The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Wednesday, October 22, 2014


News of: Sunday, 3rd of April, 2011

Front Page

India bathe in WC glory

Mahendra Singh Dhoni kept the party on for a billion fans as India clinched the World Cup for the second time after a sixwicket victory in the keenly-contested final against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium here last night.

Dhoni's gift to Tendulkar

If the world was a perfect place with fate written by an Indian hand, Sachin Tendulkar would have scored his hundredth international century yesterday in the World Cup final, and taken his country to their second world trophy in front of his home town crowd at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

Going gets tough in Bahrain too

After Libya, Bangladeshi workers are now bearing the brunt of the political unrest in Bahrain where thousands of workers have either lost their jobs or are not getting their pay.

Dhaka rivers to get pillars from Apr 12

The government will start setting up boundary pillars along the river banks around Dhaka on April 12 to protect the rivers from encroachment.

Withdraw hartal

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry yesterday urged Islami Oikya Jote to withdraw the hartal called by it tomorrow.

Be of help to challenged people

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon people of all walks of life to be compassionate and helpful towards all physically and mentally challenged people and children of the society.

Rebels claim key oil town

Libyan rebels were claiming victory yesterday in the battle for Brega as heavy fighting ensued around the oil town amid reports four civilians were among the dead in a Nato air strike nearby.

Construction sites go unwatched

No government body is monitoring occupational hazards at construction sites even though hundreds die each year in Bangladesh.

AL sees bad days ahead

The ruling Awami League apprehends economic crisis in the country due to the ongoing Middle-East uprising, rise in food prices and looming energy crisis.

'800 killed' in Ivory Coast

Soldiers backing Alassane Ouattara met stiff resistance from incumbent Laurent Gbagbo's fighters in Ivory Coast's main city of Abidjan yesterday as the two sides fought for control of the West African country.

Help find the corrupt in judiciary

Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque yesterday said he is working to purge the judiciary of corruption and urged the victims to make specific allegations.

Woman killed

Police recovered the slaughtered body of a septuagenarian woman from her Mirpur residence in the capital early yesterday.

31 more cross Libya border

Thirty-one more Bangladeshis, including one family with children, have fled to Tunisia crossing the Ras Jdir border from Libya on April 1, according to the foreign ministry.

Strong quake strikes Crete

A strong earthquake struck the southern Greek island of Crete Friday, rattling buildings as far away as Egypt and Turkey. Local police said they had no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Baby girl molested

A four-year-old girl was molested by her neighbour, a 30-year-old man, on Friday night in the city's Hatirpool area.

Thai flood toll climbs to 35

Flooding across southern Thailand has killed at least 35 people, officials said yesterday, as unseasonably wet weather deluged the homes and businesses of around two million people.

Announcement

Dear readers, in keeping with our commitment to serve you even better, we have been publishing a nine-part 500-page four-colour special anniversary supplement series every Monday and Thursday, from March 14. We have so far brought out six supplements, the first one containing 96 pages and the remaining five 48-page each.

Editorial

Unending 'crossfire' deaths

The latest report by Ain-O-Salish Kendra makes dismal reading. In the past three months, according to the report, as many as thirty individuals have died in so-called crossfire incidents in the country while twenty five others died in police custody. By any standard of morality as well as legality, these incidents are appalling in nature. They fly in the face of the government's claims that no 'crossfire' deaths have occurred in all the time since it took office in January 2009. Now contrast that with a recent ministerial comment to the effect that crossfire killings have seeped into the system and it will take time for such killings to be brought to an end. Such contradictory positions are disturbing.

Beaten up for a crumb of bread

A picture published in last Saturday's The Daily Star speaks volumes about our heavy-handed treatment to tender aged children. In particular it shows crowd's total insensitivity to a couple of poor and hungry urchin girls alleged to have stolen food. Whereas they should have been shown passion and the crowd feeling a sense of guilt that the society failed to provide two morsels of food to them, they behaved as if devoid of humanity.

Sports

It finally belongs to Dhoni

Mahendra Singh Dhoni doesn't spend too much time on history, records and emotions. He is a figure who gives off a distant air to the media, a cool persona to the public and a calming influence on teammates, be it stalwarts or rookies. What is Sachin Tendulkar's birthright and what should have been Saurav Ganguly's natural conclusion is now Dhoni's.

Sachin cried, happily

Sachin Ten-dulkar said he could not hold back his tears after India thrashed Sri Lanka in the World Cup final on Saturday to win the "ultimate" prize after a gap of 28 years.

Jayawardene's tiki-taka

Mahela Jayawardene's batting resembles Spain of the 2010 football World Cup. It is long drawn but comparisons tend to satiate our fantasies, so stay with it.

Game on at Wankhede

All roads led to Wankhede Stadium on Saturday. It looked like there was only one news on the planet; the battle between India and Sri Lanka. The pre-match analyses dominated the pages of all the leading newspapers in the country and understandably Sachin Tendulkar and Muttiah Muralidaran hogged the spotlight.

Tossed up controversy

The World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka was plunged into controversy before a ball was bowled at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday when the toss had to be performed twice.

WC trophy confiscated!

Customs officers at Mumbai airport confiscated what they thought was the cricket World Cup trophy in a dispute over unpaid duty, India media reported on Saturday.

Rooney rescues MU

Wayne Rooney struck a second-half hattrick as Manchester United came from two goals down to beat West Ham 4-2 and strengthen their position at the top of the English Premier League.

Dortmund close in

Borussia Dortmund came from behind to floor Bundesliga title rivals Hanover 96 on Saturday with a 4-1 victory which maintained their seven-point lead at the top of the table.

FIR against Poonam

An Indian court on Friday ordered lodging of an FIR against a 20-year-old model for reportedly saying that she would walk nude in public if Indian cricket team win the World Cup final in Mumbai.

Gallas threatens to sue FFF

France international defender William Gallas has threatened to take legal action against the French Football Federation (FFF) unless they pay him his World Cup bonuses, his lawyer told AFP on Friday.

Business

Capital: most banks have enough

Most of the forty-seven commercial and specialised banks have dodged various risks to successfully maintain their capital adequacy.

Share buyback runs into debate

The much-discussed stock buyback programme runs into a debate as the Companies Act contradicts the new proposed guidelines on buybacks proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Salinity chokes croplands

The spectre of salinity looms at a time when the government looks to bring 10 lakh hectares of land in the southwest under cultivation of boro rice

FBCCI urges govt to lower interest rates

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) yesterday expressed deep concerns over the looming stagnation of the country's overall investment climate due to liquidity crisis, high interest rates and shortage of foreign currency reserve.

BPC moves to ensure diesel supply to the north

Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) has taken steps to transport diesel directly from Chittagong to Rangpur by railway for the first time, in a bid to resolve the energy crisis in eight northern districts throughout the boro season.

Safta committee approves efforts to relax trade rules

The working committee of the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (Safta) has authorised preparation of three schedules of commitment to relax the regional trading in services.

Huawei Marine gets cable project in Southeast Asia

Huawei Marine Networks Company won the bidding for Batam-Dumai-Melaka (BDM) submarine cable project and will provide the end-to-end turnkey submarine system solution, the company said in a statement yesterday.

New vice chairmen of Bank Asia

Mohd Safwan Choudhury and Mohammed Lakiotullah have been re-elected vice chairmen of Bank Asia, it said in a statement yesterday.

G20 keeps up snail's pace of global monetary reform

Another month, another inconclusive meeting of G20 finance ministers: reform of the international monetary system is proving a hard, thankless slog.

Benefit from new EU rules

The experts' prediction of a rise in export of garment products from Bangladesh to Eurozone is likely to come true with the relaxation of the rules of origin (RoO) by 27 countries in the zone.

Hamid Fabrics to go public

Hamid Fabrics Ltd, a concern of Mahin Group, plans to go public to raise a fund of Tk 150 crore to implement its expansion plan as it is experiencing a surge in demand of its products from buyers' end.

Pacific trade push sees momentum and criticism

Nine Pacific nations including the United States are moving ahead on building an ambitious free trade zone, but few believe they will meet a self-imposed November deadline as criticism mounts.

Ford topples GM from top spot

Ford knocked General Motors out of the top spot for US auto sales last month, a feat it had managed only once before since 1998, industry data showed Friday.

EU launches appeal after claiming WTO Boeing victory

The European Union launched Friday an appeal against a WTO ruling that the United States gave aircraft maker Boeing billions of dollars in illegal subsidies, after claiming victory in the dispute.

BRICS to talk economic coordination, not yuan: China

Leaders from five of the world's top emerging economies will discuss a coordinated stance on economic issues such as commodity price fluctuations, but the yuan's exchange rate is off the agenda, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Saturday.

S&P downgrades Japan's TEPCO

Standard & Poor's downgraded the long-term rating on Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), operator of a nuclear plant at the centre of the world's worst atomic crisis for 25 years, to 'BBB+' from 'A+.'

India bans Iran nuclear-related trade

India has banned trade in all goods and services with Iran that could help Tehran pursue development of nuclear weapons, a government statement said.

Cleaner energy will help job creation: Obama

US President Barack Obama said Saturday that a transition to cleaner energy will help create more American jobs as he promoted his new initiative designed to reduce US energy imports by a third.

China sees consensus in emerging markets bloc

An upcoming meeting of the leaders of the world's leading emerging economies should boost consensus and cooperation among them, although members of the group have yet to decide on whether to establish a permanent secretariat, a Chinese diplomat said Saturday.

Australia floods may cost coal business $8b

Devastating floods could cost Australia up to $8.3 billion in lost coal production, new estimates released on Saturday show -- a sharp increase on earlier projected losses.

Asia sees mixed trading

Asian shares were mixed Friday in cautious trade ahead of key US jobs data while a weak yen provided some support, but concerns over the consequences of last month's earthquake weighed on sentiment.

HK's first yuan-denominated IPO gets regulatory nod

Hui Xian REIT, the property flagship controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, has secured regulatory clearance to launch Hong Kong's first yuan-denominated stock offering, IFR reported late on Friday.

Bank of England rate decision in spotlight

The Bank of England is on the radar for investors next week as the central bank slowly moves towards raising interest rates from their record-low level due to a spike on inflation.

TD Bank completes Chrysler Financial takeover

Toronto Dominion Bank (TD) announced Friday it has completed its takeover of Chrysler Financial Corp., positioning the Canadian bank as one of the top five auto lenders in North America.

Weekly Currency Roundup

March 27-31, 2011
International Markets:
The euro rose broadly on Thursday as above-forecast euro zone inflation cemented the case for gradual rate rises from the European Central Bank, though analysts cautioned against a rapid rise in the currency. Traders said significant quarter-end and fiscal year-end flows were helping to boost the euro, at the particular expense of the greenback. Eurostat estimated that consumer prices in the 17 countries using the euro jumped 2.6 percent year-on-year in March, up from 2.4 percent in February. Economists polled by Reuters had expected 2.3 percent. European Central Bank Executive Board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi on Wednesday implied that the central bank's policy is to gradually raise interest rates, with markets expecting the tightening cycle to begin in April.

Correction

A report headlined “dampening jute products” published on March 29 inadvertently mentioned Ershadul Haque as the owner of Prokritee. Actually, he is an employee of the organisation. We regret the mistake.

Metropolitan

Spain 'worried' about Yunus situation

The Spanish government is “worried” about the situation regarding Grameen Bank and on the accusations against its founder and Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, the Europa Press reported.

Arrest of Ctg trader sparks protest

Traders of Khatunganj besieged Kotwali Police Station for one and half an hours yesterday as police held one of their fellows on Friday night on “false charges”.

IOM appeals for fresh $160m cash

The IOM on Friday made the fresh and third appeal for US$ 160 million to international community for conducting the second phase of evacuation and assist thousands of migrants including Bangladeshis fleeing Libya everyday amid continued unrest.

HSC exams begin April 5

Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and its equivalent examinations will begin across the country on April 5 with a total of 7,79,441 examinees.

Rajuk asked to remove sand from Dumni Khal

Department of Environment (DoE) on Thursday ordered Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakkha (Rajuk) to remove sand from Dumni Khal by April 14, otherwise would take legal action against Rajuk.

Call to reject Apr 4 hartal

Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, a forum for secular Bangladesh and trial of war criminals of 1971, yesterday urged people to reject the hartal called by Islami Ain Bastobayon Committee (IABC) on April 4.

'Call off the hartal'

Joy Bangla Sangskritik Oikya Jote yesterday in a protest rally called upon Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ) to cancel tomorrow's (April 4) hartal, saying that there is nothing in the national women development policy that conflicts with Islam.

Be of help to special needs people: PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon all to be compassionate and helpful towards all physically and mentally challenged people and children of the society.

PM goes to Cox's Bazar today

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will open an Air Force base at Cox's Bazar today.

Formulate policy on use of antibiotics

Formulation of a national antimicrobial (antibiotic drugs) policy is essential to combat irrational use of antibiotics as such usage causes bacteria to develop resistance in the patients' body leaving the drugs inactive against certain diseases.

Tk 22 lakh mugged from trader

Unknown criminals snatched Tk 22 lakh from a businessman stabbing him in front of his residence in Chankharpool, Old Dhaka last night.

Climate talks begin in Bangkok today

International climate talks will resume today in Bangkok, Thailand after Cancun Conference last year that failed to gain a strong commitment from the world leaders to cut greenhouse gas emission.

Greetings to new SCBA leaders

Different organisations including a political party in separate statements yesterday greeted the newly elected leaders of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA).

DU VC gets Spanish award

Dhaka University (DU) Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique yesterday received prestigious Commander of the Spanish Order of Civil Merit for his contribution in enhancement of civil virtues in society.

National

Peaceful voting in 74 UPs on fifth day

Elections to 74 union parishads (UPs) in 10 upazilas of seven coastal districts were held yesterday, the fifth day of ongoing polls in the lowest tier of local government structure, largely peacefully except some stray incidents.

FF Lokman sets up gallery with photos of glory days

Freedom fighter Lokman Hossain has set up a gallery with the photos of his glorious days of battle during the War of Liberation in 1971 and fellow freedom fighters at his home at Ashapur village under Ghior upazila.

59 jailed for mutiny at Khulna sector hqs

Fifty-nine jawans of 23 Battalion of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) were yesterday sentenced to jail terms ranging from four months to six years for their involvement in the mutiny at Khulna sector headquarters on February 25 and 26 in 2009.

Teachers of RU music, drama dept on strike

Teachers of music and drama department at Rajshahi University (RU) observed work abstention yesterday demanding removal of the department chairman.

Kobi Nazrul university student expelled

Authorities of Jatiya Kobi Kazi Nazrul Islam University (JKNIU) yesterday expelled a student for threatening the university students with sharp weapons and barring them from attending classes.

Today's polls

Election to 24 union parishads (UP) in Tala and Kalaroa upazilas will be held today.

Kader's remark turns Tangail town stormy

A tense situation was created in Tangail town yesterday as the district unit of ruling Awami League (AL) organised a rally and procession protesting Krishak Shramik Janata League President Abdul Kader Siddiqui's recent remark that Ziaur Rahman proclaimed the country's independence in 1971.

11 shops, house gutted in Chandpur fire incidents

At least 11 shops and a dwelling house were gutted in separate fire incidents in Sadar, Shaharasti and Haziganj upazilas here on Friday and Thursday.

Housewife commits 'suicide'

A housewife allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from the ceiling of her house on Friday night. Victim Golapi Rani, 20, was wife of Jagadish Chandra Roy, 25, of Bania Para Itakhola village of Sadar upazila. Jagadish is an employee of a stationary shop in Nilphamari bazaar area. Police and local sources said, the victim, also mother of a nine-month-old child, had a quarrel with her mother-in-law on Friday afternoon. At about 10 pm she went to her room after dinner. At about 12.00, her husband returned home from his workplace and found the room locked from inside. As after long time she did not respond, the husband along with other members of the family broke open the door and found her hanging from the ceiling, dead.

20 hurt as villagers clash

At least 20 people were injured in a clash yesterday morning between people of two villages over a piece of disputed land in Ullapara upazila. Police quoting the witnesses said there was a longstanding dispute over the land between Amir Hossain of Mohonpur village and Zillur Rahman of Khoksa village. On Friday evening an arbitration over the issue failed, the next morning the two groups, equipped with locally made weapons, locked in clash to take control of the disputed land. Additional police have been deployed in the area, said Ullapara OC Tazul Huda.

Indigenous people's demands

Indigenous leaders of northern districts yesterday urged the authorities concerned to introduce 'indigenous language' at primary education level to 'revamp' their culture. They also called for stringent steps against the killers of indigenous people and demanded justice. Jatiya Adivasi Parishad of Dinajpur unit placed the demands at a meeting here at Dinajpur Natya Samiti auditorium yesterday morning. Rabindra Nath Soren, secretary general of Jatiya Adivasi Parishad was present as chief guest at the programme. At the meeting the speakers demanded constitutional rights of the indigenous people. Eviction of indigenous people from their land and corruption at land settlement offices of the country should be stopped, they pointed out.

Special

Jayawardene's tiki-taka

Mahela Jayawardene's batting resembles Spain of the 2010 football World Cup. It is long drawn but comparisons tend to satiate our fantasies, so stay with it.

'God made Sachin for cricket'

India great Sachin Tendulkar was "made by God just to play cricket" said captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni ahead of Saturday's World Cup final against Sri Lanka.

Letters

Bizarre cricket mania

Cricket fans in the subcontinent have increased the pressure on players and coaches, which makes them anxious and stressed. The result is there for all to see. The people of the subcontinent should not forget that their teams too entered the tournament as underdogs years ago. Why should they raise a hue and cry when other teams outplay theirs? The hysterical outburst at Bangladesh's defeat to West Indies exposes our self-centred expectations. If our players do not perform, we denounce them. But one thing is for certain this bizarre cricket mania is the result of the unreasonable media hype. It has made us so crazy that we have lost the ability to accept defeats. It was saddening to see fans attack the house of Bangladesh Captain. Do the people ever lift a finger against erring government officials or politicians who are involved in scandals?

William and Kate to protect Bengal Tigers

It is inspiring to learn that a portion of the charitable gift fund to be raised on the occasion of the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton will be spent on the conservation of Bengal tigers of the Sundarbans. This gesture would definitely help stop the poaching of tigers, elephants and other endangered animals and ensure their protection and conservation.The number of tigers in the Sundarbans and elsewhere in the world has decreased alarmingly due to the human activities including cutting of forests. An Indonesian proverb makes the point clear as it states:

5th population census

On March 15, Bangladesh kicked off its fifth population census since independence. We excelled all standards in terms of counting out people of Bangladesh. Concern has been voiced that the count has been preceded by too little publicity to ensure full public participation.

Ricky, the man

Ricky Ponting has always been a man of character. He is often criticised for his harsh behaviour, but for the responsibility this man has been carrying through for last eight years with great determination and sheer success, he has to keep an attitude that no ordinary man bears. He is a captain with the ability to win a match from any condition. Winning consecutive world cup title was no small achievement. The opponent captains often misunderstand him. But in my opinion he is simply a man who has self believe and competes hard on the field.

Ricky, the man

Ricky Ponting has always been a man of character. He is often criticised for his harsh behaviour, but for the responsibility this man has been carrying through for last eight years with great determination and sheer success, he has to keep an attitude that no ordinary man bears. He is a captain with the ability to win a match from any condition. Winning consecutive world cup title was no small achievement. The opponent captains often misunderstand him. But in my opinion he is simply a man who has self believe and competes hard on the field.

5th population census

On March 15, Bangladesh kicked off its fifth population census since independence. We excelled all standards in terms of counting out people of Bangladesh. Concern has been voiced that the count has been preceded by too little publicity to ensure full public participation.

Are these people too influential?

I was saddened to read yet another report, this time from Khulna, of a child domestic worker being tortured by her employer ("From hell to fresh air", DS 21-3-11). Since a general diary (GD) has been filed, this information is open to the public. While the child victim's identity has been revealed in your article, why have the identities of the people who allegedly committed this disgusting crime been withheld? to be named?

Lambs or Tigers?

The title above, accurately describes the Bangladesh cricket team; which seems to suffer with 'butter-fingers' in batting, fielding and bowling!

Size of T-shirts

Will the Garments Industry get its act together on the subject of sizing? As the British Women's Association discover, each year, when they organise a mega-event for hundreds of disadvantaged children at Nandan Water World, the different sizes of the T-shirts given from different houses cause chaos. This year, we discovered that the green Tesco Medium T-shirt was the same size as the red XL T-shirt from House of Pearl!

Begum Zia's alarm bell

Following HC verdict on 5th amendment people from all walks of life and the media demanded in one voice that a provision to the effect that military can never seize power must be incorporated in the constitution, Begum Zia while addressing a gathering in observance of Peelkhana tragedy told us she feared another tragedy in the cantonment. Is the tragedy she referred to is otherwise a possible intervention by the Army to seize power? The DS on 2nd March was compelled to write an editorial calling in question the intention and basis of her fears and wanted to know her moral obligation as the opposition leader? From her statement it seems she is in a great deal of disillusionments and to come out of them she might prefer any alternative to her agitation programmes to precipitate the downfall of the AL government.

PSC is wasting time

PSC is taking a long course of time to recruit the BCS cadres. In fact, many brilliant students leave this field because of lengthy procedure. Tight civil administration plays a pivotal role for the continuous development of a country. For instance, if we look at the most developed countries like USA, UK, Japan, Germany, etc., we can say that the rigid base of democracy in those countries is the outcome of efficient civil administrations. The politicians can't do whatever they like rather opinions of mass people are taken into account in those countries. To minimise the course of time for accomplishing the total procedures of BCS exams the present govt. should act promptly.

Make Yunus the next President

The leader of the opposition in parliament expressed deep shock and concern at the way the Nobel Laureate has been humiliated by the regime in power. Since then I have been wondering as to how his honour and dignity could be restored. It is indeed a matter of serious disgrace. To speak the truth, many a people throughout the globe know Bangladesh because of Dr. Yunus. The regime in power has gone in full swing to nail him down in all possible ways. As an ordinary citizen of the country, may I propose the leader of the opposition, to offer him the presidency of the country if they come to power next time. Hopefully, this shall bring glory both to the party and the country.

Ensuring a culture of honesty

The present day world is full of lies and falsehood. Without any prejudice or malice to none, I recall a saying "Lawyers and politicians are the same, the difference is the politicians are bigger liars" by a late personal friend who played a major role in a movie named "The Father" which is often shown on different television channels.

Interesting headlines

The interesting headlines in the DS front page on 24th March evoked some questions:

Readers Respond

Here are some comments that came in response to Saturday's The Daily Star report headlined “Glass tower gets green light.”

International

Leak found in reactor pit

Japan's prime minister made his first visit to the country's tsunami-devastated region yesterday as officials grappling to end the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl said they may have discovered why radiation has been leaking into the sea.

Fukushima 'much bigger than Chernobyl': Expert

Japan's unfolding nuclear disaster is "much bigger than Chernobyl" and could rewrite the international scale used to measure the severity of atomic accidents, a Russian expert said here Friday.

Arming Libyan rebels risks diplomatic showdown

The nations staging air strikes on Muammar Gaddafi's forces will be heading into a diplomatic minefield if they arm Libyan rebels as well, according to experts and envoys at the UN.

Yemen's Saleh again signals he's staying put

Embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh thanked thousands of supporters gathered near the presidential palace yesterday for backing the constitution in a further sign he has no immediate plans to step down.

Hamas warns Israel for killing militants

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas yesterday denied that three of its militants killed in a Gaza air strike were plotting to kidnap Israelis and warned of "consequences".

India bans nuke-related trade with Iran

India has banned trade in all goods and services with Iran that could help Tehran pursue development of nuclear weapons, a government statement said.

India charges ex-minister

Indian police yesterday charged a former telecom minister with abuse of power and conspiracy in an alleged mobile spectrum fraud that cost the country billions of dollars in lost revenue.

Ten killed in Afghanistan Koran demonstration

Ten people died in Afghanistan yesterday in new protests against a Koran burning in the US, a day after seven UN staff were killed.

Syria arrests dozens over unrest

Syrian security forces arrested dozens of people, rights groups said yesterday, after thousands marched in pro-democracy protests in unrest that has posed the gravest challenge to President Bashar al-Assad's rule.

Nigeria postpones parliamentary vote till Monday

Nigeria postponed parliamentary elections until Monday after voting materials failed to arrive in many areas, a major blow to hopes of a break with a history of chaotic polls in Africa's most populous nation.

Vietnam rockslide kills 18

Rescuers in Vietnam were working yesterday to recover the bodies of two brothers buried under huge boulders as a local official said 18 people had died in a quarry rockslide.

Al Qaeda claims responsibility for Iraq's Tikrit attack

Al Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate yesterday claimed responsibility for a siege at a provincial council headquarters in Saddam Hussein's hometown in which 58 people were killed.

Philippine tribal gunmen kidnap 16

Philippine tribal gunmen abducted 16 children and adults in a bizarre bid to have their leader released from prison after he was jailed for another mass kidnapping, police said yesterday.

Arts & Entertainment

Worthy Words

On the occasion of the approaching 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, Indian art critic Pranab Ranjan Roy articulated his views on Rabindranath's paintings and their various aspects on March 31 at Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts in Dhanmondi, Dhaka. Bengal Gallery organised the programme. Subir Chowdhury, director of Bengal Gallery, delivered the welcome speech. Veteran painters, writers, academics attended the event.

Amar Bondhu Rashed

We often hear teenagers these days show less interest in reading; rather, they are always busy with browsing the web, playing virtual games and watching films. Keeping that in mind, adaptation of Liberation War themed stories, novels and other fictional works into films is a way of encouraging the youngsters to get acquainted with the history of the nine month-long brutal war that freed the country.

Beauty in Diversity

Curtain came down on the four-day long Ethnic Minority Drama Festival 2011, organised by Khudra Nri Goshthi Cell [Cell for ethnic minority groups] of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA), at the National Theatre Hall, BSA yesterday.

Recitation programme on Kanthabithi's 13th anniversary

Kanthabithi, an organisation of reciters in Magura, held a two-day long programme featuring poetry recitation to mark its 13th founding anniversary that ended on Friday evening.

Fair and cultural programme by the river Korotoa

Starting April 1, the three-day-long historic 'Baruni Snan', a religious ritual of the local Hindu community, began at Boalmari Baruni village in Panchagarh.

Standard Chartered Bank's Art Camp Exhibition begins

Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) Bangladesh recently organised a 45-daylong art workshop, titled “Standard Chartered Sreejoni 2010”. The theme of the art camp was watercolour. The workshop's aim was to popularise the watercolour medium among promising painters of the country. Around 42 artists participated at the workshop.

OP-ED

The message from Mohali

SO India has won the World Cup cricket semifinal match against Pakistan held in Mohali last week. The margin of win was only 29 runs. But to the 1.1 billion Indians it was a milestone victory.

Faces of Facebook

ONE of the most revolutionary inventions of this decade has been Facebook -- the enormously popular and addictive social website that has consumed the lives of so many. An interesting feature of Facebook, founded by Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg in 2004, is its ability to suck people into a virtual world of their illusionary selves recreated with glamorous photographs, racy video clips, and punchy self descriptions. Facebook can thus easily transform the introvert into a flamboyant online persona!

Throes of volatility

FOR yours truly, perhaps the most symbolic moment in a World Cup at home soil came in the game against the West Indies. It was unfortunate, but a sparkling Friday afternoon was bastardised beyond repair by an inept performance from the Bangladesh side, which saw them capitulate to a nine-wicket loss, and more worryingly for the thousands, for a total score of just 58.

Democracy and dogma in the Middle East

THERE are many among us who, at the first mention of religion and politics, wiggle their forefingers and shake their heads and tell us that the two should never mix. Religion is a matter of faith, they assert, and politics -- well, politics requires crafty calculations. Religion is a matter of rules, but in politics, anything goes and everything's negotiable.

On the right side of history

FORTY years ago, the then Eastern "Wing: of Pakistan was fighting for the same ideals people from countries in the Middle East are fighting for today. The fight was for freedom -- the freedom to democratically choose their government, the right to hear their own voice and the desire to shape their destiny. Like all great fights, the fight began in the hearts of ordinary people, eventually boiling over into the streets. Just as those in East Pakistan, facing genocide may have wondered why the world stood in silence and why no one came to their support, those in the Middle East may be asking us the same questions today. Throughout history, those with courage stood on the right side of history, while the silent majority opted for the easier option and watched with inaction. Bangladeshis need to stand in support with the people of the Middle East, especially given its own history from just 40 years ago. By standing with the people of the Middle East, history will judge Bangladeshis to be on the right side of history.

Transcending the current conflicts in the microfinance sector in Bangladesh

The backlash against microfinance
IN spite of the great success of Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in Bangladesh in providing financial access to over 20 million poor households, and that too through financially sustainable methodologies, the reaction here in Bangladesh, very interestingly, has been extremely ambivalent. While many celebrate the global focus Bangladesh receives in being one of the pioneering countries in promoting financial access, others, especially many policy makers and academics, see it as exploitative (through charging high interest rates and employing coercive repayment strategies) and ineffective (in improving client conditions and reducing poverty). In fact there has recently been a renewed spate of criticism, based often on flimsy evidence. This stems on the one hand from an over selling of microfinance by advocates, and on the other a failure of opponents to truly understand poor people and their financial lives coupled with a limited vision on how best to facilitate a democratisation of the financial sector.

This Day In History

1922
Joseph Stalin becomes the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.



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