News of: Thursday, 23rd of December, 2010
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* Bangladesh home ministry stonewalled US govt about Rab's HR violation in 2008-09
* US refused to train Rab for HR violation records, but UK did it despite being concerned
* US, UK, India considered Rab as a potential counter-terrorism ally
* US pressured Bangladesh to reopen Phulbari coalmine for open-pit mining
A test on seawater collected from the Bay of Bengal has confirmed the oil spill off the coastline of Sitakunda in Chittagong.
Bangladesh has advanced significantly in the prestigious 'Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) Index of Democracy 2010'.
A few judges will be appointed to the Appellate Division of Supreme Court next month, since the division has been experiencing a severe shortage of judges for several months.
Bangladesh should concentrate on building capacity to utilise the climate-change fund as it will start to receive the money soon, said speakers at a roundtable yesterday.
A BDR special court yesterday asked the jail authorities to take necessary action against eight accused mutineers of 24 Rifle Battalion who unclipped their handcuffs on way to the courtroom from prison.
Election Commission (EC) doesn't see any problem in the political parties' backing candidates without party identity in the municipality election to be held in mid-January, said Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda yesterday.
Foreign Minister Dipu Moni yesterday reiterated that the government has taken all-out measures to ensure safe return of the Bangladeshi sailors aboard ship MV Jahan Moni hijacked by Somali pirates on December 5.
The government yesterday re-fixed the price of edible oil by increasing taka four per litre effective from today.
A miscreant threw acid on three siblings in the city's Lalbagh area last night.
On completion of his five-day remand, BNP lawmaker Salauddin Quader Chowdhury was denied bail and sent to jail yesterday.
The by-elections for the Habiganj-1 and Brahmanbaria-3 constituencies will be held on January 27, next year, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda announced yesterday at a press conference at the Election Commission (EC) Secretariat.
About 100 shanties were burnt down in a fire at Kazipara slum in Kazir Dewri area of the city yesterday morning.
Police last night arrested six members of banned Islamic outfit Hizb ut-Tahrir, Bangladesh, including its treasurer from the city's Uttara and recovered two petrol bombs from their possession.
The White House warned North Korea yesterday that there was no reason for it to respond to South Korea's military drills as they were "defensive" in nature and well publicized in advance.
A hermaphrodite died and six others were injured allegedly after being beaten up by a mob in the city's Badda area yesterday.
Vince Cable, the British business minister, has been stripped of power over the media sector after he was secretly taped "declaring war" on Rupert Murdoch, the chief executive of News Corp, the global mega multimedia organisation.
One has lost count of factious fights taking place within the BCL which keeps on flaunting a ruling party label despite the amended RPO, since the AL government came to power two years ago. The copybook reaction of the ruling party ranged from rebuke through exhortations to dissolution of committees to disowning the wing -- mostly as public posturing while indulgence in some form or the other continued behind the scene.
After a hundred and one ideas and moves to resolve the capital city's maddening traffic knots have failed to make any headway, the finance minister has come up with yet another proposition. This is about restricting or even banning the movement of private cars with less than five or four passengers on the city's roads, in order to provide the space for the larger vehicles for mass transit.
The next 10 days will be a nervous wait for injured Mashrafe Bin Mortaza as the consultants have suggested a conservative treatment after the final report of an MRI confirmed a near complete tear of the reconstructed ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) graft on the paceman's right knee.
Favourites India and title contenders Nepal will fight for South Asian supremacy when they meet in the final of the SAFF Women's Football Championship at the Cox's Bazaar Stadium today.
Mehrab Hossain was the star of the day as the Old DOHS skipper scored the first century of the Premier Cricket League in his side's eight-run win over Victoria Sporting Club, while Kalabagan Krira Chakra won a vital encounter against Gazi Tank Cricketers by just one wicket.
England's Kevin Pietersen Wednesday said Australia's current team could not out-sledge Test greats Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, dismissing a sharp rise in verbal clashes during the Ashes series.
The 2003 World Cup was the first to be held in the continent of Africa with South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya as co-hosts. Zimbabwe at that time was in turmoil under the iron fist of Robert Mugabe and his party ZANU-PF, a rule that victimised white farmers. Mugabe had enjoyed top spot in Zimbabwe politics since 1980. He was the Prime Minister from 198087, and from then till the present day, he has been the country's President.
Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club have all but confirmed a place in next season's Premier Cricket League with a massive 140-run victory over Uttara Sporting Club in the First Division Super League at the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium yesterday.
Five months have passed since Kutubuddin Ahmed took over the post of the convener of the ad-hoc committee of Mohammedan SC, but the move to turn the club into a limited company still hangs in the balance.
Athletic Bilbao survived a constant state of siege to hold a weakened Barcelona to a 0-0 draw at the Nou Camp in a King's Cup last 16 first-leg match on Tuesday.
Schalke 04 needed an 84th minute goal from Jefferson Farfan to edge second division Augsburg 1-0 and advance into the German Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter on Wednesday defended the "historic" choice of Russia and Qatar to host the World Cups in 2018 and 2022, calling it part of a "natural" progression into new regions.
Mario Balotelli has confirmed his desire to play for AC Milan but insists he is "very happy" at Manchester City.
Inter Milan are set to fire coach Rafael Benitez, but first want to slash his compensation payment according to the Italian press on Wednesday.
Bayern Munich coach Louis van Gaal said Tuesday he was counting on Arjen Robben returning to action for the first Bundesliga game after the winter break against Wolfs-burg on January 15.
French youngster Gael Kakuta has signed at new four and a half year contract with Chelsea, the club has announced on its official website.
Nicolas Anelka and Thierry Henry are set to agree to forfeit the bonuses they were due to be paid for France's disastrous World Cup campaign, sports minister Chantal Jouanno said Wednesday.
Women's football in South Asia is at a very rudimentary stage, trying to take off but being stifled by constraints such as nagging conservatism, lack of opportunity to play, lack of sponsorship and financial insecurity. However, some of the teams like India and Nepal have thrived in their own methods while the others keep struggling for improvement.
There were few more thrilling sights in world cricket in 2010 than Mohammad Aamer bowling and there were few more controversial too.
Roger Federer took the upper hand against Rafael Nadal on Tuesday with a two set to one win in a charity exhibition match in the Swiss city of Zurich.
Indian batting icon Sachin Tendulkar, along with Virender Sehwag, on Wednesday found a place in the list of players nominated for an ICC online poll to pick the all-time greatest team as part of one-day cricket's 40th anniversary celebrations.
The glamour and glitz of Twenty20 has had its adverse affect on Test cricket and only someone of Sachin Tendulkar's stature can help restore the waning popularity of the traditional form of the game, feels former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga.
In the quest of involving the country's people with the upcoming 2011 ICC World Cup in Bangladesh, a colourful road show was held yesterday in Brahmanbaria.
Social Drive for Community Awareness (SDCA), a non-profit youth organisation run by students, will organise an 8-a-side Charity Football Tournament for the young people of Dhaka from December 23-25 at the RAB 1 Field opposite the airport.
Two handball referees from Bangladesh have been nominated to conduct the Men's Continental Phase Challenge Trophy by the International Handball Federation.
Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel cruised to another success on Sunday as he was named German sportsman of the year.
The export trend indicates a brighter future in overseas trade, as the main export destinations are recovering fast from recession, said business leaders yesterday.
The owners of a dozen of industries located in Nabinagar to Manikganj area have paired up to overcome the gas crisis in their plants and lobby the state gas agency.
The Indian government, facing mounting public anger over soaring onion costs, on Wednesday scrapped tax on imports of the vegetable to try to rein in prices of the staple food.
The Board of Investment (BoI) yesterday introduced online registration system to help investors get their proposals approved faster and with less paper works.
Dhaka University's finance department team won the Battle of Minds 2010, a real-life business case solving competition, said a statement yesterday.
Bangladesh Bank (BB) is set to issue a new circular on green banking directing commercial banks to involve more in sustainable and environment-friendly operations, said the governor yesterday.
The new leadership of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry took over charge from the outgoing board of directors of the chamber.
Bangladesh will enter a full-fledged mobile banking network within the next three months, and the shift will be implemented within a bank-led model, the central bank governor said yesterday.
Many labour-intensive industries in Thailand want to relocate their operations to Bangladesh for its favourable business environment and policy support, said Alongkorn Ponlaboot, deputy minister of commerce from Thailand.
Workers and the readymade garment sector leaders have blamed the latest labour unrest on gradation disputes and absence of a proper counselling on new wage.
The country's leading and possibly most respectable vernacular daily The Prothom Alo celebrated its 12th anniversary on November 5. I was invited to attend. However, by the time I entered Bangabandhu International Conference Centre after completing my entrepreneurship class at North South University, all was over.
Barapakhia village in Belkuchi upazila of Sirajganj district is a remote char area with a semi-nomadic population of a mere 10,000. The annual degradation of the Jamuna River's banks makes the life of the people so volatile that it is hard for them to stay in a single place for even a year.
The CLP initially imported five solar refrigerators through the Phocos Solar Bangladesh, a representative of Phocos Germany. These five refrigerators have a capacity of 160 litres, which the CLP says easily meets the demand of the chars.
Toronto-Dominion Bank and Bank of Montreal could take a breather from big US buys after two deals in the last week, but Canadian banks will still troll for assets in a recovering US economy.
Booming iron ore and coal exports boosted commerce between Australia and top trading partner China by 8.8 percent this year and more than trebled it over the past decade, data showed Wednesday.
The pace of Japan's economic growth will halve in fiscal 2011 from this year as a stimulus-driven shopping rush eases and exports fall on a strong yen and softer demand, the government said Wednesday.
New York's attorney general on Tuesday charged accounting firm Ernst & Young with fraud for allegedly helping Lehman Brothers conceal billions of dollars in debt prior to the bank's collapse.
Asian shares were mostly lower on Wednesday in quiet trade ahead of end-of-year holidays, with Tokyo hit by weak economic figures and Shanghai investors worried about fresh lending restrictions.
Crude rallied in Asian trade Wednesday as cold weather and bullish energy demand from China sent it to two-year highs, analysts said.
Workers of three readymade garment factories, two in Gazipur and one in the capital, yesterday staged separate demonstrations over a host of demands.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday asked the members of the armed forces to work together with the people for the welfare of the country, apart from their prime duty of safeguarding independence and sovereignty.
Eleven people were killed and 34 others injured in separate road accidents in Sirajganj, Gaibandha, Brahmanbaria, Pabna, Netrakona and Gazipur on Tuesday and yesterday.
The government has a plan to revitalise the livestock sector by enhancing services at the grass root level for creating employment opportunities and improving quality of life of the rural hardcore poor.
Speakers at a press conference yesterday praised the draft comprehensive law on human trafficking and emphasised its proper implementation.
Leading ecologists yesterday called for an environment revolution in the country cautioning that public health and sustainable development will be at stake soon otherwise.
A mobile court yesterday fined Tk 1.65 lakh to 17 traders in an anti-polythene drive at the city's Karwan Bazar and sentenced to another trader for a one-month jail.
The Australian High Commission, including the Visa and Consular sections, will remain closed from December 26 to January 2 for Christmas and New Year holidays. The High Commission will re-open on January 3.
Jagannath University (JNU) Correspondents' Association yesterday held a silent procession and rally on the campus protesting Tuesday's attack on university correspondents at the association's office and ransacking of it.
A teenage boy was crushed under the wheels of a running train at Amhati near Natore Rail Station yesterday.
At least three people were injured in a factional clash of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) at Omar Gani Islamic Education Society (MES) college in the city yesterday.
The American Embassy, including the Consular Section and the American Center with the Archer K. Blood American Center Library and the Student Advising Center, will remain closed at 1:00pm today. It also will remain closed on Sunday on the occasion of Christmas Day, an American holiday, says a press release.
Three brick kilns have been fined Tk 15 lakh over the last two days for grabbing rivers and polluting croplands in Gazipur and Narsingdi.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid yesterday urged the ulemas to withdraw the December 26 hartal saying that the government would discuss with Sammilito Ulema Mashayek Parishad if it withdraws the hartal.
The Supreme Court has taken a move to provide special training to lower court judges through Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre (BPATC) and Bangladesh Military Academy (BMA) to enhance their administrative, mental and physical competencies.
The World Bank launched a project yesterday to help Bangladesh develop human resources through strengthening of public and private training institutions.
The main opposition party, BNP, has decided to accord a warm reception to its chairperson Khaleda Zia upon her return from China on Friday.
Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) yesterday renamed the road from Fulbaria to Sayedabad rail crossing as Bir Uttam Abdus Salek Chowdhury Road.
The two-day first Re-union of National Defence College (NDC) concluded at the NDC complex in Mirpur Cantonment on Tuesday.
Prime Minister's Adviser HT Imam yesterday held a meeting with the leaders of Sammilito Ulama Mashayek Parishad, a pro-BNP-Jamaat organisation, at his official residence to discuss the parishad's demands over which it called hartal on December 26.
Speakers at a roundtable yesterday said the visual media not only entertains but also influences women's choice and way of thinking about their daily activities.
Dr Muhammad Abdul Mazid, ex-secretary and former chairman of National Board of Revenue (NBR), has joined Bangladesh Diabetic Samity as chief coordinator, says a press release.
A drug addict youth stabbed a schoolgirl in Birganj upazila of Dinajpur district while
Farmers of the district are optimistic about getting bumper bean production, as the weather remained favourable in the current season.
A mobile court here sentenced a stalker to 6 months imprisonment for harassing a schoolgirl at Chatkhali village in Paikgachha upazila yesterday.
One person was killed and 40 others were injured as rival villagers clashed in Netrakona and Mymensingh districts yesterday.
The special court-12 of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) in Naogaon yesterday fixed January 24, 2011 for judgment in the mutiny case against 25 jawans of 43 Rifles battalion, reports our Chapainawabganj correspondent.
Warm clothe sellers are doing brisk business in the town and other areas of the district as common people continue to shiver with biting cold.
Muladi upazila Press Club President Monir Hossen Rari yesterday died following head injuries caused by his cousin Alauddin Rari, a retired police constable, in front of his house in Muladi Bandar area of the district Tuesday evening.
A Bangladeshi fish farmer was injured seriously when Indian Border Security Force (BSF) opened fire at Baikari border in Sadar upazila Tuesday evening.
Border Guard of Bangladesh (BGB) Ramgarh unit seized raw rubber worth Tk 28 lakh from Hasnabad and Singaria areas under Fatikchhari upazila in Chittagong on Tuesday evening. Police said, acting on a tip off, a Ramgarh BGB team led by Lt. Colonel Abdul Gaffar raided Hasnabad and Singaria in the evening and seized 318 sacks of raw rubber stolen from BFIDC rubber forest. “An organised gang is involved in stealing rubber from the government-run BFIDC rubber gardens in Ramgarh of Khagrachhari district and Fatikchhari of Chittagong district,” said Lt Colonel Gaffar.
A two-day international conference on mechanical, industrial and energy engineering will begin here today at the auditorium of Khulna University of Engineering and Technology (Kuet). Organised by the mechanical department of Kuet, over a hundred eminent research scholars and engineers from 10 countries of the world are expected to participate in the conference. They will present 114 technical papers and exchange views among themselves and also with research scholars and engineers of Bangladesh on matters relating to advancement of modern science and technology. Former vice chancellor of Kuet and an eminent engineer professor Dr M H Khan will inaugurate the two-day conference where the incumbent vice chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Alamgir will remain present as special guest.
Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and Gobindaganj police in a joint drive arrested a notorious criminal from village Satgachi under Gobindaganj upazila and recovered a pistol early Tuesday. Police said, on a tip off, a contingent of Rab and Gobindaganj police arrested Tarajul, son of Hafizur Rahman from the village. As per the confession of arrestee, the team made another drive and recovered an Italy made 9mm pistol digging earth adjacent to his home. The team also seized a motorbike from the house. Police said there were several cases against criminal Tarajul. He is an absconding accused and wanted by police.
Agitated locals vandalised at least eight buses on Tuesday while protesting the death of a cultural activist accident on Dhaka-Khulna highway under Kashiani upazila on Monday. The deceased was identified as Haidar Hossain, 24, son of Mohsin Ali and also the office secretary of Udichi of Kashiani upazila. Sources said, on Monday afternoon, a passenger bus ran over Haidar while he was going to the city on his motorbike. The agitated locals attacked the buses on their way to attend the namaj-e-janaja at the MMA Khaleq Degree College.
Group of Liberal Debaters (GOLD), a debating organisation at Rajshahi University (RU) will organise a three-day debate festival on the campus from December 28. With the slogan of 'Tarunner Budget Hok Agamir Ongikar', the festival will be held at the university Kazi Nazrul Islam auditorium in association with Gonotantrik Budget Andolon. The organisers said that the three-day festival includes inter-university debate championship-2010, career planning seminar, film show, debaters reunion and cultural programme.
Mayor and councillor aspirants submitted their nomination papers on Sunday to contest the coming municipal election in Khagrachhari, Matiranga and Ramgarh.
Election Commissioner Sohul Hossain has said army will be deployed on a limited scale in some vulnerable municipalities during the ensuing elections, reports our staff correspondent.
Thousands of protesters gathered in New Delhi yesterday to demonstrate against alleged government corruption as opposition parties launched a nationwide series of rallies.
President Barack Obama yesterday signed a law allowing gays to serve openly in the military, repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in a sweeping and historic shift for the US armed forces.
Hashim Thaci, Kosovo's prime minister, has said he will sue a Council of Europe investigator over a report that alleged he led an organised crime ring that trafficked human organs across eastern Europe.
South Korea has said it will hold new large-scale military drills involving ground and air live fire today.
European airports are struggling to help thousands of passengers stranded after severe wintry weather paralysed parts of Europe's transport network.
The New Start nuclear treaty between the US and Russia has cleared a key procedural hurdle in the US Senate and now looks set to be ratified.
Human rights groups and campaigners are being hit hard by huge web attacks launched by those opposed to their views, finds research.
The disputed president of Cote d'Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo, has said that he is ready to talk to rival Alassane Ouattara, who was recognised by the UN and other international observers as the winner of Nov 28 presidential runoff poll.
New Zealand's military has released hundreds of documents detailing claims of sightings of unidentified flying objects (UFOs).
Students are gathering in Rome for demonstrations ahead of a Senate vote on controversial education reforms.
Pakistani police yesterday arrested two senior police officers for alleged dereliction of duty over the 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, a prosecutor said.
Israel and Hamas looked to the United Nations yesterday as tensions rose along the volatile Gaza border after a series of Israeli air strikes in response to rocket fire from the strip.
Iraq's new cabinet held its first meeting yesterday faced with "enormous" challenges to improve security, public services and ties with other countries, following months of political deadlock.
In order to address the plight of widows worldwide, the UN General Assembly has declared June 23 as International Widows Day.
Russia says the UK's decision to send home a diplomat from its London embassy over espionage concerns is "groundless" and an "unfriendly step".
Spanish lawmakers have voted to approve a tough new anti-smoking law, meaning that from 2 January, bars and restaurants will be no-smoking zones.
The same Al-Qaeda-linked group that attempted to send bombs on cargo planes earlier this year considered putting poison in food served at US hotels and restaurants, US media reported.
Sweden said yesterday it would shut its embassies in Argentina, Belgium, Vietnam, Malaysia and Angola because of budgetary cuts imposed on the minority government by the opposition in parliament.
Arts & Entertainment
The US Bangladesh Foundation and Texeurop have jointly organised a photography exhibition featuring Yann Arthus-Bertrand, a French aerial photographer, filmmaker and environmentalist. The exhibition is supported by the French Embassy in Dhaka.
Delhi-based artist Bhaskar Singha was fascinated by Rabindranath Tagore's poetry and short stories right from his childhood days. With passing years, he became a great admirer of Rabindra Sangeet and the Nobel laureate's dance dramas too.
As part of its ongoing annual programme, Chhayanaut is holding a two-day classical music festival (both vocal and instrumental) at its main auditorium. Starting on December 23 evening, the festival will continue at a stretch and come to an end on Saturday morning (December 25).
Four Bangladeshi productions will be staged at the upcoming 13th International Ganga-Jamuna Theatre Festival 2010 in Kolkata. Reputed theatre troupe of Kolkata, Anik, is arranging the festival. The festival starts tomorrow (December 24) and will continue till December 31.
An eight-day theatre festival, titled, 'Mayor Natya Utshab', began in Barisal on December 20.
A 'pitha mela' (rice cake fair), including a cultural function, was held in Jhenidah on December 21 at the initiative of 'Hunger Free World'. The 'mela' was held at the Hunger Free World complex under Kaliganj upazila in Jhenidah.
A vibrant cultural programme and discussion were held last Tuesday afternoon in Faridpur on the occasion of the 5th death anniversary of accomplished local folk singer Hajera Bibi.
The culture of frequent hartals is coming back to Bangladesh, which is damaging for the economy and the country's image, and a disincentive for foreign investments. A UNDP study estimates that it costs about 1% of GDP for every three days of hartal. Frequent hartals can seriously impact our export and can jeopardise our growing benefits from economic globalisation. The business community, through FBCCI, has expressed serious concern about frequent hartals. Political stability and harmony instead are extremely important for our economic progress.
I am having a tough time convincing a friend in United States about Bangladesh's LDC status. He thinks Bangladesh is equal to India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, however these nations do not belong to LDC group. He takes me to a US diplomat who has worked in India, China, Bangladesh and Latin America. He thinks that Bangladesh, because it competes with India, China and Vietnam (all developing countries, if not developed) in apparel exports, is not an LDC, not to talk about its strong macro and social fundamentals despite the recent global meltdown and impact on its peers.
One did not have to be an expert on China to anticipate that the visit of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to India would be a flop and the one to Pakistan a success. This happened along the expected lines. There was no surprise either in New Delhi or in Islamabad.
The Christmas party is in full swing. I glance at my list. "The first lucky child to meet Santa will be Min-Min, aged three," I announce.
There is hardly any initiative for introducing solar power as alternative to electricity to meet the severe power crisis in the port city.
The operation of August 16 in 1971 by the naval commandos in Chittagong port against the Pakistani occupation forces exposed to the world that a guerilla warfare is going on in the then East Pakistan for the liberation of Bangladesh.
Memorial meet on Bhasani held
Speakers said Maulana Bhasani organised many programmes in his political life against fascism and imperialism all over the country.