The Daily Star

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Saturday, October 25, 2014


News of: Wednesday, 29th of December, 2010

Front Page

Rural students rule

Class-V students outside the capital have beaten those in Dhaka in the primary education terminal examinations for the second year in a row.

Sircar, Delwar sued

The Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday filed five cases against three senior BNP leaders and a former accounts chief of the parliament secretariat.

Major wetland to vanish for airport

The government decision of building Bangabandhu International Airport covering an area that includes thousands of acres of agricultural land and the biggest wetland near the capital without any feasibility study and environment impact assessment (EIA) has triggered mass protests in the localities.

SC asks for documents from TIB

The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday asked the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) to submit relevant documents and its household survey report that said most service seekers fell victim to corruption at the judiciary.

83.93pc pass in Ebtedayee final exams

The results of Ebtedayee Education Terminal Examination, 2010, introduced for the first time in the country, were published yesterday with 83.93 percent students coming out successful.

Tales of the talent

No doubt that the most successful students in the primary education terminal examination have done exceptionally well and are overjoyed with their triumph. But the joy of Sadiya Hassan Drishti who jointly secured the second place knows no bound, as she achieved the feat amid immense hardship.

JMB men guided by manual

The instruction manual recovered by crime busters from a JMB den compiles a set of guidelines for underground militants reorganising the terror outfit.

Dropout fear mounts

Despite witnessing a good result in this year's primary education terminal examinations, a significant number of students out of over four lakh may drop out from the primary education level, posing a threat to attaining the goal of ensuring cent percent enrolment by 2011.

Cop found dead in city hotel

A police constable and a filling station employee were found dead at a hotel in the capital's Ashkona yesterday.

11 killed as 2 buses collide in Comilla

At least 11 people were killed and 40 others injured when two buses collided on Dhaka-Chittagong highway near Kather Pool of Chandina upazila in Comilla yesterday.

Memories of horror

Mohsin Ali had kept things to himself since the country's independence, but yesterday when prosecutors of the International Crimes Tribunal visited Rokeya Hall of Dhaka University he could not resist describing his wartime experience to them.

Murder, robbery charges dropped

A court in Dhaka yesterday withdrew dacoity and murder charges against five persons, including two fugitives, considering it ''politically motivated” and meant for “harassment”.

All but one injured die

The death toll from Friday's fire incident at the city's Khilkhet rose to 10 as two more victims succumbed to their burn injuries at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) yesterday.

HR Commission chief for fair trial of jawans

BDR jawans held in Khagrachhari District Jail have complained about being denied justice and it is ominous if a person is deprived of a fair trial, said Professor Mizanur Rahman, chairman of National Human Rights Commission.

BNP decides to contest by-elections

BNP has decided to participate in the January 27 by-elections in Brahmanbaria and Habiganj.

DCs getting authority to transfer UNOs

Divisional commissioners are set to get the authority to transfer upazial nirbahi officers (UNO) in their jurisdictions.

London home to Hamas hub

Israel's defence ministry accused a London-based Palestinian centre yesterday of "terror-affiliated activities" and being the organisational arm of the militant Islamic Hamas movement in Europe.

India plans to launch 30 satellites

India is mulling to launch at least 30 earth observation satellites in the next one decade, a senior official at the Department of Space (DoS) said yesterday.

UAE considered keeping Hamas hit quiet

Diplomatic cables recently released by WikiLeaks indicate authorities in the United Arab Emirates debated whether to keep quiet about the high-profile killing of a Hamas operative in Dubai in January.

TOP TEN SCHOOLS

Viqarunnisa Noon School & College (Dhaka)
Monipur High School (Dhaka)
Ideal School & College (Dhaka)

Editorial

Latest arms hauls

Within eight days of each other, at the same site in Sherpur, namely, Bakakura village in Jhenaigati upazila bordering India, two dens of clandestine elements have been successfully cleared. Their abandoned arms caches of substantive quantities were hauled up by our border security forces and the police. We commend them for their successful operations which, to our mind, bear a significance beyond just the busting of dens.

Settling land disputes in CHT

The reported suspension of the hearings by the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Land Dispute Resolution Committee (LDRC) to settle the local indigenous population's long unresolved land ownership issue is disconcerting. The seemingly differing views of the LDRC's chairman that the disputes could be resolved through the existing Land Commission's laws, while the agitating tribal people's demand that those have to be amended including their additional demand seeking resignation of the LDRC chairman has further complicated the situation.

Sports

Ismail the difference

A last-gasp strike from Rwandan Habumugisha Ismail helped Mohammedan Sporting Club begin their Grameenphone Bangladesh League campaign on the right note with a 1-0 win over the 10-men Chittagong Abahani at the Birshreshtha Mostafa Kamal Stadium yesterday.

How many tickets for the public?

Tickets for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 matches in Bangladesh go on sale across the country from January 1, but the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) still could not give a proper breakdown of the tickets and tell how many of them will be available for the public.

Rajin helps Tarun to first win

An unbeaten 85 by Rajin Saleh gave Surjo Tarun their first victory in the Premier Cricket League yesterday as they beat Prime Doleshwar by seven wickets at the Shaheed Kamruzzaman Stadium in Rajshahi.

Eng zero in on Ashes

England were on the verge of retaining the Ashes after feeble Australian batting left the fourth Melbourne Test at their mercy on Tuesday.

Nazir & Hall's best shows

The 2007 cricket World Cup held for the first time in the West Indies was the biggest event in terms of teams participating. In addition to the ten Test nations and one-day status holders Kenya, five associate nations took part.

V-Day hockey

Muktabihanga and Bangladesh Police chalked up big-margin victories in their respective matches of the Dhaka Bank Victory Day Hockey Championship at the Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium yesterday.

Nat'l kabaddi

Border Guards Bangladesh and Bangladesh Police will meet in the final of the National Kabaddi Championship as they won their respective semifinals at the Kabaddi Stadium in Paltan yesterday.

Dhaka school soccer from today

Ashiyan City Dhaka Metropolis School Football tournament gets underway today at Birshreshtha Mostafa Kamal Stadium with Sena Palli High School taking on St Joseph High School.

Nilphamari's narrow win

Nilphamari defeated Lalmonirhat by 14 runs in a Gaibandha region match of the Standard Chartered Young Tigers Cricket Tournament at the local stadium here yesterday.

Kiwis take T20 series

New Zealand wrapped up their Twenty20 cricket series against Pakistan with a match to spare when they blasted their way to a 39-run win in the second match here Tuesday.

Pressure grows further

The pressure on Ricky Ponting's captaincy intensified when he was again out cheaply as Australia lurched towards looming defeat against England in the fourth Ashes Test on Tuesday.

Captain, coach doubt suspended Pak trio?

Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, coach Waqar Younus and security manager Khawaja Najam raised serious doubts about three suspended players to the game's governing body, a report said Tuesday.

Brilliant Bresnan

England's Tim Bresnan said he revelled in the pressure of a big occasion as he swung the fourth Test and the Ashes towards England with a brilliant spell of bowling on Tuesday.

Double for Ishita

Ishita Afroze of BKSP claimed a double as she won both the women's and the girls' singles titles in the Runner Group Victory Day Tennis Cham-pionship at the Naogaon Tennis Club yesterday.

Harris out of Ashes

Australian paceman Ryan Harris suffered a stress ankle fracture while bowling in the fourth Ashes Test and will require surgery forcing him to miss the rest of the series, Cricket Australia said on Tuesday.

Advantage India

VVS Laxman made a polished 96 before India's bowlers grabbed three wickets to give their side the advantage on the third day of the second Test against South Africa at Kingsmead on Tuesday.

Chelsea Gunned down

Arsenal kept the pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester United and delivered a hammer blow to Chelsea's hopes of retaining the title with a 3-1 victory over the struggling champions on Monday.

L'pool welcome Wolves

Liverpool welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Anfield on Wednesday with defender Fabio Aurelio believing it is the first of three quick-fire games that could define the Merseyside club's season.

Venky's in trouble

The new owners of English Premier League side Blackburn Rovers, Indian poultry firm Venky's, are facing a claim for more than five million dollars for allegedly reneging on a proposed joint venture deal.

'Season isn't over'

Bayern Munich may be 14 points behind Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund, but defender and Germany's World Cup captain Philipp Lahm said Tuesday that the season isn't over yet.

Bastian best in Germany

Bayern Munich star Bastian Schweinsteiger was named German footballer of the year by sporting magazine Kicker on Monday.

Argentina big 5 debt ridden

Argentina's big five clubs are 650 million pesos (123.5 million euros) in debt, with River Plate in the most precarious position, local media reported on Monday.

Cassano joins Milan teammates

Controversial Italian forward Antonio Cassano on Monday joined up with his future AC Milan teammates for a winter training camp in Dubai.

Cha a fan of Freddie's underwear

South Korean international Cha Du Ri admitted on Monday that he's a fan of Celtic target Freddie Ljungberg's fashionable choice of underwear as well as the Swede's stylish game.

Business

Meghna aims to double turnover, jobs

When many domestic businesses are stuck in energy crisis and have shelved new ventures or expansion ideas, Meghna Group of Industries has taken the risk of investing Tk 1,400 crore ($200 million) for expansion and setting up new lines of business.

RMG a bright spot

A series of events marked the outgoing year in the readymade garment sector that stayed on track, thanks to robust growth in exports. The early part of the year was not so bright. But orders for Bangladeshi garments poured in, with some Western economies shaking off recession jitters.

Migrant jobs on the decline: study

The global economic downturn cut the number of Bangladeshi migrant workers by 17.86 percent in 2009, a recent research has revealed.

Home loans for BB staff raised

Home loans for members of the central bank staff have been raised by 92 percent in view of an increase in the prices of land and construction materials.

BB targets mass solar power

Bangladesh Bank (BB) has directed commercial banks to provide loans for installing solar panels in residential, commercial and industrial buildings.

SEC approves twin IPOs, rights offers

The stockmarket regulator approved initial public offerings (IPOs) of two new companies and rights offers of two listed firms yesterday.

New internet security solutions launched

Ahn Lab Inc, a provider of integrated security solutions, has launched an internet security solutions package in a bid to tap banks and other financial institutions.

Reforms to local govt a must: analysts

The country's local government system must be strengthened further so that the general mass can reach policymakers with their demands, speakers said at a meeting in Dhaka yesterday.

Atiur praises banks' role in economy

Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman Tuesday said the country's economy is on the right track and progressing the way it was expected.

The year of living dangerously

It was Europe's 'annus horribilis,' with game-changing bailouts for Greece and Ireland, more emergency rescues seemingly guaranteed and tens of millions of citizens expressing rage when the boom times turned to bust.

Big names, big budgets fall flat in Bollywood in 2010

Big names and big budgets largely fell flat in Bollywood in 2010, analysts said, but the year at least saw new directors emerge unafraid to push the boundaries to cater for a changing audience.

Alcatel-Lucent pays US fine on corruption charges

French-based telecom equipment giant Alcatel-Lucent agreed to pay 137 million dollars in fines and penalties to settle US charges it paid bribes to win contracts in Latin America and Asia, officials said.

Fuel consumption falls after subsidy cuts: Iran

Fuel consumption across Iran has fallen since the government began scrapping subsidies on energy goods, a top official said on Monday, adding the economic restructuring has been generally well received.

Challenging the neo-liberalism within

The European countries are facing people's resistance against the fiscal austerity adopted by the different governments. The fiscal austerities -- cut in budget deficit and public expenditure on social sectors -- have come under severe criticism. Besides different independent organisations, leading international organisations also raised questions of such austerities that are driven by neo-liberal dogmatism.

Honduran coffee draws from sweat of children

Evelyn and Carlos toil for 10 hours a day on chilly mountainsides in Honduras, filling baskets with ripe red coffee beans for a handful of dollars: they are six and eight years old.

Fast track to transit

The Chittagong Port Authority has taken up a massive programme to revamp itself appropriately for giving transit facilities to neighbouring countries.

An independent administrator for CPA?

As the Chittagong Port prepares to deal with transit shipments, The Daily Star caught up with Nasir Uddin Chowdhury, first vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and a member of Chittagong Port Users' Forum. Here is his take on the hot-button issue.

Titas declares 35pc dividends

Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company declared 25 percent cash and 10 percent stock dividends for 2009-10 for its shareholders.

BTMA’s new president

Jahangir Alamin, chairman of Shamsul Alamin Group and managing director of Fuad Spinning Mills, has been elected president of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association for 2011-12.

Bafeda gets new chief

SM Aminur Rahman, managing director and chief executive officer of Janata Bank, was elected chairman of Bangladesh Foreign Exchange Dealers' Association (Bafeda) for 2011-12.

Narsingdi farmers expect huge winter production

The farmers in Narsingdi expect to produce around 72,500 tonnes of winter vegetables in the current winter season.

Asian markets lower

Asian stock markets were mostly lower on Tuesday as traders returned to the Hong Kong bourse for the first time since China raised interest rates on Christmas Day.

Metropolitan

Guardians protest 'irregularities'

Guardians of admission aspirants of class III to different government schools in Rajshahi city yesterday demonstrated for alleged irregularity in publishing admission results.

Road crashes kill six, injure 73

Six people were killed and 73 others injured in road accidents in Comilla, Chapainawabganj, Brahmanbaria, Lalmonirhat and Kishoreganj districts yesterday.

Recruit more manpower, import products

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has requested Kuwait to liberalize its recruitment policy for Bangladeshi manpower.

12 projects worth Tk 2795cr approved

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) yesterday approved 12 development projects involving Tk 2,795 crore, including three projects for the railway sector involving Tk 1,283 crore.

Accept constructive criticism against govt

A parliamentary body yesterday called upon the government to accept constructive criticism against it from different quarters including the media.

NGOs overlap programmes

NGO Affairs Bureau (NGOAB) has decided to limit the non-government organisations' programmes so they cannot get concentrated in the same places with the same projects.

Court order on bidder's offer likely today

The chamber judge of the appellate division is expected to pass an order today on whether authorities concerned have to open the technically non-responsive bidder's financial offer for the proposed elevated expressway.

Boiler blast kills two, injures 50

Two workers were killed and 50 others injured, eight of them critically in a boiler blast in a tobacco factory at Najirerhat in Sadar upazila yesterday evening.

Invent climate tolerant technologies: President

President Zillur Rahman yesterday laid emphasis on inventing climate and salinity tolerate technologies to adapt to changing circumstances due to the global warming.

Factory fined Tk 19.5 lakh for polluting canal

The department of environment (DoE) yesterday fined a dyeing factory Tk 19.5 lakh for polluting Karna Para canal in Savar, the outskirts of the capital.

Witnesses threatened by wives of accused

Wives of two accused of BDR headquarters' record wing in BDR mutiny threatened the family members of two witnesses -- sepoy assistant Noman Abdullah Mamun and sepoy Feroj -- recently, the prosecutor alleged.

Maggi Soup awards quiz contest winners

A prize giving ceremony of Maggi Healthy Soup Quiz Contest has been held recently at Russian Cultural Centre of Dhanmondi in the city, says a press release.

US embassy closed Dec 30, Jan 2

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 be closed at 1:00pm on Thursday, December 30, and will remain closed on Sunday, January 2 to celebrate the new year. New year's day is an American holiday, says a press release.

Korean volunteers arrive

A ten-member team of Korea Overseas Volunteers (KOVs) has arrived here aiming to provide training on different fields including nursing, community development, computer education, and automobile.

CUTA election today

Election of the Chittagong University Teachers' Association (CUTA) will be held today.

RU honours classes from Jan 10

The classes of the first year honours courses under the session 2010-11 of Rajshahi University (RU) will start form January 10, 2011.

Girl's body found

Police recovered body of a teenage girl from a house at Fulchar village in Keraniganj yesterday.

Poltu elected IUATLD's regional chairman

Muzaffar Hossain Poltu has been elected the South East Asia Regional Chairman of International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD) for next two years.

Bus rams police van

A rash driven bus rammed into a police pickup van injuring at least nine police near National Press Club in the city yesterday morning.

Trader rescued after abduction

At a drive, police on Sunday rescued a trader from Sirajganj who was abducted a week back for ransom from the city's Ramna and arrested six alleged abductors in this connection.

Five CNG drivers freed hours after arrest

Police yesterday arrested here five CNG auto-rickshaw drivers who were protesting the increase in daily rental they are to pay to the vehicle owners.

Police to quiz Dipjol at jail gate

A Dhaka Court yesterday allowed Mirpur police to interrogate Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) Ward Councillor and film actor Monwar Hossain Dipjol at jail gate within two days in a case filed for snatching Tk 5 lakh from a businessman on August 1 this year.

Morality campaign day on Jan 1

Swami Swarupanondo Sahittya O Sangit Gobeshona Parishad and Swami Sarupanondo Foundation, Dhaka University unit are jointly going to observe the Morality Campaign Day-2011 on January 1.

Raheed Ejaz new DCAB president

Raheed Ejaz of the daily Prothom Alo and Abdul Majid of the daily Shamokal have been elected unopposed president and general secretary of Diplomatic Correspondents Association (DCAB) for 2011, says a press release.

Try organisations behind war crimes

The organisations whose ideologies inspired the crimes against humanity during the War of Liberation in 1971 should face trial alongside the individual accused, speakers told a discussion yesterday.

170 more cases to be dropped

The government yesterday recommended withdrawal of 170 more cases classifying those as "politically motivated".

Death anniversary

Today is the 17th death anniversary of Abdul Jabber Khan, a freedom fighter and the first filmmaker in the country, says a press release.

HR Commission chief for fair trial of jawans

BDR jawans held in Khagrachhari District Jail have complained about being denied justice and it is ominous if a person is deprived of a fair trial, said Professor Mizanur Rahman, chairman of National Human Rights Commission.

Dhaka, Phnom Penh to set up joint commission

Bangladesh and Cambodia have decided to set up a joint commission to boost bilateral relations and agreed to conclude bilateral agreements on agricultural cooperation, cultural cooperation, and investment promotion and protection.

National

Illegal sand lifting threatens approach road

Local leaders of the ruling Awami League (AL) have continued illegal sand extraction at the east end of Bangabandhu Multipurpose Bridge (BMB) over Jamuna River in Bhuapur upazila of Tangail district, causing damage to the approach road of the country's largest road-cum-railway bridge.

Murder accused Jubo League leader surrenders, sent to jail

Pabna Cognizance Court-3 yesterday sent Sujanagar upazila unit Jubo League Secretary Tofazzal Hossain Tofa, after he surrendered to the court in a murder case.

Cuta polls today

Election of the Chittagong University Teachers' Association (Cuta) will be held today.

JCD factions clash in Dinajpur

Four BNP activists were injured as two factions of Chhatra Dal locked in clash over formation of its municipality committee on Monday, party sources said.

Fire kills one in Chittagong

An elderly woman was killed by fire in Raozan upazila on Monday.

Stalker jailed in Nilphamari

Additional District Magistrate's Court, Nilphamari, on Sunday sentenced a young man to 40 days' imprisonment for stalking a college girl.

ELECTION FEVER

Khulna: Nine mayor aspirants from two municipalities

Nine candidates have finally remained in the race to capture mayoral posts of Chalna Paikgacha municipalities of the district. Of them, five are contesting for the mayoral post of Chalna municipality. They are Sheikh Abdul Hamid, Abul Khair Khan, Sanat Kumar Biswas, Kumaresh Biswas and Achinta Kumar Mondol, reports our staff correspondent.

Locals vandalise Jatra stage in Lalmonirhat

Local people vandalised a stage for jatra (open air drama) in protest against holding of obscene dance and gambling under the cover of the traditional entertainment for rural people at Chapartol village in Kaliganj upazila of Lalmonirhat district yesterday dawn.

Verdict in Sylhet BDR mutiny case today

The special court-14, set up at Sylhet sector headquarters, will deliver the judgment in a mutiny case against 44 BDR men of 21 Rifles Battalion at 3:00pm today, an official said yesterday evening.

Early execution of verdict demanded

Over 300 teachers, students and employees of economics department of Rajshahi University (RU) yesterday brought out a silent procession on the campus demanding speedy execution of verdict of Prof Yunus murder case.

13-month-old girl burnt alive in Satkhira

A-13-month-old girl was burnt to death and her parents received serious burn injuries while criminals set fire to their dwelling house at Pathatghata village in Sadar upazila on Monday night.

Incentive for poor mothers

At least 550 mothers who had safe delivery at Titas upazila health complex or other health facilities in Comilla were recently given Tk 2,500 each as cash incentive and travel costs for coming to health facilities. The poor mothers also received a gift package of saree, dress for new born and towels from UH&FPO Dr Abdur Rashid Molla. DSF Coordinator Masum Al Jaki was also present. The Demand Side Financing (DSF) activities of World Health Organisation (WHO) started in Titas upazila in September 2009. Since then 3,318 vouchers have been distributed among poor pregnant women and the number of total delivery rose to 2,136. Government of Bangladesh in collaboration with WHO is implementing the project titled Maternal Health Voucher Scheme under DSF Project.

BSF hands over body

Indian Boarder Security Force (BSF) yesterday handed over the body of a Bangladeshi farmer to the members of Border Guards of Bangladesh (BGD) at Burimari border of Patgram upazila. BGD members at Burimari camp received the body and later handed over it to the family members in presence of police. Bangladeshi citizen Belal Hossain,26, son of Afsar Ali of Burimari Namazitari village was shot dead by BSF near main pillar no 868 in Bamondol area of Burimari border under Patgram upazila on Monday morning. At that time, two Bangladeshi citizens were also bullet hit by BSF. The The three went to field for work near the main pillar at Burimari border, BGD members and locals said. BSF took away Belal's body to India while bullet injured Babu Miah,25, and Hasain Ali,28, fled away. Later, the two took admission at Patgram Upazila Health Complex where they underwent treatment.

Auto-rickshaw driver murdered

Muggers killed an auto-rickshaw driver and took away his three-wheeler at Mizapur Digha under Sadar upazila on Wednesday night. Victim Zakir Sonar, 50, was son of Abdul Kader Sonar of Amhati Kalikapur village under the Sadar upazila. Family sources said, a gang of muggers hacked Zakir to death with sharp weapons and took away his auto-rickshaw while he was returning from Muminpur area of the district. Police yesterday noon recovered the driver's body from a sugarcane field in Mizapur sluggish gate area. The body was sent to Natore Sadar Hospital morgue for autopsy and a case was filed in this connection.

Girl rescued from traffickers

Police rescued a teenage girl while being trafficked to India at Choto Atchora crossing under Benapole Port police station on Monday. The victim was identified as Tania Akter,16, daughter of Fazlul Haque of Narsingdi district. Police said, Tania came to Benapole by bus following a family feud and fell into the hands of a gang of human traffickers. On information, Benapole Port police rescued Tania from the clutches of traffickers. But the traffickers managed to flee in the afternoon. Later, Jessore Human Rights officials handed over Tania to her family members.

Workshop on biogas

Speakers here at a workshop said that biogas would be the best way to solve fuel crisis in Bangladesh. The government should create law to promote the system. Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) and GTZ jointly organised the daylong workshop on biogas system for journalists at Chittagong Press Club yesterday. Senior programme manager of IDCOL Nazmul Haque Faisal, NM Zobayer and press club president Abu Sufian were present at the workshop. Speakers further said that the people of Chittagong had been suffering much due to insufficient gas supply. Although fuel crisis became acute during previous years but there was no quick solution to this misery. It is high time one should focus on biogas as renewable source of energy. Earlier, senior program manager of IDCOL Nazmul Haque Faisal, NM Zobayer presented two different power point presentations on biogas.

15 shops gutted

A devastating fire that broke out at a bazar here gutted at least 15 shops on Monday. Witnesses said, the fire originated from an electric short circuit at a shop at Palong Bazaar and soon engulfed the adjacent 14 shops at about 12:00 noon. On information, fire fighters from the district headquarters and Madaripur rushed in and extinguished the flame after one hour of hectic effort with the help of local people. The affected shop owners claimed that the extent of loss from fire might exceed Tk 6 crore.

International

Pak coalition partner to quit cabinet

The second-largest party in Pakistan's ruling coalition is expected to withdraw its ministers from the federal cabinet later yesterday, weakening an unpopular government with a narrow majority.

Xiaobo celebrates 55th birthday in prison

Jailed Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo marked his 55th birthday yesterday in a prison in northeast China, prompting renewed calls from rights groups for his immediate release.

UNHCR concerned over forced return of Myanmar displaced

The UN refugees agency yesterday raised concerns over Thailand's move to forcibly return a group of displaced Myanmar nationals on Christmas day, saying that conditions were not met for safe returns.

UAE offers reprieve for foreign workers

Foreign workers in the United Arab Emirates, including Indians, will now be able to switch jobs after two years without facing a six-month ban for leaving their work, a senior official from the country's Labour Ministry has said.

Netanyahu proposal 'unacceptable'

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has suggested that an "interim agreement" with the Palestinians could be a solution to reaching a comprehensive peace accord in the Middle East.

Nepal allows foreign adoption of disabled children

Nepal has amended legislation to allow disabled children to be adopted abroad, a government official said yesterday, two years after a scandal over "fake" orphans.

Kuwait opposition grills PM in secret session

Kuwaiti opposition lawmakers yesterday began quizzing the oil-rich emirate's prime minister behind closed doors over allegations of breaching the constitution and suppressing freedoms.

Russia tells West 'to mind own business' over tycoon

Russia yesterday tartly told the West to keep out of its domestic affairs after "unacceptable" criticism by the United States and Europe of the new guilty verdict for jailed tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Gbagbo faces West African ultimatum

Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo faced a last-chance ultimatum yesterday as three West African presidents jetted in to Abidjan to warn him to step down or risk military action.

Suu Kyi meets Myanmar youths

Myanmar democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi met around 200 young people at her party's headquarters yesterday as part of her efforts to reach out to a new generation following her release.

Neanderthals cooked vegetables

Neanderthals cooked and ate plants and vegetables, a new study of Neanderthal remains reveals.

Somali pirates release seized German-owned freighter

Somali pirates have released a German-owned chemical tanker with a crew of 22 which had been seized in May, the EU naval task force Atalante said yesterday.

India issues nationwide terror alert

India increased security in major cities across the country yesterday after receiving information that a Pakistan-based militant group was planning an attack over New Year's weekend.

N Korea cracks down on lax border patrols

North Korea has launched a crackdown on military border guards suspected of assisting in the trafficking of people and drugs in exchange for bribes, a Seoul-based defectors' group said yesterday.

Times names Chilean miners team of the year

The 33 Chilean miners who survived 69 days trapped underground before emerging to the surface in joyous scenes have been named the team of the year by The Times newspaper in Britain.

Iran hangs 'Mossad spy'

Iran has hanged a man after finding him guilty of spying for Israel's intelligence service, the official Irna news agency says.

US missile salvo kills 15 in Pakistan

A barrage of US missile strikes killed at least 15 militants in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal district yesterday, obliterating compounds and vehicles used by fighters, officials said.

Muslim group claims Nigeria blasts

A Nigerian Muslim group formerly known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for series of bombings on Christmas Eve in Nigeria that left at least 38 people dead and sparked violent reprisals.

Malaysia Shiites protest discrimination

A Malaysian Shiite leader yesterday protested at discrimination against the sect's followers after the detention of 200 members by religious officials who claim they breached local Islamic laws.

Tunisian protesters clash with police

Scuffles have broken out in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, between police and protesters angry at high unemployment levels.

Arts & Entertainment

The War As an Unforgettable Chapter

Artist Swapan Chowdhury's solo painting exhibition, titled “My Memory of 71” is now on at Dhaka Art Centre. The exhibition features 155 artworks in different mediums. A major feature of the show is that many paintings of the exhibition were drawn during the Liberation War. The Liberation War, which had a profound effect on the artist, is the theme of his paintings at the exhibit.

Zainul Festival at Faculty of Fine Arts

Artisans from Rajshahi, Manikganj, Nawabganj and other parts of the country will display Lakkhishora, Shokher Hari, Shika, Shola and more at the festival.

Srabon Reza’s Quest for Rhythm

A six daylong exhibition featuring up and coming photographer Srabon Reza, titled “Quest for Rhythm”, was held recently at Drik Gallery in Dhanmondi, Dhaka.

Art competition to mark Zainul Abedin birth anniversary

Marking the 96th birth anniversary of Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin, a painting competition for children was held at the premises of Zainul Abedin Shangrahashala (art gallery) last Friday afternoon.

A Master of Tunes

Marking 51st death anniversary of legendary folk singer-composer Abbas Uddin, cultural organisation Bhawaiya Ongon arranged a discussion and musical programme at Shawkat Osman auditorium, Central Public Library in Shahbagh, Dhaka on December 27.

DS Café

DS Café has received a tremendous response from you, the readers. We want to involve you more. Now the readers get to vote for the celebrity of the month and we'll have him or her at DS Café respond to your questions. Every month we'll give a choice of three cultural personalities and the one receiving the most votes will be on the hot seat at DS Café. This month's shortlist includes (A) director-actor Salauddin Lavlu; (B) actress Tamalika Karmakar and (C) actor Hasan Masud.

Santali Life in Music and Dance

Though most in audience were not familiar with the Santali language, the sheer spirit of the indigenous men and women demonstrated through their soulful songs and dance at Kumarpara Mukta Mancha, in Rajshahi town, last Monday night won over hearts.

OP-ED

Of cars, sardines and ingenuity

Finance Minister A.M.A. Muhith has just given us some most intriguing advice. He thinks it will help ease road traffic conditions if privately owned cars are packed to capacity instead of carrying one or two passengers, which is what we see being done these days. The minister has been generous enough to remind us that in countries in our neighbourhood, that is how things are done.

India-Russia strategic ties

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's two-day visit to India began on December 21 on the heels of the Chinese prime minister's trip on December 15. Medevedev's first official visit to India took place in 2008.

Quality in private universities

Knowledge is the engine of growth for any nation -- be it developing or already developed. "Human capital" has become as important, if not more important, than physical capital in explaining the wealth and poverty of nations around the world.

People's perception about service sectors

It is a recognised fact that the service sectors of Bangladesh cause hardships and sufferings to the people. It is not that the service sectors in what is now Bangladesh did not harass the people during Pakistan period or during the British colonial days. But people's sufferings have increased manifold during the last three decades or so. People's perception is that service sector establishments in the government are places where red tape, harassment, bribery and other corrupt practices are common features.

Finance minister on traffic congestion

Finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhit has recently come out with an interesting suggestion. He said that, in order to ease the traffic congestion of Dhaka, his government was thinking of either banning private cars from the city or making it compulsory for the private cars to carry 4-5 passengers. The idea seemed to me not only unrealistic but also unreasonable.



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