The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Saturday, October 25, 2014


News of: Wednesday, 2nd of February, 2011

Front Page

Males desert Munshiganj

Tension ran high in Hashara area of Munshiganj yesterday as law enforcers allegedly vandalised some 50 houses and beat locals apparently in retaliation for the killing of a colleague the previous day.

New airport not required

The demand for airport amenities for the next 25 years in the country could be met by upgrading the capacity of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, with one fifth of the Tk 50,000 crore cost projected for the planned airport in Arial Beel, aviation experts said.

Khaleda sued

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia was sued yesterday on charges of instigating Monday's violence in Munshiganj that left a policeman killed.

Outpost burnt down, so was his savings

As the Hashara police outpost was burning on Monday, the sweats and toil of constable John Sangma also turned into ashes.

Booklovers swarm Boi Mela

Thousands of booklovers yesterday thronged the Bangla Academy premises after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the month-long Amar Ekushey Boi Mela 2011 and left the fair.

Mubarak says will not run for new term

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak early today said he will not run for a new term in office in September elections and will work during the rest of his term for a "peaceful transfer of power" in a new attempt to defuse massive protests demanding his immediate ouster.

No talk on Arial Beel at JS

The treasury bench yesterday did not allow independent lawmaker Fazlul Azim to speak on the demonstrations in Munshiganj over the proposed international airport in Arial Beel.

Slain journo's nephew held as a suspect

Detectives yesterday arrested slain journalist Farhad Khan's nephew in connection with the killings at Naya Paltan in the capital last week.

New-born Pakistan saw 'love' for Urdu

The establishment of Pakistan on August 14, 1947 saw the swift rise of arguments in favour of Urdu and Bangla, depending on the ethnicity of those engaged in the debate, as the lingua franca of the state. And what was particularly noticeable was the clear propensity of non-Bangalee scholars as well as politicians to propagate the demand for Urdu as the language of the state. It did not matter that Urdu was not the mother tongue of the peoples of the five provinces of Pakistan --- East Bengal, Punjab, Sind, Baluchistan and the North-West Frontier Province. Indeed, it was argued by Urdu enthusiasts that because of the diversity in language and ethnicity in the country, it was essential that Urdu come in as a unifying factor for the country.

Transport staff resist mobile court drive

At least 50 people, including five policemen and a journalist, were injured yesterday in a clash between ruling party backed road transport workers and law enforcers over operation of a mobile court of environment directorate task force.

Egypt protesters mass for biggest-ever rally

Massive tides of protesters flooded Cairo and Egypt's second city Alexandria yesterday for the biggest outpouring of anger yet in their relentless drive to oust President Hosni Mubarak's regime.

Row over new judges for SC Appellate Div

Nine High Court (HC) judges have contested the chief justice's recommendation for appointing four judges to the Appellate Division.

111 jawans jailed for mutiny at Pilkhana

All the 111 jawans of the record wing of the then Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) were sentenced yesterday to rigorous imprisonment ranging from two and a half years to seven years for involvement in a mutiny at BDR (now Border Guard Bangladesh) headquarters in 2009.

UAE deports 71 Bangladeshi workers

The United Arab Emirates deported 71 Bangladeshi workers on Monday on charges of instigating a strike demanding a pay hike by their employer, a construction company, Arabtec in Dubai.

Nobel committee lends support to Yunus again

Norwegian Nobel Committee has recently said it had awarded Prof Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank the peace prize in 2006 after it pieced their “larger and very positive picture together”.

Gold trader killed, shop looted in city

Unidentified criminals strangled a gold trader to death and looted nine tolas of gold ornaments from his shop at Tantibazar in the old part of the capital early yesterday.

276 officials now OSD

As many as six secretaries, 30 additional secretaries and 240 other government officials are now working as officer on special duty (OSD) for different reasons.

1 killed in 'shootout'

An alleged criminal was killed in a “shootout” between his cohorts and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) in the city's Cantonment area early yesterday.

India in 'stalemate' with Maoists

India's home minister yesterday said security forces were locked in a "stalemate" with Maoist insurgents despite a crackdown in 2010 that killed a record number of people.

Rejoinder

The Ministry of Environment and Forests in a rejoinder yesterday contested a news analysis published in The Daily Star on January 31 under the headline "Good genie vs evil genie". We are publishing the rejoinder verbatim today and will publish our reply tomorrow.

Editorial

Turmoil at Munshiganj

The eruption of violence in Munshiganj that left one police officer dead and scores injured is saddening. We condemn this wanton violence. We condole the death of the police officer who was on duty and express our sympathy to the bereaved family and those who received injuries. We also commend the police who showed impressive restraint even when one of their officers was killed.

Sthamba project committee

The departure of six experts from the committee handling the Shwadhinota Sthamba project is not only regrettable but a huge embarrassment, for the government and for the country. The embarrassment comes through the experts' decision to quit being a fall-out of certain irresponsible remarks made by the minister of state for liberation war affairs to a newspaper more than a week ago. We fully understand the sentiments of the experts, all of whom are highly respected individuals in society. For the minister to suggest that work on the project is being held up owing to the ego of these experts is actually to look away from the reality. He would have done better had he examined the bureaucratic reasons behind the delay in project implementation.

Sports

Trouble in the middle

As much as the opening position is most satisfying, the middle-order is the most troublesome for the Bangladesh think-tank ahead of the World Cup. It might not be exposed as much in the last two series due to the winning streak, but definitely it's an area coach Jamie Siddons must focus on with the showcase event is knocking at the door.

Right time for Tigers

Familiar home conditions, fanatical crowd support and a young energetic side give Bangladesh a chance to emerge from the shadows when the World Cup is played in their backyard.

Unfulfilled eminence

Aftab Ahmed was one of the more promising entrants into the Bangladesh fold when in 2004 he made both his Test and ODI debuts. The pocket-sized powerhouse from Chittagong wowed the world with his audacious and carefree strokeplay.

Decorations two days before WC

Dhaka Mayor Sadeque Hossain exchanged views with Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president AHM Mustafa Kamal on the progress of work which the Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) has taken up in collaboration with the BCB at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium (SBNS) in Mirpur yesterday.

India have to pay back to Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar has been winning matches for India with his amazing batting exploits for more than two decades, and it's time his team clinched the World Cup for him.

Pakistan crawl ahead

An unbeaten 93 by Misbahul Haq paved the way for a narrow two-wicket Pakistan victory over New Zealand with an over to spare in the fourth one-day international Tuesday.

GP Masters from tomorrow

The Asian Development Tour comes to Bangladesh for the first time with the tee off od the Grameenphone Bangladesh Masters 2011 at the Kurmitola Golf Club tomorrow.

18-day break in football league

The Grameenphone Bangla-desh League will remain suspended for 18 days from February 14 to make way for the Bangladesh U-23 side's preparation as well as Olympic pre-qualifiers against Kuwait this month.

Ponting could train today

Ricky Ponting is set to start training after a one-month injury lay-off while Nathan Hauritz is hoping to get back into action at the earliest after a radical blood injection treatment, giving some relief to Australia's injury-ridden lead-up to the World Cup.

Tragic suicide of star teenage swimmer

Teenage swimmer Arifa Khatun committed suicide on Monday night at her residence in Khayerpur village under Mirpur Thana of Kushtia district following a disagreement with her parents.

U-14 tennis

Delwar Hossain reached the final of boy's singles in the ITF 14 & Under Asian Championships 2011 (Group 2) beating his Singapore counterpart in the semis at the Heinbyu Tennis Center, Yangon, Myanmar yesterday.

Chelsea break bank for Torres

England's Premier League clubs were back splashing the cash and defying austerity in a transfer window that climaxed with Fernando Torres's record-breaking £50 million ($80.5 million, 58.5 million euro) move from Liverpool to Chelsea.

'Real still have a chance'

Former Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff said Monday Real Madrid still have a chance at the league title despite going seven points behind Barcelona.

Indian owner focuses on talent

Racing Santander's new owner, Indian businessman Ahsan Ali Syed, said Tuesday that the Spanish first division club will privilege talent over star power when it comes to recruiting new players.

Wiese given 3-match ban

Werder Bremen goalkeeper Tim Wiese was on Monday banned for three matches following his red card in Saturday's 3-1 loss to Bayern Munich, the German football federation announced.

Juventus sign Matri

Juventus moved on Monday to strengthen their depleted resources up front by signing Alessandro Matri on loan from Serie A rivals Cagliari while they sent Amauri on loan to Parma.

Inter swap defenders

Italian champions Inter Milan took Japanese defender Yuto Nagatomo on loan from Serie A rivals Cesena while sending Davide Santon in the opposite direction on Monday.

USA cancel Egypt friendly

US football authorities said Monday that America's friendly match scheduled in Cairo for February 9 has been cancelled because of political unrest in Egypt.

Savage announces retirement

Former Wales midfielder Robbie Savage has announced he will retire at the end of the season.

Business

Foreign aid declines 45pc

In the first six months of the current fiscal year, foreign aid fell by 45 percent compared to the same period of the previous fiscal year due to a delay by government agencies in implementing foreign-aided projects and curtailed budget support.

Six firms fined for non-disclosure

The Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) has slapped a daily fine of Tk 500 on six listed companies as they failed to disclose their half-yearly or quarterly financial statements in time.

Share loans: SEC puts onus on lenders

In a major step, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday decided to let lenders take decisions on share credit and perform other tasks related to margin loan disbursement and maintenance.

Two border markets in a month

Two border markets between Bangladesh and India will open in a month as the two countries have resolved major issues, such as identity cards for participants and exchange of currencies, commerce ministry officials said.

Software fair creates buzz

The country's largest software and ICT-enabled services exposition -- BASIS SoftExpo -- started yesterday in Dhaka to bridge the gap between service providers and users.

Activists call for trust building in RMG sector

Rights activists and international buyers' representatives on Monday asked garment owners to create trust and confidence in their relationships with workers and employees to avert labour unrest in the factories.

Seminar links CSR and PPP for social development

Business leaders should incorporate social welfare activities into their corporate strategy to raise organisations' productivity and ensure social development, said a policy expert.

Managing people, managing change

When Standard Chartered Bank acquired ANZ Grindlays Bank in 2000, I was the only person in senior management of the combined bank in Bangladesh, having work experience in both places.

Egypt, inflation & Japan debt crisis

Markets are busy speculating on which country might follow Egypt on the revolutionary road, but watch out for the impact on a country where bellies are full and the chances of revolt are exactly nil: Japan.

Changes for workaholic S Koreans

It's well after 8.00 pm in central Seoul's commercial district, but the lights are still burning brightly in many office towers.

Media that is social

ROI of Social Media: How to Improve the Return on Your Social Marketing Investment.

Story behind China's 30-year reform

Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China's Extraordinary Rise.

Oscillating between mania and panic

Mean Markets and Lizard Brains: How to Profit from the New Science of Irrationality.

Inflation dilemma deepens for Asian policymakers

Inflation accelerated more than forecast in Indonesia and South Korea in January, and quickened in Thailand, reinforcing expectations of increases in borrowing costs as policymakers struggle with rising food and oil prices.

Google topples Nokia from smartphones top spot

Google Inc's Android dethroned Nokia's Symbian as the global leader in smartphone software during the last quarter of 2010, ending a reign that began with the birth of the industry a decade ago.

Mexico tycoon Slim to invest $8.3b

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim unveiled plans Monday to invest $8.3 billion dollars this year in 19 countries, most of them in Latin America.

Growth slows for India carmakers

Asian automakers, led by outperformer Hyundai Motor, got off to a strong start for 2011 with robust January sales as they gear up for the sector's broad recovery.

Taiwan economic growth at 23-year high in 2010

Taiwan's economy grew a blistering 10.47 percent in 2010, its fastest rate in 23 years, according to a government estimate, with analysts saying trade with former rival China was a key driver of the surge.

India demands full BlackBerry access

India rejected on Monday Research In Motion's (RIM) offer to allow it only partial access to its BlackBerry data services as neighbouring Pakistan also moved to restrict the popular smartphone's services.

Asian shares gain

Oil stayed at $100 a barrel on Tuesday on lingering concerns over political unrest in Egypt while Asian stock markets rebounded from the previous day's losses, helped by a rally on Wall Street.

Metropolitan

PM for creative books

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday called upon the writers and publishers to come up in this year's book fair with creative and readers-friendly books with a particular attention that the new generation learns the right history of the country.

Cut sufferings of litigants

President Zillur Rahman has emphasised the need for quick disposal of thousands of cases lying pending in the court system to alleviate the sufferings of the litigants.

Now a rubble dumpsite!

The Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) has chosen the only park at Tantibazar on English Road as a convenient place for dumping construction waste.

JU BCL men want their expulsion lifted

Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) leaders of Janhangirnagar University yesterday demanded withdrawal of their expulsion notice issued following an intra-party clash at Al-Beruni Hall on the campus on July 5 last year.

PM's intervention sought

Leaders loyal to Chittagong city Awami League president yesterday sought intervention of AL chief and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to solve the factional feud in the unit.

Two killed in road crashes

Two people including a university student were killed and 15 others injured in raod accidents in Jessore and Brahmanbaria yesterday and Monday night.

Huge number of candidates absent

A total of 6,583 candidates were absent on the first day of Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and its equivalent examinations while 23 students were expelled for resorting to unfair means.

Call to protect forests, water bodies

Speakers at a roundtable yesterday on the eve of World Wetland Day called for wetlands and forests landscape conservation by complying 1971 landmark Ramsar Convention objectives through strong enforcement, restoration, afforestation and watershed management for economic uplift and sustainable development.

Produce Jamaat leaders on Feb 6: Court

A Dhaka court yesterday asked the jail authorities to produce four Jamaat-e-Islami leaders, including its Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami, before it on February 6 in a case filed against them for hurting religious sentiment of Muslims.

Legal notice to save two Savar villages

Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela) yesterday sent legal notices to different government officials to protect the environment of Kumkumari and Chandgoan villages in Savar.

Writ filed in HC to save Dhanmondi

A writ petition was filed with the High Court yesterday, seeking its directions to the government to evict all illegal commercial institutions and stop their operations from Dhanmondi residential area of the capital to maintain and protect its residential character.

Jamaat programmes to free leaders from Feb 5

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami yesterday announced a series of programs from February 5 to press for various demands, particularly tackling soaring prices and releasing its detained top leaders.

Urdu speaking people demand citizen facilities

Two organisations of Urdu-speaking people yesterday demanded ensuring of all sorts of citizen facilities to improve their life standard.

DU student hurt in city road crash

A female student of Dhaka University was wounded as a covered van hit her rickshaw from behind at Muktangon in the city last night.

Nazrul slams govt as Khaleda sued

BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan here yesterday criticised the government, as a ruling Awami League leader sued BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia over Monday's violence in Munshiganj that left a policeman dead and many people injured.

Concern over Arial Beel violence

Different organisations yesterday expressed concern over the violent incident in Arial Beel area for establishing a new airport that left a police officer dead and hundreds of people including journalists injured on Monday.

Azad for objective journalism

Information and Cultural Affairs Minister Abul Kalam Azad yesterday said the grand alliance government believes in free flow of information.

BCL activist dies mysteriously

A Bangladesh Chhatra League activist, Bachchu Miah, 28, was found dead mysteriously in the city's Akhalia area early yesterday.

DU to observe 117th birthday of Satyan Bose

Dhaka University (DU) will observe the 117th birth anniversary of internationally renowned scientist and former teacher of DU Prof. Satyan Bose.

RCC, BMDF sign MoU for dev works

Bangladesh Municipal Development Fund (BMDF) is providing a grant of Tk 18.56 crore for various development works at all the 30 wards of Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC).

NDC team visits defence ministry

A 61-member National Defence Course-2011 delegation led by Commandant of National Defence College (NDC) Major General AKM Muzahid Uddin visited ministry of defence at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, in the city yesterday, says a ISPR press release.

Bangladeshi company to invest $1.22m in Uttara EPZ

M/s SA international, a Bangladeshi Company, will set up a Sweater Manufacturing Industry in Uttara Export Processing Zone.

MoU signed between DU and S Korean varsity

The University of Dhaka and Far East University of South Korea signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for promoting educational, scientific and cultural exchange between the two institutions.

Charge framing against 4 cops March 30

A Dhaka court yesterday fixed March 30 for framing charges against four police officials, including the then officer-in-charge (OC) of Ramna Police Station, in a case filed for falsely implicating and torturing a Dhaka University student in connection with attempt to kill Prof Humayun Azad.

Steps set to get Ganges water share: Ramesh

The government is taking all necessary measures to uphold the country's interests through securing adequate amount of Ganges water as per the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty signed with India in 1996.

National

Rotting of betel leaves worries farmers

A large number of betel plantations, locally known as 'paner baroj', are attacked with pata pocha rog (a disease that causes rotting of leaves), especially in Gournadi, Uzirpur and Agoiljhara upazilas under Barisal district.

Another rice-laden truck hijacked at Gazipur

A rice-laden truck bound for Comilla from Naogaon was hijacked from the highway at Gazipur on Monday night.

Wife tortured to death for dowry in C'nawabganj

A housewife was tortured to death allegedly by her husband for dowry at Prosadpur under Rohonpur municipal area of Gomostapur upazila on Monday evening.

Belal 'honoured' with wheelchair

Physically challenged Belal Hossain, who defied all odds to become a successful farmer at his village home in Joypurhat district, has received a wheelchair, thanks to the initiative of Bangladesh Systems Change Advocacy Network (B-SCAN).

BCL men assault activist of rival faction at RU

A group of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) men yesterday assaulted an activist of their rival faction on Rajshahi University campus.

Youth held on charge of killing Imon for ransom

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) on Monday night arrested a youth on charge of abduction and murder of a five-year-old boy at Choithtra village in Ghatail upazila.

Man jailed for life for killing wife on wedding night

A man who killed his wife on the first day of marriage was jailed for life in Kishoreganj on Monday.

Unknown disease kills 4, attacks 19 in 24 hours

An unknown disease killed four people and attacked 19 others in Hatibandha upazila of Lalmonirhat district in 24 hours till yesterday evening.

Robbery at Opposition Chief Whip's house

Robbers looted valuables from the village home of Opposition Chief Whip Zainul Abdin Farroque in Senbag upazila early yesterday.

Trial of serial blast cases in Satkhira now Feb 28

Trial of the cases for serial blasts in Satkhira town on August 17 in 2005 has been deferred to February 28 as the prosecution failed to produce all the accused in the Additional Sessions Judge's Court.

Hearing on charge framing begins

Hearing on charge framing against 13 mutineers of BGB Dinajpur sector headquarters began at special court-13 yesterday.

CU teacher, staff fired

The authorities of Chittagong University (CU) yesterday dismissed a teacher and an official from their jobs.

Letters

Open market sales of rice

A news has been published in The Daily Star on January 16 titled "Pricier the rice longer the queue." The news mentioned that "Nearly 125 OMS trucks with 3000 kgs of rice each sell subsidised rice to 75000 people five days a week while many return empty handed in the city."

Decay starts within minutes of…

In the latest study published by the Chemical Research in Toxicology of the American Chemical Society on the effect of cigarettes on human health, it is reported that smoking starts to destroy a smoker's DNA within minutes of puffing a cigarette which surprised many scientists. Scientists issued warning to the smokers that the habit causes immediate genetic damage and quickly raises the short-term risk of cancer. These findings should ring a serious warning to those who are considering to start smoking.

Fate of school bus service

I was very happy to learn about the introduction of buses meant for the school children. To me personally it seemed like the best thing that ever happened in this country after achieving independence in 1971. No doubt it is a milestone achievement in the transportation sector. The next day while reading my favorite daily, to my utter dismay I came across the frustrating front page picture, displaying general passengers riding on the bus meant for the school children. I simply wonder when this nation shall become civilized, or shall we remain rustic forever? While staying in Houston, I witnessed with great amazement, the school buses carrying students are the VIPs in true sense traveling on the streets. No one blocks their path, it is against the law. It is the priority vehicle number one on the street. Since I did not have the opportunity of coming across any presidential motorcade, while in Houston, I think by all means school buses are the number one vehicles plying the streets. This emphasizes the degree of importance attached to education, students, teachers and all those related to it. Why can't we learn the good things from others?

Quranic Botanic Garden

So far we have heard about and seen Islamic education, Islamic party, Islamic bank, Islamic country, but now an Islamic botanical garden is going to be set up in Qatar. Qatar's leading daily newspaper, The Gulf Times, reports that a proposal to set up a botanical garden on the basis of the scientific and aesthetic concepts given in the Holy Quran was approved by the UNESCO headquarters in 2006.

Teaching of English to poor

English, which the Indian nationalists once denounced as "a tool of colonialism," has now become not only the lingua franca of multilingual India, but also a major asset in its rise as a global IT superpower. Now members of India's underprivileged caste, the untouchables or "Dalits" (downtrodden), are clamouring for access to English which is monopolised by English-educated upper castes. The Dalits have gone one step further and erected a granite temple dedicated to what they call "the Goddess English," hailing her as a deity of liberation from poverty and ignorance.

Judiciary and corruption

The publication of the TIB report on corruption in judiciary is mostly related to the activities of the "Peshkars", which probably means those who place the case files serially to the honourable members of the bench! These and the other subordinate staff manage the queue of the dockets and do the necessary processing of the various papers and documents related to the court's order of proceedings.

Beware, our enemies!!

When I read the report that a trawler carrying 20 to 25 Nasaka troops detained 10 of our fishermen in the Bay of Bengal on gun point leaving a message to the owners of the fishing boats demanding a ransom of Tk 12 lakh, a chill coursed through my veins. I felt humiliated. Memories of Pilkhana tragedy came crowding in my mind. I thought who actually was behind the killings. The enemies that carried that carnage are now reaping the benefit from the weakened Border Guard of Bangladesh.

Remembering late Nurul Islam

One of the saddest news I came across during my recent visit to Bangladesh was the death of Nurul Islam bhai, in spite of the fact that we all wait for a final call from our creator.To me, the life of such an amazing individual ended untimely. He was a role model in good behavior, helping others in whatever way possible.

Where are the tickets gone?

Cricket World Cup, the event we all Bangladeshis adore and eagerly wait for, are knocking at our door. We were hoping to experience the magnificent prowess of our players, and the fact that Bangladesh is hosting a number of games this year just heightened our excitement.

Well thought proposals

I want to thank Mr. Pradiip Das, Lecturer BHPI, CRP for his letter published in The Daily Star on January 24, 2011. It is a well thought letter which touched two important issues. His request to arrange a debate on the most burning issues of the country is praiseworthy. And his proposal about giving recognition to letter writers is quite interesting. Those who write in this column spend their time and energy for the welfare of the country; try to attract the attention of the concerned authorities on various problems, giving suggestions and ideas.

International

50 Egypt NGOs call for Mubarak resignation

Fifty Egyptian human rights groups yesterday called on President Hosni Mubarak to "step down to avoid bloodshed," on the eighth day of anti-government protests that have left at least 125 people dead.

'We're all with you'

Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi told anti-regime protesters in Egypt yesterday that "we're all with you", as hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in Cairo.

Egypt's Mubarak hangs on as army steps back

President Hosni Mubarak's grip on Egypt looked increasingly tenuous yesterday after the army pledged not to confront protesters who converged in Cairo in their tens of thousands to demand an end to his 30-year rule.

Jordan king fires govt, Islamists slam new PM

King Abdullah II of Jordan yesterday sacked the government after weeks of protests, but his choice of replacement premier failed to satisfy the powerful Islamist opposition's demands for reforms.

Myanmar junta PM tipped for president

Myanmar's junta prime minister is likely to become the country's president, officials said yesterday, amid a secretive selection process in the military-dominated parliament.

Wind of Change: Is Syria next?

On the surface all is calm in Syria, tightly ruled by the same authoritarian party for half a century, despite the upheaval in several of its Arab neighbours. Below, ordinary Syrians are quietly captivated by the tumult.

Storm to pound US with icy blast

A massive winter storm began dumping fresh snow, ice and sleet across a huge swathe of the US early yesterday, with bitter winds bringing an icy blast to some 100 million people, a third of the country.

Locals, tourists flee as cyclone nears Australia

Hospitals, hotels and homes in seaside cities in Australia's Queensland state were evacuated yesterday as a monster cyclone intensified to "deadly" proportions and roared towards the populous coast.

Two Koreas agree date for military talks

North and South Korea will hold working-level military talks on February 8, the defence ministry said yesterday, in their first contact since the North's deadly shelling of a border island last November.

Ireland set for election on February 25

The Irish Republic is to hold an early general election on 25 February, its first national vote since the bail-out.

Swiss block Haiti's Duvalier account

Haiti ex-dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier's Swiss millions have been blocked under new legislation that came into force yesterday to ease their return, the Swiss government said.

147 killed in Tunisia: UN

The head of a United Nations mission investigating the uprising that toppled Tunisia's longtime president last month says 147 people were killed and another 510 injured in the unrest.

France seizes Ben Ali family plane: official sources

French authorities have seized a plane belonging to the family of ousted Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, official sources said yesterday.

2010 deadliest year for Afghan civilians

A human rights watchdog said yesterday that 2010 was the deadliest year for ordinary Afghans since a US-led invasion nearly a decade ago, with more than 2,400 civilians killed.

No plans to amend Pak's blasphemy law, says Gilani

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said his government has "no intention" of amending Pakistan's blasphemy law, which has been at the centre of a heated debate after liberals and rights activists called for its repeal.

Two sisters shot dead in Kashmir

Suspected Islamist rebels have shot dead two sisters in Indian-administered Kashmir, police said yesterday, in what would be their first major attack of the year.

Cambodian court jails Thai activist

A Cambodian court yesterday sentenced a high-profile Thai nationalist activist to eight years in prison on spying and illegal entry charges in a case that has rekindled border tensions.

Arts & Entertainment

The Daily Star-BGTF Theatre Festival Wraps Up

The weeklong theatre festival arranged by The Daily Star and Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation (BGTF) ended on January 31. On the last day, Loko Natyadal (Siddheswari), Theatre and Sanglaap Group Theatre staged “Majh Rater Manushera”, “Meraj Fakirer Ma” and “Badnam” respectively at the National Theatre Hall, Experimental Theatre Hall and Studio Theatre Hall.

A Woman of Substance

Anannya Sahitya Puroshkar (literary award) was conferred on eminent social activist and writer Noorjahan Bose on January 31 at Sufia Kamal Auditorium, National Museum. Bose received a crest and a cheque worth Taka 50,000 as part of the award. She has won the award for her autobiographical book “Agun Mukhar Meye”. The award was formally handed over to the writer by noted educationist Professor Anisuzzaman.

Passing Away of an Icon

It was the summer of 1991, I was in London with my daughters, both under five years of age. Some of my friends and I went to Parveen Sultana's concert in the Purcell Room of the Royal Festival Hall in London. There I met up with other classical music lovers and heard they were going to Stuttgart, Germany to attend an all-night concert featuring several maestros of India. I longed to go with them, but who would babysit my daughters? Time was short; if I wanted to go I had to make up my mind right away. I hesitated as I spoke, 'Can I take my daughters with me?' Expecting no for an answer, I was pleasantly surprised when one friend said, 'Sure, we will take turns to look after them, don't worry.'

Silver Jubilee of Nat'l Poetry Council Three-day event at DU Library opens

With the theme "Kabita Utshab Muktir Utshab", Jatiya Kabita Parishad (National Poetry Council) is celebrating its silver jubilee (1987-2011) this year. A three-day programme, starting from yesterday, is on at Central Library premises of Dhaka University. The organisers placed wreaths at the graves of National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin and Patua Kamrul Hasan and at the altar of Central Shaheed Minar on the occasion.

Bangladesh Directors Guild Honours Zahir Raihan

Bangladesh Directors Guild observed the day of Zahir Raihan's disappearance on January 30 at the organisation's Study Room. Muhammad Hannan presided over the programme, says a press release. A minute of silence was observed at the beginning of the programme in remembrance of the gifted filmmaker who disappeared on January 30, 1972 and was never seen again.

Chhayanaut's Homage to Waheedul Haque

A memorial programme marking the fourth death anniversary of eminent cultural personality and journalist Waheedul Hauqe was held at Chhayanaut Shangskriti Bhaban recently.

Meherjaan Taken Out of Theatres

"Meherjaan", directed by Rubaiyat Hossain, which has generated a major debate recently, has been pulled from theatres. The distributor of the film, Ashirbad Cholochitro, took the decision after the film received strong objections from several groups.

DS Cafe

DS Café has received a tremendous response from you, our readers. And now we offer you another treat the chance to vote in the celebrity of the month. January's shortlist is: (A) Ayub Bachchu; (B) Azizul Hakim(C) Munmun Ahmed. So just send in your vote and you'll get on the line with your favourite star, who'll take on all your questions on February 5.

OP-ED

Dissent … and arrogance of power

Hasan Mahmud is in little mood to give any space to critics of all the wrongs happening in the ship-breaking industry. And that is troubling. The minister of state for the environment ought to have given all the criticism lately leveled at his ministry on environmental matters some serious thought.

Tunisia and domino effect

The sudden fall of Tunisian President Ben Ali, who had been a dictator for 23 years, sent waves of protests against the authoritarian regimes through the Arab world, where autocratic leaders preside over similarly repressive governments.

Drug-fuelled crime

Almost awash in guns, and plagued by addicts and extortionists, Dhaka and some other big cities of the country are struggling to cope with the wave of violence. Reports carried by newspapers in recent times about kidnapping, assault and brutal killing of businessmen, political activists and even innocent kids held for ransom by rival groups and addicts who are mostly hired killers have disturbed the citizens.

Tribute to Shah Kibria

We see today that brilliant students are no longer inclined towards politics, thus risking the creation of an intellectual void in political leadership. However, throughout history there have been exceptions to this norm, and possibly such exceptions still exist. One shinning paradigm of such an exception was Shah Kibria. He was well groomed, soft speaking yet extremely firm in his commitment towards Bangladesh.

Asian business trick

Heard some shocking news about a businessman I know. "Jahan decided not to sing to his account books this time," his wife said. "He chanted a series of verses to his laptop instead."



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