The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Monday, April 21, 2014


News of: Sunday, 6th of February, 2011

Front Page

'Lawful' owner of river

It is quite a big signboard. With an arrow pointing towards the Buriganga, it reads the Fifth Assistant Senior Judge's Court on 1 May 2005 issued a temporary injunction against any eviction from this land.

BNP blushes over Arial Beel

Differences of views persist among top and mid-level leaders of BNP over tomorrow's countrywide hartal called by the party, and many of them are blaming each other for failure to pick suitable issues for such a programme.

Govt looks to AL left-outs

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is likely to reshuffle her cabinet anytime soon to bring dynamism in the government.

Jamaat banks on 3 British legal brains

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami has engaged three British legal experts to defend its leaders from allegations of war crimes during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971.

Let UPs have the executive power

A parliamentary body has rejected the government proposal to vest executive power of the upazila parishads in the chairmen and recommended that it should rather be vested in the parishad itself.

Nipah kills 4 more

Nipah encephalitis claimed four more lives in Rangpur and Lalmonirhat, raising the death toll to 24.

Egypt ruling party leaders resign

The leadership of Egypt's ruling party quit yesterday, but the protesters who have rocked the political establishment dismissed the move as a ruse that would not deter them from their goal of toppling the president.

3 AL leaders held in Savar

Police arrested three leaders of Savar Awami League (AL) and Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) yesterday for attacking thana, assaulting cops and snatching a prisoner from them in the town on Friday.

People rally against illegal sand extraction

Over seven hundred villagers from Alirtek, Gognagar and Kurertek unions at Fatulla staged a demonstration yesterday protesting illegal sand extraction from the river Dhaleshwari.

Jinnah did not budge on Bangla

On the evening of March 24, the very day on which Jinnah spoke at the Dhaka University convocation, Pakistan's founder met the leaders of the of the Action Committee. The meeting did not go well as Jinnah refused to see the students' point of view over the language question. He even committed the outrage of asking the young men if Bengal could point to any instances of great literature and aesthetics in the Bangla language. Some of those on the Action Committee team, particularly Oli Ahad and Abdur Rahman Chowdhury, did not mince words in informing Jinnah that he had limited knowledge about the culture of the Bangalis. For his part, the governor general thought the students were being led astray by the enemies of Pakistan.

PM worried over doctors' not staying in villages

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday expressed her concern over the physicians' reluctance to stay in remote areas and provide service to rural people.

'Outlaw' killed in 'shootout'

A leader of outlawed Gono Bahini was killed yesterday in a 'shootout' with law enforcers at village Bhaina under Harinakundo upazila in the district.

ULFA to hold unconditional peace talks with Delhi

Banned insurgents' outfit ULFA will hold unconditional peace talks with Indian government here on February 10, a top ULFA leader said yesterday.

Feb 17 public holiday in capital

The government has announced a public holiday in the capital for February 17 on the occasion of opening ceremony of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.

No health check-up locally

Detained BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury yesterday refused to receive treatment at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University after he was taken there with chest pain.

Chernobyl birds small brained

Birds living around the site of the Chernobyl nuclear accident have 5 percent smaller brains, an effect directly linked to lingering background radiation.

4 Shibir men held in city

Gandaria police detained four activists of Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS) from the city's Dinanath Sen Road area last night for suspected anti-government activities.

Editorial

Rivers continue to be killed

Nothing has so far happened to convince us that encroachment and pollution of the major rivers around Dhaka have been checked. It is inexplicable as to why, despite the concerns consistently raised by the media, by experts, by civil society, by citizens and by the government, work on reclaiming the endangered rivers has not progressed to satisfaction.

Burglaries at temples

Burglary incidents at temples are on the rise. There have been at least 23 thefts committed in different temples in Dhaka, Narayanganj and other parts of the country over the past few months. The burglars broke into places of worship and stole gold and silver ornaments and cash. Dhakeswari national temple, Baredeswari Temple and Joykali Mandir in the capital have been the main targets. The fashion of crime seems to be cases of 'simple burglary', according to the law enforcement agencies.

Sports

17th time for Abahani

Abahani regained the most coveted domestic title despite losing the prestige battle against their traditional rivals Mohammedan by just one wicket in the exciting last round match of the Premier Cricket Super League at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium yesterday.

Lot depends on trio

In what is building up to be the big occasion of the World Cup opening game against India, it won't be a bad idea to give Nazmul Hossain the first over, given that there's little hope in Mashrafe Bin Mortaza's full recovery.

Mash catches up on fitness

It was hard to believe that Mashrafe Bin Mortaza was playing his first match since recovering from a knee injury after the way he dived to take a sharp catch at mid-wicket yesterday.

Shameful day in Dhanmondi

Farcical doesn't begin to describe what happened at the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium yesterday. What was supposed to be the last Premier Cricket Super League game between Cricket Coaching School (CCS) became a scene of immense frustration as the match had to be called off due to, according to the league authorities, an 'unprepared' pitch.

BANNED
Butt for 10 yrs, Asif 7 & Aamer 5

An anti-corruption tribunal of the International Cricket Council Saturday banned former Pakistan captain Salman Butt for ten years, Mohammad Asif for seven years and Mohammad Aamer for five years for their role in a spot-fixing betting scam.

Russel, Jamal win

Sheikh Russel KC and Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club joined Abahani in second place to keep up the pressure on leaders Muktijodhha by winning their respective matches of the Grameenphone Bangladesh League yesterday.

Siddikur closes in on title

Siddikur Rahman made a dash towards the finishing line after posting a three-under-par 69 in the third round of the Grameenphone Bangladesh Masters at the Kurmitola Golf Club yesterday.

Army open with a win

Bangladesh Army blanked Bangladesh Police 6-0 in the opening match of the Shaheed Smrity hockey tournament at the Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium yesterday.

3rd SL-WI ODI today

It took three Tests and two ODIs for the rain-hit tour(s) to yield an outright result. The comprehensive win in the second ODI was a boost to Sri Lanka, affirming their superiority in home conditions, and a blemish for the visitors who had appeared to punch above their weight in the contests thus far.

Seeds thru'

All the seeded players won their respective matches in the first round of the Sony National Tennis Tournament held at the National Tennis Complex yesterday.

Ryder dazzles in dead rubber

A Jesse Ryder century drove New Zealand to a consolation 57-run win in the final one-day cricket international against Pakistan in Auckland on Saturday.

Lifetime award for Roquibul

Los Angeles-based Friends Club gave the lifetime achievement award to former national captain Roquibul Hassan during an award-giving ceremony on January 29.

7th Aus-Eng ODI today

It's a hundred days since England landed in Perth ahead of a long tour that would result in them smashing Australia by an innings in three Tests and winning the Ashes away for the first time in 24 years. They're back in Western Australia now, to end the trip with the seventh one-day international today.

Henry had no qualms

Liverpool owner John W Henry insisted Friday he had no qualms about splashing out a big fee for Newcastle striker Andy Carroll so long as the club emerged 15 million pounds (20 million dollars) up on the sale of Fernando Torres to champions Chelsea.

Torres defends himself

Fernando Torres insists he is not a traitor after Chelsea's 50 million striker was accused of betraying Liverpool.

Neuer Schalke's hero

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer produced an outstanding performance on Friday to earn his side Schalke 04 a point after a goalless draw at Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund.

Ballack's future under cloud

Veteran midfielder Michael Ballack will discover next month whether he still has a future in the Germany team under coach Joachim Loew, after being left out of the squad which will face Italy on Wednesday.

Real to build academy for Saudis

Real Madrid, one of the world's richest football clubs, have announced they have reached an agreement with Saudi Arabia's Prince Salman Foundation to build a sports academy in the Middle Eastern country.

Bielsa quits Chile

Marcelo Bielsa quit as Chile coach on Friday as the political turmoil inside the South American country's football federation intensified.

Chivu gets 4-match ban

Inter Milan full-back Cristian Chivu has been banned for four matches after TV evidence was used to show he punched an opponent in the face.

Qatar sack Metsu

Qatar have sacked coach Bruno Metsu after he failed to guide the hosts past the quarter-finals of last month's Asian Cup.

Lost passport delays King

Tottenham Hotspur defender Ledley King's groin operation has had to be delayed until next week after the former England player lost his passport.

Business

Local software solutions on a roll

Locally developed software solutions attracted huge attention from local, national and multinational clients at the BASIS SoftExpo 2011, as demand for homegrown products continues to grow.

Banks head into deep credit risks

Banks' capacity to protect depositors and promote financial stability is waning, according to a quarterly Bangladesh Bank (BB) report released last week.

RMG workers want subsidised food items

Garment workers yesterday demanded subsidised food items, as the prices of the essential commodities are on the rise.

US business delegation due in Dhaka

A delegation of US firms will visit Bangladesh next week to explore business and investment opportunities, responding to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's call for public-private partnership.

Shake off tech fears: analysts

Bangladesh needs to head off the fears of technology and tap all its potential to keep pace with the fast-changing world and build the nation, experts said yesterday.

Economist stresses deeper links with India

Bangladesh must further open up its transport, communication and economic links with India and other countries, said economist Prof Rehman Sobhan in Chittagong yesterday.

Minister urges India to remove all trade barriers

Commerce Minister Faruk Khan has urged the Indian government to lift all trade barriers between the two countries by eradicating the existing bureaucratic snags, at a seminar in India on Friday.

Will mobile money take off in India?

Walk out of Mumbai International Airport and hundreds of local people will be glued to their mobile handsets, texting to friends and colleagues.

Luxury watchmakers like Asia

A measure of any Asian businessman is the time he keeps and, far more importantly, the watch he wears to mark it.

Time to give farming a lift

Since boyhood, the 40-year-old farmer Kamal Hossain had been used to growing rice during the dry months.

Living on scanty investment

Public investment in agriculture remains inadequate, despite its critical role in ensuring food sufficiency, experts said.

Efforts to calm inflation disappoint Indian farmers

India's efforts to calm inflation by allowing easier imports and restricting exports of key foodstuffs are disappointing farmers who are keen to exploit global high prices and say structural reforms are the way ahead.

China not currency manipulator: US

The Obama administration on Friday declined to cite China for manipulating its currency to gain trade advantages against the United States.

India settles oil dispute with Iran

India has resolved a payments dispute with Iran over their multi-billion dollar oil business, an oil ministry source said, with New Delhi certifying each deal to try to ensure funds do not go to Iran's nuclear programme.

iPhone orders halted after record sales

Verizon Wireless ended online sales of Apple Inc's iPhone on Thursday evening, after beating its previous launch-day phone sales record in just two hours.

Investors looking beyond Egypt

Financial market wobbles caused by turmoil in the Middle East have done little to stop investors positioning themselves for a further rally in stocks and other riskier assets as economic growth accelerates around the world.

Europe launches trillion-euro energy revamp

European leaders launched Friday a trillion-euro bid to slash dependency on Middle East oil and Russian gas, clearing the way to place nuclear power at the centre of 21st century needs.

IOC may build $5b refinery in Turkey

Indian Oil Corp (IOC) is interested in building a $5 billion refinery in Turkey and is currently carrying out feasibility work on the project, junior trade minister, Jyotiraditya Scindia, said on Friday.

Volvo trucks back in black in 2010

Volvo Group, the second-biggest maker of heavy vehicles, said Friday it returned to a booming profit in 2010, thanks to a strong recovery across the sector and despite a slightly disappointing fourth quarter.

Asian markets mostly up

Asian markets mostly rose on Friday with Japanese and Australian stocks lifted by positive signals from both economies, even as uncertainty about Egypt kept oil prices around the $100 mark.

Kinder Morgan gearing up for $2.3b IPO

Kinder Morgan Inc expects to raise as much as $2.3 billion in an initial public offering, the largest US energy debut since Conoco Inc went to market more than a decade ago.

Oil above $102

World oil prices remained high in Asian trade Friday, with the market under pressure from the ongoing political crisis in Egypt.

Weekly Currency Roundup

Jan 30-Feb 3, 2011
International Markets:

This week the euro sustained the strong rebound against the USD. However the euro dipped against the dollar on Thursday as investors took profits ahead of a European Central Bank meeting, but analysts said hawkish rhetoric from the bank could lift the single currency back towards a 12-week high. The euro could gain even more if US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who is due to speak later on reaffirms the Fed's focus on boosting growth, reinforcing expectations the ECB will be ahead of the Fed in raising rates. Analysts said an upward revision to a euro zone services PMI and lower yields at a Spanish debt auction were positives for the euro, but the focus on the ECB meant the euro barely reacted.

Metropolitan

Baset again shows arrogance

Accused BGB mutineer Sepoy Baset again showed arrogance and made offensive remarks at a BGB special court yesterday, nearly two months after his conviction for contempt of court.

JS body suggests open-pit mining

The parliamentary standing committee on power and energy ministry has strongly recommended open-pit mining at Barapukuria and Phulbaria coal mines.

New wage for journos demanded

Leaders of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) yesterday strongly demanded of the government to form new wage board for the print and electronic media.

Make hartal a success: Khaleda

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia last night urged the people to make tomorrow's hartal successful and said tougher programmes will follow if the government is failed to resolve crises like acute shortage of gas, water, and electricity.

Worker dies, 3 hurt as poorly-made scaffold collapses

A teenage construction worker died and his three fellow workers sustained injury after falling down from the seventh floor of an under construction building in the city's Banani on Friday afternoon.

S Asian foreign secys meet today

The foreign secretaries from eight South Asian countries meet today in Bhutanese capital Thimphu for two days to review and finalise a report regarding various initiatives taken for greater connectivity, economic integration, and cooperation in security.

3 local cos offer lowest tariff

Three local companies have quoted lowest power tariffs in their financial offers for setting up five furnace oil-run private power plants.

'Call off strike for World Cup Cricket'

Leaders of different political parties yesterday urged BNP to withdraw tomorrow's hartal saying that it would hamper the preparation of the World Cup Cricket alongside by side with increasing sufferings of the people.

Capt Iftekhar laid to rest

Captain Iftekhar Alam, a member of United Nations Peace Keeping Mission who died in a road accident in Sudan on January 30, was buried at Banani Military Graveyard with a complete military honour after namaj-e-janaza held at Dhaka cantonment yesterday, says an ISPR press release.

UP polls by May: Sohul

Elections to union parishads will be held by May while its schedule will be announced later this month.

'Criminals better equipped than cops'

Home Minister Sahara Khatun yesterday said police often fail to nab criminals because the latter are more equipped than law enforcement agencies.

Readers Respond

Here are some comments that came in response to Saturday's The Daily Star report headlined 'Result close to ZERO'.

Hearing on Tarique's case today

The Supreme Court is set today for hearing an appeal filed by BNP leader Tarique Rahman against a High Court verdict in a money laundering case against him.

Ikebana contest held in city

First national Ikebana, a traditional Japanese art of flower arrangement, contest and demonstration was held at Lake Shore hotel in the city yesterday.

Hena's Death: Arrest of rapist, fatwa issuers demanded

Different rights-based organisation yesterday demanded exemplary punishment of the culprits, who raped and whipped to death a 14-year-old girl, Hena, in Shariatpur recently.

DU holds GC Dev memorial lecture

Gobinda Chandra Dev memorial lecture for 2009 and 2010 was held at the Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate building of Dhaka University yesterday.

Breach of law blamed for frequent road accidents

Law Minister Shafique Ahmed yesterday said law violation tendency is the main cause behind the sharp rise of road accidents.

National

Illegal loggers denuding RU campus of trees

The green campus of Rajshahi University (RU) is facing a grave threat as illegal loggers are chopping down trees.

95 jailed for mutiny, two acquitted in Rangamati

A special court sentenced 95 jawans of 9 and 18 Rifles Battalions of BDR to prison yesterday for their involvement in the mutiny on February last year.

Unplanned construction at Kuakata stopped

The district administration has ordered the Kalapara upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) and the assistant commissioner of land to stop all unplanned construction work at Kuakata as Urban Development Department is working to bring the area under a master plan.

15 victims of trafficking return home from India

Fifteen woman victims of trafficking returned home on Saturday from India through the Benapole check post.

Robbers loot night coach, nine houses

Robbers looted a night coach on Thursday and at least nine houses on Friday and Saturday.

Villagers say 'no' to RCC housing on farmlands

Farmers of three villages--Chotobangram, Meherchundy and Mushroil-- under Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) yesterday staged a demonstration protesting an alleged move to acquire farmlands of the villages for a housing project.

B'baria mourns BCL' men's death

Brahmanbaria district Awami League (AL) has announced a three-day mourning in the district from today following deaths of 11 BCL leaders and workers and a microbus driver in a fatal road accident at Tarail in Bhanga upazila of Faridpur district on Friday.

15 get life for murder

A court here on Wednesday sentenced 15 people to life term imprisonment for killing a man nine years ago.

Limestone factory gutted

A limestone factory at Bajnamahal village in Chhatak upazila was gutted in a devastating fire on Friday.

Man held in cheating case

Police arrested an official of the NGO -- Jubo Samaj Unnayan Shangstha-- from Chhoto Bongram area in the city on Friday night on charge of cheating. Mahbubul Hasan Sharif, area manager of the NGO was picked up at around 8:00pm and a court sent him to jail on Saturday, said Shahadat Hossain, officer-in-charge of Boalia police station. He said Sharif was arrested in connection with a cheating case filed by Rustam Ali of Narayanpur in Durgapur upazila. The case was filed with the Chief Metropolitan Court of Rajshahi on February 1 alleging that Sharif took Tk 20,000 from him six months ago in the name of giving him a job at the NGO.

SUST founding day Feb 13

A day-long programme has been chalked out on 13 February to observe the 20th founding anniversary of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (Sust). Education minister Nurul Islam Nahid will be the chief guest at the inaugural function while University Grants Commission chairman Prof Nazrul Islam and education Secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury will be the special guests. Vice-Chancellor Prof Saleh Uddin Ahmed will chair the occasion. Official sources informed yesterday that the day-long programme would start through hoisting of the national and varsity flags in the morning while the other features include procession on the campus, giving VC awards, discussion by the former students and cultural function by different organisations of the campus.

Youths held with arms

Three youths were arrested along with a revolver at Rohonpur municipal bazaar in Gomostapur upazila Friday noon. The arrestees were identified as Masud, 22, son of Saiful Islam and Ripon, 25, son of Erfan Ali of Rahmatpara area of Rohonpur municipality and Ferdous, 23, son of Hasan Ali of Khoyarmor area of the same municipality. Police said Masud and Ripon went to Rohonpur bazaar to buy chickens at noon. At one stage they locked in an altercation with the chicken seller and pointed a revolver at him. Later, locals caught the duo red-handed with the revolver and gave them a good beating. On information, a team of Rab-5 rushed to the spot and arrested them. The elite force later arrested Ferdous from the nearby area.

Teenager jailed for mugging

A speedy trial court here on Sunday convicted a teenager and sentenced him to two years imprisonment for mugging. The convict was identified as Mohammad Azad, 15, son of Ashraf Ali of Bakarkanda village in Sadar upazila. The court also fined him Tk 1000, in default, to suffer three months more RI and ordered to send him to youth correction centre in Gazipur. According to the prosecution, Azad along with his two accomplices in a motorbike intercepted one Rafiqul Islam at Sapmari Uttarpara Road in Sadar upazila and snatched away Tk 9,500 from him at gunpoint on November 6, 2010. Hearing the cry for help locals after a hot chase caught Azad along with his bike and handed him over to police. Later, a case was filed against the trio.

Man beaten to death

A man was beaten to death by his relatives over a trifling matter at Jhalopara in South Surma upazila Friday night. The deceased was identified as GM Umar Faruk Sumon, 35, son of America expatriate Abdus Sattar of the area. Police and family members said Sumon and his uncle Abdul Malik locked in an altercation over their children's quarrel at about 3:00pm. At one stage, Malik along with his two brothers, Kuddus and Hashim and their four sons beat Sumon mercilessly leaving him critically injured. The victim was rushed to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries at about 10:00pm.

Letters

Let's learn to give

Recently I had an occasion to read a book, "Giving" written by Bill Clinton, one of the most successful presidents in political history of the United States of America.

Shifting Bishwa Ijtema ground

For the first time the authorities have decided to hold Bishwa Ijtema in two phases at Tongi for various problems, difficulties and cogent reasons. Dhaka City is congested and over populated. It can no longer bear the weight and burden of additional 40 to 50 lakh devotees from home and abroad who attend the Ijtema. Further, the sufferings and hardships of millions of people in a small space on the bank of the river Turag for lack of proper civic amenities- sanitary arrangement, accommodation, food and medicare know no bound during this religious congregation.

Why hurt others?

I was very furious when I saw people kept on breaking and smashing vehicles when the Stock Market crashed a few days back. I do feel sorry for these people who invested their money into the stock market. But they just do not have any right to damage others' properties. When the market started falling, these people came up to the streets and started smashing the vehicles.

It's not a myth

A teacher, teaching in a remote area, passionate for imparting education amongst his students and working hard to earn his own livelihood is about to become a myth of the ancient age. But it is not a myth yet. Thanks to the reporter of The Daily Star who took initiative to reveal the irony of fate of a nation builder in Nilphamary district.

TIB report - an eye opener

The government's reaction and negative attitude towards the TIB reports, first on the corruption among the members of the police and lately of the judiciary, was unfortunate as people of the country, not the concerned ministers, feel the pinch while seeking services. The minister and the IG refuted the report and retorted that there may be a few corrupt members in the whole set-up but that cannot call for wholesale blame.

Raise your voice against BSF

It is not understandable why our minister had shown no concern regarding killing of Bangladeshi nationals at Bangladesh-India border. Aren't they human beings?

The Chatra League now

Factions within a party hierarchy originate from ideological differences among its members. But factions within Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), are nothing but groups of vested interests, engaged in internecine squabbles- one group trying to oust other to gain dominance on the campus for fulfilling their only motto of illegal money-making. It is widely complained that the student leaders are involved in hunting fortunes by bungling tenders, trading in admissions and dormitory seats, extortion, mugging etc. What a shame!

Our politics is rotting

Why corruption today is entrenched in the society? It is a political weakness (in the emerging countries). This is due to sycophancy; especially in the entrenched regimes (for example: dynasty rules).

Not airport but hospital

Government's decision to build another International Airport after Bangabandhu does not seem to be a well-thought out scheme as a pauper country like Bangladesh cannot have the luxury of having another airport at the colossal expense of thousands of crores of taka when the existing one can well serve the purpose with some extension and renovation. The area of Arial Beel chosen for the site yields both food and fish and besides, millions of people will be affected in various ways.

Demand for engineering degree

Food Technology and Nutritional Science (FTNS) is an important and time-befitting department of Mawlana Bhashani Science and Technology University (MBSTU).We, the students of this department, have been carrying out a movement for getting a B.Sc (engineering) degree instead of existing B.Sc (honours) degree for the last six months. Our syllabus is almost similar to many public universities in Bangladesh and abroad where engineering degree is given. On 5th January the authorities expelled 9 students without any logical reason.

Pollution goes unabated

There are so many industries in Gazipur, only a few of them have installed Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP). The factories are discharging untreated chemicals into water bodies which are destroying fish and other aquatic lives.And fertile agricultural land is becoming infertile. The villagers are compelled to sell their agricultural land to these industrialists. The industrialists are erecting signboards by buying wetlands (Uzan Beel, Boaly, Kaliakair). The Department of Environment (DoE) is taking actions against a very few culprits.Pity!

International

Saboteurs blast Egypt gas pipeline

Saboteurs attacked an Egyptian gas pipeline to Jordan yesterday, forcing authorities to switch off supplies from a twin pipeline to Israel, an official said, as anti-regime protests raged in Cairo.

Rebels kill 20 in South Sudan

A rebellion by former pro-Khartoum militiamen in south Sudan against giving up their heavy weapons sparked two days of clashes which killed 20 people in one of the region's three main towns, a military spokesman said yesterday.

Nigeria in final push to register millions of voters

Nigeria wrapped up a huge effort to register voters in Africa's most populous nation yesterday ahead of April elections after a process that was sometimes chaotic and violent -- but better than past years.

State multiculturalism has failed: David Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron condemned Britain's long-standing policy of multiculturalism as a failure yesterday, calling for better integration of young Muslims to combat home-grown extremism.

US slams Iran on Egypt comments

The White House Friday slammed Iran for intervening in the Egypt crisis, saying Tehran was in no position to make such "remarkable" comments after crushing its own uprising last year.

Mideast transition poses risks

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said yesterday there are risks with democratic transition in the Middle East, such as of chaos, a return to authoritarianism or the advent of extremism.

Egypt ruling party executive committee resigns

The top executive committee of Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), which includes strongman Hosni Mubarak's son Gamal, resigned en masse yesterday, state television reported.

Gun fight kills 5

Thailand and Cambodia yesterday agreed a ceasefire to halt fighting near a disputed temple that left at least five people dead, but border tensions remained high.

Protest over killing sparks fear of unrest in Indian Kashmir

Thousands of people protested in Indian Kashmir yesterday against the killing of a student by soldiers, raising fear of a revival of anti-Indian unrest in which more than 100 people were killed last year.

Assange asks Australian PM to bring him home

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has called on Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to bring him home just days before he faces an extradition hearing related to sexual assault allegations.

Militants kill four 'spies' in Pakistan

Militants shot dead four men for alleged spying and dumped their bodies outside a northwestern Pakistani town yesterday, police said.

Queen 'approves' of King's Speech

The Queen has appeared to have given her blessing to the Oscar-nominated film The King's Speech, which portrays her father King George VI.

Kerala HC nods to Islamic Financial Institution

The High Court in southern Indian state of Kerala on Thursday dismissed two petitions challenging the setting up of an Islamic Financial Institution on the lines of Islmaic Banks with the support of Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC).

Ulfa to begin peace talks

The outlawed rebel group in India's northeast said yesterday it would begin "unconditional" peace talks with New Delhi this week in a bid to end a violent 31-year insurgency.

Thirteen killed in fresh Sri Lanka floods

Renewed rains in Sri Lanka have flooded a large number of towns and villages and killed at least 13 people, officials said yesterday.

Blasts kill two soldiers in Afghanistan

Two international troops were killed in separate improvised bomb blasts in southern Afghanistan yesterday, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said.

Downpours pile misery on Australia

Torrential rains and flash floods trapped scores of people in homes and cars following a massive cyclone, piling more misery on Australia yesterday after weeks of record inundations.

Dress code for lady reporters

Iran's conservative-dominated plans to implement a new dress code for woman journalists who cover its proceedings, the ILNA news agency reported yesterday.

Fresh Sri Lanka floods kill 13

Renewed rains in Sri Lanka have flooded a large number of towns and villages and killed at least 13 people, officials said yesterday.

Iran directors urge reduction of Panahi's sentence

Two top Iranian directors urged the judiciary to reduce the sentence handed down to their fellow filmmaker Jafar Panahi when speaking at a local film festival, a report said yesterday.

Iraq to respect Kurd profit-sharing oil deals: Iraqi PM

Iraq will respect profit-sharing contracts signed by the Kurdistan region with foreign oil firms, ending a long-standing dispute between the two sides, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told AFP yesterday.

Al-Jazeera says Cairo bureau chief, journalist arrested

Egyptian authorities have arrested Al-Jazeera's bureau chief and one of its journalists in Cairo, the Doha-based television channel said yesterday, amid anti-government protests in the capital.

China bus accident kills Eleven

Eleven people were killed when a minibus toppled into a reservoir in southeastern China, state media reported yesterday, in the latest fatal crash on the country's notoriously dangerous roads.

Six dead as trader fights Philippine rebels

Six people died when a Philippine businessman and his son shot it out with communist guerrillas trying to extort hundreds of dollars from them, the military said yesterday.

Arts & Entertainment

A World of Music Descends on Dhaka

Dhaka World Music Festival (DWMF) 2011 offered the intoxicating grooves of soul, jazz, afro-beat, funk, reggae along with traditional Bangla folk for the first time at a major open air concert on February 4 and 5 at Sultana Kamal Mohila Krira Complex, in Dhanmondi.

Three New Plays Staged Over the Weekend

Theatre enthusiasts were in for a treat last weekend, as three new plays were staged on February 4 at the three stages of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. Nagarik Natyangan Ensemble premiered its play "Raja Rani" at the National Theatre Hall; Manipuri Theatre staged its latest production "Kohe Birangana" at the Experimental Theatre Hall and students of Prachyanat School of Acting and Design staged "Michhil O Shonibar" at the Studio Theatre Hall.

Chobi Mela VI Draws to a Close

Curtain came down on Chobi Mela VI -- International Festival of Photography -- on February 3, after two weeks of showcasing creative talents in 29 print and 31 digital exhibitions. Exhibitions of some of the most remarkable photographic works were held at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA), Alliance Francaise de Dhaka, Asiatic Gallery of Fine Arts, British Council, Drik Gallery, Goethe-Institut and Faculty of Fine Arts (Dhaka University).

Rediscovering Tagore

To celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, the British Council is hosting a four month long festival titled "Rediscovering Tagore". Aimed at the youth of our country, the festival will feature a Tagore themed creative writing workshop [in English] for emerging writers, a Tagore music show on Channel i, a Tagore inspired fashion show, and staging of the dance-drama "Tasher Desh" infusing western forms.

OP-ED

Window dressing in Myanmar?

Many in Bangladesh would be surprised to know that Myanmar had an election last November and its first Parliament in twenty years was opened last Monday in the new capital, Naypyidaw.

Obama's risky path in Egypt

Obama administration officials say they are not taking sides between President Hosni Mubarak, America's key ally in the Arab world, and the street protesters who purportedly represent a path to democracy in authoritarian Egypt. These officials might even believe what they're saying. But the very assertion of "not taking sides" is itself a tilt away from the all-out support traditionally given by Washington to this Egyptian strongman in recent decades.

The Fear of Loss

One of my earliest memories from childhood is of two of us, a classmate and me, walking back from school chattering away happily about this and that. He stops at a roadside paan shop to buy some sweets. We are talking nineteen-to-the-dozen when suddenly a young man at the shop tells us to stop; stop talking in Bengali. We did.

Sufi of Suburbia: Struggles of a Muslim identity in Bangladesh

BRAC Development Institute (BDI) at BRAC University organised a fascinating two-day long conference in December 2010 on "Transcending Binaries: Islam and Politics in South Asia", bringing in the likes of Saba Mahmood and Tariq Ali (via video conference) and a wide range of academics globally. Professor Syed Hashemi, Professor Firdous Azim and Samia Haq with the support of colleagues and friends, pulled off one of the best gatherings of intellectuals on regional politics, social anthropology and history to engage with each other and the larger audience on the state of secularism in South Asia within the global context of post 9/11 world order. Along with international presenters and partners, the sessions were packed with Government advisers, civil society members, academics and interested individuals.

Negotiating two languages and the case for a pragmatic approach to English

Talking about the place of English in our education and social life and how it influences the politics of representation would seem like a routine academic exercise, but to do so in the month of February might seem a bit odd and out of place, since we assume that the month is solely dedicated to Bangla and a historical re-evaluation of its role in shaping our nationalistic aspirations. The perception though is not incorrect, as February does offer us forums and opportunities to revisit the historic language movement of 1952, and discuss every possible aspect of language issue including the threat that it is facing from the spread of globalisation. It is in this context that a discussion of how we might manage to contain, if not eliminate the threat, and how best we may use the benefits that English has to offer to our advantage may be in order. There is no denying the fact that English is assuming a disproportionate importance in our education, in the media and in our corporate dealings, and threatens to contest Bangla in areas, such as social discourse, that were, even 20 years ago, seen to be Bangla-only domains. But to manage the threat, one has to have a good understanding of not only the historical, cultural and ideological contexts in which English operates in this country, but also the questions of agency and representation that are strategically linked to its spread. Indeed, the cultural luggage that English language brings with it and relocates in the Bangladeshi context also needs to be investigated, if we have to be able to devise ways to counter its influence. We have to keep in mind however, that English has become a tool and a technology in this market-driven world, which we can hardly afford to shun, but we cannot allow it to replace Bangla in any area of daily engagement. If it is a cultural force, we must accept the benefits it might offer us, but should not allow it to shape our cultural expressions. These are no easy tasks, but should not be postponed any longer.

Asterix and the Big Fight

The deaf mute has no enemies in this city" -- this was the only advice to me, from the director of a Dhaka art centre. I had returned to the city after a month break. In the interim, I had been hearing, on email and on blogs, all manner of chatter about a big conflagration between Bangladesh and France. Over art of all things, about a museum loan.


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