Australian and New Zealand dollars jumped, however, on expectations of higher interest rates after strong Australian jobs data and as the Reserve Bank of New Zealand signalled rates there may go up sooner than thought. Standard & Poor's cut Spain's credit outlook to negative on Wednesday after Fitch had downgraded Greece's credit rating, sparking concerns about sovereign debt and highlighting the troubles facing some countries on the euro zone periphery. This could mark a switch from the recent trend for currency markets to trade on the basis of risk sentiment, where the euro tended to gain in tandem with perceived higher risk currencies such as the AUD.

Iraq strikes deal with Lukoil over massive oil field

Iraq struck a deal with Russian energy giant Lukoil on Saturday to develop one of the world's biggest untapped oil fields as part of efforts by Baghdad to dramatically ramp up its crude output.

Obama slams 'fat cat bankers’

US President Barack Obama has hit out at Wall Street "fat cats," expressing anger that banks bailed out by the government again plan huge bonuses as millions of Americans battle poverty and unemployment.

Troubled Airbus transporter takes to the skies

The troubled Airbus A400M military transporter, which has overshot its development budget by billions of dollars, carried out its first test flight in Spain on Friday.

Sri Lanka wants more players in oil exploration race

Sri Lanka plans to offer three more blocks off the island's northwestern shores for oil exploration, the government said on Saturday.

Metropolitan

Call for legal framework to save climate refugees

While parties were struggling to reach an agreement at the Bella Centre in central Copenhagen before the high-level segment of climate talks, environmental activists from across the globe staged demonstrations yesterday with a call for 'Climate Justice'.

Make advances in technology to improve living standards

President Zillur Rahman yesterday laid emphasis on making advances in science and technology to reach out their fruits to the doorsteps of the common people to improve their living standards.

Make public agenda of PM's visit to India

Speakers at a roundtable yesterday said the government must make public the agenda of the prime minister's forthcoming visit to India to deal with issues of national interests effectively.

Bill to amend UZ Act in next JS session

LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Syed Ashraful Islam yesterday said a bill would be placed before the upcoming session of the parliament to bring amendments to the Upazila Parishad Act to make the local government body more powerful.

No restriction on foreign devotees

Home Minister Sahara Khatun yesterday said there is no restriction on foreign devotees to attend Biswa Ijtema to be held on December 22-24.

22 women freedom fighters honoured

Twenty-two female freedom fighters from different districts were honoured for their bravery in the Liberation War in 1971.

'Breast cancer more prevalent in younger group in Bangladesh'

Participants at a discussion here yesterday called for efforts to detect breast cancer at an early curable stage by educating people about risk factors and through clinical and self-screening.

'Ensure rights of citizens'

Speakers at a seminar yesterday called on the government to give the citizens their rights.

Rab DG to attend security seminar in Muscat

Rabid Action Battalion (Rab) Director General Hasan Mahmud Khandaker will leave for Muscat, Oman today to attend a three-seminar on south Asian security.

Copensation for affected states demanded

Environmental activists denounced the uncertainty in making a just climate deal at the ongoing Copenhagen summit.

'Frame decentralisation policy to establish autonomous local govt'

Governance Advocacy Forum, a platform for 35 NGOs, yesterday demanded that the government formulate a comprehensive national decentralisation policy with a view to establishing an autonomous local government system, a press release said.

2 walkie-talkie sets recovered, one arrested

Members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab-3) recovered two walkie-talkie sets with DMP frequency and some other electronic goods from a house at Kamrangirchar in the city yesterday.

Plan for four satellite towns in a week

The government will announce a development plan for four satellite towns within a week, each having 1,00,000 apartments, surrounding the capital.

Gazipur road crash kills three

Three people, including two women, were killed in a road accident on Dhaka-Mymensingh Highway in Sadar upazila yesterday.

National

Goons of land grabbers loot paddy from fields

Land grabbers and their musclemen looted paddy from six acres of land at Char Mothbaria under Baufal upazila yesterday morning.

FF beaten to death in Jhenidah

A freedom fighter (FF) was beaten to death in the town over a trifling matter on Friday.

Human chain on sea beach

A huge human chain was formed at Laboni point of Cox's Bazar beach yesterday morning with the slogan "Save Cox's Bazar, save Bangladesh; We want to save ourselves from global warming."

Raiders ransack 32 rooms of two Rajshahi govt offices

Criminals broke into the offices of Rajshahi divisional commissioner and Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) in the city's Srirampur area early yesterday and ransacked 32 rooms of the two adjacent buildings.

Manikganj celebrates its liberation day today

People of Manikganj district will observe today (December 13) as 'Manikganj liberation day'.

Exam fees of wards of Aila victims exempted

The Ministry of Education has instructed the authorities of Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Jessore, for exemption of fees for the 2010 SSC and HSC examinees from Aila-affected Dakope, Koira and Paikgachha upazilas of Khulna district.

Charge framing date deferred to Feb 10

A Sylhet court on Thursday deferred the date for framing charges against Sylhet BNP President and former lawmaker M Ilyas Ali and 47 others in the case for snatching ballot papers.

Outlaw killed in Kushtia

Police yesterday recovered the body of an alleged cadre of an outlawed party from Bhadalia in Sadar upazila.

Tremor jolts Bandarban

A mild tremor, measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale, jolted different areas of Bandarban on Friday night.

RU students surround cop on campus

Students of Rajshahi University (RU) on Thursday confined a police officer in campus on charge of manipulating the investigation of a vehicle torching case filed in 2007.

Letters

Overloaded river vessels

The recent disastrous launch accident in the river Tentulia near Nazirpur launch terminal once again pinpointed the fact that we could do nothing to avert launch mishaps. Colliding and capsizing of launches have become almost a regular feature in our river ways. As reported in the press, overcrowding was the main cause behind the accident. The launch MV Coco-4 was packed with around 2000 passengers on board which was almost three times the capacity!

Climate change

The environmentalists say 1.5cr people will be displaced in Bangladesh by 2050 because of climate change.

Higher education?

I think time has come to say good-bye to our 'go abroad and earn your higher degree' kind of attitude. An attitude that has been so much glorified, from time immemorial, within our academic premise, and also has become part of our non-academic schemata. First, I would like to clarify that I am not discouraging the brilliant and persevere students who are working hard and are becoming successful to earn prestigious degrees from the different educational institutions of the west. But, what I am stressing at: is our patronising attitude that, if we want to earn a PhD or if we want to do an in-depth-research on any particular topic, then we must go abroad. There was a time when a few students from Bangladesh came abroad on different full-bright scholarships to do their degrees and they did that successfully. But, the reality of the present context is pretty harsh. There is hardly any scholarship available now for the international students; given that in the UK, there are three categories of students; Home, EU and International. While the first two categories are characterised similarly, the international students need to pay three times as much tuition fees as the others, and also the international students are not entitled to compete for the same scholarship schemes. And there is no exclusive scholarship available for being Bangladeshi students (there are some for particular countries). At the same time, living expenses are rising every day, and getting 'odd' kind of job is becoming difficult every day due to the recent economic downturn. At the same time, juggling between intellectual commitment and working as a manual labourer often poses a challenge which, not surprisingly, can distract a student's real intention.

Safe nuclear power plants

Engr. Ahmed's comments on the matter published in your letters column on 2 December are justified; particularly for conventional nuclear power plants, using U-236 as the reactor fuel! The critical issue for these power plants, using Uranium-236 as the nuclear reactor fuel is the reactor operating temperature; control of which is critical for such reactors! U-236 is a dangerous radioactive material and any abnormality, on reactor cooling, could lead to runaway nuclear chain reaction catastrophe, which happened in the conventional U-236 fuelled nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, USSR. Additionally, there is also the constant danger of containing the radioactive contamination within acceptable levels!

Take corrective steps

Eid is a festival of joy. Throughout a year, a person waits for this day. As soon as he gets the holiday, he wants to go home. The same thing happens every year. Naturally, a safe mode of communication is essential.

Television programmes

A two-day film fair, 'Mini INPUT Dhaka 2009', has showcased a number of the finest of public television programmes all over the world in Dhaka, screened documentaries as well as dramas at the Goethe-Institute from Dec 2-3, 2009 INPUT. It stands for “International Public Television.” It is the leading public television organisation in the world.

Performance of ministers

I would like to congratulate the Education Minister, Mr. Nurul Islam Nahid, for successfully introducing and completing the Primary Level Exams. This was no small feat that was completed in record time. This is proof that the government ministries can perform, can complete tasks if the Minister in Charge takes a proactive interest and acts as a catalyst for change by providing Transformational Leadership. Through his leadership the Minister convinced all the stakeholders such as the parents, the teachers and the students on the necessity of an exam at the primary level. He created interest among all and the opposition propaganda against the exam was just washed away. Therefore other ministers should not give lame excuses that things are not possible because of the incompetent bureaucracy. Yes, the bureaucracy is incompetent, but it's the only one we have. We cannot import the bureaucracy from Japan or Singapore. The success of the minister lies in doing the job with whatever he has. If things are not moving in other ministries, it's because the concerned Minister is content to command from staying inside his AC room enjoying all the perks and privileges. The government has only four years left of its tenure. So far none of the projects such as elevated expressway, underground subway/monorail/power sector/improvement in traffic situation etc. promised have even been inaugurated. There is hardly any time to implement its election pledges to the people. The BNP is waiting anxiously for the government to fail!

Too early for Obama?

Wining a much expected victory in the presidential election Barack Obama took his oath in January and became the 44th president of the USA. After about eight months of presidency he won his “second victory” when he was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. Obama accepted the prize on December 10. The Nobel committee picked Obama, who was inaugurated less than two weeks before the February 1 nomination deadline. The committee did not select Obama observing his activities as President. They selected him considering his presidential pledge. Now we can see the differences between Obama's pledges and his activities. During his campaign for the presidency, Barack Obama advocated a phased redeployment of troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan. But recently Obama has ordered 30,000 more US troops into Afghanistan. He also says the United States will begin withdrawing its forces by 2011. But we cannot see any sign of withdrawal. Though Obama advocates for peace, but we are observing a stalemate in the Middle East peace process. Even Obama rejects UN-sponsored Goldstone report which accused both Israel and Palestinian armed groups of committing violations of international humanitarian law during the war of Gaza. These activities imply that Obama did not deserve a Nobel Peace Prize. For me, I do not believe that Obama is worth this Noble Peace Prize. It is just not a right time for him to get this important award, it is way too early.

A suggestion

We came across to learn from media report that prior to Copenhagen Summit on Climate Change, some of the Heads of State of the South East Asian countries are holding the Cabinet Meeting at places where the effect of the curse of greenhouse gas emission is predominantly high. This is unique both in the sense that it is creating global awareness as well as our right to protest and to protect our right to live.

America following Russia?

When 80,000 (later increased to 120,000) Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan to stop the fanatical Mujaheedins from toppling the pro-Moscow regime in Kabul, they took up the combat and didn't equip and train the Afghan army. The Soviet commanders were supremely confident that they could do the job themselves. The Soviet Union was a formidable superpower and the Soviet forces were backed up by fighter-bombers, helicopter-gunships and tanks and spearheaded by mechanised infantry divisions in full combat gear. Rag-tag Mujahedins had little apparent chance against such a military machine.

Wonder at Wonderland

It was the day after Eid, Sunday, 29 November 2009. With a few places to go to with my two children and wife in such an evening, I opted for the Wonderland Park in Gulshan in my neighbourhood. We found our way into the over-crowded amusement centre with a ticket of Tk 100 each which included 'Entry+All Rides'. Thrillrider, 3D Zoo, Water coaster and Coin Games were kept out of the Eid Package. We queued for the Merry-Go-Round ride but the line was unbelievably long. Discovering that the Bumper Car queue was much shorter, we went over and joined it. Before it was our turn, we got to know that we would have to pay the regular price, though the ticket clearly said it was not excluded from the package. We had to miss the turn, buy the tickets and queue up again. I asked the attendant about the matter but he advised me to talk to the authorities. The joke of it was that all the popular rides were kept out of the offer and many people had to wait for two hours just for a Merry-Go-Round ride. Spending almost a couple of hours, we managed a 3D ride and a Bumper car ride, paying the regular charges for both.

Students under British Council

All English medium schools are following the rules of British Council and students are also concentrating on that. A time comes, after completing their O' level and A' level, when the students have to migrate to foreign countries for achieving higher degrees. But every student is not capable of going abroad for having higher degrees. Because they do not have enough source of money. They cannot afford these expenses. Because of this reason many brilliant students cannot obtain higher degrees.

Practise benevolence

It came from newspaper reports that a celebrated Indian minister travelled in the economy class of the plane while on official visits. The present Congress chairperson also did the same thing. Then came the news of a young MP who travelled in the general class of the train. When fellow passengers discovered him beside them they became overwhelmed and commented, is not he our leader Rahul Gandhi? Yes, he did what is expected from dedicated true leaders of the people.

Consumers in trouble

The writer of this letter while visiting a food shop in the Rifle Square detected some anomalies in the price of the food items compared to the previous prices.

English in schools

The Daily Star and the mobile phone company Aktel have taken programme entitled 'English in Schools' for popularising the English language among the students of secondary schools at the district and upazila levels. I welcome this great endeavour enthusiastically.

International

Pakistan says S Waziristan offensive over

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said the army has finished its operation against the Taliban in the South Waziristan tribal region but may now pursue militants in another area along the Afghan border.

CIA ends Blackwater's Pakistan contract

CIA Director Leon Panetta has cancelled a contract with the former Blackwater security firm that allowed the company's operatives to load missiles on Predator drones in Pakistan.

Pakistan must assist US more to quash al-Qaeda: Obama

President Barack Obama has said Pakistan must cooperate more with the US to go after and wipe out al-Qaeda and insisted that American involvement in Afghanistan was not open-ended,

Asia populated by immigration from its South East: Study

Pan-Asian research on genetic data suggested that ancestors of modern-day Asians probably migrated from Southeast Asia into East and North Asia, researchers said yesterday.

Jailed US man in Myanmar in 'poor health'

A jailed US citizen, on a protest hunger strike for more than a week in military-ruled Myanmar, was not able to appear in court because of poor health, his lawyers said yesterday.

US men with al-Qaeda link taken to Lahore

Five US men arrested in Pakistan on suspicion of plotting "big" terror attacks had contacted someone linked to al-Qaeda and were arrested before a scheduled meeting, police said yesterday.

UN asks Lanka to free child soldiers

A senior United Nations envoy asked the Sri Lankan government to release all detained Tamil Tiger child soldiers and reunite them with their families.

20 ministers resign

Amid mounting street demonstrations and violence, 20 state ministers resigned yesterday to protest India's decision to carve a new state out of its southern region of Andhra Pradesh.

Maoists blow up Indian police post

In a pre-dawn attack, Maoists blew up a newly-constructed police outpost building in Orissa's Malkangiri district yesterday.

Blair defends Iraq war, even without WMD

Britain would have backed the invasion of Iraq even if it knew that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), former British premier Tony Blair said in comments released yesterday.

Iran agrees with UN

Iran is ready to exchange the bulk of its stockpile of enriched uranium for nuclear fuel rods as proposed by the UN but according to its own mechanisms and timetable, the foreign minister said yesterday.

Car bomb blast kills six in Baghdad

Six people, including two policemen and two soldiers, were killed in a car bombing south of Baghdad on Friday, an Iraqi interior ministry official said.

Philippine lifts martial law

President Gloria Arroyo yesterday lifted martial law in a southern Philippine province where an election-linked massacre left 57 people dead, senior aides said, with over 500 suspects now arrested.

Amnesty blasts Iraq over treatment of Iran exiles

Amnesty International on Friday warned that Iraq's plans to move an Iranian opposition group to a former desert detention camp in the country's remote south would put them at risk of arbitrary arrest and torture.

Iraq security chiefs to answer

Iraqi state television reports the top security chiefs are in parliament to answer questions over security lapses that allowed a third attack since summer against government sites in Baghdad killing 127 people.

Arts & Entertainment

Preserving a musical heritage

Jagoron Shangskriti O Gobeshona Kendra formally launched the collection of albums "Jagoroner Gaan", through a daylong programme at the Shikha Chironton premises, Suhrawardy Udyan yesterday. Banglalink has sponsored the project.

Int’l Baul Festival and Seminar ends at Shilpakala Academy

The two-day International Baul Festival and Seminar, arranged by Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA), ended at its premises yesterday. The programme marked BSA's Victory Day celebration. It's also a part of BSA's 'Action Plan for Safeguarding Baul Songs' project. Supported by UNESCO, the festival and seminar featured internationally renowned folk researchers, and performances by Bauls of Bangladesh and West Bengal, India.

A creative titan remembered

Bangladesh Chalachchitra Parichalok Shamiti (film directors' association) celebrated 82nd birth anniversary of renowned filmmaker, actor, lyricist, composer and singer Khan Ataur Rahman on December 11 at Zahir Raihan Laboratory of Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC).

Ben J. Riepe brings “Love, Death and the Devil” to Dhaka

After touring Bangalore, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai, Ben J. Riepe Company performed in Dhaka on December 10. Goethe-Institut Bangladesh invited the group to perform in Dhaka, according to a press release. The performance was held at National Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. The five-part performance series, titled "Love, Death and the Devil", is Düsseldorf-based choreographer Ben J. Riepe's latest work. The production is characterised by a synthesis of precise choreographic management of time, movement, space and context on the one hand, and the individual improvisation of all involved artistes on the other. Powerful images and baroque costumes are other highlights. Ramendu Majumder, president, ITI gave the inaugural speech and Angela Grünert, director of Goethe Institut, introduced the troupe to the audience. The troupe now consists of twelve members.

Miley Cyrus song ruled out of Grammy race

A song by US pop sensation Miley Cyrus that had been nominated for a Grammy award has now been ruled ineligible.

Erratum

In a write up, titled "Children with special needs 'Play with Colour'", published in the December 10 issue had a quote from Marufa Hossain (author of a book on autism) which read "Being a mother of an autistic child..." It should have read "...such a child..." Hossain's daughter is not autistic; she has cerebral palsy. We regret this inadvertent error.

OP-ED

Unsung heroes of our independence: Gazaria freedom fighters

AS we celebrate the 38th anniversary of our victory over the repressive powers of Pakistan we need to pay homage to those countless souls who laid down their lives in giving us this day. The 1971 War of Liberation was fought on several fronts by people from all walks of life. While the main war is largely known by the battles fought by our brave freedom fighters both inside and outside our borders, much of our success came from the resistance and random acts of bravery by people in all nooks and corners of our country.

Sri Lankan presidential election: A complicated race

THE presidential election in the South Asian island state of Sri Lanka, scheduled for January 26, is expected to witness tough contest between the two top candidates. Both can legitimately claim credit for the government victory over the Tamil militants, thus bringing an end to the long running civil war.

Manpower export: Impact of globalisation

WE all know that in recent years hundreds and thousand of unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled Bangladeshi workers have been working outside the country, and this number is growing each year. But what are the dynamics that have facilitated such a large outflow of migrant workers from Bangladesh to all over the world? In fact, such outward migration is significantly facilitated by the dynamics of globalisation, and has turned into an "invisible export" from Bangladesh that brings billions of dollars to the Bangladesh economy in the form of remittances.



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