The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Tuesday, July 29, 2014


News of: Tuesday, 7th of September, 2010

Front Page

Fast-track energy deals for 2 years

The cabinet yesterday approved a draft law that would allow the government to award energy sector contracts on unsolicited negotiation basis on a short notice for next two years.

Eid transports get ready for extra trips

Both public and private operators have more than doubled the number of transport of various modes to carry over seven million people home from the capital ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr.

A policy shift on SoE, privatisation

In an apparent shift from the existing industrial policy, the government in its new plan has put stress on strengthening state-owned enterprises to both supplement and compete with the private sector.

Govt asks people not to panic

Health Minister AFM Ruhal Haque yesterday urged people not to be panicked about the outbreak of anthrax, a disease now spread in six districts with its first appearance in Sirajganj on August 20.

Medicare gone on Eid holidays

Ahead of Eid the attendance of doctors and nurses in the city's public hospitals has become very low and most of their patients are advised to visit after the celebration.

President pardons 20

President Zillur Rahman granted presidential pardon to 20 death row inmates of the Jubo Dal leader Sabbir Ahmed Gama killing case.

PM for allocating plots to all MPs

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday directed authorities concerned to allocate government land in the capital to lawmakers who do not have any piece of land of their own in the city.

Govt hopes to get $1b from IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is likely to provide one billion US dollars to Bangladesh, almost without any interest, by next two to three months for the implementation of the PRS-II launched earlier this year.

Move on getting them other jobs in Libya

The Bangladesh embassy in Libya has decided to shift the protesting workers to other companies as they have been refusing to work for their current employer, a construction firm, Al Rayed for alleged tortures and non-payment of salaries.

Police to open control room to curb crime before Eid

Police will set up a special control room to give instant order to curb crimes like extortion, mugging, ticket black-marketing, highway-river-way robbery as well as tackle garment workers' unrest ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr.

Shab-e-Qadr observed

The holy Shab-e-Qadr, a night of blessings, was observed across the country last night.

Youth killed in city over extortion

A young man was stabbed to death allegedly by his rival gang over toll collection issue at Nimtoli road of Rayer Bazar in city's Hazaribagh area yesterday.

RU expels 6 BCL men

Six activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League unit of Rajshahi University have been temporarily expelled last night on charges of killing Nasirullah Nasim, a fellow activist following a row over Iftar token.

2 suspended over illegally felling trees

Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) yesterday suspended two of its staff and withheld the auction for selling 16 trees at Shaheed Quamaruzzman Central Zoo after the auction winner felled additional seven large trees.

Wounded officer tells of ordeals in confinement

A BDR special court yesterday witnessed live proceedings as a BDR officer, who remained captive inside Pilkhana with bullet wounds, gave an emotional account during cross-examination by three of the 667 accused.

Maiden junior school exams from Nov 4

The first-ever Junior School Certificate (JSC) and Junior Dakhil Certificate (JDC) examinations for class VIII students will begin on November 4 this year.

ACC sues 16 CDA officials for graft

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday filed nine more cases accusing 16 officials of Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) including its chief engineer and 10 contractors for embezzling a total of Tk 53,70,131 of a project.

Cabinet okays changes to hold overdue polls

The cabinet yesterday approved the proposal for amendment to Local Government (Municipality) Act, 2009 in an effort to promptly finalise a schedule to hold long overdue elections.

19 dead in Pak suicide blast

Four school children are among 19 people killed in a suicide car bombing in north-west Pakistan.

Iraq govt wants Aziz to die in prison: Son

The Iraqi government wants jailed former deputy prime minister Tareq Aziz to die in prison and has shown no compassion for his declining health, his Amman-based son said yesterday.

New Zealand earthquake 'damaged 100,000 homes'

Almost two-thirds of the 160,000 homes in and around Christchurch have been damaged by Saturday's earthquake, New Zealand's prime minister has said.

Editorial

Meeting the anthrax challenge

The anthrax situation has worsened in the last few days, with the disease spreading to at least six districts. The number of the infected has reached 327 as 19 new cases have been reported from Meherpur and Chaudanga districts in a single day.

Border killings

In spite of assurances by the Indian government and pronouncements of declaring moratorium on BSF firing, deaths of Bangladeshi civilians continue to occur at the hands of the BSF.

Sports

Blame game for bullets

The National Shooting Federation (NSF) of Bangladesh has blamed the Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) for remaining passive on their appeal to solve the ammunition crisis at the training camp for the upcoming Commonwealth Games.

Clijsters on hot streak

Reigning champion Kim Clijsters rolled into the US Open quarterfinals on Sunday while third seed Venus Williams booked a date with French Open champion Francesca Schiavone to decide a semifinal spot.

Afridi blasts Hameed

Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi blasted Yasir Hameed as being mentally a teenager but the batsman insisted he was duped by a newspaper over betting scam claims which eclipsed the team's defeat to England.

Hamidul not in squad

South Asian Games gold medalist Hamidul Islam has been axed from the weightlifting squad for November's Commonwealth Games when the Bangladesh Weightlifting Federation declared a six-member squad on Monday.

Tricked by the tabloid!

Pakistan batsman Yasir Hameed insisted Sunday he had been misled by an undercover reporter and was only repeating allegations he had read about when he said his teammates were corrupt.

Nadal marches on

Rafael Nadal swept into the last 16 at the US Open on Sunday, but Andy Murray's campaign came to a shuddering halt.

Diego wants birthday bash in Naples

Diego Maradona is planning a 50th birthday party in Naples next month, despite owing the tax man there 37 million euros.

Golf is the new cricket

In a new innovation, the national cricket team will engage in a few rounds of golf as part of their preparations for the upcoming five-match one-day series against New Zealand.

Kiron demands separation of BWSA

Mahfuza Akther Kiron, the general secretary of Bangladesh Women's Sports Association (BWSA), has demanded to separate the organisation from government control citing the dual role of the National Sports Council employees.

Niaz, Zia on 5 pts each

Grand Masters Niaz Murshed and Ziaur Rahman collected five points each at close of the eighth round of the 7th IGB Dato Arthur Tan Malaysia Open Chess Championship at the CitiTel Mid Valley in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Another twitter mishap

Another day, another social-media drama. To the names of Philip Hughes, Azeem Rafiq and Kevin Pietersen -- three players whose non-selection issues have led to ill-advised outbursts on Twitter -- can now be added the name of the Hampshire and Rajasthan Royals all-rounder, Dimitri Mascarenhas.

Dutch roll into semis

The Netherlands qualified for the semifinals from Pool A at the women's field hockey World Cup here Sunday with a close win over Germany.

Boycott blames mismanagement

Former England captain Geoff Boycott said Monday that Pakistani cricket was repeatedly implicated in corruption scandals because authorities had not clamped down hard enough in the past.

Lankans approached too

Members of the Sri Lankan team have been approached by people being described as "suspicious characters" more than once over the last year. Team sources, however, said that contrary to newspaper reports, the Sri Lankan team did not report any specific player to the International Cricket Council's (ICC's) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU).

Sydney Test under study

Pakistan's January Test defeat to Australia came under renewed scrutiny on Monday after it emerged an agent at the centre of a 'spot-fixing' scandal met players a few weeks after the match.

Vlasic leads Europe to victory

World champion Blanka Vlasic led Europe to victory at the Continental Cup Sunday, but was unable to ride an emotional wave of hometown support in her latest assault on the high jump world record.

Rooney distracts England

England were among a number of fancied sides who began their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign with handsome wins, but their trip to Switzerland on Tuesday comes amid a tabloid storm surrounding Wayne Rooney.

Blanc's Bosnia test

Laurent Blanc has warned France they will face a physical, intimidating challenge when they seek to get their Euro

Cassano Italy's lynchpin

For so long seen as the bad boy of Italian soccer, Antonio Cassano came of age in Italy's opening Euro 2012 qualifying win over Estonia and he will again be their focal point for Tuesday's game with the Faroe Islands.

Aiming to copy Spain

Argentina hope to see themselves in a Spanish mirror when they take on the world champions in a friendly at River Plate's Monumental stadium on Tuesday (2000 GMT).

Klose hunting goals

Germany striker Miroslav Klose is hoping to add to his ever-increasing goal tally in Tuesday's Euro 2012 qualifier against minnows Azerbaijan as he closes in on Gerd Mueller's all-time record.

Kroos eyeing Poldi's place

German attacking midfielder Toni Kroos on Monday announced his intention to take Lukas Podolski's place on the left flank in the national side.

Bebe makes UCL squad

Manchester United new-boy Bebe has made the club's Champions League squad after all, as UEFA have now confirmed the 20-year-old is on the 25-man squad list.

Riise ruled out with concussion

Norway left-back John Arne Riise has been ruled out of his side's Euro 2012 qualifier with Portugal due to concussion sustained in training on Monday, the Norwegian football federation announced.

Business

New industrial policy evokes mixed reactions

The new industrial policy has evoked mixed reactions from economists and business leaders.

Two IPOs get SEC nod

The stockmarket regulator yesterday approved the IPO prospectuses of a cement producer and a plastic goods manufacturer.

Call money rate within bounds

Unlike previous years, the inter-bank call money rate is not bustling this year ahead of Eid mainly because of prudent treasury management by commercial banks and injection of fresh funds into the market by the central bank.

New policy sweetens investment incentives

A new industrial policy offers a host of incentives to attract local and foreign investment and envisages appropriate measures to rehabilitate the sick industries.

DSE alerts all against forgery on membership

The prime bourse yesterday alerted all concerned not to deposit any money to any bank or make any deal on membership licence.

Inflation situation not worrisome: Muhith

As the inflation in the last fiscal rose to 7.31 percent, Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Monday said that the inflation situation in the country now is not worrisome and also not a big concern for the people.

GP signs solar power deals

Mobile phone operator Grameenphone has signed agreements with three companies to purchase solar power to operate its off-grid base station sites.

China vows to increase foreign imports

China has vowed to make it easier to import goods into its huge market as Beijing seeks to address controversial trade surpluses with its trading partners, a report said Monday.

Confident investors sell, buy

With only a few days left before Eid-ul-Fitr, the biggest Muslim festival and shopping season, some stockmarket investors were both selling off a few favourite stocks for extra spending money while other picked up bargains.

Venice's couturiers of glass stand test of time

With a clientele that includes crowned heads, Archimede Seguso Vetreria, a stalwart of Murano's storied glassmakers, has no need to change its formula for success.

Obama unveils plans for jobs, infrastructure

US President Barack Obama unveiled plans Monday to spend at least 50 billion dollars to expand and renew US roads, railways and airports, in a fresh bid to fire up sluggish economic growth.

Indian bank staff plan one-day strike

About 1 million employees of Indian banks plan to go on a one-day strike on Tuesday to protest a host of issues including foreign direct investment in public sector banks and entry of foreign banks amongst others.

Nokia bets on new smartphones

Nokia, the world's biggest cellphone maker by volume, will introduce new smartphone models next week at its annual media and industry event, aiming to assure investors the company is on track to recovery.

Citi CEO receives leadership award

A leading news organisation in India has named Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit Global Business Leader of the Year.

City Bank gets new HR head

City Bank has appointed Abdus Salam Bhuiyan as head of human resources (HR), says a statement yesterday.

India to sell stakes in two energy companies

India said Monday it aims to sell stakes in two more state-run energy firms as part of its plans to speed reforms and raise funds to combat poverty.

BA,Iberia target 12 other airlines

British Airways and Iberia have identified 12 airlines as potential takeover targets once their own tie-up is finalised, as they bid to create the world's biggest carrier, newspapers reported on Monday.

China's 'miracle' Shenzhen marks 30 years of reforms

President Hu Jintao hailed the southern export hub of Shenzhen as a "miracle" Monday as China marked 30 years of reforms in the city that provided the blueprint for the country's economic rebirth.

AIG wants end of Taiwan unit deal

US insurance giant American International Group has signalled it wants to end the sale of its Taiwan unit to a Hong Kong consortium after the deal failed to get the Taiwanese government's approval.

Oil lower

Oil prices were lower in quiet Asian trade Monday with US players on a break as markets resumed last week's losses following the end of the main US holiday season, analysts said.

Corporate Briefs

MIDAS FINANCING
The company's Board of Directors has recommended 35 percent stock dividend (seven bonus shares for every 20 shares) as of June 30, 2010. The AGM will be held on November 4(at 11am) at Trust Milonayatan Auditorium in Dhaka. The record date is September 21. The company has also reported net profit of Tk 171.47 million, earnings per share of Tk 42.34, net asset value per share of Tk 162.32 and net operating cash flow per share of Tk (197.92) as of June 30, 2010 against Tk 70.48 million, Tk 17.40 (restated), Tk 140.47 and Tk (92.82) respectively for the same a-year-ago period.

Metropolitan

5 killed, 20 injured in road accidents

Five people were killed and 20 others injured in separate road accidents in Netrakona, Thakurgaon and Comilla yesterday and Sunday.

Delay in project approval slows down efforts

Approval of six development projects have been put on hold at the planning commission for months slowing down efforts for upgrading road communications of the port city.

Trade, commerce to get new horizons

The newly built Shah Amanat Bridge over the river Karnaphuli would usher prospects in trade and industrialisation of the economically potential southern part of the greater Chittagong linking the region with country's main land.

Tk 225cr loss in Gorai dredging

Parliamentary standing committee on estimate yesterday asked Water Development Board (WDB) to identify those responsible for not maintaining a portion of the Gorai River after dredging, resulting in a loss of Tk 225 crore.

Bangladesh medical team to help Pak flood-hit people

A 39-member medical team of Bangladesh comprising doctors, nurses and pharmacists left for Karachi yesterday afternoon to help victims of Pakistan's worst flood in decades.

Nat'l health policy a must for healthcare to all

Speakers at a participatory workshop in Rajshahi city yesterday emphasised the need for a compact national health policy for ensuring necessary health services to all, especially the poor and underprivileged.

Non-communal politics to help develop country

Speakers at a discussion in the city yesterday said practice of non-communal politics could help the country achieve its development goals steadily.

UK to announce student visa crackdown

Britain is to outline a crackdown on people arriving on student visas as it bids to tighten its immigration system, described by a minister as "largely out of control".

Youth held for cheating in facebook

A youth was arrested from the city on Sunday night for cheating people through opening accounts in facebook, a popular social networking site.

MoU to build info rights portal

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed yesterday between Access to Information (A2I) Programme of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and Information Commission to build an information rights portal to make information available to the people.

Hanif's remarks baseless, motivated

BNP yesterday strongly protested and condemned the remarks of Acting General Secretary of Awami League Mahbub-Ul-Alam Hanif on Tarique Rahman.

Follow Dr Ibrahim's principles: FM

The 21st death anniversary of Dr Mohammad Ibrahim, founder of Diabetic Association of Bangladesh, was observed yesterday amid different programmes.

Freedom Party leader Maj Joynul, 21 others jailed for 7 yrs

A Dhaka court sentenced Freedom Party leader Maj (retd) Joynul Abedin and 21 more to seven years' rigorous imprisonment for possessing illegal firearms yesterday.

Huji's Zandal on 5-day remand

A Dhaka court yesterday placed Abu Zandal alias Moin Uddin, leader of the banned militant outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (Huji), on a five-day remand in one of the two cases filed for the August 21 grenade attack.

Passengers' suffering worsens for silted channel

The usual channel through Naodoba has silted up causing the Mawa-Keorakandi ferries to detour 20 kilometers.

Burglary at 5 TV channel offices in Rajshahi

Unidentified burglars have taken away valuables worth over Tk 3.5 lakh breaking open the bureau offices of five private television channels in Rajshahi city.

Elevated expressway to increase traffic jam, roundtable told

The proposed elevated expressway will increase traffic congestion and public sufferings rather than become beneficial to common people in the city, speakers told a roundtable yesterday.

Khondker Ibrahim gets Ahsanullah Award

Khondker Ibrahim Khaled, noted banker, economist and chairman of Bangladesh Krishi Bank, has been selected for the prestigious Khan Bahadur Ahsanullah Gold Medal Award-2009 in recognition of his contribution to the country's socio-economic development.

Luthfor gets Labour ticket

Bangladeshi- born British national Luthfor Rahman secured the Labour Party ticket to contest the first ever election of the Executive Mayor of the Tower Hamlet Borough.

DU introduces Kibria award, gold medal

The Economics Department of Dhaka University has introduced an award and a gold medal for its best students after the name of Shah AMS Kibria, former finance minister who was killed in a grenade attack in Habiganj in 2005.

Shibir explosive expert Eti held in Rajshahi

An Islami Chhatra Shibir activist was arrested from near the Awami League office at Kumarpara in Rajshahi city on Sunday night.

Int'l standardto be followed

State Minister for Law Quamrul Islam yesterday said the trial of the perpetrators of crimes against humanity in 1971 will be staged maintaining transparency, impartiality and international standard.

Bangladesh to celebrate 1,400 years of Quran

State Minister for Religious Affairs M Shahjahan Mian said Bangladesh is fully prepared to celebrate the commemoration of the 1400 years of revelation of the Holy Quran this year along with other Muslim countries in the world.

Protest against market monitoring: Karwan Bazar traders sued

An employee of deputy commissioner's office of Dhaka yesterday filed a case with Tejgaon Police Station against traders of Karwan Bazar in connection with last Saturday's protest against market monitoring.

SC upholds Milon's bail

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld a High Court order that granted bail to former BNP state minister ANM Ehsanul Haque Milon in an extortion case filed against him in Chandpur.

British Council offices closed Sept 10-18

British Council Offices in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet will remain closed from September 10 to 18 on the occasion of holy Eid-ul-Fitr.

BAU Eid holiday begins today

The authority of Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) has announced a vacation of 13 days from today ahead of Shab-e-Qadr and Eid-ul-Fitr, says a press release.

National

Goods get damaged for want of shed or warehouse

The importers and exporters are facing trouble in loading and unloading of imported goods at Saidpur railway station as there is no shed or warehouse.

Engineer held, another beaten up for bribery

A sub-assistant engineer of Bogra Zila Parishad office was caught red-handed while taking bribe from a contractor yesterday and a LGED engineer in Magura town was beaten up by the contractors as he refused to sign a bill without bribe on Sunday.

Traders protest extortion

Hundreds of traders of Pabna Hosiery Market in Chartala area yesterday brought out a procession protesting extortion.

Road to Kuakata awfully bad

Twenty-five kilometre stretch of Patuakhali-Kuakata road connecting Kuakata with the rest of the country has become awfully dilapidated, causing a serious blow to tourism at one of the countries' most attractive scenic spots.

Eid nears, but Eidgah still under water

Barapukuria Eidgah Math, the traditional Eid congregation ground for decades, has remained under three to four feet water since January this year, much to the worry of people of seven land subsidence affected villages around Barapukuria Coal Mine.

'Robber' killed in mob beating

A 'robber' was beaten to death, two were injured and nine arrested in two separate incidents in Narsingdi and Chapainawabganj early yesterday.

People suffer as approach road awaits repair

Road communication between Shaghata and Gobindagnaj upazilas has remained snapped since August 28 as the damaged portion of an approach road to Dewantola Bridge over the Bangali River is yet to be repaired.

8 transformer thieves get 14 yrs' RI each in Sylhet

Sylhet Divisional Special Tribunal Sunday afternoon sentenced eight people to 14 years' RI each for lifting electric transformers.

Housewife commits 'suicide'

A housewife allegedly committed suicide on Saturday night at Madabpur village under Sadar upazila in Thakurgaon.

One killed, 20 injured in Thakurgaon clash, feud

A man was killed in a family feud while 10 others were injured in a clash over a piece of land yesterday.

One more arrested in Pabna

Police on Sunday night arrested one more suspected killer of three unarmed policemen in a remote char area of Rajbari district.

Truck driver stabbed to death

A truck driver was stabbed to death inside his vehicle by unknown assailants at Biswa Road crossing on Dhaka-Sylhet highway in Sadar upazila early Sunday.

Vegetable trader killed

A vegetable trader was murdered by unidentified criminals at Mahasthan in Shibganj upazila on Sunday. The deceased was identified as Masum, 25, son of Jahidul Islam of village Purbo Mahasthan in the same upazila. Police said vegetable trader Masum of Mahasthan bazaar came to his village home closing his shop Saturday evening for taking Iftar. Later, he went out of his house after receiving a phone call and since then he remained missing. Locals found the slaughtered body of Masum in a field in between Mahasthan and Bhabaniganj villages at about 11am on Sunday. On information, police recovered the body and sent it to hospital morgue for autopsy. The reason behind the murder could not be known.

Cocktails seized, one held

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) yesterday recovered five cocktails and arrested one person from Bheramara upazila. Rab sources said, on information, a team from Rab-12 raided a furniture shop at Chandipur village owned by one Abdul Jabbar and recovered the cocktails kept in a plastic bag. Rab arrested Jabbar and handed him over to Bheramara police.

Man held with arms

Police arrested a young man along with arms from a night coach at Daulatdia ghat here early Saturday. The arrestee was identified as Moktar Hossain, 35, son of late Abbas Ali of village Ramgopalpur in Munshiganj Sadar upazila. Police said, acting on a tip-off, they conducted a drive at the Dhaka bound night coach from Jessore at about 2.00am and arrested Moktar Hossain along with a US-made pistol, one bullet and two magazines. Goalanda ghat police station OC AKM Alinur Hossain said Moktar Hossain might be an active member of banned outfit Jam'atul Mujahidin Bangladesh (JMB).

Fire at packaging unit

A fire that broke out at a packaging factory at Gazirhat here gutted valuables on Sunday morning. Police and fire brigade sources said the fire originating from the chemical godown of the Silva Packaging Factory at about 9am soon engulfed the adjacent rooms of the factory. Fire fighters from EPZ fire service station rushed to the spot and extinguished the fire with the help of local people. Firefighters estimated the extent of loss caused from the blaze at about Tk 50,000.

Chemicals, drugs seized

A mobile court on Sunday seized a huge quantity of poisonous chemicals, spurious drugs and pesticides from a local bus on Satkhira-Kaliganj road at Bakal checkpost in the district town. On a tip-off the mobile court led by Executive Magistrate ATM Azharul Islam raided the bus near the checkpost and seized various poisonous chemicals, drugs and pesticides worth Tk one lakh in abandoned condition. None was arrested in this connection. A case was filed.

International

Australia polls impasse expected to end today

Australian Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard will know today if she can form a new minority government with the support of three independents, ending more than two weeks of uncertainty after the August 21 elections.

Ahmadinejad voices doubts about 9/11 attacks

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has questioned the accepted narrative of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, saying it was still not clear who was behind them.

Israeli FM pushes for new settlement construction

Israel's hard-line foreign minister said yesterday that his party will try to block any extension of Israel's settlement slowdown, a move that could derail the recently launched Mideast peace negotiations.

Cameron's media chief under pressure over hacking row

Pressure mounted on British Prime Minister David Cameron's media chief yesterday over allegations he knew about illegal phone hacking by reporters when he was editor of a tabloid newspaper.

China, US meet amid tensions over trade, military

Senior US and Chinese officials met yesterday to steady relations upset by disputes over currency, trade and military affairs despite calls for a tougher line on Chinese economic policies that some say are contributing to American unemployment.

Blair cancels book-signing over protests

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair said yesterday he had cancelled a book-signing in London this week to mark the launch of his memoirs, over fears the event would be hit by protests.

Spain rejects Eta's ceasefire proposal

The Spanish government has dismissed as "insufficient" a ceasefire by Eta, saying the Basque separatist group must renounce violence forever.

Chinese pilots lied about flying records

China is checking the qualifications of all its commercial pilots, after it emerged that more than 200 of them lied about their experience.

Nepal's Maoists seek support to lead govt

Nepal's Maoist party scrambled yesterday to win fresh support for its bid to head the next government, a day ahead of parliament's seventh attempt to elect a new prime minister.

Troops fire on protesters in Kashmir, 3 killed

Government forces fired on protesters hurling stones at them in Indian Kashmir yesterday, killing three people and wounding at least 17 other demonstrators, police said.

Graft, threats of violence cloud hopes for Afghan vote

Taliban threats, shuttered polling centres and warnings of widespread fraud are clouding hopes for Afghanistan's September 18 parliamentary election, a key test of an already fragile democracy, observers have warned.

Nato eyes 2,000 extra troops for Afghanistan

Nato may send 2,000 extra troops to Afghanistan, mainly to train Afghan security forces, following a request from war commander David Petraeus, a Nato official said yesterday.

Japanese journalist says Afghan kidnappers were not Taliban

A Japanese freelance journalist released at the weekend after five months' captivity in Afghanistan said in an online posting yesterday that his kidnappers were not Taliban but corrupt Afghan soldiers.

Indian Maoists release police hostages

Maoist rebels in eastern India yesterday released three policemen held hostage, three days after the guerrillas killed another abducted officer, officials said.

Pakistan races to protect two towns from surging floods

Pakistani authorities were racing to protect two southern towns and their 360,000 residents from surging floods, as the nation struggles to cope with its worst natural disaster in living memory.

Indian warship foils Somali pirate attack

An Indian warship on Sunday foiled an attempt by Somalian pirates to hijack merchant vessels off Somalia's coast in the Gulf of Aden, a navy spokesman said yesterday.

Arts & Entertainment

Tribute to Poet Abdul Mannan Syed

Veteran poet, essayist and literary critic Abdul Mannan Syed passed away on September 5 at his residence on Green Road, Dhaka. He was 67. His died of heart ailments.

Keeping the spirit of Nazrul alive

On August 27 the nation observed the 34th death anniversary of National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. Both BTV and the private TV channels aired several special programmes on this occasion.

Another offering from Humayun Ahmed

Several Bangla TV plays have seen sequels in the past, but Humayun Ahmed's “Tara Tin Jon” is set to go into the record books, as the seventh instalment was shot recently by the acclaimed novelist slash director. The latest addition to the series has been named “Amra Jege Achhi”. The cast includes Faruk Ahmed, Dr. Ejaz, Shwadhin Khashru, Masud Akhand, Farah Ruma, Zinat Hossain Juthi and Abdullah Rana.

The divine appeal of Kirtan

Kirtan is the call-and-response chanting inspired and popularised by the great saint Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The roots of Kirtan go back over 500 years. During this period the influence and style of Kirtan became the focal point for the upsurge in religious expression in Bengal led by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Mallika Sherawat turns singer

Bollywood screen siren Mallika Sherawat is all set to take on a new role -- as a singer. Mallika is making her debut as a crooner in her Hollywood project “Hisss”.

A full diary

Actor Shoeb is up to his neck working on 10 Eid-special plays this year. Returning from a shoot in Cox's Bazar, the actor talked about his packed schedule in the run up to the festival:

Tang Dynasty whodunit draws appreciation

Hong Kong's Tsui Hark unveiled his latest blockbuster, a Tang Dynasty whodunnit, at the Venice film festival Sunday while Kelly Reichardt cast her feminine eye on the Wild West in “Meek's Cutoff”.

Tele-film “Je Jibon Phoring-er” on ntv

Tele-film “Je Jibon Phoring-er” will be aired on ntv on the third day of Eid-ul-Fitr at 2:30 pm. Written and directed by Masud Hasan Ujjal the cast of the film includes Aupee Karim, Ripon and Shoeb.

TV play “Rubik’s Cube” on Channel i

Humayun Ahmed's single-episode play “Rubik's Cube” will be aired on Channel i on Eid day at 7:50 pm.

OP-ED

Upazila chairman vis a vis UNO

While the upazila chairmen are struggling to make their presence felt in the upazila ambience, the upazila nirbahi officers (UNOs) seem to have taken a strategy of arm-twisting the government with a view to discouraging it from giving the Upazila Parishad a consolidated look by implementing the provisions already in place and by enacting more provisions to give it sustenance.

Lailat-Ul-Qadr

IT was on the auspicious Lailat-ul-Qadr, the Night of Power or the Night of Honour or Majesty, that the Holy Quran was vouchsafed to the world. By revelation, of course, is meant first revelation because the Holy Quran was revealed in portions during a total period of twenty-three years. It was this blessed Night of Majesty which first witnessed the shining of the Divine Light which was destined to illumine the whole universe.

The Seven Stages of Working Life

Your work and your personal achievements remain a major focus these days, or so the contents of my mailbag suggest, so let's return to that subject.

Science & Life

The biological clockwork

Have you ever noticed how beautifully your body mechanism is regulated and your daily life is scheduled? Well, everyone may not agree saying that they don't follow a specific routine for their daily life. Imagine, yesterday you woke up at 5 or 6 AM. If you do this consistently, no alarm is required to wake you at that practiced time. There is an alarm, virtually though, inside your body. In fact, there exists a biological clock, or more accurately clocks, in every living being, controlled and integrated by the brain where the master clock resides. The master clock, which is composed of SCN (Suprachiasmatic nuclei) cells, a group of nerve cells located in the hypothalamus region of the brain, makes a symphony, so that they are in synchronization, with the other clocks throughout the body and organs like in the esophagus, lungs, liver, pancreas, spleen, thymus, and the skin and thus creates and maintains perfect harmony.

Balaur bondoc: Dragon dinosaur

One of the questions that truly baffled paleontologists for generations is the ancient question: “What did the Late Cretaceous predatory dinosaurs in Europe look like”? And finally it seems, the recent discovery of the first reasonably complete skeleton of a meat-feasting dinosaur from the final 60 million years of the Age of Dinosaurs in Europe, is likely to shed answers to that long-standing question. Unearthed from a former floodplain near the city of Sebes, in central Rumania, the fossil in question is that of a stocky, two-clawed relative of Velociraptor, which paleontologists believe had twice as many giant stickle-like claws on its feet and happened to be more of a kick boxer than its notorious sprinter-like cousin. The partial skeleton of the predator (including leg, hip, vertebrae, arms, rib and tail bones), now called Balaur bondoc (Rumanian for Stocky Dragon) was unearthed by Geologist Matyas Vermir, a geologist at the Transylvanian Museum Society. It must be mentioned here that Balaur is a genus of dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur. According to Dr. Mark Norell, chair of the Division of Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History, “We've all been waiting for something like this, and the wait has yielded an interesting surprise”. It is believed that ancient predator was about 6/7 feet tall (1.8 to 2.1 meters high) and roamed between 72 million and 65 million years ago. And this was during the end of the Cretaceous period when much of the present-day Europe was covered in higher seas and when Romania was part of an island, archipelago. Based on the study of the fossils (details of which have been published in the August 30th edition of Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences), the scientists believe that the creature had functional big toes with large claws. But the most interesting thing about this discovery is that this new species of carnivore had more than 20 features which strikingly make it unique since they are not shared by its nearest relatives. According to Dr. Norell, “It is one of the most unusual and strangest dinosaurs I've had the privilege of working on in my entire career”.

Primordial bestiary

One of paleontology's most revered fossil sites now has a baby brother. Scientists have discovered a group of astonishing fossils high in the Canadian Rockies, just 40 kilometers from the famous Burgess Shale location.

Evolution rewritten?

Palaeontologists are always claiming that their latest fossil discovery will “rewrite evolutionary history.”

Blue lagoon

The turquoise lagoon of French Polynesia's Mataiva atoll stands out against the dark blue of the surrounding Pacific Ocean in an image taken by an astronaut on August 13.

Toxic pythons

Southern Florida has a big problem on its hands thousands of them, in fact. A burgeoning population of invasive Burmese pythons has been gobbling up native wildlife in and around the Everglades.

What is an elephant pearl?

Elephant pearls are not really pearls, however, they are categorised as one of the nine pearls. These are produced in the heads and the sockets of the tusks of some elephants. It was believed that when worn by kings, they proved highly sanctifying and bestowed children, victory and sound health. Even now, they are considered to bring good luck.


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