The Daily Star

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014


News of: Saturday, 4th of September, 2010

Front Page

Food grain stock dips

The government is finding it hard to stock up on food grains because of their high price in local and international markets.

Tailbacks take toll on commuters

It took less than six hours to Chittagong from Dhaka by bus a few years ago but in recent times it is around 10 hours and sometimes more due to worsening congestion.

RMG exporters get a boost

The government will provide development incentive to the garment industry for three years for exporting clothes to new markets.

Trickery with launch tickets

As the demand for launch tickets shoots up on the eve of Eid-ul-Fitr, passengers fall prey to the trickery of launch operators and staff and are compelled to pay much higher fare to reach their destination.

Sohel Taj back home

Awami League lawmaker Tanjim Ahmad Sohel Taj, who resigned June last year as state minister for home, returned from the United States yesterday amid speculations that he might be appointed as state minister for another ministry.

Stop pre-Eid extortion

Home Minister Sahara Khatun has asked police and other law enforcing agencies to maintain extortion free environment at city's markets and shopping malls.

Two Rab men wounded in gunfight with 'drug peddlers'

Two Rapid Action Battalion men and an alleged pusher were injured in a gunfight between the crime busters and “drug peddlers” at Malancha in Keraniganj on Thursday night.

ICC suspends Pakistan cricket trio

Cricket's governing body vowed yesterday to do whatever necessary to root out cheats and preserve the integrity of the game after suspending three Pakistan players over match-fixing allegations.

15 injured as hawkers clash with cops

At least 15 people, including six policemen, were injured in clashes yesterday after law enforcers tried to evict hawkers from footpaths in the capital's Gulistan area.

22 injured in separate fire incidents

Valuables of a steel factory were gutted while 22 workers were injured in separate fire incidents in Sreepur and Tongi upazilas yesterday.

Rich nations unveil climate aid pledges

Six rich economies joined a website unveiled here yesterday detailing pledges in short-term aid they made at last December's climate summit, a move aimed at restoring damaged trust with developing countries.

Vultures face extinction

Oriental vultures are disappearing so fast that their population dropped by 95 percent in Bangladesh in the last two decades, due to feeding on carcasses of cattle treated with anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac, said experts.

Stalking victims to get legal aid

With the stalking menace rising, a call centre operator and a local NGO have come forward to provide the victims with legal assistance and counselling over the telephone for free.

Huge rush for train tickets

Kamalapur Railway Station in the capital has witnessed a huge rush as homebound passengers thronged there to collect advance tickets ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr.

Khaleda in Madinah

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has offered ziarat at the holy Rawza Mubarak of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) inside the Masjid-e-Nabawi in Madinah.

Sonia elected Congress chief for 4th time

Sonia Gandhi, wife of India's assassinated Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, was yesterday elected the president of ruling Congress party for a record fourth consecutive term.

US Defense Secy sees progress in tour of Afghan war zone

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday he saw and heard evidence that the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy is taking hold in critical Kandahar province.

Kenya allows Int'l Criminal Court to open office

Kenya yesterday allowed the International Criminal Court to open an office in the country, a development that comes after Kenya's commitment to the court came into question when the nation hosted Sudan's indicted leader last week.

Flood victims' protests hamper Pakistan aid efforts

Angry outbursts by flood victims reliant on scarce aid are hampering relief work in Pakistan, the Red Cross said, as the nation struggles to cope with its worst-ever natural disaster.

Pro-govt militiamen attack Iran's opposition leader's residence

Pro-government militiamen attacked the home of an Iranian opposition leader with homemade bombs and beat one of his bodyguards unconscious, an opposition website reported, in an apparent attempt to keep him from attending a key rally yesterday.

Editorial

E-stalking

It seems that a new form of evil is raising its head in our midst. A report front-paged in this newspaper recently exposes this nasty phenomenon, a new way of sexual harassment through mobile phones. This is quite unlike the other forms of harassment that women folk in Bangladesh have been subjected to so far. It is inobtrusive and faceless yet equally potent in its damaging impact on the victim. It appears from the report that this latest manifestation of evil mind has assumed a level of epidemic proportion.

BNP's vow to 'oust' government

Khandakar Delwar Hossain, secretary general of the BNP, has vowed that the people of the country will oust the government if it fails to live up to their expectations. That voters in any country have it in their power to elect and remove a government through an exercise of the ballot is a truth in our times.

Sports

Pak trio suspended

British police Friday questioned one of three Pakistani cricketers embroiled in betting scam claims, as the sport's governing body said it had suspended the trio because they had a "case to answer".

Roger rolls, Nikolay falls

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic rolled into the US Open's third round on Thursday while sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko lost and Japan's Kei Nishikori dumped 11th seed Marin Cilic in a five-hour battle.

A case to answer

Three Pakistan players suspended over betting scam allegations have a "really arguable case to answer", the anti-corruption chief of cricket's world governing body said Friday.

Pakistan points finger at India

Pakistan High Commissioner to Britain Wajid S Hassan on Friday gave a new twist to the spot-fixing scandal involving the Pakistan cricket team, saying the three accused players were "innocent" and Indian bookmakers were involved in the whole murky episode.

Rubcic's big test

The appointment of the largely unknown Croatian coach Robert Rubcic has left both the local football fans and media angling for information about the newcomer. Speculation has arisen even more since the BFF have yet to provide any details about the coach.

Group Captain Tendulkar

India's batting great Sachin Tendulkar was on Friday awarded the honorary rank of group captain by the chief of the Indian Air Force (IAF) for his contribution to cricket.

Tendulkar calls for 'thorough' probe

India's batting great Sachin Tendulkar on Friday called for a "thorough" investigation into Pakistan's spot-fixing scandal, saying the guilty should be punished.

Ganguly predicts tough time for Dhoni

Sourav Ganguly, the former India captain, has said MS Dhoni's leadership will face a stern test in the next couple of years if the younger members of the team continue to underperform and the senior players retire.

'Cricket will survive fix row'

England coach Andy Flower on Friday said cricket "will survive" the spot-fixing row engulfing the Pakistan team.

Hot shots on collision course

Maria Sharapova gave further indications on Thursday that she is close to being back to her best after an injury-blighted 2009 as she stormed into the third round of the US Open.

Injury adds to Pak woes

In yet another blow to Pakistan ahead of the two Twenty20s and five One-Day Internationals against England, four key players of the team suffered injuries during their warm-up match against Somerset. Pakistan are already without Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer, all three of whom are implicated in a 'spot-fixing' scandal.

Zac joins Japanese bid

Japan's new coach Alberto Zaccheroni Friday joined a team of "ambassadors" promoting the country's bid to host the 2022 World Cup, just four days after his appointment.

Div I football

Dragon Sporting Club came from behind to beat Nabajagaran Sangsad 2-1 in the Hafijul Islam Khan Uttu Smriti First Division Football League at the Shaheed Miraz-Tapan Stadium yesterday.

I was never approached: Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly on Friday said he had never been approached by any bookie during his stint as Indian captain, even as the world cricket is rocked by 'spot-fixing' involving Pakistani cricketers. "Three former India captains -- Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble -- too were never approached and such a situation was beyond their imagination," Ganguly said.

Sarwan told to get in shape

West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan has been told to get in shape by the national selectors after failing to earn a central contract for the coming year.

Cash in Butt's belongings

Cash used in the spot-fixing scandal during last week's Lord's Test is understood to have been found in the belongings of Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt, a report said. According to a report in the Daily Mail, Scotland Yard officers would question Butt over how marked notes were discovered from his hotel room and in his locker at the Lord's cricket ground.

Open chess

GM Ziaur Rahman won his fourth round board of the seventh IGB Dato Arthur Tan Malaysia Open Chess Championship as Zia beat FM Pham Chuong of Vietnam at CitiTel MidVally, Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Khedira warns Ballack

Germany captain Michael Ballack has been told he faces a fight to win back his midfield place by Real Madrid's Sami Khedira.

'I'm not Ronaldinho'

Inter Milan's Brazilian teenage talent Coutinho has pleaded not to be dubbed the new Ronaldinho as he begins his Italian adventure.

'Pressure no factor'

Steven Gerrard has told his England team-mates they have to be strong enough to cope with the pressure of playing for their country in the aftermath of a dismal World Cup.

Becks targets return

David Beckham, sidelined since March with a torn achilles tendon, is hoping to take the field for the Los Angeles Galaxy against Columbus Crew on September 11.

Delneri defends buys

Juventus coach Luigi Delneri has been defending his exuberant off-season transfer dealings.

Mano starts training camp

The Brazil team on Friday started a six-day training camp in the Spanish city of Barcelona under the eye of new coach Mano Menezes, according to the Brazilian football federation.

Torres far from full fitness

Fernando Torres is still one month away from reaching full fitness although he is ahead of schedule in his ongoing rehabilitation.

Borriello rejected Man City

Roma's new €10 million signing Marco Borriello rejected an approach from Manchester City and also had an option to join Real Madrid, according to the player's agent.

Metropolitan

Use of pesticides raises health risks: Study

An overwhelming 86.7 percent of the farmers use medium to high chemical fertilisers like urea, triple super phosphate (TSP), Muriate of Potash (MP), Zinc and Sulpur for cultivation of vegetables, according to a recent study.

Relocation of BGMEA Bhaban demanded

Environmentalists at a public rally yesterday demanded immediate relocation of the BGMEA Bhaban from Hatirjheel-Begunbari Lake area to ensure suitable atmosphere of the lake.

3 factories, one shop sealed

A mobile court sealed off three vermicelli factories and a sweetmeat shop for producing and selling vermicelli and sweets in unhygienic environment in the district town on Thursday.

Set up first AIDS hospital in Ctg

Experts have suggested transforming Central Skin and Social Hygiene Centre (CSSHC) into the country's first AIDS hospital, as people in Chittagong are more vulnerable to this sexually transmitted disease.

75pc quacks prescribe 'wrong drugs'

The acute shortage of qualified doctors in rural Bangladesh has given quacks the opportunity to dominate the health of rural people, says an ICDDR, B study.

Propaganda being peddled against Tarique Rahman

BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan yesterday said a vested quarter is peddling propaganda against Tarique Rahman, as he is the future head of the party.

Navy also invests in loss incurring state shipyard

Bangladesh Navy, following the steps of the army, took over the loss-incurring Khulna Shipyard from the government for their own interest to enter into the business, said a BBC radio documentary "Probaho" yesterday.

Textile university in city soon: Nahid

Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid yesterday said Tejgaon Textile College will be turned into a university soon.

PM condoles death of MA Karim

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday expressed deep shock at the death of elderly journalist MA Karim.

Integrated guidelines on nutritional activities soon

Integrated guidelines for nutrition intervention will be finalised within 2-3 months to bring all ongoing nutritional activities of Bangladesh on a single track.

Indian outfits shifting bases to Myanmar

With Bangladesh authorities cracking down on north eastern Indian insurgents, the ultras are now shifting their bases to Myanmar, a top police official said yesterday.

India Maoists kill police hostage in Bihar state

Maoist rebels in the Indian state of Bihar have killed one of four policemen they had been holding hostage.

Project right history of Bangladesh

Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, now in Berlin on an official visit, called on German Chancellor's Political Adviser Dr Christopher Hoijagan yesterday.

Madrasa girl violated by teacher

A madrasa girl was violated allegedly by her teacher at Hogolpatia Hafijia Madrsah in Sadar upazila on Thursday noon.

2 killed in road accidents

Two people, including a woman, were killed in two separate road accidents in Natore and Tangail yesterday.

Three children drown

Three children drowned in two separate incidents in Shahjadpur upazila of the district yesterday.

Woman commits suicide in city

A woman killed herself by hanging with ceiling fan yesterday morning in Turag in the capital allegedly for repression by her husband.

Arrest of Ghulam Azam depends on tribunal: Minister

The arrest warrant against former Jamaat ameer Ghulam Azam will be issued in time if the international crimes tribunal decides in this regard.

International

Suicide bombings on Pak minorities kill 44

Suicide bombings targeting religious minorities killed at least 44 people in Pakistan yesterday, sharply driving up the toll of sectarian assaults in a country already battered by massive flooding.

Karzai slams Nato civilian killings

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has condemned an air strike by Nato-led forces which he said killed 10 election campaign workers, although US officials maintained it was aimed at an Islamist leader.

Mid-East peace talks 'doomed'

Hardline Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a pro-Palestinian rally yesterday that revived Middle East peace talks are "doomed" to fail, as Islamist militiamen stopped one of his arch rivals from attending the annual march.

Wild chimpanzees are learning how to outwit human hunters

Across Africa, people often lay snare traps to catch bushmeat, killing or injuring chimps and other wildlife.

Indonesian volcano spews new burst of ash

An Indonesian volcano that was quiet for four centuries shot a new, powerful burst of hot ash more than 10,000 feet (three kilometers) in the air yesterday, sending frightened residents fleeing to safety for the second time this week.

Fidel Castro makes first public speech in 4 years

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, wearing his green military cap and clothing like the commandant of old, yesterday made his first speech before the Cuban public since falling ill in 2006, warning of the threat of nuclear war.

US lauds Japan for new Iran sanctions

The United States praised Japan yesterday for imposing new sanctions on Iran that include an asset freeze and tighter restrictions on financial transactions, part of a global response to Tehran's contested nuclear program.

Japan approves sanctions against Iran

Japan approved fresh economic sanctions against Iran yesterday after the United Nations asked Tokyo to tighten restrictions against Tehran over its controversial nuclear enrichment program, an official said.

Amazon at lowest level in over 40 years

The Amazon, the world's biggest river, is at its lowest level in over 40 years near its source in northeastern Peru, causing havoc in a region where it is used as the only form of travel, authorities said.

US, S Korea to hold further naval drills

South Korea and the United States will hold joint anti-submarine exercises in another show of force against North Korea, officials said yesterday, as Pyongyang renewed threats against the drills.

UN calls meeting on food price concerns

The United Nations' food agency has called a special meeting of policy makers to discuss the recent rise in global food prices.

Soldiers kill 25 in troubled Mexican border state

Soldiers killed at least 25 suspected cartel members Thursday in a raid and gunbattle in a Mexican state near the US border that has become one of the most dangerous battlegrounds in the country's drug war.

Arts & Entertainment

Ityadi’s Eid bonanza, a star-studded affair

Mega-popular variety show “Ityadi” is the brainchild of Hanif Sanket, who is the writer, director and host of the show as well. The show is known for new ideas, diverse subjects it addresses with a generous dose of humour and much more.

Sushmita Sen not in a hurry to get married

Bollywood actress Sushmita Sen is a single mother and is tired of being asked repeatedly about her wedding plans. But the 34-year-old former Miss Universe said she will definitely tie the knot one day.

Professor Zia Hyder's second death anniversary observed

September 2 marked the second death anniversary of Professor Zia Hyder, noted dramatist of the country, who hailed from Pabna. Professor Hyder succumbed to a cardiac arrest two years ago.

New horizons for Farhana Mili

Following her brilliant performance in the superhit film “Monpura”, actress Farhana Mili remains busy with numerous Eid-special TV plays. Fifteen of her plays are on the list for release during Eid: Shumon Anwar's “Binishuto”; Sazzad Shumon's “Chiley Kothhar Shopno”; Torikul Islam's “Bou Shashurir Therapy”; Noman Robin's “Pankha”; Jibon Shahadat's “Eksho Aat-ti Nil Poddo”; a joint production by Shubho and Ujjol, “Mondo Bishshash” and more. Highlights are “Bashon”, written by the late Selim Al Deen and “Nokshi Kathar Mathh” an adaptation of the Jasimuddin classic. The latter pairs Mili again with her co-star from “Monpura”, Chanchal Chowdhury.

“Choita Pagol” on Channel i

A naive young man, Choita, whom the villagers call “pagol” (crazy), remains seemingly stable for 11 months. For a month every year, Choita turns insane. The villagers exploit Choita and make him do all kinds of chores. But when he turns “mad,” he is shunned by all. Even when he goes without food for days, no one comes to his aid. The drama serial “Choita Pagol” narrates his story.

“Miral”: Jewish lens focuses on Palestinians

US filmmaker Julian Schnabel, a New York Jew, tells it like it is from the Palestinian point of view in “Miral” screening as the Venice Film Festival got into full swing on Thursday.

OP-ED

101 Q&As about police

The Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), Nagorik Uddayog and Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) have published a booklet titled 101 Q&As about Police. It was formally launched on August 30 in a function that was graced by the chief guest, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Barrister Shafique Ahmed, and chaired by eminent jurist Dr. Kamal Hossain.

Waiting for Rahul Gandhi?

Some 80,000 farmers thronged near Parliament House in New Delhi last week to protest against the paltry compensation paid by the government for the land it took over in "public interest." An act as old as 1847, empowers the state to acquire land in dire eventuality.

Is there a risk of judicial over-reach?

The Court's decisions to nullify the 5th and 7th amendments have been received with understandable celebratory enthusiasm in the country. I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments of the Court, and personally believe that the military has absolutely no right to usurp political power and impose its arbitrary rule on the people. The Court's stern admonishment to previous military regimes, and its acknowledgement that some of the decisions and undertakings of those governments may be liable to criminal prosecution, should send a clear cautionary warning to future military authorities who may covet state power. In this regard, the intentions of the Court are commendable, and its posture laudatory. But, the situation becomes a bit problematic if one considers its implications. It may be entirely possible to argue that these judgments, by blurring the distinction between the political and the constitutional, indicate a judicial over-reach of rather spectacular proportions that may, ultimately, jeopardize the very democratic and constitutional principles it seeks to protect.

Advisory opinion by the ICJ should clear the way

Ihave written previously in The Daily Star, and addressed number of seminars and gave TV interviews pleading the case for the recognition of Kosovo by Bangladesh based fundamentally on our national interest and ideals of our liberation war. Regrettably, this has not yet been done due to objections raised by Belgrade supported by a number of countries including Russia.

Environment

Tiger conservation in Bangladesh

Tiger, symbol of the beast and beauty, is a threatened species worldwide. Recent estimate shows that tigers only occupy 7% of their historic Asian range and about 4000 are left in the wild (Dinerstein et al. 2007). Aside from this alarming tiger status worldwide, Bangladesh possesses a relatively good number of them, mostly concentrated in the Sundarbans. Joint India and Bangladesh tiger census-2004 (using pugmark counting) estimated that there are 419 (121 male and 298 female) tigers in Bangladesh Sundarbans. The number may vary, as many scientists are sceptical about the accuracy of pugmark counting. However, it is beyond doubt that the size of the tiger population in the Bangladesh Sundarbans would be between 300-500. Being the biggest member of the cat family the Bengal tiger is popularly known as Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) for its unique hunting behaviour and spectacular physical appearance.

Is only greenhouse gas emission responsible?

The mean temperature of the world has been rising, snow in the hemisphere and even on mount Everest is melting, sea level is rising, salt water intrusion is reducing the availability of fresh water, coastal region is facing more and frequent cyclones and storm surges. The main cause of these changes is the increase in global temperature due to increased use of fossil fuel throughout the world especially in the developed countries.

Literature

'Writing becomes my only passion . . .'

Anwara Syed Haq is a prominent writer in the realm of Bangla literature. She began writing short stories in her teens. This year she won the Bangla Academy Shahitya Puroshkar for her outstanding contributions in the literary world. She was born in 1940 in Jessore, where she spent her adolescent years. She obtained her MBBS degree in 1965 and in 1973 went to the United Kingdom for higher education. She returned home in 1982. She has since then worked at a number of institutions, among which are Bangladesh Biman, Dhaka Medical College and BIRDEM. Even though she works professionally as a psychiatrist, her presence in the literary arena has always been very pronounced. So far she has written more than fifty books. She has been awarded the Annanya Shahitya Puroshkar, Agrani Bank Puroshkar, Michael Madhushudhon Puroshkar and Shishu Academy Puroshkar, besides a host of others.

Of lights going out, of cherry trees . . .

A friend writes about Mozart. It is his birthday, she tells me. Yes, I remember. I remember too the chaos in which this pre-eminent of composers was buried by his friends. He died young and poor, almost bereft of everything beautiful that life could offer him. Having spent a lifetime, albeit a brief one, showering happiness on the world through his music, it was his fate to be thrown hastily into his grave because a storm threatened to disrupt the last rites. You could say his remains were swiftly deposited in the grave, in unseemly manner. And then his friends moved off.

The desire to hear . . .

Looking at the azure-whitish canvas of the skies heralding the season of autumn, one feels crispness in the air subduing the wetness of monsoon, sunlight staying young more or less for the whole day. Then there appears, rather unconsciously in her, an assemblage of emotions evoking the past, relating to the present and looking forward to the future. Not that they all appear at one and the same time, but in the cubicles of her heart they take their turn, oftentimes overlapping. As she ponders, one thing becomes obvious to her --- that in this mental state of hers, she feels a strong desire to hear some sounds, some voices, some music emanating from nature, some others from human voices. She is afraid that since her auditory sense is deprived of much of its yearnings, those in the passage of time could be obliterated.

Enigma

Mamma said you would be my God
Or at least the next best thing.
When Daddy gave away my hand
I was led to believe never to miss him.
Everyone assured how you would be
A friend and just like a brother to me
I could share the laughter and loss
As if you are not the dignified boss.

Star Health

Viral or dengue fever? Know the dealing facts

These days, the most common reason to seek medical advice is fever. Although most people are being affected by the seasonal viral fever, another viral fever dengue is making a big concern. People often get confused whether it is a serious illness like dengue or just seasonal fever. Whatever may be the type of fever, we can easily handle it with certain measures.

The truth about common dental myths

Many old beliefs and myths regarding dental care persist. Many people still remain confused about the basics of brushing, flossing, whitening and other dental care procedure. Here are some popular dental myths and related comments of dental specialists.

Prevent suicide, save lives

Not everyone has got the same emotional strength to cope with every situation. There are some people who are vulnerable to develop many emotional disturbances like depression or drug addiction. Oppressed with problems many of these people become confused and commit suicide.

Soy may ease sleep problems in older women

The estrogen-like compounds found in soy could help postmenopausal women get a better night's sleep, according to a small study.

Too little sleep bad for teenagers' diets

Teenagers who sleep less than eight hours a night on weeknights eat more fatty foods and snacks than those who get more than eight hours of sleep a night, U.S. researchers said recently.

Strategic Issues

Myanmar - shifting to military democracy?

THE military leaders of Myanmar through a brief radio broadcast have announced elections to the parliament on November 7th. Political parties have been given time till the end of the month to submit their list of candidates. Earlier, the military regime had tactfully ensured that Nobel Laureate Aung Saan Suu Kyi was kept out of the contest by extending her house arrest till November 2010. To the regime's satisfaction, the extension led Aung's National Democratic League (NLD) to decide against registering for the elections that resulted in the party being banned. The NLD opted against registering to give the international community the clear message that the next elections would be anything but a new strategy to entrench the power of the military.

War clouds over Iran

WHILST war is not likely in the foreseeable future, the likelihood of its occurrence further down the line has increased in the light of Admiral Mullen's statement.

US slaps new sanctions on North Korea

WASHINGTON: The US government slapped sanctions on four people and eight organizations accused of aiding North Korea's government through illicit trade, the Treasury Department said.

Star Books Review

Changing the way you think

I had earlier posted an item about my meeting with Amartya Sen on Facebook. After all, for the past six to seven years of my life I have revered Sen's philosophical ideologies in the manner of a devout one. I also realized that in Bangladesh very few professors actually make excerpts of Sen's writings compulsory, which is a sad occurrence. Within the past year I was lucky enough to be able to meet with Amartya Sen thrice: at a conference, at a discussion and signing of his new book, The Idea of Justice, and at a dinner where I was honoured to be able to hold a long discussion with him. Here I will draw on my understanding of him and his subject to give a brief review of his book, The Idea of Justice.

Love, loneliness and drama in a small town

THIS book is a real page-turner. You flip open to the first page and at once you fall in love with the protagonists Marilee Roe James and Tate Briggs Holloway. Both are kind, polite and hardworking folks. In fact, the reasons to like them could go a long way. They have just announced their engagement in the local newspaper, The Valentine Voice. Tate is the editor of the newspaper and Marilee the associate editor. The coming wedding is the big bang for the neighbours who have known them for years. Both Tate and Marilee are taking second chances with married life and are looking forward to being happy. They are in anticipation of the “one in a thousand” chance that life is giving them. They are two love-hearts caught in the quiet life of a small town in Oklahoma, USA.

Principles, grit and communism

FOR much of his journalistic career, Edgar Snow was shunned by mainstream America. The reason was simple. He had befriended the Chinese communists long before Mao and his men made their way to power in Peking and had indeed afterward continued his association with them. This was the era of the Cold War; and with Joseph McCarthy in mad pursuit of what he called communists and communist sympathisers in the United States, it was only natural that Snow would come under suspicion. The writer could not, of course, be nailed. But the hostility prevailed, all the way up to his death in February 1972. In one of the great ironies of history, the very communists Snow had eulogised over the years in works such as the one under review were now the same communists Richard Nixon was meeting in Peking.

Extraordinary, like Zorba the Greek

IN Mehrdad Baladi's disturbing novel, Houri, there's a brief moment at the beginning that is emblematic of much of the subsequent story. As the narrator returns to his native Iran and the airplane enters Iranian airspace, “Flight attendants hurried to remove wine and whisky from trays. Men rushed to rinse the stink of alcohol from their breath. Women donned dark hejabs to hide their hair and curves, scrubbed makeup from their faces. Passengers were bracing for an inquisition, or something worse. Even from thousands of feet above, and an hour before the plane landed, I caught a sense of the intolerant terrain waiting below.”



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