The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Sunday, November 23, 2014


News of: Saturday, 23rd of January, 2010

Front Page

Behind gas crisis

The country would not have faced any gas crisis now if the government paid a little attention to capacity building and modernising the companies under Petrobangla instead of becoming over-dependent on foreign oil companies to produce gas, experts say.

Devotees pour in as Biswa Ijtema begins

The three-day Biswa Ijtema, the largest congregation of Muslims after hajj, started yesterday on the bank of the Turag in Tongi with participation of a large number of devotees from home and abroad.

Investigators still in the dark about plot

Investigators of the BDR headquarters carnage case have not yet pinpointed any conspiracy behind the bloodbath although they are considering submitting the charge sheet in a month.

Work on counter intelligence unit underway

The government is working to set up counter intelligence unit for watching over the activities of the country's intelligence agencies and get advance intelligence on any future conspiracies or plot for unlawful activities.

Long delay in overhauling curtails generation

Overhauling work of the 50-megawatt (MW) unit-3 of Karnaphuli Hydro Power Station is still incomplete as the Italian company entrusted with the job leased out one of its section to another company that slowed down the progress.

Road blocked after truck crushes 2

A woman and her eight-year-old daughter were crushed to death under the wheels of a truck in front of their Gabtoli house on Thursday night leading to a five-hour road blockade by several hundred locals.

Teesta talks likely in March

The minister-level talks of Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) between Bangladesh and India will be held in March, Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Tari Ahmed Karim said here yesterday.

Proshika standoff over

Mirpur police yesterday handed over the keys of Proshika Bhaban to the non-government organisation's (NGO) incumbent Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mahbubul Karim, after being directed by the High Court.

Villagers beat tiger to death

A Royal Bengal Tiger was beaten to death by villagers at Abadchandipur adjacent to the Sundarbans in Shyamnagar upazila yesterday evening.

Bapex set for maiden 3D survey

Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration Company (Bapex) is set to start for the first time three dimensional surveys in large national gas fields within a couple of months, completion of which will give a new understanding of the fields.

ACC sues livestock officer

The Anti-Corruption Commission has filed a case against a store officer of livestock department for amassing wealth worth about Tk 6.5 crore beyond his known sources of income.

DU admission test postponed

Dhaka University authorities yesterday postponed the admission test for honours courses of Bachelor of Education for academic session 2009-10 due to question paper leakage.

Schoolboy, bus helper murdered

Unknown criminals stabbed a bus helper to death at the city's Shanirakhra last night while police recovered the slaughtered body of a student from the Buriganga on Thursday.

Indian airports on alert after hijack warning

India has increased airport security and warned its domestic airlines about a possible hijack attempt after a tip-off from Western intelligence services, officials said yesterday.

Move to seize all assets of Zardari

Action to seize the assets of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has begun following a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) order asking the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration to freeze all his assets under its jurisdiction.

Indian land scam spotlights military corruption

A land scandal involving Indian generals has shaken public faith in the country's massive military at a time when unprecedented sums are being spent on modernising the armed forces.

Pak troops kill 3 militants in N Waziristan

Pakistani security forces killed three militants in North Waziristan yesterday, their first reported foray for months in a region where America is calling for action against al-Qaeda and the Taliban, intelligence officials said.

Editorial

New scheme to boost agriculture

Several very timely projects have been taken up by the government, the ministry of agriculture in particular, to increase production and indeed save agriculture in Bangladesh. One such plan would help mechanise farming in Bangladesh and another, if implemented without delay, would help prevent reduction of cultivable land that is being lost to urbanisation to the tune of almost 1 percent annually. The other project is related to bringing more land under irrigation.

Bullying girls at roadside

Another teenaged girl has killed herself as neither her family, nor the community could protect her from the tyranny of her tormenters. Naspia Akand Pinky, a 14-year old ninth grader from the Shyamoli Ideal Technical School and College, could not stand anymore the disgrace she had to digest everyday on her way to school at the hands of a street-corner bully Murad and his cohorts. Her repeated complaints to her parents about the daily harassment she had to suffer were of little avail. So, she decided the ultimate.

Behind law enforcement on campus

There is justifiable concern and fear on account of the ugly violence that was witnessed in Dhaka University on January18. The Daily Star editorial of January 20 takes serious note of the grave situation, specially the police inaction, urges political parties to realise the gravity of the matter and reminds them of their responsibility to stop such excesses by the students.

Politician versus soldier

Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa is in an elated mood. Sri Lankans will go to polls to elect a new president on January 26. Rajapkasa is delighted because, in May last year, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was finally defeated and the dreaded Vellupilai Prabhakaran was killed. The bloody civil war had lasted for 26 years, claiming more than 88,000 lives. Riding on the wave of popularity, Rajapaksa has called for a fresh election two years before expiry of his current term, and is confident that his mandate will be renewed.

Bangladesh-India accord

SEEMINGLY there were high hopes attached to the outcome of the Bangladesh-India summit held on 11-13 January at New Delhi. What is, however, realistic about the outcome of the meeting is an expectation of the opening of an era of enhanced friendship and cooperation between these two close neighbours after a period of 34 years (1975-2009). This, after so many years, of course, requires further building of mutual trust and confidence.

Sports

Kamal accuses, Shakib defends

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president AHM Mustafa Kamal has questioned the integrity of the national cricketers saying that the players are not giving their hundred per cent.

Dhaka, Rajshahi win big

Rajshahi and Dhaka have scored big wins in their respective matches of the National Cricket League against Barisal and Chittagong while the match between Sylhet and Khulna is poised for an exciting fourth day finish.

Ashraful very lucky: Siddons

Jamie Siddons, the Bangladesh coach, has said batsman Mohammad Ashraful was fortunate to retain a place in the national team but felt there was no adequate replacement for him yet. Siddons also viewed the first Test as an opportunity lost for Bangladesh and believed the result could have been different had the top order batted better.

White ton powers Australia

Cameron White finally showed he could be a potent force at home as his muscular century pushed Australia to a five-wicket win in the opening one-day international against Pakistan at the Brisbane Cricket Ground on Friday.

Volleyball hopes for bronze

Bangladesh Volleyball team are expecting at least a bronze from the forthcoming 11th SA Games which commences in Dhaka on January 29.

Zia finishes fifth

GM Ziaur Rahman finished fifth in the 8th Parsvnath International Open Chess Tournament in Delhi. Zia bagged 8.5 points from 11 games. It was the highest score by any players from India and Bangladesh in the competition. In the last round yesterday, Zia drew with GM Ghaem Maghami Ehsan of Iran who became champion in the tournament. Another Bangladeshi GM Niaz Murshed became 45th as he earned 7.5 points. GM Dmitry Kryakvin of Russia became second while GM Pavel Kotsur finished third. Ghaem, Kryakvin and Kotsur earned equal nine points each. Their positions were then decided in tie-break. A total of 378 players including 22 Grand Masters, 30 International Masters from 16 countries participated in the event.

Laxman stays back

A final call on Sreesanth and the injured VVS Laxman will be taken on Saturday, according to the Indian team manager Arshad Ayub.

Ryder out of BD series

Jesse Ryder, the New Zealand batsman, will not be considered for selection for the home series against Bangladesh as he continues to struggle with a lower stomach muscle injury.

Nadal, Henin on course

Defending champion Rafael Nadal has won his third-round match at the Australian Open, beating Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-4, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.

Kotla cleared for WC

The International Cricket Council on Thursday ruled that New Delhi will remain a venue for the 2011 World Cup despite a pitch fiasco late last year.

IPL opener shifted to Mumbai

The opening match of the Indian Premier League in March has been shifted out of Hyderabad due to ongoing protests over the proposed creation of a new state, a top official said on Friday.

IPL snub ignites Indo-Pak row

A perceived snub to Pakistani players by the glitzy Indian Premier League has sparked a diplomatic spat between the great rivals, for whom cricket is more than just a game.

AUSSIE OPEN AT A GLANCE

A look at Friday's fifth day of the Australian Open tennis championships:

All eyes on Milan

AC Milan head into this weekend's top of the table derby clash with Inter Milan knowing defeat could spell the end of their Serie A title hopes.

Zambia, Cameroon thru'

Zambia belied their lowly world ranking to emerge as surprise Group D winners ahead of continental giants Cameroon as the Africa Cup of Nations' first round came to a nerve-jangling climax on Thursday.

Carlos-Gary spat rises

Sir Alex Ferguson has refused to become embroiled in the escalating spat between Carlos Tevez and Gary Neville after the Argentina striker branded his former team-mate a boot licker and a moron.

Klose seeks starting berth

Germany's Miroslav Klose plans to fire both his country and Bayern Munich to success in the coming weeks as the German giants look to keep up the pressure on Bundesliga leaders Leverkusen.

Real look to rebound

Real Mad-rid have picked up one point from the last six on the road so will be glad of some home comfort at their fortress Santiago Bernabeu when they host Malaga on Sunday as they bid to close the five-point gap on leaders Barcelona.

Rio in MU comeback

Rio Ferdinand will play his first match in almost three months when Manchester United entertain Hull on Saturday, United boss Sir Alex Ferguson revealed in an announcement that will be equally welcome news for England manager Fabio Capello.

Henry makes Haiti donation

Barcelona striker Thierry Henry has made a 56,000-euro donation to French NGO Medecins sans Frontieres as a contribution to rescue efforts in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, his club said on Friday.

Diego has no fears over WC security

Argentina coach Diego Maradona on Thursday said he had no fears over World Cup security despite South Africa's gruesome average of 50 murders a day.

Essien out for six weeks

Chelsea and Ghana midfielder Michael Essien will be out of action for up to six weeks after returning from the African Nations Cup with a knee injury, his club announced on Friday.

Hamburg after Nistelrooy

Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy could be set for a move to Germany's Bundesliga with title-chasing Hamburg, Bild reported on Friday.

Juve contest doctor bans

Juventus have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against two-month bans handed out to two club doctors.

Metropolitan

Involvement of community vital to keep city clean

Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) Mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka said involvement of community people helps much in cleaning the city, as it is not possible for the government to do the job properly with its limited manpower and infrastructure.

A life cut short by eve teasing

Pinky's joy of getting new textbooks was doubled when she received those from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Trial of bomb, grenade attacks demanded

Communist Party of Bangladesh leaders yesterday demanded the trial of all bomb and grenade attacks, including those on the CPB rally, Chhayanaut and Udichi, which left a number of people dead.

Shrimps worth Tk 300cr prepared for export

A three-member delegation of the European Union (EU) arrives in Dhaka tomorrow to observe the shrimp industry, as freshwater shrimps worth Tk 300 crore have been prepared here for export.

Dhaka highly vulnerable to quake: Expert

Adequate preparations are needed to minimise casualties and the loss of property in case of any possible earthquake, as Dhaka is highly vulnerable to tremor under Madhupur Fault.

NGOs could not make public institutions accountable

The non-government organisations (NGOs) could not create massive social awareness to make public institutions accountable for providing basic rights like education and healthcare for the poor, noted economist Prof Wahiduddin Mahmud said yesterday.

Students vow to read more books

Thousands of students vowed to read more books at the prize giving ceremony of Bishwa Sahitya Kendra's yearly Book Reading Programme yesterday.

One killed in bridal party bus crash in Ctg

One person was killed and 25 others were injured when a bridal party bus rammed a roadside tree at Fakir Hat on Dhaka-Chittagong highway in Sitakunda early yesterday.

Tk 1 cr heroin seized

Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) seized heroin worth Tk one crore from a passenger bus in Chandipul area on the outskirts of the city on Thursday night.

50,000 flats to be built for low-income people

Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakhaya (RAJUK) Chairman Engineer Md Nurul Huda yesterday said 50,000 apartments would be constructed in the city for resolving housing problems of the low and middle-income people.

Criminals snatch tenders, pay orders of Tk 3.70 lakh

Criminals snatched away tender documents, including pay orders of Tk 3.70 lakh, from the Chuadanga LGED office and beat up a contractor due to his attempt to take part in the bid.

Encourage children to study science

Speakers at a programme yesterday called upon parents to encourage their children to study science subjects at least up to higher secondary level so that they can stay in tune with the developments in the field of science.

Graft cases against politicians should be settled fast

Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh (BDB) President AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury yesterday said corruption cases against politicians as well as government officials should be settled fast.

Tannery owner held for confining 7 suppliers to factory for 7 days

Police arrested a tannery factory owner and his three men early yesterday on charges of confining seven rawhide suppliers to his factory at Hazaribagh in the city for seven days.

DU English Dept Alumni Society meeting held

The first meeting of the executive committee -2010 of the English Department Alumni Society, Dhaka University was held in the city on Thursday.

Begum Rokeya Memorial Lecture held

Women would have to come out of the belief that they are to serve men, speakers at a discussion said.

BSF kills six Bangladeshis in 14 days

Indian Border Security Force shot dead a Bangladeshi cattle trader at Baridaka border point under sadar upazila of Meherpur district early yesterday.

Dispute over land at Sajek

Eight people of Ratkaba village under Sajek union at Baghaichhari upazila were injured when security personnel allegedly beat them up at Shaheed Ladumoni Chakma Bazar on Thursday following a dispute over land.

Schoolboy beaten to death

A schoolboy was beaten to death in Sehakathi village under Patuakhali district headquarters yesterday.

Jatiya Party council today

The biennial council of the Jatiya Party (JP) will be held at the Institution of Engineers in the city at 10:00am today, said a press release.

Aphrodisiac kills four in Tangail

Aphrodisiac prepared by a local herbalist claimed lives of four people while one fell seriously ill at Ghatail upazila in Tangail yesterday.

Jamaat leader Ekram sent to jail after remand

Leader of Jamaat-e-Islami Dr Ekramul Haq was sent to jail yesterday after completion of his one-day remand.

Steps taken to ensure rights of indigenous people

State Minister for Culture Promod Mankin yesterday said the government has taken steps to uphold the rights of indigenous people, including protection of their lands, by reviewing the existing laws.

Govt to take steps to ensure quality education

The government would set up new schools and take steps to improve the quality of education to bring about qualitative changes in the education system, said Finance Minister AMA Muhith.

30 suspected Razakars sued in Bagerhat

Thirty suspected Rajakars have been sued for killing a freedom fighter at Sharankhola upazila during the War of Liberation in 1971.

Qulkhwani of Sayeed Ahmed tomorrow

Qulkhwani of Sayeed Ahmed, a noted theatre personality, art critic and playwright, will be held at 1/3 Block # D, Lalmatia after Maghrib prayers tomorrow, says a press release.

University student stabbed to death

Muggers stabbed a private university student to death at Silimpur in the town last night.

First reunion of DU Statistics Dept Alumni Assoc held

The first reunion of the Dhaka University Statistics Department Alumni Association was held on campus amid much enthusiasm and reminiscence of old days.

International

Karzai wants to pay Taliban to lay down their arms

Afghan President Hamid Karzai unveiled an ambitious Western-funded plan yesterday to offer money and jobs to tempt Taliban fighters to lay down their arms and return to civilian life.

Mass relocation for Haiti homeless

Haiti has launched a huge operation to move hundreds of thousands of homeless out of the ruined capital, as hopes of finding more survivors fade 10 days after the devastating quake.

US regrets past 'grave mistakes' in Pakistan

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates took on his critics in Pakistan yesterday, apologising for past "grave" mistakes as he works to bolster ties with Washington's key ally in the fight against al-Qaeda.

India 'important' for US success in Afghanistan, Pakistan: Holbrooke

US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke has said that India is 'important' for America's success in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

India to reassert authority in Maoist-dominant areas

Home Minister P Chidambaram declared yesterday that states had agreed to coordinate actions against Maoist guerrillas and that the government's goal was to reassert authority in rebel bastions.

Bomb attack targets Lanka opposition

A key opposition activist in Sri Lanka was targeted at home by a bomb attack yesterday as violence escalated ahead of next week's presidential election.

'Lonely' Imran wonders how it would have been if he were still married

The playboy cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan has revealed that while he has got used to living alone after his divorce from wife Jemima, he often wonders what it would have been like had politics not overshadowed his married life.

Brown to be quizzed over Iraq before polls

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will be questioned about his role in the invasion of Iraq, the inquiry's press office confirmed yesterday.

Myanmar junta worse than Cyclone Nargis

Rights violations by Myanmar's junta has caused more damage than Cyclone Nargis, a Philippines senator and top member of the world's leading body of parliamentarians said on Thursday.

Afghanistan bans chemical used to make bombs

Afghanistan yesterday banned the use of a fertiliser chemical also used to make bombs, giving farmers and other holders a month to turn in their supplies.

Americans still view Obama as most trusted politician

Despite suffering a massive blow in form of Sir Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts seat, President Barack Obama continues to be seen as America's most trusted political figure, according to a new poll.

Pakistan can't guarantee Mumbai like attacks won't occur again, says Gilani

While the United States has stressed that any more 26/11 like attacks on India originating from Pakistani soil would test its patience, the Pakistan government has said that it can not guarantee repeat of the ghastly terror attacks which rocked India's financial capital.

US to supply drones to Pakistan

The United States plans to provide Pakistan with a dozen unarmed drone aircraft that will help bolster its military as it takes on Taliban militants, US defence officials said.

World will 'not back down' on Iran, says Hillary

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday the international community is "unified in its resolve" to put pressure on Iran over its disputed nuclear programme, and will not back down.

Somali insurgents raid foreign aid offices

Somali Islamist rebels from the Shebab and Hezb al-Islam groups stormed the offices of international aid agencies in the restive western city of Beledweyn yesterday, officials and witnesses said.

California on mudslide alert as storms hit

Torrential rain and strong winds pummelled California for a fourth consecutive day Thursday as officials warned of tornados, flash floods and mudslides in areas ravaged by last year's wildfires.

More bodies recovered after Nigerian clashes

Volunteers recovered scores more bodies in Nigeria's troubled central Plateau state as the death toll from inter-religious clashes rose and the army was ordered to step up security.

Hopes rise as damaged port reopens

Thousands of Haitians waited by the sea on earthquake-cracked mud, surrounded by bags and babies, hoping the imminent reopening of the capital's port would allow them to flee.

Arts & Entertainment

Hope for better cine culture

The 11th Dhaka International Film Festival ended yesterday. Arranged by Rainbow Film Society, the nine-day festival was inaugurated on January 14 at the National Museum, Shahbagh. The festival featured around 200 feature, documentary, short and independent films from 66 countries. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the festival.

Third Int’l Children’s Film Festival begins today

With the slogan “Future in Frames”, the 3rd International Children’s Film Festival begins today at the Osmani Memorial Hall. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate the festival. The inaugural session will presided over by Mustafa Monwar, chairman of the festival advisory committee.

Literary conference in Satkhira

Bijoy Sahitya Sangsad organised a daylong literary conference at Satkhira Pourasava auditorium on January 21.

Retaining popularity over 25 years

Born in Sylhet, singer-composer Suvro Dev completed his MSC in Biochemistry from Dhaka University. He took formal music lessons from Ustad Ram Kanai Das. He received the President's Award in music on BTV's "Nutun Kuri" contest in 1978.

Actress Bindu goes places

TV play “Megh” goes on air tonight on Channel 1. The direction and screenplay is by Chayanika Chowdhury, while the story is by Wahid Sentu and Pavel Chowdhury.

A confluence of art forms ends at BSA

As part of its regular monthly events, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) arranged a two-day long classical music and dance programme at the National Music and Dance Centre auditorium beginning on January 20. Director General of BSA Kamal Lohani inaugurated the programme while director of Music and Dance Department of BSA Mahmud Selim along with other officials and artistes of BSA was present on the occasion.

OP-ED

Sanity needed

WITH the BNP chairperson and her party high-ups alleging that the country has been sold out to India by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during her visit to Delhi through signing of a secret pact and the party's reported move to launch street agitation against the government, the political climate in the country is heating up again. Compounding the peace and stability of the country is the gun battle that people witnessed recently in the Dhaka University campus between two groups of the Chatra Dal. Unhappily, even after two years of suffering during caretaker regime, political intrigue, bickering, in-fighting, and bankruptcy have almost become the norm.

Embarking on single-child policy

THE government's decision to formulate a new population policy, emulating China's single-child families by 2015, to avoid a serious socio-economic debacle due to ever-increasing population is an eminently sensible one. According to the draft policy, couples having only one child will be given preference in all state facilities, including the government's assistance during admission to educational institutions.

China moves forward despite challenges

CHINA has been the cause for envy as well as inspiration. Its steady economic progress has been based on active inter-action with the international community. That has resulted in massive foreign direct investment. It has made it the 'factory of the world'. This gradual flow of economic power from West to East has however also raised questions about the manner in which China controls its economy and the imperatives that are associated with its strategic planning. It has added to scrutiny.

Environment

Climate change and action plan

The analysis of the outcome of the climate change summit held in Copenhagen pointed out a stark reality for Bangladesh and other most vulnerable countries (MVCs) that we can't just rely on greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting developed countries to come to our salvage. We will have to increase our domestic capability in terms of adaptation and mitigation plans. The formulation of Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) is a valuable document and a step in the right direction. This document outlines many action plans including strategy for flood protection and management schemes, coastal green belt, cyclone shelters, resilience of vulnerable groups, centre for research on climate change, climate change resilient crops, and coastal embankments.

Caring for green: Thai experience

Last time, when I was in Bangkok for a few days, my friend Mr. Siriraks and his daughter Candy took me to a tree plantation project in Thailand's Samut Prakarn province and I stayed there for about two days. This was a great experience for me. At the start, I was reluctant to go there but my friend was a very tenacious fellow. Finally, I nodded to his request to pass a good amount of time there. When I reached there, I found the place to be a real greenery which will remain imprinted in my mind for many years to come. I had an amazing time. Thanks to my friend and his daughter so much for giving me the opportunity to experience such a beautiful greenery.

Conserving the wetland resources

Wetlands are invaluable components of the environment, ecology, resource potential and biodiversity in Bangladesh. They are integral part of the local ecosystem based cultures. These consist of wide variety of types ranging from lakes, rivers, coastal forests to deepwater paddy fields and ponds. All these wetlands form a unique mosaic of habitats with extremely rich diversity of flora and fauna, much of which as yet biologically undiscovered. The wetlands also support the livelihood of millions of people engaged in such diverse activities as fishing to collecting honey, thatching materials and fuel wood.

Literature

Narcissist

I am a narcissist. That is what Glory told me while she was in the U.S. two months ago for Thanksgiving holiday. I have always known that. After hearing it aloud felt very strange. Well, I knew that her eyes are windows that could see deep into my soul. That is why I avoid seeing or talking to her. We keep in touch through emails. She writes to me more often than I do. I want our correspondence to be occasional but she pays no heed as to what I want. She kept on writing until recently. She doesn't write anymore after our last phone conversation which lasted only six minutes. That is when she said I was a narcissist. If I see her or talk to her then she says things that I do not want to face or think about myself. Her voice haunts me. With emails, I can choose what to say and avoid answering things that are deep in nature. She once told me she believes we are soulmates. This was very early on. And I laughed since I do not believe in clichés. She looked hurt. And never mentioned it again after I laughed her off. No, we are not in love. How could we be? I am in love with myself. I do not take other people's feelings into consideration anymore. I am happy to be alone. That is what I tell myself.

Syed Shamsul Haq speaks to Gantha

Gantha is a creative writers' group that meets regularly at Bengal Shilpalaya in Dhanmondi. New Year 2010 was a happy start. On 4 January, Gantha welcomed Syed Shamsul Haq, an iconic writer of Bangladesh, to a discussion session on creative writing. He spoke to a rapt audience for an hour and ten minutes, sharing his experience of over a five-decade long career in writing. His works cover 27 volumes of poetry, 16 plays (including 7 verse plays), of which the most prominent is Payar Awaj Paowa Jaaye, 9 novels, 57 novellas, 6 collections of short stories, 5 books of essays and impressions and 6 books of poems and adventures for the young.

Of declining reading and downsized bookshops

You wonder at times about the state of reading in the world you are part of. There is the sense that it is dying, that indeed these increasing levels of sophistication coming into technology are in essence putting holes into our old habits of reading. Not many people read today, which is a pity. Worse is the knowledge that bookstores are being downsized because business is not good. And what you have in place of these truncated, eventually murdered bookstores is storehouses of all those things that reflect the decline of intellect in our times. Visit any bookshop in Dhaka. Chances are it will be empty or perhaps a visitor or two will be there. Those of you who might be tempted to visit the bookstores at Aziz Market in Shahbagh too cannot boast of high visitor numbers, though you have some of the best books, newly published, to be had in the shops there. The old shops in New Market are yet there, but there is something about the arrangement of the books on the shelves, together with the narrow space in the shops, that is pretty disquieting. The stores that specialise in English language works, of course brought in from abroad, today offer hardly anything that shows light at the end of the tunnel. Besides, there are the prohibitive prices to consider. Omni at Dhanmondi has seen its book section confined to an increasingly narrow space. Et Cetera started off well. It is only the past about it you recall now. Words N' Pages, in Gulshan, is yet out there. Will it stay that way? At the old airport in Tejgaon, The Bookworm remains a beacon of happiness. How much longer will the lights gleam?

Prayer for peace

O Saviour, save us from the clutches of rogues,
O God, help us to fight fraud.
O Guardian, guide us to uproot cruelty;
O Leader, lead us to banish barbarity.
O Creator, aid us to salvage society,
Stand by us to face any ferocity.

Knowing the Self

This pursuit of mine to discern the self
Shall never come to a close
Through the quest
I search for Thee, O Lord.

Star Health

Emerging foodborne illness and challenges ahead

Foodborne illness and food safety is a growing concern across the globe. Apart from Diarrhoea and Cholrea, other foodborne diseases like Salmonellosis, Campylo-bacteriosis, infection of E. coli, Listeriosis have emerged as a major threat in the world. World Health Organisation (WHO) urged governments to intensify efforts to improve food safety and work proactively in response to an increasing number of food safety problems and rising consumer concerns.

7 essential screening tests for women

Very often, women in Bangladesh present to a doctor’s room when their diseases have already progressed to a grave condition and need aggressive treatment. Sometimes, physicians have very little to do with a woman when she comes at the end stage of a fatal disease like cancer. With simple and inexpensive screening tests, women can prevent a range of deadly diseases like cancer, glaucoma, complications of diabetes etc. and help remain heal and hearty.

Climate change impact on mental health

Mental health is deeply influenced by external social and environmental factors. Along with physical illness, it is now well evident that extreme climatic events can cause significant psychological stress with long-lasting effects on anxiety levels and depression.

Glaxo offers free malaria research, vaccine nears

GlaxoSmithKline Plc hopes to seek approval by 2012 for its experimental malaria vaccine and said it would seek only a small profit and ensure it is widely available in hard-hit countries.

Electro-acupuncture shows promise for knee arthritis

A modern twist on traditional acupuncture may bring some pain relief to people with knee arthritis, at least in the short term, a small study suggests. The study, published in the journal Pain, looked at the effects of electro-acupuncture among 40 adults with knee osteoarthritis — the common "wear-and-tear" form of arthritis in which the cartilage cushioning the joints breaks down.

Insulin pumps may be better than shots

Pumps that deliver insulin to the body as needed may be more effective than insulin injections for helping people with type 1 diabetes keep their blood sugar under control, according to a new review of 23 studies comparing the two approaches.

Strategic Issues

Terrorism and the Fifth Amendment

The agreements reached between Bangladesh and India during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's state visit to New Delhi to combat terrorism is a positive move. It should allay fears abroad that Bangladesh could turn into “next Afghanistan”, a view expressed by then US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on a visit to New Delhi in 2005. Bangladesh is also not in the list of 14 countries whose nationals have been placed on special security checks recently by US security agencies following the failed attempt by a Nigerian national to blow a Delta airlines plane short of landing in Detroit on last Christmas day.

The missing fulltime defence minister

THE political administration of Bangladesh suffers from two major weaknesses. One is the concentration of all powers in one hand, rendering pluralism a farce; the other is the non-existence of a full-time defence minister that makes civilian control of the armed forces dysfunctional.

Unfolding corridor consequences

OUR closest neighbour India has been trying to have multiple corridors crisscrossing Bangladesh for a long time. A group of people views this as a threat to our national security. Well, perception varies from individual to individual. As for India, it can always ask this favour from its neighbour as long as the level of confidence permits such a venture and there is a potential win-win situation for both parties. Strategists of both countries need to sit with unveiled intent and committed candour. It is unfortunate that issues like Bhutan, water sharing and border demarcation between the two countries depict an obscure scenario in bi-lateral relations. Regular killing of Bangladeshis by BSF only adds to the bruised confidence. We need to consider the 60 years of sub-continental history before venturing into such a major undertaking.

Star Books Review

Jaswant's Jinnah and fault lines of Indian history

Breaking with tradition is a courageous act. In the social arena one is labeled either a rebel or a crank. In the political world one risks finding oneself on the wrong side of popular opinion. In academia one can face blazing guns unless equipped with solid arguments and references. Breaking the stereotyped portrayal of Jinnah as a villain in mainstream Indian historiography, Jaswant Singh's recent assessment of him is one such act. He is candid without malice, a rare feat. He doesn't mince words when pinning due responsibility for partition on the leadership across all divides in general but Gandhi, Jinnah, Nehru and Mountbatten in particular. His wit and eloquence are superb, though a bit repetitive at times. Nevertheless, since history is viewed through the prism of the present no matter how objective (a highly sensitive topic like partition more so), his appraisal of Jinnah on the wide canvas of India's independence movement too is not free of its constraints. I will mention only two.

Eyes of madmen, signs of torture

Isabel Allende, like so many of her compatriots, left her native Chile long ago. Unlike many of them, however, she has kept returning to her country, coming away every time with newer insights into the society and politics of the land. As a writer, indeed as a novelist, Allende has known enough about Chile, about herself, to convince herself of her identity. She knows, certainly, that her second marriage, to an American, was guided more by the temptation of making a home abroad than giving expression to romantic passion. For all that practical demonstration of reality at work, though, Isabel Allende has remained the Chilean she has always been. For her, Chile is something more than a patch of geography. It is an image, an idea she has constantly nurtured and shaped and reshaped in the mind. And that is how she has reinvented the old country.

The explosion of woman power

Over the centuries, and in many different countries, women have spoken out for their sex, and articulated, in different ways, their complaints, needs and hopes. In England, right up until the 1960s, the word `feminist' was usually pejorative. Writers like Rebecca West and Virginia Woolf sharply attacked the word `feminism.' American feminist Estelle Freedman argues that right from its origins, the word has carried negative connotations. Juliet Mitchell and Ann Oakley, in their third collection of essays, Who's Afraid of Feminism?, argued that `attacks on feminism frequently merge into a wider misogyny.' Who is a feminist actually? Margaret Walters has tried to answer the question in her book.

Steam rising in a column

The third novel by Dhaka-born Monica Ali is a superbly written, behind-the-scenes account of a commercial kitchen in London.



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