The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Saturday, September 20, 2014


News of: Sunday, 17th of April, 2011

Front Page

Equal transit fees for all countries

Bangladesh should charge between $4 and $50 for a tonne of goods in transit fees depending on routes chosen by the user, according to a recommendation report of the Tariff Commission on transit.

Scamsters out to discredit probe

An influential section of businessmen and politicians, who allegedly siphoned off large sums of money from the share market, is now trying to discredit the government's probe committee report on the securities market scam to avert punishment.

Danger lurks at drug stores

Suffering from a severe toothache, 25-year-old Tonni visited a dentist and was prescribed Velox, an antibiotic.

Elephants left to starve

People are illegally clearing the reserve forests and occupancies of elephant corridors, creating acute food shortage for the animals, changing their food habit and inviting more human-elephant conflicts.

4 die inside septic tank

Four labourers died after inhaling toxic gas while working in a septic tank of an under-construction building in Satkania upazila of Chittagong yesterday.

6 die from bus-top fall

Six died and 25 were injured falling off the roof of a Dhaka-bound bus at Tulshighat in the district early yesterday.

Investors swindled thru' share conversion

Unscrupulous beneficiaries used preference shares as a tactic to fleece people in the stockmarket, cashing in on the weakness of existing rules, found the government probe body on the recent stockmarket crash.

Grabbers saved, not the rivers

The government move to demarcate the rivers of Dhaka without foreshore would be counterproductive, observed environmentalists.

PM influencing judiciary

Leaders of the main opposition BNP yesterday accused the prime minister of influencing the judiciary through her comment at a cabinet meeting that the proceedings of cases against Tarique and Koko should be accelerated.

Sports out, fair in

Makeshift structures were set up on Thursday on Dhanmondi Road-8 playground to organise Baishakhi Mela (fair) in violation of a High Court order that termed illegal any structures other than those related to sports on playgrounds and parks.

Gaddafi force using 'cluster bombs'

Loud explosions yesterday rocked the besieged rebel-held western Libyan city of Misrata, where the death toll mounted, as a rights watchdog said Muammar Gaddafi's forces were using cluster bombs.

Asian nations to talk crisis

Impact of political unrest in the Arab world on migrant workers will be high on the agenda at the upcoming ministerial meeting of the "Colombo Process", a regional forum for Asian labour supplying nations.

1 held for disgracing Lalon devotees

A madrasa principal was arrested early yesterday in Pangsha upazila of Rajbari five days after a case was filed against him for disgracing 28 devotees of mystic poet Lalon Fakir.

Stepfather kills boy

A five-year-old boy was killed by his stepfather on Friday at Dhalpur polli slum in Dhaka.

'Safe home' worries Jamaat

Jamaat-e-Islami has expressed concern over the lives of its leaders Motiur Rahman Nizami and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid, who will be quizzed at a "safe home" in Dhanmondi instead of Dhaka Central Jail for links to war crimes.

Kashmir rebels kill woman poll candidate in India

Suspected Muslim rebels shot dead a woman candidate contesting village-level polls in restive Indian Kashmir, police said yesterday.

Tourist resort staff abducted in Bandarban

An employee of Sakura Village, a private tourist resort, situated on the outskirts of the district town was abducted by a gang of armed miscreants for ransom on Friday night.

President dissolves government to quell revolt

Mutinous soldiers took to the streets of the Burkina Faso capital in a second night of protests yesterday even as President Blaise Compaore dissolved his government and named a new army chief.

Actor Nicolas Cage arrested

Actor Nicolas Cage was arrested after he got drunk in the city's French Quarter and argued in the street with his wife over whether a house they were in front of was theirs, police said yesterday.

Editorial

Pahela Baishakh this year

The spontaneity with which the nation observed Pahela Baishakh on Thursday has revealed certain significant aspects about society in Bangladesh today. One is of course the remarkable growth in the numbers of people for whom the advent of the Bengali New Year is not only cause for a day's celebration and holiday but also a rededication to the traditions which for have ages nurtured Bengali culture in Bangladesh as well as beyond its frontiers. One notes that Pahela Baishakh is today much more than a Dhaka- or urban-based affair, for as this year's spirited observance of the day has so amply demonstrated, its celebrations have greatly diversified and are now as much a matter of rural exuberance as they are of the urban.

No let-up in land grabbing

Allegations of land grabbing continue to pour in from all over the country. In addition to foreshores, water bodies and arable lands the malady is now spreading into graveyards and cremation grounds.

Sports

Sk Russel top Group B

Nor'wester played spoilsport to the Independence Cup football tournament yesterday, leaving one match postponed altogether and disrupting the other for more than 40 minutes.

Nayeem hits maiden ton

A maiden first-class century by Iftekhar Nayeem gave Barisal a strong first day in their National Cricket League second phase game against Dhaka at the Shaheed Chandu Stadium in Bogra yesterday.

Country first? Or club?

A Sri Lanka cricket board demand that national players involved in the Indian Premier League (IPL) return to prepare for an England tour has reopened the long-running club versus country debate.

Chennai make U-turn

Defending champions Chennai Super Kings rode on a blistering unbeaten 83 from Michael Hussey as they thumped Royal Challengers Bangalore by 21 runs to bounce back after their last match defeat in the Indian Premier League here on Saturday.

PCB keen on India series

Desperate to revive the Indo-Pak bilateral cricket ties, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is trying hard to convince the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for a short one-day series this year in Pakistan or at a neutral venue.

Sachin's ton in vain

Brendon McCullum and Mahela Jayawardene hit robust half-centuries as Kochi Tuskers Kerala posted an eight-wicket win over Sachin Tendulkar's Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Friday.

Chelsea rebound

Chelsea bounced back from the disappointment of their European exit to record a morale-boosting 3-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

Silence provokes walk-out

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho's decision not to speak to the media ahead of the 'Clasico' with Barcelona resulted in a walk-out by scores of journalists at the start of the pre-match press conference, which was held by assistant coach Aitor Karanka.

Wenger stays resolute

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has made it clear he is not prepared to compromise his footballing philosophy now that the club is owned by American tycoon Stan Kroenke.

Four Clasicos excites Xavi

Barcelona playmaker Xavi Hernandez says he is most afraid of facing Real Madrid in the Spanish Cup final, of the four Clasicos that the two sides will play over the next three weeks.

SA A clinch series 1-0

South Africa A clinched the two-match unofficial test series 1-0 after the second four-dayer was called off due to rain in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

Title Rapid Foundation's

Rapid Foundation became Third Division Cricket champions after their 14-run win over Gulshan Youth Club at the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium yesterday.

Ferrer stops Melzer

Fourth seed David Ferrer ended the upset run of Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-2 to reach the final of the Monte Carlo Masters on Saturday.

Bangladesh now in Level 3

Bangladesh advanced to the Level 3 of Davis Cup Asia Oceania Zone becoming undefeated champions from Group B. Bangladesh beat Jordan 2-1 in their last match at the National Tennis Complex in Ramna yesterday.

Schoeman lights up Fatullah

Christiaan Schoeman hammered an unbeaten 179 as South Africa Cricket Academy dominated the opening day of their four-day game against the GP-BCB National Cricket Academy yesterday at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium.

Heavy fine on Tendulkar for slow over rate

As if the loss to IPL debutants Kochi Tuskers Kerala was not enough, Mumbai Indians skipper Sachin Tendulkar was fined 20,000 dollars for maintaining a slow over-rate during the match here.

US group inks Roma deal

A group of American investors led by Boston-based private equity tycoon Thomas DiBenedetto have signed a deal to buy Italian football club Roma, making it the first Serie A club to have foreign ownership.

Arab investor to save 1860

Bankruptcy-threatened Munich 1860 may have secured a reprieve with an Arabian businessman set to buy a majority share in the second-division German club worth 13 million euros (18.75m US dollars).

C'Ron wants son to play football

Real Madrid's Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo said Friday he hopes his nine-month-old son who he named after himself will one day succeed him on the football pitch.

Business

Costly dollar hits remittance

The remittance flow is losing its momentum as the exchange rate of the dollar against the taka has gone up in the informal market, Bangladesh Bank said in a report.

Question marks on MI Cement

The stock market probe committee has found some questionable statistics in the profile of MI Cement Factory Ltd, which is set to raise “excess capital” from the share market.

Cotton price on the rise

Surging demand, stockpiling by China and a ban on exports by major growers have fuelled the cotton prices on the international market.

ICCB defends stock probe report

The International Chamber of Commerce Bangladesh (ICCB) yesterday defended the stock-market probe committee's report that spotlighted deep manipulation in share trade.

REHAB polls set for July 30

The Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) has declared its election schedule for 2011-12 amid a growing controversy over the election time and an anomalous voter list.

Stocks back in the red

Stocks returned to the red after two weeks of bullish run, as investors' confidence was rattled following the probe report on the recent stockmarket debacle.

EBL co-brands card with GP

Eastern Bank Limited (EBL) with Grameenphone and GPIT Ltd have recently launched Express Card, an innovative cash solution for their employees working across the country.

Organisational culture

From an academic perspective, we can look at the way Edgar Schein, a former professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, defines organisational culture as 'a pattern of shared basic assumptions that was learned by a group as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way you perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems'. Personally, my favorite definition would be the famous one-liner by Deal and Kennedy - 'the way things get done around here' which basically explains it all.

Chinese consumers altering luxury goods landscape

Advertising executive John Kwok recently spent thousands of dollars on a traditional-style Chinese jacket at luxury retailer Shanghai Tang's Pedder Street store in the heart of Hong Kong's business district.

Potato farming: a bright spot in the north

Export of potato from the northern districts has generated a ray of hope for the farmers and traders which, if continues till June, may help them break even.

Setbacks that exporters face

The government incentive on potato exports, opening of new export markets and low price of the tuber in the country have raised the volume of potato export this year, said Mosaddeque Hossain Bablu, president of Rangpur Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Top G20 economies face scrutiny

Seven of the world's leading economies including China and the United States faced deep scrutiny over fiscal and financial imbalances Saturday as the G20 group announced a new framework for assessing potential risks to the global economy.

World Bank, IMF lead move to help North Africa

Global finance chiefs moved to aid strife-torn North Africa Thursday as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank warned of more potential social unrest from high food prices and joblessness.

Obama calls for balanced approach to cutting deficit

US President Barack Obama on Saturday called for a "balanced approach" to reducing America's mushrooming budget deficit, saying the country can live within its means while preserving its values.

Canadians growing wary of China, India rise

Canadians are "conflicted" over China and India, viewing them as "critically important" economically and politically while growing wary of the Asian giants, a survey said Thursday.

Japan asks Brazil to ease food import rules

Japan's foreign minister on Saturday asked his visiting Brazilian counterpart to ease import restrictions placed on Japanese food in the wake of a nuclear crisis sparked by a huge earthquake and tsunami.

Number of Russian billionaires swells

The number of Russian billionaires almost doubled over the last year to 101, the Russian edition of Forbes magazine said Friday in its annual rating.

Asian stocks mixed

Asian shares were mixed on Friday as sentiment was weighed by news that Chinese inflation was at its highest for more than two and a half years.

Chinese social network Renren files for IPO

Renren, China's most popular social network, filed for an initial public offering in the United States on Friday hoping to raise as much as $583 million.

Telefonica mulls 450-million-euro handout

Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica said Friday it may give shares worth 450 million euros to it senior employees, one day after it announced a 20-percent cut in its domestic workforce as a cost-cutting measure.

Weekly Currency Roundup

April 10-13, 2011

Merck pays J&J $500m in drug row settlement

Merck said Friday it has agreed to pay fellow US pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson $500 million to end a two-year tussle over profit-sharing deals for two anti-inflammatory drugs.

Metropolitan

Govt still has time to reach respectable solution

The government still has time to correct the steps it took against Nobel laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus and reach a respectable solution, observed speakers at a meeting yesterday.

Two peacekeepers laid to rest

Two Bangladeshi peacekeepers, who, along with 24 others, were killed in a plane crash at Kinshasa Airport in Congo on April 5, were laid to rest yesterday with due military honour.

Children at risk of lead poisoning from paint

Country's children who come in contact with paint are under great health risk as a study here showed that the lead used in paint is considerably high, making it a significant source of toxicity and poisoning.

Give state recognition to social workers: President

President Zillur Rahman yesterday laid emphasis on giving state recognition to social workers working for the society's development while staying at remote areas, without being driven for own interest and publicity.

Arrest of Amini demanded

Leaders of different political parties yesterday demanded immediate arrest of Islamic Oikya Jote (IOJ) leader Maulana Fazlul Haque Amini for his “audacious” remarks threatening to paralyse the country using 20,000 madrasas across the country.

Ctg factory launches campaign

With a view to creating awareness about environment among its officials and workers, a factory launched a year long campaign in the port city yesterday.

Utilise RTI Act to get info from intelligence agencies

Legal experts emphasise persistent and careful use of Right to Information Act as the implementing authorities are bureaucrats

Punishment to culprits demanded

Jatiya Kabita Parishad (JKP), an organisation of poets, yesterday demanded arrest and exemplary punishment to culprits who forcibly shaved off long hair and moustaches of 28 bauls (mystic devotees) in Rajbari recently.

GP launches new website

Grameenphone has launched the Bangla version of its corporate website (www.grameenphone.com ).

Corruption, conflict on rise in country

Eminent jurist Dr Kamal Hossain yesterday pointed to rising corruption, conflict and clashes and wondered whether the rule of law exists in the country.

Amini's son kidnapped on govt's nod

BNP Acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir yesterday blamed the government for 'kidnapping' a son of Fazlul Haque Amini, chairman of a faction of Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ).

UNFPA regional director due today

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Regional Director Nobuko Horibe is due to arrive in the city today on a four-day official visit to observe progress of population programme in Bangladesh, says a press release.

Housewife commits suicide

A housewife committed suicide on Friday night at her residence following a feud with her husband in the city's Mirpur area.

Garment factory looted in Gazipur

Armed robbers looted machinery and other valuables worth about Tk 15 lakh from a composite garment factory in Gazipur early hours of yesterday.

BCL demands compensation

Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) of Chittagong University (CU) unit yesterday observed first death anniversary of Md Asaduzzaman.

UP chairman stabbed in Chittagong

A Union Parishad (UP) chairman was stabbed at Hathazari Sadar in Chittagong on Friday night.

Youth stabbed to death

A youth was killed and another suffered injuries as unidentified criminals stabbed them yesterday in the capital's Hazaribagh area.

Two women hacked

A youth hacked his wife and mother-in-law with a local machete following a family feud yesterday in the city' Sutrapur area.

Concern over death of labour

President of Chittagong Chamber of Commerce & Industry (CCCI) Murshed Murad Ibrahim yesterday in a statement expressed deep concern over the death of a labour trapped in a container in Singapore.

Seven pirates arrested

Bangladesh Coast Guard yesterday arrested seven pirates in the Bay of Bengal while they were fleeing after looting valuables from sunken Korean ship MV Hyang Ro Bong.

NGFF School Alumni Assoc executives

Mohammad Mostafa, a student of 1965 batch, and SM Ebadur Rahman, student of 1978 batch, were elected president and general secretary of NGFF School Alumni Association.

'Death threat' to film actor Sakib

Film actor Sakib Khan yesterday filed a case against five people including Assistant Director Shish Monowar and one Abdul Aziz for allegedly threatening to kill him.

National

Boro harvest in Netrakona haor areas begins

Farmers in haor (large water body) areas under Khaliajuri, Mohonganj and Madan upazilas of the district have started harvesting boro paddy.

Thousands throng to meet relatives across border

Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bangla New Year (as per Bangla calendar of India) on Friday, presented a different scene on Betna border in Haripur upazila of Thakurgaon district as thousands of Bangla speaking people from two sides of the border got a unique opportunity to meet their relatives for some time.

BNP programme foiled

At least 19 leaders and activists of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) were injured as police charged batons on their procession in Jhenidah town yesterday morning.

Two housewives murdered for dowry in Noakhali, Manikganj

Two housewives were allegedly killed for dowry in Noakhali and Manikganj yesterday and the day before.

Human chain demands arrest of land grabber

Hundreds of landless people yesterday formed a human chain at Purbodoljor village under Mogolhat union in Sadar upazila demanding immediate arrest of an alleged land grabber and his henchmen.

Alternative earnings make them forest protectors

Forest management in large areas of Cox's Bazar and Rangamati districts sees positive changes following initiative for alternative employment of people dependent on forest resources and participation of locals in the programme to protect forests.

Verdict in Manjurul Imam murder case today

Additional District and Sessions Judge's Court will deliver judgment in Awami League leader advocate Manjurul Imam murder case today.

Re-polling largely peaceful

Re-polling at 14 out of 17 centres in Noakhali municipality was held yesterday peacefully barring a few stray incidents.

110 shops gutted in Barguna

At least 110 shops were gutted in a fire at Chandukhali Bazar in Barnuna district on early Friday.

Doctor found dead

Police yesterday recovered the body of Dr Baqui Mirza, 37, acting resident medical officer (RMO) of Sirajganj General Hospital, from a room of a government dormitory near the district judge's court.

Letters

For a blue sky…

Reading the letter titled “Where has the blue sky gone?” by Nur Jahan published last week, I became nostalgic. From then on, I am enmeshed with the song “Neel Akasher Nichey Ami Rasta Cholechhi Eka”. Peace and tranquility has deserted from Bangladesh. The other day, all national dailies published a report of siphoning of Tk.20, 000/= crores from capital market by vested quarters. Now under these circumstances, what else can one expect to see in the mirror? The mirror can not deceive anybody. In order to see the clear blue sky one has to travel to the North America. In my first ever visit to Houston, I was astonished to see the clear blue sky and for a moment traveled back in time to the sixties of Dhaka that looked like all the goodness leaving forever from life.

A poor gesture to Japan

After the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, our government announced that it would send a rescue team and a medical team to assist the Japanese people. Days passed and still nothing happened. Finally, a few days ago the government announced that it was making a symbolic gesture and sending four people with 2,000 blankets, 1000 pairs of gloves and 500 pairs of boots. Certainly, given the vast difference between the resources of Bangladesh and Japan we perhaps cannot make a significant contribution to their recovery efforts. But even then this is a most unsatisfactory gesture on our part. In this time of their greatest difficulty we should have done more than make such a paltry gesture.

Nationwide food distribution

Overwhelming majority of people of our country who belong to middle, low and no-income groups are gasping for survival due to acute price-pressure on essential commodities like cereal, flour, edible oil, pulse etc. Any democratic govt bears constitutional obligation to reach food to every single citizen of the country in the most accessible and affordable manner. So, the obvious question is how and what shall be the game-plan to achieve the objective:

Correct spelling of POISHA

I spell POISHA as I have done here. Poisha is our smallest coin. It is one hundredth part of a Taka. Its plural is POISHA and abbreviation Ps. The Bangladesh Post Office issued stamps spelling POISHA correctly.

France's new law

France has just enacted a new law banning burqa or hijab wearing by women in public places. This law is particularly aiming at Muslim women only or more precisely on Islamic culture. This is clearly a racial discrimination. We should enact this law not on the basis of religion but on the basis of local culture.

VIP, only for a day

Political leaders are selected by parties elected by people but these people are always neglected by those leaders. There are hundred of examples of their negligence to the people. Efficiency of our law enforcing agency increase by manifolds when VIPs visit any place. Whatever happens, they have to block roads for free movement of VIPs. This blockage may hamper a student's life, it may even take away life of a patient who needs to reach hospital as early as possible. We, the people suffer from traffic jam, load shedding, water crisis, gas shortage, drainage system, broken roads, waste disposal etc. How they will reduce sufferings of people if they do not suffer from it. Seeing and hearing of their facilities it seems that they are residents of heaven and we are of hell. Alas! If I were a VIP only for a single day.

Share market scam disclosure

Ibrahim Khaled's probe report on share scam has increased public faith in the government. This is completely a new trend. In the past people could only know the formation of committees but their reports never saw lights. The people of Bangladesh have seen probe committees of 21 Aug. grenade attack, 10-truck arms haul, bomb attacks etc., in the past. Public never saw probe reports.

Urgent need for repair

Popular Housing-1 is located at Barabagh, Mirpur-2. There are 40-50 House buildings, most of which are 5 storied. A few thousand people live there. The DCC road condition is very bad. In spite of drawing attention of the DCC no soluble actions have been taken. The residents are now faced with another set of problems. One of these is the bad sewer system. The sewerage pipelines have been broken and disconnected in many parts polluting nearby area badly. Several times the residents complained to DCC authorities, but nothing happened till now to relieve us from this condition. Therefore, on- behalf of residents of Popular Housing-1, I am appealing to concerned authorities to take immediate action to repair these pipes and arrange flashing out of the dirty water

Stop nepotism

Nowadays we see that nepotism has turned into a social disease. It is also a national problem. We see that majority public service institutions are polluted by nepotism from top to bottom levels of the society. When one person gets appointment to any important and powerful position, he/she get involved in nepotism. There are many appointment systems run under him/ her. Usually he/she tries to give priority to his/her relatives. Though there are many capable candidates. It is one kind of misuse of power. At this, the capable candidates are encouraged and frustrated. Nepotism creates corruption and stand as an obstacle to the overall development of a country. So I urge all the high officials and VIPs to avoid nepotism. Then our country will move towards development.

In God We Trust

Those familiar with the above caption, knows pretty well where it appears. It is for kind information of those who are not familiar. Well it appears on one side of the US Dollar. We all must have observed and noticed that all American Presidents concludes their speeches by saying “God Bless America”, perhaps we all also know the meaning of this.

Stalking at Dhaka University

A few days ago at DU campus some students of DU were stalking while three young women were walking in front of the F. Rahman Hall around 10:00 P.M. One of the students came to protest against those stalkers and the gang beat the protester indiscriminately. Some of his fellow students took him to DMC for treatment. We thank Alamgir the name of the protester who protested against stalking.

Improve facilities at Hazrat Shah Jalal Int'l Airport

I am a Japanese national. I am trying to set up our company office in Bangladesh for seeking investment in this great market with huge potentiality.

Why people suffer?

Napoleon said -“The world suffers a lot, not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people!”

Stop this injustice

To ensure good governance there is no alternative to recruiting meritorious citizen in this sector. The quota system is the violation of equal employment opportunity in the job market. The brilliant students who undergo a huge competition for getting a good job especially in BCS feel discouraged when a section of the society get the opportunity like getting readymade cheap cake.

Beware of the traitors

Some members of the ruling Awami League is antagonistic towards Dr. Yunus. Their behaviour is tarnishing the party's image. Recently, the party's joint general secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said that Professor Yunus had pushed nearly two crore women towards suicide in the name of microcredit. Nationally and internationally people know that this statement of Hanif is baseless and targeted against the fame of the Nobel laureate.

A brave lady!

A special correspondent's report published on 5 April in a local English daily on Capt. Ferdousi of Bangladesh Army, is indeed the description of an exemplary brave lady; an example for all of us!

Flawed population assessment

The development policy of a country depends to a great extent on the size of population. In our country, the government conducts this operation every ten years. This year, it has been conducted from March 15 to 18.

Save the only institute

Bangladesh College of Leather Engineering and Technology is the sole educational institute teaching the subject in Bangladesh. We got admitted into this institute to become Engineers. However, things are turning out to be pretty much bleak for us.

Readers Respond

Here are some comments that came in response to Saturday's The Daily Star report headlined “Taking journalism to new heights.”

International

Afghan suicide blast kills five foreign troops

A Taliban suicide bomber wearing an army uniform killed five foreign troops and four Afghan soldiers yesterday in a brazen attack at the Afghan army's eastern headquarters.

Leaked UN report calls for independent probe

A UN panel has called for an independent inquiry into "credible" allegations that Sri Lanka committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in its final 2009 offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels.

Strong quake shakes buildings in Tokyo

A strong earthquake of magnitude 5.8 hit central Japan, the US Geological Survey said yesterday.

Life begins to recover from chaos in I Coast

Ivory Coast's slow recovery after four months of bloodshed gained pace yesterday as Alassane Ouattara's victorious regime restarted schooling, cocoa exports and its newspaper.

Cuba celebrates 50 years of socialism

Thousands of Cubans joined a huge military parade yesterday marking 50 years of socialism and defeat of the CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion, hours ahead of a crucial Communist Party Congress setting new political and economic goals.

Algerian president pledges major reforms

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika late Friday announced sweeping reforms including changes to the constitution and electoral law, and initiatives that would enhance the role of political parties.

Britain to change royal succession rule

Britain said yesterday it was mulling changes to "discriminatory" rules on the line of succession, meaning Prince William and Kate Middleton's first born could accede to the throne regardless of gender.

16 killed as tornadoes hit southern US

Severe spring storms including tornados have left 16 people dead and destroyed school buildings and homes in southern states of the US.

Nigeria votes in crucial presidential election

Nigerians gathered at polling stations yesterday for a crucial presidential election as Africa's most populous nation bids to hold its cleanest polls for head of state in nearly two decades.

Afghanistan, Pakistan upgrade peace efforts

Afghanistan and Pakistan have upgraded a joint commission for peace in a bid to end Afghanistan's near-decade old insurgency, and have the support of the US for the move, leaders of the two countries said yesterday.

Syria's emergency law to end

President Bashar al-Assad said yesterday the emergency law in force in Syria for nearly 50 years will be abolished within a week, and expressed his sadness at the deaths of protesters.

Former ruling party in Egypt dissolved

An Egyptian court dissolved the former ruling National Democratic Party yesterday and ordered its funds and property to be handed to the government, a judicial source said.

S Korea, US to conduct military drill

South Korean and US troops will carry out an anti-invasion drill on a frontline island next month in response to North Korea's construction of a hovercraft base, news reports said yesterday.

Israel raids Gaza after rocket attacks

Israeli warplanes launched raids against targets in Gaza overnight after two rockets were fired at Israel from the coastal enclave, Palestinian security officials said yesterday.

Hillary in Seoul eyeing next move on North Korea

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened a visit to South Korea yesterday as she sought to coordinate with the close ally on the next step forward with the communist North.

Haiti again postpones presidential vote results

Haiti election officials yesterday postponed for the second time the release of general election results due to disputes over some legislative races, officials said.

US senators urge to brand Ahmadinejad as rights abuser

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should formally brand Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and 25 other current and former Iranian officials as human rights abusers, senators urged Friday.

Berlusconi will seek reelection

Silvio Berlusconi, who is beset by sex scandals and legal woes, will seek reelection in 2013, Justice Minister Angelo Alfano -- the man recently identified as the Italian prime minister's political heir -- said Saturday.

Arts & Entertainment

A Celebration of the Free Spirit

The Daily Star celebrated its 20 years of eventful journey at the Hall of Fame, Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka on April 15. The newspaper was born on January 14 in 1991.

Costume contest for children to mark Sisimpur Day

'Jemon Khushi Temon Shajo' (costume contest) for children, along with a discussion, cultural function and prize giving programme were held in Tangail recently.

Sangrain Festival

The traditional Sangrain Festival of the Marma community concluded last Friday at Rajasthali upazila, under Rangamati district.

Farooki Joining Hands with Star Cineplex

Filmmaker Mostafa Sarwar Farooki will soon be joining hands with Star Cineplex to produce his next film “Television”. Star Cineplex and Farooki's own production house Chhobial will jointly produce it.

OP-ED

The long and short about human rights

Yet again last week, the US State Department released its annual country Report on Human Right Practices around the world.

India must put nuclear power on hold

What do social scientists Romila Thapar and Ramachandra Guha, dancers Leela Samson and Malavika Sarukkai, former bureaucrats-diplomats S.P. Shukla and Nirupam Sen, retired Navy chief L. Ramdas, writers Arundhati Roy and Nayantara Sahgal, scientists M.V. Ramana and P.M. Bhargava, artists Krishen Khanna and Vivan Sundaram, and former vice-chancellors Mushirul Hasan and Deepak Nayyar, have in common?

First Bengali government in history

The emergence of the provisional Bangladesh government in Mujibnagar, forty years ago on this day in 1971, was a defining moment for the Bengali nation. The first Bengali government in history, administered by Bengalis and for Bengalis, it took shape in the grey region between the sinister and the illuminating. The sinister was the programmed genocide launched with unprecedented viciousness by the Pakistan occupation army; and the illuminating was the truth that such a brutal assault on human dignity, indeed on the traditions of a people, could not go unchallenged and unbeaten.

Some things need not change

For most of us living in the United States the word "change" has acquired a brand new meaning -- it has almost become the defining element of our daily lives. The ubiquitous word appears on TV commercials, billboards and flyers. I even receive mail addressed to no one in particular, but to the "Current Resident," which states unequivocally "Time To Change Your Phone!"

9 best Singapore army jokes

Two Singaporean soldiers are talking. Tan: "Pass the tiramisu." Lim: "Cannot-la." Tan: "Why not?" Lim: "Against army regulations to help another soldier to dessert."



The Daily Star

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