The Daily Star

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Friday, October 24, 2014


News of: Monday, 20th of December, 2010

Front Page

It's time to act

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday directed all ministries to expedite their work, saying that her government's "honeymoon period is over after being in power for nearly two years".

SQ Chy now booked for war crimes

Detained BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury was shown arrested for crimes against humanity during the Liberation War, following an arrest warrant issued by the International Crimes Tribunal yesterday.

Record stock fall sparks protests

Angry investors took to the streets in Motijheel for a second time in less than two weeks after the Dhaka Stock Exchange suffered the biggest crash yesterday in its 55-year history.

Summit assured of $2b financing

Different financial institutions have pledged around $ 2 billion financing for the Summit Group of Companies that has recently been awarded contracts for six power projects.

Helpless crew families seek PM's intervention

Family members of crew of hijacked Bangladeshi ship MV Jahan Moni yesterday urged the prime minister to take initiatives for rescuing the sailors from the Somalia coast.

Tough anti-trafficking law in the offing

Human trafficking and related crimes will be considered non-bailable and non-compoundable offence and tried in the speedy trial tribunals to be set up in all districts and metropolitan cities, says a draft anti-trafficking law.

CNG station shutdown cut to 4 hours

The owners of CNG refuelling stations yesterday called off the strike scheduled for tomorrow as the closing time of the stations has been reduced by two hours from today.

Kidnappers release 2 Bangladeshis

The Afgan kidnappers yesterday freed two of the seven Bangladeshi workers abducted near the Mazar-I-Sharif town in Afghanistan on Friday night.

RSU was aware, but kept mum

A prosecutor of a special court yesterday said the Rifles Security Unit (RSU) did not inform the BDR authorities though it had been aware of some developments towards mutiny.

Feuds in BNP over backing

The main opposition BNP is facing serious difficulties in selecting candidates for the upcoming municipality elections as the intra-party conflicts across the country spawn several party aspirants for each of the posts.

Don't back relatives

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday asked the ministers and state ministers to refrain from backing relatives as candidates in the upcoming municipality polls.

Death toll 37 as 2 more bodies found

After recovering two more bodies yesterday from the Dhanu river in Jamalganj, the authorities declared the rescue operation finished at 2:00pm.

Peaceful hartal in Ctg

The dawn-to-dusk hartal called by the main opposition BNP in Chittagong yesterday ended peacefully. BNP enforced the hartal protesting the arrest of party leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury.

3 BNP leaders sued for trespassing

Three BNP leaders and two others were sued yesterday for trespassing into the VIP lounge of Shahjalal International Airport prior to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's departure for China on Saturday.

Zimbabwe heads for turmoil after Mugabe poll boost

Zimbabwe faces renewed political and economic turmoil as President Robert Mugabe's push for polls next year and threats to kick out Western firms are sending the nation backwards, analysts said yesterday.

Editorial

There's a time and place for everything

Begum Khaleda Zia's visit to China is obviously a good indication of the importance the Beijing authorities attach to relations with Bangladesh. We expect the leader of the opposition to speak for Bangladesh, especially in terms of its foreign relations, when she meets the Chinese leadership. We are, however, quite intrigued that Begum Zia, just before her departure for China, made a demand for the Awami League government to quit office over what she called its manifest failure to govern. She, like everyone else, is entitled to her opinion on how she perceives the performance of the government at this point. But what we cannot quite agree with is Begum Zia's berating the government on an occasion which should have been focused on what she expects out of her visit. What kind of signal is she giving out on the kind of politics she and her party have been pursuing since the general elections of December 2008?

Another boat tragedy

Another tragedy has struck us. This time a motorboat carrying almost 100 people capsized after being hit by an empty cargo boat in the River Dhanu in Sunamganj. 35 bodies have been recovered, as of last report; most of the victims are women and children. Regrettably, accidents involving river crafts have been on the rise in recent times.

Sports

Half-a-hundred for Sachin

The legend of Sachin Tendulkar continued to grow on Sunday as the Indian batting maestro hit his 50th Test century and shared a remarkable partnership with captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on the fourth day of the first Test against South Africa at SuperSport Park.

Siddikur at lowly 34th

Bangladesh's golfing sensation Siddikur Rahman finished joint 34th in the Black Mountain Masters after a disappointing performance in the fourth and final round in Thailand yesterday.

Australia first, daylight second

The 2003 World Cup was cricket's eighth global event and it was jointly hosted by South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya. It was also the largest World Cup in terms of the number of teams participating. Bangladesh had become a Test side in November 2000, and joined the nine other Test nations, while Kenya had been awarded ODI status. Three associate teams were included from a separate qualifying tournament. They were Namibia, Canada and Netherlands.

DOHS, Kalabagan stroll

Old DOHS rode on their overseas players to beat Mohammad Ashraful-led Cricket Coaching School (CCS) by 64 runs in one of three Premier League matches yesterday.

Aussies level in style

A resurgent Australia levelled the Ashes with a comprehensive 267-run victory on the fourth day of the third Test against England at the WACA on Sunday.

Under-23 booters draw against Muktijoddha

Bangladesh U-23 football side played out a goalless draw against Muktijoddha Sangsad in their first practice match ahead of the February-March Olympic pre-qualifiers against Kuwait at the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishthan ground yesterday.

Antithesis of the Indo-Pak rivalry

If it were cricket or hockey, this match would have been dubbed as a mouth-watering contest. Even a men's football contest would have had the makings of a fierce battle. But in women's football India and Pakistan are poles apart and hence today's semifinal of the SAFF Women's Championship that will take place at the Cox's Bazaar Stadium is almost a forgone conclusion.

V-Day tennis starts today

The Victory Day Open tennis tournament, sponsored by Runner Group and organised by Bangladesh Tennis Federation (BTF), begins at the National Tennis Complex in Ramna today.

ITF lifts ban on BTF

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has recently withdrawn the suspension on Bangladesh Tennis Federation (BTF) to allow them to hold ITF tournaments, said a federation official yesterday.

Women booters have a surprise

An unlikely visitor at the Cox's Bazar Stadium turned the first off-day of the SAFF Women's Football Championship into a temporary uproar and media frenzy. As the players of the four semifinalists along with Maldives were preparing for a football festival organised by FIFA, all the attention suddenly shifted as former president Hussain Mohammad Ershad barged into the field, entourage in tow.

World Cup road show from today

Festivities for the 2011 World Cup begins today through a road show that will go through all 64 districts across the country.

Inter rule the roost

European champions Inter Milan lifted the Club World Cup on Saturday after a 3-0 win in the Abu Dhabi final over African champions TP Mazembe.

'Wake up Werder'

Werder Bremen's director of sport Klaus Allofs demanded Saturday his players wake up to the looming threat of relegation after their 2-1 defeat in the Bundesliga to Kaiserslautern.

Benitez issues ultimatum

Inter Milan manager Rafael Benitez has essentially issued an ultimatum after they won the Club World Cup on Saturday, telling the club to support him, or terminate his contract.

Barca's derby demolition

Champions Barcelona will sit top of the Spanish first division for the Christmas break after notching a tenth successive league victory with a resounding 5-1 win over city rivals Espanyol at the Cornella-El Prat stadium on Saturday.

Dortmund falter

Mainz closed the gap at the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday to 10 points with a tense 4-2 win at wintry St Pauli as leaders Borussia Dortmund were beaten 1-0 at Eintracht Frankfurt.

11 out of 10 for Mourinho

Jose Mourinho on Saturday rated 2010 as "the best year of my career" after guiding his former club Inter Milan to the Italian league, Cup and Champions League titles.

Borriello sinks old club Milan

Marco Borriello came back to haunt former club AC Milan on Saturday, scoring the only goal of the game as Roma blew the Serie A title race wide open.

Pirlo missing for a month

AC Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo will be out for a month, his club said Sunday, after suffering a thigh strain in Saturday's 1-0 home defeat to Roma.

Kahn pulls for Neuer

Former Bayern Munich goalkeeper and captain Oliver Kahn on Sunday advised his old club to recruit a world-class goalkeeper, as speculation grows Germany's Manuel Neuer is set to join.

Van Bommel expects to stay on

Bayern Munich captain Mark van Bommel said Sunday he expects to remain as skipper of the German champions and played down rumours of a transfer to Bundesliga rivals Wolfsburg in January's winter break.

Sania's prince of dreams

The best-known Indian 'bahu' in Pakistan, Sania Mirza, can't thank her stars enough for finding her "dream prince" in cricketer Shoaib Malik.

Business

Market: before it fell

The Dhaka Stock Exchange yesterday suffered its steepest fall, setting off protests on the Motijheel Street. The benchmark DSE general index lost 551 points or 6.72 percent by the close of trade as panic gripped investors following last week's policy rate hike by the central bank and a series of recent volatile market swings. The Daily Star tracks the latest developments.

Banks count costly money

The call money market keeps overheating like what the stockmarket was a week ago.

Euro is not in danger, IMF chief says

IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn sat down with Chrystia Freeland, a global editor at large for Reuters, in Washington, DC, for an interview. The European sovereign debt crisis dominated most of the conversation. The IMF chief admitted that the situation “worried” him and that he wanted Europeans to find a more “comprehensive” solution:

China premier vows to boost strategic ties with Pakistan

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao vowed Sunday to boost strategic cooperation with Pakistan as he wrapped up a three-day visit to Islamabad that concluded deals worth around 35 billion dollars.

22 get ICAB awards

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB) yesterday honoured 22 banks, insurances, non-governmental organisations and public sector entities for publishing transparent reports and accounts and for good governance and adequate disclosures.

Bangladesh to helm public accounts committees’ assoc

Bangladesh has been elected the chairman of the Asia Regional Association of Public Accounts Committees (ARAPAC), a newly formed organisation of Public Accounts Committees across the South and Southeast Asia region.

The next generation

In 30 years, the sector grew to nearly 80 percent of exports. Now, aging RMG pioneers are handing over the businesses to their children

The low down on Euro tariffs

Zillul Hye Razi, trade adviser with the Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh, recently agreed to share his expertise in several current trade issues that affect Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in general and our nation in particular with readers of The Daily Star. Below, he clarifies recent changes in European Union tariffs, known as the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), among other issues.

An innovator who blends traditions with the new

Maheen Khan has worked in the textile regions of Bangladesh with jewellers, artisans, metal smiths, potters and many more master craftsmen, and created products that revolutionised and opened new doors for the design industry

BB resets credit deadlines for banks

Bangladesh Bank (BB) yesterday extended the deadline for banks to adjust investment exposure to non-productive sectors by a month to February 15.

Spanish unions protest retirement reform

Tens of thousands of Spanish workers staged strikes in 40 cities Saturday to protest state plans to up the retirement age to slash public deficit, the highest in the eurozone after Greece and Ireland.

Iran petrol prices quadruple

Iranian petrol prices surged four-fold on Sunday as the government started scrapping subsidies as part of a long-awaited overhaul of the economy, despite staunch opposition from conservatives.

Robi launches Bangla version of its website

Mobile phone operator Robi yesterday launched the Bangla version of its website.

Butterfly to start production in Bangladesh

Butterfly Manufacturing Company opened its factory in Bangladesh yesterday to produce fridge, television and air-conditioner here, said a statement.

Canadian bank buys M&I for $4.1b

The Bank of Montreal (BMO) announced Friday its purchase of Marshall & Ilsley for $4.1 billion in stock, doubling its stake in the US banking market.

Qatar Airways to launch IPO in 2012

Qatar's fast growing national carrier Qatar Airways is set to launch an initial public offering (IPO) in early 2012 after achieving profitability, it said on Sunday.

Corporate Briefs

ICB MUTUAL FUNDS
On the close of operation on December 14, the funds reported net asset value (NAV) for First ICB Mutual Fund of Tk 13,272.47, Second ICB Mutual Fund of Tk 4,486.42, Third ICB Mutual Fund of Tk 2,947.07, Fourth ICB Mutual Fund of Tk 3,582.32, Fifth ICB Mutual Fund of Tk 3,034.27, Sixth ICB Mutual Fund of Tk 1,093.96, Seventh ICB Mutual Fund of Tk 1,844.87 and Eighth ICB Mutual Fund of Tk 1,288.46 per unit on current market price against face value of Tk 100 each. On cost price, NAV per unit of the eight funds were Tk 1,097.44, Tk 755.59, Tk 575.52, Tk 536.36, Tk 394.10, Tk 223.37, Tk 290.90 and Tk 262.47 respectively against face value of Tk 100 each.

Metropolitan

Prioritise children's education in disaster-hit areas

Achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDG) would suffer a setback if education is not given proper importance during emergency periods like disaster and in the areas affected by natural calamities, said speakers yesterday.

‘Ensure rights of ethnic minorities for dev’

Consensus among different religions, opinions and ethnicity in Bangladesh is needed for its overall development and moving ahead, said renowned academicians yesterday.

Govt making country unstable: Delwar

Protesting the arrest of party leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain yesterday blamed the government for making the country's situation unstable by torturing the opposition leaders.

Lottery for selected candidates Dec 21, 22

Lottery for the selected candidates aspiring to enrol in class I in Viqarunnisa Noon School and College will be held on December 21 and 22, says a press release.

DU Biochemistry Olympiad starts December 24

A day long Biochemistry Olympiad-2010 competition will start at Dhaka University with 520 participates of 73 institutions on December 24.

Two killed in Khulna factory fire

Two persons were killed in a fire yesterday in a factory of Moushumi Fabrics at Majid Sarani under Sonadanga police station of Khulna city.

Police still in dark

Law enforcers could not make any arrest till yesterday in Saturday's sensational recovery of 13,680 rounds of bullets from Bakakura village in Jhinaigati upazila of Sherpur.

Man held with huge foreign cigarettes at airport

Airport Armed Police Battalion (AAPB) arrested a person along with foreign cigarettes worth about Tk 12 lakh from Shahjalal International Airport in the city early hours of yesterday.

Bangladesh's climate negotiation contradictory

The role of Bangladesh delegation in climate negotiation in Cancun was contradictory as they legitimised World Bank to manage US 100 billion dollars for the Global Green Fund, said speakers at a press conference yesterday.

Actor Dipjol rearrested at jail gate

Dhaka City Corporation ward councillor and actor Monwar Hossain Dipjol was rearrested at Dhaka Central Jail gate yesterday evening minutes into his release on bail in a police assault case.

Sadat Salim elected Dhaka Club president for fourth term

Sadat Hossain Salim, vice chairman of Rupayan Group, was elected president of Dhaka Club Limited for the fourth consecutive term at the yearly election of the club held on December 18.

WB to release initial $1.2b for Padma Bridge by Jan

The World Bank (WB) will release its an initial $1.2 billion (Tk 84 billion) financing package pledged for construction of the Padma Multi Purpose Bridge by next January.

Keep education, dev out of politics

Development activists and educationists yesterday called upon the political parties to keep the services like education, healthcare and social development out of party politics for the country's overall development.

SC clears way for holding polls in five pourasavas

The Supreme Court yesterday cleared the way for holding elections to five municipalities in Cox's Bazar and Magura to be held on January 18.

Mirpur SI sued for taking bribe

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday filed a case against a sub-inspector (SI) of Mirpur Police Station for taking bribe from the complainant of a case.

Establish transparent migration process

Immigration experts yesterday called for establishing a transparent migration process to bring discipline in the labour migration process, saying irregularities are affecting the sector greatly.

Concern over DJ party on Cox’s Bazar beach

Green World has expressed deep concern over the “allocation” of DJ party space on the Cox's Bazar beach where sculptures of seven Bir Shrestha, National Monument and the replica of mass killing sites have been painstakingly put together by the students and teachers of the Faculty of Fine Arts, Dhaka University.

Three killed, 15 injured in road accidents

At least three people were killed and 15 others injured in separate road accidents in Gopalganj, Dinajpur, Gaibandha yesterday.

Indian war veterans pay homage to martyrs

A visiting Indian delegation of 1971 War of Liberation veterans from the Indian Armed Forces yesterday paid homage at Shikha Anirban in Dhaka Cantonment to the memories of the members of armed forces martyred in the war.

Woman burned in shop fire

A woman yesterday received burn injuries as fire gutted a small shop at Gandaria in the city's Sutrapur.

Save Bushra

Bushra Rahman Chowdhury Neela, a 2nd year honours student of biotechnology and genetic engineering of Khulna University, is suffering from kidney cancer.

Prof Yunus faces court summons

Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus faces summons to appear in a Mymensingh court on January 18.

Mishu admitted to DMCH

A Dhaka court yesterday placed Garment Sramik Oikya Parishad President Moshrefa Mishu on a two-day remand in another case filed with Khilkhet Police Station on charge of creating unrest in the garment sector recently.

Proshika honours 38 women war veterans

Proshika Manobik Unnayan Kendra, popularly known as Proshika, yesterday accorded a reception and handed over honorarium to 38 women freedom fighters, women family members of the martyred and sick male war veterans.

Bulbul made jury member of Unesco prize

Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, editor-in-chief and chief executive officer of Boishakhi Television, has been made a member of the jury panel to pick the winner of the Unesco/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize from 2011 to 2013.

National

Charges framed against 23 BDR personnel

The special court-15 yesterday framed mutiny charges against 23 BDR personnel of 18 Rifles Battalion under Rangamati sector.

Moulvibazar to recall tragic death of over 25 war heroes today

Today is December 20, a reminder of a painful memory for the people of Moulvibazar.

Nilphamari EPZ workers stage protest, place 8-pt demand

About two thousand workers of Uttara Export Processing Zone (EPZ) at Shangalshi in Nilphamari staged demonstration in front of the deputy commissioner's (DC) office and handed over a memorandum to the DC yesterday demanding realisation of their eight-point charter of demands.

Deserted, and now victim of acid attack

A woman and her two-year-old daughter received serious burn injuries as her ex-husband threw acid on them at Hizli Pabnapara village under Bagatipara upazila of the district on Friday night.

Two housewives murdered in Satkhira

A housewife was killed after gang-rape on Saturday while another was beaten to death for dowry the day before.

Two housewives murdered in Satkhira

A housewife was killed after gang-rape on Saturday while another was beaten to death for dowry the day before.

2 out of 7 accused held

Police yesterday arrested two of the seven accused in the case for whipping a housewife who succumbed to her injuries at Rajshahi Medical College and Hospital on December 14.

80 hurt as rival villagers clash in Habiganj, Patuakhali

At least 80 people were injured as rival villagers in Habiganj and Patuakhali clashed on Saturday.

Alleged killer of Sylhet gas official remanded

The young man, arrested in connection with the killing of gas official Anwara Abedin Chowdhury, was placed on a three-day remand yesterday.

BSF kills one in Benapole

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) shot dead a Bangladeshi cattle trader at Putkhali border here early yesterday.

College teachers end strike

Teachers and staff of Aditmari Degree College ended their indefinite class boycott after submitting a memo to the prime minister and the ministry concerned yesterday.

Tiger kills fisher-woman

A fisher-woman was killed by a tiger in the Tengrakhali canal in the Sundarbans on Saturday. The victim was identified as Moslema Khatun, 28, wife of Akiz Uddin Gazi of village Munshiganj in Shyamnagar upazila. Quoting locals police said, the victim along others went to fish in the Tengrakhali canal. All of a sudden, a tiger swooped on her and dragged her into the deep forest at about 12:30pm. Local people recovered the body in the afternoon.

Motorbike lifter held

A ringleader of an inter-district motorbike lifters gang was arrested from a garage in Patharghata upazila of Barguna district Saturday morning. The arrestee was identified as Sujan Khan, 25, son of Sultan Khan of the upazila. On secret information, a joint team of Bagerhat and Patharghata police conducted a drive at 'Bhai Bhai' motorcycle garage in the upazila and arrested him. Police also recovered two motorbikes from his possession. Sujan also confessed that he along with his accomplices Sohag and Sumon of the area and others were engaged in lifting motorbikes from different southern districts since long.

2 precious statues recovered

Police recovered two precious statues in two separate drives on Saturday night and Sunday morning. Acting on a tip-off, a team of Singra police station went to the Chandaitikar village under Satardighi union and recovered a touchstone statue from a grave. In another drive, the same team recovered another statue from Neel Sagor Dighi of Pakuria Kalaikuri area under Italy union of the upazila. Police estimated the prices of the statues at Tk 6 crore.

4 JCD men hurt in attack

Four Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal activists were injured as BCL cadres attacked them in Narail Govt Victoria College premises on Saturday noon. Sources said, on the day of holding admission test of Honours classes, the BCL brought out a procession welcoming the newcomers. At that time JCD leaders and workers also tried to hold a rally on college campus. At this, BCL activists attacked the JCD men with iron rods, billhooks and brickbats. At least four JCD leaders and workers were seriously injured. The injured are Milton Hazari, vice-president of District Chhatra Dal and Rubel, Ripon and Liton, members of District committee.

6 ruling party men sued

A case was filed with Shyamnagar police station on Saturday accusing six ruling party leaders and activists including Shyamnagar upazila Jubo League president Abdul Kader of damaging ornamented arch erected to celebrate the Victory Day. Shyamnagar upazila Awami League (AL) president Jaglul Haidar filed the case with Shyamnagar police station. The other accused are Jubo League leaders Maniruzzaman Mukul and Liton, local Chhatra League leaders Abdur Rab, Ranju and Kabir. Police said, Shyamnagar upazila AL erected an arch to mark the Victory Day near the Shaheed Minar on December 13. The accused damaged the arch and set fire to it due to rift in local AL on December 15 night.

Letters

Save Cox's Bazar

Due to the adverse effects of climate change world's longest sea beach at Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh is currently experiencing serious destructions. The sea has advanced nearly one kilometre inside and is devouring landmass every day. A huge area having agricultural fields, houses, roads and other installations along the beach have already been taken away by the swelling sea. Under this situation, aggressive action is needed to save and protect the Cox's Bazaar natural sea beach resource.

Honouring the friends of 1971

We are very glad to know from media reports that the government has chosen some 400 foreigners to honour them for their outstanding contributions in the nation's war of independence. It has also picked 24 international organisations for the honour, 39 years after the independence. They are recognised inside and outside Bangladesh as connectors of ideas, people and opportunities, and as enabling leaders who care deeply about both people and independence, and the birth of a nation with pride through sacrifices, sufferings and struggles.

Let us make a change

The Supreme Court of India recently asked the sitting prime minister of India to explain or clarify the reason of delay in taking appropriate action against the telecom minister in view of alleged scandal relating to telecom. The Supreme Court did this job voluntarily, as appeared in the media, though the telecom minister resigned before the court action.

Live and let live

We state below a few glimpses from our present day national and international scenario:

The real stalking issue

Underlying the stalking issue are some cultural assumptions that need to be questioned. It is about a great deal more than punishing the deed. Some girls seem to be being indoctrinated in the belief that, if they were ever raped, they might as well be dead. Why else does the victim of threatened rape choose death, again and again? She obviously believes, rightly or wrongly, that, if she were raped, her family would be so shamed, even victimised, that she would be a terrible burden to them.

Be fair to Dr. Yunus

I sadly noticed that a section of media people, intellectuals and politicians are making irresponsible comments on the activities of the Grameen Bank founder Dr. Muhammad Yunus. It is very easy to comment and give lecture on poverty alleviation sitting in an air-conditioned room than working with the people in the field.

Be fair to Dr. Yunus

Much has been talked about and thought of siphoning off the fund of the Norwegian donor agency Norad, granted for the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. Inevitably, Dr. Yunus has been targeted to be criticized from every direction being the Chairman of Grameen Bank, for 'embezzling' the fund. Whatever, the Norwegian government has finally made it clear that there has been no anomaly of fund and that the Norwegian govt. is satisfied as there is no corruption or misuse of money, nor even is it utilised on unintended purpose.

Insolence and arrogance

I am sorry to say I find most of the people of the country insolent and arrogant. Prophet SM of Allah SWT said, "A smile to your brother is a charity." I wonder how many people in this country talk to a person with a smile.

Excusing ourselves!

Usually in the national parliament we find the national leaders busy finding faults of others, rather than cooperating with each other with the intention of building a successful nation. We must stop this blame game, because blaming others is nothing more than excusing ourselves.

The postage stamp proposal

Three cheers to Professor Faruq Aziz of Chittagong for putting into words what most people are thinking and asking, “Has Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina lost touch with the common people?”

Christmas on my mind

Deck the halls with boughs of holly… whenever I hear this I think of Christmas. Red and green presents flash in my mind. I imagine Santa going over the moon with Rudolf guiding him. I think about the big Christmas tree standing proudly by the fireplace, with presents wrapped in shiny wrapping paper, cookies and milk beside the fireplace, waiting to be eaten by Santa. I think of baby Jesus lying in the manger glowing, the three wise men gathered around him, gazing with amazement.

The demon and deaths

We saw more garment workers die the most horrendous death. Some jumped to their deaths and fire snapped up the others. The condition of the injured is unspeakable with most of them completely being disabled for the rest of their lives.

International

Obama to sign end to military gay ban

The United States stood yesterday on the cusp of letting gays serve openly in its military for the first time, as the US Congress sent President Barack Obama a bill to bring about the historic shift.

India's Congress vows to fight corruption

India's ruling Congress party yesterday vowed to fight corruption by fast-tracking court cases, as the government tried to overcome stinging criticism after a string of financial scandals.

UN force rejects order to quit Ivory Coast

The United Nations peacekeeping force in Ivory Coast rejected isolated leader Laurent Gbagbo's demand that it pack its bags yesterday, at the risk of provoking a showdown with his hardline supporters.

Assange vows WikiLeaks strength despite new threats

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said the site will stay strong despite another blow to its funding and the publication yesterday of new details of the sex crime allegations against him.

Militants hold Afghan army centre after deadly attack

Militants were occupying an army recruitment centre in northern Afghanistan yesterday, officials said, in one of two attacks against Afghan military personnel that killed 13 people.

US troubleshooter proposes North Korea military hotline

US troubleshooter Bill Richardson has proposed to officials in Pyongyang that North and South Korea set up a military hotline to address incidents along their border, CNN reported yesterday.

Iraq PM to name cabinet, delay security posts

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will himself take charge of Iraq's security as ministers heading the army and police will not yet be named when he unveils his cabinet today, sources said yesterday.

Venezuela's Chavez and US clash over future ambassador

Venezuela has reiterated its opposition to the man likely to become the next US ambassador to the country.

Thai Red Shirts gather in Bangkok

Thousands of Thailand's "Red Shirts" gathered in Bangkok yesterday to mark seven months since a deadly military crackdown on their anti-government protest.

US-Turkish ties 'more important than ever'

US ties with Turkey are "more important than ever" despite differences over Iran, President Barack Obama said, also urging Ankara to repair ties with Israel, in an interview published yesterday.

Sri Lanka relents over UN war crimes experts

Sri Lanka has softened its stance and agreed to welcome a panel of experts appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to probe alleged war crimes, a minister said Saturday.

Five killed in Gaza Strip

An Israeli air strike has killed five people in the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian sources and the Israeli military yesterday.

Republicans block youth immigration bill

Senate Republicans on Saturday doomed an effort that would have given hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants a path to legal status if they enrolled in college or joined the military.

UN offered Mugabe retirement exile deal

The United Nations offered Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe a retirement package and safe haven overseas if he agreed to stand down, according to a US diplomatic cable revealed by WikiLeaks yesterday.

North Korea forces on alert

North Korea has boosted the readiness of its military forces on the coast nearest to a planned live-fire drill by South Korea, the South's Yonhap news agency said yesterday, quoting a government source.

Arts & Entertainment

Hashem Khan’s solo exhibition at National Museum

Veteran artist Hashem Khan's current solo exhibition is now on at Nalinikanta Bhattoshali Gallery, National Museum, in Dhaka. The exhibition has been organised by Hashem Khan-Parveen Trust, and will continue till January 2.

Return to Eden

Winter festivals always seem to evoke our childhood memories. Pitha over the fire, heavy mist lifting off the tree tops, the list of mental images are endless. So when we were invited to the commemoration of RKB Mallick School at our ancestral home, we started packing almost immediately. It was an opportunity to pay homage to the school that had transformed the village from a farmland to a modern hub. Taking part in the age-old festivities rural Bangladesh is famous for was a cherry on top.

Our father and his musical legacy

When we take the stage, performing to hundreds or thousands of music enthusiasts, we feel that the audience -- representing all generations -- see and hear our father's reflection in us.

‘Praner Khela’ at Bengal Centre

This month's instalment of 'Praner Khela', a musical soiree organised by Bengal Foundation, was held at Bengal Centre in the capital on December 18, according to a press release.

Manisha Koirala opens Ripon's photo exhibit in Kathmandu

The 5th solo photography exhibition of Bangladeshi photographer S.A. Shahriar Ripon opened at the Nepal Art Council Gallery in Kathmandu on December 13, according to a press release.

District conference of Udichi in Thakurgaon

The first district unit conference of Udichi Shilpi Goshthi was held on Saturday in Panchagarh district town.

Ochena Manush on ATN Bangla

Drama serial “Ochena Manush” is being aired on ATN Bangla every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 10:55pm. Directed by Ripon Nabi, the serial is jointly produced by Pathik and Global Media.

Bharateswari Homes celebrates Victory Day

A vibrant cultural function and a discussion were held at Bharateswari Homes, founded by philanthropist Ranada Prosad Saha, at Mirzapur in Tangail on December 16 to mark the 39th Victory Day.

OP-ED

The beleaguered garment sector

After the 14 December's devastating fire at the Ha-meem group's sportswear factory at Ashulia near the capital and the huge toll of life and property that it claimed, fear has gripped the factory workers. In consequence, on Saturday, December 18, workers of the factory were again in panic. Why so? Because some plaster and cement came off the ceiling of eighth floor and fell with a thud on the floor. A rumour that the roof of the building was collapsing also went the rounds pushing the panic button. As expected, there was a stampede and in consequence 25 workers were injured.

Who has the last word?

Do we remember what we have heard or what we wanted to hear? Famous last words are tricky. Even strangers can get infected with nerves at the bedside of a dying man, not least because evidence of mortality induces depressing thoughts of your own inevitable departure. Relatives and friends are too affected by sentiment. Assuming that the deathbed utterance, if there is one, is more likely to be a mumble rather than oratory, the opportunity for tweaking is high, either in the interest of clarity or to improve the quality. Did Groucho Marx really say, "Die, my dear? Why, that's the last thing I'll do!?" Or Conrad Hilton, founder of the eponymous hotel chain, depart on the less-than-grand note of "Leave the shower curtain on the inside of the tub." The great Italian traveller sounds far more credible: "I have not told half of what I saw." As does the brilliant Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, "I've had 18 straight whiskies. I think that's the record." Such pitch perfect sentences seem edited by a benefactor for an anthology, which is where I have picked them from.

Tapping our own resources

Bangladesh is presently producing 4,000 MW of electricity during peak hours against the demand of 5,500 MW. Thus, the country is facing acute power shortage. The government has plans to raise power production by increasing gas production and importing coal to run gas-based and coal-based power plant.

Trade with North-East India

Minister for Industries & Commerce, Handloom Handicraft & Sericulture, Rural Development and Forests Jitendra Chaudhury of the government of Tripura, who is the main architect of the concept of a 1971 war memorial to be built at South Tripura district, and has had very close attachment with Bangladesh since the War of Liberation in 1971, talked to The Daily Star Special Correspondent Rezaul Karim on how Bangladesh and Tripura can be benefited through trade and investment, establishment of old communication links, transit and transshipment and ties between the people of Bangladesh and Tripura.

Out of Africa . . .

There is something terribly wrong going on in Cote d' Ivoire, or the Ivory Coast as we once were wont to call it. Remember the country's first president, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, in that remarkable era when Africa began to break free of colonial rule in the 1960s?



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