The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Thursday, December 18, 2014


News of: Friday, 24th of June, 2011

Front Page

Koko jailed for 6yrs

Arafat Rahman Koko, younger son of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, was yesterday sentenced to six years' rigorous imprisonment for laundering over Tk 20 crore to Singapore.

The charges

The Anti-Corruption Commission on March 17, 2009 sued Arafat Rahman Koko for taking money illegally from Chinese firm China Harbour Engineering Company, German company Siemens, and other sources in exchange for helping them get government contracts.

How's Koko?

Arafat Rahman Koko stayed only for five weeks in a hospital in Bangkok in the last three years, and left for Malaysia in late last year violating his parole terms.

It's political

The main opposition BNP yesterday rejected conviction of its chairperson's younger son Arafat Rahman Koko saying no-one will accept the verdict as it was "absolutely politically motivated".

Another mangrove forest destroyed

While the government vows to increase our forest areas, hundreds of locals yesterday started chopping down an entire mangrove forest and a wildlife sanctuary over an area of 2,000 acres in the remote island of Char Bestin under Galachipa upazila of Patuakhali.

Ensure justice for Rumana

More than 100 women's rights activists, academics and professionals have demanded justice for Rumana Manzur, who lost her eyesight in a brutal attack by her husband.

JS body wants it in stock

A parliamentary committee yesterday recommended that the government provide scope for investing black money in the sharemarket.

Bring stock faith back

Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury and Awami League lawmaker Tofail Ahmed yesterday in parliament said the present government cannot avoid its responsibility for the sharemarket debacle and the finance ministry should take proper measures to this end.

Find solution to caretaker system row

Visiting German and European Union leaders yesterday said the government and the opposition in Bangladesh should work out a solution over the caretaker government dispute and avoid politics of blockade.

LNG import not before a year

The government's bid to import Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) by December 2012 to boost declining gas supply is set to miss the deadline by a year to 18 months as the authorities could not complete the tender process for setting up necessary infrastructures.

Start process to sign transit deal

Bangladesh should start the process of signing the transit deal with India even on a small scale, the prime minister's foreign affairs adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi told a seminar in Dhaka yesterday.

Govt to take up $6.45b connectivity projects

The government has planned to construct and upgrade 2,000 kilometres of land transport network to boost cross-border trade and establish greater connectivity across South Asia.

Banks asked to give info

Bangladesh Bank (BB) has asked all the commercial banks to provide it with the information and documents they have about Musa Bin Shamsher, a businessman from Faridpur, in seven work days.

Send text for Sundarbans

Short message service (SMS) was introduced yesterday to elect the new seven wonders of nature in the world.

BAF aircraft skids off SIA runway

Flight operations at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (SIA) remained halted for half an hour after a fighter jet of Bangladesh Air Force skidded off the runway yesterday.

3 top Jamaat leaders denied bail

The High Court yesterday rejected a bail petition jointly filed by three detained Jamaat-e-Islami leaders in Rajshashi University student Faruk Hossain murder case.

3 die while working in septic tank

Three persons died while working in a septic tank of a house in Kishoreganj Sadar upazila yesterday.

Kuwait in new turmoil after PM wins vote

Kuwait's premier yesterday comfortably survived a parliament vote of confidence but the opposition called on him to step down and filed a new motion to grill him, plunging the OPEC member into yet another crisis.

Editorial

Decline in poverty rate

The Household Income and Expenditure survey (HIES), 2010 has come up with some good news. The poverty rate at the national level has gone down by 8.5 per cent between 2005 and 2010. In absolute terms, this is no mean achievement, given the shock of global recession and internal political instabilities it had to absorb along the way.

UGC survey of public varsities

The University Grants Commission survey findings about five public universities are certainly worrying. The survey, which covered the universities of Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna and Rajshahi and the Bangladesh Agricultural University, reveals the depressingly low standards to which teaching has declined among a large number of academics. When 28 per cent of teachers are observed to be extremely poor in teaching, when indeed the quality of research work undertaken by academics (13 per cent of teachers are not into research at all, while only 20 per cent are doing very well) does not conform to regional or international standards, it is time for us to sit up and take notice. There would be little point in arguing that beyond this 28 per cent are those teachers who appear to have been doing a good job. The fact is that teaching at the public universities must be of a uniformly high quality which demonstrates the intellectual excellence of academics.

Sports

Now comes coach number three

The farcical situation regarding the Bangladesh national football coaching job took another turn when the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) announced yesterday that it would be Macedonian Nikola Ilievski, and not his compatriot Gjorgji Jovanovski, who will take charge of the Bangladesh team ahead of their FIFA World Cup pre-qualifiers.

Serena sweats, Ana sails

Defending champion Serena Williams needed another three-setter to reach the Wimbledon third round on Thursday while former number one Ana Ivanovic barely broke sweat in her last 64 encounter.

Robin scrapes thru'

Swedish fifth seed Robin Soderling came from two sets down to defeat Australia's Lleyton Hewitt and reach the third round at Wimbledon here Thursday.

Probe report next week

The Bangladesh League Committee looking into a match-fixing allegation will submit its report to the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) next week.

Battle for pride

With the title of the professional football league already won by Sheikh Jamal, the two most popular outfits Abahani and Mohammedan square off in the Bangladesh League fixture today with not much more than pride and their places in the league tables at stake.

Citycell b'ball from today

The Citycell Basketball League gets underway today at the Dhanmondi Basketball Gymnasium with 10 teams taking part in the single-league meet.

18 picked for U-19 camp

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) picked eighteen cricketers for a three-week long preparation camp for the Bangladesh Under-19 team.

India take 1-0 lead

In another demonstration of their improving record overseas, a weakened India eased to a 63-run victory, only their fifth Test win in the Caribbean on Thursday. The resistance from West Indies was disappointingly limp on the fourth day of the first Test at Sabina Park as they lost six of the seven remaining wickets in the morning session.

Ruthless

Cricket watchers today will be familiar with the term "Ugly Aussies". The four-time World Champions have had that tag stuck to them for their win-at-all-costs attitude. The origins of this attitude and in fact the tag of "Ugly Aussies" dates back to the early 1970s, when the combative Ian Chappell was the leader and had under his command a band of like-minded acolytes.

India announce Test squad for England July 2

The Indian squad for the four-Test series against England, which is the first part of their forthcoming tour, will be picked on July 2, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) sources said on Thursday.

Lisicki sends Li packing

China's French Open champion Li Na crashed out of Wimbledon on Thursday, losing 3-6, 6-4, 8-6 to German wildcard Sabine Lisicki in the second round.

Lanka delays talks with India

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on Thursday delayed a meeting with Indian officials over the participation of India's players in the island's inaugural Twenty20 competition.

Mexico, USA to meet in final

The United States and Mexico both turned to their stars to advance to the Gold Cup final.

Varane snubs MU for Real Madrid

Highly-rated French defender Raphael Varane is to sign for Spanish giants Real Madrid from French Second Division side Lens, the selling club's president Gervais Martel told the team's supporters on Wednesday.

Can Batista do the trick?

They say everything comes to him who waits and Argentina fans will be hoping that it is their turn after 18 years without a major trophy at senior level.

Neymar not going to Real

The chairman of top Brazilian side Santos, Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro, on Wednesday insisted young starlet Neymar is not on his way to Real Madrid, despite a report to the contrary by Spanish sports daily Marca.

Alarms ring as banana thrown at Carlos

Russia's football authorities vowed to step up the fight against racism Thursday after a fan threw a banana at Roberto Carlos in the latest apparent racial attack on the Brazilian former World Cup winner.

Villas-Boas targets quadruple

New Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas has set his sights on the quadruple next season but insists every Champions League triumph is based on luck.

Parma snap up Giovinco from Juve

Italian international offensive midfielder Sebastian Giovinco signed for Serie A side Parma from rivals Juventus on Wednesday after a successful loan spell.

Neymar sets up Santos glory

Brazilian side Santos clinched their first continental silverware since 1963, defeating Penarol 2-1 in the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final.

Make MS Lt Col: Jharkhand CM

After Kapil Dev and Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is in line to be conferred an honorary rank in the defence forces.

Business

Realtors slam govt's plan to hike tax at source

Realtors have come down on the government's plan to increase tax at source ten times higher than the existing rate for registration of flat, building or space that are in use for commercial purposes.

Budget targets achievable: WB

The World Bank (WB) has said the proposed national budget for the next fiscal year is expansionary with ambitious revenue targets, but the goals are achievable.

Awards for better business

The “Bangladesh Business Awards” is one of the few local recognitions that not only honour people but also make an obligation for them to better their performances further, said some past recipients.

German minister for better business climate in Bangladesh

Bangladesh must strengthen its business environment for wooing long-term foreign investments to make the most of its growth potential, a German minister said.

Experts identify ways to reach 7pc GDP growth

The government should attach importance to agro-based industrial development, trade balance and remittance to achieve 7 percent economic growth in the upcoming fiscal year, said experts yesterday.

Optimism over stocks caps the week

Turnover made a turnaround yesterday helping Dhaka and Chittagong bourses end the week on a positive note, indicating investors' new-found confidence.

Garment makers urge govt to reverse tax proposal

Garment makers yesterday urged the government to reduce export tax at source to 0.25 percent from the proposed 1.50 percent as they feared the new plan would increase the cost of production.

German House: home to five organisations

The German House, home to five organisations, open-ed in the capital yesterday, according to a statement.

Singapore Airlines awards Bangladeshi national

R Bikash, a member of Dhaka Airport service team of Singapore Airlines, has recently been awarded with the prestigious Singapore Airlines CEO TCS award this year.

Viyellatex chief becomes Bata's independent director

David Hasanat, chairman and chief executive officer of Viyellatex Group, has been made an independent director of the Board of Directors of Bata Shoe Company (BD) Ltd, according to a statement.

Neo-liberal rally drags on

With a big outlay of Tk 163,589 crore, Finance Minister AMA Muhith placed the national budget for fiscal 2011-12. The budget, like before, has triggered huge discussion and debate. As the Awami League-led government is now in the middle of its tenure, the finance minister has tried to strike a balance between several pressures. To do this, he had to take a lot of risks.

Unemployment is the real price of war

The cost of ongoing US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya is up to at least $1.2 trillion. What would the economic recovery look like if that money hadn't been spent?

G20 strikes historic farm deal

G20 farm ministers settled a deal on Thursday to tackle high food prices, agreeing to a watered-down declaration that fell short of France's ambitious proposals to tighten regulation of commodity markets.

Google, Citi invest another $204m in wind project

Google Inc and Citigroup are investing another $204 million in the Alta Wind Energy Center in Southern California's Tehachapi Mountains, bringing their total combined investment in the project to $314 million.

Airbus soars on record $72b show sales, beating Boeing

Planemaker Airbus celebrated a $72 billion haul of orders, including the biggest single airliner order in history, on Thursday in a home turf victory over US rival Boeing at the Paris Air Show.

Some Indian states as poor as African nations

India's poorest states have per capita wealth comparable to some of the most war-torn and impoverished African countries, according to new analysis from The Economist magazine.

$10-12b clean energy funding on track: StanChart

Standard Chartered Plc is on track to mobilize between $10 billion and $12 billion of financing for the renewable energy market over the five years to the end of 2012.

Asian shares mostly down

Asian shares mostly edged down Thursday as traders cashed in after a two-day regional rally while sentiment was also dampened by the Federal Reserve's decision to cut its 2011 US growth forecast.

Nissan annual net profit to fall 15pc

Japan's Nissan Motor said Thursday annual net profit will fall 15 percent year-on-year after the March earthquake hit output, while it also struggles with high raw material costs and a strong yen.

Metropolitan

Laundered money to be brought home: Hasina

Awami League president and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said her government would bring back home the public money, which the anti-people force had smuggled in the name of ruling the country.

Koko faces four more cases

Apart from the money laundering case, four other cases are pending with the lower courts against Arafat Rahman Koko, younger son of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.

Dalits demand law to establish rights

Dalit community at a national convention yesterday demanded budgetary allocation and formulation of a law to establish their rights.

Supplementary charge sheet on July 11

The Divisional Speedy Trial Tribunal of Sylhet has fixed July 11 for submission of supplementary charge sheet in the killing of Shah AMS Kibria and four others to the court.

Indian army chief hands over 2 cannons

Indian Army Chief Gen Vijay Kumar Singh yesterday handed over two cannons, used during the liberation war against Pakistan occupation forces, to Bangladesh army.

Movement of vehicles halted for two hours

Vehicular movements on Dhaka-Mawa highway halted for two hours yesterday morning as rickshaw and van pullers staged demonstrations demanding entry of non-motorised three wheelers into the cityl through second Buriganga Bridge.

Rajuk pulls down illegal hoardings

An enforcement team of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) pulled down illegal advertising hoardings of around six unauthorised private housing projects in the city yesterday.

'Ensure rights of challenged women'

Physically and mentally challenged women should be given equal rights and opportunities to make them self-reliant in the society, said speakers at a dialogue yesterday.

Suicide attempt before police

A female schoolteacher yesterday tried to commit suicide in presence of police and neighbours in the city's Mohammadpur.

30 hurt in RMG clash

At least 30 people were injured in a clash between agitating workers of a garment factory and law enforcers at Ashulia industrial zone yesterday morning.

'Take action against cops'

Bangladesh Upazila Chairman-Vice Chairman Oikya Parishad yesterday demanded of the authorities concerned to take immediate action against police officers who beat chairman and vice-chairman of Nageshwari upazila of Kurigram.

'Recognise Adivasis as indigenous'

Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (PCJSS) yesterday rejected some proposals made by the parliamentary special committee on constitutional amendment terming those “confusing” and “communal”.

JCD leader sent to jail for 'stalking'

Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal Tejgaon College unit president was sent to jail yesterday after arrest on charges of allegedly stalking a girl.

Road crashes kill 5, injure 20

Five people were killed and 20 others injured in separate road accidents in Gazipur and Khagrachhari yesterday.

JSD for e-voting in Dhaka city

Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD-Rob) yesterday said the electronic voting machine (EVM) should be used in the next national election inside Dhaka City Corporation only and suggested its phased introduction across the country later if the system obtains people's credibility.

Legal process on for quick disposal

Proper legal process is going on to quickly dispose of the money laundering case against Tarique Rahman, elder son of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, and his business friend Giasuddin Al Mamun through the lawyers of the Anti-Corruption Commission, said Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury in parliament yesterday.

SC stays Pintu's bail order

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld its chamber judge's order that stayed a High Court order granting bail to former BNP lawmaker Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu in connection with the BDR mutiny case.

Foam factory damaged in fire

Properties worth around Tk 12 lakh were damaged in a fire at a foam factory in Nasirabad industrial area of the port city yesterday.

IER publishes Braille system books

Institute of Education and Research (IER) of Dhaka University (DU) yesterday published books in Braille system for the visually challenged students.

Construction worker electrocuted

A construction worker was electrocuted yesterday at an under- construction building in the city's Mirpur.

Berger architecture contest

Berger Paints Bangladesh Ltd yesterday invited applications from members of the Institute of Architect for the 5th Berger Award for Excellence in Architecture contest.

Death anniversary

Today is the third death anniversary of Abdur Rahim, a former joint secretary, and son of Moulvi Abdul Ghani, says a press release.

Qulkhwani

Qulkhwani of Professor Emeritus Kazi Zaker Husain will be held at his residence at Lucky Apartment, Flat No-F3, 1/6 B, Block-B, at Lalmatia in the city after Asr prayers today, says a press release.

National

Farmers opt for sunflower cultivation in Patuakhali

Cultivation of oil seeds like sesame, mustard and sunflower are gaining popularity among Patuakhali farmers as it helps them to avoid high cost for bottled edible oil and add to family income.

Tk 276 cr SCC budget for 2011-12 fiscal

The Sylhet City Corporation (SCC) announced a budget of Tk 275.95 crore for the 2011-2012 financial year on Wednesday.

Two kids drown in ponds in Moulvibazar, Satkhira

A boy and a girl drowned in ponds in Moulvibazar and Satkhira districts on Wednesday.

Jessore court summons people acquitted earlier

Following a High Court order for revival of the sensational Jessore Udichi tragedy case of 1999, the chief judicial magistrate of Jessore has issued summons upon the earlier acquitted people to appear before the court within 30 days from the day of receiving the notice.

Poll-related violence in Pabna, Gaibandha leaves 47 hurt

At least 70 people were injured in UP poll-related violence in Moulvibazar, Gaibandha, Munshiganj and Sirajgang districts yesterday and on Tuesday night.

BCL rivals clash in Madaripur again

At least ten people were injured as two rival groups of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) locked in a fresh clash at Madaripur Government Nazimuddin University College yesterday.

Three housewives murdered

Three housewives were murdered allegedly by their husbands in Patuakhali, Satkhira and Sunamganj districts on Tuesday.

Man gets life for murder

A court here yesterday sentenced a man to life term imprisonment for killing his brother-in-law.

17 shops gutted in Sirajdikhan fire

A devastating fire gutted 17 shops at Sirajdikhan Bazzar in Sirajdikhan upazila headquarters here early yesterday.

Fisherman killed in tiger attack

A fisherman was killed in tiger attack yesterday morning near Karamzol forest office in Nalbunia canal area under Chandpai Range of the Sundarbans under Dakope police station of Khulna district.

Freedom fighter murdered

A freedom fighter was strangled by rivals over previous enmity at Kashimpur Dakkhin Panishail village in Sadar upazila Wednesday night. The deceased was identified as Chan Mia, 55, hailed from Kishoreganj district and a resident of Polash Housing. Police said a local gang called Chan Mia, also a land broker, out of his house and took him to a lonely place in the area at around 10:30 pm. Later, they strangled him and left the body there. Local people found the body yesterday morning and informed police. Police recovered the body and sent it to Sadar hospital morgue for autopsy.

Two sued on rape charge

A case was filed with Satkhira Sadar police accusing two people of violating a madrasa student at Baikari village in Sadar upazila on Wednesday. The accused are Shahidul Islam, 32, and Abdul Momin, 33, of Baikari village. The victim filed the case with Sadar PS against the accused under the Women and Children Repression Preventive Act. The complainant alleged that the accused entered her house at about 8:00 am on Tuesday. They took her to a room of the house forcibly and raped her in absence of her parents. While leaving the house, the culprits also threatened to kill her if she disclosed the matter to her parents, she alleged.

SAU students agitate

No classes or examinations could take place at Sylhet Agriculture University (SAU) for the second day yesterday as the students agitated on the campus to press for cancelling the recently announced credit percentage for their promotion. The authorities set 80 per cent credit for promotion while the students are demanding 60 per cent, campus sources said. The students yesterday took out a procession and staged a three-hour sit-in in front of the administration building. They also put the gate of the building under lock and key for some time. The students affairs adviser and others held a meeting with the students in the afternoon. But it ended in failure. The students said they would continue agitation till the demand was met.

Man beaten to death

A man was beaten to death for failing to repay a loan in Janpur area of Sirajganj on Wednesday. The victim was identified as Jahangir Alam, 40, son of Sanaullah Mia of the area. Witnesses said, the victim was severely beaten up by Rana Sheikh and Shamim Ahmed of the same area after he locked in an altercation with tea stall owner Malek over an outstanding bill there. Injured Jahangir died at his father-in-law's house the same day.

Letters

Cyber crime and Bangladesh

"Though we use the term 'cyber crime' quite frequently, we barely know the definition of it," says Quazi MH Supan, Asst. Professor at the Department of Law in the University of Dhaka. And according to him it's because of the ever changing nature of the modern technologies. Due to cyber crimes surfing in the internet is harmful nowadays! In our country cyber crimes probably started with spam mails and Trojan attacks, but it now extended to debit/credit card theft, cell phone threats and frauds. On Sept. 5, 2008, RAB discovered that their website had been hacked! But RAB was successful in catching the hackers which proved that Bangladesh was not far behind in catching cyber criminals. Cell phone threats are also very harmful but the victims keep quiet as it would result in their embarrassment. We should take precautions against cyber crime. Please don't download free content from the internet as it carries within harmful software. We should not use cybercafés as most of their computers can record one's email address and basically everything that is typed! Take precautions.

Wrong trees in wrong place!

A front page report on the subject was published in local English daily on 8th June depicts the downside of plantation of exotic trees; that harms the soil. Now, belatedly, we are wise after the event! Agriculture Minister criticized plantation of such trees (like eucalyptus, acacia, ipilipil etc.). These were planted with donor money (?) in north Bangladesh by the forest department in 1990.

People's purchasing power decreasing

On 17th June, our honourable commerce minister said that food price in our country is cheaper than any other country. It's true. But he can't take it as an achievement for the govt. Even at the time of Shaista Khan when it was thought that the food price was really cheap, it was not true at all. It was relatively cheaper from other provinces. But people were starving (ref: Sonar Bangla: Myth O Bastobota by Dr. Akbar Ali Khan in Bangladesher Etihash.) So, it should not be a topic to talk about. The thing that matters most is the purchasing power of the people. Now-a-days, the food price is really very high. Inflation is rising. Value of money is decreasing. People are forced to buy fewer products with their fixed income, which means people's purchasing power is decreasing. We have to talk and think about those problems. This should be the subject of concern for our minister.

Caretaker government framework--A proposal

We are proposing the following framework for a modified Caretaker Government (CG) for running the National Assembly (NA)/ parliamentary elections.

Potholed roads

As the monsoon has set in, rains are more frequent now. Sometimes it rains for hours together at a steady pace. Sometimes we experience heavy downpour. Monsoon is a cause of woe for the commuters who have to travel through the potholed roads.

Popularising Astronomy and Astrophysics

Astronomy is the branch of science that deals with the study of celestial objects; and Astrophysics is the domain of Astronomy where the physics of the universe is discussed. Although this field is advancing rapidly, it has been rather foreign to the young learners of Bangladesh. The textbooks often contain confusing, sometimes even false, information which has all but raised interest in the subject. To popularise this science, some well administered steps are to be taken.

Here comes monsoon

Like sizzling burnt earth, I was passing the time waiting for the Monsoon. The rain set in with a thunder since the first day of Ashar and the nature looked striking. I went out for a drive to see Dhaka in rain. While I was halfway from Gulshan to Banani, I was stuck in traffic jam for a while and rolled down the window glass of my car to feel the rain's beating.

Nation at fault

What it takes a man to buy something? Money, financial potentiality. I wonder with amazement how a person affords to buy a car for Tk.30,00,000 in a country where the per capita income is less than US$1000, whereas the same car in a much better condition sells for less than Tk.3,00,000 where the per capita income is more than US$ 40,000.

Please find an alternative

Mahatma Gandhi first introduced hartal against the British rulers in India, and from then it was established as a democratic right of the people of the region. But nowadays, it has become a panic to the common people of the country. During hartal, sufferers are mostly the day labourers, drivers, hawkers and the common people of the country who are living from hand to mouth. Some offices such as garment factories, media offices, hospitals and other emergency services are open during hartal. People who work there have to attend their offices in time. Hartal makes a very little effect; rather it increases the sufferings of the people. In a nutshell, it can be said that we have no respect for hartal nowadays whomsoever declares it. Please think about alternatives.

Punish the culprit

Torturer husband of the DU teacher should not go unpunished. Otherwise not only Rumana herself, everybody else will be losing their faith in justice. Now that it is pretty clear that it was an attempt to murder, we demand that the punishment should be severe; the trial should set an example for the bad people. On a relevant note, we see where jealousy leads one to.

ONLINE VOICES

All she wants is punishment
Rumana weeps, tells how she forgave husband upon numerous tortures
(June 22, 2011)

International

Obama sets in motion US pullout from Afghanistan

US President Barack Obama announced a phased pullout of troops to end a costly war in Afghanistan, but the country faced fresh turmoil after a court overturned results from last year's fraud-tainted election.

India, Pakistan to hold peace talks

India and Pakistan are to hold talks on peace and security issues yesterday, part of efforts to stabilise South Asia as the United States prepares to draw down troops from Afghanistan.

UN vote might not be on Palestinian statehood: Ashton

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she was not certain the UN will vote on backing a Palestinian state in September, in an interview with Haaretz newspaper published.

Asia has more millionaires than Europe

The number of millionaires in Asia-Pacific has jumped sharply to overtake Europe, a study revealed yesterday, driven by the fast-rising super-rich of Hong Kong.

New drugs replacing old ones: UN

Gains made in tackling global use of cocaine and heroin are being offset by rising consumption of synthetic and prescription drugs, a UN report said yesterday.

Afghan court overturns poll results

An Afghan special court overturned a string of results yesterday from last year's fraud-hit parliamentary polls, causing deep splits in the political system with US troops poised to start withdrawing.

Indian fever outbreak kills 40 children

A deadly fever believed to be caused by a type of encephalitis has killed as many as 40 children in an impoverished region of eastern India, health experts said yesterday.

Congo former rebels accused of mass rape

Aid workers said yesterday at least 60 women have been raped near the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo town of Fizi in between June 10-June 12.

Yemeni president not returning home soon

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is not likely to return home soon from Saudi Arabia, where he is recovering from serious injuries suffered in an attack on his palace this month, a Western diplomat said yesterday.

China, Vietnam hold joint patrols

China and Vietnam conducted two days of joint naval patrols earlier this week in the Gulf of Tonkin, the defence ministry in Beijing has said, amid tensions over territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Somali president appoints new prime minister

Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed yesterday appointed Abdiweli Mohamed Ali as prime minister, replacing Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed who resigned under a reconciliation accord.

ICC prosecutor seeks to open Ivory Coast probe

The International Criminal Court's prosecutor asked judges Thursday for permission to probe alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity after Ivory Coast's disputed election, his office said.

Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker Wilders acquitted

Dutch far-right lawmaker Geert Wilders walked away from hate speech and discrimination charges yesterday for statements made attacking Islam, calling his acquittal a victory for freedom of speech.

Winklevoss twins end legal row with Facebook

The Winklevoss brothers, Harvard contemporaries of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, ended their legal battle with the social network yesterday.

Arts & Entertainment

A Treasure-trove Revealed

On the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, Alliance Francaise de Dhaka, Alliance Francaise de Chittagong and Embassy of France in Bangladesh have jointly arranged a photo exhibition titled “Tagore, the Universal Message”. The exhibition is now on at the gallery of Alliance Francaise de Dhaka in Dhanmondi.

Nagarik Natyangan stages Tagore play “Muktir Upaye”

Theatre troupe Nagarik Natyangan staged its latest production “Muktir Upaye” on June 21 at the Experimental Theatre Hall, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. Directed by Lucky Enam, “Muktir Upaye” is an adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore's short story with the same title.

Ninety Years of “Bidrohi”

Celebrating 90th anniversary of the publication of Nazrul's “Bidrohi”, a two-day International Nazrul Conference kicks off today at the National Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA). Arranged by Nazrul Institute, the conference will begin at 5pm today.

Ustad Kamruzzaman Moni passes away

Veteran tabla artiste Ustad Kamruzzaman Moni passed away on June 21 at Labaid Hospital in the city. He was 85. He was buried at the Mirpur Intellectuals' Cemetery.

So You Think You Can Dance

If you have been completely unaware of this show and come across it by sheer coincidence, you might be mesmerised by the perfect pirouettes, powerful lifts and remarkable swivels by the participants. The truth is “So You Think You Can Dance”, the title of this show, does not apply to the contestants (because they clearly can and how!) but to the viewers who are religiously inspired by the moves and grooves on screen.

Expectant Aishwarya, elated Amitabh

Four years into her marriage with actor Abhishek Bachchan, Bollywood beauty Aishwarya Rai is expecting. The news about 38-year-old Aishwarya's pregnancy was broken by her father-in-law and actor Amitabh Bachchan on social networking site Twitter on Tuesday night.

10th Dhaliwood Film and Music Awards to be held in Washington DC

A large number of Bangladeshi film, TV and music artistes are attending the 10th Dhaliwood Film and Music Awards, to be held in Washington DC, USA on July 2 and 3 this year.

DS Café

DS Cafe will buzz as glamour girl Sumaiya Shimu drops in to take your calls. Call 8126155 on Tuesday, June 28, between 3 and 4 pm to speak to Shimu!!! The countdown has begun!!

OP-ED

Take the patriotism test

Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina criticised the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resour-ces, Power and Ports last Satur-day, and she said something, perhaps on the spur of the moment, that could have spurred a momentous debate in this country. That it did not is alarming. It may be our sclerotic hearts that what should touch us most does not touch us anymore.

Breaking the silence

Rumana's narrative is instructive for a whole range of people. To this, I come later. For the moment, in her present shattered mental and physical state, she needs emotional support, specialised medicare as she awaits a miracle, something worthwhile to keep her busy with, and an assurance of a secure future for her and her daughter.

Peer-rivalry in the Pacific: A Chimerican competition!

In the near future the Pacific Ocean is unlikely to remain as calm as the name suggests. Large swathes of it, in mostly the West Pacific, could become host to nations engaged in naval competition for control. Two powers, each of which has begun to view the other as a strategic peer, are likely to take the lead. The two are America and China.

I meet a real president

Like other fearless journalists, this writer has met lots of terrifyingly powerful human beings, including presidents, prime ministers, heads of state, and nurses putting on white rubber gloves.

StarTech

Smartphone junkies

Has checking for text messages on your smartphone in the middle of the night become natural for you? Do you find yourself not being able to go five minutes without checking your inbox? Do you find it difficult to sleep or do anything without your smartphone by your side or atleast at an arm's grab away? Do you find yourself looking for apps in everything you do? If so, you are welcome to the new breed of smartphone addicts. The good news is, you are not alone in this hyper-connected world. Experts say that as many as 6 percent of smartphone users could be termed addicts. According to a Rutgers University study, being addicted to your Blackberry is similar to being addicted to drugs. No wonder the device was coined "crackberry." It's a tough habit to break.

ETL brings Acer touchbook

Executive Technologies Ltd (ETL) has introduced Acer's new concept device- Iconia touchbook in the Bangladeshi Market.

Kaspersky unveils 2012 AV solutions

Kaspersky Lab, a world leading computer security company, introduced its latest 2012 editions of Anti-Virus and Internet Security solutions to the local market at an event in the capital.

Web address boom could be search engine boon

The decision to open the internet to a flood of Web addresses ending in anything from company names to social movements could prove a boon to search engines.

Google translates Bangla

Google has expanded its free internet translation service to include Bangla, one of the most spoken languages in the world, reports AFP.



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