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News of: Saturday, 17th of July, 2010

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AL warns party MPs, BCL troublemakers

The high-ups of ruling Awami League yesterday warned its legislators that if they indulge in corruption and irregularities they would not be given the party ticket in future elections.

Tough battle for admission

Nearly two-thirds of the students with fairly good results in the HSC exams would be denied admission to public and private universities because of scarcity of seats.

Bangladeshis among 30 killed in Iraq fire

A fire at a hotel in the northern Iraqi city of Sulaimaniya, possibly triggered by a gas leak, killed 30 people, including Bangladeshis and other foreign nationals, and injured at least 22 others, police said yesterday.

BSMMU cancels recruitment test

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University authorities yesterday cancelled the written test for 60 vacant posts of medical officer following allegations of question leak and invigilators helping candidates inside the exam hall.

Businessman dies while escaping police raid

A trader died after falling from the first floor of a building while trying to evade arrest at Bangshal in Old Dhaka early yesterday.

UAE lifts ban on manual passports

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has started accepting Bangladeshi manual passports again two weeks after imposing a restriction.

Commuters suffer for delay in bridge work

Users of the capital's Gulshan-Tejgaon link road have to suffer the hazardous bumpy diversion for one more year, as the construction of a bridge on the route has been delayed further.

Power import deal with India likely this month

Bangladesh is likely to sign with India a power transmission agreement within this month to allow import of 250 megawatts of power from India, said a top source at the Power Development Board (PDB).

Kabir confesses killing Menoka

The youth who stabbed the Eden College student Menoka to death in the capital on Thursday confessed the murder before a Dhaka court yesterday saying he did it because the girl cheated on him, police said.

All-party JS body soon to amend constitution

The government will form an all-party parliamentary committee this week to make changes to the constitution, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said.

Three docs held over death of patient

Police arrested three doctors of a hospital in the capital's Mohammadpur Thursday night following a patient's death allegedly from wrong treatment.

Housewife killed for dowry

Husband killed his teenage housewife for dowry yesterday morning in the city's Shyampur while locals of Hazaribagh beat a boy to death for his alleged involvement in a theft incident.

Govt still in dark about Bangladeshi victims

Bangladesh Foreign Ministry was trying to collect information from Baghdad about the casualties of Bangladeshis but the move was facing difficulties due to disruption of telecommunication services in the troubled area.

Implement DAP, save Dhaka city

Green activists yesterday demanded immediate arrest and punishment of the alleged individuals responsible for forming propaganda against Dhaka's Detailed Area Plan (DAP) recently published as a gazette.

Jamaat trio might be shown held in JMB raid case

Detained Jamaat leaders Motiur Rahman Nizami, Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mojahid and Delwar Hossain Sayedee might soon be shown arrested in a case filed in connection with the recovery of nine grenades from a JMB den in the capital's Kadamtoli area on June 24.

BNP plans to hold its first NEC meet soon

The current national executive committee of the main opposition BNP is soon going to hold its maiden meeting to discuss the party's organisational affairs and the current political situation of the country.

89 Jamaat men sued, 14 sent to jail

A Satkhira court yesterday sent 14 Jamaat men including its district Ameer Mohaddes Abdul khaleque and secretary Nurul Huda to jail in a case filed with Sadar police station for plotting subversive activities in the city Thursday night.

Army man held with phensidyl

Sirajganj police arrested an army major and his cousin from the west end of Bangabandhu Bridge on charge of carrying 780 bottles of phensidyl early yesterday.

BCL man held for killing at MC College

Police yesterday picked up Abdur Rahim Ripon, president of the MC College hostel unit (now dissolved) of Bangladesh Chhatra League, from the college hostel in connection with the killing of BCL activist Udayendu Singha Polash.

Malaria-proof mosquito engineered

Scientists in the US have succeeded in genetically engineering a malaria-resistant mosquito.

US man gets life in spy case

A federal judge on yesterday sentenced a former State Department worker who is the great grandson of Alexander Graham Bell to life in prison without possibility of parole for spying for Cuba and sentenced the man's wife to more than 5 years behind bars for helping her husband steal US secrets.

Apple fixes one iPhone bug

iPhone signal strength, Apple Before the fix every iPhone misreported signal strength


Bettering the scores at HSC

The results of this year's Higher Secondary Certificate examinations are a clear cause for happiness. The reason is obvious. There has not been only a rise in the pass percentage but also an increase in the number of GPA-5 achievers. With the overall success rate of all the eight boards of education being 71.82 per cent and the number of GPA-5 achievers going up by 7,290 over the figures for last year, we think that the results augur well for the future of education in the country. There can be no denying that the standard of education at the school and college levels has been growing, with both teachers and students clearly ready and willing to put in their best efforts for maximum achievements at the exam. As for the system of teaching and examinations, it must be said that in the past few years the weaknesses which at times were noticed in them are gradually being removed and progress is really on track.

Revenue collection up

This is for the third time in the last ten years that the National Board of Revenue (NBR) met the revenue collection target it had set for itself -- for the fiscal 2009-10. The amount collected stood at Tk 62,007.47 crore reflecting a growth of 18 percent over that of the last fiscal. In fact, it has exceeded the target by a margin of Tk 1,007 crore plus. This is not to forget, however, that part of the increase in revenue is due to Tk 121.2 crore collected as tax on whitening of Tk 923 crore in black money. The point to remember is also that poor collection from undisclosed incomes persists as a problem, partly legalistic and partly political, perhaps.


Tigers level series

After a disappointing show in the first game, Bangladesh's bowlers hit back with a disciplined performance to restrict Ireland to 189 and set up a six-wicket win to draw the series 1-1 at Stormont on Friday. Bangladesh held the upper hand from the very beginning, nipping out early wickets in overcast conditions and preventing Ireland from recovering to a challenging score. Tamim Iqbal led the chase with a half-century and his presence ensured a safe passage to the target.

Positive Shamoli wins LCD TV

Shamoli Parvin could probably be the most optimistic person in the city. The Mirpur resident travelled all the way to the National Press Club to attend The Daily Star-Rangs Toshiba World Cup Quiz bumper round draw with the hope of winning one of five prizes.

Paul transfer hits snag

Madrid zoo have reportedly contacted the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen regarding the transfer of Paul the psychic octopus, but have had their move rebuffed.

Abahani bounce back in style

Title contenders Abahani returned to winning ways in the Green Delta Insurance Premier Division Hockey League when they handed an easy 5-0 defeat to Dhaka Mariner Youngs Club in their opening match of the Super League at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium yesterday.

More records for Nazma, Jewel

Nazma Khatun and Jewel Ahmed from Bangladesh Ansar ruled the pool in the second day of the BRB Cables 26th National Age-Group Swimming Championship as seven more national records were set at the National Swimming Complex in Mirpur yesterday.

Afridi to retire from Tests

Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi said Friday he would retire from Test cricket following the second Test against Australia at Headingley starting next Wednesday.

Fine return for Asif, Ratna

Shrugging off their National Shooting Championship performance in May, Asif Hossain Khan and Sharmin Akhter Ratna returned with gold medals in their respective events of the 3rd National Air Gun Championship at the National Shooting Complex in Gulshan yesterday.

Semenya back with win

South African 800m world champion Caster Semenya Thursday won her come-back race at a meeting in Finland after an almost year-long absence from competition pending the result of gender tests.

Australia take 1-0 lead

Part-time spinner Marcus North stunned record-chasing Pakistan with a maiden six-wicket haul as Australia won the first Test by 150 runs here on Friday.

India hope to end 17-year drought

India on Sunday embark on a third Test series in two years against Sri Lanka, with the world's top-rated side hoping to end their 17-year drought in the island nation.

Tourists vow to spoil Murali's finale

India are determined not to join the party as Sri Lanka celebrate world record wicket taker Muttiah Muralitharan's final Test appearance in Galle from Sunday.

ICC makes $84.7 million profit

The ICC has made a profit of $84.7 million on revenues of $173.6 million for the year ended December 31 2009, a substantial turnaround from the $3 million loss the council registered the year before. The change in fortune is due primarily to the ICC World Twenty20 and Champions Trophy tournaments, which resulted in a surplus of $81.4 million on revenues of $143.6 million. There were no ICC tournaments held in 2008.

Real welcome the Mourinho years

The Mourinho Years began for Real Madrid on Thursday as Jose Mourinho met his players for the first time, with one new player arriving amid rumours of possible exits.

Cesc to Barca unlikely

Barcelona president Sandro Rosell believes it is far from certain that Cesc Fabregas will arrive at Camp Nou this summer as Arsenal feel "hurt" by the conduct of Barcelona, who are adamant they will not pay more than the market price for the midfielder.

Capello going English

Fabio Capello plans to add another English coach to his back-room staff as the England manager looks to the future after his team's woeful performance at the World Cup.

Henry in it to win it

Following in the footsteps of Pele and David Beckham, Thierry Henry has arrived in the United States as a soccer missionary and scoffed at the notion Major League Soccer is a retirement fund for players in the twilight of their careers.

Man Utd's jersey boom

For much of the soccer world a Manchester United jersey is the equivalent of the little black dress, something every fan's wardrobe must have.

Remy on EPL radar

English heavyweights Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have joined West Ham United in the race to sign Nice striker Loic Remy, the French club's CEO Patrick Governatori revealed on Thursday.

Kolarov all set for City

Manchester City are on the verge of signing Serbia left back Aleksandar Kolarov after Lazio accepted a £17 million bid for the 24-year-old free-kick specialist.

S.Africa appoint Mosimane

Pitso Mosimane signed a four-year contract on Thursday to be South Africa's new coach, tasked with ensuring the 2010 World Cup hosts qualify for the next edition in Brazil.

Ronaldinho stays, says Milan

Ronaldinho is set to stay at AC Milan next season despite media reports in Brazil saying he is trying to engineer a move to Flamengo, the Serie A side's chief executive said on Thursday.


Bus torched after death in accident

Locals torched a bus after it killed a rickshaw puller and injured its passenger at Pallabi in the capital yesterday morning.


Regional meet on intellectual property begins July 19

A two-day Regional Conference on Intellectual Property (IP) for the policymakers of 15 least developed countries (LDCs) in the Asia and Pacific region begins in the city on July 19 aiming at policy formulation and finalisation of implementation strategies.

Agri credit policy on July 21

Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman yesterday said the agriculture credit policy would be announced on July 21 aiming at disbursing over Tk 12,000 crore loans among farmers.

Road accidents kill 3

Three people were killed and 27 injured in separate road accidents in Chapainawabganj, Bogra and Gazipur.

32, 000 more cops to be recruited in three years

Home Minister Sahara Khatun yesterday said the government will recruit more 32000 law enforcers within the next three years.

Thai fair begins

A three-day Thai fair titled `Taste of Thailand in Bangladesh' began at the Thai Embassy in the city yesterday.

Missing farmer strangled

Police yesterday recovered the body of a missing farmer at Chilabhalki in Chuadanga.

Attack on trader protested

Businessmen of a market in the district's Hathazari upazila yesterday staged demonstration and formed a human chain in protest of assault and battery against one of their fellows.

Call to resist plots to foil war crimes trial

Speakers at a roundtable yesterday emphasised the need for national unity to resist conspiracies being hatched by the anti-liberation forces against the process of war crimes trial.

4 BTMC mills to resume operation this month, create 10,000 jobs

Four mills under the state-owned Bangladesh Textile Mills Corporation (BTMC) will start production again from the end of the current month on “service charge basis” that is expected to create job opportunities for some 10,000 people.

CCC mayor, councillors take oath tomorrow

The newly-elected mayor and ward councillors of Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) will take oath in two separate functions in Dhaka tomorrow.

Bangladesh role model for developing countries

The newly appointed country representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Bangladesh, Rebecca Hansen, has termed Bangladesh a role

Empower female SMC members to stop dropout at schools

Speakers at a training course on Friday in Kurigram said primary school dropouts can be stopped through proper empowerment of the female members in the school management committees (SMCs).

4 children drown in two dists

Three children drowned in Narsingdi while another in Thakurgaon in separate incidents yesterday.

15 Akiz Bidi factory workers injured in clash

At least 15 workers of Akiz Bidi factory were injured in a clash between two groups at Hosnabad of Daulatpur upazila in Kushtia yesterday.

Prof Nazrul, Adv Harun DUPSAA president, secy

Prof Dr M Nazrul Islam and Advocate M Harunur Rashid have been elected as the President and General Secretary of the Dhaka University Political Science Alumni Association (DUPSAA) for 2010-12 sessions respectively, said a press release.

Call to ban Jamaat, Shibir politics

Bangabandhu Sangskritik Jote yesterday burnt effigies of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami top brass - Motiur Rahman Nizami, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid, and Delwar Hossain Sayedee - in front of the Jatiya Press Club.

RMG workers' ultimatum

Leaders of the Sarbodaliya Garments-Sramik Oikya, an alliance of different workers' organisations, yesterday threatened to wage tougher movement if the government fails to announce Tk 5,000 as the minimum wage for garments workers by July 28.

Speakers call for drug-free society through awareness

Speakers here on Friday underscored the need for building a drug-free society by launching social movements, creating mass awareness and coordinating efforts of all to build a happy, healthy and peaceful nation.

Bangladesh Army becomes a big conglomerate over years

Bangladesh Army has turned into one of the biggest conglomerates in the country over the years following its engagement in different types of commercial businesses, according to a BBC documentary.

CU classes resume today

The classes of Chittagong University (CU) will resume today after a month-long vacation.

Actor Bulbul laid to rest

Prominent film and television actor Bulbul Ahmed was laid to rest at Azimpur graveyard yesterday.

Order to remove Maududi's books

The Islamic Foundation has ordered removal of all books of Jamaat-e-Islami founder Syed Abul Ala Maududi from the mosques and libraries under the Foundation.

JSD leader Jafar Sajjad passes away

Syed Jafar Sajjad, a standing committee member and former general secretary of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), passed away due to a cardiac at the National Heart Foundation Hospital in the city on Friday night at the age of 63.


Comparative photos of Mount Everest 'confirm ice loss'

Photos taken by a mountaineer on Everest from the same spot where similar pictures were taken in 1921 have revealed an "alarming" ice loss.

US urges quick end to Thai state of emergency

A senior US envoy urged Thailand yesterday to lift a state of emergency imposed in parts of the country since April in response to mass street protests "as soon as possible".

Russia swelters amid drownings and drought

Russians sweltered yesterday in the hottest weather since the Stalin era as droughts caused crop devastation across the country and hundreds drowned in bathing accidents often influenced by alcohol.

ICC order to free Congo warlord

The International Criminal Court has ordered the release of a Congo militia leader from its custody, saying it had no grounds for keeping him after his trial in The Hague was put on hold.

Clinton to seek signs of progress in Afghanistan

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heads to Afghanistan next week for a crucial conference that US officials hope will clarify the long-term goals of an expensive, unpopular and increasingly uncertain war.

Pakistan blames India for lack of progress in talks

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said yesterday that India's "selective" approach to issues has led to what analysts say is a stalemate in talks aimed to build trust shattered by the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Blast kills eight, injures 14 in Khyber

A bomb blast in a weekly bazaar killed eight people and wounded 14 in Pakistan's tribal region of Khyber on the Afghan border yesterday, a senior government official said.

Second day of unrest in Maldives

Demonstrators were on the streets of Male, the Maldives capital, yesterday protesting the previous day's arrest of the leader of the main opposition party, officials said.

China bans plastic bags in Tibet

China has banned ultra-thin plastic bags in ecologically fragile southwestern Tibet Autonomous Region.

Zephyr solar plane flies 7 days non-stop

The UK-built Zephyr solar-powered plane has smashed the endurance record for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

27 killed in Iran Shitte mosque attack

Iran was yesterday probing twin suicide bombings in a crowded Shiite mosque which killed 27 people and wounded hundreds in attacks claimed by a Sunni rebel group weeks after its leader was hanged.

Syria slammed on human rights

On the tenth anniversary of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's rise to power, a prominent human rights group has accused him of doing too little to change his country's long-running history of government oppression and abuse.

Australia PM 'set to call election'

Australia's prime minister is poised to call a general election for the end of August, local media has reported.

Lebanon arrests 3rd 'telecom spy'

Lebanon has arrested a third person in a widening probe into a suspected network of Israeli spies employed in the country's telecom sector, a source close to the investigation said yesterday.

French scientists crack secrets of Mona Lisa

The enigmatic smile remains a mystery, but French scientists say they have cracked a few secrets of the "Mona Lisa."

Arts & Entertainment

A feminine take on the world

Bangladeshi expatriate painter Monica Jahan Bose's solo exhibition, titled “Open the Door” is now on at Dhaka Art Centre in Dhanmondi. Monica currently lives in Paris. Her last solo painting exhibition was held at Alliance Francaise de Dhaka in 2009.

Theatre activists call for trial of war criminals

Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation (BGTF) arranged a programme for theatre activists to raise their voices for the trial of war criminals. The programme was held at the Central Shaheed Minar premises on July 15. The event also included staging of street plays on war crimes.

Musical soiree and dance by Sangeetbhaban

Though monsoon is at its midst, heavy shower is yet to relieve us from the simmering heat. Artistes of Sangeetbhaban, a musical school of the city, entertained Dhakaiites with monsoon melodies at Music and Dance Centre auditorium of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on July 15.

Dhaka Fashion Week begins

The premiere fashion event of the country, Dhaka Fashion Week 2010 (summer collection) began at Dhaka Club yesterday. This year's theme is “Hope,” according to a press release. Fifteen leading designers and lifestyle brands are participating at the fashion week with their summer collections on the theme “hope.”

Uttam Kumar retrospective to begin from July 23

Indira Gandhi Culture Centre, High Commission of India, Dhaka is holding a retrospective of films of the late Uttam Kumar, the legendary actor, director and producer of Bengali cinema, from July 23 to 25, at the main auditorium of Bangladesh National Museum in Shahbagh, Dhaka.


The extra-judicial mindset

DEATHS in police custody under circumstances not satisfactorily explained, mysterious disappearance of alleged suspects and their subsequent deaths, raising disturbing suspicions about the conduct of sworn individuals in the law enforcement organ or the casualties in the so-called crossfire are engaging the public mind. The one positive facet of a very ominous scenario is the recent judicial hauling up of a number of delinquent lawmen indulging in extra-judicial misdeeds.

Do ministers' visits help?

FORMER Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral would always say that a solution between Pakistan and India had to be evolved, not presented to the people as if a magician had pulled a rabbit out of the bag. He had a point. The two sides, particularly the politicians and the establishments, had to gulp down the solution and chew it, a slow process.

The population bomb is ticking

NO problem can be more threatening for Bangladesh than the proliferation of people. Today, Bangladesh holds more than 150 million people in a land area of

The centre holds

WE'VE all seen the pictures of Britain's chancellor of the Exchequer holding a tattered briefcase as he proceeds to Parliament to present the budget. The rest of the world has watched the event with some bemusement.

The return of Stupidjuice

THE highly fashionable New York drink, Glaceau Vitamin Water, is "available here at last" says the poster near my office. Vitamin Water? That sounds yummy. NOT.


Adopting European CORINE Land Cover concept

Corine Land Cover (CLC) is a database of geographic land cover encompassing most of the European countries. It is based on interpretation of satellite images. Images acquired by earth observation satellites are used to derive land cover information. It provides comparable digital maps of land use pattern. This is useful for nature conservation and environmental analysis. The component of the CLC aims to gather information relating to environment on certain priority topics like human disturbances, land use pattern, naturalness, etc. CLC covers all activities related to satellite image acquisition, ortho-rectification and production of local, national and continental mosaic, and temporal variation of images. CLC provides an inventory of the earth surface features for managing the environment.

Turag riverbank landuse and encroachment

Simply put land-use is human modification of natural environment into built environment such as, field, pasture, and settlements. But different developments along any river flowing beside a mega city like Dhaka essentially moots investigation of the riverbank land use. The riverfront land use of the Turag River, particularly from Buriganga Third Bridge to Tongi Bridge, has been roughly studied by the writer to know whether there has been any relationship between riverbank use and riverbank encroachment.


Hamlet in Love

(The first part of this play was published last week. Today we bring to you the second part)
--- Literary Editor)

Death at dawn

Shona has been dead these past few years. She will not come back. The dead mingle with time, become dust and simply cease to be. So it will be with Shona. Only I will stand beside her grave, see the grass grow tall, watch the rain fall and seep into the spot where she sleeps. And I will remember the romance we whizzed through, the passion we let flow into our love. I, an old man made ancient by grief, will speak to Shona, she who once let the music flow, she who made a face every time I asked her to turn, and turn again. I will ask her about the dreams that came to her. And I will speak to her, again, of the dreams I wove around her. 'See how we shared beautiful time and space?' That was what she said, as I played with the raindrops on her cheeks, with the dew that glorified her lips, in our own pristine woods of grace and beauty. I caressed her nose.

A funny fishy fiasco

Three weeks, four days and eighteen hours later Mira, our three month old Betta fish, unexpectedly dropped dead in his water bowl. It was a good thing that both my six- and nine-year-old children were at school. Otherwise we would have had a very messy situation in hand.

Star Health

Telemedicine: Bringing healthcare to the outlying

Telemedicine is an upcoming field in health science arising out of the effective fusion of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) with the medical science. It has enormous potential in meeting the challenges of healthcare. It may be as simple as to health professionals discussing medical problems of a patient and seeking advice over a simple telephone to as technical as sharing electronic medical records of clinical information, diagnostic tests such as E.C.G., radiological images etc. and carrying out real time interactive medical video conference.

Higher intake of vitamin E tied to lower dementia risk

Older adults who get plenty of vitamin E in their diets may have a somewhat lower risk of developing dementia than those who consume less of the nutrient, a recent study published in Archives of Neurology suggests.

Know the alarming changes of breast

Breasts change constantly throughout the life from puberty, through adolescence, the childbearing years, and after the menopause. Some changes are considered normal whether some may be a sign of diseases. Knowing the sign can help you from distinguishing between diseases and normal one. Here are some points noted to illustrate the changes — normal and abnormal.

What may trigger a hernia

A hernia occurs when part of an internal organ bulges through a weak area of muscle. Hernias can affect men, women and children. The following are the typical cause of developing a hernia:

Autism: We care, we change!

One decade has passed since the new millennium began, still lot of us are ignorant and sometimes unaware of the basic concept of Autism. It is good that Centre for Neurodevelopment and Autism in Children or CNAC has at last (at BSMMU) started its function in Bangladesh.

How to change lifestyle after drug rehab

Once you have completed drug rehab programme, there must be changes in your lifestyle. Below are some tips about what to expect and what those change should be:

Strategic Issues

Opening new embassies: The reality

THE Ministry of Foreign Affairs is seriously contemplating to open a few new embassies. There are also pressures from the country's vibrant private sector for opening new embassies for economic reasons. Sources in the Foreign Ministry have said that the Government has decided to re-open the Embassy in Brazil and open a new one in Sierra Leone.

India-Pakistan: Reducing the lack of trust

RECENT statements of Pakistani and Indian higher-ranking officials show an obvious shift in the approach of both the countries. They have finally realized the challenge lies in reducing the lack of trust between the two countries. Resumption of the Composite Dialogue is the only way forward to fix the nerve-racking relations shattered by the 2008 Mumbai attacks that New Delhi blamed on Pakistani militants.

Army CMA Destroys 75 percent of US Chemical Weapons

THE U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency, or CMA, announced that on July 1, 2010, it achieved the destruction of 75 percent of its chemical agent stockpile as defined under international treaty obligations.

Afghan air force delivers on first airdrop

IN the sky over Kalat, Afghanistan, a C-27 Spartan crew member opened the bay door and two men stepped forward. They surveyed the target zone and with a well-practiced motion pushed the cargo out the back of the plane. Two seconds later the chute opened and the cargo descended under control to the ground. The mission was a success.

Star Books Review

The wound and the blade

THIS is Anisul Haque's novelistic treatise on personal identity. Theoretically it is the philosophical confrontation with the most ultimate question of man's existence. Who am I? The time changes between life and death, gives rise to a set of criteria that denote personal identity. Death is also a prominent theme in the novel.

Of the poor and the hungry

THE history of famines as well as of regular hunger is full of blood-boiling tales of callousness and malevolence. It isn't just regular starvation that one sees in 436 B.C., when thousands of starving Romans 'threw themselves into the Tiber'; or in Kashmir in AD 918, when `one could scarcely see the water of Vitasta (Jhelum) entirely covered as the river was with corpses;' or in 1333-7 in China when- we are told- four million people died in one region only; or in 1770 in India, when the best estimates point to ten million deaths; or in 1845-51 in Ireland, when the potato famine killed about one-fifth of the total Irish population and led to the emigration of a comparable number.

Divided countries, countless victims

A medley of characters plays out their predestined roles in this attention-grabbing book. It is a candid, first person narration of people's lives and attitudes by a young woman, Ira, whose name we get to know just a few pages before the ending (finally revealed to us in a dramatic way). The backdrop is the partition of India and the communal riots that erupt over the years.

Book Launch

Adorn Publication will launch Mahfuzur Rahman's The Amnesiacs and Other Essays and Miscellanies today, Saturday, 17 July, at Bengal Shilpalaya, Road 27 (Old), Dhanmondi, at 5 pm.

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